If you’re like me, then you love finding out that your favorite celebrity just went vegan – or at least joined a ‘21-Day vegan challenge’ or ‘meatless monday’.
But you know what’s even better? Finding out that your favorite ATHLETE is vegan.
Unlike pop stars or writers, athletes only get famous when their strength, skills and fitness are extraordinary – and everyone knows that these people need an outstanding diet to fuel their perfect bodies.
So when an elite athlete proudly claims to be vegan, that’s the definite proof that veganism is suitable for an active lifestyle – and that all those myths about lack of protein are nothing but nonsense.
To honor those legendary human beings who excel in their sports without exploiting and killing animals while acting as a source of inspiration to all of us, we’ve put together a list with vegan athletes that will end any discussion about whether veganism is a healthy choice.
Badass Vegan Athletes: THE LIST
The incredibly ripped lady in the picture is Jehina Malik, a competitive bodybuilder from New York who has been training since she was 19 and is vegan since birth! Although it’s hard to believe it, she says she used to be skinny and small – and that was what got her into bodybuilding.
Being the first ‘vegan since birth’ to earn an IFBB Pro card, Jehina is aiming to break all stereotypes and barriers that suggest that vegans cannot be bodybuilders.
- 2014 NPC Universe – 3rd Women’s Physique
- 2013 NPC Eastern USA – 1st Women’s Bodybuilding Lightweight, 1st Overall Women’s Physique Open
- 2012 NPC Steve Stone NY Mets – 1st Women’s Bodybuilding Lightweight
Ever heard of freerunning, that crazy sport where people run and jump over obstacles and leap between buildings? It goes without saying that you need to be insanely strong to even attempt to do those things, and Tim Shieff is one of the best at it.
He’s the winner of the 2009 World Freerunning Championships and has been on TV shows like American Ninja Warrior and MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge. But what got him to this list is that he uses his anti-gravity skills to draw attention to veganism and animal rights.
He was introduced to freerunning when he was 16, but when he found out about veganism he started to support the cause with amazing stunts, and was even arrested for it. As he puts it: “With what we’ve been given, what message can we promote that helps the greater good?” That’s a great question we can ask ourselves – Tim is obviously doing his part.
Fiona Oakes is a Vegan Society ambassador and elite marathon runner, holding 3 World Marathon titles and having completed over 40 marathons. One of her amazing feats is running marathons on all seven continents and the freaking North Pole, where she set a new course record by 44 minutes.
But Fiona is not just an athlete who went vegan – she is actually a vegan who became an athlete to help spread the cause: “I am not an athlete for myself. I am doing it for the benefit of others, which makes me work much harder.”
And as if all the running was not enough, Fiona also works on her own animal sanctuary, Tower Hill Stables, home to over 400 ex-farm and domestic animals.
“I honestly believe that the most benefit to me being vegan is that I do not carry the burden of guilt that I would have to endure knowing that I abused others for my own ‘benefit’.” – Fiona Oakes
Cam is a champion boxer, having won the US title in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014 as well as the Golden Gloves in 2009, 2011 and 2013 as a super heavyweight. You can check his long list of titles here.
Cam went vegan after losing a bet and having to do a 28 day vegan challenge, but after that he decided he wanted to keep going – that was many years ago and he’s been a vegan ever since.
He says that his athletic performance has improved after transitioning to a plant-based diet, and his recovery time also got better. When asked about “where he gets his protein”, Cam says that protein myths are due to marketing induced fear.
But what I admire the most about Cam are his views on veganism:
“I think vegans should be less judgmental and more welcoming. If we want people to stop eating meat and join the vegan club, we better become more appealing as a people.” – Cam Awesome
“Though I would love for the world to be 100% vegan, I’d rather people be 20% than 0%. That’s why I’m not one of those extremist vegans. I love the lifestyle and I would like as many people to join in it as possible.” – Cam Awesome
That stunning lady on the pic is an american pro surfer who won the Gold medal at the Open Women’s World Surfing Championship 2015 and successfully defended the title by winning the 2016 edition. She is the living proof that you can stay at the top of your game without the consumption of animal products.
Tia was raised in a vegetarian family, but it was only when she was 15 that she watched the documentary Glass Walls and read The China Study, and decided that she wanted to go vegan. But don’t think that being a world-class athlete makes it easy for her being a vegan: “I definitely get my haters,” she says. “Even when I was vegetarian not everyone agreed with it, obviously. But I don’t push my beliefs on others. I express the benefits if people are asking, and in my case people were asking.”
If you follow her on social, you’ll notice that Tia eat super healthy: “every morning I make a juice with banana, kale, chard, cacao, flax seeds, broccoli, frozen mango, berries, and coconut water.” Watch this video to see what she eats in a day.
Steph is one of the world’s leading female climbers, and has completed some of the hardest routes in the world. She is famous for being the first woman to free-climb El Captain (thanks to reader Dustin Juarte for the information!). Besides climbing rocks, she also does base-jump and skydive, so you could say she’s pretty badass.
She’s been a vegan since 2003, and says there’s nothing in her life that hasn’t become better as a result, from climbing and athletics to mental and spiritual well being. When asked why she chose a vegan diet, she gives the following answer:
“I think we can all agree that hurting defenseless creatures is not ideal. What can we do to start making changes in a positive way? And if it just so happens that changing our lifestyle leads to environmental benefits, health benefits, economic benefits, and positive social change, then all the better.” – Steph Davis
If there’s anyone who still thinks you need to consume animal products in order to get strong, this big guy here will put an end to the discussion.
