Kaepernick goes vegan, but claims it hasn’t led to muscle loss

AP

Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem has overshadowed what may be a more important issue to the 49ers: He has significantly declined as a player. One reason for that decline may be his loss of muscle mass.

That loss of muscle mass is obvious to anyone who looks at him: Kaepernick, who was once so muscular that then-49ers coach Jim Harbaugh worried that his huge muscles could affect his throwing motion, now looks skinny.

And yet Kaepernick, who confirmed to reporters that he went vegan nine months ago, claims he hasn’t lost any body mass. That’s hard to believe not only because he looks so much skinnier but also because it’s hard for anyone not to lose muscle when on a vegan diet because protein is essential to maintaining muscle mass and most protein sources are animal-based. (Former NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez briefly tried a vegan diet during his playing career but started eating meat again after he lost too much weight.)

San Francisco coach Chip Kelly confirmed that Kaepernick has lost muscle, although Kelly said it’s because he hasn’t been able to lift weights while recovering from offseason surgeries.

“He’s limited in the type of lifting so he’s not the same size,” Kelly said. “He’s not back to where he was before.”

Getting back to where he was before from a size and strength perspective will be essential to getting back to where Kaepernick was before as a quarterback. That’s going to be harder to do as a vegan.

139 responses to “Kaepernick goes vegan, but claims it hasn’t led to muscle loss

  1. While it’s not impossible to find very good protein sources that are also vegan, it requires EXTREMELY careful and thought-out dieting routine. Not a smart move by Kaep. We saw how going vegan has worked for Arian Foster.

  2. Quit obsessing over a 2nd string QB who’s not long for the NFL.

    This is reaching Manziel mania proportions.

    The season is a week and a half away, let’s hear about football, not the dietary habits of a has been.

  3. Kaepernick can’t even be honest with himself that he has shrunk down physically . I believe the larger problem is he has lost the desire to play football and generally his mental focus seems lacking.

  4. Oh boy. Ricky Williams II. Next he will bail on the about-to-be-over NFL career to be a swami, guru, or self help speaker. It’s coming. Follow your bliss, whatever makes you happy Kappy!

  5. I am so proud of Colin.

    And the more I read the comments on this issue My Pride as a Black Man is well placed.

  6. This is the most disappointing news yet.

    Sounds like he went islam, so at least he won’t turn scientologist.

  7. “That’s hard to believe not only because he looks so much skinnier but also because it’s hard for anyone not to lose muscle when on a vegan diet because protein is essential to maintaining muscle mass and most protein sources are animal-based.”

    Whey protein shakes made w/soymilk. I have 2 a day and each one is about 40g.

    And I only do one scoop of the whey protein, if he did 2 that would raise each one to 70g with the protein from the soymilk.

    Really not that hard to maintain the protein intake.

  8. Was vegan for 3 years– 160 lbs (6’0)

    Went back to meat– gained 30 lbs in 16 months while working P90X

    I’m happier with meat. But I can say that I never got sick and felt great with the vegan diet. To each his own.

  9. He’s definitely skinnier but i wouldn’t necessarily blame a vegan diet. There are dozens and dozens of UFC fighters who are vegan and still maintain strength and muscle mass.

  10. Even deer (yes, Bambi himself) and cows eat animals; they seem to consider fledgling birds a delicacy, in particular. Threshers and combines used to harvest the crops vegans live on invariably kill untold legions of ground animals every year. Unless you’re a chemotrophic bacterium living by a volcanic vent on the bottom of the seafloor, you derive most of the energy you need to survive from consuming other life forms. Get over it.

  11. Kap is acting more like a freshman poli-sci major than a pro athlete.
    You can still eat a clean, healthy diet without being vegan. Probably a better idea to go vegan after retirement. He’ll only have to wait a couple of weeks.

  12. Kendrick Farris is an American Olympic Weightlifter who set the American record with an 800lb lift in the trials leading up to the Rio Olympics.

    He is vegan.

    This nonsense that you can’t be vegan and have muscle mass is ignorance and needs to stop.

  13. Now he’s in a quandry, I mean what do you tell people within the first 5 mins of meeting them, that you are an NFL qb or that you are a vegan? If he also does crossfit then I wouldnt want to meet him at a dinner party. Never get a word in edge-wise.

  14. Well if his goal was to get attention he succeeded brilliantly. What’s next, a long read on his toilet routine?

    SMH.

  15. He changed his views on religion. He went vegan. He get offended. If he starts vaping, I may have figured out the solution: he’s does crossfit.

