Forget Resolutions… Try This!

Here we go again!

The New Year is right around the corner and it’s time to consider resolutions… How will you go about deciding on one? Are you fed up with making resolutions that you don’t keep? Maybe you see the tradition as pointless and you’ve given up on making one all together. You might even see resolutions as a great way to set yourself up to fail, yet again.

I get it! I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution in as long as I can remember. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t move into each new year with goals and dreams. I’m going to offer you a couple resolution alternatives I use that will help you put a fresh spin on the yearly tradition right here, right now.

Alternative #1

First, instead of one overwhelming resolution, let’s look at making simple, manageable commitments to yourself that will lead to replacing dis-empowering thought patterns and limiting beliefs with empowering ones. In order to do this, you’ll need to start by identifying the obstacles preventing you from stepping into your power.

Instead of weight loss as a resolution for example, I encourage you to first look at the reasons you want to lose the weight. Is your reasoning based on health and longevity because you love yourself and you want to be active into old age? Or is it because you hate your body, can’t stand to be in pictures, and avoid the mirror at all costs? If your reason is the latter, there are some deeper concerns to address.

The majority of my clients come into the 6-Month Plant-Empowered Coaching Program wanting to lose weight and change the shape of their bodies. What they must accept though, is the process for changing your body starts with your mindset. Loving, accepting, and respecting yourSELF AND your body as it is right now is the prerequisite for changing it.

I’m not talking about a quick fix here. I’m talking about doing the mental and emotional work it takes to get to a place where you make decisions out of pure love for yourself… Only then does will power no longer matter… Only then can you feel confident that you will continue to make the choices that will serve you best for the rest of your life (creating a sustainable lifestyle you love).

Using weight loss as the example, a commitment you may want to make to yourself in 2019 is to look in the mirror and say, “I am perfectly imperfect and I love, accept, and respect myself as I am right now,” every day (or whatever mantra hits home).

Alternative #2

Another commitment may be to start chewing your food thoroughly, to a paste, before swallowing. If that sounds silly to you, just know that it sounded silly to me too when I heard it recommended. I did it anyway though, and it seriously changed my life. I had digestive issues for years, along with anxiety about when I would eat because I always felt bloated after a meal. The issues completely went away with the simple commitment I made to myself to chew my food thoroughly!

If all of this sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry, I have created a thorough Self-Assessment worksheet (adapted from the 6-Month Plant-Empowered Coaching Program Workbook) that you can download for free HERE!  

As nerdy as it sounds, being Type A, I actually love filling out self-assessments. I also love self-exploration, as it is a necessary step toward personal growth. Growth requires us to take the risk of hopping outside our comfort zones, something that happens when we start digging deep and evaluating our mindset and emotional health.

The Self-Assessment evaluates several areas that our Plant-Empowered Coaching Program covers:

  • Your eating mindset (relationship with food)
  • Your body image (relationship with your body)
  • Your emotional health (relationship with yourself and others)
  • How you operate (from a place of abundance or scarcity)

Interestingly, all these areas are interconnected. If you have an unhealthy relationship with food, you are likely to have an unhealthy relationship with your body. If you have a poor body image, you’re likely to lack the tools you need for emotional health. If you’re unhealthy emotionally, there’s a good chance you operate from a place of scarcity. Get it?

Once you have the awareness, it’s time to start getting educated about the root causes, and learning the tools necessary to begin the rewiring process. I have created many free resources to help you get started. All the resources will give you suggestions for simple commitments you can make to yourself in the New Year.

Alternative #3

On the other end of the spectrum from making a simple commitment to yourself, is making a seemingly impossible goal. I’m talking about shoot for the stars! The truth is, anything really is possible when you develop self-love and use the Law of Attraction to put out the energy you want to get back. Maybe you want to spend a month in Australia and scuba dive with sharks. Maybe you want to make a million dollars doing what you’re passionate about. Maybe you want to inspire a hundred people to go vegan. I mean really, what’s the worst that can happen… you don’t accomplish the impossible goal? Big freakin’ deal (not)!

If the thought of setting a seemingly impossible goal  brings up anxiety and fears of failure, you can probably guess my response. Identifying the root of that fear, and gaining tools to empower yourself so that you are no longer a victim to your fears, is what needs to happen before moving forward. This takes us full circle back to creating simple, manageable commitments to yourself.