Patrik Baboumian is an absolute beast. This Iranian-born is Germany’s strongest man and has broken several world records for strength competitions, like beer keg lifting (150kg) and yoke-walk (560kg).
Yep, you read that right. This vegan can lift 560kg and walk for 28 seconds while carrying the load – THAT’S OVER HALF A FREAKING TON. That was the most weight ever carried by a human being, and that human being happens to be vegan!
Oh, and if you wanna compare your lifts in the gym with Patrick, his personal bests are:
- Bench press = 210kg
- Squat = 360kg
- Deadlift = 360kg.
“There are plenty of plant-based protein sources and your body is going to thank you for stopping feeding it with dead-food. Go vegan and feel the power!” – Patrik Baboumian
“Do we really have to kill in order to live? My strength needs no victims, my strength comes from compassion.” – Patrik Baboumian
Yes, you can be vegan and strong. Wanna arm wrestle over it?
Alexey is a Russian athlete who won gold at the Arm Wrestling World Championships. And he did it nine times. What? Not badass enough? Ok, he also won two gold medals at the Olympics in the Bobsleigh. And did I mention he’s a raw vegan?
Veganism is not very popular in Russia – in fact, it was banned during the Soviet Union! But now, thanks to elite athletes like Alexey Voevoda, people are realizing that you really don’t need to consume animal products in order to be healthy and strong.
“I’ve noticed so many benefits since becoming vegan. First, I no longer eat the suffering and pain of defenceless animals. Secondly, my body has become lighter, so to say “clearer”. Thirdly, in my profession, flexibility and elasticity are incredibly important, and I increased both of these. And fourthly, now I almost never suffer from a cold or flu.” – Alexey Voevoda
Kendrick Farris is an Olympic weightlifter from USA who managed to finish 11th in the 94 kg weight category on the 2016 Olympics. He’s also broken the U.S. record by lifting a total of 377kg.
As every parent, this man wanted to be a role model for their kids, so when his second kid was born in 2014, he decided to go vegan and set the example.
He claims that a plant-based diet has caused his body to recover much faster, he is able to think clearer, and his focus is increased.
“I don’t agree with the way the animals are mass-slaughtered. So that’s one thing that kind of got me looking at a vegan diet.” – Kendrick Farris
Known as ‘The Vascular Vegetarian’, wrestler Austin Aries has been the longest reigning Ring of Honour (ROH) World Champion, ROH Tag Team World Champion, and TNA World Heavyweight Champion. He also won the TNA World Tag Team Championship, making him one of one five wrestlers to have won the Triple Crown.
Besides crushing his opponents, Austin Aries has also written a book for all those who want to contribute to the positive change in the world and are ready to broaden their horizons when it comes to what they put in their body.
“At the core, eating other creatures doesn’t appeal to me.” – Austin Aries
“I’m vegan because I give a damn.” – Austin Aries
Brendan is one of the world’s leading authorities on plant-based performance nutrition.
This Canadian is a former Ironman triathlete, author, and vegan advocate. He wrote several books about nutrition and fitness, created the world-famous Vega brand of food products and supplements, and started Thrive Food Direct, a delivery service for plant-based meals. What an accomplished fella!
Every week, Brendan runs about 130 kilometres, swims six or seven hours, cycles about 700 kilometres – and says he loves every minute of it!
“Society makes killing an animal completely acceptable and anonymous. Others do all the messy work (breeding, raising, killing), all you as the consumer has to do is walk into a friendly, clean supermarket in the shopping mall and buy a piece of meat wrapped with a cartoon picture of a smiling cow on it.” – Brendan Brazier
Well, I must admit that this man looks amazing. Who would think that he doesn’t eat meat, huh? Derek Tresize has been vegan for ten years now.
He has got a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition, holds a Bachelor degree of Science in Biology, is a trainer and a professional bodybuilder. Plus, Derek has quite a list of achievements, including second place at 2015 WNBF Pro Universe: Pro Men’s Physique.
Derek is an inspiration for many athletes, and he believes in future of vegan bodybuilding. Well, you’re doing great Derek!
“Veganism means living a healthy and compassionate life. Choosing foods, occupations, and activities that nourish your body, helping others and doing as little harm to the world around you as possible is all part veganism to me.” – Derek Tresize
Torre Washington has been a bodybuilder since 2009, and vegan since 1998. He sees his lifestyle as an advantage over his competitors, since he claims to be much healthier, feels great, and recovers faster, being able to train and give his best all the time.
Washington advocates for veganism to his global fan base and brings awareness to the animals cause, as well as the need to heal mother earth through living the vegan lifestyle. He’s even been awarded the Humane Hero Award by the Florida Humane League in 2016!
“My commitment to being vegan is to share with the world how human beings can exist holistically with all beings and not only survive, but thrive as a vegan” – Torre Washington
Well, that wraps up our list of badass vegan athletes. I’m sure there are more of them, and I’ll update this page as I discover who they are.
I hope this list will put an end to those questions about whether a plant-based diet is good for your body. You don’t have to choose between an ethic and compassionate lifestyle OR strength and performance – a vegan diet can provide BOTH.
If you have friends who always give you a hard-time for being vegan, then just share this list on their timelines. You’ll be helping spread veganism, and at the same time presenting solid arguments on why they should give it a go!
Thanks for visiting VeganProteinGuide.com, and I’ll see you on the next post!