Bill Pearl is probably the most well-known of vegetarian bodybuilders. At his own peak as a bodybuilder when he last won the Mr. Universe in 1971, Bill weighed 242 pounds at a height of 5'10" and his arms measured 21 inches! Bill stopped using steroids by 1961.
He won the professional Mr. Universe title in 1971, at the age of 41, without the use of steroids and as a vegetarian, and is recognized as one of the all-time greats of bodybuilding. Bill's diet is lacto-ovo vegetarian, which means he eats eggs and dairy products.
He describes his experiences with the conversion to vegetarianism. "With each succeeding year the diet (lacto-ovo vegetarian), I've felt better. I'm more healthy, I can train with more energy, and I'm not as much of a "hard guy" as I used to be. I've become more concerned with my fellow man and the other inhabitants I share the planet withI have now been vegetarian for almost 20 years. We have no fish, fowl, or red meat in our diet. Yet I can still carry the same amount of muscle as I did in winning my four Mr. Universe titles. People can't believe it. They think that to have big muscles you have to eat meat - it's a persistent and recurring myth. But take it from me, there's nothing magic about eating meat that's going to make you a champion bodybuilder. Anything you can find in a piece of meat, you can find in other foods as well."
Bill Pearl, was one of the strongest bodybuilders ever, and for years he performed feats of arm strength few can match. He could twist a horseshoe like a pretzel, rip licence plates like cardboard, and bend a railroad spike into a "U" shape.
Back in the 60's Bill Pearl had a strong Man show, and did these things on a regular basis. Chuck Sipes copied Bill's routine. You can do a search and find out if I am correct. He would test horseshoes by smacking them against his open palm. Said he could tell if one had a stronger alloy, and that some were just impossible to bend. Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that Bill Pearl had a profound influence on him and although he never converted him to vegetarianism, he convinced him it was possible...
A couple of quick finds...
The first is from testosterone magazine; the second from Planet Muscle.
"Finally, the rough guys out there who think lifting heavy weights is only part of real strength will dig "Tough Guys," a look at the various feats performed by Bill Pearl and Chuck Sipes. These included bending steel bars, spikes, and horseshoes, tearing phone books and license plates, blowing up hot water balloons, snapping lengths of chain, and taking tops off some of those child-proof aspirin bottles. Once Pearl slipped with a spike and wound up driving it straight through his palm like Jesus. Ouch! I think I'll stick to lifting weights, how about you?"
"Likewise I can't count four times NABBA Mr. Universe Bill Pearl when he used to tear two license plates in half at once, although with California DMV fees as high as they are, anyone who could do this stunt should have a reduction in their fees."