You’ve seen vegan yogis, musicians, and doctors, but have you seen a vegan bodybuilder? Nimai Delgado is tearing down vegan stereotypes through showcasing the health benefits and physique goals attainable through a compassion-driven diet.
Never Eaten Meat
Nimai grew up in Mississippi raised by Argentinian-immigrant Hare Krishna parents. He has been vegetarian since birth, initially for religious reasons, and has never eaten meat.
During childhood Nimai struggled to fit in, both his religious and cultural background as well as dietary habits failed to fit the status-quo in southern Mississippi. However, Nimai never faltered from his beliefs, much as he doesn’t today.
Throughout his life Nimai has remained active. He participated in sports at a young age and now is a decorated pro-bodybuilder.
It wasn’t until 2015 that Nimai went completely vegan, cutting out dairy, eggs, and all other animal products. Many might believe this stunted his growth as a bodybuilder, but it did just the opposite.
Nimai quickly began to see how much his body benefited from a plant-based diet and how he still was able to build significant muscle.
What once was a hobby, quickly turned into a career, and eventually a platform spreading the benefits and possibilities of a vegan lifestyle.
Most individuals still maintain that vegans are all protein deficient and couldn’t possibly build muscle. Nimai has proven these, and many other, vegan-stereotypes wrong.
Nimai soon realized that his story was unique. There were a handful of vegetarian and plant-based bodybuilders but none of them had never eaten meat.
He now uses himself as living evidence of the possibilities of a diet without animal products.
Beyond just his physique, Nimai is launching a website entitled veganfitness.com, hosts a podcast interviewing plant-based athletes and advocates called Generation V, and hosts fitness and lifestyle retreats around the world all while balancing his career as a professional bodybuilder and social media influencer.
Nimai also stars in a new film, The Game Changers, directed by Louie Psihoyos and executive produced by James Cameron.
This film follows plant-based elite athletes, soldiers, scientist, and everyday people all around the world and works to dispel the myth that meat is necessary for strength and health. The Game Changers premieres worldwide in early 2019.
The bodybuilding community especially, views veganism as borderline”feminine” in many cases. In order to sculpt a “desirable” physique, many believe meat is a crucial component.
Eating with compassion in mind shouldn’t be emasculating, but quite the opposite. Nothing defines an individuals character more than dedication to their beliefs and navigating their lives with compassion for others and the world around them.
Plus, if you do still uphold the traditional image of what masculinity is, I’m pretty sure it would look something like this anyway:
Nimai is spearheading a necessary movement within the bodybuilding community that what you consume doesn’t make you masculine or feminine.
Dietary choices aren’t a matter of gender but a matter of health and worldwide compassion.
Delgado also heavily preaches the importance of micronutrients, which counters the heavy emphasis on macronutrients in the bodybuilding world. Common foods he consumes are oatmeal, fruit, avocado toast, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, lentils, seeds, and so much more.
You can find Delgado’s vegan recipes and meal plans at @veganbodybuildingfood
Delgado also has several bodybuilding titles under his belt that led him to the platform he has today.
Nimai is an International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness Pro. To qualify for this an individual must first win a regional contest weight class and then receive an invitation to compete at the national championship. Then, if you win overall you will earn your pro-card.
He also placed 13th in the 2018 Europa Orlando Men’s Physique, 5th in the 2018 Hawaii Pro Men’s Physique, and 11th in the 2018 Arnold’s Men’s Physique.
An issue of Muscle & Fitness featured Delgado on the cover including a lengthy article about bodybuilding as a vegan.
Long term, Delgado has set his sights on Mr. Olympia. This is the most prestigious title in bodybuilding awarded at Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend.
It’s beyond crucial that plant-based eating has a platform in every lifestyle to showcase its widespread benefits and functionality. Delgado is just one of many advocates striving to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cover image via YouTube
Also published on Medium.