Friday, February 26, 2010

Week 2/2 Leaning Program: Workouts

Can one over-commit to a goal? I think I did; and am paying for it. My over-drive is back again, something I should have learned to ease up on.
Last week, I tackled a more vigorous workout program, upping my cardio and strength/flexibility training by 1/3 each day (adding about 15 min extra each per day) and adding more hot yoga classes. Week one was a total success- I leaned out and felt great. Then I got to week 2 and had to drop down, doing less yoga, but keeping up with my cardio. I had to, my calories were way too low to continue. I became irritable, and stressed- and no healthy lifestyle program should make me as bit$^y as I was. Also, my eczema broke out, and my period was delayed by about 8 days- two symptoms that I had put my body into a starving-stressful state. And one cannot lean out in that state. So I pulled back the reins:
Sunday: Off (no training- rest is when my body gains the benefits from the training I did over the week)
Monday: 30 min Heart Opening Flow, 45 min treadmill (3 min jog, 1 min walk intervals)
Tuesday: 30 min HotPower Fusion, 50 min spin class
Wednesday: 50 min Yoga Sculpt class
Thursday: 30 min Morning Flow, 45 min treadmill (uphill walk)
As you can see, I'm leaving today and tomorrow blank until I know what my body can do. I'm achy and think I might need to rest to clear up my eczema before I jet away tommorow night for my vacation!
I might even re-commit to a plan I cooked up for my new year's resolution and take a nap instead of working out. That's a goal I can easily over-commit to.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Week 2: Leaning Out Nutrition

My nutrition has been tight this week; I am confident I will get onto the plane as clean and healthy as possible. When I'm healthy on the way to a vacation, I'm more motivated to stay that way when I'm down there.
I am hungry, like I was last week, but less so. And have developed better mental tricks to satisfy my urges- like drinking more water (never a bad thing). I even tried on an old pair of skinny jeans I haven't been able to get into for 2 years, and got them on comfortably. So I'm ready.
This week, a few minor changes to my regular nutrition plan. The changes are bolded. A slight tapering of sugar this week.
1. 6 egg whites, spinach, mushrooms
2. creamy rice or oatmeal (no raisins)
3. 2/3c rice and beans, roasted vegetables
4. Carrots (as many as I want)
5. Salads, roasted vegetables
Post work-out: 1/2 serving Vega
No diet sodas because they cause retention of fluid, and bloating. I didn't tighten my waist only to bloat it up with gas and extra fluid.
I think I'll have pancakes before I board the plane on Saturday- just beacuse I know I won't get any gluten free pancakes when I'm down there. A nice treat before I go to the resort and survive on mostly fresh fruit, veggies and nuts. I'm very wary of most resort food and buffets because of my gluten intolerance. I won't be like my friends, loading up on fresh pastries and local cuisine because of it (and that can be a hard thing, to be left out of an experience).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Leaning Program- Workouts Week 1/2

Similar to my nutrition program, you can see very little change to my workout routine over the next two weeks of my leaning program. Again, one of many benefits of maintaining a regular exercise schedule is that to lean out for any occasion, it takes very little, or even no change to a healthy foundation. I've only added an additional 75min heated yoga class, and 15 min extra yoga or cardio a day to my schedule over the next 14 days. It is my regular workout schedule, enhanced. You can see in my (familiar) workout plan below (bolded items show changes from regular plan):
Sunday: 45 min cardio and 30 min yoga
Monday: 75 min Baptiste Vinyasa Flow (heated yoga flow)
Tuesday: 45 min Jivamukti yoga, 50 min spin class
Wednesday: 75 min Baptiste Vinyasa Flow (heated yoga flow)
Thursday: 30 min yoga, 45 min cardio (a kick combination of 30 treadmill, and 15 elliptical)
Friday: 30 min yoga, 45 min cardio (combo of 15 treadmill, 30 bike)
Saturday: 75 min Moksha (heated yoga class)
I've seen tremendous changes this week, not only in my size, but in my mental clarity. I don't crave sugar, and my normal end-of-the-week anxiety about my 'treat' for the week is gone. The more simple I make my life, the less decisions I have to make, and therefore, less anxiety over them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Leaning Program- Nutrition Week 1/2

