Monday, September 5, 2011

Interview with Vegan Body Builder Ed Bauer

My Questions in Bold
Ed's answers in regular font

-How many times have you competed as a body builder and are there any notable placements I should mention?

I have competed twice as a bodybuilder. The first time was May 8th 2010 in Bend, Oregon at the NPC Bill Pearl High Desert Classic. I took 1st Place as the Novice Middleweight Champion. Also, a picture of me ended up on's banner for the entire event.

The second time I competed was July 30, 2011 in Seattle, Washington at the NANBF Washington State Natural. I took 4th Place out of 6 in the Short Open Class.

-what class do you normally compete in? Or plan to compete in?

The first time I competed, I weighed 167. I was in the middleweight division, competing with guys anywhere from 165 to 175 lbs. The seconds show was divided by height. I was in the "short" class competing against everyone 5'10" and below. I weighed 170 lbs. for the second show. As I have competed in 2 shows, I am no longer interested in competing as a bodybuilder. I am interested in still building my body, but with a more functional athletic approach.

-How long have you been lifting weights and how much of that time was with the intention of competing?

I started lifting weights 17 years ago, when I was 15. I was just interested in strength and general fitness at the time. I started working in gyms in 2005, became certified as a trainer in 2006, and started thinking more about bodybuilding. I didn't take it seriously until after a conversation with Robert Cheeke at 24 Hour Fitness in Portland, OR. I said that I did not feel ready to compete. He simply said that I will never be ready because I have never done this before. What I need to do is commit to a show and go for it. The learning is in the experience. I decided to commit to it and see what I could do. I did a practice 12 week leaning out phase with a photo shoot at the end. I went from 185 to 159 in those 12 weeks. After seeing my results, I decided to commit to a real bodybuilding competition. I won 1st Place my first time out. Being the representative that I am for veganism, I couldn't have been happier!

- Please explain your basic dietary philosophy, for building mass and maintaining a low-moderate percentage of body fat... So normal, non-competition prep, diet.

I believe in eating a little extra while in a mass gaining phase. I believe it is quite challenging to build lean body mass while keeping body fat below a certain level. For me, I think bodyfat needs to be at least 8% to have that extra fuel to build more quality muscle. The first time I competed, I went from 195 to 167 at 3.9% bodyfat. The second time I competed, I went from 200 to 170 at about 3.2% body fat. I gave myself 12 weeks to drop body fat for both competitions.

-What does your normal daily fat/carb/protein ratio look like and can you give an example of an average days food intake? Do you follow a fixed rule regarding protein intake vs. body weight?

When cutting, I roughly go with 40% Protein, 40% Fat, and 20% Carbs. For me at a body weight of 185lbs, I will take in about 290 grams of protein, all plant based of course. I loosely follow 1.5 grams/lb of body weight when gaining mass and leaning out.

When simply in a maintenance phase. I go with around 1 gram per lb of body weight for protein intake. An average cutting phase meal plan (and workout plan) may look like this:

Pre Morning Cardio:
Green Tea
Morning Cardio:
30-40 minutes varied intensity stair climbing
Gardein steak strips
raw almonds
1/4 cup blueberries
Late Morning Snack:
2 scoops rice/pea protein powder (mixed in water)
1/4 cup ground pumpkin seeds or dried coconut
hickory smoked Tofurky deli slices
1/2 avocado
low carb tortilla
1 scoop rice/pea protein (mixed in water)
5 grams glutamine
2 scoops rice/pea protein
banana and strawberries
Spirulina Powder (all blended in water)
5 grams glutamine
Pre Dinner Snack:
mixed raw almonds, brazil nuts, cashews
hummus and celery
Marinated Tempeh
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup black beans
2 cups salad
2 tbsp salad dressing (oil/vinegar)
Nighttime Snack:
1 scoop rice/pea protein
1/4 cup ground flax seed
5 grams glutamine

This is a cutting phase meal plan. When maintaining, I eat more low glycemic carbohydrates like more fruits, beans, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa. I still limit all carbohydrate foods after 2 or 3pm though to keep body fat from increasing.

-Can you briefly describe your weekly workout schedule?

As of now in a maintenance phase, I weight train 4 to 5 days a week, and ride my bike everywhere, so some form of cardio most days of the week.

-Where do you hold your non-comp body fat percentage at and how low do you have to go for competition?

I am currently holding body fat around 7 to 8% and I feel great! I have plenty of muscle definition and energy is at peak levels. For competition, I aim for 2 to 4% body fat. This is for men only. Women compete at around 8-12. That level is really hard to maintain, and I would not recommend anyone try to do so.

- How long do you allow to drop to that level and how does your diet and exercise routine change to help you reach your goal?

I give myself 12 weeks to cut down, but that amount of time goes up or down depending on how high body fat levels have risen. A 1% drop weekly is ideal. In terms of exercise, weight training stays exactly the same as in a mass building phase. I gradually start adding 20-30 minute cardio sessions, to increase my total calorie burn. I start with 3 days a week and go all the way up to 6 or 7 days a week of cardio, sometimes 2 sessions a day, but never more than 40 minutes at a time.

-What inspired you to start lifting?

