We talked with Shelli Beecher-Seitzler in November, 2019.
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hello! Thank you for giving me this opportunity to introduce myself and be featured on BulkHackers.com!
My name is Shelli Beecher-Seitzler and I am 46 years old. I live in the Seattle area and in addition to being a single parent – raising my two children, I work full time as a Licensed and Nationally Certified Mental Health Counselor in my private practice. My specialization is in providing anxiety and trauma resolution therapy for clients. While I love this rewarding career, it can be demanding at times.
Bodybuilding has become a wonderful outlet to balance the additional stresses of work and following my divorce. My pro bodybuilding journey began as a 45th birthday gift to myself.
Previously, I had randomly worked out maybe three days a week before I decided as a ‘bucket list’ goal to enter my first bodybuilding competition. I had about four to five months of training before my first International Natural Bodybuilding Federation (INBF) competition in September of 2018.
Typically, if I put my mind to something, I generally will do the research and work required to strive to achieve success. So, I hired a personal trainer, Nolan McSheridan, from my local gym to design my workouts.
Additionally, as a five-year Vegan, I knew my plant-based diet would promote the best possible physical conditioning and aesthetics outcome for my bodybuilding. After research on Instagram, I contacted Los Angeles-based IFBB Pro, Judy Morris, to become my sports nutritionist.
Additionally, I work with pro bodybuilder and promoter, John Nickerson, to learn the exact poses necessary for INBF competitions.
This team of professionals really are the key to my success in earning my pro cards with World Natural Body Building Federation (WNBF) in both Fit Body (2018) and in Masters Figure (2019)!
I am very proud to have earned these pro cards with WNBF as it is the oldest and most respected, stringent anti-doping, natural federations in the industry!
In addition to that, I competed and surprisingly earned a crown and trophy by placing 5th (as a natural athlete and a vegan!) out of 11 (mostly steroid enhanced) athletes in the large 2019 National Physique Committee (NPC) Emerald Cup!
This past year has been whirl-wind of achievements and accomplishments that bring me so much gratitude! Never did I imagine as a novice bodybuilder I could achieve pro status in less half a year’s time!
I am honored to be an Ora Organic Athlete Ambassador and have been featured on my local Super Supplements/Vitamin Shoppe’s Instagram page.
My goal is to find sponsorship to train for and compete as a professional at the Worlds 2020 WNBF Championship! I would like to see just how far I can go with this fitness journey!
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
My training is two hours, six days a week in the gym and my “rest day” often includes Vinyasa hot yoga at my favorite studio or alpine skiing or hiking.
Being I am very new to this intensive sport of bodybuilding, I asked my personal trainer, Nolan McSheridan, to help further explain my training in detail. This is what he said:
“Shelli performs Multi-Muscle High Intensity Training – Once every two weeks for 40 Minutes.
Weight lifting six days a week often includes a Push-Pull training system, to ensure a balance in functionality/appearance via Popular Training Techniques/Splits utilized on an individual training day:
- Arms/Shoulders/Upper Back
- Legs/Butt/Low Back/ Hips
**Core/Abs/Forearms receive daily training
High Volume sets are performed to fully exhaust muscles. A variety of heavy rowing exercises and Pull/Chin Up variations are performed to maintain muscular frame.
Shoulders & Legs can often be subject to injury – particularly to the joints. To achieve the development required, we utilize lower weight/body weight for these muscle groups with high volume of exercises to fully exhaust and spur development in these areas.
Shelli’s diet and yoga training are so effective that soreness is very minimal, and she remains injury free.
She is able to handle a difficult exercise regimen that was developed in the spirit of golden era Body Building training, popularized by Frank Zane/Arnold Schwarzenegger – with modern substitutions/additions.
Many of which I drew from my martial arts background – these exercises compliment Shelli’s experience and skill with yoga. This further helps her to develop a muscular and aesthetic physique that is just as conditioned and functional as it looks.”
