Vegan strongman David Cooper Toronto Star

At Toronto’s Vegetarian Food Festival this past weekend, Iranian-born, Armenian-German strongman competitor, psychologist and former bodybuilder Patrik Baboumian not only made history with his record-breaking carry of 550 kilograms (1212.54 pounds) over ten meters (32.8 feet), but also defied stereotypes when he let out the words, “Vegan power” with a roar.

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The 34-year-old already holds world records for log lifts in the 105k-category (165 kg), as well as the German heavyweight loglift record (185 kg) and the title of “Strongest Man of Germany.” He will now add “heaviest yoke carry traveling 10 meters” to the list after Guinness World Records verifies the feat. According to Toronto’s festival organizers, Baboumian shouldered the heaviest load ever, one that is equivalent to a large horse.

“It’s a bit stupid to do things like that, it really hurts,” Baboumian said to the festival audience, as reported by the Toronto Star. “But, the point is to inspire people and break stereotypes that tough guys need to eat a lot of meat.”

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“I just realized that if it’s really compassion that drives you, maybe it’s not enough just to stop eating animals but you maybe should boycott the whole animal industry, because … it’s not what you as a compassionate being would want. So actually you should go one step further and become vegan,” said Baboumian.

Baboumian became a vegetarian in 2006 and in 2011 turned to a vegan diet after being named Germany’s strongest man (he immigrated to Germany from Iran with his family at the age of seven).

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Wondering what he eats? According to Baboumian, he makes sure his body gets all three macro-nutrients in feasible amounts, but since protein is a key factor for the development of the type of body that is needed to be able to endure the grueling events he faces as a strongman, he relies on soy-milk, soy-protein-powder, tofu, nuts and beans as his main sources of protein. To get the energy he needs for his daily training sessions, he uses carb-heavy foods like rice, potato, oats and lots of fruits and greens and vegetables. In addition, to ensure he consumes the right amount of calories to gain weight and maintain the development of physical strength Baboumian relies on shakes and smoothies to get a lot of his calories in liquid form.

After his record-breaking lift, he was joined on stage for a Q&A session with other plant-powered athletes, including retired UFC champion James Wilks, former NHL player Georges Laraque and marathon superstar Rich Roll. A fitting celebration to a grand achievement.

Image source: David Cooper / Toronto Star