My father inspired me to start lifting weights, and also bodybuilders who made it on the big screen such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. I later learned about steroids and as a Vegan Straight-Edge athlete, I would never go near that stuff.

- do you get strange reactions from other body builders when they find out you eat a vegan diet?

Other bodybuilders actually seem to respect me more because they see how passionate I am about this lifestyle. While they consider it more of a challenge, they admire me for taking the challenge head on. It is actually no more challenging, as you can see through our accomplishments in this industry.

- is there anything you wish you had known starting out or any advice you would give to help someone who is interested in competitive bodybuilding?

Yes, understand your genetic potential as a natural athlete. The difference between vegan and non vegan is minimal. The true difference in bodybuilding potential comes from the use or non use of anabolic steroids. I am involved in fitness to inspire others towards a healthy and compassionate life, not to risk my health for overly developed muscle mass.

- do you have a recommendation for a pre or post workout drink or meal?

Before workouts, I like Vega Sport. For a post workout drink, I like a big scoop of 50% rice and 50% Pea protein with 2 servings of fruit and 5 grams of the amino acid glutamine for muscle recovery.

Big thank you to Ed Bauer for taking the time to contribute to my blog! If you would like to know more about Ed you can visit his blog at Ed Bauer Fit

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hello September, goodbye 20's

Sorry for my absence, but I am pretty much writing august off... I got NOTHING (work, workout related) done, except for a few days of training for Mighty-O at the very end. I didn't really work out, I didn't eat healthy, I didn't do any work on my cookbook, website, or blog... but here's what I did get done ;)

3 Waterparks
2 Road Trips- One being a tour with my band
Boyfriends Birthday
Turned 30
2 Strawberry Milkshakes
Returned to the Skateparks
Visited Oakland for 4 hours
Ate at Millennium
Went to Utah
Read 30 Young Adult Paranormal Fiction "Novels"

So now that it is no longer the celebration of the month of my 30th year on the planet, I suppose I should start getting some work done and make good progress on my next decade. 20's: I can't say you were always good to me, but we saw some shit and I will never forget our time together. Can't say I am sad to see you go, other than I'll miss not having wrinkles and grey hair. 30's: What's up! Let's get gnarly!
Later this week you can expect to see an interview with Vegan Straightedge (ooh, like me!) Bodybuilder Ed Bauer, who was inspired to start lifting weights by his Dad (again, just like me! I like him already). Check back in for that and some other cool interviews coming up next week.

Friday, August 5, 2011

update and upcoming...

So... the body building competition was AWESOME! No really, our vegan brethren did us proud and it was great to hang out and cheer with some of my favorite vegan fitness pals. If you have never witnessed a body building comp or exhibition I recommend checking it out, the hard work and intense dieting those ladies and gentlemen go through to become life sized action figures is pretty remarkable and impressive. Anyhow, I asked the two vegans who competed Ed Bauer and Derek Tresize along with Marcella Torres, a female body builder, to do an interview for me for this blog. Yay! So coming soon you will get tons of juicy details about the life and times of a competitive vegan body builder!
In the meantime I will fill you in on my life and times... My 90 days of p90x has concluded. It is a little disappointing that I fell off towards the end, due to injury, but I still feel really good about it overall.
Here is a little reminder of my goals I made when I was starting the program:

"I would like to lose about 6% body fat and am ok with my weight, but wouldn't mind going down 5 lbs or so. Mostly I just want to tone key areas ;) So there it is folks, the brutal truth! I know it could be worse... Mostly I look forward to seeing an increase in strength and endurance- aiming to do 3-5 unassisted pull-ups and making my arms and shoulders MASSIVE!"

My results:
I am down about 2% body fat... this has been pretty tough admittedly. I know some of the reasons why I didn't get lower- poor diet at times and inconsistent workout with all my little injuries and tattoo breaks. I have lost a about 2 lbs as well- not too concerned about weight... Obviously my arms have gotten a little bigger (and I got a tan, haha) but I am not quite MASSIVE, yet. The best news is that I can now do 4 unassisted reverse grip chin ups! Wooohooo! Feeling pretty good about that. I jumped right back in to another cycle of the p90x earlier this week. I am skipping most of the cardio and subbing in walks and low impact activities until my dumb ankle gets better. Man, that is a sure sign of aging... 10 years ago my ankle would have been completely better in a week. I did my first leg workout in weeks today- just a light one, but it felt good.
My band is doing a mini tour next week and we are playing outside of portland... we have been planning for over a month to hit newberg skate park (mecca) while we are down there and I AM skating. Even if I have to sit on my board and roll around.
6 pack challenge... It is going ok. I am doing my core workouts but I have definitely gained back a little bit of belly fat in the last few weeks of taking time off from cardio. So you can't see that I have been doing my core workouts ;) but it is under there, I promise. Hope to have it showing a little bit by september 2nd.
I turn 30 in 19 days... I want to feel like I am in great shape. Guess I have some work to do... How is everyone else doing?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Let's get inspired!

On saturday, this weekend, the Washington State Natural Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure & Bikini Championships will be presented at the Moore Theater in Downtown Seattle. Who wants to go see it with me and get inspired to get ripped? I am going at 5ish...

