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Top 10 Vegan Bodybuilders

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A vegan diet is typically an unconventional approach for bodybuilders. However, there are some men and women who have broken the norms and packed impressive muscles with a completely plant-based diet. In this post, we will have a look at the top 10 vegan bodybuilders in the world in 2024.

Bodybuilders are naturally protein-hungry to gain size and definition. This leads them to meat and dairy-based eating plans. However, modern science has proved that it’s possible to gain enough amount of protein and even minerals with only a plant-based diet. The bodybuilders mentioned below prove this.

10 Best Vegan Bodybuilders in the World:

Veganism is the practice of eating only food not derived from animals and it’s a rapidly growing concept in recent years. The growth is so significant that several bodybuilders have switched to vegan diets. The Netflix documentary The Game Changers revealed that even Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking an 80% vegan diet.

He isn’t the only legend to be having a plant-only meal plan. There are many wonderful bodybuilders who have ditched meat slabs for vegetables and fruits to fulfill their nutrient requirements. These men and women are choosing the unconventional method to build their muscles and strength.

Let’s move further and take a look at the 10 best vegan bodybuilders in 2024:

1. Patrik Baboumian:

Patrik Baboumian is a German bodybuilder and strongman who has been a vegetarian since 2005. He switched to a completely vegan lifestyle in 2011. The 44-year-old kicked off his career with an IFBB Junior Bodybuilding Championship victory in 1999.

He was also an Overall Junior champion at the Gießen Campions-Cup in 2002. Apart from bodybuilding, Patrick competes in IFSA strongman competitions. He was even featured in PETA animal rights campaigns due to turning vegan ethically, having animals’ best interests in mind.

Patrik Baboumian

Patrick relies on vegetables, fruits, and nuts for his diet and also takes vegan supplements to fulfill the nutrient requirements. He is possibly the strongest vegan man on the planet.

2. Torre Washington:

Torre Washington is one of the most famous vegan bodybuilders in the world. The IFBB Pro bodybuilder hailing from Miami, Florida, turned vegan in 1998 at the age of just 23. Nicknamed “The Vegan Dread,” he won his pro card at an SNBF event in 2013 and went on to win in the open division at Musclemani Universe.

Torre Washington

Washington is also an animal rights activist and fitness coach. He relies on non-animal sources like tofu, pea protein, lentils, beans, rice, and oats to fulfill his daily protein intake. His diet also includes leafy green vegetables, smoothies rich with fruits, and Japanese sweet potatoes.

3. Jehina Malik:

Jehina Malik is the next widely popular vegan bodybuilder. Standing at 5 feet 1 and weighing around 118 pounds, Malik won the NPC Eastern USA Bodybuilding Championship in 2013 and then earned her IFBB Pro card in 2014 at Team Universe. She is the only bodybuilder on this list who has been vegan since birth.

Jehina Malik

Malik was born and brought up in a family that is strictly vegan. She started competing at the age of 19 and tried with non-vegan coaches. However, they completely support her lifestyle.

4. Nimai Delgado:

Nimai Delgado is one of the vegan bodybuilders featured in “The Game Changers.” Standing at 5 feet 10 and weighing 175 lbs, Delgado was brought up in Mississippi by a strictly religious Hindu family. It taught him the compassion of suffering animals which motivated him to turn completely vegan in 2015.

Nimai Delgado

In 2016, Nimai Delgado won his IFBB Pro card at the NPC USA Championships in Vegas. He also competed at the 2018 Arnold Sports Festival’s Physique Division. Delgado has even graced the covers of the Muscle & Fitness magazine.

5. Karl Bruder:

Karl Bruder is one of the biggest vegan bodybuilders in the world. The muscular beast switched to the vegan lifestyle in 2016 but this didn’t make even a slightest change in his physique. A few months after this, Bruder won the tall class in the WABBA Grand Prix.

Karl Bruder

He also holds a 6th place finish at the Mr. Universe contest and a 4th place finish at the PCA Physical Culture as a vegan bodybuilder. Bruder says that the Netflix documentary “The Game Changers” motivated him to switch to veganism and helped him become more compassionate toward animals.

6. Greg Lachance:

Greg Lachance is the next vegan bodybuilder on our list. He has competed in the IFBB Pro Men’s Physique division and in the Masters division. He turned vegan as an experience and then liked the lifestyle and progress so much that he never left it.

Greg Lachance

Lachance competed in eight bodybuilding shows before turning vegan but failed to claim the gold. Later, the Canadian bodybuilder competed as a vegan and managed to win the competition.

