Body Machine: Heavyweight David Haye’s Plant-Powered Return

When heavyweight boxer David Hay had to consider retirement due to a shoulder that was nearly destroyed, he faced two options: quit or get reconstructive surgery with months of recovery. In a lengthy piece for The Telegraph, Haye describes his ordeal, his choice to go vegan, and his formidable resurrection at an age the presents problems for most boxers. On going vegan in 2014, Haye said of animal products that “cutting it out made me feel immediately better and stronger than ever…Everyone should try it.”

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Haye fights Arnold “The Cobra” Gjergjaj in London on May 21, 2016. Watch it on Dave. #HayeDay

More Vegan Athletes Rise to the Top


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When Flex Magazine did a March 2016 feature article Meatless Meat-Heads, they were talking about guys like twenty-nine-year-old Kendrick Farris, an Olympic weightlifter, coach and Olympian who went vegan in late 2014. He broke the American lifting record for clean-and-jerk with three lifts totaling 377 kg (743 lbs) in May of 2016. 

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You can watch Farris’ record-breaking lift (209 kg / 461 lbs), which is also his all-time personal best, here:

Farris is not the only vegan Olympian in the news lately. Heavyweight boxer Cam F. Awesome, an outspoken vegan, will be returning to the 2016 games in Rio De Janeiro. He’s also a stand-up comic. How’s that for a 1-2 punch to moronic stereotypes that vegans are strong or funny?

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It seems like attitudes about plant-powered athletes are finally changing in the mainstream. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, might think twice before telling Mr. Awesome he hits like a vegetarian, and in fact, Arnold recently told the world to eat less meat. Arnold’s call for less meat was part of the environmental summit COP21, where he was quoted responding to some angry meat-pious true-believers with, “luckily we know that you can get your protein source from many different ways, you can get it through vegetables if you are a vegetarian…I have seen many body builders that are vegetarian and they get strong and healthy.”

Many people might not know that ten-time gold-medalist and legendary track star Carl Lewis credits his successes to a plant-based diet. And he’s not the only legendary athlete who has advocated the performance maximizing benefits of plant-fuel.

Despite the growing proof that one can thrive as a plant-powered strength athlete (let’s not forget the world-record holding strongman, Patrik Baboumian or the entire Plantbuilt team) there are those who still cling to the mythology that we must eat muscle to become muscle – at least in the long term.

Ed Baur, owner of NewEthic Strength & Conditioning, has been a strict vegan for over 20 years. He’s a Crossfit and powerlifting coach, and he recently got two personal records, one for front squat and another for deadlift. This goes to show that even after 20 years of veganism, competitive athletes can still build strength and make gains. When he posted the image below on his Instagram feed he said, “I will get …bigger and better than before and I am going to take a lot of you with me.”

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Shop the Brave GentleMan vegan Crossfit grip:

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A Vegan Nate Diaz Takes Conor McGregor Down at UFC196

The irony of Conor McGregor’s fight against Nate Diaz was not limited to a bursting of a hugely inflated ego – but to McGregor’s use of predator symbolism. Before the fight, he spoke of Diaz as a heavy-footed and wounded gazelle and he, the lion, the king of carnivores, would hunt Diaz down. In a bloody sport dominated by machismo, meat-eating is seen by many as both a necessary staple and a potent symbol of strength. However, Nate Diaz is a long-time vegan. In McGregor’s allegory, the herbivorous Gazelle has now beaten the lion – a role reversal that challenges some very deep-seated beliefs about masculinity, strength and athletics. For a man with a tiger tattooed on his stomach, a man who clearly goes to lengths to identify as a carnivorous predator, a loss to someone who actively chooses an herbivorous diet hurts in was more than physically.

According to Rise of the Vegan,

“Ido Portal, one of Conor McGregor’s coaches leading up to the fight once famously stated: “I can’t view vegan diets as something healthy. I’ve never met a vegan who was able to perform with the same energy levels as I see with someone with a more carnivore diet. I actually refuse to work with vegans”. One can only assume Ido Portal is now eating some humble (vegan) pie.

NBA’s Ben Gordon & NFL’s David Carter

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Orlando Magic’s Ben Gordon sat down with Vice Sports and friends at the Los Angeles eatery Plant Food & Wine. Turns out he’s vegan and has a great sense of humor! Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears singed David Carter of The 300 Pound Vegan who recently graced the cover of LAIKA Magazine. You can hear Carter’s powerful interview on the Rich Roll Podcast.


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Champion Heavyweight Boxer Goes Vegan for Comeback

He’s got an English accent. He’s buff. And now, he’s vegan too. David Haye “The Hayemaker” recently told The Independent that he’s planning to make a big comeback after some serious injuries, an out-of-control alter-ego, and major surgery. “I’ve only got myself to blame.” He said. “To be as injury-prone as much as me isn’t bad luck. It’s the way I’ve trained in the past.”

Regarding his decision to go vegan, he said:

“I watched a TV documentary about how animals are farmed, killed and prepared for us to eat,” he explains, shaking his head. “I saw all those cows and pigs and realised I couldn’t be a part of it any more. It was horrible. I did some research to make sure I could still obtain enough protein to fight and, once satisfied that I could, I stopped. I’ll never go back.”

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The Discerning Brute contributor and nutritional expert Matt Ruscigno, RD weighs in on Haye’s new regimen and its chances to rebuild a heavyweight champ:

“All plant based foods have some protein, especially beans and grains – and as long as Haye is eating enough calories to fuel his workouts, he will get more than enough protein. Plant-foods like beans are full of calories to provide all the energy he needs, as well as all the amino acids he needs to continue building muscle in order to create and maintain a heavyweight physique. The additional benefit of the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables will aid in his recoveries. Experts know from extensive research that vegetarian and vegans live longer, and many nutrition experts are exploring the idea that the same principles that make us live longer may also help someone like Haye recover more quickly from injuries.”