As you will see, this weekly plan is NO DIFFERENT from my other weekly plans. The difference is that I am not indulging in my weekly treats that I discuss, like a bowl of ice cream or glass of wine here or there. For 14 days, it's not a problem; the beauty in maintaining a daily healthy meal plan (yes every day!), is that for special occasions, like my upcoming trip, leaning out takes little time, and only the strength of my mind to commit to my meal plans and no more (no less either!- don't stop eating!).roasted rutabagas and beets, a side to my salad for supper
Meal 1: 6 egg whites, sauteed spinach and mushrooms
Meal 2: bowl of oatmeal or creamy rice, with 2Tbsp ground flax seeds
Meal 3: 1/2c black beans and rice combination, with various roasted vegetables
Meal 4: As many carrots or other raw vegetables I want (normally about 1 1/2c worth)- no dip
Meal 5: Big green salad and more roasted vegetables
Post workout- Vega Whole Food Optimizer (plain flavor).steamed broccoli and roasted portabello mushroom supper
Take it easy- it could be my mantra. Don't under-eat, don't diet, just think about what you fuel your life with, and why every day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Leaning Program- how am I doing so far?

As I mentioned, I'm on a two-week leaning program, or cutting phase (a term from old fitness competition days). The answer to 'why am I so hungry' is because the little treats I work into my lifestyle are no longer in my plan. The one or two glasses of wine I enjoy a week are gone; the evening rice cake snacks are put away. I am holding the awareness of what I eat and drink as my primary concentration, with the intention to remain clean. Small, easy changes make this program simple- isn't that reassuring? A no-stress leaning program: live your life, but just think about it...

But I just wanted to admit it here...I'm really hungry.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Leaning Program- 2 weeks

Image from vanuatu vacations
In 2 weeks time, I'll be sitting on a beach much like this one. And although I'm packing my bikinis, this leaning out (or cutting) program is not designed to 'cut' anything from me. I don't want to restrict my diet, and I don't have time to be a fiend on the treadmill for hours; I don't want to cut my freedom and peaceful state of mind. I want to remain as I am but bring a heightened awareness to my daily eating and workout program over the next two weeks. As a result, I will lean out- but to shed fat is not the primary intention, it is simply a by-product.
Here is my plan:
Nutrition- no alcohol, no eating after supper
Exercise-add an additional hot yoga class each week, continue regular schedule
Strength of Mind-(the most important concept in any leaning program) meditation every morning

Simple, isn't it? It's about the intention and purpose of the next weeks. To remain in a healthy schedule, not pressure myself towards one end and create stress. Change your mind, and you will change your body.
When I am laying on my lounger in the sand, I want to have the peace of mind to know that my body is the healthiest and cleanest it can be. I want the confidence to walk around in my tank tops and shorts knowing I did everything I could to remain healthy and happy. I don't want to arrive at the resort spent from over-exercising and crash dieting, in a damaging state of mind from the pressure of 'cutting'. Neither do I want to arrive wishing I had cleaned my system out before the resort's indulgences. So I'm following a consistent, clean diet and exercise program, similar to what I already do- and will enter my vacation in two weeks time in a completely confident and clean state, both physically and mentally.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Weekly Training & Nutrition: You're trying to teach me something aren't you?

Photo taken by a very talented family member of mine
I'm sitting in my parents' house, in a small town south of the city I love. I'm taking the opportunity to be with my family, to attend a memorial service for a good woman who passed, to have my Dad 'tune up' my vehicle, and do a little 'tuning up' on my mind and body. The last weeks combined into an ironwoman type of experience. My job required a LOT of me, and when I step up my hours at work, I step up my hours on the treadmill. I was training hard, just to balance the stress that my job was placing on me- and then I burnt out. So my nutrition was less than clean, indulging in brownies one night and cookies from a friend the next. I had 2 glasses of wine over the week as well. Not worried about it, not guilty about it, not ashamed of it. Just recognizing that by pushing myself too hard I created a 'perfect storm' for unhealthy habits. Letting myself get too tired, and overtraining alongside made me crave sugar and left me with little mental power to curb cravings. Perhaps there's a lesson in there somewhere...
And onto my training- or what little training I did. I found getting out of bed hard in the morning, and literally went to bed at 3pm Monday and Tuesday and slept through the nights in almost a comatose state. I could not have trained. I did not want to train- and that was the biggest signifier that I should stay off the treadmill. When my motivation goes away, when I no longer ENJOY the workouts then I know it's not for me that time. Normally I love every bit of my training. This week I loathed the thought of the gym, and the treadmill. But I was comfortable with the yoga mat.
Sunday: OFF
Monday: 30 yoga with weights
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 50 min yoga sculpt class
Thursday: 30 min cardio
Friday: 45 min cardio, 45 min power yoga
Saturday: OFF
Not a worry. One week of minor changes in my schedule are totally ok. I like living in a cushy moderate spectrum knowing that I will (and want) to get back on my regular habits when I feel like myself. These nice days in the country with my family will get me back to myself. I look forward to Sunday's workout, and Monday's hot yoga session.
How do you feel about 'taking time off' of training and your strict nutrition plan? Do you need 'breaks'? Or does your lifestyle allow for flexibility so you don't have to schedule down time?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Weekly Training

