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If you are a vegetarian or vegan who likes to workout, chances are you’ve had to battle stereotypes from the protein worshipping bodybuilding community. No matter how many articles, scientific studies, and books that you bring up, some gym rats just refuse to believe that you can get “plant-strong” as vegetarians call it.
One of the major myths that gets perpetuated about vegetarians and vegans is that they don’t get enough protein to promote healthy muscle growth. This is not true. There are many successful elite athletes who have been able to win titles and competitions on a plant-based diet. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out these 5 famous vegetarian bodybuilders to see for yourself.
Simmonds won the 2009 Natural Mr Universe title after only a few years of bodybuilding but over 10 years as a vegetarian. Australian-born Simmonds is also a top 5 powerlifter in Australia via the International Powerlifting Federation for 230lb weight class in 2011. Simmonds’ typical diet includes green juices, vegetables and rice, salads, and cajun spiced tofu.
Pearl is an internationally recognized bodybuilder that became a vegetarian at age 39. He has won numerous titles and awards including the Arnold Schwarzenegger Lifetime Achievement Award, the Gold’s Gym Hall of Fame, and Mr. Universe. Pearl has famously stated, “I’m more healthy, I can train with more energy … I have now been vegetarian for almost 20 years. We have no fish, fowl, or red meat in our diet. Yet I can still carry the same amount of muscle as I did in winning my four Mr. Universe titles. … Take it from me, there’s nothing magic about eating meat that’s going to make you a champion bodybuilder. Anything you can find in a piece of meat, you can find in other foods as well.” Read more about him on his website.
Cheeke is a vegan activist, motivational speaker, and activist in addition to his bodybuilding career. Cheeke won the INBA Northwestern USA Natural Bodybuilding Overall Novice Championship and placed in the Natural Bodybuilding World Championships and the Northwestern USA Natural Bodybuilding Championships. Cheeke started his athletic career as a cross country runner at Oregon State University. Cheeke speaks and writes regularly about vegan supplements and nutrition.
Andreas is a swedish-born vegetarian bodybuilder who won numerous international titles from the late 1960′s – 90′s including IFBB Professional Mr. International and Mr. Venice Beach. Cahling includes fresh salads, vegetable juices, and nuts, but his go to energy food is grilled cheese sandwiches: “One of the staples of my diet is grilled cheese sandwiches. I take one slice of heavy, whole grain bread and slap on a thick slab of raw goat cheese. Then I lightly toast this in the oven to melt the cheese into the bread. I might eat four or five of these open-faced sandwiches per day.”
Amanda is an American vegan bodybuilder from Illinois. Amanda has placed at the NGA Windy City Classic and the Natural North America Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships. Amanda trained as a boxer from a young age and has also competed in judo, muay thai and has trained in jiu jitsu. She typically works out 6 days a week twice a day. When asked about her diet, Amanda says, “I eat every 3 hours and consume at least 25 grams of protein every meal, 6 meals a day. At each meal I incorporate a raw green vegetable and twice a day I eat berries or an apple. I also drink at least 1 gallon of water a day. Homemade seitan is my preference for protein, it has roughly 130 calories, fat and sodium free and 27 grams of protein. I also really enjoy Vega brand protein shakes post workout.”
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