It’s a common misconception that while a plant-based diet may be perfectly healthy for so-called “regular” people, it just doesn't contain enough nutrients to support the demand of an athlete’s body, to keep them in top condition. The reality is, there are many professional, successful athletes that are vegetarian or vegan. Here are a few notable names:
1. Martina Navratilova (Tennis)
Czech-born Martina Navratilova is no doubt one of the greatest tennis players of our time. During her career she won and incredible 18 singles titles and 31 doubles titles. This record still stands. Although reports indicate she may have added fish to her diet, she still racked up an impressive athletic history while on a plant-based diet.
2. Dave Scott (Triathlete)
Still don’t think you can be a successful athlete on a plant-based diet? Dave Scott is tied for the most Ironman World Championship victories. The gruelling Ironman competition includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26-mile marathon run. Scott has won six championships while eating a balanced plant-based diet.
3. Carl Lewis (Runner)
Track star Carl Lewis adopted a plant-based diet in preparation for the World Championships in 1991. After a successful performance, Carl went on to become ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year and won nine Olympic gold medals. He says that his first year as a vegan saw his most successful track performance of his career.
4. Ricky Williams (Football)
Retired NFL, CFL, and college football running back Ricky Williams is proof positive as to how a plant-based diet can benefit athletes. Once a whopping 250 pounds, Ricky has slimmed down to a lean, mean 200 pounds thanks to his change in eating habits.
5. Venus Williams (Tennis)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know of the famous Williams sisters – one of which converted to a plant-based diet to deal with symptoms associated with an autoimmune disease. According to Venus, her raw vegan diet helps to combat fatigue and muscle pain. Since changing her diet in 2011, Venus has won a series of major tournaments, including two gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics.
6. Mac Danzig (Mixed Martial Arts)
Since 2004, UFC’s Mac Danzig has embraced a plant-based diet, and this fighter has proven that you don’t need meat to be tough. As the season six winner of The Ultimate Fighter, Mac has proven that you can be a successful athlete, without the meat. With the ongoing success of some big-time athletes, it’s no doubt that ditching meat is a viable alternative for anyone looking to maximize their health while maintaining their competitive edge.
22 Days Vegan Challenge
See what a plant-based diet can do you for your body! With the 22 Days Vegan Challenge Kit, we’ll lead you on a healthy, plant-based diet for 22 days. Take the 22 Days Vegan Challenge now Photos via Wikipedia