Looking for athletes who eat a purely plant-based diet? There is now a whole list of vegan athletes who achieve absolute top performances. Nevertheless, the combination of a plant-based diet and fitness still seems to be a contradiction for many people. Yet there is now an incredible amount of information on vegan fitness, vegetable muscle building and, accordingly, many vegan athletes.
This List of vegan athletes is designed to inspire you and show you what is possible with a plant-based diet.
Here is a brief overview for you:
- Bodybuilders and strength athletes
- Soccer player
- Basketball player
- Martial artist
- More athletes
- Closing words
Which bodybuilders and strength athletes are vegan?
There really are countless vegan athletes in the Bodybuilding, weightlifting and power sports. Some of them have been vegan since birth, while others only adopted a plant-based lifestyle later. For some, the health benefits of a vegan diet outweigh the disadvantages, while others are primarily concerned with an ethical lifestyle. What unites them all is that they are driven by the power of plants to perform at their best.
#1 Patrik Baboumian
Patrik Baboumian is a particularly well-known vegan athlete on the German scene. In 2011 the strength athlete won the title Germany's strongest man and proved that top performance is also possible with plant-based food. He is now also a non-fiction author and publicly stands up for animal rights.
#2 Barny du Plessis
After leaving the bodybuilding stage in 2013 due to ill health, he began to eat a plant-based diet. Just one year later, Barny du Plessis was so fit again that he returned to the stage and won the title of vegan athlete. Mister Universe won.
#3 Nimai Delgado
Bodybuilder Nimai Delgado has never eaten meat in his life. Since 2015, the IFBB pro has been eating a completely vegan diet and standing up for animals.
#4 Paul Unterleitner
Paul Unterleitner is also an IFBB professional and follows a vegan diet. The natural bodybuilder is sometimes compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
#5 Jehina Malik
The professional bodybuilder began intensive muscle training at the age of 19. As Jehina Malik has been eating a vegan diet since birth, she has built up her entire musculature with a plant-based diet.
#6 Bianca Taylor
Bianca Taylor is an American fitness trainer and influencer. With over 1 million followers on Instagram, she inspires people to achieve greater body awareness, spirituality, femininity, self-love and a plant-based diet.
#7 Kendrick Farris
The US weightlifter has been following a vegan diet since 2014. Two years later, he broke the then world record in his weight class at the Olympic qualifiers, lifting a total of 377 kg. He lifted 168 kg in the snatch and 209 kg in the clean and jerk.
#8 Torre Washington
Torre Washington has been eating a vegan diet since 1998 and has been breaking down prejudices against vegans for years. The bodybuilding pro regularly achieves top rankings in competitions.
#9 Leonore Verheijen
Leonore Verheijen is a professional bodybuilder from the Netherlands. Proving that muscle building is also possible with a plant-based diet is a great motivation for the vegan athlete.
#10 Kim Constable
Vegan bodybuilder Kim Constable was a yoga teacher for a long time until she turned to bodybuilding at the age of 37. She has been a vegetarian for over 12 years and vegan for more than two years.
#11 Ralf Moeller
Actor and bodybuilder Ralf Moeller won the title in 1986. During his bodybuilding career, he still ate meat. Now, at 60 and on a vegan diet, he says he feels fitter than ever.
#12 Frank Medrano
Calisthenics athlete Frank Medrano loves the feeling of strength and control required for calisthenics exercises. The vegan athlete switched to a plant-based diet in 2010 at the age of 32.
#13 Karl Ess
One of the best-known vegans in the German fitness industry is Karl Ess. After his grandfather died of a heart attack due to clogged arteries, he began to eat a plant-based diet.
Which athletes are vegan in professional running?
There is also a whole list of vegan athletes in endurance sports. Marathon, ultramarathon, triathlon or even the Iron Man, there are vegan athletes everywhere. Runners with a plant-based diet.
#14 Scott Jurek
The ultramarathon runner is a legend in running. He has won all kinds of ultramarathon titles, including the 246 km Spartathlon. According to the vegan athlete, his endurance and fast recovery are due to his purely plant-based lifestyle.
