Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weekend in review, Kevita, EOW

Two of my favorite people!
This last weekend was super fun and productive but I am definitely still trying to recover and catch up on my sleep. Dani and Giacomo flew in on Thursday night and we stayed up too late catching up. Then friday we were up bright and early to go set up the Vegan Proteins booth at the Seattle Vegfest. After we got everything prepared for the big weekend ahead of us we ran home for a quick meal and then went to the gym for a work out.
Me and the coach
Vegan Muscle
It was my chest day and I didn't move anything too remarkable but it was still a good time. I got to show off my big kid weighted dips to my coach and get some hands on personal training. Saturday was another early morning and we had a long day at the fest followed by dinner at veggie grill. I got to sneak in a little cheat meal with Dani's permission and had the B-Wing Salad. So so good! The next day we were up early again and had a great day talking to people about vegan nutrition and protein supplements. Then when we were done we hit the gym for deadlifts. Super fun workout! Giacomo, Trevor, and I were all doing deadlifts in a rotation and I was able to hit a new personal best of 195lbs for 6 reps. Probably just showing off for Dani... 
135 for 6 :)
The gym is my happy place

195!!! Ugly lockout face!

We were up late again preparing veggies for a catering job I do and then after about 6 hours of sleep up early again to go drop off the catering and then go to the gym for my upper back workout. With Giacomo's help I did my first weighted pull ups, I completed 3 sets of 6 with a 5lb weight and did my other sets just body weight. Pretty cool! There were definitely times I thought I would never get to a weighted pull up, haha!
Sets of 6 pull-ups with a 5lb weight

After the gym I sadly dropped my friends at the airport and headed to work and back to regular life.Still catching up on sleep but feeling super super motivated to follow my meal plan perfectly and push myself every workout.
New favorite thing in the world!

The highlight of vegfest this year was a product I had never had before called Kevita. It is a sparkly probiotic drink made from non-dairy kefir and it is AMAZING. It is only about 10-20 calories per bottle and is packed with good digestive enhancers so not only am I allowed to have it on my diet, I am encouraged. The probiotics help to digest all the protein shakes I consume (not that I have any issues, my body LOVES protein shakes) but any excuse to drink what is pretty much a healthy soda is alright by me. I plan to have at least one of these a day between now and the competition. My favorite flavors are Lemon Cayenne, Coconut, Mango Coconut, and really, well, all of them. There is one flavor that has sugar so I skipped that one, but the rest are stevia sweetened.

For the exercise of the week this week I am just going to say THE WHOLE WEEKEND, and PUMPIN IT WITH FRIENDS. Every workout was awesome, I loved having Dani there to give me little tips and Giacomo to encourage me to go bigger. It was also really really cool for them to meet Trevor who is basically not only my most regular lifting buddy but also my in person coach... always helping me to work for better form and more weight.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Body Fat Test Update and more...

The results are in...

All I have to say is YAY!!!!
If you were with me from the beginning you might remember that I was given the goal of having my body fat between 17-20% by the end of this month so that going in to cutting I wouldn't be too far behind and have to lose so much fat so quickly. Losing slower makes it easier to maintain mass while you are cutting- plus makes you less cranky. So I made it with flying colors! I was preparing myself to hear 21% and hoping for 19-20 so when I got the results back I was ecstatic.
Doing the test was pretty interesting. You just submerge yourself in a tub with a weight across your legs on top of a scale. You breathe all your air out as hard as you can and they weigh you. You are weighed dry before starting the test so based on your two measurements they are able to deduce your body composition. I think the coolest part was finding out that I have 103lbs of lean mass and that my daily resting caloric demand is 1517. Knowing my caloric needs will help my fabulous coach to set my meal plan while I am cutting.

The other cool thing to happen this week was that we got our fliers made for the show. Our group co-ordinator worked his magic and got all sorts of awesome things set up with the event co-ordinator for the show and I am really really excited for the next few months. We got our website set up,, it doesn't have much up on it right now but in the next few weeks team member bios will be posted and merchandise will be available for purchase with the proceeds going towards our cost of promoting the group and veganism at the show this summer and onward.
I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Dani and Giacomo. They come in tonight and we will be spending the weekend working out and educating the public at the Seattle Vegfest about the wonders of vegan protein for an athletes diet. If you are near Seattle come visit us!
This weeks Exercise of the Week is DIPS! I know I have featured dips before but for the past few weeks I have been nursing a little shoulder pain and haven't been able to make any increases and last friday my shoulder was feeling good so I was able to break new ground. I did 8 sets 6 reps with the following weight: Body Weight- Body Weight- Plus 35lb- Plus 45lbs- Plus 55lbs- Plus 55lbs- Plus 55lbs- Last set Plus 55lb for 4, body weight for 6. Trevor got a video of my second to last set, unfortunately he missed my first rep but you get the idea :)


