Friday, July 31, 2015

Scott Shetler's Strength and Health TV - Episode 2: The "V" Word!

In this episode of Strength and Health TV I discuss the dreaded "V" word - that's right VEGAN! I talk about the myths and misconceptions associate with a plant-based diet, as well as my experiences of improving my health and fitness.

I also talk about my project, Plant-Based Performance I started to support animal welfare, and the project I did with of Dead Prez and his wife, holistic nutritionist, Afya - "Eat Plants, Lift Iron".

I hope you enjoy this episode and please leave any feedback or future topic suggestions in the comments below!

Stay Strong AND Healthy,


Friday, July 24, 2015

Scott Shetler's Strength and Health TV - Episode 1: Why Strength AND Health.

In this first episode of my video blog series I talk about "why" strength and health and why the two have become mutually exclusive.

George "The Russian Lion" Hackenschmidt said, "Health can never be divorced from strength." 

Unfortunately, today, attaining great levels of strength often means sacrificing your health but I believe it doesn't have to be that way. The founding fathers of the movement known as "physical culture" understood the importance of total human development and I believe that in order for us to move forward, we have to look back about 100 years into our past.

I hope you enjoy the show!

Please email me at if you have any topics you would like addressed in future episodes.

Stay Strong AND Healthy,


Friday, July 17, 2015

Scott's Latest Appearance on the Live Life Aggressively Podcast with Mike Mahler and Sincere Hogan.

It was an honor to be invited back to the Life Life Aggressively Podcast with Mike Mahler and Sincere Hogan. They run a great show and have an amazing list of guests they've had on in the past. There are many great things about this show and what I like best are the diversity in guests and topics as well as the laid back conversational style in which MIke and Sincere conduct the show. It's definitely "anything goes" and not always for weak ears, but the quality of information is always exceptional!

This time around they wanted to talk about my recent book project, Eat Plants, Lift Iron (click here to check out the book!), I co-authored with of the hip hop duo Dead Prez, and his wife, holistic nutritionist, Afya Ibomu. We talk training, our thoughts on science in the industry, what is happening with Team Plantbuilt for 2015, and more!

Click here to listen to Ep. #129 of the LLA Podcast now!

In case you missed the first episode I appeared on last year you can click here to check out Ep. #53 of the LLA Podcast, where we talk about my book Abundant Health: Fitness for the Mind, Body and Spirit; my role as the Kettlebell Training Specialist for the TapouT Virtual Training Center; my project to give back to animal welfare - Plant-Based Performance; and more!

Stay Strong AND Healthy!


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Eat Plants, Lift Iron - Now Available!

EAT PLANTS, LIFT IRON is the inspiring story of an experiment to
see if hip hop artist Stic of dead prez, who is naturally slim and also a distance runner, could gain 20 pounds while on a high performance plant-based diet.

Wrtten with Strength Coach Scott Shetler, NSCA-CPT & Holistic Nutritionist and Chef Afya Ibomu, B.S., CHHC. Gluten Free, Supplement Free Plant Based Nutrition plan, meals  and recipes and professionally designed training regimen included.

Eat plants, Lift Iron
“Stronger than Ever, Never Felt Better!” -stic of dead prez

The Wait is over! Finally, a straightforward book that truly understands the skinny man’s challenges and offers a realistic and natural way to gain healthy weight and muscle! This is not about becoming a humungous body builder; it’s about building the body you got!

EAT PLANTS, LIFT IRON is the inspiring story of an experiment to
see if hip hop artist Stic of dead prez –who is naturally slim and also
a distance runner, could gain 20 pounds while on a high performance
plant-based diet.

Part personal adventure, part nutrition plan, part training regimen,

Eat Plants, Lift Iron provides --

• Sample meal plans, grocery lists and delicious, protein rich,
nutritionally balanced recipes from Holistic Nutritionist and
plant based chef Afya Ibomu B.S., CHHC.

• The best training exercises for “naturally slim” body types to put
on size. Certified Personal Trainer and Strength Coach Scott
Shetler, NSCA-CPT guides you with his expertise.

