Female athletes whose performance improved after Veganuary

Increasingly, athletes at all levels are finding unexpected benefits from switching to a vegan diet.

Early pioneers admitted they had concerns about maintaining muscle mass, strength, speed and endurance, but as these three former Veganuary participants tell us, there really was nothing to worry about … and so much to gain.

Charlotte Sims, Worcester

Charlotte is a competitive bodybuilder, who took part in Veganuary 2015. “I was really passionate about being vegetarian and it never even crossed my mind that I could be doing more,” she says, but that was before she heard about Veganuary.

“The more I researched the dairy industry, the more it shocked me, and I was ashamed I hadn’t tried out veganism sooner!”

Charlotte Sims, Veganuary 2015 participant standing in a gym. Charlotte is a female athlete whose performance improved after going vegan.
Charlotte Sims, Veganuary 2015 participant. Image Credit: Charlotte Sims.

But there was a catch. At the time, Charlotte was training for a bikini fitness bodybuilding competition and her diet consisted of a lot of eggs and dairy protein powders. Ethically, she knew what her heart was telling her, but still, she had doubts. “I was worried that my health may suffer as a vegan,” she admits, “but it has been the complete opposite.”

“I have never looked better, I have lost weight, always feel energetic and my teenage skin problems finally cleared up at the age of 29! I wish I had done it sooner!”

Helen Campbell, Northumberland

Before taking part in Veganuary, Helen was a “full-on omnivore” and always enjoyed her food but after giving birth in 2012 and again in 2014, she had gained weight, felt sluggish, unfit and like a “frumpy mum”. Together with her husband, John, she embarked on a period of education and made some profound changes to her life that included meditation, reducing stress, prioritising sleep and taking part in Veganuary. Everything fell into place, and that included significant improvements in her fitness.

Helen and John, Veganuary participants standing against the wall in gym clothes.
Helen and John both experienced great changes after Veganuary. Image Credit: Helen.

“My running has gone from strength to strength,” she told us, “and I have started doing marathon training now. My strength has improved, my stamina has vastly improved, I do two ‘strength for runners’ classes a week, and four runs and I also do yoga and meditate. I used to have mild asthma but since being vegan I have not needed to use my blue inhaler at all and my breathing whilst exercising has massively improved.”

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Thinking of trying vegan?

Veganuary inspires and supports people all over the world to try vegan for January and beyond. Millions of people have already taken part. Will you join them?