Vegan nonprofit bodybuilding organization PlantBuilt collectively won 32 medals during the 2017 Naturally Fit Games in Austin, TX last Saturday. The games welcomed 1000 total participants—39 of whom included PlantBuilt’s entrants—who were challenged in various fitness events including kettlebell, powerlifting, bodybuilding, Olympic weightlifting, and CrossFit. In addition to winning 32 medals—22 of which were for first place—the vegan team’s own Sara Lee set both the world and American records for kettlebell. PlantBuilt was founded by husband-and-wife team Dani Taylor and Giacomo Marchese in 2013 for the purpose of proving that consuming animal products is not necessary for building muscle. “As long the meat and potatoes crowd exists in strength-based sports,” Marchese tells VegNews, “we will continue to educate and dispel the myths that you need to eat meat to build muscle and strength.” Marchese hopes to add new members to the team in 2019 and compete in a wider variety of sports including Strongman events and Jiu Jitsu. “People may chuckle at the little vegan team in the morning,” Marchese says, “but by the evening, when we have shown what we can do, we have many people asking more about veganism and plant-based lifestyles.” To date, more than 100 athletes—from countries around the world including Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and Germany—have competed with the PlantBuilt team and have raised $20,000 to support vegan outreach organizations, non-profits, and farmed animal sanctuaries.
Photo courtesy of Doc List Photography