John Rush, vegan American footballer

John Rush is an American footballer established, playing fullback for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League (CFL).

John played successfully at college from 2011 to 2015 and went on to play for the Blue Bombers in 2016. Over the next few years he was recognised as a regular team player as well as donating a lot of time to charity and community events.

In the 2019 John was picked for all regular-season games as well as playoffs, posting a career-high seven special-teams tackles, and one more in the playoffs.

Fullbacks are known as larger players as part of the team offense.  Duties involve power running, pass-catching and blocking for the quarterback.

In 2017 the 185cm (6 ft 1), 103 kg (227lb) Canadian turned vegan.  The motivation was very much to improve his athletic performance at first.

“I initially went vegan because I wanted to lose weight and the owner of the gym I was working out at told me I should try it for a month. I tried it and my body felt amazing after the first week. I decided to research it more and learn about what was happening and it was really amazing what I was learning.”

“At the time I was growing my hair out to cut for cancer, several women in my immediate family have had or are still battling cancer, including my mom (hers is in remission now). All the research talked about how a vegan diet helped with life longevity and battling diseases like cancer and heart disease and I was blown away.

“Then I dug some more and found out that there isn’t a single thing you can do that for the environment that is better than going vegan. Lastly, I have always been a huge lover of dogs but for some reason, I never made the connection to other animals until I started doing research into them. And they’re really astonishing like cows have best friends, pigs are the 5th smartest animal in the animal kingdom, elephants literally never forget things, they’re just like us. After learning all that it was hard for me to even look at meat anymore.”

He’s also been aware of other benefits.  “One of the big athletic benefits is that plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes are rich in antioxidants, which help the body’s cells recover after exercise” he said, referring to the reducing in inflammation in his knees.

“The science behind being plant-based and athletic performance is massive, it’s undeniable” he reflected.  “An added bonus, is being vegan is like the best thing you can do for the environment.”

John’s demanding sport means he has to be both strong and fast, so training often starts with heavy weights and includes sprinting.

He fuels this with a 100% vegan diet.

“I love routine so I try and keep my days as consistent as possible. In the morning I wake up and have a fruit smoothie with unsweetened almond milk, hemp hearts, chia seeds, ground flaxseed, and a scoop of vegan protein. After my morning workout, I’ll have a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and frozen fruits.

“After practice, I’ll have rice and veggies with some sort of protein source (mock meat, tofu etc.). For a snack I usually oven roast my own chickpeas and have that before dinner. I’m a huge fan of quinoa bowls and burritos, they’re so delicious and you can make them so many ways. So for dinner, I usually have a high protein quinoa bowl or burrito. If I’m still hungry after that I’ll have another smoothie.”


Interestingly, while John’s first steps into veganism were inspired by the aim of improving his health, he’s a huge animal lover.  In particular he’s inspired by dogs, and raises awareness of issues that dogs face.

“So I adopted my first dog when I was 9 years old and he instantly became my best friend” John said in an interview.  “He lived an amazing 15-year life and taught me so much about love and compassion and to never lose my youthful enthusiasm. Without all the hard work that shelters and rescues do that wouldn’t have been possible.

After volunteering his time at dog shelters in Winnipeg he decided to take on a road trip across Canada, stopping at dog shelters in each province.  

“We’re filming the whole trip and putting out episodes on Youtube to raise awareness for shelters and why everyone should be adopting and not going to breeders” he explains.  “The biggest way people can help now is by following me on social media Insta or Youtube to increase awareness, or if you have any old dog toys or blankets or anything bring them down to your local shelter. Most people don’t need how much they have and by giving them to the shelter you’re helping save lives”.

In 2019 John signed a two year extension to his contract which keeps him at the Blue Bombers until January 2021.

Alongside his characteristic energetic performances on the pitch, we can expect a dedication to his vegan diet and some lively social contributions to social media along the way.

More on John


Plant based athleticism

John on the team page

In action (video)