11 Vegan Bodybuilders That Prove Plant Protein Builds Muscle

For most bodybuilders, animal products are their go-to protein. This isn’t surprising, really. There is a lot of information out there that says that if you aren’t using animal proteins to build your muscles, then you are never going to see huge gains. This is wrong. You absolutely can build up that muscle mass using plant-based proteins. In fact, plenty of bodybuilders have proven this.

Here are 11 vegan bodybuilders that prove plant protein can build muscle:

  • Shelli Beecher-Seitzler
  • Patrik Baboumian
  • Alexander Dargatz
  • Joel Kirkilis
  • Zack Belknap
  • SuzAnne Llano
  • Derek Simnett
  • Nimai Delgado
  • Ferdinand Beck
  • Tori Ree
  • Bianca Taylor

Some of these may be names that you have heard of, others may not be all that familiar to you. However, each one of these bodybuilders gets their protein solely from plant-based products. Some of them are competing at the top of the bodybuilding game. This goes to show that even if you are getting all of your protein from plant-based products, you can gain enough muscle mass to compete at the upper echelons of the business.

Let’s tell you a little bit about each of these vegan bodybuilders, shall we?

Shelli Beecher-Seitzler

There is no better vegan bodybuilder to start this list than Shelli Beecher-Seitzler. This is because this woman proves, hands down, just how fantastic plant-based proteins can be.

She entered the bodybuilding game a bit later than some of the other people on this list. In her 40s, in fact. However, it wasn’t long before she was winning competition after competition.

She thrives on being an all-natural bodybuilder. Not only is she a vegan, but she has never touched a steroid in her life. This means that the figure she gets come purely from her workout and eating regime. In fact, she claims that she owes everything to the fact that she follows a vegan diet, something that she has been doing for well over a decade now (she has been vegetarian for around 30-years)

If that wasn’t enough, she works out a whopping 6-days a week. This will be a full, intense workout. This is something that other bodybuilders could only dream of. Most of them will need a couple of rest days.

Patrik Baboumian

Patrik Baboumian has won the title of ‘Germany’s Strongest Man’ at several points in his life. He has also picked up several weight-lifting titles throughout Europe.

patrik baboumian
Photo by Deivitrix, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

if that wasn’t enough, he has several world records to his name. So, he is a fairly accomplished fella in the bodybuilding scene.

He hasn’t been a vegan for his whole life. He only got around to it in 2011. However, he does claim that it was one of the best decisions that he has ever made. He says that turning vegan has made him stronger and healthier than he has ever been.

The evidence is there that he has seen improvements to his strength too. A few years after Patrik Babourmian turned to a plant protein diet, he continued to pick up more world records. This includes a world record at the famous Toronto Yoke Walk. This involved him carrying a 550kg weight for a short distance. He accomplished this all with the power of plant proteins.

Alexander Dargatz

Alexander Dargatz doesn’t have the largest muscles in the world. However, don’t let that put you off. This guy is more into improving his fitness levels rather than seeing huge muscle gains. Not that his muscles are bad, he is just more of the all-around type of fitness guy. He has still managed to win championships with his muscles.

The interesting thing about Alexander Dargatz is that he seems to be one of the only bodybuilders to not plan a diet. He claims that he just eats what he wants to eat. As long as it is vegan, he is game.

Why is that interesting? Well, because there seems to be a bit of a myth floating about that if you want to build muscle with a plant-based diet then you are going to need to spend a long time eating the right foods and planning what you eat. Alexander proves that you don’t. As long as you ensure that you are getting a decent amount of protein into your system, you will end up seeing those huge muscle gains.

Joel Kirkilis

Australian bodybuilder Joel Kirkilis is a fitness freak, and we mean that in the best possible way. 

While he has not won any competitions, he has placed high (often top 3) in almost everything that he has ever entered. What surprises us is just how varied these events are. Obviously, he has bodybuilding. However, he also power lifts and does a ton of cross-fit. All of this on a plant-based diet. 

He has only been on a vegan diet for a short while, but he claims that it has had a massive impact on his daily life. He claims that he feels a lot healthier and a lot more energetic. This, in turn, has allowed him to spend longer in the gym, building up those muscles.

Zack Belknap

Zack Belknap has competed on the professional bodybuilding circuit, so you know that he is going to be good.


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He became a vegan in 2016. It clearly didn’t have an impact on his ability to hit the top of the game, though. He managed to get his pro card in 2018, and he has been touring on the circuit ever since, even winning a couple of competitions along the way.

He says that it actually took him a long time to switch over to a vegan diet, even though he wanted to do so. He saw that there were moral issues with not turning vegan. However, he was reluctant to switch because he believed it would have a major impact on his career. Eventually, the moral issues won out. Even he was surprised to see that switching to a vegan diet didn’t have a massive impact on his performances.

