About Us

WHO// Derek Tresize, co-founder of Vegan Muscle & Fitness

WHAT// WNBF Pro vegan bodybuilder, certified personal trainer, certified in  plant-based nutrition

WHERE// Richmond, VA

WHY// An overriding passion for health and fitness


ACE Certified Personal Trainer

BS in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University

Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University

Pro card with the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation

Co-author, The Vegan Muscle & Fitness Guide to Bodybuilding Competitions


I’m originally from San Diego, CA where I spent all my free time in athletic pursuits from organized sports to martial arts to surfing and kayaking. I took up weightlifting in early high school and this love of weight training carried me naturally into bodybuilding as my physique developed. I also realized early on that I have a contagious enthusiasm in the gym: I can’t wait to get everyone around me as excited as I am about fitness.

I have become increasingly passionate about health and, as I continue to learn about biology, I am awed by the amazing intricacy of all aspects of life coming together so that it may thrive. This is why a holistic approach to health is the only approach that makes sense to me and the only way that will guarantee phenomenal and lifelong results.When I met Marcella seven years ago and began educating myself about veganism and reading the works of Dr. Campbell and Dr. Fuhrman, I saw the scientific literature regarding the detriments of animal product consumption firsthand and knew there was no going back. I have since been spreading the word and striving to lead by example using fitness and bodybuilding as a means to demonstrate the amazing health benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet.

Competition History:

2011 NPA Master’s Universe: Men’s Open Middleweight – 3rd
2011 NANBF Washington State Natural: Men’s Open Middle Height – 3rd
2012 OCB Bodysculpting Open: Men’s Novice Tall Class – 1st, Men’s Open Tall Class – 2nd
2013 OCB Battle of Tidewater: Men’s Bodybuilding Open Tall Class – 4th
2013 INBF Southwest Natural: Men’s Bodybuilding Light Heavyweight – 1st
2014 INBF Southwest Natural: Men’s Physique – 1st, WNBF Pro Card Awarded



Breaking Muscle Article: How To Build Muscle on a Plant-Based Diet

The Big Inside FTNS Radio Interview

Nutritionfacts.org Video on Plant Based Bodybuilding


Naked Food magazine

Vegan Lifestyle magazine

Vegan Health and Fitness magazine

Wild Donna Interview

ACE Fitness Article: Can Vegan Athletes Match Their Meat-Eating Competitors?

One Green Planet

Richmond-Times Dispatch


RVA Magazine

The Daily Beet (Engine 2 Diet Blog)

Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness

Strongest Hearts Documentary

Speaking Of Vegan Interview




WHO// Marcella Torres, co-founder of Vegan Muscle & Fitness

WHAT// Vegan bodybuilder, vegan cook, dancer, PhD student, mother!

WHERE// Richmond, VA

WHY// Ethics + a fierce joy in the physical + a desire to share them




Vegan for 13 years

Vegan bodybuilder for 6 years

Dancer for 4 years, recently went pro!

Co-author, The Vegan Muscle & Fitness Guide to Bodybuilding Competitions

BS Applied Mathematics/Physics from Virginia Commonwealth University

Working toward PhD, Systems Modeling/Mathematical Biology


My best friend gave me a copy of Diet for a New America to read ten years ago and I promptly cleared out my fridge of every scrap of meat and dairy and never looked back. Ethics was and continues to be my primary motivator, but as an analytical, logical – even “science-y”, if you will – sort of person, I’m also powerfully motivated by the diet’s efficiency and sustainability and the compelling biological evidence in it’s favor.

I’m excited that so many more people are exploring veganism, whether it’s as a way to be healthier and more athletic or for ethical and environmental reasons: I want to be a part of that change.


Vegan Lifestyle magazine

Vegan Health and Fitness magazine


Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness

The Daily Beet (Engine 2 Diet Blog)

RVA Magazine


Shape Magazine

MaxWHO// Max “The Wolverine” Seabrook

WHAT// Vegan Physique Competitor, Personal Trainer, Medicine Student, Vegan Society Mentor

WHERE// London, UK

WHY// A strong passion for animals and human health and fitness


ACT Certified Personal Trainer

BSc Human Biomedical Science


I’ve always been into health & fitness but when I began working out on a vegan diet I reached my performance and weight-loss goals insanely fast. I reached a new level of confidence with my body as well as feeling awesome! I’m now a personal trainer and I love helping people realise the best versions of themselves through diet and exercise.

