Meet Rocky Luedeker, a 62-year-old woman who holds 13 world records in powerlifting in the 97 pounds-and-under class. The Arizona athlete defies all expectations and, most notably, has done so on a vegan diet.

AZ Family reports that Luedeker began lifting competitively four years ago, hoping to follow in her family’s footsteps. She said, “I was sitting there and was like, ‘Why am I sitting here? I have arms and legs. I can do that, too’.” To this day, she continues to set — and meet — new goals. “My best curl is 45 pounds, my best squat is 124 pounds, my best deadlift is 184,” she said.

“My best curl is 45 pounds, my best squat is 124 pounds, my best deadlift is 184,” she said.

Credit: AZ Family

To date, Luedeker has 13 world records and holds 26 state and national records. Recollecting on this, she said: “It feels good knowing you got that weight up, putting it back down, seeing the white lights knowing you got it.”

Perhaps the most impressive part of her achievement is that she has beaten the records while eating a plant-based diet. Some of her staples are beans and rice, and she makes sure to eat lettuce every day. On the “myth” of protein, she said:

“A common myth is we don’t have enough protein, and we have more than enough protein.”

Credit: AZ Family

Luedeker is right in this regard. Fruits, vegetables leafy greens, grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes are abundant in amino acids, the “building blocks” of protein. By eating a diet rich in these foods, she skips secondary sources of protein (such as chicken, beef, and pork), which the body is required to break down before the amino acids can be synthesized.

Above all, the record-breaking athlete is aware her attitude matters most. “If I don’t get it this time, I will practice harder and get it next time,” she said. It’s that same attitude of determination she passed on to her daughter, Bianca. According to Bianca, lifting has “greatly increased” her confidence. Now a vegetarian, she is pleased to be part of the “Lifting Luedekers” and is training to compete in the 2024 Olympics.

Credit: AZ Family

“Her deadlift is twice her weight,” said Bianca. “Her weight is 90 pounds. She’s deadlifting 182, and I think about how long it took me to get to that point. It was really hard.”

Rocky and Bianca aren’t the only two vegetarian athletes — far from it. Other notable plant-based athletes include:

1) Patrik Baboumian (aka Germany’s strongest man)

The vegan weightlifter made history when he carried an astonishing 550 kilos for over 10 meters, setting a new world record. Patrik went vegetarian in 2006 and vegan five years later.

2) Scott Jurik

Credit: The Telegraph

The Colorado resident is a vegan ultramarathon runner and has a host of amazing achievements under his belt. Not only did he become the first American winner of the annual 246k Spartathon in Greece, he set the American record for the 24-hour run logging over 165 miles. Scott has been vegan since 1997.

3) Rich Roll

Credit: Forks Over Knives

After realizing his health was at risk, Rich adopted a whole food, plant-based diet at the age of 40. After gaining entry to the Ultraman 2008 with only 6 months of training, he finished 11th overall and recorded the 2nd fastest swim. In 2009, he was named one of the top “25 Fittest Guys in the World” by Men’s Fitness Magazines. He continues to inspire everywhere he goes.

4) Brendan Brazier 

Credit: Rachael Campbell

The Ironman triathlete and endurance runner credits a plant-based diet for his stamina and fast recovery. After a serious road accident in 2003, he went on to become the Canadian 50k champion and later, set a record for the Bigfoot Half Ironman course.


Based on these activists’ achievements, do you still think people need meat to thrive? Why or why not? Please comment your thoughts below and share this news!

(Featured image credit: Red Rock News)