Exercise - How you move

Please note, SLS Health Coaching does not receive compensation for promoting the content presented here.
These resources are simply examples of information that we find useful and we hope you will too.

With over 50 years combined experience as fitness coaches, we highly value the importance of exercise. And by "exercise", we simply mean moving our bodies. Although amazing health can be achieved through proper nutrition without exercise, regularly moving our bodies provides many health benefits that food alone cannot provide, such as improving our strength, endurance, bone density, stress release, and more. Here is some general guidance from us, your coaches, as you consider making regular exercise a part of your healthy lifestyle.

“What kind of exercise should I do?”

First and foremost, “exercise” doesn’t have to require a gym membership or sneakers. Simply make your day-to-day activities more physical. Stand more than sit, take the stairs not the elevator, park further from your destination, shovel, rake, mow, garden, walk, run, jump, dance, play!

If you would like to join a fitness class, a routine that has a balance of flexibility, mobility, strength, endurance and one that has exercises that mimic life activities seems to suit most people.

Get an exercise buddy or join a group to encourage each other.

Plan your exercise ahead of time and hold that space as sacred whenever possible.

Find something you like to do. The goal is not to reach a destination; it is to enjoy the journey.

If you are in the Fredericton, NB area, here are some of the places we like to exercise:
- The YMCA of Fredericton: We both teach fitness classes at the Y. (It's where we met.) Contact us and we'll be happy to show you around.
- The Brookside Wellness Centre: Owned and operated by our good friend, Dr. Shiona McIntosh, the centre offers yoga, mindfullness, and more.
- Yoga Grow: One of Mary-Ellen's favorite yoga studios.
- Fredericton Boxing Club: We've enjoyed many of their recreational (non-contact) boxing classes. No experience necessary. Everyone fits in.
- The City of Fredericton rinks, pools, parks and trails: We feel very fortunate to live in a place that has so many opportunities to be physically active that are very inexpensive or completely free.

“How often should I exercise?”

Many recommendations for the amount of exercise we should get are based on calculations for weight-loss and the Standard (North) American Diet, SAD. But with a WFPB diet, you consume much less calories and much more nutrition than a typical SAD so even without exercising people tend to lose weight.

If you already have a busy life, please be reasonable about adding an exercise routine. We’ve seen too many people decide (usually on January 1) to start exercising seven days a week. This often proves unsustainable and results in people feeling they “failed. In fact, they haven’t failed at all. They simply didn’t appreciate how much they were already doing. Such an excessive approach can also result in injuries often due to stress, limited range of motion, poor execution and doing things we simply are not ready to do on a physical level. Remember, exercise should help reduce stress, not add to it.

We would recommend regular one-hour exercise sessions three days per week. That is plenty to make fitness and health gains. If you do not have a one-hour chunk of time, small segments of moving our bodies is definitely better than none at all. We also encourage people to vary the type of exercise so they move their body in different ways using different muscles, especially functional movements that they do in day-to-day life. For example, moving side to side, turning and bending at the same time, going from high to low, and pushing oneself off the ground to standing.

“How hard should I exercise?”

Emerging research indicates that moderate activity is better than the full out pushing limits type. (“Moderate” activity means you are breathing heavier than normal but are still able to carry on a conversation.) That’s not to say that we don’t support vigorous activity, but it should be oscillated with periods of moderation to avoid injuries and the unhealthy chronic stress loads that can occur with prolonged high levels of exercise.

With a WFPB diet:
You have more energy and less aches and pains.
Exercise isn’t something you have to do. It’s something you want to do.
It’s a celebration!


So you want to do more than moderate exercise. You're an athlete. You want endurance. You want power. You want strength. You want to train hard and compete with the best. Below are examples of elite athletes, and they all credit a whole-foods, plant-based diet for their athletic success.