Sunday: 75 min Baptiste Vinyasa Flow at Hot Yoga studio
Monday: 50 min cardio (40 min steady state, 10 min intervals treadmill)
Tuesday: 50 min spin class
Wednesday: 30 min cardio, 50 min yoga sculpt
Thursday: 45 min cardio
Friday: 10 min cardio intervals, 30 min yoga
Saturday: 30 min cardio
I'm beat. My workouts tapered off near the end of the week, as you can tell less cardio and missing Saturday yoga. I had to. And I even took yesterday off training entirely (yes 1 whole day with no physical activity, not even yoga). After almost getting into a car accident, putting an almond in my ear instead of my earphones and forgetting my voicemail password I decided to break. When I start making stupid mistakes, and realize that mentally I am not altogether there, it's time for a physical peace agreement. I'm not sure how to approach this coming week, but with only a few weeks left till a tropical getaway, I'm really motivated to continue stepping up my workouts. But I'm no good if I'm mentally cloudy.
Oh what to do? Take it easy this week? Or keep pushing through?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Weekly Nutrition

So it's been a wild few days, but with careful planning I'm totally prepared with a freezer full of pre-made meals, and a fridge full of vegetable crudites. No excuses for sub-par nutrition, even with a 60 hour, 6 day work week as well as graduate classes (right?).
How do I do it? I just commit to it. It's a decision I make and then I make it happen. The pay off is feeling great and having the mental clarity and physical stamina from my clean nutrition to handle the busy schedule.
1. Egg whites, spinach and mushrooms
2. Oatmeal or creamy rice
3. Beans and rice, roasted vegetables
4. Raw carrot sticks
5. Home-made soup, salad or roasted vegetables, like rutabagas

The Thrive Diet: Review

If you're looking to spice up your diet, whether you're vegan, an athlete, a vegan athlete or none of the above, get a copy of this book. The author, Brendan Brazier, is a super-athlete who thrives off a vegan diet and has learned through years of experimentation how to use vegetables, seeds and nuts in ways you never dreamed of. All of his recipes are included, and I can guarantee you will love the fuel bites recipe and the innovative (entirely gluten free) "pizza" recipes.

I had to take this book as an exploration of another way of approaching nutrition rather than a prescription for how to plan my meals. It's very strict, but certainly not limited. If you are already in the habit of eating mostly raw, vegan foods this will be easier for you to jump into. I am not, I eat gluten, and dairy-free and eat meat less than once a week and followed the plan pretty easily, with some planning, for one week. But had major stomach issues during the week. It takes time for the body to adjust, just as Brendan mentions in this well-written book.

Pick this up, just to expose yourself to another possibility of nutrition. Whether it is right for you, you must decide based on the question- Are you going to safely and gently incorporate the changes he suggests?

Brendan is quite charismatic and has online support multimedia at which can take you through much of the content of the book using videos hosted by the author himself. For further support, try the community devoted to this diet at

He has created a nutrition line, Vega, to supplement the diet he talks about in this book. I have been using his Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer as my post work-out shake for quite a while. It's a great, gluten free, dairy free option for you athletes out there looking to get a combo of protein, carbs and nutrients out of your shakes. Other than that, I have no affiliation with Vega, or Brendan Brazier.