A team of 28 vegan athletes just participated in this year’s Mr America competition in Atlantic City, NJ, to show the world that vegans can be just as strong, muscular and fit at meat-eaters, if not better.
The Mr America contest includes 4 different challenges for both men and for women:
Bodybuilding, where the judges score each athlete based on muscular development, proportion, conditioning, posing and general appearance,
Olympic weightlifting, where the athlete lifts a 400-600 pound barbell from the floor to an overhead position,
Kettlebell sport, where athletes have to repeat a certain movement with a designated weight in a certain amount of time.
Crossfit, which is designed to test the athlete’s level of physical fitness, measuring strength, speed, agility and overall fitness.
Bodybuilder Karl Bruder went vegan in March 2016. By July 2016, he was on a winning streak, destroying the competition at the WABBA Grand Prix by taking first place in his category of Tall Men up to 180cm. He has also placed sixth at Mr Universe and fourth at PCA Physical Culture.
As a competitive bodybuilder, Karl does have to travel, but this isn’t an issue, it just takes some preparation. “I always make sure I have my own food whilst travelling and that I have access to vegan food where ever I go” he explains. This means he never has to compromise. At home, he manages to cook up interesting food. “I love to cook and experiment with all sorts of plant-based foods and create amazing meals” he says. “I eat a lot of lentils, nuts, beans of all different types and your basic carbohydrates too.” This fuels his training which includes the gym on six days per week. He also looks after his rescue horses which involves physical work, and plenty of walking.
He’s proud of how much he has achieved on a vegan diet:
“I have put on 6kg since I have been vegan in 20 months. I never achieved this amount of muscle prior to being vegan in 6 years in competitive bodybuilding. So when someone says you built most of your muscle on animal based products, I tell them I have made a lot more progress and faster on a plant-based diet. I have never been in such good shape and conditioned all year round as I am now. So the fact is, being vegan has massive benefits to my sport and my health.”
World champion bodybuilder Barny Du Plessis says he’s a “100 percent whole-hearted vegan.”
After attaining the Mr. Universe title in 2014 and joining the ranks of bodybuilding greats such as Bill Pearl (vegan) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (recently gone vegan), Barny Du Plessis decided his next goal would be to “fight for a greater good,” which led him to switch to a vegan diet.
In his first interview since going vegan, the bodybuilder says veganism is in tune with his ethics. Since going vegan, the athlete exclaims that he’s “stuffed” with high-protein foods such as lentils, grains, and beans. Now a vocal advocate of veganism, Du Plessis says he “doesn’t care if people think he’s trying to convert them.” He says our planet is “being ravaged from all directions.”
Similar to professional NFL player David Carter (aka, The 300 Pound Vegan), Du Plessis is training to prove to the world that extreme athletes can thrive on a vegan diet. Others are doing the same. For instance, strongman Patrik Baboumian carried a yoke loaded with just over 550 kilograms (1212.54 pounds)10 meters (32.8 feet), the heaviest load ever carried — equivalent to a large horse-breaking the world record.
Is Arnold Schwarzenegger really going vegan? It looks like he is!
The action star, body builder, and former California governor has been dairy-free for at least 40 years, but lately, he’s been hearing from his doctors to lay off meat consumption for his health. Arnold says, “The more I went to my physical exams, the more doctors started stressing: “Arnold, you’ve got to get off meat,” so I’m slowly getting off meat, and I can tell you, I feel fantastic!” The former bodybuilder says he’s found that the best way to cut down is to have a couple of meat-free days a week and proceed from there.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger tells people they should eat less meat, you can imagine the reaction he gets, but he pushes back on that: “I have seen many body builders that are vegetarian and they get strong and healthy. Luckily, we know that you can get your protein source from many different ways – you can get it through vegetables if you are a vegetarian.” Take it from Arnold: “If they tell you to eat more meat to be strong—don’t buy it.”
Well known for his concern about environmental issues, especially global warming, Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron have teamed up, not for another installment of the Terminator series, but to combat climate change and highlight the ill effects of meat and dairy consumption on health. Schwarzenegger sums up his feelings on the subject when he says, “Less meat, less heat, more life.” Let’s hope that message reaches as many people as his movies did.