I think it would be fair to say that when we think about a Vegan, we probably don’t picture someone muscle-bound, lean, buff, fit, ripped, healthy and strong right? In fact, in my minds eye I used to have a picture of someone looking the total opposite…
You will be pleasantly surprised to discover that the world over is home to many extremely successful and healthy vegan athletes. Despite commonly held beliefs that it is vital to consume animal food in order to build muscle strength and stamina, there is growing community of fitness fanatics that are powered by plants.
These vegan athletes are competing well in all fields of sport and reaching the top tiers of success in the process. Whilst it is easy to undermine their achievements by pointing out the much larger number of athletes who are successful on an animal based diet, we have to recognise that proportionally, the number of athletes that are vegan are extremely few and that whilst their numbers are noticeably growing, any success they have to reach the tops of their games is in fact a doubly impressive triumph.
Former professional Full Ironman triathlete (1998 to 2004) and a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion.
6-foot-5 inches (1.96m) 300-pound defensive (136kg) defensive lineman in the NFL, who became leaner, faster and stronger after adoping plant-based diet.
“Strongest Man of Germany” winner (105kg), Team Champion Strongman winner, World Log Lift Record Holder (105kg category), German heavyweight Log Lift Record Holder (180kg) & Beer Keg Lifting Record Holder, 2012 European Champion Powerlifting (140kg division), 2012 World Record Beer Keg Lifting, 2012 World Record Front Hold 20kg, 2013 & 2015 World Record Holder yoke-walk.
Ultramarathon Runner, Appalachian Trail Speed Record Holder, U.S. record for 24-hour road run, 7-time winner of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, 2-time winner of the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon, 3-time winner Spartathlon 152 miles, Winner of the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, Runners World Top 10 Greatest Runners of All-Time, Men’s Health 100 Fittest Men of All Time, 4 time UltraRunning Magazine’s Ultrarunner of the Year.
Heather Jo Clark
Competes at an elite level as a Mixed Martial Artist in the Strawweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and holds Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Pro Woman Surfer, 2016 World Champion, 2015 First Place in Ron Jon Junior Pro, 2014 winner of NSSA Southwest Women’s U18 season and Surfing Prime America Women’s U18 season, and 3rd place in the World Juniors.
Marathon & Ultradistance Runner, 5 marathon records – The North Pole Marathon, The Antarctic Ice Marathon, The Ruska Marathon, The Dartmoor Vale Marathon & the Essex Championship Marathon. Finished over 50 marathons. In 2013, Fastest Women in History of the World to run a marathon on all 7 continents. Fastest woman to run a marathon on all 7 Continents Plus the North Pole.
In 2016, this martial artist set the Guinness World Record for knuckle push-ups, completing 82 push-ups in 1 minute, which averages to 1.3 push-ups per second! Other records include 2092 push-ups in 1 hour and bending 3 iron rods in 5 seconds.
Pairs Figure Skater, World Champion in both 2015 and 2016. Olympic silver medalist in the team event, 2 time Four Continents Champion, 2014 - 2015 Grand Prix Final Champion, 6 time Canadian National Champion.
Professional Freerunnner, 2-time World Freerunning Champion, competed in 3 American Ninja Warrior tournaments, competed in 2 Ninja Warrior UK tournaments and participated in television series MTV's Ultimate Parkour Challenge.
Ultra-endurance athlete, completed the Epic5 Challenge, completing 5 ironman-distance triathlons on 5 Hawaiian Islands of in under a week, top finisher at the 2008 and 2009 Ultraman World Championships.
British professional boxer with 2 titles to his name, previous Cruiseweight World Champion and World Boxing Association Champion.
Competitive professional bodybuilder, 2011 IDFA World Championships and Pro, 2012 WBFF World Championships, 2013 IDFA World Championships and Pro, 2014 GNC O’Brien Luchka Mississauga Championships and 2014 Musclemania Montreal.
Competitive bodybuilder, 7-time winning all natural body builder and holds pro cards with four distinct bodybuilding organizations.
Elite Brazillian Jiu Jitsu athlete, 3 time World Championship winner, 3 time Gold American Cup winner, Gold Medal US Open winner, 2009 American National Championship winner, 2 time Gold Medal Pan Am Games winner.
Australian sprinter specialising in the 400 metres. Unbeaten during their 2016 season – having won all 12 races to take the national title and secure her place at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. There she made the semi finals of the 400 metres. In 2016 she set a Personal best of 51:24 – this run was the fastest by an Australian woman for 13 years.
Olympic weightlifter and 2016 American USA National Record holder, lifting a total of 831 pounds (377kg) - 371 pounds in the snatch and 461 pounts in the clean & jerk.
Mixed Martial Arts athlete - Ultimate Fighter 6 winner, 3-time Fight of the Night winner, Knockout of the Night winner, King of the Cage winner, King of the Cage Lightweight World Championship, 4 successful title defences, Extreme Trials Eastern Regional Champion, Extreme Trials National Champion, Gladiator Challenge Lightweight World Champion.
Disability Winter Sports competitor - 5 World Records in various disability winter sports including bobsleigh, downhill skiing and ski jumping. Officially the worlds fastest disabled woman, recording a speed of 166.84km/hr Ski World Record.
Professional Bodybuilder and 3-time Colorado Golden Glove State Champion with a 6-0 record.
Being vegan is not only the most efficient way to be full-body strong, it’s also the most humane. Everyone wins.David Carter, NFL Defensive Lineman
Being vegan is not only the most efficient way to be full-body strong, it’s also the most humane. Everyone wins.
The interesting thing is that elite plant based athletes are saying that they train more intensely on a plant-based diet because their recovery times are faster, they have fewer injuries, and they have more energy so they are able to achieve more strength / speed workouts and higher training work loads. This is the Holy Grail combo of superior athletic success!
How does this happen? Well, meat and dairy products are believed to be acid-forming in our bodies, compared to the relatively non-acidic, or “alkaline” effect of whole plant-based foods. Therefore, it is believed that an excessively acidic blood pH could result in inflammation, and thus impair recovery after training.
Once I learned how to be a healthy vegan by eating the right foods, my performance improved dramatically.Brendan Brazier, Ultramarathon Champion
Once I learned how to be a healthy vegan by eating the right foods, my performance improved dramatically.
To be a healthy individual, and also a healthy athlete, the plant-based nutritionists and doctors agree that it is always vital to eat a diet rich in a wide variety of whole, plant foods. Using colour as a simple guide, they recommend that we eat a rainbow every day, and include a diversity of vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts & seeds.
Including chia, hemp, flax and some nuts along with high protein plant choices like beans, lentils, quinoa, amaranth and starchy tubers or fruits with B-12 supplement provide a well-balanced, calorie sufficient diet for athletes.
The worlds strongest animals are plant eaters. Gorillas, buffalos, elephants, and me.Patrik Baboumian, Germany’s Strongest Man
The worlds strongest animals are plant eaters. Gorillas, buffalos, elephants, and me.
To me, whilst it is important for every athlete and fitness fanatic to strive for and focus on a diet produces the greatest athletic success, its also vitally important to look at our health in a holistic way. So not only is it important to eat foods that are good for our fitness performance, but also eat foods that are disease-preventing, and longevity promoting.
There is a plethora of scientific evidence and peer-reviewed studies showing that diets high in processed and animal-based foods are detrimental to our health, whilst diets rich in whole and plant based foods are highly beneficial for our health, and therefore this should be taken into consideration, when we focus on our choice of diet for our fitness & athletic performances as well as our overall well being and happiness.
The medical and/or nutritional information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please seek medical advice before using diet to treat disease.