Want to Eat, Look and Feel like a Pro Athlete? Go Vegan.

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Ok, we can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to serve like Venus or Serena Williams, run like olympian Carl Lewis or do the Tour de France with Dave Zabriskie.

But, if you’re hitting the gym and want to take a page from the pros this year, whether your favorite sport is tennis, running, cycling, triathlon, martial arts, boxing, or bodybuilding, it’s all the same advice: go vegan.

Because, as the research in support of plant-based eating continues to pile up, athletes are making the switch and seeing the positive results in their performance. In the words of track star Carl Lewis, “most athletes have the worst diet in the world, and they compete in spite of it.” Lewis attributes his best performances in his career to making the switch to a vegan diet.

Tennis star Venus Williams, who was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, has adopted a vegan diet to improve her health and help combat the symptoms of her disease. Her sister Serena, who has also gone vegan, commented about Venus that “She has done a complete U-turn.”

A recent article in the New York Times talks about how vegans are even muscling their way into bodybuilding: “as the popularity of veganism has spread in recent years — fueled in part by a flurry of food-focused documentaries like ‘Super Size Me,’ ‘Food, Inc.’ and ‘Forks Over Knives‘, so too has vegan bodybuilding grown.”

And it’s not just the professionals who are finding that cutting out meat and dairy is ideal for peak performance. Last month, 40 year old vegan athlete Juliana Sproles was crowned the “world’s toughest woman” after winning Tough Mudder, a 10 mile, sub-freezing, 24-hour obstacle course designed by British Special Forces. And, in October, Fauja Singh became the oldest man to complete marathon at the age of 100, attributing his success to his meat-free diet.

But if all of this leaves you looking around at your fellow gym-goers, and asking where these strong vegan athletes get their protein, consider these reasons why Dr. Walter Willet, the Chair of Harvard’s Nutrition Department, recommends we emphasize plant sources of protein rather than animal sources:

Ready to go vegan and see how it improves your performance? Visit and request a free Vegetarian Starter Guide.

AthleteAnd if you need inspiration from a “plant-strong” athlete in your favorite sport, get ready, the list is long (Olympic athletes are in bold):

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