At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Kendrick Farris was the only male competitor for Team USA’s weightlifting division. And he killed it! He broke the U.S. record by lifting 831 pounds and 431 pounds in the clean and jerk. Farris decided to go vegan in 2014, just before his son was born. “He’s my second child, and for me it was a time of reflection — on the things I want to teach him, and the example I want to set for him.” Since his switch he’s been thriving: “Now, my body recovers a lot faster. I feel lighter. My mind is a lot more clear. I feel I can focus a lot better.” Check out what he eats.

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Tia Blanco is a two-time consecutive world surfing champion known for her Gold medal victory at the International Surfing Association (ISA) Open Women’s World Surfing Championship in 2015. (She had gone vegan two years prior). Surfing takes incredible physical endurance, and Blanco spends at least a few hours in the water every day in order to get into peak fitness for competitions. Blanco attributes much of her success to a primarily whole foods, plant-based diet. See what she eats!

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Ultramarathon runner, Scott Jurek, made headlines when he ran the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in a record-setting 46 days, eight hours and seven minutes. He also won the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon twice; the 153-mile long Spartathlon in Greece three consecutive times; and has taken first place in just about all the ultrarunning world’s most high-profile races. Jurek admits he grew up hating veggies, but now he credits his success, his recovery time, as well as his lack of injuries to a plant-based diet. See what fuels him!

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Mac Danzig is a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitor who has competed at the highest level. Danzig went vegan out of respect for the animals: “Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had a profound respect and interest in nature and animals,” explains Mac. “I remember being 13 and seeing a truck on the interstate filled with pigs all headed to the slaughterhouse. One of them made eye contact with me for a while. It was one of the saddest moments I can remember. There was so much intelligence and spirit in him, and here he was, being sent to an awful death.” But going vegan didn’t just do wonders for his karma, it also helped him as an athlete: “When I decided to go vegan, I was able to make the 155-pound weight class much easier, and I haven’t lost an ounce of muscle. I’m leaner than I used to be, and I have much more energy than I used to.” See what he eats!

 

Vegan Strongman, Patrik Baboumian, has no problem when it comes to gaining muscle. He’s won countless competitions and set many world records for his strength. He won the German Log-lifting Championship every year since it was held for the first time in 2009 and has set three world records after turning vegan in 2011. For those skeptics, he says: “This is a message to all those out there who think that you need animal products to be fit and strong. Almost two years after becoming vegan I am stronger than ever before and I am still improving day by day. Don’t listen to those self proclaimed nutrition gurus and the supplement industry trying to tell you that you need meat, eggs and dairy to get enough protein. 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!” Where does he get his protein?

 

Tim Shieff is one of the best known and most successful athletes in freerunning and parkour, kind of like urban gymnastics for those who aren’t familiar. Since going vegan he has seen a real improvement in his athletic performance: “Before I went vegan I had tendonitis, and I would get joint aches and ligament strains, and my knees would be sore. All that went away as soon as I switched to a whole food plant-based diet. It’s anti-inflammatory, and your digestive system gets a break. Eating meat takes a lot more energy to digest, and so that energy can’t be spent healing other areas of your body.” But he really changed his diet for the animals: “Veganism for me is about mindfulness. I do this to liberate animals.” Check out what he has to say.

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Jehina Malik is a female bodybuilding champion and has been vegan since birth! She is the first vegan athlete to win the title IFBB Professional bodybuilder and says she believes being vegan is the best thing for her body. She thinks that it’s funny how people assume vegans should be skinny and have no muscles and is determined to break all stereotypes and barriers that suggest that vegans cannot be bodybuilders. Check her out!

This list could go on and on but we gotta stop somewhere… 😉