Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What HEALTHY eating looks like to me (pictures only)

These are not meals that I ate ALL in one day but instead a snap shot of the types of meals I enjoy on a regular basis.

I am regularly inspired by:

Enjoy making your own healthy and delicious vegan meals for your family!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Absence and Eating for Nutrition

Since my semester ended nearly two months ago it has been fairly difficult to keep posting on my blog. I have had plenty of ideas to post but getting to my laptop or using the app to post has been the most difficult thing to do. My full time mommy duties are just that- full time. I love spending all day with Rocket and we are finally settling into a daily routine and I have found some time to blog again!

I proud to say that my decision to become vegan 5 months ago is still a decision that I am very happy I made.
The main reasons that I began eating an animal-free diet was (1) health and (2) not wanting to be a part of killing animals (I even have a problem with killing Mosquitos!); (2) helps me make food decisions that DO NOT involve hurting animals and (1) helps me make food decisions that will enhance my health.

Eating a vegan and nutrient-dense diet is not very difficult but does take a little creativity and preparation. Here are a few tips that I have found useful:

1) Find vegan food blogs to find recipes

2) grocery shop once a week

3) don't buy all your food in one place- buy produce on sale, shop at local farmer markets, if you are military shop at your commissary

4) if it has a label it is probably not worth your money (exceptions: salad greens, other fresh produce, non dairy milk, tofu/tempeh, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts/nut butters)

5) salads can be eaten whenever and however. Today I had a salad at breakfast with roasted beets, pear, cara citrus, and homemade raspberry vinegarette

In the spirit of posting this blog now rather than later (I have been working on this in bits and pieces for the past three days) I am posting this without the links to my favorite blogs and recipes that I repeat because they are nutrient dense. Look for both of those and pictures of what eating for nutrients can look like!

I have included pictures of Rocket, and Rocket and I from a visit we took to Maryland :-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Good news: I am now officially a sprint triathlon participate!!!

More Good news: I swam, biked, and ran the whole course without any need to stop for cramps or fatigue!

And Even More Good News: I was the LAST person to finish. Why this is good news for me because I set out to complete all the events in a timely manner. 1:38 in my opinion is a very timely manner :-) in addition there were only 14 relays/single participates. Last out of 14- not to bad, not to bad.

The Vega Sport powders were a big help in keeping me fueled because I feel terrific after the race.

For the rest of my day I hope to take a nap when Rocket takes his nap.

Lee and Rocket came down to the race with me and they were a big motivation so I am thanking them both for their support!

Have a great day!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Preparing for Sprint-Tri the night before

Packing in cooler:

1)Salad with beans and veggies for car ride back

2)Vega Sport Performance (pre, sustain, recover)

3)Hm omega 3 raw bars that I made using a recipe off of Choosing Raw

4)Pear and Orange

5)Best Life's Plant protein powder with my shaker

6)36 oz of ice cold water

7)Green juice ice cubes for my water bottle during my bike ride (best ice cube idea ever!)

8)Green smoothie: kale, spinach, blueberries, banana, mango, water

For breakfast: plan eating this 3 hours before race begins at 7am.

1)Overnight oats: soy yogurt, oatmeal, chia seeds, strawberries, date paste, crumbled omega 3 bar on top

Honestly I am over packing food wise because I am trying to anticipate my food needs post race.

In my duffle bag:

Extra socks, sports bar, running shorts, running tights, long sleeve tee, tank top, flip flops for post race ride home.

I am wearing my swim suit, a pair of shorts, and a long sleeve t-shirt with my running shoes.

Went to sleep at 7pm, so about 5 hours ago and I woke up at 10:30. I have been up since with jitters!!!

Must go back to sleep. My alarm is set for 4:15 and I leave the house at 5:15am.