But wait. Are you wondering what everyone wonders, "Where do they get their protein?" Especially for the athlete who benefits from large muscles, the focus all too often is on this one nutrient - protein. Consider this. You can't increase the size of a brick house by adding only bricks. It will collapse. You need to include the mortar to hold it all together. Many athletes make the mistake of focusing only on the bricks and forget the mortar, filling their plate with big pieces of chicken or other animal sources of protein and hardly including any vegetables or other plant foods. This results in a body with an excessive amount of acidic animal protein and artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol, but a deficiency in vital nutrients, all of which results in poorer performance. Get your protein and other nutrients from the same place that a stallion, a bull, an elephant, a rhino, and a gorilla get their protein - from plants! If you want more protein, eat more plants. It's the surest and safest way to get all the necessary building materials for a solid body. But don't take our word for it. Check out these examples of athletes with amazing, plant-powered performance.

Endurance, Power, and Strength

Rich Roll - Ultra-Endurance Athlete

Rich has been a top finisher at the 2008 and 2009 Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii. Considered by many to be one of world’s most daunting and grueling endurance races on the planet, Ultraman is a 3-day / 320 mile double-ironman distance triathlon that circumnavigates the entire Big Island. But what makes Rich truly remarkable is that less than two years prior to his first Ultraman, he didn’t even own a bike, let alone race one. Men’s Fitness Magazine named Rich as one of the “25 Fittest Men in the World.”

Be sure to check out Rich's podcasts with the brightest and most forward thinking, paradigm busting minds in health, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship & spirituality. They are designed to provoke, educate, inspire and empower you to discover, uncover, unlock and unleash your best, most authentic self. We listen to them all the time and are always inspired.


Brendan Brazier - Professional Ironman Triathlete and a Two-Time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion

Brendan is the formulator and cofounder of Vega, bestselling author of the Thrive book series, creator and host of the Thrive Forward web series, and editor in chief of Thrive magazine. He is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on plant-based performance nutrition, and therefore works with several NHL, NFL, MLB, UFC, and Olympic athletes.

Check out Brendan's TedX talk where he explains how to get your athletic edge through plant-based eating.


Fiona Oakes - World Record Holding Marathon Runner

Fiona has been Vegan for over 40 years and participates in endurance sport to demonstrate that her diet is not prohibitive to performance. She holds three marathon World Records and four marathon course records. In 2012 Fiona was the first “life long” Vegan female to complete the grueling Marathon des Sables – often billed as the toughest foot race on the planet with a marathon a day for six days across the Sarah desert carrying all your supplies on your back! She completed this race again in 2014. Fiona is a patron of the Captive Animals Protection Society and an honorary patron of the Vegan Society. She also runs Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary where she provides a home for life to around 350 rescued animals – both domestic and ex-farm.


Venus and Serena Williams - Tennis Legends

Venus and Serena Williams follow a healthy, balanced raw vegan diet during the tennis season. Although they occasionally indulge in cooked fish or chicken, their foundational diet for health and training is both raw and vegan. When Venus was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (Sjögren’s syndrome) in 2011 she decided to become raw vegan to take control of her body and health and Serena joined her for support. Venus has become an advocate of a vegan/raw foods diet, which helps minimize the inflammation brought on by the condition.

Robert Cheeke - Bodybuilder

Robert grew up on a farm in Corvallis, Oregon, where he adopted a vegan lifestyle in 1995 at the age of 15. His newest book, Shred It!,  is a comprehensive guide to setting achievable goals, burning fat, and building muscle on a whole-food, plant-based diet. As a two-time natural bodybuilding champion, Robert is considered one of VegNews Magazine's Most Influential Vegan Athletes. He tours all over North America, giving talks about his story of transformation from a skinny farm kid to champion vegan bodybuilder.


Torre Washington - Bodybuilder

Torre has been a vegan since 1998. In high school he played football and ran track and started bodybuilding in 2009. Throughout the recent years, he placed within the top three with 5 different organizations and attained 4 different pro cards. To see how Torre fuels himself with a plant-based diet as a competitive bodybuilder, read his article in ForksOverKnives.


