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5 Bodybuilders Who Are Thriving on a Vegan Diet

For guys who want to get into bodybuilding, there can be as much of an emphasis on meat-based protein as there is on actually working out. But, what if meat wasn't necessary to be a successful body builder?

Muscular Black man flexing
Sam Woolfe

Sam Woolfe

I'm a freelance writer who is interested in mindfulness, mental health and the evolving concept of masculinity.

Many men still have the impression that in order to seriously build muscle, you need meat and eggs in your diet. Meat has become synonymous with protein and so people believe that, without it, it’s impossible to get big and strong. However, there are plenty of plant-based bodybuilders out there who are smashing stereotypes about the vegan diet. These athletes should serve as a reminder that opting for beans over beef doesn’t put you at a disadvantage in terms of building muscle. In fact, there are plenty of plant-based foods that are high in protein, and which allow vegan bodybuilders to thrive.

1. Jon Venus

Jon Venus is a popular vlogger in the vegan bodybuilding community. He helps people, including bodybuilders, to transition to a plant-based diet while achieving their athletic goals. Venus, who is half Brazilian and half Norwegian, has been able to get pretty jacked on a vegan diet. Venus also dismantles stereotypes about how bulking up on a plant-based diet must be expensive. He said:

“Beans, lentils, chickpeas and seasonal veg, these raw ingredients, are cheap and cost effective. They’re some of the cheapest foods on the planet and you get all the nutrition you need. Unless you’re planning on living off super-foods like goji berries, you can make it super cheap.”

2. Nimai Degaldo

Nimai Degaldo is an American IFBB professional bodybuilder. He has appeared on the front cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine and has been able to achieve remarkable fitness results on a 100% vegan diet. Degaldo has never eaten meat in his life and switched to a plant-based diet in 2015. Delgado has said:

“I have beans and tofu, I have lots of greens - spinach, broccoli, and these things are packed with protein, as well as essential micronutrients that help you recover faster and get you stronger.”

3. Torre Washington

Torre Washington is an award-winning bodybuilder who teaches others how to build and maintain a solid physique on a plant-based diet. Washington, an IFBB pro, showcases the amazing results he has achieved with vegan bodybuilding on his Instagram. He has been following a plant-based diet for nearly two decades now and claims:

“If anything, I am at an advantage being vegan, since plants expedite the recovery and recuperation.”

4. Dominick Thompson

Dominick Thompson is a bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, and passionate animal rights activist. Speaking on his reasons for going vegan, he said:

“Thinking animals can be used in a humane and safe manner to produce dairy products is simply not true …. The cruelty and torture that can be involved is just as bad as the slaughtering.”

He also doesn’t believe the transition was difficult, adding that “[D]oing something I passionately believe is right made it an easy transition.”

Thompson believes that his strength training has actually improved since he ditched animal products from his diet.

5. Patrik Baboumian

Patrik Baboumian is a German bodybuilder and strongman who has broken several weightlifting world records. And he has managed to do so on a completely vegan diet. He was a vegetarian for many years before going plant-based in 2011. He did so for ethical reasons. But he didn’t have to sacrifice any of his strength or gains. In fact, Baboumian emphasizes:

“I got heavier, I got stronger, I won the European championship title in powerlifting, I broke three world records so everything was going perfect … my blood pressure went down, and my recovery time was so much faster so I could train more.”

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