For the last four months Ireland international rugby player and Leeds Rhinos star Anthony Mullally has been completely powered by plants.
At 252lbs and 6 feet 5 inches Mullally is one of the tallest and heaviest players in the UK.
RiseOfTheVegan.com spoke to the Leeds Rhino giant about his decision to go vegan.
After following a vegetarian diet for two and a half years before going vegan, Mullally is now aiming to get rid of some stigmas in the rugby community and prove you definitely don't need meat to gain muscle and perform at your best at the highest levels of sport.
“Now I look back I can’t believe I ever ate meat. I read up about physiology and anatomy and the more I looked into it, the more I personally came to the decision we are not designed to eat meat".
Mullally changed his diet gradually, first eliminating meat and fish, then reducing down eggs and dairy before eliminating them entirely to switch to a vegan diet.
“It wasn’t long between each change I felt like a hypocrite. That was particularly true when I decided to switch from vegetarian to become fully vegan when I read up about the egg and milk industry. I wasn’t that well versed in all the research originally and it was a genuine concern that going off meat could impact my rugby and how I prepare myself physically for training and games".
But after researching the strong positive effects of the vegan diet Mullally says the "evidence is more compelling for a vegan diet."
After going vegan I felt loads better in terms of energy and recovery from training sessions. I found I didn't even need to drink coffee in the morning before training because I had so much energy. I'm probably as strong as I've ever been so there's definitely been no decline in strength or physical performance!
Preferring to fuel himself using mostly whole food plant-based sources, some of Mullally's favorite foods are legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds and calorie-dense foods like avocado with plenty of brown rice and couscous. Like many athletes, both vegan and non-vegan, Mullally supplements his diet with a protein powder, opting for a plant-based protein powder instead of whey.
Mullally told us the YouTube video that caught his attention was 'The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear' - a lecture given by Gary Yourofsky, at City College New York on March 24, 2014. The video has been viewed more than 3.6 million times, and translated into more than 39 languages. It is the most-viewed video in Israel’s history, and is thought to have been the cataylst for a large portion of Israel’s population going vegan - almost 13% of Israel's population are now vegan.
Mullally isn't the only athlete showing the world that you don't need to build your body on animal products, just last week vegan athletes won 32 medals in the Naturally Fit Games as well as one vegan athlete setting a world record. Heavyweight wrestlers, world-champion boxers, olympic weightlifters, bodybuilders and a multiple-world-record holding strongman are also among the many athletes smashing the 'weak vegan' stereotype. Knowing that world-class level athletes are thriving on a vegan diet is driving more people to consider veganism.
When training with his teammates Mullally comments “As you would expect in a group everyone has a bit of a laugh about it. But we have got a smart group who are always looking for an edge to their game to try and improve."
With a recent study helping to confirm plant protein is a better choice for building muscle than animal protein, we are seeing many more athletes making the smart choice and ditching meat and dairy. Particularly for those that care about their long-term health, as plant-based protein have been found to be more more heart-healthy than animal protein. Many health or ethically conscious fitness enthusiasts like Mullally are also ditching whey and choosing plant-based protein powders instead.
Your email address will always stay private.