I was wondering if some athletes could manage to get the same performance or even experience a performance when not eating anything coming from an animal.

Are there effective athletes relying only on plants?

6 Answers 6


You certainly can be a world-class athlete on a vegan diet. For example, as of writing, the best weight-lifter in the USA, Kendrick Farris, is vegan. He keeps his critics quiet by breaking more records. Here are some other world-class athletes that are vegan:

  • Patrick Baboumian: Germany’s Strongest Man in 2011 and during 2013 he broke the world record for the most weight ever carried (video). On September 20, 2015, Baboumian beat his own world record by completing the yoke walk with 560kg in Kitzcher, Germany.
  • Mac Danzig: World champion UFC fighter, 2007
  • James Wilks: World champion UFC fighter, 2009
  • Lenroy Thompson: World-class boxer and winner the US title in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014 and the Golden Gloves 2009, 2011 and 2013.
  • Jim Morris: World-class bodybuilder who is now vegan (and interestingly was Elton John’s personal bodyguard for more than a decade).
  • Steph Davis: Record breaking rock climber, the only woman to have free solo climbed a 5.11 climb.
  • Timothy Bradley: Professional boxer holding several titles and, as of 2014, is Ring Magazine’s number 5, Best Pound for Pound boxer in the world.
  • Scott Jurek: One of the worlds most successful ultra-marathon runners. Hold several records and 3 consecutive “Male ultra-runner of the year” awards.
  • David Haye: A professional boxer holding Cruiserweight and Heavyweight world titles.
  • Tim Shieff: 2009 world champion free-runner (and funnily enough, one of the Death Eaters in the last Harry Potter movie).

This is really just a matter of 'let me google it for you'. The first hit yields a nice list.

Interestingly, there are endurance athletes as well as strength athletes.

My favorites:


Great Vegan Athletes is a website that has a list of vegan athletes with bios.

The Strongest Hearts is a web series which interviews various vegan athletes and follows them for a "Day-in-a-life."


Nick Diaz and Nate Diaz, two brothers, are MMA fighters in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Nick is the former Strikeforce champion, and Nate has plenty of accolades of his own. They're two of the highest level fighters in the world. They also do marathons and triathlons.

They're usually pescetarian, but go full vegetarian during "fight camp", which is a ~6-8 week period of ramped up intense training before a fight.


Frank Medrano is a well known vegan bodybuilder.


I have to add one of my favorite ones to this list: Jermain Defoe, professional football player, currently a player of Bournemouth FC in the Barclays Premier League and who has credited his vegan diet as an important reason behind his top form despite his age.

He is also involved in different social causes and has his own charity foundation.