Examples of successful vegan athletes or athletes who experienced major success after becoming vegan is becoming so common now it is hard to keep track! We compiled a list of the top five vegan athletes of 2015, and this year we have already featured and written about many vegan superstars, including tennis champions Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams, NFL players Griff Whalen and Tyrann Mathieu, UFC fighters Nate Diaz and Abel Trujillo, Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris, boxer David Haye, among many more.
Now there is a powerlifter to add to the growing list! Wales Online recently profiled Matthew Jones, who is the third best powerlifter in the world in his age and weight category after competing in the WDFPF World Powerlifting Championship Finals in Wrexham. According to the article, the 24-year-old is able to deadlift three times his body weight, and became a vegan last January as he began to powerlift competitively, which includes squats, bench press, and deadlifts. Jones stated of his diet:
"I eat what people call whole foods - which consists of things like oats, nuts, seeds, rice, potatoes, beans, tofu and lentils. I wouldn't exactly say it's increased my strength in any way, I'd obviously be strong if I was eating meat, but it hasn't restricted me either. What I would say is that it's definitely made me faster and helps me recover much quicker which allows me to train regularly."
In the interview, Jones also pointed out UFC fighters and David Haye as examples of athletes who thrive on plant-based diets. Noting the accessible information available and the wide variety of vegan food options, he also stated that he does not miss meat since "whatever you cut out you can replace with other things" and that he has been introduced to more foods as a result of this choice.
While the decision to become a vegan was initially one based on health and diet alone, Jones stated he also learned about the treatment of animals as a result. He stated:
"When I started power lifting, I did a lot of research and I watched a lot of documentaries which discussed the health benefits of a vegan diet. It was then that I also learnt about the ethical side to it, and realized how cruelly animals are often treated."
Jones stated that he will take a break from training and competing since he and his partner are expecting a child, but that he hopes to eventually "find time to fit it all in."
Photo Credit: http://www.walesonline.co.uk