In other news... I don't know why, but whenever I have to take a break from my regular work out routine it is so so hard to get back on track. It is like I get used to having the extra hour-2 hours back in my day and then when it is time to put it back into my fitness routine I feel like I don't have the time. Anyhow I did a great Arm and Shoulder workout today and I am gonna shoot for yoga tomorrow... GO ANKLE! I have been riding my bike a few miles the last couple of days and am attempting to get a little time in skateboarding on flat ground each day so that I can re-strengthen my ankle. It isn't quite ready to go balls out (hmmm, what is the female equivalent to this?) I have to be very careful with it, but I am able to use it which is AWESOME!
Also I found this good core exercise for all my 6 pack challengers...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Injury is the enemy

So it never fails that once I get a little bit ahead, or even on track, with my fitness I inevitably injure myself. That's life though, and in an effort to make fitness a lifestyle and not an occasional binge I am trying not to stress about it, give my body the time off it needs, and get back on the wagon as quickly as possible within my limitations. A week ago I sprained my stupid ankle skateboarding. Not like a nice mellow sprain that you can walk on the next day either, more like a gnarly torn ligament. Hummingbird had to show off his man strength and carry me fireman style out of the bowl cause I couldn't put weight on it. Ladies, let me advise you- it never hurts to keep a dude around that can pick you up and carry you if an emergency arises...

This week vs. a week ago... better by the day

Anyway, if you know me, you know I have a real hard time sitting still, but I realize the best thing to do in this situation is to and elevate, so I did. My coping mechanism has been to lock myself into the world of young adult paranormal fiction- and I think I've read almost every YAPF book under $5 that amazon has for kindle in the last 5 days... Well at least 24 books or so. See my recent purchases if you are in the market ;)
Anyhow yesterday, a little stir crazy, I decided to see if I had lost all ability to do a pull up in the last week of no physical activity, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was actually able to do 5 reverse grip chin ups (the kind where your palms face you). So yay me. Apparently giving yourself a week off isn't always a bad thing. You might be saying "sara, if your foot was hurt why didn't you try to just do an upper-body workout?" Here's the thing- 1) my foot was literally so bad that I couldn't stand on it for more than a few minutes, let alone add weight to the equation. If I were to stumble a little bit or step wrong it wouldn't have been pretty. I suppose I could have done a seated workout like an old person but 2) if you haven't picked up on it yet I'm kinda lazy, so if too many obstacles are put in my way I tend to slack.
Today I decided I'd been lazy long enough, and that it was time to start making my ankle do a little work so I did a short chest and back workout, and stopped early when my ankle told me it had enough- I am trying to listen to it so I don't aggravate it more. It felt good to use my muscles again and I was instantly in a better mood.
It made me think about a conversation I had with a lovely lady who writes the blog Illustrated Women, a few weeks back... She was saying she now shuns formal exercise after getting heavily into crossfit and developing what she felt was an unhealthy relationship with fitness. I could definitely see where she was coming from and relate as I really tend to be an all or nothing kind of girl and have seen myself go overboard more than once... I definitely don't want to repeat her experience, but it also made me think about and realize how important it is for MY mental and physical health that I keep a regular exercise routine and stay active. I'm prone to depression and reclusiveness, and especially during my "lady times" it is super important for me to release my anxiety, nervous energy, and good brain chemicals through a tough workout. When I don't, I notice myself getting a little bit, well, not "myself". Plus I find the regularity of having a routine to be very grounding and stabilizing for me. It's nice to remind myself when I'm feeling a little grumpy and anxious that a run, walk, or good weight session will probably take me out of my doldrums.
My ankle is (agonizingly) slowly getting better. I can almost fake like I don't have a limp now. I really really want to be skating again by the weekend, but we will see. After I nearly took myself out trying to jog through an intersection the other night I am feeling a little more cautious. If I'm not quite ready and I try to skate and step off my board the wrong way I will just end up laid up for another week. It is so frustrating to get behind though, I have some serious progress goals in mind! The bright side is that all my other little scratches and dings are being given a chance to heal up so by the time I go back I should be in right proper shape.
Needless to say, I've been a bad six pack challenger this last week. How about you? Anyone run across a cool new core exercise we all need to try?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Meet The Challengers

Alright, time to get this show on the road... I had a lot of people express interest but only 10 of you sacked up and sent in photos. The end date for the challenge is September 3rd, so we still have plenty of time. I have to start off by saying that I think you all have adorable tummies! I never knew there could be so many belly personalities and I would love them all. I am posting a video at the end that someone shared with me. It is a great core exercise and should point you in the right direction as far as workout ideas. I will continue to share more stuff with you as I find it.
Without further ado... The Challengers!
I am assigning numbers, as some people wished to remain anonymous... Obviously you will all know which one is me so I am going first...











