Want to enhance your athletic performance? Look to your fork! There’s a reason so many athletes are going plant-based -- it’s been shown to enhance performance, strength, stamina, and endurance. Don’t just take our word for it. We’ve gathered some of the best secrets of six top plant-based athletes so you can gain the competitive edge.
Football fans will remember when the Tennessee Titans beat the New England Patriots in the first round of playoffs this year. But what you may not know is that the Titans have been on a plant-based diet for the past several seasons. And Titan players cite their vegan diet as the reason they were able to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
The Game Changers Documentary, directed by Oscar® -winning filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and Executive Producer, James Cameron, tells the story of James Wilks, an elite Special Forces trainer and winner of The Ultimate Fighter. Wilks traveled the world to uncover the optimal diet (the plant-based diet) for the highest human performance. Others in the documentary film include Novak Djokovic, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jackie Chan.
So what’s going on here? Why are so many athletes turning to plant-based diets to enhance performance? Because it works.
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Don't take our word for it. Keep reading to get the best dietary secrets from six of the top plant-based athletes.
Wimbledon tennis champion, Novak Djokovic, needed to up his stamina. During the Australian Open, Djokovic had to take several medical breaks due to physical exhaustion. He knew he needed to up his stamina and was willing to try anything, including:
It was when Dr. Igor Cetojevic, a nutritionist and compatriot of the tennis player, suggested that Djokovic might be allergic to wheat, that the tennis star decided to change his diet. Since then, he’s ditched dairy, sugar, and gluten. Now, he enjoys mainly vegetables, beans, and avoids animal protein and refined carbohydrates.
Djokovic went on to win the Wimbledon 2019 finals, after a grueling four-hour match, along with his other 16 Grand-Slam championships. Djokovic credits his plant-based diet for his boost in stamina.
Kentucky-based powerlifter, Alison Crowdus, was in the cheerleading arena for 13 years. Now she is the number one female powerlifter in the US. Her personal best lift was her squat at the 2017 Arnold XPC when she lifted 480 pounds!
It wasn’t until Crowdus began a weight loss journey that she turned to a vegan diet. She read Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet, and was turned onto the idea that eating clean would increase her strength, stamina, and smooth-out recovery time. Today, she eats tofu as her main protein, along with brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. Oh, and she loads up on veggies, big time.
In today’s animal protein obsessed world it may be surprising to hear that Armenian-German strongman, Patrik Baboumian, eats a plant-based diet. But eating plants has fueled his numerous powerlifting records in log lift, front hold, and beer keg lifting competitions.
Just how strong is this plant-based athlete? In 2013 Baboumian won the world record for the "yoke walk" by carrying 1,212.54 pounds for 10 meters. In 2015, he broke his record by walking with 1234.59 pounds for a distance of 10 meters!
Why plants? Baboumian said:
"I always had that desire of being strong and being able to protect myself, being able to protect others."
The weight-lifter was a vegetarian when he was named Germany's Strongest Man. Later he transitioned to a vegan diet -- and shares that he is stronger than ever. Not only did he enhance his recovery time, he improved his blood pressure, too!
Two-time World Champion Figure Skater Meagan Duhamel is also an Olympic Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medalist. She has won the Canadian National Championship in pairs skating seven times with her skating partner Eric Radford.
And yes, Duhamel is vegan. She is also a Holistic Nutrition expert who received her degree from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Now she’s finishing up her Sports and Fitness Nutrition Certification from Alive Academy.
Duhamel says that in the figure skating world, it's all about the way you look. Skaters become hung up on the number of calories they consume daily. She warns that athletes who do not consume the correct amount and type of nutrients each day will weaken their immune system over time. To keep her immune system strong, Meagan eats loads of oats, chia seeds, fruits, veggies, and quinoa. She’s also a bit of a vegan cookie aficionado, turning favorite cookie recipes into vegan ones in her down time.
Known as the "Hayemaker," David Haye is a former unified Cruiserweight World Champion and WBA Heavyweight Champion. Many consider him one of Britain's most successful champions of the modern era of boxing. Haye is one of only two boxers in history to have unified cruiserweight world titles and to become a world heavyweight champion.
And he eats plants.
This world-class boxer says that going vegan made him stronger than ever. This enormous man "had his shoulder shredded" by an opponent, causing him to take three years off of the boxing circuit. While he was rehabilitating, he decided to cut animal products from his diet.
"A lot of the meat that people eat has been genetically modified, or if it hasn't then the food the animal's been fed has been. That's tough for a human being to process, so cutting it out made me feel immediately better and stronger than ever. Not only my weight, either – I used to get eczema but don't anymore; used to get dandruff, now I don't. Everyone should try it for one or two days a week."
Now that Haye has become a vegan, he says he can probably keep boxing for 3 or 4 more years -- and if Haye says it, he usually does it.
This lady has completed over 250 ultra marathons. Eighty 100-mile races, and currently holds a two-time title for the John Muir 424 mile trail race. She's also one of four individuals who have run 100-mile races, 100 times.
And she fuels all these miles with her plant-based diet.
Why plant-based? Corbett says she battled alcohol and drug addiction and turned it all around when she became a vegan.
Corbett’s advice for staying at the top of your game? Move your body, eat plants, and build positive relationships.
In addition to running every single day, Corbett likes to bring color into her life: she wears colorful clothes, colorful jewelry, has colorful tattoos, and rainbow hair.
For Corbett, low-carb vegan and raw foods have worked best to increase her stamina and help with recovery time. She uses cross-training and lifting weights to keep her muscles healthy.
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