So it turns out that Michael Phelps’ 12,000-calories-a-day meal plan isn't the craziest dietary regimen at the Olympics.
Nope, that distinction belongs to Kendrick Farris, the only U.S. weightlifter competing the 2016 Olympics and the U.S. record holder for the 94kg deadlift — who is vegan.
The 29-year-old athlete brought home the gold at the last two Pan American Championships — lifting more than 800 pounds at each. He lifted a total of 357 kg (787lbs) to place 11th in Rio.
A vegan diet isn’t the typical meat-centric, protein-packed diet we expect of an elite athlete — but Farris says his vegan diet doesn’t limit him. He simply researches what he eats to make sure he’s getting enough protein.
Farris didn’t initially start eating plant-based food for health benefits. He told Men’s Fitness he came about it by tracing his roots back to the tribes of Israel. Ultimately, he opted for a vegan diet over a kosher one for ethical reasons.
“I don’t agree with the way animals are mass-slaughtered,” he told the Huffington Post. “So that’s one thing that kind of got me looking at what they call a vegan diet.”
Farris says the benefits of his new diest have gone beyond the physical. He claims his mind is clearer than ever and attributes his increased awareness about his diet for improvements in other areas of his performance. “I had a really bad temper growing up,” he told the Huffington Post. “And now I’m able to recognize different emotions and I’m not governed by them.”
Save the vegan jokes for someone who can't lift four times your weight.
Image via: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images