Sara Lee, a competitor for the vegan non-profit bodybuilding organization PlantBuilt, set the world and American records for kettlebell at the 2017 Naturally Fit Games in Austin, TX on June 3rd.
Lee, who has been vegan nearly 4 years, joined 38 of her teammates for The Games, which included a range of competitions including CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting, kettlebell, powerlifting and bodybuilding.
Not only did Lee set a World Record, but the entire PlantBuilt team took home 33 medals, 22 of which were First Place.
Talking about the big win to Plant Based News, co-founder Dani Taylor said: “Historically PlantBuilt has done very well in the past, so the pressure is always high to keep that going. But I think we succeeded again this year in faring well in all of our various athletic competitions, with one of our KettleBell team members even setting a world record.”
PlantBuilt was founded by husband-and-wife team Dani Taylor and Giacomo Marchese in 2013 to prove 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.”
Looking forward to 2019, Marchese hopes to add new members to the team 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 this year to support vegan outreach organizations, non-profits, and farmed animal sanctuaries.
“As long as there are cages that need to be emptied, our work will never be done,” said Marchese. “We don’t do this for ourselves, we do this for the animals.”