Vegan bodybuilder Malina Schwager has been awarded Pro Status from the International Fitness and Bodybuilding Federation (IFBB), the biggest honor in bodybuilding.
A fully natural (“natty” in the jargon) and vegan athlete, Schwager relies on plant power alone to sculpt her body. She doesn’t use substances like hormones or performance-enhancing drugs. Her new status means that she can now officially compete at Olympia Qualifier bodybuilding competitions.
Schwager tells Plant Based News: “The IFBB Pro Status is an important achievement for me. It proves that no dream is too big and makes it possible to inspire other people to work hard as well.”
Schwager became vegetarian when she was 15 years old. At the time, health reasons prompted her to think about her diet. She switched to vegan two years later.
“Veganism is a win for me when it comes to health benefits and learning to be grateful for all the products nature offers us,” she tells PBN. “I love being a part of this movement and way of living.”
“I want to inspire people to open their eyes against old beliefs like ‘you need to eat meat and eggs to get your protein'” she says.
Nutrition is key to success
Schwager’s success highlights the importance of nutritional education to achieving health and fitness goals. “When I was younger I would have never expected to achieve IFBB Pro Status, while being loyal to myself and on a vegan diet,” she says.
For a new generation of athletes, the education around health benefits of veganism is much easier to access. Many top sportspeople have built muscle and reached peak performance on a plant-based diet. “Plants have all the protein you need,” Giacomo Marchese, a co-founder of PlantBuilt, a team of vegan strength athletes, previously told PBN.
So, what is the key to Schwager’s success? “Listening to my body and interpreting its signals,” she says. “My knowledge about nutrition and psychology played a huge part in this win.”
Schwager adds that “the right environment and with that the right people” are another key factor. “I am grateful to my coach, Christian Kuess, who helped me see my strengths and was always by my side.”