A huge misconception exists about going vegan, especially where athletics is concerned. People have a belief that if you are not eating meat, then you are not getting stronger.
In fact, a popular assumption exists that vegans will only get weaker if they stop eating meat, even if those vegans are professional athletes at the top of their game. But this misconception is rooted in misinformation.
The idea that vegan endurance athletes would lose any performance because of their change in lifestyle is absurd. In fact, a vegan diet has helped many athletes boost their performance and increase their longevity.
There are many stories of athletes who chose the vegan path and were surprised by the result.
David Carter, a defensive end in the National Football League, is a prime example. He was always adamant that going vegan was something that only “weaklings” would do. But when he started experiencing health problems, he realized that his weight of 300 pounds was not sustainable if he wanted to maintain his career and live a long life.
That is when he made the decision to go vegan. Even though he was not expecting much, he did get some impressive results.
Carter experienced an epiphany while watching an animal rights documentary, and he never looked back. He decided that he did not want to continue living in the same way, and he chose a completely vegan diet.
Now he is a vegan activist, much healthier and fitter than he was in the past, and he is still performing very well at his sport of choice. And his story is not an uncommon one. There are so many vegan endurance athletes who felt as though their careers would be harmed if they made that decision – but they were shocked by the results.
For instance, Rich Roll is an ultramarathoner who only got into the sport after he went vegan.
He spent most of his life eating what he considered were foods that would make him strong – meats and dairy. But he did not realize those were the foods that were giving him health problems and causing him to gain too much weight.
A change of lifestyle
When he switched to a completely vegan diet, he found his strength and athletic ability increase by a massive amount. He was in his 40s when he started running ultramarathons, and going vegan is the decision that he ranks as the top reason why he managed this feat.
Other vegan endurance athletes also benefited from the lifestyle.
Tennis is a grueling sport, and Venus Williams was struggling with problems with her immune-system before she went to a completely raw and vegan diet.
A healing body
She is now back in the tennis fold, competing in big events and reaching finals of grand slams. It may not have been possible for her to return to such a high level of performance had she not made the decision to go vegan.
It is important for athletes and prospective athletes to understand that forgoing the consumption of animal products does not mean you are giving up your chances at athletic stardom.
In fact, for many, it means exactly the opposite; changing to a vegan lifestyle meant finally becoming the athlete they always wanted to be. It meant taking their athletic dreams to the next level.
Not only did it make them healthier, it made them stronger and more accomplished overall.