Things have been really, super, very busy around these parts. I used to think “oh, as soon as XYZ is done, I will have ALL THIS TIME to do SO MANY THINGS”. Recently, I had the realization that I will likely always have projects and it makes sense to get used to having a lot going on. This is the life of a person who is willing to #workthathustle in order to live an enjoyable life. It is full, of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
There are a lot of moving parts in terms of my day to day and I don’t take that for granted. While I’ve always been driven by projects and achievements, for years I didn’t do much outside of my eating disorder. I am honestly still getting used to the fact that I have a big life, with friends and clients and a partner. When I start to feel overwhelmed lately, I try to remind myself of times when I would simply mope all day and go to bed at 7PM, because I just wanted my day to be over. My life was therapy, the nutritionist, OA meetings, and compulsive cardio. I hated my body. My friendships were limited, and even with people I felt alone.
I don’t forget where I’ve come from.
ANYWAY, I am supposed to be telling you about my meals and snacks, not the deep dark shit in my past. What I am basically trying to say is that with my business, my side hustle recipe formulation, writing, friends, the podcast, my partner, a wedding in less than three weeks, kauai right after, and a move to Portland in September, shit is definitely happening. I am not living on the sidelines and I’m super grateful! Here is a peak at my food:
6:00AM – Pre workout, AKA breakfast number one:
My daily morning steez has been a FitQuick waffle with banana soft serve lately, and I cannot recommend this combo enough. The carbs give me quick energy to get out there and crush it at the gym, and a waffle and ice cream breakfast makes the kid in me really, really happy. After this waffle I hit the gym for the first day in my de-load week. I did the following workout:
A. 1 clean and 2 front squats- 4 sets at 70% of your clean one rep max
B. Back squat: 3 sets of 8 at 60% of your one rep max
C. Behind the Neck snatch grip push press- 5 sets of 3 at 60% of your one rep max snatch
D. Superset: 2 sets- 20 hip extensions, 20 weighted walking lunges
E. Cardio: 90 double unders, 30 back squats, 60 double unders, 20 front squats, 30 double unders, 10 overhead squats . (finished in 17 minutes and 36 seconds) Incidentally, my friend Ed was filming his back squat PR as I finished my overhead squats and he captured me here. I felt truly fucked as I completed this workout, but I’m looking strong! I’ll take it.
9:30AM- Post workout, aka Breakfast number two:
I love the fitness life for many, many reasons and how good exercise makes food taste is just one of them. This meal was a Stumptown Cold Brew in honor of my beloved Portland, paired with some Bread SRSLY vegan gluten-free sourdough, nooch, and some super-eggy style tofu scramble. This recipe is soooo simple, but the Kama Nalak salt takes the scram to a serious next-level. As a vegan who used to love eggs, I find this to be divine.
1:00 PM- lunch!
In the past, I have always had green smoothies for one of my two breakfasts, and it has taken some adjustment to just be getting my first veg serving after noon. I personally find that old orthorexic thoughts can still creep in from time to time, so I am actually enjoying the challenge of letting myself have what I want, as opposed to what I think I should have. Who says green smoothies are the only breakfast? Really, I think the answer is that no one said that, and that somewhere along the lines I made it up as a rule and stuck to it regardless. My breakfasts are directly around my workouts, and I find myself significantly more satisfied when I chew to get my nutrition at those times. Maybe you feel the same?
What was I talking about again?
Oh, yeah. Lunch.
So, by the time lunch rolled around, I was super ready for some veg-action. This pile is kale, steamed yukon gold potatoes, Beyond Meat grilled Chicken Strips, and Rita’s Chipotle Salsa, all piled on Food for Life Corn Tortillas. The tortillas are sprouted (yay, digestability!) and made of whole corn kernals. I LOVE them.
Dinner was a new recipe I formulated for the KeVita blog that I am actually really excited about. It involved eggplant, chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, capers, olives, cilantro, zucchini noodles, and – of course- some KeVita. It was topped with So Delicious Unsweetened Cultured Coconut Milk and it tasted awesome. At the time of writing, that recipe has yet to be posted, but keep checking back. It should be up there soon!
It is definitely on the liberal side to call a protein chia pudding a dessert, but it was sweet and cold without the blood sugar spike, so I think it’s kind of perfect. Basically, I soaked 3 Tablespoons of Chia with unsweetened homemade pumpkin seed milk, 1 scoop of Vanilla Vega Sport and some frozen berries, and it tastes fucking awesome. I eat some variation of a protein pudding, ice cream, or pancake (typically using Vega) almost every day and I LOVE the flavor.
In between my foods and my workout I promoted a post I had written on emotional eating, cleaned the gym that I do a trade with, got groceries, answered client emails, formulated a meal plan, met with a client in person, formulated and photographed said KeVita recipe, trained a client, showered, and recorded my Podcast.
With the exception of the dinner recipe (which I formulated and took time with as part of my work), each meal took me less than 10 minutes to prepare. It may seem overhwhelming to eat healthy, but once you get in the flow it can actually be super efficient.
What are YOU eating lately? Links and pictures, PLZ!