  16. Something’s changed in this young feller’s head, and it’s not for the better. His football play is one thing; the way he is thinking so differently, so fast, that affects his behavior and actions is another.

  17. “Remember me? I’m Colin K, and I use to be a big deal, now I’m an annoying person, but to think to realize it…, if there is one thing I love about America, is that no one tries to kick you or make fun of you when you’re a fallen hero…”

  18. Kaep got thrown off of food when Tomsula came in and was sweating all the time, and thinking it was the meat sweats.

    While that was part of it, the sweats and awkwardness were Tomsula bring out of his league, and his token reward hire/position for 1y for leading the Harbaugh coup.

  19. I’m genuinely curious to see how 49er fans feel about the Smith/Kaepernick decision a few years back. The guy did lead them to a super bowl and they almost won it, but would Smith have given them a better option long term.

  20. He looked sooo skinny when I watched him play last week. I’m super skinny too so i’m not knocking him, but he doesnt look the same, physically, as he did when he was playing in playoff games and super bowls

  21. I’m 40 yrs old and never knew the national anthem actually had more lyrics that refer to killing slaves who had the audacity to fight for their freedom. I guess I feel like I probably should have already known that. Also, lot of veterans coming out in support of Kaepernick. That does not surprise me that much as most are fighting for his right to do what he’s doing. And the pack mentality of some of you that are piling on is somewhat concerning to me. More so than anything Kaepernick has done.

  22. So essentially he met the girl from MTV, she convinced him to stop eating meat and that the world is completely out to screw African-Americans, especially those playing a sport for millions of dollars. On top of that he gets hurt, then publicly shames himself without actually taking any real action to help with the “problems” he is so offended by. Now he sucks at football and his body is frail and failing. Sounds like he made a bad choice of lady…

  23. Going Vegan to appease a girlfriend Killed Prince Fielder’s career in baseball, and it’s hammering the final nail in Kaepernick’s. Life lesson, don’t go vegan , she’s not worth it.

  24. This explains his football regression. Too much time on homeopathic websites, not enough time reading a playbook.

  25. lenthevikesfan: Alot of veterans coming out in support of Kapperdik? I’ve seen alot more veterans, cops and others highly critical of him. Speaking of a pack mentality, the fact many of you have been duped into thinking a millionaire who has lived a life of total privilege is somebody to be lecturing us on oppression. Nobody has a right to use their employer as a platform to browbeat others with their political views and most of us would be fired for it. And the fact Krapperdik is doing it while wearing a shirt with Fidel Castro is even more ridiculous.

  26. td30 says:
    Aug 31, 2016 11:25 AM
    He looked sooo skinny when I watched him play last week. I’m super skinny too so i’m not knocking him, but he doesnt look the same, physically, as he did when he was playing in playoff games and super bowls
    ______________________
    maybe something is eating at Him….
    something He feels compelled to do other than “dance” without music

  27. Where were the headlines about Tony Gonzalez being a scrawny weakling? Dude ate vegan his entire career. C’mon man! It’s not hard to get protein from plants. There’s more protein per calorie in broccoli than beef! Look it up.

  28. The difference between a liberal who associates standing for the national anthem with oppression….but only talks and does nothing…. Kaepernick

    VS

    A conservative who gives up fame and fortune and actually walks the walk….Pat Tillman….

  29. If he is on the week 1 roster and he is guaranteed his money for the year you will see how fast this is going to blow over

  30. Perhaps he’s realizing there is more to life than money and greed. He is at the age where he should becoming more enlightened. As many silly things as this guy has done, sacrificing his shattered career for innocent black people getting killed by the police and not killing animals are admirable. He apparently has a pro-life stance, that it seems is wrong in this country. He is not the problem, you are.

  31. Some other NFL players that were/are vegan/vegetarian: Tony Gonzalez HoF TE, Arian Foster– highly productive RB. Probably some more. There are plenty of health and environmental reasons for it. It’s his decision, not like Colin’s telling you guys what to eat.

  32. kissmysandwich says:
    Aug 31, 2016 11:38 AM
    Where were the headlines about Tony Gonzalez being a scrawny weakling? Dude ate vegan his entire career. C’mon man! It’s not hard to get protein from plants. There’s more protein per calorie in broccoli than beef! Look it up.

    =-=-=-=

    I did look it up, and it turns out there isn’t enough Gas-X on planet Earth to compensate for the effects of the quantity of broccoli I’d have to eat to match the 12-oz ribeye I had last night.