Nowadays, not only is he competing on the pro circuit, but he loves to go around touting the benefits of a vegan diet. He is hoping that he is able to convert more and more bodybuilders to the world of veganism. He certainly is in a good position to do so.

SuzAnne Llano

Suzanne Llano has managed to score herself three different Pro Card. Scoring just one is a challenge and a half. Scoring three means that you are the best of the best. She says that each and every one of these pro cards was obtained while she was following a vegan diet so that veganism certainly didn’t impact her muscle growth. 

Her plant-based protein comes from a protein powder. She supplements this with grains, nuts, beans, seeds, etc. She has an incredibly varied diet, which goes to show that you don’t really have to place huge limitations on what you eat when you follow veganism as a bodybuilder. 

What really surprises us about her is that she eats a lot of fruit. There are a lot of bodybuilders that do steer clear of fruit because they believe it will lead to increased weight gain. Of course, that would undo all of their muscle gains. That certainly doesn’t seem to be the case with Suzanne Llano. 

Derek Simnett

Derek Simnett has not won any competitions as a bodybuilder. However, he does have some pretty hefty muscles. He is certainly worth mentioning on this list.

The main reason why we are including Derek Simnett is that he is one of the main people pushing the idea of veganism onto bodybuilders and fitness fanatics at the moment. He even runs a YouTube channel with over 600,000 subscribers listening to his tips and tricks to building muscles with a plant-based diet. In short; this is a guy that knows what he is talking about.

Nimai Delgado

All bar one of the bodybuilders that we have spoken about so far has had an impact on the bodybuilding industry before they switch to veganism. Not Nimai Delgado. He has never touched a meat product in her. He has been completely vegan for several years now.


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This means that he has never had meat products bulking up her muscle mass. For a short period, he would have relied on eggs but, even then, he still managed to grab most of his proteins from plant-based sources.

He currently has a pro card, which means that he is touring on the bodybuilder circuit, attracting sponsorships. As anybody interested in bodybuilding will know, competing on the pro circuit is a rather big deal.

He has won a good chunk of the competitions that he has entered as a pro bodybuilder. This goes to show that you do not need to rely on animal products to gain muscle mass. All you need is a good plant-based diet filled with proteins, and you are ready to rock.

Ferdinand Beck

Just a few short years ago, Ferdinand Beck had no muscles. He was a skinny fella that wouldn’t have really stood out from the crowd. He looked like he could barely lift anything. He then switched to veganism.

His goal was to prove that you could build up muscle while following a completely plant-based diet and that he did. Within a couple of years, he had managed to gain a whopping 20kg in muscle. The guy is incredibly ripped right now, and we swear that every time we see a new picture of him, those muscles are a little bit bigger.

He is another person that isn’t really competing on the bodybuilding circuit. Instead, he is advising other people that want to build up muscle mass themselves. He does this through his company Vegains. The success that Ferdinand Beck has had when it comes to muscle building really is proof that a plant-based diet can boost muscle mass on just about anybody.

Tori Ree

Tori Ree is another woman competing on the pro circuit. However, nowadays, she seems to spend most of her time promoting the benefits of following a plant protein diet. 

While Tori Ree has never been the most ripped woman in the world, it is evident that her plant-based diet is enabling her to sustain some rather toned muscles. Her physique is pretty much perfect. It is no wonder that she is such a hit on the pro circuit, with several wins to her name.

Bianca Taylor

Many of the bodybuilders on this list turned to veganism for moral issues. Bianca Taylor, while we are sure there were moral issues there, turned to veganism because nothing else worked.

She freely admits that when she first got started in trying to boost her muscles, her diet involved a lot of chicken. However, she wasn’t really seeing the boost that she wanted. So, she turned to plant-based proteins. It wasn’t long before she started to see rapid gains in her muscles.

One of the cool things about Bianca Taylor is that she is a firm advocate for bringing more carbs into the diet. This is something that many other bodybuilders don’t like. They think it will lead to weight gain. Tori Ree proves that this is not the case. She proves that most of the bodybuilding myths are just that; myths.  

While she isn’t really competing on the bodybuilding circuit, she does advocate for vegan diets. She even shares her diet tips with the world.


A few years ago, bodybuilders would have dismissed the idea of building muscle without animal proteins. It would have been chicken and eggs all the way. However, the bodybuilding scene is changing. Several bodybuilders have proven that you don’t need to be devouring animal products to compete at the top of the business. You can do it with plant-based proteins too. Some people have even seen larger gains by switching to plant-based proteins.

If you are looking to build muscle, then you can do it as a vegan. In fact, it isn’t that much more difficult than building muscle mass with an animal-based protein diet. It does come with far fewer moral issues, though.

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for over five years! I've set up this blog because I'm passionate about veganism and living a more spiritually fulfilling life where I'm more in tune with nature. Hopefully, I can use Vegan Foundry as a channel to help you out on your own journey!