How does legendary musical artist Lenny Kravitz stay in tip-top shape? A combination of workouts and a mostly raw, whole foods, plant-based diet. Earlier this month, Kravitz, 58, was spotted at a New York City Equinox gym, working out in boots, sunglasses, and a tracksuit.
“He was really working out and … strength training,” a source told Page Six. “He was very friendly, and talked to everyone who said hello to him. He declined photos, but he was very friendly and very nice.”
Rumor has it that Kravitz changed into sneakers after working out in his boots. And while it is important to wear whatever makes you comfortable when working out, is the key to Kravitz’s sculpted physique rooted in his plant-based diet?
Vegan diet and fitness
Even as he is approaching 60, Kravtiz hits the gym regularly and stays in top shape. How does diet help keep the four-time Grammy award-winner so fit?
Stephanie McBurnett, RDN, a Nutrition Educator from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine—a medical group with 17,000 doctor members—explains that nutrients in a plant-based diet might be the key to a fit physique.
“Muscles primarily run on glucose from carbohydrates, a whole foods diet is filled with carbohydrates from nuts and seeds, vegetables, beans, and fruits,” McBurnett tells VegNews. “These foods are also rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, supporting recovery and performance.”
Since plant-based diets are devoid of cholesterol and lower in saturated fat, McBurnett says this dietary pattern improves the viscosity of blood, allowing more oxygen to reach muscles.
“Plant foods are very anti-inflammatory, and eating large amounts will help athletes recover faster and train longer and harder,” McBurnett says. “Studies have shown that plant-based athletes have better heart health, performance, and recovery than those with a diet high in animal products.”
A number of recent studies have linked a plant-based diet to longevity. Last month, a study published in the JAMA Network open journal found that a healthful plant-based diet reduces risks of mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Is abstaining from animal products key to healthy aging?
“Animal products are devoid of fiber and have high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, which, as we age, can contribute to chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers,” McBurnett says. “Studies show that those eating the least animal products and the most plants, such as whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, had the lowest rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and total cholesterol.”
And research continues to disprove that consumption of animal products is necessary for building muscle. In fact, a study published in March in the Journal of Nutrition found that young adults who consume a high-protein diet, regardless of the protein source being vegan or animal-based, translates to similar responses in muscle building during training.
This research builds upon another study published last year that found men who consume adequate amounts of plant-based protein with soy supplementation can build as much muscle mass as those who eat animal products and whey protein powder
Another benefit? “Plant foods are also rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, which are associated with a longer life expectancy,” McBurnett says.
Lenny Kravitz’s vegan journey
Kravitz first revealed during an interview with Men’s Health in 2020 that he has been eating mostly raw since 2016. “My best shape is not behind me. It’s in front of me right now. We keep moving that bar as we get older,” Kravitz, then 56, said, adding that he is “very careful about what I put into my body and how I take care of my body.”
During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kravitz moved to an Airstream trailer in the Bahamas where he grew most of his own food in an adjacent garden and spent time working out in nature.
Kravitz gave a sneak peak of what was in his refrigerator, which he stocked mostly green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and cucumbers, and kept garden-fresh fruit, including local soursop, on his counter.
“A great blessing of living here in the Bahamas is that I get to grow my own food,” Kravitz said. “So I have a garden where most of this food comes from. As you can see, I’m vegan and primarily raw.”
Kravitz also showed off his gym, which was a horizontal tree trunk that he uses as a weightlifting bench, along with hand weights. “This workout is amazing,” Kravitz said. “I’d rather be outside in nature than being cooped up in a gym.” Kravitz also revealed that he keeps his mind fit by “keeping it open.”
Given his recent sighting at Equinox, it looks like Kravitz moved at least some of his workouts indoors.