Just weeks ago, powerlifter Daniel ‘Vegan Meathead’ Austin was saying goodbye to his home in Texas having broken another record. He was looking forward to working on the Virginia records – and we didn’t have to wait long.

Competing at the 2024 USPA Drug Tested Nationals in Las Vegas, NV, Daniel came away with amazing new records. Competing in the 40-44 age bracket of the 75 kg category, he started with the squat and managed 435 lbs (197.5 kg), which meant he was close to the record, but unfortunately could not claim it this time.

His bench of 292 lbs (132.5 kg) was a State record, and his deadlift of 502 lbs (227.5 kg) earned him his second record. His total of 1229 lbs (557.5 kg) was also a State record, meaning he took three of the four records available at his first attempt.

Daniel has previously taken second at the IPL World Championships, and won first place at the USPA Nationals in the submasters for three years running.

Daniel spent many years in Texas where veganism isn’t particularly common, and spent his time breaking stereotypes and state records. ​​Also a vocalist in a hardcore punk band and author, Daniel has been vegan since age 22 in 2005 after years as a vegetarian and pescatarian. On veganism, he says, “Eventually, watching videos about veal calves and the emotional responses of calves and mother cows being separated from each other convinced me I had to just go fully vegan.”

Daniel’s book, ‘Eating for Strength: The Way of the Vegan Meathead’ changed some perceptions in Texas where veganism is not the norm, as he was a growing force at state level. At competitions he was often on the receiving end of jokes and snide remarks, but these dissipated as he became more successful and people began to understand veganism better. Of this he says, “When I first started winning local meets in Texas, back around 2015-2016, fellow lifters and judges often cracked jokes about veganism – sometimes to my face, but mostly within earshot, but these days all I hear at meets is support, respect, and curiosity about how to be strong as a vegan. It’s been cool to witness that shift among non-vegan peers and I credit those who have kept their minds open.” In Virginia, he’s found a gym where members are very supportive of each other’s training and progress. Daniel says, “I’ve definitely gotten interest about veganism or my book from a handful of people there–all very positive vibes about it.”

Based on Daniel’s athletic performance so far, we have much to look forward to in future.

For more amazing vegan lifters, check out the articles below!

Vegan Lifter Breaks Record as She Wins British Open Powerlifting Competition

American Powerlifter Katya Gorbacheva Thrives on a Plant-Based Diet

Great Vegan Athletes
Great Vegan Athletes is a not for profit website run by ethical vegans.  They aim to address outdated stereotypes regarding strength and fitness among vegans, and encourage people to try veganism.  They’ve been running since 2010 and have profiled hundreds of elite athletes across a diverse range of sports. As well as on their website they can also be found on Facebook, X and Instagram.