In 2017 Hector Bellerin, already widely considered to be one of the world’s best fullbacks, decided to make a key lifestyle choice to improve his performances. After initially considering trying vegan for a three week detox period, the Spanish defender “felt so great after it” that a plant-based diet has become integral to his fitness regime.
Bellerin took the decision after witnessing just how many elite athletes were performing at the top of their game without meat and began to ask around to learn more about how to incorporate a plant-based diet into his career.
As reported at Veggie Athletic, Bellerin has stated of his dietary changes:
As I was getting older, I was eating more healthily and reached the point where I realised I didn’t really need to eat meat any more. I learned a lot about becoming a vegan and asked other athletes like David Haye.
The Spaniard is an outspoken vegan advocate and gives examples of the way a meat, dairy and seafood-free diet have helped him professionally:
The recovery in my muscles after games has been noticeable and the long-term injuries I’ve had before have started to heal way quicker.
Even though veganism is a growing trend throughout the world of sport, there are still some nay-sayers who have questioned Bellerin’s commitment to eating plant-based. The Spaniard, however, is quick to retort to this with a very simple question:
Why change something that is working for me?
The attacking fullback was born in Barcelona on 19 March 1995 and has caught the eye throughout his career with his lightning pace, world-class dribbling and crossing ability. He has represented the Spanish national football team at youth level, from the under-16 to under-21 teams, before making his senior debut in 2016.
Aside from a brief loan spell at Watford, Bellerin has only played club football for Arsenal – a club he joined in the summer of 2011. Under Arsene Wenger’s tutelage, the Catalonian has won honours including two FA Cups and two FA Community Shields. He has also been recognised as an individual – he was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in 2015-16 among other distinctions.
In 2018, Bellerin recorded a video for Veganuary on the topic of why he went vegan, noting how the diet helps in keeping issues with ankle inflammations in check. He joins the ever growing list of vegan football players.