• Stic’s humorous and motivational personal account of the
struggles and emotional challenges that skinny guys deal with and
the solutions he uses for balancing fitness, work, travel and family
to Reach Bigger Goals.

Forward by
Torre “The Vegan Dread” Washington, 4 Time Pro Body Builder

Click here to get your copy now!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Introduction to Qigong Part 4: The Eight Pieces of Brocade.

Now that you have a better understanding about qigong, I wanted to conclude this blog series by introducing a very simple, yet very effective qigong exercise. This qigong series is referred to as The Eight Pieces of Brocade, or Baduanjin.

The Eight Pieces of Brocade, (or Eight Section Brocade, or Eight Silken Movements) is a simple and highly effective qigong exercise series that is meant to improve health.  Each movement is said to affect a different physical area and qi meridian (a qi meridian is simply a path that qi, energy, flows through the body).

There is a sitting version and a standing version of this qigong series.  For this article we will focus on the standing exercise, as this is the most widely practiced version.

While the movements and order of movements may vary slightly from teacher to teacher, I practice this powerful qigong exercise series in the order presented. In addition to this version that I am presenting in this article, there is also a version of the Baduanjin that I learned from the work of Shi Yan Lei that is a fantastic variation as well.

The variation of the Eight Pieces of Brocade that you practice is not as important as bringing your attention to the movements, holding a relaxed posture and regulating the mind and breath.

Perform 8 repetitions of each of the eight movements. If you are pressed for time, you may perform each of the movements for fewer repetitions. Always be sure to perform the opening movement and closing movement with the Eight Pieces of Brocade practice as well.

Working with an instructor in person is always the best option for learning qigong, however the Eight Pieces of Brocade is a fairly simple qigong exercise to learn and video and written instructions will be plenty to get you up and running and hopefully inspires you to seek out a teacher to get deeper into your practice.

Eight Pieces of Brocade (Baduanjin)

Basic Stance

The basic stance you will perform these exercises from is often referred to as Wuji:
  1. Feet about hip or shoulder-width apart.
  2. Spine straight but not overly-rigid.
  3. Eyes looking forward and chin retracted slightly.
  4. Hips open and relaxed, allow your pelvis to tuck under to take pressure off your low back (when your pelvis tucks under this is the opposite of sticking your butt out, this will cause your lower back to flatten out slightly).
  5. Bend the knees slightly.
  6. Keep your feet flat on the ground with your weight distributed evenly between the heels and balls of your feet.
  7. Let your shoulders relax and drop down but keep your chest open allowing your arms to hang loosely at your sides.
  8. Clear your mind and focus your mind’s-eye on your lower Dan Tien, the area approximately 1-2” below your navel.

Opening Movment - Gathering Qi

From our basic stance inhale slowly raising your arms straight up to the sides, as your arms pass the shoulders rotate your arms so your palms face each other overhead, at this point begin to slowly exhale and press your palms down the front of your body back to the starting position.

As you do this, feel the energy running all through your body. Relax and let your mind clear. If thoughts enter your mind, do not attach to them, simply release the thought and return your focus to your breathing, be here and now.

Movement 1 – Two Hands Hold up the Heavens

This movement is said to stimulate the “triple warmer” or “triple burner” meridian and regulates the inner organs; particularly the heart, lungs and stomach.

It is performed by loosely lacing the fingers together and pressing the palms up towards the sky.  As peak extension is reached, raise the heels up standing on the balls of the feet.  The overhead reach is synced with an inhalation of the breath.  Next, slowly exhale and keeping the fingers laced together lower the hands behind the head before repeating the next repetition.

Close this series of movements by performing a repetition of gathering qi, as in the opening movement, one time.

Movement 2 – Drawing the Bow

This movement stimulates the waist area; specifically, the kidneys and spleen. It also strengthens the leg muscles.

Stepping into a low horse stance (perform the stance as low as you can without stressing or creating pain in your knees), simulate drawing a bow to each side of the body.  Inhale as you draw the bow and exhale as you transition to the other side.

