Looking for athletes who eat a purely plant-based diet? In the meantime, there is 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 available on vegan fitness, vegetable muscle building and, accordingly, many vegan athletes.
This List of vegan athletes should inspire you and show you what all is possible with plant-based nutrition.
Here's another quick 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 are really countless vegan athletes in the Bodybuilding, weightlifting and power sports. Some of them have been vegan since birth, others found their way to a plant-based lifestyle only later. For some, the health benefits of a vegan diet outweigh the risks, while for others it's all about an ethical lifestyle. What unites them all is that they are driven by plant power to achieve peak performance.
#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 thus 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 health issues, he began eating a plant-based diet. Just one year later, Barny du Plessis was fit enough to return to the stage, winning the title as a 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 thus stands up for the animals.
#4 Paul Unterleitner
Paul Unterleitner is also an IFBB professional and eats a vegan diet. The natural bodybuilder is sometimes compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
#5 Jehina Malik
The professional bodybuilder started intensive muscle training at the age of 19. Since Jehina Malik has been eating a vegan diet since birth, she has built up all her muscles on 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 be more body-aware, spiritual, feminine, self-loving and plant-based.
#7 Kendrick Farris
The US weightlifter has been eating a vegan diet since 2014. Two years later, he broke the then world record in his weight class at the Olympic qualifier, lifting a total of 377 kg. He lifted 168 kg in the so-called snatch and 209 kg in the deadlift and 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 professional 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 eating vegetarian for over 12 years and vegan for more than two.
#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 is excited by the feeling of strength and simultaneous control necessary 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 begins to eat a plant-based diet.
Which athletes are vegan in professional running?
In endurance sports, you can also find a whole list of vegan athletes. Marathon, ultramarathon, triathlon or even the Iron Man, everywhere you can find Runner with plant-based diet.
#14 Scott Jurek
The ultramarathon runner is a legend in running. He won all kinds of titles in ultramarathon up to the 246 km Spartathlon. According to the vegan athlete, his endurance and fast recovery are based on his purely plant-based lifestyle.
#14 Brendan Brazier
Canadian triathlete Brendan Brazier is a big proponent of vegan nutrition. That's why, among other things, 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 the entire human organism becomes more natural through plant-based eating and that he has more energy available since the change.
#16 Hauke King
Vegan ultramarathon runner Hauke König once set himself a very special goal. He wanted to run once from south to north through Germany. He started in the south in Berchtesgaden and ended after 27 days in Sylt.
#17 Ursula Visconti
The Austrian marathon runner and triathlete is now a six-time Iron Man participant and attaches great importance to a practical, vegan diet. The vegan athlete mainly uses soy products for her protein supply.
#18 Dave Scott
The former triathlete and six-time Iron Man winner ate a predominantly vegan and exclusively vegetarian diet during his active time. After his career ended, however, Dave Scott increasingly integrated animal products into his diet again.
Are there also vegan athletes in soccer?
In the meantime, it is also known in soccer that a plant-based diet promotes endurance and regeneration. For example, during the 2014 World Cup, the German Football Association provided all national players with plant milk instead of cow's milk, and there was very little meat. The decisive winning goal was scored by Mario Götze in extra time in the final match against Argentina. That's why Götze is also at the start of the List of vegan athletes in soccer.
#19 Mario Goetze
The German national player and then winning goal scorer eats almost exclusively vegan. Only when he goes out to eat does he sometimes make exceptions and eats meat from time to time.
#20 Sergio Agüero
The Argentine international faced Mario Götze in the 2014 World Cup final and went home second. Back then, he didn't eat a plant-based diet, but he's now injured less often and enjoys the faster recovery of a vegan lifestyle.
#21 Hector Bellerin
The next vegan soccer player comes from Spain and is called Hector Bellerin. The nimble defender relies on a plant-based diet primarily 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 U.S. She did not yet follow a vegan diet when she won her first World Cup, but since 2018 her diet has consisted exclusively of plants.
#23 Jermain Defoe
When it comes to vegan athletes, Jermain Defoe can't be left out. The former England international is still on the field at almost forty years old. He also attributes his ongoing good performance to his diet.
#24 Chris Smalling
Chris Smalling was inspired to adopt a vegan diet by his wife Sam Cooke. In the meantime, the English defender also inspires his teammates again and again to engage with plant-based food.
#25 Fabian Delph
Midfielder Fabian Delph used to be quite injury-prone. In the meantime, this has improved greatly 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. 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
Lionel Messi does not eat a completely vegan diet, but he consciously integrates a high proportion of plants into his diet. The former Argentine international used to struggle with weight problems from time to time. Since the change in diet, this is no longer a problem for him.
#28 Simon Zoller
The German striker has been eating a vegan diet for several years now as he becomes more and more successful. In the kitchen, however, the goal scorer only goes plant hunting.
#29 Nils Seufert
Another vegan soccer player who was led to a vegan diet by injury problems. The numerous benefits of plant-based foods are causing more and more vegan athletes to make the switch.
#30 Mitchell Weiser
And winger Mitchel Weiser also used to struggle with injuries and feels more active, fitter and more resistant to muscle problems since changing his diet. Meanwhile, he is 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 second at the time, this does not detract from his career.
#32 Andreas Luthe
The goalkeeper first cut dairy products from his diet to reduce his susceptibility to injury, and since cutting out all animal products, he feels better than before. He is one of an increasing number of vegan athletes in the German soccer league.