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My training is going very well at the moment. Currently, I am in my “off season” however, I do not decrease intensity or frequency in my workouts. My diet loosens a little so that prep time comes easier for me. I try not to gain more than 10 pounds from my competition weight year-round.
I love the look of being shredded and cut and yet, I also recognize that when my deltoid “tear-drop” and quad split appearances fade, it is healthy and normal. I do experience a bit of body dysmorphia as most competitors seemingly do, during these transitional times.
I am pleased to say that I’ve never missed a period (even at nine percent body fat as measured via DEXA scan) during the three separate competition preps or at any other point of my bodybuilding journey! I think this is due to the exceptionally nutritious vegan meal plans my nutritionist designs for me.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
When I skip a workout day, it tends to throw my schedule off and psychologically feels as if something is ‘wrong’ or as if I’m ‘sick’ – if I’m not traveling and at home. I’m feel most in balance when I have morning workouts completed. It has become a lifestyle.
I rise before my kids, wake up to train at my local gym on non-school days. Otherwise, after they are off to school, I work out and meal prep each morning before I leave to work at my counseling practice.
I’ve found this is very important for my appetite satiation, energy maintenance and overall health. If I stay on top of nutrition and hydration, I am rarely if ever hungry (even during “Peak Week”).
Prior to competitions, I implement several sessions of acupuncture with Tracey Steger, EAMP, LAc. If there was one aspect of my health, I wish I could change it would be my sleep!
Unfortunately, I average five hours of sleep nightly. If I could achieve longer and deeper sleep I know I facilitate more muscle growth and cell turn over! Guided (gratitude and empowerment) meditations, deep-tissue massage and acupuncture definitely help with my sleep quality.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
At 46 years old, I feel I have accomplished what others have trained decades for – I believe simply by the advantage of my vegan diet. I turned vegetarian around 21 years old after exposure to seeing the ‘real deal’ of animals being made into ‘food’ while traveling in Asia.
I became vegan in 2014, 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 very efficiently.
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 from animal secretions (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 nutritious plant foods.
My diet consists predominately of certified organic food. Pesticides and GMOs are clearly harmful not only to our environment, but to our health. I feel very passionate about consuming whole foods with minimal processing and to drinking an abundance (a gallon or more) of Enagic water on a daily basis.
I use TrainerFu and MyNetDiary Apps for my training and dietary tracking. My calorie count is not below 1400 calories at any point of my prep diet or peak week. My macros tend to be lower fat and more equal ratios of protein and complex carbs. My re-feeds happen maybe once or twice during my prep for competitions.
More recently, I’ve become aware of the effects of consumption of sugars and the effects on my health. During my ‘re-feeds’ and ‘off-season’ I’ve made the direct connection of consumption of sugars to my joints aching with the effects of increased inflammation.
I’ve also noticed an elevated heart rate (tracked via my Apple watch and AutoSleep App) during sleep after consuming simple carbohydrates (during off-season – my favorites being Vegan dark chocolate, granola and desserts).
My sleeping heart rate tends to usually be anywhere from 35 bpm to 42 bpm throughout the night when I eat vegan whole foods and complex carbohydrates.
However, if I consume simple carbs like bread, desserts or alcohol – my sleeping heart rate jumps to 54 – 60 bpm throughout the night. I love the science of food and the observing the effects measurable via the technology now available!
My favorite supplements that I am consuming right now are:
- Ora Organics Renewable Energy, Organic and Vegan Pre-Workout Supplement.
- True Athlete – Kre-Alkalyn Powder – Buffered Creatine.
- Kaged Muscle – BCAA Fermaceutical Grade.
- Vega Sport – Plant Based Premium Protein, Mocha Flavored.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
In high school, I remember looking at a bodybuilding magazine and discovering Corey Everson. Corey won the Ms. Olympia contest six years in a row from 1984 to 1989. I cut out her pictures and placed them on my locker door. I loved that as a professional athlete she was curvy, chiseled, strong and female! Women athletes were rarely acknowledged then as they are today.