  33. Here’s my opinion — one that will lead some people to call me an ignorant white supremacist animal-killer.

    What Kaepernick is doing is clearly demonstrating that he knows his NFL career is over. He’s building in excuse after excuse to soothe his ego for the fact that 2016 will be his last season. When he is ultimately released by the 49ers and not signed by anyone else, he will say:

    * I was black-listed by the NFL for expressing my views on BLM. At least I know I went down fighting for what’s right.
    * My physical abilities deteriorated due to the fact that I refused to murder animals and the food industry in America has not caught up with the needs of vegan athletes. At least I know I went down fighting for what’s right.

    Poor, oppressed me. I lost my career for fighting for what’s right. This is what happens in America when you try to be a good person and do the right thing.

    Like I’ve said before, how come all this vegan-eating, BLM-supporting love didn’t start until his career regressed and the fans lost their love for him as a player? He wasn’t on this train three years ago before he inked up that $115 million contract. Where was all this righteousness back then?

  34. Kaep eats 1000% better than the cheeseburger & french fry grubbing commenters here. I’m pretty sure you can get some decent vegan eats for $11.9 million. Look in the mirror if you want to know who’ll be spending a lot of time with the cardiologist.

  35. I think an NFL athlete could make a go of it as a vegetarian, but I dunno about vegan… vegan is tough to pull off properly for NARP’s (Non-Athletic Regular People, according to my newly-minted NCAA athlete kid)…. but for a professional athlete, who can’t have big energy dips or weight losses while they figure it out, seems like a very bad idea.

    But vegetarian (including dairy and eggs), and it’d be easy. Maybe he’ll compromise and go that direction.

    He’s obviously got a girlfriend who’s got a Yoko-esque hold on him.

  36. harrisonhits2 says:
    Aug 31, 2016 11:02 AM
    “That’s hard to believe not only because he looks so much skinnier but also because it’s hard for anyone not to lose muscle when on a vegan diet because protein is essential to maintaining muscle mass and most protein sources are animal-based.”

    Whey protein shakes made w/soymilk. I have 2 a day and each one is about 40g.

    And I only do one scoop of the whey protein, if he did 2 that would raise each one to 70g with the protein from the soymilk.

    Really not that hard to maintain the protein intake.
    ——————————————————————
    While I agree with your conclusion, you should be aware that whey protein is derived from dairy and is, therefore, not vegan.

  37. I’m not in the ‘Merica love it or leave it camp.’ That’s too simplistic and narrow minded to be of any use here but it is obvious that Kaepernick has clearly lost his primary will to play in the NFL . Perhaps he has experienced an epiphany that will inspire him to speak and address our nations social ills in a constructive and meaningful manner. The world doesn’t end because one football player didn’t stand for the national anthem. The only thing probably ending here is an NFL career. I hope he knew this might happen before walking into this.

  38. I suspect there will be more of this type of story leaked to the press as the 49ers try to establish that he will be cut for many other reasons than the fact he wouldn’t stand during the national anthem.

  39. So Kap has gone vegan now – hmmm, I guess you are what you eat! Maybe that’s ~really~ why he sat during the Nat’l Anthem, not enough strength to stand.

  40. Maybe the SF 49ers are just reaching out to a new fanbase. If you hate the United States, the flag and our national anthem than the 49ers are the team for you!

  41. my_old_name_was_offensive says:

    A conservative who gives up fame and fortune and actually walks the walk….Pat Tillman….
    —————————–

    What did that get him?

  42. Apparently no physical issues but we aren’t sure yet the psychological affect that vegetables have on people. Perhaps he is suffering from CTbroccoli.

  43. Protein per calorie means nothing. No one wants to eat enough cups of broccoli to match the amount of protein in a even a quarter pound of grass fed meat. We are not primates, we do not have all day to sit and eat plants, we do not have gigantic jaw muscles to allow us to do so, and we don’t have the length of gut required to break down all that plant material into useful compounds. I eat plenty of vegetables, but not as much as a gorilla. Veganism is not healthy for the body and especially the mind in the long run. You need fat from animal sources to produce cell membranes, hormones, and many other compounds necessary for life.

  44. This delusional statement is simply proof positive that Kaepernick is living in an alternate reality. Not only did he stab the NFL in the back, which ironically is one of the most positive entities for good race relations in America, but now he’s simply lying about his muscle mass loss. It’s time the 49er’s drop this toxic has been before he destroys their locker room.

  45. snakecage says:
    Aug 31, 2016 11:43 AM

    Perhaps he’s realizing there is more to life than money and greed. He is at the age where he should becoming more enlightened. As many silly things as this guy has done, sacrificing his shattered career for innocent black people getting killed by the police and not killing animals are admirable. He apparently has a pro-life stance, that it seems is wrong in this country. He is not the problem, you are.

