It’s a popular misconception that elite athletes only consume rare steak and raw eggs. However, an increasing number of vegans are challenging what we believed to be true about the best diets for athletes, one of them is Australian vegan powerlifter Noah Hannibal.
Hannibal, who holds two national records for the bench press. Along with competing in Mr. America, he was a member of the all-vegan Vegan Strong Plantbuilt team, which won the gold medal.
Hannibal claims to have never eaten meat in his life and has been a vegan since 1991. When he was 15 years old, he became a vegan after learning about the dairy and egg businesses.
In the middle of the 1990s, he made the decision to take up strength training after hearing a bodybuilder he knew disparage vegans as being “weak.” Before “smashing his hand on the table,” Hannibal trained for six months before challenging him to an arm fight.
Hannibal discussed his profession, dispelling myths, and the difficulties he has encountered with Plant Based News (PBN).
Assumptions about veganism
Numerous studies have proven that a well-planned plant-based diet is best for human health. However, there is still a widespread misperception that vegans are weaker and less physically fit than meat eaters.
“When I first got into powerlifting, a national coach told me to go and eat a steak and come back once I’d eaten it… And then I just started lifting and competing and doing well,” he stated.
This misconception is largely brought on by the widespread notion that protein can only be found in meat. Despite the fact that protein deficiencies in veganism are incredibly rare. Numerous medical experts have claimed that the real problem with meat eaters is a lack of fiber.
The average vegan is quite unlikely to be protein-deficient if they consume enough calories each day, claims vegan doctor Michael Greger.
Obviously, athletes require more nutrition than the ordinary vegan. Hannibal claims that on a plant-based diet, however, this is incredibly simple to sustain. The bodybuilder aspires to consume 200g every day, which he achieves by consuming protein drinks, tofu, seitan, and tempeh.
It has been demonstrated that a vegan diet is not only suitable but even ideal for athletes.
A plant-based diet can “help athletes improve their performance by decreasing weight, creating leaner bodies, and improving stamina” according to a 2021 study by the University of Berkeley.
A separate study examined the effects of a plant-based diet on muscular endurance and strength. It was discovered that the levels of physical activity, body mass index, percentage of body fat, lean body mass, and muscle strength between meat eaters and vegans were comparable. However, research also found that vegans had submaximal endurance time to exhaustion and an estimated VO2 max that was much higher than that of non-vegans.
In Australia and America’s national drug-tested federations, Hannibal won his two bench pressing records.
He competes in drug-tested events because vegan athletes are frequently accused of using steroids by opponents, which is one of his motivations. Some individuals find it hard to imagine that somebody can compete at that level while following a plant-based diet.
As a result, Hannibal and several other vegan athletes have been charged with using fake weights or photoshopping pictures.
“There’s always an excuse when people see a strong vegan… But no one can argue with the national records. They’re just a good thing to have to show that you can be strong on a vegan diet,” he said.
The potential for vegan athletics
In October in Atlantic City, Hannibal participated alongside 20 other vegan athletes on the largest vegan team in the world, Mr. America. The team won 18 medals in all, including 8 first-place, 5 second-place, and 5 third-place finishes. The team competed in bodybuilding, powerlifting, kettlebell sport, and CrossFit events largely against non-vegan athletes.
Hannibal thinks that “more and more” people are becoming receptive to the idea, and that the myths about vegetarianism and power are dissipating.
He claims that vegan athleticism is a “good form of activism” since it “opens minds and breaks down stereotypes that you can’t gain strength as a vegan.”
Source: “This Vegan Powerlifter Was Accused Of Using Fake Weights And Steroids – Now He’s Smashing Records” by Plant Based News
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