Meet The Vegan Bodybuilder: “All Protein Comes From Plants”

Mark Chapman is a retired Orange County police officer and vegan pro- bodybuilder.

Over this past year, the concept of vegan bodybuilding has risen in popularity alongside the growing trend in general of veganism. A huge part of this was the release of the documentary film, The Game Changers, which included bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger dismissing meat. He claimed that he was foolish for eating meat during his youth including his bodybuilding years.

So we thought it would be interesting to revist an article about bodybuilder Mark Chapman. A man who is dedicating himself to be an all vegan bodybuilder. Chapman told The Bulletin that his transition to veganism began when work trauma began inducing high blood pressure and migraines.

“I was having issues but I didn’t know what from.”

For 10 years, Chapman took a variety of medications, but nothing improved until he went vegetarian with his wife in 2000. He discovered his blood pressure medication was no longer necessary and committed to veganism in 2007.

Mark Chapman

Chapman was raised in Southern California in the 1970s, and like many of his time and place, he was drawn into bodybuilding by the stars.

“I was always big into the bodybuilding era of the 1970s, the Arnold Schwarzenegger days. I always like that physique more, that classic body shape, not the overly built people who are on too many pharmaceuticals.”

When Chapman turned 49, he promised himself he would begin competing before 50.
In May, he took the stage at the NPC Pacific Coast Championships. He placed fifth in the Masters and second in the Open Lightweight Bodybuilding.

Mark Chapman

The same month, he competed in the Cascadian Classic where he placed second in Masters Men’s Physique, second in Open Lightweight Bodybuilding, and fourth in Masters Men’s Bodybuilding.

Chapman says he takes in 140 to 150 grams of protein every day. Avoiding meat and processed foods, he and his wife spend less than $200 each month on groceries. Chapman said he gets most of his protein from seitan -a wheat gluten.

“I don’t miss meat at all. To think of eating meat actually makes me feel ill, to be honest. I like to lead by example: If I can be a 50-year-old professional bodybuilder, then apparently you can get enough calories and protein. That I can do it means you can do it, too.

“When I go out there and compete and actually win over meat-eating bodybuilders, maybe people will start to wake up and realize that I get plenty of protein from a plant-based diet.

“What people don’t want to admit is that all protein comes from plants. Animals don’t make their own protein… People just have to realize they can remove the middleman.”

Chapman encourages those skeptical of veganism to try it for a month.

Despite his ethical living, one necessary item for a Law Enforcement Officer has kept Chapman from living animal product free, but he has good humor about it.

Check out our Supplement Awards page for Best Vegan Product of the Year, as well as Runner Ups here.

“You can’t get a badge wallet that isn’t leather. I searched all over the place. Not even faux leather.”

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*Header image courtesy of Instagram.