Close this series of movements by performing a repetition of gathering qi, as in the opening movement, one time.

Movement 3 – Separate Heaven and Earth

This movement stimulates the stomach and spleen.

This is similar to the first movement except one hand pushes up, while the other hand pushes down and the head turns slightly to the side away from the overhead hand.  As the hands transition smoothly in front of the body, inhale slowly all the way into the press, exhale as you begin the transition into the next repetition.

Close this series of movements by performing a repetition of gathering qi, as in the opening movement, one time.

Movement 4 – Wise Owl Gazes Backwards (Look Behind)

This movement stretches for the neck and waist and stimulates the kidneys.

Perform this movement by raising the arms overhead palms facing each other with a long slow inhale.  Lower the arms back to the side with an exhale.  Raise the arms to the side on a slow inhale then twist to the left side looking back over your left shoulder, allowing the hands to end up in the following order right hand palm resting on the left side of the abdomen, left back of hand resting on the right kidney.  Repeat to the other side.

Close this series of movements by performing a repetition of gathering qi, as in the opening movement, one time.

Movement 5 – Punching with an Angry Gaze

This movement stimulates and regulates the liver, increases general vitality, and releases and dispels angry and tense feelings.  As will all movements that require the horse stance, the leg muscles will be strengthened.

Perform this movement by stepping into the horse stance, making fists and drawing them to each side of your hips.  Exhale and slowly punch your left fist forward while “glaring angrily”.  Inhale, open the punching hand “grasping qi” and draw your fist back to your hip.  Repeat to the other side.

Close this series of movements by performing a repetition of gathering qi, as in the opening movement, one time.

Movement 6 – Lifting the Heels and Shaking the Body to Cure the 100 Ailments

This movement stretches, strengthens, and aligns the spine. The bouncing stimulates the immune system and helps rid the body of many diseases, or “cure the 100 ailments”.

Bring your hands to the kidneys and lower back.  Clench one fist and hold that fist with the other hand.  Inhale and press your fists down your lower back to your tailbone and hips, as your arms fully extend raise your heels up and stand on the balls of your feet.  Exhale and drop your heels to the ground, cushioning the impact by bending the knees slightly allowing a gentle bouncing or rocking action to occur.  Bring your fists back to your lower back and repeat.

Close this series of movements by performing a repetition of gathering qi, as in the opening movement, one time.

Movement 7 – Sway the Head and Shake the Tail

This movement regulates the heart and lungs and removes excess heat (or fire) from the heart.

Perform this movement by stepping into a horse stand with fists on each thigh.  Inhale then exhale and twist and glance backwards to the left while pushing the right fist into the right thigh.  Inhale deeply, then exhale and repeat to the other side.

Close this series of movements by performing a repetition of gathering qi, as in the opening movement, one time.

Movement 8 – Two Hands Hold the Feet

This movement stimulates the kidneys and adrenal glands and strengthens the waist.

Perform this movement by inhaling and reaching overhead, then exhale and bend forward at the waist, further increase the stretch by holding the toes or backs of the legs, then inhale and draw back up to the overhead stretch before exhaling into the next repetition.

Close this series of movements by performing a repetition of gathering qi, as in the opening movement, one time.

Closing Movement - Sealing the Qi

To close this qigong exercise series, gather qi as you do in the opening movement, and as you exhale and push your palms down the front of the body bring your palms to your lower Dan Tien (1-2" below your navel), placing your right palm over your lower Dan Tien first, then placing the left palm over the back of the right hand.

With your hands covering your lower Dan Tien relax, clear your mind and breathe deeply into the lower abdomen.

Breathe so that your lower abdomen expands with every breath.

Allow your mind to clear and simply focus your breathing into your lower abdomen for 9, long, deep, slow breaths.

Hopefully you have enjoyed this Introduction to qigong series. If you currently study qigong I hope this series has complimented your practice, and if you are interested in studying qigong hopefully this blog series has gotten you up and running. If you have any questions feel free to email me at and I'll be happy to help out in any way I can.