#14 Brendan Brazier
Canadian triathlete Brendan Brazier is a great advocate of vegan nutrition. That's why he wrote the cookbook Vegan in top shape and was executive producer of the documentary The Game Changers. (see vegan documentaries)
#15 Michael Griesmeier
Michael Griesmeier is your German ultramarathon runner. The vegan athlete says that plant-based food makes the entire human body more natural and that he has more energy available since making the switch.
#16 Hauke König
Vegan ultramarathon runner Hauke König once set himself a very special goal. He wanted to run through Germany from south to north. He started in the south in Berchtesgaden and finished in Sylt after 27 days.
#17 Ursula Visconti
The Austrian marathon runner and triathlete is now a six-time Iron Man participant and attaches great importance to a practicable, vegan diet. The vegan athlete mainly uses soy products for her protein supply.
#18 Dave Scott
During his active career, the former triathlete and six-time Iron Man winner ate a predominantly vegan and exclusively vegetarian diet. After the end of his career, however, Dave Scott increasingly integrated animal products back into his diet.
Are there also vegan athletes in soccer?
It is now also known in soccer that a plant-based diet promotes stamina and regeneration. At the 2014 World Cup, for example, the German Football Association provided all of the national team players with plant-based milk instead of cow's milk and there was very little meat. The decisive winning goal was scored by Mario Götze in extra time of the final match against Argentina. That's why Götze is also at the start of the List of vegan athletes in soccer.
#19 Mario Götze
The German international and former goal scorer eats an almost exclusively vegan diet. He only sometimes makes exceptions when eating out and eats meat from time to time.
#20 Sergio Agüero
The Argentinian international faced Mario Götze in the 2014 World Cup final and came home as runner-up. At that time, he was not yet eating a plant-based diet, but he is now rarely injured and enjoys the faster recovery of a vegan lifestyle.
#21 Hector Bellerin
The next vegan footballer comes from Spain and goes by the name of Hector Bellerin. The nimble defender relies on a plant-based diet, mainly for health reasons.
#22 Alex Morgan
Alex Morgan also plays for her country's national team. The striker has already won the 2015 and 2019 World Cups with the USA. She was not yet vegan when she won her first World Cup, but since 2018 she has been eating exclusively plants.
#23 Jermain Defoe
When it comes to vegan athletes, Jermain Defoe is a must. The former England international is still on the pitch at the age of almost forty. He puts his continued good performances down to his diet.
#24 Chris Smalling
Chris Smalling was inspired to follow a vegan diet by his wife Sam Cooke. Since then, the England defender has repeatedly inspired his teammates to try plant-based food.
#25 Fabian Delph
Midfielder Fabian Delph used to be quite injury-prone. This has now improved considerably and, in his opinion, this is mainly due to his diet and meditation practice.
#26 Jack Wilshere
Another soccer player from the English Premiere League. The fact that so many vegan footballers can be found in the tough English league says a lot about the benefits of a plant-based diet for athletes.
#27 Lionel Messi
Although Lionel Messi does not eat a completely vegan diet, he consciously integrates a high proportion of plants into his diet. The former Argentina international used to struggle with weight problems from time to time. Since changing his diet, this is no longer a problem for him.
#28 Simon Zoller
The German striker has been following a vegan diet for several years now as he becomes more and more successful. In the kitchen, however, the goal scorer only hunts for plants.
#29 Nils Seufert
Another vegan footballer who was led to a vegan diet by injury problems. The numerous benefits of plant-based foods are prompting more and more vegan athletes to make the switch.
#30 Mitchell Weiser
Winger Mitchel Weiser also used to struggle with injuries and feels more active, fitter and more resistant to muscle problems since changing his diet. He is now also inspiring more and more of his teammates to try vegan food.
#31 Luca Waldschmidt
The German striker has already enjoyed some success with the German U21 national team, such as reaching the 2019 World Cup final in Italy. Although Waldschmidt came home in second place at the time, this did not detract from his career.
#32 Andreas Luthe
The goalkeeper first cut dairy products out of his diet to reduce his susceptibility to injury and since cutting out all animal products, he feels better than before. He is one of a growing number of vegan athletes in the Bundesliga.
#33 Diego Demme
Midfielder Diego Demme consciously pays attention to a wholesome diet and even pulls himself Sprouts or squeezes fresh juices. He also regenerates faster and is pleased that his muscles are less acidic.