Here is the video shared with me by the lovely Candace Puopolo. If you don't have dumbbells or are not yet ready to use weights you could do this with no weight or improvise with household items ;)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I was asking for it... 6 pack contest

After my last blog post where I casually threw out that the only way I would make myself do an ab workout was if someone challenged me to a contest, I was immediately challenged. I guess I was asking for it. We made this Sunday our deadline for taking our photos. The contest is open to everyone, so if you would like to join us we would be more than happy to not be the only ones showing our half naked bodies to the internet.
Even if you don't feel like sharing photos feel free to join in on your own :)
If you do want to participate here are the photo details: They should be of mid-section only from top of the solar plexus to right below the pelvic bones (as low as is tasteful, haha) and there should be a front and side profile photo taken with decent lighting in a relaxed but not slouchy position. In two months we will take after photos wearing the same clothes and in the same lighting as the original photos, no diuretics cheaters! We are also advising taking measurements at natural waist and lower abdomen, but you don't need to share those if you don't want to- they are more to have a concrete measurement of your progress. Currently we are just looking at most improved, but if a bunch of other people want to join in we will look at adding some other categories.
The main point of this contest is to challenge us to step up our already solid workout routines and active lifestyles to increase our focus on our core and stabilizing regions, and help us to improve our athletic performance. (But even if you are just starting to workout we want you to play!) Due to this, exercises should focus on full core and not just on the front area of your stomach...
Exercise guidelines: no fixed weight machines for abs like those in at home or on-sight gyms. No traditional crunches/sit-ups. Allowed exercises: Any compound lifting and weight training, bodyweight exercises, and full body synergistic movements. Basically just don't lay on your back and crunch up- it isn't good for your neck or back and doesn't actually strengthen much of your core.
To help clarify: side v-ups, full range of motion exercise ball exercises, yoga poses like boat, medicine ball exercises, are all allowed... just not standard sit-ups.
Here's the idea, via Coleen "There's really something to be said for opting to build functional strength that challenges ALL your core muscles vs. Traditional ab focused exercises" Get it?
Send your before photos to me at I will post them here next week. If you hear about this a little late but still want to join the contest feel free- you will just have less time to workout.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A guiltless confession...

Or why I don't do sit-ups and you don't have to either...
So I have to confess I only did the ab ripper workout for about 2 weeks in the middle of the program. I think I hate sit ups. At first I was like "I am just starting the program, I am going to give myself a break for a few weeks before I start doing the ab workout." Then I felt a little guilty because I knew I was just being lazy, so I did it a few times... Then I was like "It takes too much time, and I am too tired from the rest of my workout" and I would try and put it on my cardio days. Then I just quit it altogether. I have an injury that prevents me from rolling on my tailbone, so I was using that as an excuse to skip a few of the exercises... but the reality is I am kinda lazy and I don't like doing an entire 15 minute workout just on my stomach. The good news is that I don't really think doing a stomach workout is necessary.

I am only really bringing this up because the other day someone told me that my stomach looked great. Granted I don't have a six pack, and I won't at this rate, but unless it is really important to you to have super visible muscle definition in your stomach it is completely unnecessary to do a bunch of stomach specific exercises. What IS important is to have a strong core that supports your body and allows you to do other exercises correctly. I feel like I get all the core workout I need through push-ups, skating, singing, upper and lower body weight training, bike riding, etc. I just focus on keeping my core solid and using correct form when doing everything else. I do really like the core synergistic workout in the p90x series... That is how I prefer to strengthen my lower back and stomach- it feels so much more organic. So basically I am just here to give you permission to skip the sit-ups if you hate them and confess that I am a slacker. Oh, and the only way I think you could get me to do an ab workout is if someone were to challenge me to a six pack challenge... or something like that. Just throwing that out there...

Monday, June 27, 2011

60 day update...

I'll admit, it has been a little longer than 60 days since I started working out again, but with the missed days along the way, today actually marks the 60th day of the p90x program. So we are going to say it is a 60 day update.

While I am aware that is is one of the most flattering poses for my body I still feel proud of the progress I am making. The last 3 weeks of switching up my routine a bit has helped a lot. The last WEEK of cutting out most sugar has helped even more. I was in colorado for about 5 days and it was basically a sugar cleanse for me. Without the hummingbird there to constantly offer me bites of sweets I was able to make it through the sugar cravings to the point where I no longer wanted it. Unless I am in serious low blood sugar mode- which I know just means I need to eat and a piece of fruit is a great start. I feel like I lost a noticeable amount of body fat just in the last few days from kicking the junk. I have been trying to keep my calories up, but eat a lot more vegetables and greens. It feels good. I have more energy and feel way less bloated.
Being in Colorado was cool. I saw so many healthy looking, active people, which was super inspirational. I know seattle has a lot of active healthy people but what was different I think was that a lot of women had noticeable muscle mass, I don't see that as much here and I thought it was really cool. I was on the recovery week of p90x- which is supposed to be a few days of stretching and yoga, some core workouts, and the more mellow cardio program. I kinda scrapped it. I did the stretching routine once and just skated every day. It was SO hot there and with all the driving and work I had to do I didn't really feel like doing my p90x in the hotel room. I did try to get a decent amount of exercise in though. I woke up early, skated a bunch and enjoyed the morning beauty colorado had to offer, went to work, then locked myself in the air-conditioned hotel room until it cooled down enough to go out and find some dinner. Kinda a nice relaxing trip- other than I missed the dog and the boy.
My goals for the next thirty days are to lift heavier, skate as much as possible, and keep off the sugar. I feel like if I stick to that I am going to be pretty satisfied with my 3 months of p90x. Today I did 63 more push ups than I did the first week of the program. Hell fucking yes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