I became vegan 2 years ago when my brother’s girlfriend became vegan and I started researching on the internet to find out why. I was then vegan after a few days of researching animal cruelty, health benefits of plant-based lifestyles and finding vegan bodybuilders online. I couldn’t find a logical reason to eat meat/dairy anymore. I then changed my career from Doctor of Human Medicine towards Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Check out Max’s transformation here!



WHO// Forest Crosbie

WHAT// NASM Certified Personal Trainer, lifelong fitness enthusiast

WHERE// Staunton, VA

WHY// A desire to achieve the purest possible lifestyle





NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist

9 years strength training experience

Vegetarian Since Birth



I was fortunate enough to grow up in a vegetarian household, and I carried that lifestyle through into adulthood as well. As my passion for health and wellness grew and I learned more about the profound impact of diet, both on personal well-being and the environment as a whole, veganism was the only choice that made sense to me. I discovered Derek and Marcella’s work early in my research on plant-based nutrition, and was immediately inspired by what they do.

It is now my distinct privilege to be able to share the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the course of my fitness journey, and to serve as a role model for others seeking to improve their quality of life through the power of the vegan diet. I enjoy working with people of all ages and backgrounds in the pursuit of their fitness goals, and I am excited to be a part of the VM&F team and participate in the global vegan movement!




 WHO// Laura Stevens

 WHAT// Personal Trainer, Yoga Teacher & Bellydancer

 WHERE// Richmond, VA

 WHY// Lover of animals, life long athlete, personal ethics and passion for serving others and helping them to live healthier and happier lives



ACSM Certified Personal Trainer

RYT 200, Yoga Alliance

Completing RYT 500 in August 2015


I was born and raised in RVA and am currently residing here today with my partner of 15 years, Adam, and our six four-legged babies, Shakira, Flash, Scrappy, Roxy, Rex and Elrey. We also have a 19 year old, two-legged baby, Gavin who lives in the area. In addition to personal training, yoga and bellydance, I love plant-based cooking and eating (especially introducing non-vegans to all the amazing plant-based foods there are and trying vegan restaurants wherever I travel), live music and sporting events, running, biking, HIIT, gardening, traveling and spending time with my beautiful tribe of family and friends.

I became vegetarian at the age of 12 on Thanksgiving (much to the dismay of the majority of my family at the time).  For some reason on that day, it occurred to me that eating meat was neither ethical or healthy. During my adult life, I began to learn more about the negative effects animal product manufacturing and consumption is having on our environment and our health and made the decision to go vegan.  It was not an easy transition for me at first, but I noticed immediate health benefits and have never felt better. Now, I cannot imagine living any other way!

I have a huge passion for helping others achieve happiness, confidence and love from within, while having fun and succeeding in their fitness and nutrition-related goals and life itself. I can’t wait to meet you and motivate you as a trainer for Vegan Muscle and Fitness!

40 thoughts on “About Us

  • Hi, I’m Nicole I’m form Peru, my question is
    I’ve been vegan for 3 months already and at the same time I’ve started to go to the gym my trainer says that now I need to consume protein by suplementing myself and I’ve been searching for one and I wonder if you know about a vegan suplement o kind of that.
    I love your website 🙂

    • Hi Nicole: actually we would disagree that you need to supplement with protein powder. It’s not necessary – you can get everything you need from whole plant foods. If you choose to take a protein supplement there are many vegan options such as Vega, Sunwarrior, or Plantfusion. Good luck!

  • I’m the founder of VegetarianBodybuilding.com and I wanted to check in with you guys…

    I agree completely, it takes significantly more land, water, and food/plants to produce meat. Even if people can’t connect with the inhumane practices being deployed (watch a documentary for crying out loud), the math here is pretty clear regarding the environment. It’s unfortunate things like this have to get “politicized” when all that’s required is objectivity and common sense. This shouldn’t be a political issue, but I digress.

    That said, as a compassionate vegan, I try to remove the hate from my voice when voicing certain truths about the matter. I think this is key in attracting more folks to listen in the first place.

    Thank you for your part in this conversation.

  • Hi everyone

    I have some question and I would ike to clarify them, I want to become vegetarian but in gyms the rule is: “you have to eat meat”.