I added a new feature to my blog. On the right hand side you will now see a spot for recommended articles, and recommended videos. I will add more as I come across good ones. Check em out when you have time!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Patience is a virtue... I don't have

omg... is that a cut starting to show on my hip??
I am definitely trying to practice it though. I realized this last week that by the time the competition hits I will have been prepping for it around 9 months... I am aware that as far as body building goes this isn't much time. Granted, I have been casually lifting on and off my whole life so it isn't as though I have started from scratch, but I haven't been working hard or towards a specific goal or even really pushing myself at all until now. So anyway 9 months... it hit me that I have never ever in my life done ANYTHING for 9 months that I gave this much focus and effort to. Prepping for this show has been the central focus of my life EVERY DAY since I decided to compete. I am either at the gym, planning my eating around the gym, shopping for food, prepping food, eating, scheduling my day for the gym, or getting enough sleep to make sure I recover, or doing laundry so I have clothes FOR THE GYM. Or now that it is getting closer I am spending time looking at posing videos, looking up female body builders and physique competitors, thinking about the music I am going to use for my posing routine... The long and the short of it is that I am so focused and driven to succeed at this- and by succeed I don't mean win, although winning is rad, I mean just show up and look as good as I can for my first show and make a statement for the animals. If nothing else I will be proud of myself for fully committing to something with ALL MY EFFORT for a long period of time.
You might be saying- but sara, you've been vegan and straight edge for over 14 years, what do you mean you've never fully committed and put in genuine effort for a long time before? Let's be honest here, that stuff wasn't hard for me once the ball was rolling. Those are things you just don't have to do... I don't have to drink, I don't eat certain things, but it doesn't take effort for me to not smoke a cigarette. At least not after a month or so... This is something I have to consciously put effort into everyday, and I am in the EASY phase still for another 2 weeks... once I have to add cardio and make my diet even more strict it will take a lot of forcing myself to do things I don't want to do... Oh willpower, how I don't have you... but I will.
The downside of this process is that nothing comes easy and nothing comes fast. So now I practice patience. I go weeks sometimes without noticing any real change to my body. Weeks of practicing a strict diet and spending 10-15 hours in the gym... but then I get the little reward of noticing a new muscle showing through or some contours in my body I didn't have before. Right now I am going through a period of riding the wave. I have 2 weeks til I start cutting, I am making very minute bf losses, I am in a strength building focus of training so not much mass gaining, and I just have to keep plugging along having faith in the fact that the effort I put in is paying off in small small ways that will add up over time. Sometimes when I need the reminder that things are happening and I just need to be patient I look at older photos of myself and I think "yep, BIG changes". That is reassuring. I am getting antsy to start cutting just so I can see things pop out more!
So I am proud of myself and the mental and physical determination I have been giving to this process. I think I am going to learn a lot and grow as a person from this experience- definitely more than I ever realized when I took it on.
Next wednesday I am planning on going in for the dunk. My body fat test at the gym with calipers measuring just my upper body read at 18% last week, so it will be very interesting to see what the reality is and just how much fat my juicy booty contributes to my overall fat percent. I am so thrilled to be spending time with my coach Dani and her fiance, my fellow competitor, and encourager, Giacomo, when they come to town next week for the Seattle Vegfest. It is going to be so awesome to work out with them and get a chance to have Dani assess me in person and give me some extra focus on my areas of weakness.
Oh! Exercise of the Week... hmmm this week it is tough. I am going to go with CALF PRESS. So I am doing seated calf presses twice a week right now. I am seeing way more size and definition in my calves and starting to (OMG) like my legs. I know right?!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

" complete me" Product Review: Vega One Bar

Seriously... SERIOUSLY
I know my judgement may be a bit skewed as I haven't eaten any junk in months... no sugar, not even sugary fruits... but eating this bar was like heaven exploded... in my mouth...
I tried the chocolate cherry one the other day and thought it was OK, but not worth the hype I have been hearing about them. Then today after yoga I had the double chocolate one and it felt like my birthday.
These bars have all the nutrition you would receive in one serving of the VEGA ONE, plus they are covered in a thin layer of chocolate. Here is the info straight from the product description:

Everything you love about Vega One Nutritional Shake—now in the first ever, all-in-one nutrition bar. Vega One Nutrition Bar redefines what you’ve come to expect from a standard bar into a powerhouse of clean, plant-based nutrition. Featuring 15 grams of complete protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 1.5 grams of Omega-3, Vega One Bar helps cover your key nutrient bases with a unique, balanced combination of essential vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, a full serving of greens, plus 1 billion dairy-free probiotics per bar.