skatecation 2011

Just got home last night from an impromptu skate trip down to oregon with my boyfriend and my best friend chris. We had a great time and skated a bunch, so I am hoping that made up for the junk I ate on the trip. I am going to try to force out a leg workout today if I can work up the willpower, my legs feel like they are made out of rusty metal. I feel like skateboarding the last week straight was already kinda a leg workout, but I know it wasn't very well rounded. For the moment skateboarding has almost completely taken over as my cardio exercise, which is fine, it is more fun anyway...
On wednesday I leave for colorado for 5 days. I am going out there for work but I plan to bring my p90x (on recovery week thankfully so I won't need weights) and my skateboard with me. I want to make sure I don't just end up with a full week of no activity.
Almost to the 60 day mark of my workout program. I haven't been following it very diligently, but I have for sure become more active and increased my fitness- which was my goal, so even if I don't see huge results at the end of the 90 days I will feel pretty happy with myself. I turn 30 in august and it would be awesome to feel like I was in great shape and super healthy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Directions...

If you read my last post you know I was feeling some frustration with my results so far from the last month and a half of working out like a mad woman. I was feeling like I was putting a lot more in than I was getting out of my workouts... I received a lot of encouragement and some sage words of advise and I have been reevaluating and restructuring my plan over the last week or so- hence why you haven't heard from me. I have been working on figuring it all out so I have something to report.
One thing I realized was that I was ignoring my own advise:
Girls- lift big or go home. I had been acting a bit timid when it came to lifting and going for less weight with more reps. I don't know why really... maybe that same fear that's placed in most girls brains about getting bulky... Let's face it, I am already bulky. Better to be bulky and have really firm muscle and less body fat than be bulky with soft muscle and pudge, I say. I have been upping my weight and lowering my reps... I found that in some cases I was lifting at half my ability! So 8-12 reps (still playing with weight a little bit to stick closer to the 8-10 mark) and as much weight as I can pull with good form.
I had a large variance in advice about cardio... from some people saying don't do it at all, you can get all your cardio through your weight lifting sessions to people advising to double the amount of cardio I was doing, and everywhere in between. Where I have ended up falling within that spectrum is right in the middle. I think I am actually doing just a little more than before... Instead of sticking strictly to the p90x plan I am adding in more normal active fun stuff that brings up my heart rate and increases my endurance. I have been skateboarding a few times a week, and of course still rollerskating once a week or so and trying to get out for more walks with the dog.
All my best boy friends are skateboarders and since its summertime and the weather is getting nicer they have been going a lot more. I have been refusing to learn to skateboard for quite a while now for a few reasons, but have finally given in and I am having a really good time, and getting a lot of bruises. I am so stubborn and I hate being bad at things... and you know, at almost 30, coming late into the game, I really feel like I am getting too old to learn something that takes so many years to get good at.... especially something that is so hard on a body. Also, I rode bmx for a good couple of years so skateboarders are my natural enemy ;) Regardless of all that, I am having a great time and just trying to go early to the parks before no one else is there so I can suck without anyone but my friends seeing. I have good girl friend who skates with a bunch of other girls and as soon as I am good enough to actually pick more up I am planning on going with her so she can school me and bang me up a bit.
I have been loosening up a little with my workout schedule- if I have a day where I skate for a few hours and then roller-skate that night I am taking the day off doing an actual workout... it's feeling pretty good so far and in the last week or two I have noticed a little more muscle definition which I am attributing to loss of body fat. Maybe. Whatever...
The other thing I think has been holding me back is just general life stress... I am feeling a bit crazy and hormonal and a little lost in my life right now and it is making me all kinds of anxious and insecure. I know I just need to stick it out and hang in there and wait for things to sort out a bit- but in the mean time I have for sure been having some rough patches. Nothing helps me more than being active and getting endorphins and serotonin going in my body- not to mention releasing anxiety and nervous energy. It's probably one of the few things that's keeping me from falling into a miserable depression. So yay for exercise! Thanks for reading and being such great supporters. Your input is super motivating and inspiring.

... baby steps

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

picking it up...

Congratulations to Dani and Giacomo over at Vegan Proteins for doing so awesome in their first 30 days of p90x! Is anyone else that reads my little blog recording their current workout progress? I would love to see it! Please share with me if you are...
I was already feeling a little discouraged about my physical results so far, so seeing their very noticeable improvements over 30 days just emphasized to me that I need to switch some stuff up and get moving towards my goals. I am bummed that I have missed so many days so far of my workout between vacation and foot healing. My foot still isn't completely unhurty- and I am still having to modify my workouts a little and take it easy in some places. I will be really glad when it finishes healing! I have identified a few culprits impeding my progress... One is all the breaks- obviously you don't see consistent results when you aren't consistently working out. Number two is this guy here...

