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Peak Fitness Athletes Who are Winning Big Time on a Vegan Diet

Dr. Nick Delgado

Dr. Nick Delgado

Helping people with their journey to health, happiness and their goals in career, relationships and longevity.

For some reason, people equate carnivorism with strength and virility. They think you need to eat meat and drink whey protein and egg shakes to build muscle and attain peak fitness. This is a crazy myth that needs to be busted. Think about it – many of the strongest, most powerful animals including elephants, horses, oxen, and gorillas are herbivores. I myself won two World Strength Endurance records in weights curled and lifted above the head while competing against athletes half my age and twice my size on a plant-based diet. And more and more record-breaking elite athletes are turning towards veganism.

Still not convinced? Below is a list of 7 remarkable and incredibly successful athletes who are thriving on a plant-based diet.

Venus Williams 

Venus is an American tennis player with an estimated net worth of 95 million dollars. She has 4 Olympic gold medals and has won 14 Grand Slam women’s titles and 7 Grand Slam singles titles. Venus turned to a vegan diet in 2011 when she was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome and doctors told her it would help relieve her extreme fatigue and joint pain. 

In an interview with Health magazine, Venus spoke on her raw vegan diet, stating: “Once I started, I fell in love with the concept of fueling your body in the best way possible. Not only does it help me on the court, but I feel like I’m doing the right thing for me.”

David Haye

Haye is a British boxer with a net worth of $26 million dollars. He holds world titles in two weight categories and in 2008, he won three out of the four major boxing world titles at cruiserweight. After a serious shoulder injury, Haye took a break from the ring to have surgery. In that time, he researched the benefits of plant-based eating and transitioned to it, to help him heal and recover faster. 

In 2017, Haye spoke to The Sun about the effects of plant-based eating on muscle and strength, saying: “[Apes are] 20 times stronger than humans and they don’t rely on a meat-based diet. They eat plants all day long. It’s a myth that you need meat for strength.” 

Tony Gonzalez

Gonzalez has a net worth of 20 million and is arguably the most famous vegan football player ever. He has played 17 seasons in the National Football League. He is a 14-time Pro Bowl selection and he holds the NFL record for total receiving yards (15,127). He also is third all-time in receptions with 1,325. 

Gonzalez turned to a plant-based diet after noticing the difference between plates on a flight with a businessman named David Pulaski. Gonzalez inquired into Pulaski’s dietary choices and Pulaski directed Gonzalez to read “The China Study.” The eye-opening book apparently sealed the deal for him. 

Scott Jurek 

Jurek is an American ultramarathon runner with an estimated net worth of 10 million. Jurek has won 16 prestigious ultramarathon titles and is noted for running 165.7 miles over a 24-hour period. He also ran the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in a record-setting 46 days, eight hours and seven minutes. 

Jurek transitioned to a vegan diet while attending a physical therapy school. He says the health defects and illnesses he saw there, as well as in his own family (Jurek’s mother has MS), is what motivated him to turn vegan. In GQ he said that veganism is his long-term solution to avoiding his family history of chronic disease. He also credited his diet for his career success and longevity, his quick recovery time and his lack of injuries. 

Jermain Defoe 

Defoe is an English professional footballer with a net worth of 20 million dollars. He is the 7th best goalscorer in Premier League history and has scored 162 goals to date. In 2017, Defoe reported to Men’s Health that he credited his comeback earlier that year to his vegan diet and that veganism is part of his plan for keeping in peak condition.

In reference to his transition away from meat and dairy, Defoe said: “I don’t find anything hard to give up, as such, because I know the feeling scoring goals gives me.” As for how a vegan diet makes him feel, he says: “In terms of fitness and fatigue towards the end of games, I still feel good.” 

Barny du Plessis

Barny du Plessis is a widely successful vegan bodybuilder with a net worth of 26 million. Du Plessis became a vegan in 2013 in response to hernias, acid reflux, and other health concerns. Du Plessis experienced a radical improvement in health and fitness when he switched to plant-based eating and won Mr. Universe shortly thereafter.

Du Plessis reported to the Metro: “These days I train half as much, do half as much but get better results. Why? Only one answer, going vegan, GMO-free, and organic. My body is running perfectly.” Du Plessis also eats vegan for humanitarian reasons, stating: “My crusade is to show the world that we can live a healthy, happy, and prosperous life without exploitation of innocent creatures.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger 

Last but certainly not least is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger is one of the most popular bodybuilders of all time; with an estimated net worth of $400 million dollars. He won the Mr. Universe title at age 20 and has won the Mr. Olympia contest seven times. His career has been so notable that one of the most important professional bodybuilding events has been titled ‘The Arnold Sports Festival,’ in his honor. 

Arnold transitioned to a plant-based diet a few years ago upon the recommendations of his doctors. He reports that he now prefers a plant food diet and he feels fantastic on it! With regard to the myth that you need meat to build strength, he says: “If they tell you to eat more meat to be strong, don’t buy it.” 

Schwarzenegger’s motives for plant-based eating extend beyond his own health; he advocates it for the health of the planet. Recently at the Paris Climate Change talks, Schwarzenegger told the audience to help fight climate change they should “stop eating meat altogether or at the very least stop for one or two days a week.” He went on to explain “28 percent of the greenhouse gasses come from eating meat and from raising cattle, so we can do a much better job.”


Switching to a plant-based diet will not only help you achieve peak fitness, it’s also a proven way to enhance athletic performance, increase energy, reduce recovery time, slow aging, reduce risk for chronic disease, clear acne, and turbocharge your libido and sexual performance. Considering all the remarkable benefits it almost seems absurd not to make the switch! 

If you are highly active in sports or fitness and concerned about meeting your protein goals, consume a scoop of Slim Blend Pro before your workouts. This amazing 5-in-1 organic, vegan meal replacement can greatly enhance your endurance and recovery time. It contains not only 10 grams of bioavailable protein but also fiber, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, super greens, and probiotics – to turbocharge your energy and workouts.

*This blog was inspired by an article that was posted in Business Insider, titled: These 14 athletes are vegan — here’s what made them switch their diet

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