Can you be a competitive Strongman living off a plant-based diet alone? The short answer is yes. A bit longer answer is; well yes and no…it’s complicated.
About a week ago, competitive Strongman Robert Oberst was a guest at the modern day Oprah show for guys, The Joe Rogan Experience. In that episode, Joe and Robert touched on a couple of subjects over a 3 hour period and one of them was veganism in Strongman.
Robert, much like his Strongman colleagues, has a very meat and carb-rich diet. Lots and lots of steaks, lots and lots of eggs and lots and lots of rice. Remember when the Immortal Rich Piana said, you gotta eat big to get big?
Robert is a perfect example of that wise old proverb. Joe Rogan, being ever so curious, tried poking into the subject a bit further by asking Robert about being a vegan and a Strongman.
After a brief pondering and genuine lack of information about the subject, a name popped up-Patrik Baboumian.
Patrik is a German Strongman and a former bodybuilder and powerlifter. He’s super strong, eats only plant-based foods and is basically all around poster boy for PETA and vegans worldwide. Ok..so case closed? You might be saying “Vegan strongman exists, end the fucking article”.
Not so fast, here’s where it gets complicated. In the video clip where Joe and Robert bond over vegan dislike and animal product love, Robert points out that even though Patrik is strong…he’s not Word’s Strongest Man material or any top strongman competition material.
Which is true, Patrik never competed at WSM, Arnold Strongman Classic or any of the Giants live events. But what Patrik did do, is compete at several other (noticeably smaller) events and won them. Which Patrik himself decided to point out in his response video.
Now here’s the middle ground, they are both right. Patrik is right because unlike Robert, he has actually won Strongman competitions and has set several world records. Some even for the Guinness world book of records, all that as a vegan.
However, since his debut in Strongman, Robert has consistently competed at the highest of levels. He is a two time top 10 World’s Strongest Man placer, he has competed(and still competes) against the likes of Eddie Hall, Brian Shaw, Hafthor Bjornsson and many others at the biggest Strongman stages in the world.
Also, the Arnold Strongman Classic and World’s Strongest Man weights are standard competition weight for some of Patrick’s best lifts. Such as the yoke walk. In 2015 Patrik did a world record 560kg yoke walk in 28 seconds, well the 2014 Arnold Strongman competitors did a 556 kg yoke walk then moved on to an even heavier 639 kg yoke(bale) walk.
Patrik has more championships and records to his name, but Robert is competing against bigger and stronger guys while lifting heavier weights on a more regular basis.
Now back to the question of can you be a vegan and a strongman? Yes, you can. However, if you want to be a top 10/ top 5 Strongman athlete in the world or even a Strongman champion on an international level of the highest difficulty, history suggests that you should be an omnivore. Strongman of old and strongman of today were all dairy product consumers on a massive scale.
Update: Check out What Vegan Strongman Patrik Baboumian Eats In A Day
Maybe, one day someone naturally strong comes along and smokes everyone while eating nothing but spinach and broccoli, but until that day comes….stick to meat if you want to be a Strongman.
Sounds biased to me, the fact that Patrik hasnt done wsm is irrelevant thats hardly the only strong man organization, His record alone proves that one can be vegan and a strongman, This article is obviously very biased and its conclusion based entirely on conjecture. The initial argument for this article was whether or not one can be vegan and strong man which you succinctly answered as a yes, Then you extrapolated the argument further by useless comparison. I’m certain competing and losing repeatedly against other strongmen does not add any credence to an omnivorous diet being superior, Your arguments are baseless and I would go so far as to say mere parroting of others opinions because this article lacks any serious analysis. Its general dietary advice based purely on conjecture that is very misleading, You do yourself and your readers a disservice by writing this drivel. Nutritional advice from Joe, Ron or you for that matter is purile garbage based on the fact none of you have a nutrition education background, the #1 dietary supplement these omnivorous strongmen dont mention is steroids, Id wager that was far more important in developing strength and mass required than what types of proteins one consumes In short your analysis is severely flawed, Haters gonna hate and uneducated haters apparently more so, Dont quit your day job.
It matters that he has never done wsm because that’s where the best athletes in Patrik’s field of work compete at and it just so happens all of them are meat eaters. For whatever reason, he never competed at the highest level and tested himself against the best who live an entirely different lifestyle from him. I tried to steer away from the dietary argument because that would have been a very large read. Also, I really don’t care all that much about being pro or anti-vegan to get into this debate with someone who thinks he’s hot shit because he’s telling me I’m wrong. I covered already steroids in Strongman in a previous article and there’s no point in stating the obvious. I personally was very amused when Oberst danced around the question when Rogan asked him about steroids and he just kept repeating “we get randomly tested once a year”. Also, you’re as much of an idiot as you think I am if you belive Patrik is natural. He does 28-second yoke walks with 560 kgs on his back while maintaining a plant only diet. Yeah…natural.
one issue to the statement u need meat. Only 1/500 men of the general population are indeed vegan, so do u expect that 1 of the top 15 strongmen are going to be vegan?, most likely no. so this is not an indication that you should not be vegan if u want to be a strongman competitor. Also, there is 1 football team in the NFL that has 15 of its 50 players on an all plant based diet, and they do so since vegan reduces inflammation, so it has its advantages.