I haven’t done a “how I worked Wednesday” post in quite some time, and as my training has shifted and progressed in a number of ways in the past few months I thought it was high time to show you how I’ve been breakin’ a sweat. I consider my training to be one of the best parts of my day almost every time I do it, and though I know only a few will get anything out of seeing how many reps I do of what lift, the ones who like it will be greatly intrigued.
Basically, I do this for the fitness dorks AKA the people like myself. You’re welcome, guys!
A note: recently it has come to my attention that some people are annoyed by healthy living bloggers, because what they put out into the world seems full of judgement. I know there are the #eatclean, #noexcuses, #teamnodaysoff type of fitness social media personalities, but I want to say here and now that I am not one of them. Everything I share is to let other people in to my process, should they be interested. I do not wish to glorify crossfit, olympic lifting, interval training, or running. I have no idea if what works for me works for you. If your preferred method of exercise is pilates and walking, I think that is fucking excellent. You can be annoyed that I try to make my meals look pretty and pick the perfect tea towel before I photograph, but please don’t be annoyed with the perception that I am saying you should do what I do. I’m not! I trust your judgement on your fitness and your life as much as I trust my judgement for my fitness and mine.
And with that, onto the lifts!
Monday: 5 sets of 1 high hang snatch. I worked up to 65 lbs.
4 sets of 3 front squats. I worked up to 115 pounds.
3 sets of eight stiff legged deadlifts. I worked up to 120 pounds.
3 sets of
10 plate crunches
10 russian twists (10 each side)
1 minute plank
300 single jump ropes, 20 Back Squats at 105 lbs., 20 V-ups, 20 assisted Ring Dips, 200 m Sandbag Run
5 mile fasted cardio run
5 Sets of 2 halt squat cleans. I worked up to 100 pounds.
4 sets of 8 back squats. I worked up to 120 lbs.
5 sets of 2 dumbbell push jerks. I worked up to 30 lb. dumbbells in each hand.
2 sets of 30 second isometric hold back extensions
8 rounds for time of: 5 Burpees, 4 Box Jumps, 3 pike ups. My time was 7:23.
3 sets of 2 Snatch from blocks. I worked up to 65 lbs.
4 sets of 2 front squats + 1 dumbbell push jerk. I worked up to 120 lb. squat and 30 lb. dumbbells in each hand.
4 sets of 5 deficit deadlifts. I worked up to 120 lbs.
3 sets of
10 alternating arm V-ups (10 each side)
10 reverse crunches
10 side plank windmills (10 each side)
3 rounds, 1 min per station, of: Kettlebell Swings, Goblet Squats, Russian Twists
30 minutes fasted HIIT stair run intervals
How have you been workin’ it lately?
Tasks get sidelined, things pop up, your day sometimes just doesn’t go how you thought it would.
That’s okay. If you learn nothing else from this, please know that it is okay to not do every single day absolutely perfectly. That being said, it’s also okay to nail your goals, and some of the these tips may help you to do just that.
I have two primary physical goals at this moment in time. One is to build muscle and the other is to maintain energy. I put effort into both acts in a super committed way, and although building muscle is relatively draining, I have safety habits distributed throughout the day that are expressly put in place to protect myself from exhaustion and overwork. I plan my food, I plan my schedule, and I plan my time not because I have so much extra space in my day that I need to work to fill it, but because on a daily basis I do a lot and a plan keeps the good stuff flowing. Naturally, that’s my first tip.
Make a plan.
It could be the plan in this article to start, but probably even better would be a plan you tweaked to fit your life. Set alarms or make a sticker chart to help yourself stick to your plan.
What to do in the morning:
Wake the fuck up
I know plenty of folks who have trouble getting out of bed, but the first way to get shit done is to get up to allow yourself enough time to do the things that you want to do. I wake up at 6:30 most days, which is before the sun rises and thus, is not exactly my favorite. But! I usually get up to work out first thing. I know that lifting right away jumpstarts my metabolism. I know I feel like a fucking champion when it’s 9:00AM and I have already worked out, showered, and gotten dressed for my real day, and I know that feeling accomplished first thing is helpful for fitting it all in. You can wake up to work, or meditate, or exercise or whatever, but just wake up. Carpe that diem.
Drink a huge cup of water
Upon waking, you are dehydrated. If you reach for a glass a water before you even wipe the crust out of your eyes, you are doing something right. Your body won’t have to work so damn hard to function, so you’ll have more energy. Go for the gold.
I actually don’t care when you meditate in a day, but I do think you should do it. Often I wake up overwhelmed by all of the things I have to do and the only way I can calm my mind so that I can actually get started is to allow ten minutes for the breath to happen on a conscious level. Meditating first thing primes me for a successful day.
Have caffeine if that’s your thing, eat a super powered breakfast, take your vitamins.
My choices here are as follows
-coffee with a little unsweetened almond milk
-liquid vitamin B12
-oats with chia seeds, blueberries, and protein powder pre workout, smoothie with protein powder, banana, strawberries, and kale post workout. Every single one of theses actions gives me a tangible energy boost that I instantly feel.