Meet my boyfriend, the hummingbird. I am sure you all know someone who could remain fit and trim on a diet of pure sugar... no? I do. Aren't guys supposed to hit a point in their lives where they can no longer eat whatever they want and they have to work to stay skinny? I thought so... Not this one. He literally eats sugar with every meal. He drinks juice and sugary beverages all day long. Good for him, but he also loves to share them with me... candy, cookies, juice, chocolate, you name it. I need to be firm and just say no to the juice. I don't believe in giving up all treats but I do think you should eat at least 90% of your calories in healthy, nutritionally dense foods, and bottled juice is a waste of my 10%. So boyfriend... stop feeding me junk food! Except chocolate... you can still feed me chocolate.
The bottom line is that I am working WAY to hard to not see a drop in body fat, and it has been really miniscule. My body fat scale isn't reading very accurately since my foot is still a little swollen and retaining fluid (the scales sends an "electrical current up through one foot to the waist, then down the other leg to measure how much body fat a person has. Since fat is a poor conductor of electricity compared with water (the main component of muscles, liver, brain, etc.), the current flows more slowly through fat tissue. Using complex formulas that include age, sex, height, and activity level, the devices -- Tanita and HoMedics are the big players -- can thus calculate what percent of a person's weight is attributable to fat.") So I am going on visual observation alone... and let me tell you, it's not impressive. What is reassuring is that I am feeling stronger, I can now, once again, do two pull ups unassisted- which was where I was at last summer when I was in shape. When I started in april I couldn't do any. I can do hella pushups, and not those "girl" ones either, and I am making it through the long boring yoga routine like a champ.
So my new strategy is to stop letting my boyfriend feed me so much junk food, try and pick up my intensity in my current workout schedule, and possibly add in some extra cardio on my lifting days. Gonna do some research on that and see what other people have done. I don't like running, so I am going to try and avoid that at all costs. I also know that there have been a lot of days where I haven't been eating enough... realizing at the end of the day that I only had 2-3 meals... no good. I'm gonna work on fixing that.
Again, if anyone is documenting their workout progress, I would love love love to see it... help keep me inspired!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Daddy's Girl

So, you all know I like working out and have an interest in bodybuilding, nutrition, and general fitness... what you don't know is that I have been lifting casually on and off for about 17 years and that I get my fitness obsession from my dad.

I took this photo of my dad this morning, he was in town last night and stayed over before heading back to eastern washington this morning. My dad just turned 61 and could still give most guys a run for their money when it comes to strength AND size. He wanted the disclaimer that he is seriously out of shape and has been out of the gym for about a month- hence the diminished biceps... pfft
My dad was a competitive body builder for several years while I was growing up so I got to see him go through the long hours at the gym, working through injuries, 2 torn rotator cuffs, crazy diets with their corresponding mood swings, and constant drive to get bigger and stronger. I am proud to say that my dad never used steroids and got all his muscle naturally.
My sister and I started working out with him as soon as we were old enough that he would let us lift. Around 12, I think. We would get up early before school and go in with him to work out a few days a week. We were both very lucky to be genetically gifted with his body type, although she has always put on size more easily than me. (I say gifted as far as bodybuilding, maybe not so gifted if we had wanted to be competitive runners!) I have no interest in ever being a competitive fitness model, or body builder myself, as I feel the diet, loss of body fat, and orange tan, are all too extreme and unhealthy for me- being the obsessive extremist I know I am... I would prefer instead to be a strong, healthy example of a fit vegan women- so that is what I work for. It sure feels nice to be getting stronger and slowly be adding some size though...

Thanks dad for instilling this desire and drive in me, and always encouraging me to be strong and healthy, eat well, and not be afraid that having muscles would make me less feminine. Oh! And for the great genes ;)
I am going to leave you with this great lesson my dad gave me, that has always helped me in bodybuilding and life:
Take the one exercise that you hate, that you struggle with, that your form sucks and you feel weak... and make that exercise your favorite. Spend extra time on it, pay critical attention to your form, do it even when you aren't working that muscle group. Pretty soon that will be your favorite exercise and you'll wonder why it was ever so hard.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My favorite things...

I got my foot tattooed sunday night, I am trying to finish up my tattoo plans before summer since I don't get tattooed during months where it may be possible to go swimming... So I have not been able to do my workout for the last 3 days... My foot has been super swollen, and there's no way I could even walk on it for the first few days, let alone jump around. Today it is a lot better and I think tomorrow I will be able to pick back up, today I did the ab ripper, so at least that was something... I am feeling restless and lazy, so I thought a blog post was in order.
Sometimes things come up, injuries, tattoos, crazy work schedules, etc., that stop us from being able to do our workout as normal and it is hard not to get discouraged or let the set back throw you off. I am trying to start a new habit for myself when this happens and instead of just getting lazy or frustrated and forgetting about my fitness I am putting in the effort to stay motivated and focused by staying up on my blog and the other awesome ones I list on the right, reading nutrition and body building books, and keeping my diet healthy. I decided to post my "favorite things" and tell you what I love and why when it comes to working out!

Vega Sport
Vega is formulated by professional vegan ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier. He created the line to make commercial versions of the products he would make himself at home for his personal performance diet. I personally feel like this is the BEST brand out there when it comes to dietary supplementation. I trust the ingredients and the integrity of all vega products. That being said, the new sport line is my favorite. The Performance Optimizer is basically like healthy gatorade PLUS herbs and roots that help the recovery process while you work out. The Protein is a balanced, easy to digest, protein blend with a mellow flavor... I hear chocolate is coming out soon and I can't wait. The Vega bars are great too, and Wholefoods near my house is having a sale on them starting this week.

