Louisiana outlet KTBS recently put up a short profile on three-time Olympian Kendrick Farris. While Farris’ accomplishments are impressive — he competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and will be representing the USA once again in Rio — the biggest takeaway from the segment has more to do with what he eats (or doesn’t eat) than numbers on the platform.
Apparently, since the birth of his son in September 2014, Farris has been a practicing vegan.
Farris wouldn’t be the first high-profile weightlifter to adopt a meatless diet. Kazakhstani lifter Ilya Ilyin — currently under provisional suspension by the IWF for positive doping retests — also made headlines after foregoing meat around 2012 while simultaneously moving up to the 105kg weight class. While some were skeptical of Ilyin’s dietary change, his performances in 2014 and 2015 — again, undefeated in international competition, with several new world records — silenced many critics.
Farris has also moved up a weight class since his last Olympic Games, and at 94kg he set an American Record total at the 2016 Olympic Trials in Salt Lake City.
Of course, a vegan diet — which means avoiding all animal products in the diet — is much more strict than simply being a vegetarian. KTBS didn’t go too in depth with the lifter on how he meets his nutritional requirements while maintaining body weight, though it seems to be something he’s got under control; the 29 year old athlete recently won the 2016 Pan Championships in Cartagena, Colombia, to secure his third Olympic qualification.
Do Ilyin and Farris’ accomplishments suggest a meat-based diet is overrated for strength athletes? Do you know any lifters — or are you one yourself — who have given up meat while still gaining weight and strength? Let us know in the comments below, we want to hear your experiences!