7. Leah Coutts:

Leah Coutts is another very famous vegan bodybuilder who switched to a completely plant-based diet in 2014, primarily for health reasons. She previously struggled with hypermobility which led to joint issues and she had to undergo multiple surgeries. However, turning vegan helped her get rid of the pain.

Leah Coutts

Coutts won her pro card in 2022 with the Ms. Fitness Australia contest. She competes in the figure classique division. She followed this up with a pro victory at the nationals. Leah Coutts also went on to win the Figure Universe Championship at the Ms. Fitness Universe competition.

8. Zack Belknap:

Zachery Belknap, famously known as Zack Belknap, is a vegan bodybuilder from Oregon. He started his competitive career by competing at natural bodybuilding shows and earned his Pro card from the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) in 2018.

Zack Belknap

Initially, Belknap turned vegan after his friends pushed him to try the lifestyle. However, he made the complete switch after watching a mind-changing documentary based on animal cruelty.

9. Shelli Beecher-Seitzler:

Shelli Beecher-Seitzler is another female bodybuilder who turned vegan due to health problems. She suffered from skin problems which went away after she started consuming an entirely plant-based diet. She loves green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other non-animal-derived food items.

Shelli Beecher-Seitzler

Shelli got a late start in her bodybuilding career as she started competing in her 40s. Her most significant victory is a first place finish at the Fit Body and Master’s Figure in the Washington State Natural Puget Sound Pro Am. She has turned 50 now but never fails to turn heads with her impressive physique.

10. Suzanne Llano:

Suzanne Llano is one of the most successful female vegan bodybuilders. She has competed in over 25 bodybuilding shows after starting her training in 2009. Llano is a 7-time Vegan Natural Pro Figure Athlete.

Suzanne Llano

She earned her NFF Pro card by winning the Figure Open at the Natural Fit Federation competition. Llano then won the Domestic Figure Open to earn the NGA card and the Figure Open for to claim her ANBF Pro card. She accredits her vegan diet for the success she has achieved on the stage.

Final Take:

A vegan diet comes with numerous benefits such as reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, better management of weight, lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and reduced risk of certain cancers. That’s why, several bodybuilders have opted to turn vegan and experienced the perks of this animal-friendly lifestyle.

If you are also thinking about turning vegan, you can start in a gradual manner. The first step would be to remove red meat from your diet and later eliminate all sorts of meat from your eating plan. Eventually, you can also replace your supplements with vegan-friendly products.

This method is recommended by the top vegan bodybuilders mentioned in this list. Here is a quick recap:

  1. Patrik Baboumian
  2. Torre Washington
  3. Jehina Malik
  4. Nimai Delgado
  5. Karl Bruder
  6. Greg Lachance
  7. Leah Coutts
  8. Zack Belknap
  9. Shelli Beecher-Seitzler
  10. Suzanne Llano

That’s all for this post. If you have any queries or doubts, feel free to visit the comments section.

Frequently Answered Questions:

Here are the most frequently asked questions about vegan bodybuilders:

Can a Vegan be a Bodybuilder?:

Yes, it’s possible for a vegan to be a bodybuilder as proved by modern medical science. There are numerous researches confirming that it’s possible to fulfill your daily protein requirements with only plant-based food items to build muscles like a bodybuilder. There are many vegan bodybuilders who are live examples of this.

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger vegan?:

Arnold Schwarzenegger follows an 80% vegan diet which has helped him lower his cholesterol levels. The bodybuilding legend has bid adieu to eat in recent years. However, he occasionally consumes eggs, salmon, and chicken, alongside vegetable burgers and protein shakes to fulfill his protein intake.

Has a vegan ever won Mr. Olympia?:

Jim Morris is the only vegan bodybuilder to win an Olympia title. After becoming a vegetarian in 1985 and turning to veganism in 2000, Morris won the over-60 category of Mr. Olympia Masters in 1996. However, a regular Mr. Olympia open-division victory by a vegan bodybuilder is still awaited.

Do vegans build muscle faster?:

There is no research available proving the claim that vegans build muscle faster than a person on an animal-protein-based diet. However, a properly designed vegan diet can offer several other health benefits such as lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels, and a reduced risk of certain types of cancers.

What are some vegan-friendly protein-rich food items?:

Oats, Quinoa, Pulses, Tofu, Nuts and seeds, Chia seeds, Buckwheat, Broccoli, and Brown and wild rice are some of the vegan-friendly food items rich in protein. You can include these in your vegan diet to build muscle.

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