Alternative #4

I want to finish with a commitment to yourself that will help you regardless of which areas you struggle most in. Eliminate one or more dis-empowering phrases from your vocabulary.

Phrases like:

  • “I have to” (read all about the power of using, “I choose to” instead HERE)
  • “But” (negates everything you said prior)
  • “Why me” (puts you in victim mode)
  • “I can’t” (takes your power away and leaves no room for figuring out another way)
  • “I’ll try” (no, you’ll either do it or you won’t… you get to choose)

There you have it! If you find the perspective I’ve presented here intriguing, I encourage you to learn more about how you can transform your mindset, body, and life with the 6-Month Plant-Empowered Coaching Program. I’d also love to see you join our Empowered Vegan Life Facebook tribe for free support as you start this incredible new chapter in your life.

I’ll end with this… Kick the excuses to the curb right here, right now. You have the power to write a new story for your life in 2019! Let’s do this!!

A Quick, Easy Vegan Recipe For Pre-Training Calories


Fueling your body with healthy, nutrient dense, plant-based calories before an intense training session helps me get the most out of my workout…

One thing I am not however, is a gourmet chef! I don’t spend all day in the kitchen experimenting with food. I like things quick and easy. However, one cannot live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches alone. Believe me, I’ve tried!

I need nutrient and calorie dense meals to fuel my heavy training sessions, otherwise I’ll end up eating Oreos all day.

Next time you need a calorie dense, nutrient packed meal try this recipe I got from my friend, registered dietitian, Matt Ruscigno.

1. Mash 3 bananas

2. Stir in 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

3. Add one medium diced apple

Mix it all together and go!


Don’t let looks fool you, it tastes great!







Nutrition Information

Calories: 598

Fat: 17.5 grams

Carbohydrates: 112 grams

Fiber: 15.5 grams

Protein: 12.5 grams

I hope you enjoy this simple and tasty recipe and be sure to let me know after you’ve tried it!

Stay Strong AND Healthy!



Five Easy Steps to go Vegan in 2015!


At the 2014 Naturally Fit Games with one of my vegan inspirations, and Plantbuilt Teammate, Robert Cheeke!

Learning how to take small, easy steps to go vegan, looking at it as a day-by-day transition, is the way to making the transition a success.

Since switching to a vegan diet plan I’d have to say that aside from the obvious “where do you get your protein from” question, what I hear the most are objections to why other people just can’t do it. Usually it’s too expensive, too hard, too restrictive; when in actuality it is none of these!
Keep in mind, I never tell people what they should or shouldn’t do. I am not one of the “on my soapbox” preachy vegans. Unfortunately there tends to be some negativity around the “v-word” which is one of the reasons I try to avoid it at all cost when talking with people who don’t follow a similar lifestyle. As soon as you say, “vegan”, many people immediately become defensive even though I never push my opinion on anyone.
Now, on the flipside of that, when people start arguments with me about why we need animal protein, how you can’t get strong or build muscle without it, and other caveman or apex predator nonsense, or try to convince me that there is such a thing as “humane slaughter” I will not hesitate in calling them on their B.S. and voicing my opinion. Particularly when the people that tell me they love animals are plowing through burgers in the same breath.
It took me some time to come around to the idea of adopting a vegan diet plan and actually make the change. In hindsight it really isn’t that hard. Not at all.
That being said, here are 5 simple steps to successfully adopting a plant-based diet. If you apply one step per day, you will be 100% plant-based in less than a week. If you apply one step per week, you will be 100% plant-based in just over a month. If you require the requisite 21 days to form a habit, then simply apply one step per month and you will be 100% plant-based in just under half a year.
The take-home point here is to focus on progress and not perfection. If you follow this approach you will be looking back and agreeing with me that the whole process is really very easy.
One important point to remember is calorie intake. You will have a very hard time trying to substitute a spinach salad for a 16 oz. steak or a plate of bacon and eggs. Be sure to swap animal-based dishes with plant-based dishes of similar caloric density.
Step 1 – Cut out all red meat.
Step 2 – Cut out all white meat.
Step 3 – Cut out fish.
Step 4 – Cut out eggs and dairy.
Step 5 – Start being aware of the hidden ingredients in foods, particularly baked goods that use butter, milk, and eggs; as well as the clothes you wear, products you use, etc.
Bonus! Step 6 – Volunteer your time with an animal rescue, shelter, or rehabilitation facility and give back to those living beings who are treated as commodities. Remember, they don’t have their own voice, if you truly love animals be the voice for them and support people and organizations who dedicate their lives to animal welfare.
Now that we’ve talked about what not to eat, check out what you can eat.

