8 Extreme Vegan Athletes Who Gave Up Meat and Diary to Boost Their Game

– How giving up meat and dairy improved their performance

Proving that you don’t need to consume animal protein to be a good athlete, some of the super-athletes gave up meat and still kicked the pants off of their competition. Here are 8 of such extreme vegan athletes.

1. Carl Lewis – Track and Field

Carl Lewis – Track and Field

Winner of 10 Olympic medals (9 gold) as an American track and field athlete, Carl Lewis has been in the sports limelight since 1979. He won the greatest recognition as a top sprinter in the 100 m, 200 m, and long jump events, and has set the world record in indoor long jump (which still stands).

And he has achieved several lifetime awards, including Athlete of the Year I 1982, 1983, and 1984 from Track and Field News, Olympian of the Century by Sports Illustrated, and Sportsman of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. Lewis has been a vegan since 1991.

2. Scott Jurek – Ultra-marathoner

 Scott Jurek – Ultra-marathoner

Scott Jurek is an American ultra-marathoner with many athletic accomplishments under his belt. For instance, he won the Spartathlon in 2008 (for the third consecutive year), the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run in 2008, and finished the Miwok 100K Trail race in first place three times between 2002 and 2004.

Jurek became a vegan in 1999 and advocates it was a major factor in his athletic success.

3. Ricky Williams – NFL Player

Ricky Williams – NFL Player

Ricky Williams, Jr. is an American football (NFL) running back, currently playing for the Miami Dolphins. He has set several records in the NFL, most recently the longest span between 1,000-yard seasons at 6 years. In addition to being an avid practitioner of yoga, Williams is also a staunch vegan and a supporter of the animal rights group, PETA.

4. Mac Danzig – Boxer

Mac Danzig – Boxer

Known as the King of the Cage, Mac Danzig is a World Champion and a passionate advocate for the humane treatment of animals. As a result, he is a committed vegan, claiming that the diet has enabled him to make the 155-pound weight class easier than it would have been otherwise.

He believes he is leaner and has more energy than ever, naming his favourite foods as Soy Delicious ice cream and vegan chocolate chip cookies.

5. Pat Neshek – Baseball Player

Pat Neshek – Baseball Player

A pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, Pat Neshek has been called unorthodox, but highly successful. He started to cut meat out of his diet in 2008 and has been feeling great ever since. He talks about howeasy and inexpensive it can be if you know what you’re doing, and has talked a lot about being able to eat as flavourfully as he ever has.

6. Bill Pearl – Bodybuilder

Bill Pearl – Bodybuilder

One of the most famous Mr. Universe winners of all time (winning it four times in an 18 year span), Bill Pearl is an American bodybuilder and a strong advocate for a vegetarian diet.

Having become a vegetarian at the age of 39, Pearl also excelled at showmanship, being one of the first to pose to music, the first to author bodybuilding booklets, and wearing crazy outfits like a fake moustache and leotards.

7. Martina Navratilova – Tennis Player

Martina Navratilova – Tennis Player

A Czech tennis player with one of the most impressive reputations in the sport, Martina Navratilova is also a vegetarian. Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles, 31 doubles titles, and has won numerous other titles, including WTA Player of the Year (7 times) and ITF World Champion (6 times). Tennis magazine even called her the greatest player of all time.

8. Mike Mahler – Bodybuilder and Kettleball Trainer

Mike Mahler – Bodybuilder and Kettleball Trainer

A well-known trainer for many world-class mixed martial arts fighters and famous as a leading kettleball trainer, Mike Mahler is a vegan athlete and proud of it. Promising that you can be strength and conditioning trainer without eating meat, Mahler is also the creator of many DVDs and books.