Since becoming vegan every inch of my diet, health and fitness has been scrutinised by those around me. Naturally, this is fairly irritating. My first defence mechanism is to attack, to snap back at those who doubt my ability to know my own body. A few months down the line, my new defence is simply to show people how wrong they are. Having a bunch of successful, thriving vegan examples is one of the best ways to do this.
So, to give you a starting point to build your cohort of vegan heavyweights (pun intended…) from, here are 10 athletes that you might not realise are vegan.
American professional boxer (1985-2005) Mike Tyson became a vegan after his retirement from the sport. He credits the lifestyle change for his 130 pound weight loss.
Former World no.1 ranking professional tennis player Venus Williams adopted a vegan (and primarily raw) foods diet in summer 2011. Her primary reason was her diagnosis with Sjögrens Syndrome, aiming to decrease inflammation in her body and increase her energy levels. She does refer to herself as a ‘cheagan’ or ‘cheating vegan’, however.
Farris made headlines during this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, as the only male US weightlifter to make it to the Olympics. The press also picked up on his vegan diet.
One of the world’s leading female rock climbers, and the first woman to have free solo climbed a 5.11 climb; Davis is also a vocal vegan activist who speaks out against factory farming. Check out her blog as highinfatuation.com.
David Haye, in case you haven’t heard of him, is a British professional boxer who has held world titles in two weight classes. He became vegan in early 2014, and launched his own range of vegan protein. He returned to the boxing ring in January 2016 after three and a half years off.
Iranian-Armenian German strongman competitor and holder of the log lift World Record; Patrik Baboumian has been vegetarian since 2005, and vegan since 2011. He works with PETA to advocate the vegan diet.
Carl Lewis is an American former track and field athlete, who won 10 Olympic medals and 10 World Championships medals. He adopted the vegan diet in 1990, and credits it for his great results in the 1991 World Championships, and especially the long jump final.
Malik has been vegan since birth, and is a 7 time female bodybuilding champion, going to show that meat is definitely not necessary to successfully built muscle.
American ultra-marathoner and public speaker Scott Jurek, one of the most dominant ultramarathon runners in the world, has eaten a meat-free diet since 1997 and a plant-based, vegan diet since 1999.
Brazier is a Canadian former Ironman triathlete, and firm advocate of a vegan diet. He also created the Vega line of vegan food products and supplements.