#33 Diego Demme
Midfielder Diego Demme consciously pays attention to a wholefood diet and even pulls himself Sprouts or squeezes fresh juices. He also regenerates faster and is pleased that his muscles become less over-acidified.
#34 Marco Sailer
Ethical aspects are also an important aspect of Marco Sailer's diet. Since he started eating a plant-based diet, he has a better attitude to life. To optimize his performance, he regularly consumes vegan protein powder.
#35 Tobias Levels
The former professional soccer player is so convinced of vegan nutrition that he is now even active in the food industry. He founded a startup that produces vegan and sugar-free foods and pays attention to ecological production.
#36 Timo Hildebrandt
Another vegan soccer player who became active in the food sector after his career ended is ex-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 a higher level of 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 tried vegan diet and is therefore on the list of vegan athletes.
#37 Kyrie Irving
U.S. basketball player Kyrie Irving is sure that his diet makes him a better basketball player. The vegan is also active for Team USA, the USA national basketball team.
#38 Chris Paul
NBA pro Chris Paul has been eating a vegan diet since 2019. Since then, he is especially happy about less muscle soreness after training.
#39 Deandre Jordan
Because he wanted to protect the environment and live sustainably, Deandre Jordan switched to a plant-based diet overnight. Now 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, inflammation and better gut health. In addition, Chandler also deals with meditation and spirituality.
#41 Dirk Nowitzki
Probably the most successful German basketball player, Dirk Nowitzki switched to a plant-based diet after his career ended. For twenty years Dirkules was active for the Dallas Mavericks, after which he wanted to try out what it was like to go a month without meat. One reason for him was factory farming.
#42 Diana Taurasi
Diana is active in the WNBA and has been following a vegan diet since 2015. The professional basketball player has also been active for the USA at the Olympics.
#43 Cleanthony Early
In 2017, Cleanthony Early decided to go vegan with his diet. 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 capable after the bodybuilders, footballers and basketball players, let's now take a look at martial arts. Because in this field, too, there is a whole list of vegan athletes who achieve top performances. 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 Irishman Conor McGregor. He probably owes this victory also to his good endurance. 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 title holder of the German MMA Championship in the heavyweight division. The vegan athlete has earned his over 100 kilograms fighting weight purely with plants.
#46 Mac Gdansk
Mac Danzig is another MMA fighter who eats only plants. He stopped consuming dairy products back in 1999. After switching to 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 goal of creating as little suffering as possible.
#48 Mirko Buchwald
The black belt in karate has been eating a pure vegetarian diet since birth. He made the switch to a vegan diet for the animals.
#49 Sebastian Utz
The boxer Sebastian Utz says himself that he was a real carnivore in the past. In the meantime, he lives vegan and is glad that he has addressed his diet because he now feels better and is fitter.
#50 Ünsal Arik
Ünsal Arik is vegan by conviction, because he says that the meat industry is no longer sustainable. The professional boxer does not do things by halves and so it happened that he even wrote 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 post, he says it makes him feel better than ever.
#52 Mike Tyson
Boxing legend Mike Tyson now also eats a vegan diet. After gaining quite a bit of weight after his career ended, he started eating a vegan diet in 2009. As a result, he 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 continues to keep him fit. Already during his career, he dared to take the step to a vegan diet due to injury problems.
Are there any other, vegan athletes?
The list of vegan athletes is now completed with athletes from various fields, such as tennis, winter sports or volleyball. Here you can find more vegan Olympic champions, world record holders and extreme athletes.
#54 Novak Djokovic
World No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic is a committed vegan. He was also one of the executive producers of the documentary The Game Changers, thus bringing the health, environmental and ethical benefits of a vegan diet to the public.
#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 vegan nutrition 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 track and field. 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 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 every now and then during the season break. Meanwhile, she has launched a fashion line with vegan leather because she wants to contribute something to the planet.
#59 Seba Johnson
Seba Johnson is a professional skier. She skis slalom and alpine skiing and has already participated twice in the Winter Olympics. The ski athlete has lived 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 part of the ranks of vegan athletes since 2010.
#61 Bode Miller
Bode Miller is also one of the vegan winter athletes. He was fed a regional, organic and vegetarian diet as a young child and grew up to become one of the best downhill skiers with six Olympic medals.
#62 Murray Rose
Australian swimmer Murray Rose has been extraordinarily successful. The vegan athlete has won a whopping six Olympic medals, as well as records in the 400, 800 and 1,500 meter freestyle swims.
#63 Berit Kauffeldt
German national player 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 faster recovery and fewer sick days to his plant-based diet. What's more, he's happy to discover new things in the kitchen and boost his creativity.
#65 Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner is from Upper Austria, which probably 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 carrying supplemental oxygen.
#66 Franz Preihs
Anyone who cycles once across America can confidently call himself an extreme athlete. Franz Preihs has now taken part in the Race Across America several times. The cyclist says that for him vegan nutrition has nothing to do with renunciation and is suitable even for his extreme loads.
#67 Meagan Duhamel
Olympic figure skater Meagan Duhamel won the world title in 2015 and 2016, and she also brought 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. Feel free to share it to show others that professional sports with a vegan diet is not an obstacle, but a great opportunity. If you now have a desire for the plant-based diet, then take a look at our post on wholefood vegan diet or use our Tips for vegan start.
As always, I welcome questions, criticism and suggestions about this article. If I should have forgotten a vegan athlete, then leave me for it gladly a comment!
All the best,
P.S.: For more inspiration, check out our articles on Salutogenesis or vegan diet without substitute products.