  • Fruits. Spare me the “fruits are sugar and will make you fat” crap. It’s like my friend John “The Badass Vegan” Lewis says, “Fruit doesn’t make you fat. It’s that gluten-free brownie that makes you fat.”
  • Vegetables.
  • Greens.
  • Oats, rice, and other healthy sprouted or whole grains.
  • Nuts & seeds.
  • Beans & legumes.

In spite of what many people would try to have you believe, it is 100% possible to not only survive, but to totally thrive and be healthy while following a 100% plant-based diet. You can excel as an athlete as well. There are far too many real world examples of this to believe anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.
You want strength and power? Look at strongman Patrik Baboumian and NFL defensive tackle David Carter.
You want physique? Look at professional bodybuilding champion Torre “Tha Vegan Dread” Washington and IFBB professional bodybuilder Jehina Malik. A side note – Torre has been vegetarian since birth and vegan for the last 16 years and Jehina has been vegan since birth!!!
You want endurance? Look at ultra runner Scott Jurek and ultraman triathlete Rich Roll.
You want a multi-sport athlete? How about ultra runner, bodybuilder, and long distance rower Austin Barbisch.
You want verification from plant-based Registered Dietitians? Look at Matt Ruscigno and Julieanna Hever.
If you want even more examples, look at my 40+ teammates on the Plantbuilt Vegan Muscle Team at and browse the numerous profiles at – the website started by the original vegan bodybuilder, Robert Cheeke!
Going vegan is easy. Much easier than you would think or that it’s made out to be. Make sure you are getting a lot of fresh, raw, plant-based foods in your diet, focusing on variety. This will ensure that you are getting the entire spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are abundant in plant foods. Throw in other steamed and cooked vegetables, healthy unprocessed grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds and you’ll be good to go! You will have all the macro- and micro-nutrients you need to be healthy and strong with your vegan diet plan.
Good luck and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask, I’m more than happy to help in any way I can!

My Vegan Journey Part 2: Regaining My Strength

Vegan Fitness Journey 2

“Being part of Team Plantbuilt is a huge honor as it allows me to be part of a much larger group of athletes who share a common goal, to show that you can be strong, athletic and build muscle on a vegan diet plan and most importantly to support animal welfare.”

In my last blog I talked about the dramatic changes in health I experienced when I switched to a plant-based diet. After getting healthy, I started getting that competitive itch again, only this time my motivation was different. I wanted to see how I could stack up to my old competition results as a vegan with much less body-weight.

Prior to going vegan I achieved personal bests in the following powerlifts: 450 lb. squat, 315 lb. bench press, and a 463 lb. deadlift; and in kettlebell sport, my event is the long cycle (or clean & jerk of two kettlebells for 10 minutes without setting the bells down for as many reps as you can perform), I had personal bests of 71 reps in training and 65 reps in competition with two 20kg (44lb.) kettlebells. All of these were achieved at a body weight of about 220 lbs.

I had competed in powerlifting from 2005 to 2007 and kettlebell sport from 2008 to 2009.

I decided to try my first competitions in 2013 and 2014 by competing at the Punch Gym Sarasota Kettlebell Sport Championships. I hit all-time personal bests of 72 reps in training and 67 reps in competition weighing under 187 lbs. In addition I won my individual division as well as the overall title in the long cycle competition both years.


Winning my division and best lifter overall in the long cycle event at the 2013 Punch Gym Sarasota Kettlebell Sport Championship!

Halfway through my training cycle for the 2014 Florida kettlebell meet I was contacted by my friend Giacomo Marchese. Giacomo is an amateur natural bodybuilder and co-founder of Team Plantbuilt, an all-vegan team of strength and physique athletes. In 2014 they were recruiting members in sports other than bodybuilding. Since the event they were competing at did not have kettlebell sport, I had the choice of powerlifting or CrossFit. Due to my history in powerlifting, even though it was 7 years prior, I agreed to join Plantbuilt to be part of their first ever powerlifting team in 2014. I had exactly 12 weeks to prepare following the Florida kettlebell sport meet. Due to the limited prep time and a nagging shoulder injury I opted to compete in the deadlift-only division instead of the full meet.