In Health,


Friday, July 3, 2015

Introduction to Qigong Part 3: Setting Up Your Practice.

Once you have decided on the style of qigong you plan to practise and learned the basics of the style, you need to organize your practice. It’s not recommended to jump into your qigong exercises without warming up to enhance your practise. In addition there is a benefit to finishing your practise with a health massage.

Although I have heard, and read, numerous times that it is most beneficial to practise qigong early in the morning, or later in the evening, the best time to practise is when you consistently have available time. Qigong practice does not require hours out of your day, in fact just 5 to 10 minutes can be beneficial. However, most of the qigong exercises I do require about 30 minutes when you include a thorough warm-up and post-practice health massage. If you include seated meditation you may need longer than 30 minutes. The important thing is to decide how much time you can commit on a consistent, daily basis, and structure you practice to fit that time frame.

While it is great to practice every day, even committing 4 to 5 days per week is great. Again, decide on a schedule that you can commit to and stick to it.

I break my qigong practice into three or four sections: the warm-up, qigong form, health massage, and seated meditation. I don’t always do seated meditation with my qigong practice as I tend to use my qigong as meditation. However, I have found that qigong exercise enhances my seated meditation practice tremendously.

The Warm-Up

The purpose of the warm-up is to open the joints, open the energy channels, to regulate the breathing, and to relax the muscles. When all these come together you will be relaxed, calm, and completely present.

I divide the warm-up series into two sections. The first is joint mobility and the second is flexibility.

Joint mobility is a great way to keep your joints health. By doing these special exercises you will keep the joints lubricated, maintain active range of motion, and may prevent the onset of arthritis.

Flexibility is deep stretching of the muscles. By stretching the muscles regularly we can improve and maintain flexibility, keep tension out of the muscles, and help energy to circulate more freely. It’s very important to make sure your muscles are relaxed when you practice qigong.
Qigong Form

The form is simply to perform the qigong exercise series that you are practicing. It is important during your practice to calm down, move slowly and relaxed. When raising the arms and moving the body, instead of allowing the muscles to perform the action, try to feel as light as possible and let your breath and energy create the movement. Try to keep the muscles as relaxed as possible.

Regardless of the form you choose, remember these 3 main points of the practice:
  1. Regulation of the posture of relaxation.
  2. Regulation of the mind.
  3. Regulation of the breath. 
When all of these aspects are present in your practice, you will get the most benefit as this is the point where qigong truly becomes a moving meditation.
Health Massage

The health massage with a bamboo brush is something I learned from studying the qigong material from Shi Yan Lei, a 34th generation Shaolin Monk.

Basically you use the bamboo brush to firmly tap your entire body. This helps to stimulate the lymph system, circulation, to relax the muscles, and the vibrations help to cleanse the bone marrow-particularly when you switch to performing the health massage with the iron brush. The iron brush is only recommended for advanced students of harder styles of qigong and experienced martial artists. If the goal is general health and wellness stick with the bamboo brush.

It is recommended that you tap the entire body, covering each section 3 times. This takes about 10 minutes and will dramatically improve your health. When you finish with the health massage you will feel like you’ve just stepped out of a brisk, cold shower.
Seated Meditation

I try to meditate daily and I’ve found that a great time to perform seated meditation is after qigong exercise. Your energy will be high, your body will be relaxed and your attention totally in the present. This is why I’ve found qigong to enhance my seated meditation practice. I feel seated meditation is important and should not be overlooked, but whether you separate it from your qigong practice or not makes no difference.

As you see, setting up your qigong practice is not that difficult.

To recap:
  • Practise qigong daily, strive for a minimum of 4-5 days per week.
  • Begin your qigong exercise with a warm-up consisting of both joint mobility and flexibility exercises.
  • Practice the qigong form you are currently working on making sure to move slowly, stay relaxed, in good posture, and to coordinate your breathing with the movements.
  • Consider finishing with the health massage and seated meditation to enhance your practice.

In part 4 of this blog series I will introduce a simple qigong series that is excellent for health and easy to learn.

In Health,