Sidebar to Vegan Lifter Project

Were you lifting before, during, and after this conversion to veganism?

Satish Sundarrajan

I am not sure about viewing veganism as a religion, as it lacks several characteristics of religion, such as faith in the absence of corroborating evidence and belief in the afterlife being the most central in my opinion. (In fact, I wouldn’t even think of veganism as a moral baseline for all moral agents if not for my policy of viewing the world through secular lens when it concerns matters that affect sentient beings other than myself.) But I tend to agree that it is inbuilt in some of us.

The austerity aspect (I deliberately did not use the word “extreme”) appeals to some of us, as it gratifies an inner seeking, be it spiritual or egotistical, sometimes both. And I am pretty positive this is not limited to heterosexual men.

I have been vegan for four years. I started my fitness journey about nine years ago. But the first two years I focused on mostly long distance running and “bro” stuff such as pushups and bicep curls. I started weighted barbell movements only in 2012. I started running any kind of serious programming only since 2015, though.

Joe “Monk” Coleman

I was lifting before. I was also living a reckless lifestyle. I didn’t know what else to do so I looked up meditation and started. I’m 10 years in now and 10 years sober and living in peace. About three years in somebody asked me if I was vegetarian, I answered yes. Kind of an out-of-body experience – I’d never even thought about it before. From that point on I had no more meat. A couple years later vegan. The reason from what I looked up was I made a connection to life, all life, and didn’t want to harm any other beings.

Scott Shetler

Yes, I was lifting before during and after. Actually, as I was adopting a plant-based diet I also began studying taijiquan and qigong and have been a student of those arts for seven years now.

Yeah, I guess “conversion” is an appropriate term.

Giacomo Marchese

I was. After the fact, I continued to get stronger and achieve personal bests. Veganism certainly isn’t hurting my performance. There is a tendency to eat more nutritionally dense foods when consuming a plant based diet. I can’t see that as being a bad thing.

Never thought about it. Personally, I don’t know that I’d use the term “conversion.” While there are strong roots to advocating for the abstinence of animal-based foods in ones diet in several different religious groups (Buddhism, Hinduism, Adventists, etc.), I don’t know that I’d liken veganism to a religion.

For me it’s an ethics-based lifestyle. In my opinion, it is immoral to use or take the life of another being for my own selfishness. Especially when there is absolutely no need to [do so to] survive and thrive. I do feel that being vegan has ties one’s spiritual side, but that was not what brought me to this lifestyle nor is it what keeps me here.

Tobias Sjösten

I started lifting during my vegetarian phase.


Yes, I did lift before. And no conversion is not an apt term because instead of having cow’s milk I drink almond milk. It’s a moral stance, not a religious stance.

Tobias (VeganLifter)

I’m not sure. Your opinion on what’s right and wrong, necessary and unnecessary, [evolves over time]. Though people compare it to a religion, bar the fact that it has a lot of passion behind it and it’s a group of people, that’s about it for comparisons. Religion asks you to believe what you can’t see and have faith, whereas veganism is about hurting animals as little as possible and shows you with real-life visuals why you should do it. No faith needed.


I was lifting before, but I saw better results after switching to a vegan diet. Personally, I would not say conversion for myself, as being a vegetarian previously I already had the beliefs that come with being vegan, I just made a decision to change.

Kyle (Plantx)

I lifted weights before I was vegan, but never seriously. During my transition I actually wasn’t lifting at all. I was nursing an old injury at the time and was pretty sedentary. “Conversion” I think is a appropriate term. Veganism for me is definitely a lifestyle based on a system of beliefs –ß which, when you break it down, is what a religion is, so I think it fits.


I guess I started lifting when I was still at school alongside playing rugby. This was at around 16 but it was very basic. Just throwing weights around with friends after rugby training etc. I probably took it a bit more seriously when I was around 17–18 and this is also the time I went pescatarian. Things really picked up from 18–20 when I started training most days really looking into what I was eating and doing in training. I was lean but really only saw my strength and muscle mass go up after going vegan at around 20.

I can understand why people may feel like that but at the time I “converted” it was more a personal choice alone rather than being recruited by another vegan that may seem at first like your entering a cult hahaha. It was only after looking more into the community I felt part of a bigger movement.

Richard Arsenault

I started lifting consistently about eight months prior to going vegan.

Um, I think I would agree with “conversion,” yes.


I was lifting before i went vegan. I played basketball since i six and sports have been a part of life ever since. When i turned 14 this is when i first got into lifting weights and was introduced to bench press. My freshman year of high school i had a weight bench in my room. It became a part of my life ever since.

The realization came to me my first year of going vegan. Veganism was always about health until I discovered what really happens to animals. This is when the flashing light came to me and made me realize “This is about the animals. You need to be an animal-rights activist.”

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None. I quit.

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