Sunwarrior Protein
Raw, vegan, highly digestible, tastes super good and has a great silky texture... what else can I say? It is amazing... This protein is made from sprouted brown rice and is one of the least expensive high quality protein supplements on the market. It comes in Chocolate, Vanilla, and Natural Flavors.

My Pull Up Bar <3
This speaks for itself... How many girls, how many people, can actually lift their body weight with their arms at least one time? Not many... My aim is to increase my current record of two pull-ups to at least 4 unassisted pull-ups by the end of july. Talk about a survival skill: what if you were dangling from a building about to fall to your death and the only chance at life was to pull yourself to the top?! That happens to people all the time, right?

SelectTech Dumbbells and my Pushup Bars
The dumbbells replace 15 sets of weights. The weights adjust from 5 to 52.5 lbs. (2.5 lb. increments the first 25 lbs.). They are super easy to use with adjustable dials that control which plates attach to the bars for weights. They are compact and are very quick to change out. My only complaint with them is that sometimes they are a little wide for my body, when doing triceps or other muscle groups that require me to keep my arms tight to my body. Then again, most barbells would be.
Push up bars are really great if you have wrists that hyperextend or get sore from pushups, they also allow you a much larger range of motion so you can work the full length of the muscle.

My favorite of ALL of my kitchen tools. Completely liquifies greens, nuts, or really WHATEVER so that you can easily digest and quickly absorb nutrients. Look at refurbished blenders for a great price. I literally use my vitamin every day.

You guys all know I swear by p90x as a workout program... here is why: It incorporates cardiovascular exercise, load bearing exercise, and stretching into a fun, challenging, and effective daily workout. The program takes away the effort of having to do your own planning and presents you with a super balanced, and excuse proof ticket to fitness, right in the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is press play. I love that this program IS so balanced, as it is my belief that strong bodies are healthy and sexy. It has been the trend for women to focus primarily on aerobic exercise and ignore the load bearing weight focused programs... Weight lifting has been shown to increase metabolism, and improve bone density (which prevents osteoporosis!), so ladies: PICK UP THOSE WEIGHTS and GET HUGE!

I get all my proteins and supplements from Vegan Proteins. I love being able to support other vegans who are trying to be their own bosses and promote a healthy vegan lifestyle. Consider purchasing from them next time you are shopping for supplements.

If you made it this far, congratulations! I promise to get back to work tomorrow and give you my one month update very soon!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pre workout nutrition...

Look familiar?
Then you may have done what I did this morning... A poor meal before your workout can make you feel like you are operating at 50%. Here are some quick tips to help you prepare for a great workout!

*get hydrated, drink your water!
*make sure to eat a light but calorically dense meal 20-45min before your workout, mess around with the timing to see what works for you- you need to have time to begin digesting but not so much time that you need more fuel... plus eating too soon before your workout can equal loosing your breakfast!
*eat a meal with a decent amount of protein, this will help sustain your blood sugar levels and help prevent excess muscle tissue damage
*eat a good amount of slowly digesting (low glycemic) carbs... something like whole wheat bread, oatmeal, whole grains, etc. they will release sugar into your body throughout your workout so you stay strong through the duration and have energy to work out at your maximum capacity

Sometimes I find that even after eating a good meal I still get a little shaky when I am working the big muscle groups like back, chest, and legs. Or if I am doing a super intense cardiovascular workout... Then it is a good idea to have some kind of drink or snack that has a combo of slow and fast releasing sugars... a good example of this would be dates and nuts or a fruit juice with some greens blended in. That way you have the quick pick up and the slower sustaining carbs to help you make it through. I rely heavily on Vega Sport Performance Optimizer. I don't mean for this blog to become an informercial but there are a few products that I really love and use regularly and I will always mention them by name. I want to support the companies that make these great products and let you know when I find something I think is great. I will always mention an alternative- like the juice, but if you want to spend the money Vega makes some great stuff.
Do you have a no fail pre workout meal? Let me know, I am always looking for something good. Lately my go to is an almond butter banana sandwich on Dave's Killer Bread... delicious and full of protein, carbs, and healthy fat.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oooh a video... Recovery Drink

So I made this video a few weeks ago, but have wanted to post other stuff and was waiting to post the video until I had nothing else to write. I just got back from a little vacation on wednesday night, had awful awful cramps yesterday, and have been having some shoulder pain so I gave myself the day off. I did go rollerskating last night though so at least there was some activity...
Basically I haven't done my REAL workout in about 5 days between vacation and yesterday. We ran amuck in southern california and played at disneyland, but it wasn't exactly the same.
I have been kinda nursing my right shoulder for the last week or so. I don't know how or when I hurt it, but it sucks. It isn't debilitating, just bad enough that I wake up with it hurting in the morning and that it is stopping me from being able to do a shoulder workout. I am actually supposed to do my biceps and shoulders today, which is my favorite workout, but I think I am going to skip it this week and do the dumb yoga so that I don't risk making it worse.
Without further ado, here is the video...

