Is it possible for vegan athletes to raise their game when they go vegan?
This article is about veganism, sports and performance. Here we will explore if it's possible for vegan athletes to raise their game when they go vegan.
"Performing at their highest level when they're vegan? It's not possible!"
"OK but that was then! What about now?"
If you think that all vegans are weedy and pale from a lack of animal protein in their diet, then it's time for you to think again. In this article, you'll read about vegan champion athletes, at the top of their sports. Thus proving that a vegan diet can provide all the necessary nutrition to build muscle, power and flexibility.
Born in Iran and now living in Germany, Patrik Baboumian is the holder of several world strength records. He is also an active campaigner for veganism. Initially, Patrik went vegan for ethical reasons but he discovered his strength actually increased as a result of his change in diet! He found his 100% plant-based diet enabled him to train harder and for longer, whilst recovering quicker.
You would be forgiven for thinking Fiona Oakes is superhuman after hearing how busy her life is. Not only has she set course records for marathons across the world (including the North Pole and Antarctica), she also manages to run Tower Hill Stables Sanctuary which cares for 400 animals and work as a retained firefighter. The latter means she is often on call and needs to be ready to react quickly!
Rich Roll's transition to becoming a world-recognised athlete began when he was 40. He realised that his health was being threatened by a poor diet and inactivity. Unable to climb the stairs, he adopted a whole food vegan diet and began to train. Just 3 years later he was awarded the title of one of '25 Fittest Guys in the World' by Men's Fitness Magazine. He is best known for his participation in the Ultraman World Championships, which involves a 6.2-mile swim, 261.4-mile cycle and 52.4-mile run over 3 days.
Tim Shieff is one of the best known and most successful athletes in freerunning and parkour. In 2009 he was the Freerun World Champion. Tim set course records at subsequent events as well as captain team Europe to victory at international gatherings. Watch him set a record at 'Ninja Warrior'.
Scott Jurek has been one of the most dominant ultramarathon runners in the world, winning many of the sport's most prestigious races multiple times, including 7 consecutive victories at the Western States endurance race, where participants run for 100 miles! Scott has been vegan since 1997 and claims that his diet is crucial in supporting endurance, recovery and health.
Torre Washington is a 6-time champion natural bodybuilder. Vegetarian from birth, Torre went vegan in 1998 and has also gone on to become a vegan advocate.
Mac Danzig is a retired MMA (mixed martial artist) who competed as a lightweight in several MMA promotions, most notably the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Mac has been vegan since 2006 and is an animal rights advocate.
Brendan Brazier is a Canadian former Ironman triathlete and a vegan advocate. He is the author of The Thrive Diet (2007), Thrive Fitness (2009), and Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health (2011).
Written by Minal Shah, of the Jain Vegans Team
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