Vegan powerlifter wins Belgian championship

photo credit Sahyuri Lalime via Instagram

The Belgian female champion powerlifter, Sahyuri Lalime, has just taken home the Belgian national title for the fourth year in a row, and she is vegan. The plant-powered athlete won best overall female lifter, lifting a total of 412.5kgs: 152.5kg squat, 80kg bench, and 180kg deadlift, which shows that you don’t need to eat meat to be strong!

Lalime has been vegetarian for nearly 20 years, and vegan since 2015. She went vegetarian when she left home for college, based on not wanting to kill animals.  Having lost her mother as a child, she became very sensitive to death and didn’t want to be a part of causing others to experience the same trauma.  At college, she learned about how dairy cows were treated and realized that a vegan lifestyle was preferable.  Sahyuri explains that the transition took her a while:

“..for a long time, though I adopted a lot of vegan practices like purchasing cruelty-free cosmetics/clothing and maintained a mostly-vegan lifestyle at home, I allowed some flexibility (cheese, butter) when visiting or eating out with others. Eventually, my sense of guilt over the animals suffering in the dairy and egg industries trumped my other guilts and I went fully vegan. My conscience has since thanked me.” 

Now Sahy eats a lot of oats, bananas, peanut butter, blueberries, tofu, rice, broccoli, cucumber and kale. “I also eat lots of protein smoothies, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, black beans, tempeh, seitan, quinoa, bulgur and seasonal fruit and veggies. I keep frozen veggies on hand for quick meals. Right now, as it’s winter, I’m making a lot of lentil and split pea veggie soups!” 

This fuels a committed and demanding training schedule. Sahy trains bench press three times per week and squats/deadlifts two times per week.  While she may be unusual as a vegan, Sahy feels that her record speaks for itself.

“The mental strength that sustains my commitment to veganism has also helped me in forging the physical strength required to compete at the highest level in powerlifting. I’m extremely proud to be a vegan powerlifter. Everyday I am saving lives – and, hopefully, inspiring others to save lives, too..” she said.