This is a "recipe" for a 2:1 carb to protein post workout recovery drink. There is a pretty wide berth of opinions about what the proper carb to protein ratio should be post workout- the idea being that you need the carbohydrates to help with glycogen synthesis which make your muscles look and feel less depleted and you also need the protein to rebuild tissue. I usually do a 3:1 on cardio days and a 2:1 on lifting days... If it feels right, do it. Here is the nutritional breakdown for those two options:
2:1 using Vega Sport, normal lifting recovery drink

3:1 using Chocolate Sun Warrior, normal cardio recovery drink

Once I start getting that in my system I am usually able to get to work making a meal... Hope this helps! Anyone else have a good post workout recovery drink they swear by?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Before/progress photos... etc

So, inspired by Dani and Giacomo I decided I should take and post some before photos so we can all see if I make progress with my workout. I am 16 days in to this 90 day cycle already so there have already been SOME improvements. I am not quite as brave as them so you won't catch me in a bathing suit, but I got as skimpy as I could ;)

I would like to lose about 6% body fat and am ok with my weight, but wouldn't mind going down 5 lbs or so. Mostly I just want to tone key areas ;) So there it is folks, the brutal truth! I know it could be worse... Mostly I look forward to seeing an increase in strength and endurance- aiming to do 3-5 unassisted pull-ups and making my arms and shoulders MASSIVE!
Does anyone one else have a plant powered workout blog or journal they would like me to share here? I also recently added my friend Rebecca's blog and the Vegan Muscle blog (home of the most epic body building photos with swords ever) so check em out!

Friday, May 6, 2011

P90X on a Vegan Diet

So I have mentioned before that my current workout plan is p90x. If you don't know what it is here is some info from the wiki

"P90X is a 90-day program that combines a variety of exercise techniques including strength training, cardio, yoga, plyometrics, and stretching".

On this program you work out 6 days a week, alternating between a lifting day and a cardio day, with the 7th day being a stretch or rest day. It is a very high intensity work out and definitely requires some attention to diet. The program also comes with a suggested diet guide which I have always ignored in favor of simply eating a nutritionally dense plant based diet with an increased number of calories and a higher percentage of calories obtained from protein. I have done the routine a full 90 days before, and did it about 40 days a second time before being a quitter and taking a few months off to be lazy. I did not notice DRASTIC body results, but did notice an large increase in strength and a definite change in my body shape. I think that part of the reason I didn't see drastic body fat loss, which would then increase muscle definition, is because I refuse to do the diet plan.
For me, the commitment to exercising 6 days a week, for at least an hour, is large enough without messing with my diet. I have always been curious about what would happen if I did though, and now we have 2 self sacrificing guinea pigs to observe while they do just this! The diet is not vegan friendly, although isn't too hard to make vegan- it is just really limiting and contrary to what I consider healthy eating.
The lovely folks over at Vegan Proteins just started their 90 day P90X cycle and are committing to following the diet plan to see just how well it works. I will be following their blog to see what and how they are eating and what their results are. You can get to it here or click the link on the sidebar to find their page. It should be interesting...
I am now on the first day of my third week. Trying to stay off the scale until at least 30 days in... I have already noticed an increase in strength since the first week. For instance, today I did 56 more push ups than I was able to the first week! I am feeling good, and seeing some change in my shape already. I was being a baby and haven't been doing the 15 minute core workout (ab ripper X) on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th days of the weekly routine, but started that today. I was trying to be nice to myself and ease into it. So far I am happy with my results and I am looking forward to seeing where I am in another 2.5 months!

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Recipe: Creamy Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil

I went grocery shopping this morning after my mediocre workout and decided to treat myself with some fancy expensive pasta. I haven't used this brand before but I liked it because it was two ingredients and had 12 grams of protein per serving.

If you are wondering how to make a vegan Alfredo type cream sauce using whole ingredients here is the recipe. I thought it was a great, filling, and flavorful lunch. Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Prepare Pasta
Cook 2 servings (aprox 200g) of your favorite pasta (if you don't eat wheat try quinoa pasta!) in salted water until al dente and remove from water.
Cool Pasta immediately in an ice bath to stop cooking. Set aside.

1/4 cup Chopped Sun-dried Tomatoes (just barely covered in room temp water to soak)
1/4 cup Basil, chop or chiffonade into a manageable size
1 t Oregano and1 t Black Pepper to add to the sauce while cooking

Cream Sauce
Soak 1/2 cups of Cashews (raw preferably) in cool water for about 30 minutes- 1 hour
*** also a good time to cover your sun-dried tomatoes in soaking water as well***
Once soaked, drain cashews and place them in a blender with 1 cup of filtered water. Blend until smooth.
A note here: if you do not have a high speed blender you may have to run it a long time or start with less water and add more in once the nuts and completely blended. You can also use 1/2 cup cashew butter as a short cut. Get raw cashew butter.

add to blender
1.5 t cornstarch or other starch/thickener
1.5 t minced garlic
1 t onion powder
1 t lemon juice
a generous pinch of salt
Blend until smooth

Put sauce and pasta into a saute pan and heat at a medium high temperature stirring frequently. Add Black Pepper and Oregano to the sauce while you are cooking it. The sauce will begin to thicken pretty immediately. Cook long enough for pasta to become hot and for the sauce to thicken to your desired consistency.

Remove from heat and add your drained Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil to the pasta. Makes 2 decent sized servings. If you are still hungry eat a salad ;)