Myth: a plant-based diet lacks the protein to build large muscles.
And to that, I would add that most people also think it contains too many carbs for a person to get lean – a common misconception due to a lack of proper knowledge. Carbs are our body’s primary fuel source. Our brain runs exclusively on carbohydrate. When our bodies lack sufficient carbohydrate our bodies deaminate, or in other words, our bodies remove the amino group so that it can use the protein as an energy source, rather than as protein. This is not a desirable scenario. We want the proteins we consume to be used for tissue repair and our overall metabolic needs, not to run our brain.
These 12 sexy, lean, and strong bodybuilders prove both theories wrong!
Their strength is undeniable, and their muscles are unreal, but the sexiest thing about them is their compassionate hearts!
‘I LOVE seeing the shock and surprise on peoples’ faces when they find out I’m vegan. I hope my perfectly-sculpted ass cheeks and compassionate nature will always inspire others to eliminate meat and dairy from their diets. I also love having a goal and going after it.’
‘Being vegan causes me to push myself harder because I am not doing this only for myself. I am training for the purpose to end suffering of animals. I train for a bigger purpose. I recover faster and have lots of energy from my clean nutrition.’
Purple Japanese sweet potato and asparagus.
‘ Also MUSTARD LOTS OF MUSTARD. Lentils, broccoli, sprouted organic tofu, fruit, WATER…I do not eat hardly any processed products…did I say mustard?’
5. Ryan Nelson
‘It didn’t take much more than a couple documentaries and the ole’ lady switching to a vegan diet to persuade me to take the plunge. I like to say the day after Thanksgiving 2012 I went cold turkey vegan haha. Looking back on it now it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life!’
‘100% of the time I am a gluten free vegan. I will eat basmati rice occasionally, but other than that I am a gluten free, grain free, vegan. In most cases I buy local and organic. Some of my favorite foods include sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, lentils, split peas, squash, buckwheat, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, avocados, strawberries, raspberries, apples, bananas, kale, spinach, sprouts & red pepper.’
‘I became vegan because beautiful, intelligent animals have a value far greater than just my next meal. They feel pain and grief just as we do and I can no longer contribute to their suffering.’
Tempeh, Bok Choy, and Edamame!
“I keep it very simple; oatmeal with protein powder, tempeh and vegetables throughout the day, maybe almond butter on brown rice cakes for dessert. And I drink a LOT of water.”
7. Will Tucker
‘It happened in phases for me. In 1991 I stopped eating pork, in 2000 I stopped eating red meat, in 2006 I gave up all meat after watching a National Geographic episode about animals being born, then finally 2 years ago I gave up eggs and cheese and been plant-based ever since.’
Smoothie with mangoes, raspberries, strawberries, with orange and pineapple juices
He also consumes loads of lentils and brown rice
8. Jillian Salomone
‘I want to show that animals do not need to be harmed in the making of muscles. I’m motivated by the fact that I am training for something bigger than myself!
Oatmeal mixed with protein powder and topped with berries for breakfast!
Another favorite is my cocoa, pb2 “pudding” for my night time snack…so GOOD!
9. Chad Byers
‘I became vegan after reading the China Study and becoming aware of the health benefits of eating a whole food plant-based diet as well as the correlations between cancer and eating animal products.
I am driven by my desire to promote a cruelty free, environmentally friendly and healthy alternative to the Standard American Diet and to show that it is possible to be healthy and fit following a plant-based diet.’
‘ The majority of my foods are raw fruits and vegetables, although I do eat some beans, quinoa and nuts/seeds. In addition, everyday I drink at least 32 oz of fresh green juice. My overall macronutrient breakdown is 75-80% carbohydrates, 10-12% protein and 10% fat.’
10. Mindy Collette
‘Equality. I dream of the day where all lives are treated equal–men not more favored than women, and dogs (pets) not favored above monkeys (test animals). I am in competition prep this year with no selfish gain in mind, but purely dedicated to share with others what a vegan diet can do for the animals, the environment, & for their bodies.’
Veggie Beast Burger with sautéed kale
11&12 Couple Dani Taylor and Giacomo Marchese’
“We met on VeganBodybuilding.com, NOT looking for relationships at all! We just both liked lifting and were vegan! When Robert Cheeke decided to host a big vegan bodybuilding meetup, we decided to fly out together, because Dani was too nervous to fly alone. We hit it off by making fun of each other. Yes, I would say veganism definitely brought us together.”
Dani’s favorite meal:
Seitan with roasted potatoes and green beans
Giacomo’s favorite meal:
Tofu, broccoli, and yams
“We are vegan cheese snobs. Give us all the vegan cheese!”
“We love to go to Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge and get big veggie burgers with onion rings on them and then ice cream or lemon meringue pie for dessert.”
Every single one of these amazing bodybuilders reports improvement in strength, endurance and recovery time after going vegan!
Dea is passionate about pursuing gentle, pure living in all its forms. She’s a veg and fruit foodie, who loves to explore the healing properties of plant-based foods and then fully indulge in their sun-filled taste. She believes that “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”