Mr. Universe 2014, Barny Du Plessis has announced in a recent interview that he’s now “all about the vegan gains”.Du Plessis won Mr. Universe 2014, and soon transitioned to being a “one-hundred percent, wholehearted, staunch warrior vegan”.

DuPlessis

He was born and raised as a vegetarian until he was 18 years old, but when he first started training, he, like many other athletes, believed that animal protein was something magical that was required to build muscle mass. “When I became a bodybuilder I decided I needed more protein [and] it took quite a bit of work to start eating meat, I didn’t like the idea of it… I became much more dissociated with our environment.” He also says, “I didn’t really care about animals… I didn’t want to address any suffering… I couldn’t empathize”.

People say you can’t be a top athlete as a vegan. Absolute bullocks

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Since going vegan, he has actually gained even more mass, now at 107 Kilos, and he claims that there’s been no negatives. He wakes up with more energy and recovers faster. This is quite an endorsement for a vegan lifestyle from someone who takes his physique very seriously.

Barney is not the first bodybuilder to make waves with veganism – just check out PlantBuilt.com, but he is the reigning Mr. Universe which puts him in a unique position to help combat common myths about veganism. “If you have a good variety of different food…like beans, nuts, pulses, grains, rice…they all have protein in them.”

As for the haters, he exclaims, “People say you can’t be a top athlete as a vegan. Absolute bullocks!”

Follow Barny on Twitter.