Katya Gorbacheva is a nationally qualified powerlifter based in the US who has bench pressed 85.7 kg (193 lb), squatted 165 kg, and deadlifted 182.5 kg, all under a plant-based diet. She resides in North Carolina, US, but is originally from Eastern Europe. She competes with strength team PlantBuilt, made up entirely of plant-based athletes, and founded in 2012 by Giacomo Marchese and Dani Taylor.
In 2023, PlantBuilt set a record, with more than 40 athletes competing in six different sports (powerlifting, bodybuilding, CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting, strongman, and kettlebell sport) at the Mr America All-American Sports Festival & Expo.
This is what Gorbacheva said to Plantbasednews about her diet: “My day often starts with oatmeal with flax seeds, TVP, berries, or baked apples. Definitely not a fan of smoothies or salads – I prefer rich food with plenty of flavour. When I’m lazy I’ll just throw halved veggies on the tray (onions, zucchini, eggplant, squash) and bake with seitan. Buckwheat is another staple since childhood – since I’m Russian-Ukrainian.”
She became plant-based for health reasons, but now she has explored some of the other dimensions of veganism. She says, “I tried to eat ‘clean’, cooked my own meals instead of going out most of the time, and ran and lifted weights regularly…It took me longer to go 100 % vegan. However, blood work and how my body felt made it clear – animal foods are not good for a human body… I’m also a huge environmentalist, and the ethical part makes sense…I wouldn’t eat my dog. Why would I eat a pig? Why would anyone?”
Vegan powerlifters can be found everywhere. Last month, the British powerlifter Sophia Ellis, who is vegan, won her third title at the BP Eleiko British Open Classic Championships, which took place on 16th March 2023. She scored her personal best of 175 kg, a massive lift for someone in the 76 kg category.