#34 Marco Sailer
Ethical aspects are also an important aspect of Marco Sailer's diet. Since he has been eating a plant-based diet, he has a a better attitude to life. He regularly consumes vegan protein powder to optimize his performance.
#35 Tobias Levels
The former professional footballer is so convinced of vegan nutrition that he is now even active in the food industry. He founded a start-up that produces vegan and sugar-free food and pays attention to ecological production.
#36 Timo Hildebrandt
Another vegan footballer who became active in the food sector after his career ended is former national goalkeeper Timo Hildebrandt. He founded the vegan restaurant Vhy in Stuttgart.
Which famous athletes in basketball are vegan?
In basketball, too, there are now more and more vegans who are interested in greater well-being, more energy and enjoy less muscle soreness. Even the German basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki has in the meantime, for ethical and ecological reasons vegan diet and is therefore on the list of vegan athletes.
#37 Kyrie Irving
US basketball player Kyrie Irving is certain that his diet makes him a better basketball player. The vegan also plays for Team USA, the US national basketball team.
#38 Chris Paul
NBA pro Chris Paul has been eating a vegan diet since 2019. Since then, he has been particularly happy about fewer sore muscles after training.
#39 Deandre Jordan
Because he wanted to protect the environment and live sustainably, Deandre Jordan switched to a plant-based diet overnight. He has been eating a completely vegan diet since 2018.
#40 Wilson Chandler
Another vegan athlete who used to have a lot of problems with injuries and changed his diet as a result. The NBA pro now enjoys fewer injuries, less inflammation and better gut health. Chandler is also interested in meditation and spirituality.
#41 Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki, probably the most successful German basketball player, switched to a plant-based diet after the end of his career. Dirkules played for the Dallas Mavericks for twenty years, after which he wanted to try out what it was like to go without meat for a month. One reason for him was factory farming.
#42 Diana Taurasi
Diana plays in the WNBA and has been vegan since 2015. The professional basketball player has also played for the USA at the Olympics.
#43 Cleanthony Early
In 2017, Cleanthony Early decided to go vegan. The NBA pro says he feels better than ever since switching to plant-based foods. He admits that the vegan diet takes some discipline for him, but the effort is worth it.
Which martial artists eat a vegan diet?
If anyone still doubts whether vegans are strong and efficient after bodybuilders, footballers and basketball players, let's take a look at martial arts. There is a whole list of vegan athletes who achieve top performances in this area too. They get their muscles mainly from Legumes and others vegan protein sources.
#44 Nate Diaz
The MMA fighter probably had his career highlight when he won against the Irishman Conor McGregor. He probably also owes this victory to his good stamina. He himself says that his plant-based lifestyle played a significant role in this victory.
#45 Andreas Kraniotakes
The Greek-German MMA fighter with the nickname Big Daddy is the current holder of the German MMA Championship heavyweight title. The vegan athlete has achieved his fighting weight of over 100 kilograms purely with plants.
#46 Mac Gdansk
Mac Danzig is another MMA fighter who only eats plants. He stopped consuming dairy products back in 1999. After switching to a vegan diet in 2004, he won twelve fights in a row.
#47 Dave Leduc
The Canadian Lethwei fighter also belongs to the ranks of vegan martial artists. Lethwei is one of the toughest martial arts in the world. For Dave, veganism is more than just nutrition, but a philosophy with the aim of causing as little suffering as possible.
#48 Mirko Buchwald
The karate black belt has been eating a purely vegetarian diet since birth. He switched to a vegan diet for the animals.
#49 Sebastian Utz
Boxer Sebastian Utz himself says that he was a real carnivore in the past. He now lives a vegan lifestyle and is glad that he has addressed his diet because he now feels better and is fitter.
#50 Ünsal Arik
Ünsal Arik is vegan out of conviction, because he says that the meat industry is no longer sustainable. The professional boxer doesn't do things by halves and has even written a book about vegan nutrition.
#51 Michael Wallisch
Heavyweight boxer Michael Wallisch also gets his punching power from plants. Like so many other vegan athletes in this article, he says it makes him feel better than ever.
