James H. Hatchel, III, a personal trainer, shared about the path that led him to plant-based fitness, his sample meal plan for building muscle, training regiment, tips for success in fitness and advice for someone who wants to try a vegetarian diet.


“Around that time I ran into an old gym buddy who told me about his son that was playing football at a major Division I school as a vegan with no signs of losing strength or energy. Once I heard that I decided to try it for 28 days, and by day 10 I was in love.”

Name: James H. Hatchel, III
Occupation: Personal trainer and online training
City/State/Country: Marietta, Georgia, USA
Age: 30
Height: 6’0″
Type of Competing: Circuit Bodybuilding
Weight: 224 lbs


Q: Who is your hero?

My hero is Lee Haney. Lee Haney is my hero for a couple reasons. First obviously his consecutive Mr Olympia victories are incredible, and the time period when did it was a time when bodybuilding was blossoming into the industry that it is today.

Secondly, he was the first Christian Bodybuilder. I used to watch his workout show every morning on TBN as a youth try to mimic him.

Q: What are your personal passions outside of fitness?

Self-development and church-related activities are my other passions. Self-development includes reading books, getting advice from successful people, and always being willing to learn. Church activities include community service and going to church.

Church is my first sanctuary and the gym is my second.

Q: What uncommon activity do you schedule into your daily routine?

Cartoon time is essential. For at least twenty minutes a day I like to laugh at mindless entertainment.

Q: Tell us about the path that led you to plant-based fitness?

I have been exercising since I was six years old. Some children learn how to play an instrument, some do flips, I learned how to do perfect push-ups from my father. I read every issue of Flex magazine during high school trying to figure out how my muscles worked, what they needed, and most importantly how to make them grow.

I have always had a love for fitness and exercise. Around 23 years-old I decided I would become a vegan when I was around 45 years old just to prevent cancer. After my last bodybuilding show I grew to 265 lbs. I wanted to lose the weight with doing hours and hours of cardio.

Around that time, I ran into an old gym buddy who told me about his son that was playing football at a major Division I school as a vegan with no signs of losing strength or energy. Once I heard that I decided to try it for 28 days and by day 10 I was in love.

Q: Sample meal plan for building muscle:

  • Meal 1: 8 ounce sweet potato, 3 cups of broccoli, 1 cup of brown rice, 2/3 cup of beans
  • Meal 2: 3 cups of spinach, 1 cup of avocado, 8 ounce sweet potato, 1 cup of quinoa
  • Meal 3: 8 ounce sweet potato, 3 cups of broccoli, 1 cup of brown rice, 2/3 cup of beans
  • Post-workout meal: 3 cups of green peas, 1/2 cup of quinoa, 1 cup of brown rice, 1/2 cup of pinto beans

Q: Philosophy on supplements and which ones you take?

Supplements are awesome. I do not think everyone needs them. I think most people don’t exercise as frequently, or intense enough, to warrant supplementation. Most people can get the nutrients they need in sufficient quantity through whole food.

Athletes such as bodybuilders, football players, and any person that endures rigorous training may want to consider taking supplements.

I take amino acids, creatine, L-glutamine, and protein powder on occasion.

Q: Describe your training regiment (favorite exercises, weekly training schedule, etc.):

My training is regimen is compilation of everything I have learned over my lifetime. I would call it GOE Fitness. GOE Fitness is high volume and high repetition. My training weekly schedule just changed to:

  • Sunday: Quads
  • Monday: Back
  • Tuesday: Shoulders
  • Wednesday: Hamstrings
  • Thursday: Chest
  • Friday: Arms

I switched training my back to Monday to see if it will help it grow in density.

“I constantly switch something about my training and start a new chapter to my training journal.”

Being in the fitness industry, I feel I should know how theories will affect clients from experience. I would say picking a favorite exercise is like a mother picking her favorite child. There is no way I could pick just one. I do have a favorite per muscle group:

  • Quad-day: Leg press
  • Back-day: Pull-ups
  • Chest-day: Incline barbell press
  • Shoulders-day: Barbell shoulder press
  • Arms-day: Dumbbell biceps curl
  • Hamstring-day: Lunges

On any given day I will do from 5 to 10 sets of my favorite exercise.

Q: If you have to pick only three exercises, what would they be?

I would say:

  • Front lat pull-down
  • Incline barbell bench press
  • Barbell back squats

Q: What tips can you share about your particular method of training?

My method of training goes with the rhythm of your body. Sometimes your body needs to lift light and double the repetitions or your body wants double the reps and the sets. GOE Fitness knows no limits. GOE Fitness is leaving the gym different everyday.

“‘Make progress’ are the only two words that matter.”

Q: What 3 fundamentals would you tell a beginner if you were to start training them?

Pick a time to exercise that fits your regular schedule, not a time that only works when the stars align and the moon turns into a rainbow (be realistic).

Your goals won’t happen overnight so try not to get frustrated. All good things come to those that wait and all better things come to those that work harder than everyone else. So be patient.

Always be truth seeking. Everyone has their own fitness journey and strategy that will work for them. Being truth seeking means to not be afraid to try new methods of exercise and research new ideas.

Q: What tips can you share that have led to your success in fitness?

Being consistent is what I attribute to any amount of success I have had. With exercise I try to only take one week off a year. For instance, in college I tried to study everyday to keep the information fresh on my mind. Every study session was not extensive but served as a quick refresher.

Q: What are the three biggest trends you see in fitness right now?

  1. Being conscious of your fitness level is more pervasive between every generation and socioeconomic status.

  • The addition of the Physique category and Bikini category plus increased fitness consciousness, more people to participate in bodybuilding competitions.

  • Supplement abuse is growing. When people that should be real food for their primary source of nutrient are taking supplements.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to try a vegetarian diet?

I would tell them to try it for at least twenty-one days minimum before you make a final decision. Twenty-one days gives you time to adjust and try an assortment of dishes.

For more ideas about plant-based fitness, watch this video – Plant Based Diet What I Eat in a Day | Plant Based Diet Workout

Author Bio:

Chris Willitts (creator of V3), is the founder and owner of Vegetarian Bodybuilding.

V3 Vegetarian Bodybuilding System is a mixture of science and author’s advice, providing users with optimal diet and exercise. This system is designed for vegans and vegetarians only.

A lot of research has been put in this program. Furthermore, a lot of professional bodybuilders and athletes tried and tested the program, praising its progressiveness and efficiency.

The program is about taking control of your own body and health according to your potential and needs. And worry not; you’ll get plenty of proteins with this system. It will boost you with energy, and you’ll feel just a strong as any carnivore would (perhaps even stronger, depending on how much you invest in your exercise). It avoids vitamins deficiency and provides you with a lot of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Instead of saying things like “I think a plant-based diet is good for athletes and bodybuilders,” the V3 Vegetarian Bodybuilding System claims “I know a plant-based diet is good for athletes and bodybuilders, and I have results to prove it.”

To find out more, visit the website at V3 Bodybuilding – Benefits of Plant-Based Fitness


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