Little did I know that my locker door pictures would later become my present vision board reality! I never imagined I would 30 years later become a bodybuilder – let alone a Pro in the sport! The thought still makes me laugh and shake my head and feel such intense gratitude!!
Finding Ultra, a book written by Rich Roll, had a great influence upon me around the time I was converting from vegetarian to vegan in 2014. Reading about how Rich Roll turned his life around to become a vegan super athlete is just amazing. Fortitude really has its’ benefits!
I listen to a number of podcasts on my commute to work and one of my favorites is “Generation V”, by Nimai Delgado. This athlete has never eaten meat once in his lifetime and looks absolutely incredible as a Pro Body Builder!
Another inspirational athlete I follow is Vegan Calisthenics Expert, Trainer and Athlete, Frank Medrano. He has equally impressed me with his gravity defying movements of strength.
I’m so happy there is a vegan movement that shows this is a lifestyle that out performs far beyond any ‘fad diets’ out there. There is a consciousness to the movement that has profound positive impact not only on our health and sports performance, but benefiting the environment and of course, animal welfare.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
Athletically, I started out as a competitive swimmer (50 meter and 500 meter events) in high school. I swam on varsity and competed in district meets. One of my first jobs was as an outdoor lifeguard, swim instructor and masters swim team coach (in my high school and then undergraduate university years).
I was one of the first females in 1989 at my high school to compete with my best girlfriend as a powerlifter for one season. She did exceptionally well and I did not! My body is not well-suited for heavy lifting. That is the extent of my sports involvement until after having two waterbirths and I was ready to ‘shed the pregnancy weight’.
I began regularly practicing yoga again and completing half-hour at home workouts (six days a week). I learned about meal proportions via a friend who told me about the color-coded containers using BeachBody’s ‘21 Day Fix’ by Autumn Calabrese. This system helped me shed almost 20 lbs in 2014!
For those seeking to start out in bodybuilding/fitness, I would advise you to do your research and find certified professionals that really connect with your goals. I would encourage people to use proper lifting techniques. Unless you are injured/developing strength, perform pullups from a fully hanging positions.
Make sure your lifts and pulls are full range and if they can’t be completed with proper alignment, lighten your lifting load! It’s not impressive to me to see someone lift heavy if their form and alignment are poor!
Bodybuilders are different than Crossfitters and Power Lifters… our bodies if taken care of have greater capacity for longevity in the bodybuilding sport without risking injury.
Lastly, while as bodybuilders we may appear huge on stage and seem exceptionally strong, I personally am very tiny when at stage weight. I’m able to wear size 13 kids clothing – it’s an illusion! This sport is about the muscle development and aesthetic proportions above bulk and heavy lifts.
Make positive vision boards and bullet journals with check offs and use them! Set boundaries and avoid others with negative attitudes and/or jealousy. Instead, find people that have a positive attitude to create your fit family.
I believe it is important to encourage your fellow competitors and support one another. I view this sport as an opportunity to keep becoming the best version of myself.
The real competition is to see what improvements I can bring to the stage each and every time I step out to compete against myself.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
As I mentioned, my career is as a licensed mental health psychotherapist. While I’ve worked with professional athletes within my mental health counseling practice, I do not provide fitness training or nutrition-based services. I refer people requesting guidance in that area to the professionals that have helped me achieve my successes.
It keeps my profession as a bodybuilder (for the most part) as a separate lifestyle from my actual career that I love. Being I taught and coached swimming for several years in college, I no longer have the desire to swim in the pool anymore! LOL, surfing or SCUBA – yes, swimming laps – no. I do not want to burnout on yoga or bodybuilding by making it my career.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
On Facebook you can find me at: Ꮩegan WNBF Fit Ᏼody PRO
On Instagram at: @Vegan_WNBFpro
My Interview at: Great Vegan Athletes