Powerlifting is a total of your best squat, bench press and deadlift done in a single competition. They usually offer single lift events in the bench press and deadlift at meets as well.

Even though I hadn’t pulled a heavy deadlift in training since late 2007 I managed to make a 425 lb. deadlift during my training for the 2014 Naturally Fit Games powerlifting competition and weighing in at 193 lbs. I made a 402 lb. deadlift at the competition, just 61 lbs. under my best all time lift and now at a much lighter bodyweight.


Representing Team Plantbuilt in the deadlift-only division at the Naturally Fit Games 2015 Simply Fit Open Powerlifting Championship!

For 2015 the Naturally Fit Games added kettlebell sport to their event line-up and I switched back to training for that event. Unfortunately about 10 weeks out from the event, which was just held on June 6, my shoulder injury started to come back and I made the last minute decision to compete in the deadlift again and with only 9 weeks of training managed to lift a personal best of 407 lbs. in the 198 lb. weight class, just like 2014 I weighed in at 193 lbs. Unfortunately my 407 lb. lift was turned down by two of the three judges, even though I lifted it, whether or not my knees were fully locked out was questioned by the judges so two of the three turned it down and I only received official credit for my 385 lb. second attempt. I had numerous other lifters tell me they couldn’t see anything wrong with the lift, so if it was a technicality it was a minor one but regardless, it felt great!

Being part of Team Plantbuilt is a huge honor as it allows me to be part of a much larger group of athletes who share a common goal, to show that you can be strong, athletic and build muscle on a vegan diet plan and most importantly to support animal welfare. The money we raise as a team through our fundraising events goes to support animal welfare organizations and vegan outreach.


I can‘t be serious all the time! Getting at posing lesson with my friend and teammate, physique competitor Erin Fergus during at training session at Bonebreaker Barbell in Austin, TX – the most hardcore vegan gym on the planet! Can’t build muscle on plants? Erin disagrees!

Looking forward I plan to continue to compete and represent Plantbuilt with my goal of ultimately exceeding my best powerlifts from my days as an omnivorous lifter. As a collective, all of the vegan athletes on Plantbuilt are proof that you can not only thrive, but you you can kick butt athletically as a vegan, just look at the numerous top 3 placings and overall wins our athletes are racking up every year!


Team Plantbuilt 2015! A bunch of bodybuilders, powerlifters, CrossFitters, and kettlebell sport lifters who are vegan for the animals. The only thing we kill is the stage!

If you would like to learn more about Team Plantbuilt and our mission, visit us on the web at and follow us on social media. Since our 2015 event just happened updates are rolling in daily on Plantbuilt, and our individual athlete social media pages.

I hope my personal experience in regaining both my health and my strength shows you that you can build strength, muscle, and most importantly your health by adopting a plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle. I wish you nothing but success as you begin, or continue, your journey on the plant-based path!

For the Animals,

Hello Sexy Fit Vegan Community!

Scott Shetler Vegan Athlete

Scott Shetler

Hello Sexy Fit Vegan Community! My name is Scott Shetler and I just wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and extend a huge thanks to Ella and the rest of the team here at SFV for the invitation to come on board!

I have been a health and fitness professional for over 16 years now and in 2010 I decided to stop eating meat and eventually made the decision to go 100% vegan on December 31, 2012.

My decision to switch to a vegan lifestyle was very simple – for the animals. However the health and performance benefits of a vegan lifestyle cannot be denied. After going plant-based I lost 50lbs of fat (when I was a competitive powerlifter I was big and strong but FAR from healthy), improved my health exponentially, and adopted a more holistic approach to health and wellness, my journey of which is outlined in my book “Abundant Health: Fitness for the Mind, Body, and Spirit“.

I’ve even dabbled with strength competitions again, in 2014 I was beyond stoked to be invited to be part of the Plantbuilt Vegan Muscle Team, and have surprised myself with how well it’s been going!

These are all topics I plan to dive more deeply into in my upcoming blogs and am so excited to have this platform to share the health and performance benefits of a vegan lifestyle with you.

Until next time, stay strong and healthy!