Post race updates to follow sometime around noon!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Week training plan before the 21st Sprint-Tri

Week of May 16th- May 22nd

Monday: 30 minute full body weight training using light weights or body weight (think pushups, pushups, walking lunges with dumbbells) and lap swimming for 400meters

Tuesday: Run/walk for 4 miles

Wednesday: Spin Class (approx 25-30 minutes) and core workout for 10 minutes

Thursday: REST

Friday: 1 mile walk and Hatha yoga afterwards

Saturday: SPRINT-TRI. 150m swim, 10.5mi bike ride, 5k run

Sunday: REST or Yoga series as needed

My next post will cover helpful suggestions and tips on comPLETING or compPETING in a sprint triathlon :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Training Plan for My Sprint Triathlon

10 more days until I will be swimming 150m, biking 10.5mi, and running 3.1mi one right after the other. And for the most part I feel like I am prepared. This Saturday I was able to take my Cannondale hybrid bike out for a LONG ride. My intent was to go 25 minutes in one direction and then turn around. Distance was kind of a priority but because my iPhone gps can be faulty, time was more of a reliable measurement. The road cycling distance which I later plotted on a map was a little over 8 miles. This is the furthest I have ever rode a bike so I am pretty stoked that I accomplished it. The extra 2 miles will be completely achievable!

On Sunday I was able to get a 2.5 mile interval run in and than later a brief but intense upper body workout.

This week is my last week to truly push myself in workouts before tapering the following week before the race.

Monday and Tuesday I took a much needed break before my training began again.

Wednesday I had Spin class and an intensive core and upper body workout.

Tomorrow I will be swimming and doing a lower body plyo workout.

Friday the plan is to do a 3.5 mile run with the last mile 200 meter speed intervals.

Saturday is all about the 11 mile bike ride. 3 more miles than the Saturday before and I know I will be able to do it.

Sunday will be my rest day.

Until then happy exercising and eating whole nutrient dense foods!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Flex Mama Flex!

I am going to let the photo's taken speak for themseleves ;-)

My past few posts have been food related but I asure you that I am still hitting the weights hard and running, swimming, and biking with GUSTO.  Today I saw a flier for a sprint triathlon that my university is hosting the 21st of April---That is 18 days away!! Whoa whoa that makes me a little nervous but all in all I know I can complete the race.  As specified on the flier the race will consist of a 150meter swim (usually sprint tri's are 1/2 mile), 10.5 mile bike ride, and a 5k or 3.1 mile run/walk.  The swimming and running-check! The biking is going to be my weak link since I have only biked about 6 miles max so far.  For the next 12 days I will be concentrating on speed intervals in the pool and track and getting my biking up to 8, 10, and then 12 miles--tall order I know! Right before the race I will be giving myself 6 days of easy run/walking, swimming, and biking right- this is refered to as tapering. 

I had already planned to post my workout for the next month but that is going to be revised slightly in order to fit more cyling into the week. 

Until next time :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Does someone want PIZZA...I do!

A few posts ago I mentioned how I was kind of having a pizza crazing. At the time I was also having a polenta craving so the polenta pizza was made. This time what I really really wanted was the chewy pizza crust, the sweet pasta sauce, and some really good cheez :-). This pizza that I made this time around had all those things and bonus was super easy to make. And did I mention DELICIOUS, because in case you were wondering it was!


1) Mostly whole wheat crust Pizza Crust
(1 giant pizza or two medium size- I made two medium)
2) Newman's Own Sockaroni pasta sauce
3) Mozz -style cheez Mozz Cheez
4) Veggie toppings of your choice. I used broccoli, Roma tomatoes, orange pepper

Because I made two medium size pizzas the second one I did something a little different.  I downloaded many vegan food apps as I was transitioning and there are oodles of recipes I have yet to try.  On the VeganYumYum app there is a recipe for white bean pesto and asparagus tart that I have been eying for months.  I finally made it and instead of puff pastry which the recipe calls for I used the whole pizza dough keeping it on the thick side. 

White bean pesto and asparagus tart.  I only used half the the white bean spread since I had split the pizza dough recipe in half.  After sprinkling nutritional yeast and my favorite all purpose seasoning: Zatarins Creole Seasoning it was PERFECT. 
I hope you get to try these pizza recipes out. Homemade is always worth the trouble.

My next post I will get back to discussing my current training plan which is centered on me completing in a Sprint Triathlon.  If you noted I said completing and not competing :) It will be my first so my focus is just on completing the race and not necessarily placing in it YET!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Two Oat Bar Recipes

This past Sunday I invited one of my former neighbors over to do a little baking. She is very interested in making vegan foods and I love making vegan foods so we decided that we would make a strawberry oat bar from Angela Lidden's ohsheglows vegan food blog and a blueberry oat bar from Susan K's fatfreevegan food blog. I regularly make recipes or am inspired by recipes created by these amazing chefs. They may not think themselves chefs but I am pretty the fact that they earn a living creating recipes and cooking food qualifies them as chefs.