So far I’m seeing only guys who are omnivores dominate the strongman field and It’s not just the new guys that are meat eaters. Take a look at the old-school Strongman; Great Gama, Milo of Croton, Angus MacAskill, Louis Cyr, Arthur Saxon, Paul Anderson… all avid consumers of meat and dairy products and very successful and historic Strongman. Yes, Patrik is proof that at least one guy can be vegan and be a strongman, that’s true. However, so far from what I’ve seen, he’s an exception and not a world-class champion strongman. My point is that so far, history has shown that in order to be a top competitor or even a world-class champion of strength, dairy products and meat are a necessity.
Can you be short and be a basketball player? Sure, there are short guys in basketball. However, I doubt you’ll find anyone who will tell you that being 5’7″ is a good height for a potential basketball player.
In all fairness, I have to admit that I think Patrik has what it takes to get on a big stage. Placing good in a Strongman show has a lot of factors to it, not just who can throw a fridge the furthest. Had Thor not tore his foot in the very first event and had Shaw not torn his forearms on the Stones, I seriously doubt Martins would’ve won WSM this year. Patrik’s height also isn’t exactly helping his case( to be a top 10 strongman). Savatinov is the only guy that comes to my mind that’s a(semi)active Strongman, under 6ft and competes at the highest level and half the time he looks like he’s a breath away from suffering a massive heart attack.
if I hadnt have been in the loo while reading this Id say it was a waste of time, what a load of shite mate not sure the point your trying to get across but suffice i wont be coming back
no one cares, fuck off
Have to agree, sounds like you did as much research for this as I do when making a sandwich, by your responses I can tell youre super intelligent and a force to listen to in fitness, Also youre avatar makes you look 110 and 15 so Im not sure what “heavy stuff” your lifting lol I have to agree and wonder why trash like this gets written but then I saw your avatar and realized you were 15, Without even an ACE or NASM cert why does anybody read this trash and why do you even write about strength sports? Who tf are you that anyone should listen to your opinions lol
I haven’t been 15 in a long time. But thanks for the compliments. You’ll make me feel all young and pretty and shit.
It seems to me like Patrik just needed to defend himself from some total bullshit they were trying to say and he did it pretty successfully, if a bit arrogantly. Meat eaters always want to laugh at vegans like without eating meat a person can’t be a bad ass.
Vegans can be badass, of course. Nick and Nate Diaz are vegans and they are one of the baddest motherfuckers on the planet.
es war sehr lustig, als patrik drohte, joes armen abzureißen, als joe zum ersten mal anfing, ihn zu hassen, martial-arts-hintergrund oder nicht. ihr steckt die beiden im käfig zusammen Achten Sie auf Ihre eigene Ernährung, anstatt andere Völker zu zerstören. Gladiatoren waren Veganer. Kommen Sie in mein Fitnessstudio in Westphalia Deutschland und machen Sie diese Behauptungen. Deshalb halten wir viele Amerikaner für dumm, ich wette, Sie haben Donald Trump gewählt.
You laugh at Trump while Merkel is tearing your country a new hole, hilarious. Gladiators where vegetarian, not vegan.
Your logic has some weak points Goran.
None of the WSM winners have been vegan so vegans cannot be good strongmen.
How many African Americans have won WSM? How many gay people have won WSM? So White heterosexual people are stronger!
( Robert Kearney is one of the few gay strongmen competitors at the highest level and I cannot think of any African Americans at the highest level. Nevertheless they haven’t won them yet)
If Iron Biby competed more often on the international scene, I think he would be the first African to take the WSM title. Historically, top tier Strongmen are meat and/or dairy eaters.Even the old school dudes like Great Gama or Paul Anderson.
However, I will admit, now that the sport has been getting a serious momentum I think an influx of Vegan dudes could start.
There is a factor here that I believe you are not accounting for which is skewing your analysis: Robert Oberst is 6’7″, Halfthor is 6’9″ and Brian Shaw is 6’8″. Patrik Baboumian is 5’7″. The potential for absolute strength increases with the size of the person in question, so naturally the top strongmen in the world are going to be giants. A better comparison would be someone who has competed in strongman and is a comparable size, such as Elliot Hulse who is 5’8″.
There is a video of Patrik squatting 815lbs in 2016 and there is a video of him deadlifting 350kgs (771 lbs) for two reps the same year. He recently stated he deadlifted 800lbs for a triple as his personal best.
I found a video of Elliot deadlifting 650 lbs for two in 2009. In 2009, Patrik uploaded a video of him deadlifting 300kg (661lbs) for 4 reps and in 2010 a video of him deadlifting 340 kg (749 lbs) for 2 reps.
So, yeah, comparing a 5’7″ strongman to a 6’7″ strongman and then blaming the 5’7″ guys diet as the reason he isn’t as competitive is silly, especially when we can compare him to people his own size.
P.S., according to wikipedia Robert Oberst’s (who is 6’7″) deadlift PR is 880lbs (there are no citations for this statement in wikipedia nor can I find a video of it) While Patrik’s (who is 5’7″) best deadlift according to a video (again, no citations/proof) is 800lbs for 3 reps. The fact that someone a foot shorter than Robert has a deadlift that is only 80lbs less is pretty impressive given the massive size disparity.