The release of the documentary ‘The Game Changers’ in 2019 threw into the spotlight just how many professional athletes and strength trainers live a plant-based vegan lifestyle. The documentary outlines for viewers the many benefits of workout and competition recovery time being much quicker, cholesterol levels slashed, and energy levels being optimized simply from adopting a plant-based diet. Well, long before the documentary was produced and filmed, many professional football players have been following a vegan diet and seeing the clear benefits of living that way. Let’s take a look at who’s living the plant-based life; maybe one of your favorites will be on the list!
Fabian Delph adopted a plant-based vegan diet in 2018 and said it’s crucial to maintaining his overall well-being. He told interviewers, “I feel that my new lifestyle is key to my state and my overall outlook on life. Strengthening how I view things on the whole.” To say the least, inspiring words from the central midfielder for Premier League club Everton and the England national team.
Russell, the former defender turned coach from England, decided to vegan after being diagnosed and suffering from ulcerative colitis – an inflammatory bowel disease. Since eliminating animal products from his diet, he’s seen significant improvements in his health and overall performance. Even though Russell went vegan for health reasons, he has stated that now he is more aware of the ethical implications of animal product consumption. Quoted as saying, “With the passage of time, it has become an ethical decision because when you investigate and stop eating animal products, you realize how bad they are treated, and you wonder what right we have to eat them.”
Meghan Klingenberg is an American soccer player who plays defender for the Portland Thorns in the National Women’s Soccer League and the United States women’s national soccer team. Meghan decided to go vegan five years ago in 2016 and is clearly loving it. She has said of her decision on being entirely plant-based, “I’ve never felt fitter; I’ve never felt stronger. I’ve actually lifted more in the weight room.” This is a common remark from strength trainers that adopt a vegan lifestyle as well that going plant-based makes it easier for them to keep adding weight to their lifting goals.
Lionel Messi, also known as Leo Messi, is widely considered one of the world’s best players and is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He is now playing for French club Paris Saint-Germain. Leo signed a two-year deal until June 2023 with an option for an extra year. Messi chose the number 30 jersey, the same number he wore as a teenager when he made his senior debut for Barcelona. The talented Argentine player switched to a vegan diet to be in top condition for the World Cup games. Messi says he consumes many fresh fruits and vegetables. By choosing not to consume animal products, Messi has gained improved athletic performance, enjoys reduced muscular injuries, and has lost around three kilos.
Héctor decided to ditch animal products for health reasons and claims doing so has improved his overall performance and condition. He is quoted as saying – “At first I wanted to try it for a couple of weeks to detoxify my body and those things, but I felt so good after that I’ve been doing it for more than six months.”
Sergio went vegan after his doctor recommended his preparation for the World Cup 2018 in Russia. The Argentine professional footballer plays as a striker for La Liga club Barcelona and the Argentina national team. He is known as one of the greatest strikers of all time and one of the best players in the history of the Premier League.
The decision to go entirely plant-based vegan may seem like a daunting one to you, especially as an athlete. But many athletes across many disciplines claim that eating a vegan diet and supplementing when necessary with things like synergy D3 or B12 has them in the best condition they’ve been in their lives. There is mounting evidence that this lifestyle fights inflammation and speeds recovery time dramatically from workouts and games. If you’ve been curious about trying plant-based life, try it for a couple of weeks, you could end up converting entirely afterward. Here’s to your health!