Do you really need to eat meat in order to succeed at the highest athletic level?
Does being vegan inhibit your physical performance?
Not even close.
A proper vegan diet can actually increase your athletic performance thanks to the natural healing and recovery factor that plants and greens give you!
While most athletes choose to eat a heavily meat based diet in order to get their proteins, these athletes below are actually 100% vegan and have chosen to live a cruelty free lifestyle.
I hope you take something away from these inspiring individuals and that you can also get strong as a vegan.
A massive member of the vegan community, Nimai is a huge promoter of veganism.
Born a vegetarian thanks to his Hindu parents, Nimai’s diet consisted almost entirely of plants with very little dairy products. In 2015 he made the switch to a 100% plant based diet.
Nimai’s even claims that he has never eaten meat.
More specifically he’s into vegan fitness and bodybuilding.
You can tell he’s been kicking it in the gym with his chiseled physique and massive arms.
He’s on a mission to prove that you can still maintain your health while saving animal lives and the environment by converting to a plant based diet.
The saying goes… “you are what you eat!” and we can clearly tell that Nimai takes care of his body.
He stresses the importance of eating whole based foods and avoid processed junk food.
He loves to eat protein rich bowls, tofu, avocados, and whole grain bread. All tremendous sources of plant based protein.
Nimai has recorded over 300,000 followers on his Instagram, where he posts workout techniques, coaching, recipes, and feats of strength. His 2nd account known as @veganbodybuilding shows his daily meals and recipes that you too can make!
He’s competed in multiple bodybuilding competitions including the IFBB Pro and he’s even been featured on the cover of one of the most well-known and largest health and fitness magazines – ‘Muscle and Fitness’
With Nimai’s ever impressive resume, it’s no wonder that he’s one of the leading influencers in promoting veganism!
Keep it up Nimai!
Don’t be afraid to give him a follow on Youtube or Instagram!
Kendrick is an Olympic weightlifter who went viral in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
As the sole weightlifter to represent the USA, Kendrick was already under the spotlight.
But what really got the media’s attention was that Kendrick was discovered to be a vegan.
Most people don’t associate veganism and weightlifting, due to the stereotypical belief that vegans don’t get enough protein in their diet to build strength.
But Kendrick Farris is just another example showing vegans can be jacked and as strong as they desire.
According to Kendrick, he doesn’t even track his protein or caloric intake. Instead, he goes back to a much more primitive mindset, stating “I eat when I’m hungry.”
He doesn’t believe in getting caught up of how many macronutrients you really need. Kendrick focuses on how his body feels and finding the right balance between eating and training. And since he’s always finding the correct balance Kendrick’s body is always ready to go and break records!
Farris says he made the switch after reflecting over some life goals and going back to what his ancestors ate. After his son was born, he did some research online and found the vegan diet and figured he might as well try it.
He immediately noticed the benefits obtained by simply going plant based.
- Kendrick’s body made a much faster and better recovery compared to before!
- He also felt lighter and stated his mind was much more clear!
But since Kendrick doesn’t really focus on how much to eat, the real question is “what does he actually eat?”
Kendrick gave some insight into his diet and the food needed to fuel an Olympic weightlifter:
- Black beans
- Trail nut mix with pistachios, almonds, and cashews
- Vegan burgers (patties made from mushrooms and rice)
- Spinach lasagna
- Lots of fruit
Thanks to Kendrick’s diet and primitive roots, he continues to be a successful weight lifter to this day.
Well done Kendrick!
A British professional boxer who went vegan after he saw the horrors inflicted by the meat industry.
David is a retired and former world champion with some heavy hitting hands.
Out of his 32 professional fights, David boasts an impressive record of 28 wins to only 4 losses!
Hayes has mentioned the benefits he gained as soon as he went vegan.
“My eyes were whiter, it was easier to breathe, and it increased my recovery from training. Going vegan made me stronger than I’ve ever been!”
David knows all too well the critics of the vegan movement. When people ask where he gets his strength from David responds with “where do apes get their strength from?”
And David is absolutely right. Not only are apes like gorillas and chimps up to 13 times stronger than the average man, but they eat a plant based diet.
David’s diet consists mainly of celery, lentils, quinoa, peas, and rice.
He says he’s not worried about his macronutrients as long as he’s eating enough food.
Knowing that he can get more than enough protein to stay lean and strong, David uses his plant based diet to his advantage.
Before retiring, David used his vegan diet to aid him in getting the proper amount of protein and macronutrients. But it also helped him gain even more weight to return to the boxing ring after his injury, and he returned his heaviest weight ever!
In 2011, world renowned tennis star Venus Williams was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that brought her astounding tennis career to a halt.
The disease causes your immune system to attack your own body, causing a variety of symptoms:
· Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
· Swollen salivary glands — particularly the set located behind your jaw and in front of your ears
· Skin rashes or dry skin
· Vaginal dryness
· Persistent dry cough
· Prolonged fatigue
Knowing this, Venus knew she had to make a change. She couldn’t let the disease win the battle and take control of her career.
Venus made the switch to a raw vegan diet.
Knowing that she was fueling her body with the best foods, she immediately noticed that she was moving at a faster pace and that her autoimmune disease was not as debilitating as before.
Venus stated when switching to a plant based diet, it is important to make sure you learn to create foods that you love so you can enjoy eating much more.
Since the switch, Venus has returned to a world class level of play and continues to dominate the sport with her sister Serena.
Want to know the definition of strong?
Just go look up Clarence Kennedy on Youtube.
Mr. Kennedy can squat 661lb, deadlift 750lb, and clean & jerk over 485lb.
He claims he’s gotten stronger than ever thanks to his vegan diet and it’s not difficult at all to bulk up.