#52 Mike Tyson
Boxing legend Mike Tyson now also eats a vegan diet. After putting on quite a bit of weight following the end of his career, he began eating a vegan diet in 2009. He then lost 50 kg in two years and got back into shape.
#53 David Haye
David Haye may have hung up his boxing gloves in the meantime, but his plant-based diet is still keeping him fit. During his career, he took the plunge into a vegan diet due to injury problems.
Are there any other, vegan athletes?
The list of vegan athletes is now being supplemented with athletes from a wide variety of fields, such as tennis, winter sports and volleyball. Here you can find more vegan Olympic champions, world record holders and extreme athletes.
#54 Novak Djokovic
World number 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic is a committed vegan. He was also one of the executive producers of the documentary The Game Changers in order to publicize the health, ecological and ethical benefits of a vegan diet.
#55 Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is a seven-time Formula 1 champion and one of the best-known vegan athletes in the world. The Formula 1 driver says that a vegan diet has changed his life. He now even has his own purely plant-based fast food chain called Neat Burger.
#56 Carl Lewis
Carl Lewis is one of the world's most successful vegan athletes in athletics. He has won eight world championship titles and nine Olympic gold medals. But that's not all: after switching to a vegan diet in the middle of his career in 1990, he broke the world record in the hundred meter dash at the World Championships in Tokyo just one year later.
#57 Venus Williams
After Venus Williams was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Sjögren's syndrome, she turned her diet upside down and cut out all animal products. The tennis player is so convinced of plant-based nutrition that she has even launched a vegan protein powder called Happy Viking.
#58 Serena Williams
Just like her sister, Serena Williams is an extremely successful tennis player. She eats a plant-based diet during the season and makes small exceptions from time to time during the off-season. She has now launched a fashion line with vegan leather because she wants to contribute to the planet.
#59 Seba Johnson
Seba Johnson is a professional skier. She skis slalom and alpine skiing and has already taken part in the Winter Olympics twice. The ski athlete has been vegan since birth.
#60 Hannah Teter
Another winter sportswoman is Hannah Teter. The snowboarder from the USA has already won a gold medal three times at the Olympics and has been a vegan athlete since 2010.
#61 Bode Miller
Bode Miller is also a vegan winter sports athlete. Even as a small child, he was fed a regional, organic and vegetarian diet and grew up to become one of the best downhill skiers with six Olympic medals.
#62 Murray Rose
The Australian swimmer Murray Rose is extraordinarily successful. The vegan athlete has won six Olympic medals and set records in the 400, 800 and 1,500 meter freestyle swims.
#63 Berit Kauffeldt
German international Berit Kauffeldt has found her passion in volleyball. In addition to her vegan diet, the vegan athlete also practices yoga and meditation.
#64 Max Betzien
Beach volleyball player Max Betzien owes his plant-based diet to faster recovery and fewer sick days. He is also happy that he can discover new things in the kitchen and develop his creativity.
#65 Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner comes from Upper Austria, which is probably what gave her her passion for mountaineering. She is one of the best high-altitude mountaineers in the world and has actually climbed all eight-thousanders without additional oxygen.
#66 Franz Preihs
Anyone who cycles across America once can confidently call themselves an extreme athlete. Franz Preihs has now taken part in the Race Across America several times. The cyclist says that for him, a vegan diet has nothing to do with sacrifice and is even suitable for his extreme exertions.
#67 Meagan Duhamel
Olympic figure skater Meagan Duhamel won the world championship title in 2015 and 2016 and also took home a gold medal at the 2018 Olympics. She has been eating a purely plant-based diet since 2008.
#68 Alexey Voyedova
The bobsledder and Olympic participant from Russia has already won a silver and a bronze medal at the Olympics. In addition to bobsledding, the vegan athlete is also active in arm wrestling.
Use this list of vegan athletes for inspiration!
I hope you enjoyed this inspiring list of vegan athletes. Please share it to show others that professional sport with a vegan diet is not an obstacle, but a great opportunity. If you are now interested in a plant-based diet, then take a look at our article on a wholesome vegan diet or use our Tips for vegan start.
As always, I welcome questions, criticism and suggestions about this article. If I have forgotten a vegan athlete, please leave me a comment!
All the best,