David Carter - NFL Defensive Lineman

Like most athletes, David believed that in order to become muscle you must consume muscle. But during his NFL career he became plagued by a variety of persistent, chronic injuries including arthritis, tendonitis, nerve damage and chronic muscle fatigue that left him sidelined despite the best sports medicine and rehabilitative resources of the NFL. David soon realized that in order to continue playing, something had to change and he also realized all the nutrition he had been relying on to maximize his size and strength was actually killing him.

Therefore, in February 2014, David made a radical and controversial decision: he adopted a 100% plant-based diet. Trainers, coaches, friends and fellow players all told him: it’s impossible to maintain your weight and strength without meat!

Unexpected positive results came quickly. Eating entirely plant-based, David experienced more energy. His recovery time was profoundly accelerated. His stamina went through the roof. To the great surprise of his coaches, trainers and teammates, every single one of those injuries corrected themselves and vanished. All his numbers in the weight room actually went up – bench 470 and squat 660. Amazingly, he found himself quicker, more agile and responsive than ever. And perhaps most important to David, no living thing had to die in order for him to thrive.

The above description is from the notes for the Rich Roll podcast with David Carter. Check out the podcast here:

Griff Whalen - NFL Wide Receiver

While with the Colts, Whalen injured his foot. To recover as soon as possible, he started to research nutrition and health. He watched Forks Over Knives and Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue, and he decided to try Engine 2’s 28-day challenge. After the 28 days, he felt so great he continued with a plant-based diet. He recovered better than ever and made the Colts starting lineup.

When he started training on a plant-based diet, Griff noticed an immediate difference. His body composition changed (decreased body fat and increased lean muscle), he got stronger, could run faster, and his recovery time improved. Envious of his performance, many of his teammates became interested in what he was doing.

Check out this Youtube video of Griff talking about the benefits of being a plant-based athlete.

Scott Jurek - Ultrarunner

Named one of the greatest runners of all time, Scott Jurek has become a living legend.  He has claimed victories in nearly all of ultrarunning’s elite trail and road events including the historic 153-mile Spartathlon, the Hardrock 100, the Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon, and—his signature race—the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, which he won a record seven straight times. Scott has also taken the running world by storm with his 2015 Appalachian Trail speed record, averaging nearly 50 miles a day over 46 days—and the United States all-surface record in the 24-Hour Run with 165.7 miles: 6.5 marathons in one day. 

Scott is a New York Times-bestselling author for his memoir, Eat & Run, has been prominently featured in countless publications, and is a star of the international bestseller, Born To Run

A passionate advocate for vegetarianism, he follows a 100% plant-based diet, which he credits for his endurance, recovery and consistent twenty year racing career.


Patrik Baboumian - World Record Strong Man

"My strength needs no victims. My strength is my compassion.” - Patrik Baboumian

Patrik was born in 1979. As a young teen, he got into power lifting and bodybuilding and became Germany’s national junior bodybuilding champion. For ethical reasons, in 2005 Patrik went vegetarian, accepting that this would likely hurt his performance. Instead, he continued to improve. So in 2011, he went completely vegan. Since then, 100% Plantpowered, Patrik has been awarded the title of Germany’s Strongest Man, racked up multiple victories at the European Powerlifting Championships and set four Guinness World Records in various strength disciplines. His weightlifting achievements include: Bench 463 lbs, Squat 794 lbs, and Deadlift 794 lbs. In 2013, at the Toronto VegFest, he set a Guinness World Record yoke walk — carrying 1,216 pounds (550kilos) a distance of 10 meters in less than 60 seconds (which he bettered in 2015 to a 560kg world record, completed in just 28 seconds). He has accomplished all of these extraordinary, superhuman feats without the one thing many athletes think is necessary to optimally perform as an elite strength athlete: animal protein.

Patrik Baboumian's Youtube channel - "Where do you get your protein TV?"