Following up last week’s article about veganism and sports, in case you are still skeptical about if it is really possible to be vegan or follow a plant – based diet and be a successful athlete, I give you: 10 world – class athletes who you probably didn’t know were following a plant – based diet, including a couple of UFC fighters you have probably hear of!
First of all, if you did not read last week’s article, please go ahead and give it a go, seriously. You can always come back later (if not you will probably not understand how these amazing athletes can perform so well).
Can vegans be athletes?
So, did you really think that there were no vegan athletes out there? There are many reasons to adopt a plant – based diet, and it turns out that athletic performance may be one of them.
1. Olympian of the Century, Carl Lewis
Having won an Olympic medal on the year he claims to have become vegan, Lewis is a clear example of how his performance improved on a plant – based diet. He advocates a vegan diet and supports that there is no need for animal protein in order to be a successful athlete. He did win 10 Olympic medals in his whole career as an athlete, so I guess he must have been doing something right, no?
2. Bodybuilder, Robert Cheeke
After being raised among animals as a young kid, he developed an attachment to animals. When he decided to become a bodybuilder, he went from 120 pounds to 195 pounds, on a strict vegan diet! As you can see from his example, animal protein is not really needed for the “gainz”. He is currently a vegan activist, running the site www.veganbodybuilding.com.
3. Iron Man Athlete, Brendan Brazier
A world class athlete, Brazier started his career as an athlete at a young age. Concerned about his performance more than what he actually ate, he started following a vegan diet, since he knew that it was the best way to shine in his discipline, long distance sports and triathlons. Later, he founded Vega, a dietary and sports supplement company which, of course, advocates a vegan lifestyle.
4. Ultramarathon Runner, Scott Jurek
After winning several of the world’s most difficult ultramarathons, Scott Jurek is now considered one of the best athletes of all times in his discipline. He claims that his lifestyle and his diet are vital factors that grant him his outstanding performance. He wrote the bestselling book, “Born to Run”, where he claims that his diet is one of the most important parts of his performance. He has set records in more than ten world – class events.
5 & 6. Tennis Superstars, The Williams Sisters
The super – strong Williams sisters, also stated that they were following a vegan diet. Just after a couple of months after releasing this statement, they won the Olympic doubles in London a few years ago. Being a clear example of strength and endurance, do you still believe that a plant – based diet is not beneficial for athletes?
6. NFL Player, Ricky Williams
Yes, this one stands out. In a league full of meat eaters and animal protein lovers, Ricky was considered among the best running backs of the NFL. He has appeared in PETA videos advocating a vegan diet and claimed that he would not eat a chicken even if it dropped dead in front of him with a sign saying: “eat me”. Quite an example mister Williams.
7 & 8. World – Known UFC Fighters, The Diaz Brothers
Who would say, right? Isn’t it well known that vegans or people who follow a plant – based diet lose their aggressiveness, produce more female hormones or are even thought to be weaker? How is it possible then that a vegan/plant – based diet follower, beat the now ultra – famous Connor McGregor? As you can see, there is nothing wrong with eliminating animal protein from your diet, even if you are a world – class MMA fighter who beats people up for a living (I am joking, guys, they are really amazing athletes). The Diaz brothers are quite a good example from that, only a couple of the now many UFC fighters who follow a no meat, no dairy diet.
As you can see, there are many well-known athletes who avoid meat and animal protein, and still shine in their disciplines as the best of the business.