    1) Some people against vegetarianism say that if we just consume a plant based diet, there would not be more land and it would colapse, it wouldn’t be sustainable. So in your experience, if you have to consume 100g of protein, how would you compare in kg the quantities in meat and grains (plants)? Is it sustainable? if we just consume plants, do we need a lot of grains an plants to compensate the meat based diet?

    2) I heard from a guy that “health is relative” and there are some people who have good health despite thier eating habits. I know this is true, but it is a tiny portion of the human race. So my question is: if genes hypotheticlly adapt to erradicate the dangers of junk food and bad life style (sleeping a lot, driking alcohol). Do we really need to do exercise? what are the benefits? People are starting to make “health” something relative because “genes adapt”. Please tell me your comments.

    3) where Can I find a good vegetarian diet, I live in Bolivia. Is it true that quinoa has the 8 essetial aminoacids?

    • Hi Pablo,

      I’ll answer your questions one by one:
      1) Far, far more land, water, and plants are required for meat and other animal products to be produced. Here are some facts and figures for you:
      – 7 kg of grain to produce 1 kg of beef
      – 4 kg of grain for 1 kg pork
      – 2 kg of grain for 1 kg poultry
      – Between 1 and 2 kg of grain for 1 kg of fish
      – It takes about 15,000 – 68,000 liters of water to produce 1 hamburger
      – It takes about 109 liters of water to produce one soy burger
      – It takes about 1000 liters of water to produce 1 liter of milk
      – It takes about 246 liters of water to produce 1 liter of soymilk
      – Approximate area required to grow 1 person’s diet that includes animal products: 31,000-63,000 square feet
      – Approximate area required to grow 1 person’s VEGAN diet: 7,000 square feet
      Some references that might be helpful for further information:

    • http://www.amazon.com/Comfortably-Unaware-Choose-Killing-Planet-ebook/dp/B00AVZ1XY6/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-2&qid=1419871313
    • http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-million-people-grain-livestock-eat
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85Fe2K04ZyI
    • http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet
    • 2) Yes, good health in spite of poor lifestyle choices is the exception to the rule, and the questrion will always remain – if someone hadf such good health eating poorly, just how long and disease free would their life have been with better diet and exercise habits? As far as genes adapting to new environmental stressors like poor diet and exercise, 1) Genetic adaptations require multiple generations to occur (generally thousands of years) and 2) the situation in which genetic adaptations opccur the most rapidly is one of survivorship. Since people’s bad eating and lifestyle habits are not killing them before they reproduce, there is virtually no adaptation happening becuase everyone’s genes are being passed on, not just the genes of people who can best tolerate modern diet and lifestyle practices.
      3) Potatoes, beans, rice, vegetables, fruit, and other whole grains are all you need. All foods, except gelatin which is an animal product, contain all the essential amino acids. Eat a variety of foods rather than searching for foods that contain specific amino acid ratios – the idea that you need each food to contain a certain amount is an old myth that is taking too long to die!

  • Hey Derek I just started reading your book and immediatedly it answered some concerns I have. I am 58, be 59 in June and have been working out for some time now, but I have noticed I do not have the energy to complete my Bi/Tri workouts at the end of my Chest and back workouts. I am currently working out Tue/Wed and Thur/Fri, Legs, Chest, Back, Shoulders. After reading some of your book I am thinking of going to Total Body on Mon/Wed/Fri with Cardio and Ab’s on Tue/Thur/Sat. Your thoughts please?

    • Hi Lank, I’m glad you’re enjoying the book! Yes, total body programs are a great option for anyone at any point so I would definitely recommend it. If you want to give a split program a try again I’d train total body workouts for 6-8 weeks, then be sure to include a bis and tris only day in your next split to avoid the fatigue you mentioned. I hope this helps, good luck!


    • Hi! We used to have them regularly, but it has been a while – something like 2 years. We’ve been talking about hosting one again soon and when we do we’ll post about it here first!

  • I need some advice. Im trying to go vegan, I’ve been on a smoothie program for a month now, all raw foods. I drink 5 total a day, 2 consisting of vegan protein shakes. I am trying to drop 10 lbs, and nothing seems to be working, getting frustrated. No weight loss at all. I go to the gym every morning for 1 hour, 5 days/ week. I do kettlebell routines, that include cardio and weight training. I feel like going back to low carb program. what am I doing wrong? I counted my calories in these shakes and they seem to add up to 1400 calories in total for the day….I drink 1-1.5L water a day… probably could use little more…

    • You likely need to eat more calories, more complex carbohydrates and less fat but it’s hard to say without details. Whole foods would be a better choice than shakes and protein shakes all day. You can read through our posts for example menus and recipes. We also have an “online training studio” with weekly meal plans and video lectures on fat loss, meal planning, etc. BUT there’s lots of free information on our site and http://www.veganbodybuilding.com that can help you if you look around!

