Shelli Beecher-Seitzler is a natural bodybuilder who has made an impressive impact on the sport in a short time.
After several people suggested she compete, she started training six days a week with the aim of competing. After five months she entered the 2018 INBF NW Royal Natural Bodybuilding Championship.
“I had no idea that I would place second in the Figure division and not only first in FitBody division, but also, overall FitBody Champion” Shelli explains. “This accomplishment granted me a Pro Card with World Natural Body Building Federation (WNBF).”
Seven months later she competed in a Pro Debut Competition (INFB/WNBF Washington State Natural Puget Sound Pro Am). “I won first place in FitBody and also competed in Masters Figure – also, winning first place. That enabled me to earn my second Pro Card in Masters Figure. I had been told by several of the 15 judges that if had I entered ‘Overall Figure’ I would have won overall champion in that division as well. Again, being brand new to the sport, I realized I had much to learn.”
In the same week she competed at the large National Physique Committee (NPC) Emerald Cup competition, and earned a 5th place trophy and crown in Figure category.
Shelli was particularly pleased as she was competing against people using steroids. Shelli says her rivals “were shocked that as a natural athlete I had placed in their NPC Federation in my first attempt. Most importantly they were amazed I achieved this as a vegan.”
In 2019 she returned to the INFB NW Royal Natural BodyBuilding Competition as
a Pro Guest Performer and award presenter, “to finish full circle back to the competition that gave me Pro status just 11 months prior!”
“I feel that this past year has been one of many celebrations and accomplishments as a Pro Vegan Athlete. I take pride in competing in the WNBF (oldest and most respected, stringent anti-doping, natural federations in the industry)!”
Shelli’s veganism is central to her competition. “At 46 years old [in 2019], I feel I have accomplished what others have trained decades for – simply by the advantage of my vegan diet.”
Shelli turned vegetarian around age 21. She turned vegan in 2014, 20 years later “after reading and following ‘The Clean in 14 Detox’ book written by Karma Chow, following a surgery. I believe doing this detox really helped me recover from the effects of general anesthesia and the umbilical hernia repair surgery itself!”
“It was apparent that after completing The Clean in 14 Detox that I could no longer consume eggs or dairy. My skin reacted with Rosacea after re-introducing eggs and when I reintroduced cheese, I acquired jaw line (hormonal) acne. Being that the eggs and dairy cheese I ate were organic, it was clear that it simply was the ‘food’ itself and not some other issue like pesticides that were causing my skin to react this way. The undesirable skin effects were a great deterrent to keep eating plant foods!”
Now Shelli eats a wholefood diet. When travelling she researches vegan restaurants and food markets and preps her own food.
“The foods I eat on a daily basis are: spinach, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, green beans, tempeh, grapefruit, blueberries, apples, quinoa, brown rice, lentils, nut butters and garbanzo beans.”
Fuelling the training
Coached by an established trainer (Nolan McSheridan) and in consultation with a vegan nutritionist, Shelli has a structured and demanding training program. In addition she has yoga on her rest day, and enjoys downhill skiing in winter and hiking and climbing in summer.
“My personal trainer is amazed that I do not get sore following the two hour training program I complete 6 days a week. It is my belief that I do not build up lactic acid as other bodybuilding athletes do and therefore, it is very rare for my muscles to be sore post workout – simply from my plant foods diet! My personal trainer has been very supportive of the way I eat.
“My seasoned IBFF pro, nutritionist, Judy Morris, [Instagram:Supernatural_vegan] became vegan just over a year ago. She has has said she has not seen such consistent results amongst her nutrition clients as she has seen with my progress. Judy works with clients and athletes of all dietary plans and prefers plant diet – she believes it is superior given her findings!”
“Given I achieved Pro status with my first competition and placed first at my Pro Debut – all within this past year – I became qualified to compete at the 2019 WNBF Worlds Pro Championship Competition in November 2019 in Islip, NY.
“I would like to take the next year to compete as Pro once again in the upcoming Washington State Natural Puget Sound Pro Am in April 2020. After that, I think I may be ready to compete at the next WNBF Worlds Championship Competition. Also, this additional time enables me to focus on the potential of achieving a sponsor for that event. “
“While I have not yet had the chance to view Academy Award winning director, James Camerons’ most recent film, The Game Changers, I feel it arrives at an opportune time. Many people have asked me about my successes achieved so quickly in a sport that typically takes competitors several years to obtain. It is my belief that my success is largely in part to my team (nutritionist, personal trainer and posing coach, John Nickerson) and without them, I would not have achieved what I have.
“When we look to the largest land animals on earth and the plant diets they consume, it is no wonder that as humans we too, can achieve great physical outcomes simply by eating plants alone.”