At 13-14 grams of sugar these bars are still a little higher in sugar than I am allowed to have on my diet but I think maybe a once a week bar as a meal will probably be ok, at least until I start cutting. I haven't tried the chocolate almond one yet, but for now double chocolate has my vote.
These aren't in stores yet, the are SUPER new, but you can order them online from

Friday, March 8, 2013

Relaxing in to the routine...

I had a pretty stressful beginning of the week... went through some significant life changes with a new job and a change in personal relationships and as a result I haven't come up with a brilliant blog topic this week... (not that they are ever THAT brilliant!) Now as the week is progressing and the dust is settling I am getting settled in to the new changes in my life and relying on my established routine of the last 4 months to keep me stable and succeeding in my goals. My diet and frequent gym schedule feel normal and comforting and give me something to focus my energy on when other things are rocky. I have been kinda thinking about my new relationship with food this week because whenever I am under a lot of emotional stress I tend to get nauseas and am unable to eat. Last time I had a big life change I lost about 10lbs, and not in a healthy way...
During this brief but intense bout of stress I forced myself to continue eating even though it was hard and I didn't want to. Let's just say it wasn't any more enjoyable going out than it was going in... but I am beginning to view my food as fuel and not as entertainment or emotional comfort or reward. Now this is probably not a permanent change since, as many of you know, I make my living as a chef/cooking instructor... but for now it is a really interesting experience and I think a really healthy mindset for me to have. I miss having food creation as my creative outlet but it isn't really possible for me right now. There are only so many combinations of beans and vegetables I have interest in making. Not to mention that food prep time and eating take up so much of my life as is just doing the basic meal plan. I enjoy everything I eat even if it is a little boring to have the same thing day in and day out sometimes. I have been getting really routine about preparing my meals a few days ahead and that makes it much easier to eat on time and as planned when I have lots of stuff going on in my day. I can grab 6 hours worth of food from the refrigerator in the morning then come home from work and eat my next meal before heading to the gym. Advance preparation really simplifies things.

My current workout routine is pretty awesome. It is more focused on the big compound lifts and doesn't involve circuits! So basically I get to just camp out at the squat rack or bench and check my instagram between sets... well that and like stretch, drink water, and prepare for my next set. It is for sure a different experience then racing around the gym trying to get to the weights I need before someone else has them as I go from exercise to exercise. It is a lot volume because I am doing 8-10 sets of the big lift, but I feel like I am really getting to focus on what I am doing and go big on it. I have made a few PR's in the last few weeks including benching over my weight for reps  for the first time. This week also marked the end of my creatine cycle. I don't know how much it affected my lifting, I haven't had a full week of routine without it and it takes a little bit to leave your system but I will be interested to see if I notice any strength changes now that I am not on it. I did pretty immediately loose about two pounds of water... I feel like I am continuing to slowly drop body fat and gain mass. It is really hard to gauge the little changes in my body since I see it daily but I have the occasional instance where I am doing something routine like washing my hands, and look up in to the bathroom mirror and it's like "hey! I've never seen THAT muscle before!"
Just continuing to work and follow my plan for diet and exercise and wait for the changes to happen. The EOW this week is Military Shoulder Press. I went into the gym alone with no workout buddy and was really worried that I would have to use the smith machine to do my lift because I can't even get the bar off the rack behind my head without a spot let alone feel safe lifting my max overhead. I went out of my comfort zone and asked another regular at the gym to spot me and he was really cool and asked about my breaks and just reappeared or worked out next to the rack so he could spot my entire 8 sets. It was really reaffirming that even if I don't always have a workout buddy I CAN have a great workout and I don't need to be afraid to ask people for help with a spot. I think that is something that stops a lot of women from lifting heavy and it shouldn't... I was reminded of that.
I also wanted to share a good article my friend Coleen shared with me this week about women and heavy lifting. Women: Be more, not less. Hope you enjoy it!!