  • Love the blog. I have been unhealthy and heavy pretty much most my life. For the last yr I switched to plant base on and off Jan 24 2013 I was in a terrible semi accident and I have had a hard time getting back on track I do we’ll for most the day then the mentality of soda or pizza kicks in any suggestions to get going forward.

  • Hey Marcella, I’m trying to find a woman’s vegan muscle building while staying lean program. Do you have yours posted anywhere? I see a lot about what the men eat and how they train, but not too much for us ladies. Specifically how to gain musle and burn fat on a vegan (plant based) diet.

    • Yes, I’ve shared many routines and menus on this site. There really is no difference in training and nutrition between myself and Derek except that I need to do more cardio than he does to get lean. Other than that – same nutrition (lots of whole foods, plant-based calories) and same workouts (lots and lots of heavy weight lifting)!

  • Hey there, I sent you an inquiry through your website for coaching, are you still doing that at this time? I love your site, I can almost coach myself using it all with such personal and diverse resources, but if you are still doing 1:1 let’s talk and see if we’re compatible for coaching?

  • Hello,
    Derek you are freaking hot dude. Listen, I would like to know what are the best excersices to do to get my pecs round and muscular like yours. That is what I have trouble with. If you are able to share anytips I would appreciate it. Thanks.

    • Ha, thanks Carlos! A great technique for bringing out roundness in your pecs is heavy compound moves followed but an isolation FST7. So try doing something like barbell incline press for 5×5, Db bench press, then a peck deck FST7 (seven sets of 12-15 with 30 seconds of stretching between each) that should give you a crazy pump and fill out those pecs!


  • Have been vegan since November 2011 and love the energy I have and how much leaner my body looks as I have lost 33lbs. I am hitting the gym more now than ever before. I have gone from 30% BMI to 14% in that time. I want to share that going Vagen does NOT mean you lose muscle or are unable to gain mass where needed. I weigh less now that I did in high school and I want to thank you for the website, links and resources. It is very much appreciated.

  • I just started reading your blog and i am impressed. I am a Vegetarian and a runner as well. I live in Richmond and go to Golds gym as well. I am a the one at Willow Lawn and it would be nice to find a trainer there who was educated on being a Vegetarian athlete??

    • Sorry for the slow response! I would have said try calorie/carb cycling by eating less total calories and a lower % from carbs on 2 or 3 days per week to see if that gets you there. Good luck!

  • A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. You both look amazing and are a powerful testimonial to what can be done. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Derek, one of your clients brought me to see the documentary with T. Colin Campbell at Crossroads. I’m a nurse practitioner and last year presented a free workshop each month for all interested patients/family/friends. One of the most popular was Moving Toward A Plant Based Diet, and of course, Campbell’s work was key. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak as part of my training at Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
    Anyhow, I loved those black bean burgers you guys made, and have been back twice, and now have a pretty good recipe from PCRM website.
    I’m teaching a class July 22 at TaZa Coffee Shop, helping people get in touch with their Body Compass, from 9-11. Would welcome both of you as my guests. Might be some helpful overlap for working with your clients.
    I’ve sent several patients to your website. they can’t believe one can be a vegan and look like you two!!

  • Great website, great ideas, great set-up and thank you for the dedication to healthy vegan lifestyle! This is my new go-to super source. I just ran across your website while browsing the Richmond veg festival site. Way to go you two!!! And I do hope to make whatever event you’ll next be a part of – as a vegan foodie it’s quite exciting.

    • Thank you! Keep checking in and we’ll keep you posted on our next events! We have a potluck at least once a month so feel free to email us about that!

  • Lots of love from DQL. Lots of luck, too. I read Diet for a New America in my Comparative Religions class (don’t ask).

  • You guys are so awesome!!!
    I just checked the blog and its perfect! exactly what I needed…. diet related suggestions 🙂

    thank u…. I will be regular here from now on!!!

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