My neighbor friend made the strawberry bars and I the blueberry. Although each recipe was similar (oats, fruit, sugar) the difference really made each bars appropriate for a meal or dessert. For example the blueberry bar used applesauce instead of oil, maple syrup and oatmeal; while the strawberry bar used earth balance, chia seed "egg", brown sugar, and wheat flour. These differences truly made the strawberry bar the decadent and almost dessert bar. In comparison the blueberry bar was more suited for breakfast because the sugar content was lower as was the fat content. Depending on your lifestyle it may behoove you to have a higher fat breakfast especially if you are a very active individual.
blueberry oat bar
blueberry oat bar
strawberry oat bar

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why did I become a Vegan?

When I was a little girl I was acutely aware that killing animals and eating them was "mean". I use mean instead of cruel because my younger self did not understand how factory farming worked. I remember watching Babe and thinking most if not all farms were similar to that. The reality is just the opposite because hundreds of thousands of animals are treated with unbelievable amounts of cruelty so that people can eat them. No living being deserves what is happening everyday to the cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys. But that mind frame came later for me after i became aware.

I tried unsuccessfully throughout my childhood to become a vegetarian. I still more often than not was the typical American meat and potatoes consumer; although I also ate what I thought was a lot of vegetables at the time. My longest stint as a vegetarian was while I was taking Anatomy and Physiology in college. Dissecting my cat (the cat I had selected had been run over so I would not feel guilty for having a euthanized cat) I became overwhelmed with the realization that the muscles of the cat looked eerily like chicken muscle. I stopped eating most animal products except for eggs which I thought I truly needed to eat for the vitamin B12. When I got back home for breaks, especially the holiday ones I reverted back to my typical meat eater diet. I was introduced to tofu at the time and I enjoyed eating only marinated firm tofu.

Fast forward three years to me becoming a brand new mom. This is when my desire for eating a vegetarian diet and than a vegan diet became backed up with knowledge and conviction. After watching movies like Food Inc.; Food Matters; Fat, Sick,and Nearly Dead; and later Fork Over Knives, and reading Dr. Joel Fuhrman's books Eat to Live/Eat for Health and Dr. Neal Bernard's Breaking the Food Seduction I realized that if I wanted my actions to be in-align with my thoughts on how animals should not be slaughtered (no matter how humane). On January 2, 2012 I sighed up for The 21-Day Vegan Kickstart which is sponsored by The Physicians Committee of Responsible Medicine. Dr. Neal Bernard is a part of this organization. Since then I have been eating a animal and cruelty free diet. I am happy that I have made this decision for myself.

On April 2, 2012, PCRM is starting another 21 day vegan Kickstart cycle, if you are interested please take a look at their website. Http://support.pcrm.org/site/PageServer?pagename=21day_vegan_kickstart

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A bicep comparison: January and March

My upper body is cut! Well it is much more defined than it was just two months ago and I have the pictures to show it. My bicep has not popped the way I want yet but I am still curling and doing (assisted) pull ups to facilitate the bicep head to make its grand entrance. Overall still very happy with the progress I have made so far.

Took my measurements on Thursday and I have lost an inch off my hips and 1/2 an inch from my waist. ((two thumbs up for me)). My lower body still lags behind my upper in terms of cut and body fat, but as a pear shape I know it will take a while until I can see my leg and glute muscles.

Sometimes I would like to increase my cardio to two times a day and that may happen once the semester ends, but at the time I really only have time for the one workout.

As usual on a Sunday night I look forward to my Monday workout.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Inspiration Board

Take a look at my new inspiration board I just put together! This is obviously my fitness inspiration board oppose to my travel or bucket list inspiration board. The woman that are on my board are fit, muscular, and athletic. I will use this board as an additional visual motivation to stay active and healthy.

