Every day it seems we read about a new athlete who has gone vegan or plant-based for performance and is singing its praises on social media. The latest is pro soccer star (aka footballer) Aaron Ñiguez Esclapez, who says 'I have improved my performance... and my recovery times are shorter between games or high-intensity training," since going vegan.

His physical fitness and on-field performance is yet another example of the physical benefits of switching to a plant-based diet for recovery, strength, and performance. A Midfielder for Malaga CF and a committed vegan, Esclapez frequently uses his Instagram to urge his 52,000 followers to try out the vegan lifestyle.

Esclapez posts pictures of his fit physique, along with vegan dishes, his healthy outdoorsy lifestyle, and his family on his Instagram, providing plenty of inspiration for aspiring vegans everywhere. In a recent interview with  Plant Based News, Esclapez talked about the positive impact that changing over to a vegan diet has had on his athletic performance.

"I rest better and I've also noticed [changes] regarding my sporting level too. I have improved my performance, and my recovery times are shorter between games or high-intensity training – now it takes much longer for me to reach muscle [fatigue],” the star athlete said, adding: "The trick is to know how to cook them and have recipes to find flavors in them that you like the most."

Esclapez isn’t the only soccer star to turn to a plant-based diet to improve their game. Lionel Messi follows a primarily plant-based diet now, but when he was younger he was known to prefer junk food.

Athletes from the NBA to the NFL are turning to plant-based foods to help them recover faster and fight inflammation which can exacerbate injuries. Sports stars such as Cam Newton and Venus Williams began a vegan diet to fight injury and fatigue, and since The Game Changers documentary came out last year, more college athletes are trying plant-based diets for performance as well, according to strength and nutrition coach at Villanova, John Shackleton, who has athletes coming to him to get advice on how they can use plant-based nutrition as a critical tool in their training.


Gone are the days when guzzling Gatorade was considered the only performance-enhancing choice for athletes looking for an edge. As more elite athletes have transitioned to a plant-based lifestyle, we expect we'll see future stars following in Esclapez's footsteps.


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