    ——–

    You see the problem with ignorance is, it makes you think being wrong is right.

    EVERY RACE, COLOR, AND CREED is being killed by the militarized police per Obama’s actions.

    But Kaepernick and BLM racists want to blame white people.

    In fact, more white people get killed by cops than anyone else.

    In fact, as a percentage, white people die at the hands of cops FAR, FAR greater than black people.

    Meanwhile inner city violence, caused in large part by Obama’s Neo-Con Wall Street policies which impoverished these people (and everyone else), doesn’t fit the kill whitey narrative and is overlooked.

    Apparently those black lives don’t matter, because you can’t blame white folk. But you can’t on this either, and that’s why Kaepernick and BLM are racist morons.

    They turn a policy by African Americans from the top (Obama) into a rationale to blame whitey.

    Kaepernick was right about Hillary, she’s George W. Bush’s 5th term (because Obama was Bush’s 3rd and 4th), but most African American’s don’t ask the question why their lives are worse under an African American president who has not only abandoned them, but sicked them to the wolves.

    Kaepernick is just another person, who is pissed off (so he has that right), but no clue overall what’s happening, because he’s listening to the apologists who want to divide and conquer, rather than speak to the actual problems. Blame whitey is how the status quo continues. Because you’re not addressing the problem.

    So no, you are actually the problem. You’re the type of person who gravitates around nothing and thinks it’s the solution. You have to get under the surface of the problem to actually solve it.

    You and Kaepernick think you solve the problem by scratching the surface, and getting it wrong.

  46. Check out the Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad at Wendy’s, 40 g Protein and most of it’s coming from the Hummus and Chickpeas not the Chicken Breast.

  47. “Unless you’re a chemotrophic bacterium living by a volcanic vent on the bottom of the seafloor, you derive most of the energy you need to survive from consuming other life forms.”
    ——-
    Nothing to do with Kapernick. I just wanted to point out that possumsauce has drafted the most stellar sentence in the history of the english language.

    That is all.

  48. 700levelvet says:
    Aug 31, 2016 10:53 AM
    Is he a 16 year old girl who craves attention?
    ————————————-
    In case you didn’t actually read the story, it said that he “confirmed” that he went vegan. That probably means that someone had to ask him “Is it true you went vegan?” and he confirmed it. It’s not like he just now blurted it out. By the way, he went vegan about 9 months ago. This is hardly breaking news. I find it funny that some media guy actually asked about his muscles. It’s almost creepy how much the media and some PFT posters talk about his biceps/muscles.

  49. I’m appalled, but not surprised by the ignorance of the article and the majority of comments in regards to diet. The reality of a vegetarian and vegan diet is it’s totally possible to meet all required dietary needs to keep the muscle mass and overall health needed by a pro athlete. The thing is, it takes a lot more effort to ensure all those needs are met. The only nutritional deficiency from the diet is b12 and requires supplements. Protein does not need to be an issue.

    Also, the brain is not technically a muscle and does not require protein for it’s health.

  50. I feel sorry for the guy…is it a concussion issue? Beats too tight? Flat bill hat cutting off circulation to brain?

    The guy is just not right and needs to seek help.

    He will be gone by Friday so what does it matter…another teams problem.

  51. “Kaepernick has clearly lost his primary will to play in the NFL .”

    Yup, he’s quitting, and when nobody picks him up, he and his supporters will wind up like Nolan Ryan and slam the race card on the table.

  52. nonoose says:
    Aug 31, 2016 11:08 AM

    Kendrick Farris is an American Olympic Weightlifter who set the American record with an 800lb lift in the trials leading up to the Rio Olympics.

    He is vegan.

    This nonsense that you can’t be vegan and have muscle mass is ignorance and needs to stop.
    ——————
    Glad someone brought him up. Even though I eat meat and love it. Nutrition is what works for you and your body. You can have no meat in your diet and stay strong and keep mass, you can also eat meat and stay lean. I have no problem with anyone who is vegan. I only have problems with people who don’t stand for our Flag.

  53. As others have pointed out, you can go vegetarian fairly easy and get the needed complex proteins.
    It is more difficult to go vegan and do the same. It can be done but requires more effort than most people are willing to give.

