By now, we’d be willing to bet you’ve either watched or know someone who’s watched the Netflix documentary Game Changers, which examines the science behind a vegan diet and chronicles the rise of plant-based athletes. The film—and people in it, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger—has been the topic of debate ever since its release, with many speaking in favor and opposition of it.
After seeing the film, bodybuilding veteran Kai Greene decided to go plant-based himself. He’s posted about the new diet several times on Instagram, and he even wrote an e-book on how to eat vegan while growing muscle. But he’s far from being the only IFBB Pro League athlete with a positive opinion of the film. IFBB pro Erik Fankhouser commented on one of Greene’s posts, “I watched it also, Kai. I am going to try it out also. Hope nothing but the best on our journey.”
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Out here Flexin’! Broccoli Gang Gang! 🥦#day1 . . Tag ya friends! Raise the awareness 🧠 plant based diet! I always knew the Green in my last name would mean to stand for something #FeelingProud #GameCHANGER!
Current 212 Bodybuilding division superstar Charles “Tank” Dixon recently gave the movie a watch and said, “I just finished watching Game Changers and I must say that it’s very interesting and a good watch.” We’re not surprised that at least a few bodybuilders got on board with the trend, especially considering that one of the athletes featured was Nimai Delgado, IFBB Pro League athlete and former Muscle & Fitness cover star.
But just as the vegan diet in general has its detractors, many had negative opinions on Game Changers. IFBB Pro bodybuilder and nutritionist Chris Tuttle said he felt there was little to no science behind the statements in the documentary, or that claims were adjusted to benefit the producers’ agenda.
“The show is biased, bends scientific research, states claims that cannot be backed up, and all in all it’s for entertainment purposes only. It’s 100% biased and inaccurate,” he told M&F.
And while 2019 Indy Pro champion Steve Kuclo isn’t anti-vegan, but feels that the information wouldn’t be beneficial to bodybuilders in the long run.
“I’m not against vegan all the way and don’t think it’s a bad thing. I just think it’s a bit of a fad and what everybody’s pushing,” he says. “Ultimately, a lot of people I have seen doing vegan for a long period of time eventually seem malnourished and a little on the skinny side. Now as a bodybuilder, I try to be as big as possible. I feel the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and protein that are in animals are vital.”
IFBB Pro Josh Lenartowicz says he had no problem with the film, but wishes that vegans and carnivores alike would provide proof to support any statements they make. “I’m completely fine that we live in a place where others can promote their style of living. I would really have appreciated the other side of the story to be promoted so it’s more educational.”
While bodybuilders are clearly passionate about the topic, they’re certainly not the only ones weighing in on it. Actor Dolph Lundgren even said that his switching to veganism helped improve his sex life. One thing is for certain: The conversation around vegan bodybuilding is one that won’t be ending any time soon.