His reason for going vegan?
“I just realized there’s no good argument against veganism. I tried to find one and couldn’t, so for me, it was logical to change my diet” he states.
Clarence often tracks his macronutrients as well, making sure that he’s consuming the right amount of foods to fuel his tremendously strong body.
He gets around 170 grams of protein a day! (Without protein shakes!)
So for all you critics who question a high protein vegan diet… think again.
Clarence also makes sure he gets a good amount of all 9 of the essential amino acids. Since a few plant based proteins lack lysine, Clarence is sure to mix in match foods that have different amino acid profiles.
While most people are using MyFitnessPal to track their macros, Clarence uses an app called Cronometer.
I recently downloaded and gave it a try.
Although it doesn’t have all the foods you’d see in MyFitnessPal, one of the benefits is that you can count almost every nutrient your body is intaking.
Plus you can track your aminos!
Clarences diet consists mainly of grains like pasta and legumes like kidney beans, as well as some soy.
The strongest man on the list (although it could be a tie with Clarence), and one of the strongest human beings in the world, Patrik is living proof that you can get ox strong on a plant based diet.
Patrik has competed in strongmen competition and was featured on ‘Strength Wars’ which you can find on Youtube. I recommend you go watch and find out for yourself to see how strong he is.
He’s another big promoter of saving animals and the planet through a plant based lifestyle.
“I eat what elephants eat” -Patrik
Patrik has admitted that one of the big reasons he went completely vegan was because he realized that the compassion he felt for animals was too great. If he wanted to be honest with himself, he couldn’t keep eating meat in order to keep that level of compassion.
“One day, I just thought, if you see a bird with a broken leg, you really have the urge to do something about it and help the bird,” Patrik has said. “Then at the same time, you go to a restaurant and eat a chicken or something. It doesn’t make any sense.”
With that logic, how can you not love Patrik!
Before going 100% vegan, Patrik was vegetarian for many years, and then made the final leap to veganism in 2011.
He has broken multiple world records in strength:
- 358 pound log lift
- 330 pound keg lift
- Deadlifts 660 pounds for reps
- 1,234 pound yoke walk for 10 meters
I challenge any meat eater in my gym to meet those numbers. (LOL)
Although Patrik isn’t competing as much anymore, he still boasts tremendous strength and a positive mindset.
6 time Super Bowl Champion, 4 time Super Bowl MVP, 3 time NFL MVP, owner of all postseason NFL records, winningest QB in NFL history, and countless more records that could be listed.
But did you know that 80% of his diet is plant based?
You might have heard it before on TV, but Tom Brady is very well known for his diet. Also known as the alkaline diet, Brady avoids a large portion of foods that increase inflammation, and disrupt his body’s PH levels.
Here’s a list of foods that Tom Brady doesn’t eat:
Nightshade vegetables – tomatoes, eggplant, peppers
- White Sugar
- White Flour
I’ve purchased Brady’s “TB12 Method” book, which actually has a superb amount of information on health, exercise, lifestyle, and nutrition that I recommend everyone reads.
You can buy the TB12 Method here.
Now Tom is not 100% vegan like a lot of people make him out to be. Both he and his supermodel wife Gisele state their diet is made up of 80% greens and grains, and the other 20% lean meats and other protein rich foods like lentils, beans, and peas.
Regardless, Tom has made it clear that a huge success to his longevity and top level performance is both his pliability training and nutrition that a lot of other world class athletes are beginning to copy for themselves.
A professional UFC fighter with a high level of MMA skills, Nate Diaz is no one to be messed with.
Although he only posts a professional record of 17 wins and 10 losses, Diaz is still a force to be reckoned with in the lightweight division, tallying wins against the forces like Conor McGregor and Michael Johnson.
He is not 100% vegan, stating he eats eggs and a tiny bit of fish very occasionally, but Nate reveals a secret tactic he implements a few weeks before his fights. He goes on a completely raw and plant based diet.
Eating nothing that is cooked, steamed, or fried, Nate eats a ton of raw vegetables to make him feel in peak condition. Stating it makes him move better and his mind clearer.
Even though Nate is not completely plant based he still promotes veganism!
“I like to promote the vegan industry, I hear a lot of criticism from people saying you need meat to be strong and for recovery, and it’s a bunch of bullshit, because I train harder than everybody. It’s so easy to argue with these people. I’m like, ‘Dude, have you done a tenth of what I’ve done?’”
Most people know JJ Reddick for his sharpshooting skills in the NBA, or his glory days at Duke University.
But did you know that he’s also a promoter of veganism?
Now JJ isn’t 100% vegan, but he is a sponsor of “Beyond Meat” the number one meat substitute company on the planet.
Beyond Meat makes the Beyond Burger. A burger made from plants that taste like the real thing. They also make vegan sausages and chicken that have the exact texture and flavor that you would have in real meat.
Not to mention their products are loaded with protein.
Beyond meat chicken strips have 20 grams of protein within 6 small chicken strips!
These athletes are living proof that you can still succeed on a vegan diet! In fact, many of them have made the switch to combat the illnesses and pain they suffered from the side effects of a meat based diet.
Don’t let the critics and “gurus” fool you.
I want to stress something I’ve said in my previous article.
And that it’s not entirely the type of diet that matters, but the quality of the diet. You can still be a meat eater, but if your diet is crap, you can forget about improving your athletic performance.
I have plenty of friends who eat meat yet aren’t in as good shape as me.
Similarly, as a vegan, you must still maintain a high quality whole food diet. A vegan diet of low quality will also inhibit your performance.
For those out there who wish to improve athletic performance, look no further than the professionals above.
Continue to fight for your goals and you too can succeed!