  54. I am really ashamed at all the hate toward Kap. The comments on this page, and what I’m seeing on social media are proving that EXACTLY what he is standing up for, I mean sitting down for, exist. All the hate is an act of oppression toward his beliefs. If this country was truly a place where anyone can be what they want to be, then no one would really give a damn if he was a vegan NFL player who decided to sit out the national anthem, for whatever reason.

    Signed, former US Army Reserve and National Guardsman

  55. jmc8888… GREAT POST!

    bubbamonkey100… “I feel sorry for the guy…is it a concussion issue? Beats too tight? Flat bill hat cutting off circulation to brain?” LMAO

  56. “As others have pointed out, you can go vegetarian fairly easy and get the needed complex proteins.
    It is more difficult to go vegan and do the same. It can be done but requires more effort than most people are willing to give.”

    I suggest you read up. I’ve been vegan for several years and it hasn’t changed my energy or muscle mass but then again, I know how to eat. Then ask why so much emphasis is placed on protein. I eat a plant based diet with whole grains, never felt better and I am about to be 57. It was a life changing move. If you truly want to educate yourself then go to nutrionfact.org

  57. Those who are saying it’s possible to keep muscle mass with a vegan diet are technically correct, but it is very hard. Many of the heavily muscled athletes who now are vegan gained that muscle while they were non-vegan. Also, there are studies that have show links to an increase of soft tissue injuries with a vegan diet. See Arian Foster. No soft tissue injuries until he adapted a vegan diet, now he can’t stay on the field.

  58. Maintaining mass (naturally) would have a lot more to do with diet than lifting weights. If you eat to maintain, you aren’t going to lose a bunch of mass. If you don’t workout you might not stay as lean and you might lose a little muscle but not that much. However, 200+ lbs of lean mass is going to need a significant amount of calories. I could see eating a high carb vegan diet with a large caloric deficit resulting in weightloss not sparing muscle anywhere near as well as a high protein (or high fat) animal based diet.

  59. guitarkevin says:
    Aug 31, 2016 1:40 PM
    I am really ashamed at all the hate toward Kap. The comments on this page, and what I’m seeing on social media are proving that EXACTLY what he is standing up for, I mean sitting down for, exist. All the hate is an act of oppression toward his beliefs. If this country was truly a place where anyone can be what they want to be, then no one would really give a damn if he was a vegan NFL player who decided to sit out the national anthem, for whatever reason.

    Signed, former US Army Reserve and National Guardsman
    ——————————–

    A lot of “pro-service” people, who mostly didn’t serve, hate you for your viewpoint because it doesn’t validate their simple-minded worldview, but you already knew that.

  60. In the 2012 and 2013 seasons Kaep was a beast! No team could stop his improvisational running attack! Remember GB? Even Seattle’s strong D struggled with containing him in the 2013 NFC C’Ship game.

    I support his self discovery. He’s growing up and maturing. What’s your excuse?

    Scott Key, the author of your favored national anthem was a slave-owning lawyer who spent a lifetime fighting against the rights of African-Americans.

    And you want blacks to stand in salute of that? Are you nuts?

  61. The vegan diet does not cause a lost in muscle… not properly utilizing the vegan diet causes weight loss causes muscle lost. I won a powerlifting competition on a vegan diet beating carnivores. There are plenty of bodybuilding vegans. The only US powerlifter to qualify for the Olympics is vegan. So those who think you can not build or maintain muscle of a vegan diet or at the very least uninformed.

  62. The vegan diet does not cause a lost in muscle… not properly utilizing the vegan diet causes weight loss and muscle lost. I won a powerlifting competition on a vegan diet beating carnivores. There are plenty of bodybuilding vegans. The only US powerlifter to qualify for the Olympics is vegan. So those who think you can not build or maintain muscle on a vegan diet are at the very least uninformed. Also those who try to say vegans that have large muscle built in on a non-vegan diet that is not always true AND if vegan the diet deplete muscle so much then they would have lost that muscle after giving up meat. This is the same thing you are currently claiming about Kap so you can’t have it both ways. I have never felt better… my joints don’t ache anymore. My recovery time is much quicker and my blood pressure, cholesterol and the rest of my levels are perfect. There are millions that can say the same thing. Go figure for those saying it is not healthy lifestyle.

  63. The ignorance about veganism (and diet and nutrition in general) expressed by many commentors (as well as the article itself) is astounding. People eat cows because they are high in protein. So cows must be carnivorous according to the specious logic employed here. If cows and other herbivores can build muscle mass on a plant-based diet, then so can we. Our digestive systems are much more similar to those of herbivores than those of carnivores. People hate on vegans because they don’t like being (passively) reminded of their own hypocrisy.

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