At the 2017 Naturally Fit Games in Austin, TX, recently, athletes were challenged in various fitness events including kettlebell, powerlifting, bodybuilding, Olympic weightlifting, and CrossFit. Thirty nine of the thousand total participants were members of a special team of vegan bodybuilders. Coordinated by the nonprofit bodybuilding organization PlantBuilt, this team won 32 medals, 22 of which were for first place, and one member, Sara Lee, set both the world and American records for kettlebell.
Plantbuilt was formed with the goal of proving that animal product consumption is not necessary for building muscle. So far, more than 100 vegan athletes from countries around the world have competed with the PlantBuilt team and have raised $20,000 to support vegan outreach organizations, non-profits and farmed animal sanctuaries.
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.