Australian beach volleyball players Durant and Schumann

Q&A: Cole Durant & Damien Schumann

Meet pro beach volleyball players and Soulara ambassadors Cole Durant and Damien Schumann. With a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal (Damien) and Silver FIVB World Tour Medal between them (Cole), the…

Meet pro beach volleyball players and Soulara ambassadors Cole Durant and Damien Schumann. With a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal (Damien) and Silver FIVB World Tour Medal between them (Cole), the athletic duo are aspiring to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – with some help from Soulara.

We sat down with Team Durant/Schumann, who shared what inspired them to get to where they are today, and how Soulara is supporting them on their journey.

Your training schedule must be full on! What does a typical day look like for you?

Cole: A typical day usually involves waking up at around 7am, doing some morning mindfulness, breathing and visualisation and then brekky. I generally have weights mid-morning for a few hours and then a training session on the sand for a few hours later in the arvo. Depending on any upcoming competitions I may have a small conditioning session…if we are nearing a big tournament. Around that I fit in my studies, team meetings, sports psych and physio appointments.

Damien: It is a bit full on but we love it! [After getting] to our training facility [around 8am,] I like to do some pilates to switch everything on, then lift for roughly two hours. Crush a Soulara meal for lunch. If we need to have any meetings or watch footage of upcoming opposition we do it here in the middle of the day. Then train on the courts from roughly 1.30-3.30. If we’re getting ready for Asian tournaments we then do some heat training in the sauna for 30 minutes. Then go to physio and before you know it, it’s about 6pm.

Although you’re not 100% plant-based, you’ve chosen Soulara over non plant-based meal delivery services. What are your reasons for this?

Cole: From looking into meal delivery options, I believe Soulara is the best quality. [I could see that the] variety of meals was expansive and all the meals looked light and packed with an incredible variety of ingredients. Most of the competitors had a couple of veggie sides that were generally uninspiring.

…Even though I am not completely plant-based I do like to give my GI tract a rest from heavy proteins plus I strongly believe in eating large amounts of veggies and a large variety, for the nutrients and overall health benefits.

Damien: …The health and physical performance benefits of having meat free days are obviously huge. Of course when we are travelling in some pretty remote parts of Asia and the world it’s not always possible. [Also, other] meal delivery services that…include meat as the focus of the dish are often so simple. Soulara meals can focus on being creative and have way more flavour than any other prepackaged meal could!

Soulara ambassador and pro beach volleyball player Durant

Cole living the Soulara life.

What do you think the biggest misconception is about a plant-based diet?

Cole: That plant-based diets are boring and that you need [animal] protein to be the star of the dish. Soulara meals prove this by providing a huge menu of really tasty dishes that make eating my veggies easy and a treat. Soulara has really opened my mind to what’s possible with plant-based meals[, with flavours] I didn’t think were possible.

Damien: I think the biggest misconception is plant based food isn’t tasty and isn’t filling, which are both wrong!

You’re on tour a lot! Of all the places you’ve been to around the world, which one has been your favourite and why?

Cole: I really enjoyed Puerta Vallarta in Mexico, It was the first time I ever qualified for World Tour event and the energy and people were amazing. They have all-inclusive beachside resorts and I remember sitting there on a warm evening watching the sun go down after we finished [competing]  and just having an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and gratitude.

I also got to play a tournament in South Africa which was very special as I was born there and very rarely get to visit…Africa has a buzz around it and the wildlife is amazing.

Damien: Such a hard question! Gstaad in Switzerland would probably be my favorite!

Damien Schumann beach volleyball player

Damien in action, fuelled by Soulara.

What attracted you to beach volleyball?

Cole: I kind of just fell into [it]. I was a tall skinny kid and somehow ended up playing socially and then getting asked [to go along to] state trials…[Within] a year I managed to get selected for a tour of Holland and Turkey. After that I fell in love with the game[, and being on the beach], music cranking, in exotic locations. I thought, “This is a pretty cool thing to do as a job,” and ever since then I did everything I could to make that happen.

Damien: The game itself is so fun to play but I also love the tactics and how challenging moving in the sand can be.

How has Soulara supported your training regime and daily schedule?

Cole: I find it challenging to always prepare healthy meals and get enough micronutrients around my busy schedule. The meals are incredible quality, great tasting and super convenient. [Soulara has] simplified my weekly schedule and helped me have more time to focus on my craft while maintaining my health and keeping me as fit and strong as possible.

Damien: [Soulara has] allowed me to have tasty, healthy meals that are convenient when I’m on the go! It’s so super rare to say ‘convenience’ and ‘healthy’ in the same sentence!

Your favourite Soulara meals?

Cole: [The] Golden Glow Stir Fry, Golden Coconut Dahl and Dawn Discovery Satay. I also love the Cold Pressed Juice and Peanut Butter Cups.

Damien: [The] Dawn Discovery Satay [and] Jungle Curry.

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Published: 13/05/19

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