What to do in the afternoon:
Drink a huge cup of water
If you can drink a cup of water every 1-2 hours during the day, you will be doing awesomely. Again, an alarm on your phone is an awesome reminder.
Eat muscle building meals and snacks with protein, fat, carbs, and veggies.
You deserve better than the vending machines and the quick food fixes.
I don’t recommend measuring or weighing food for most people, because that seems to be the quickest way people choose to drive themselves wild with anxiety and fear around food.
Instead, I say go for the good stuff and try to find a balance. Typical plates of food for me include sweet potatoes, baked tofu, kale and peanut sauce, tofu scramble with mixed veggies, black beans, and avocado slices, bean pasta with seared tempeh, broccolini, and homemade marinara, etc. My meals are often different logistically, but very similar in terms of a template. Vegan, gluten-free protein, fat, carbs, and veggies are on 99% of my plates and that seems to be what’s logical for most other folks too.
If you’re worried about portion size, my first recommendation is to eat slowly and try to find when you’re full, but for those with a chronic history of eating disorders or dieting, I know it can be difficult to heed the body’s signals. In cases like these, using your fists can be good. Eating tons of veggies, 1 fist sized serving of starch, and 1 fist sized serving of your protein is a good start. You will be the only one who can tell if your body needs more. (Also, PS, I eat six times a day, so my meals tend to be smaller. If you eat three times a day, double the above suggestions.)
Allow yourself breaks to shit around on the internet, but keep your focus in the off break time
For me, 15-20 minutes of Facebook, blog reading, Instagram, and texting just to say what’s up every 2-3 hours works well. I also make myself get up and take a quick walk after the 15-20 minutes is over to signal that my time waste-age is through and I’m ready to get back to the grind.
Have a snack that supports your goals
Because I am in a muscle building/energy maintaining phase of life, I go for protein (the muscle’s building blocks) and carbs (straight energy for the system). Here are some examples:
rice cakes and hummus, carrots and black bean dip, tofu scramble with a little Daiya cheese melted on top, protein smoothies, fruit.
What to do in the evening:
De-stress in the best ways that you know how
Meditate, make out, journal, nap, read, go for a walk, stretch, flip through a magazine, listen to relaxing music, masturbate, sit in a room and do nothing, whatever- just do it consciously and for a good amount of time. Chances are, you work hard. I recommend staying away from screens during your de-stress and really trying to get comfy.
Settling into non-work mode will help to replenish you for when it’s time to get back to it.
Eat a Dinner that supports your goals
I have been playing around with different kinds of dinners, and what I’ve noticed is this: my muscles are more visible when I keep carbs that aren’t vegetables closer to my workouts. Because I am wildly narcissistic and want to see the shit out of my hard work, I tend to eat a dinner that is mostly veggies and protein with a little fat. Sometimes I end up having something more carbohydrate rich, and that isn’t a huge deal, but there’s a bunch of meals I can make with a protein and veggie template, and I like to see abs. SUE ME.
(Most people’s goals will simply be to eat healthfully during dinner and I FULLY support that. Following the same guidelines that you did at lunch is absolutely perfect, too.)
but try to stop two hours before going to bed. No one likes to wake up time and time and time again to pee.
Plan your next day
This is one of the most important ways I prep for success.
Before I go to bed I write down all the stuff I need to do the next day, and I put it in order of importance. Sometimes I would LIKE to study for my personal trainer exam, see clients, write a blog post, work on my conference proposal, and organize my files but I realize that focusing on my clients and my exam are paramount and that’s all I can handle in a day. Taking the time to prioritize means that I can avoid alphabetizing files when I should be brushing up on anatomy.
Another way I prepare for my day is to generally plan my food if I am going to be near my home all day, and prepare and pack my food if I will be out. No matter what I soak some oats and chia for my overnight oat breakfast and take note to make sure I have enough unsweetened almond milk and greens for the next day. Knowing what and how I will eat saves me a significant amount of time.
Wind down in preparation for a serious sleep
This is how I make sure I sleep soundly:
- Try not to have more than two coffees a day, don’t drink it past 3PM.
- Watch ONE episode of a TV show, then call it quits
- Take one dose of melatonin, because that is my JAM and helps me sleep like a baby.
- Try to get screens away from me at least an hour before bed
- Spend time reflecting on my day and write a gratitude list
Sleep for 8 hours
I sleep for AT LEAST 8 hours a night, and I know some can get away with less, but I don’t really understand why one would want to. GOOD SLEEP IS KING!
Repeat most days
Because guidelines are good, but sometimes you gotta break ’em. Work your schedule enough for it to feel like a habit but not a rule.
Of course sometime in there, you will have to work out.
Muscle building happens in the kitchen for sure, but it also happens in the gym. For me, I find that I do best when I workout in the morning, strength train 4-5 times a week, sprinkle in a dash of cardio and bike commuting, and lift heavy using compound exercises. Your exercise situation may look different, and that’s okay. It is likely that you will be working out for ONE HOUR A DAY, which means there are a bunch of other hours that you will need to fill with healthy, productive, energy producing, muscle building habits.
Your body is more than a product of what you lift or how you sprint, so remember to take care of it as such.