More important than active and healthy is listening to my body so that I only strengthen it and not accidentally injure it by over training. Overtraining is something that I will probably not fall victim to because I have learned to take rest days when I feel that I truely need the time to recover from an especially vigorous. Tomorrow I am planning to run/walk 5 miles. And before I forget I have to find a 5k to run in April and a 10k to run in May.

By the way all the women on my board have been fitness models for Oxygen Magazine and most if not all are Pro Bodybuilders.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Update on My Body Transformation with Pictures!

A month in a half ago one of my fellow gym-goers commented on how much weight I had lost since returning to the gym in August 2011 since giving birth to Rocket. It was not until that moment that I realized that my dedication and consistency in working out was obvious to more than just me! Here are a couple of pictures that really show that consistency in quality workouts (3-6 times a week) and a healthy, micronutrient-dense vegan diet can really transform an overweight and unhealthy body into a healthy and nearly athletic body.

The first picture was taken May 9, 2011 and the second today, March 12, 2012. I weighed 183lbs back in May and 138lbs today. Do you like how the last two numbers are switched because I do!

Back before January I was not completely transitioned from a flexitarian diet to the vegan diet that I currently and cannot possibly imagine eating another way.

My workout was super intense today and I am looking forward to a 5 mile run tomorrow.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Time not well spent

I, Alexandria Florence am an over planner! It has been said that first step in problem solving is first to identify the problem. My problem is that I micro manage. I am bursting forth with one idea after another idea so much that I often feel overwhelmed at the sheer thought of accomplishing all my ideas that I end up not getting anything done. (I would usually give numerous examples but this post is meant to be brief and my public proclamation to my problem). By identifying what it is that that is keeping me from accomplishing my goals I am looking forward to breaking my micromanaging ways and living in the present.

Each day, each moment is the present and the present is all that we ever have. I am going to begin to be more aware in the present moment because that is always time well spent.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How I am spending my Spring Break

Sigh of relief because this is my mid-semester break. A brief hiatus from driving to and from UNCP. More importantly I am using this time to spend quality time with Rocket. I have also been cleaning: that special kind of cleaning that I barely have time for during the normal week.

I will leave you with some pictures of what I made for dinner: tempeh 'old bay' cakes, vegetable stir fry (broccoli, carrots, bok choy, baby bella mushrooms, onion, and garlic), quinoa/brown rice. Completely delicious and especially nutritious.

My 24th birthday and when Rocket turns 14th months old was on the 7th. Lee's birthday is the 10th so I may have to make a chocolate silk pie for us using a recipe that I found on kblog.lunchboxbrunch.com. This vegan food blog is one of my new favorites!

Looking forward to running tomorrow. (My back and bum are sore from my Monday workout).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Quality Runs

This has been my week for running and I am loving it!

Two 3+ mile runs
One 2.5 mile track workout
One 1.5 mile fast-as-I-can run planned tomorrow after my short total body circuit of compound upper and lower body exercises

The beginning of February was my attempt to do planned 1 hour long muscle builder workouts. This worked only for me when I did not have a lot of school work to deal with. But since that best case scenario happens only once or twice a month I need to be able to adapt quickly to workouts that are short, yet incredibly effective.

This is a learning process for me more so now that I am a mother and a student. Well that is my post for the week unless I am inspired to discuss more of my fitness and mommy dilemmas or insights.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Polenta Pizza on Saturday Night

I have been crazing polenta for quite some time now and then I thought I would try my hand at making a polenta pizza!

Last night I finally made one and it turned out delicious!

Below is a picture. My topping include sockaroni pasta sauce, baby bella mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, tofu "ricotta" (which tastes like ricotta) and Daiya mozz cheeze. This was a great vegan and gluten free pizza for me and the family!

The week to come is not going to as hectic as this past week so I am looking forward to getting in some quality workouts. I have not swam in three weeks so I may try to do that twice this week. I took Rocket in the jogger for a 3 mile run. Running today felt quite effortless so I am glad I have been incorporating all the tempo runs and incline/stadium runs. My hard training is definitely paying off!

I may post some progress pictures soon. My biceps will be popping in a month or so :-)

Friday, February 24, 2012

It feels like it has been awhile! Updates and new goals.

These past two weeks have been a whirl wind of test, papers, ear aches, respiratory infections, and what I thought was pink eye, but thankfully was not! The first two apply to me and the last three apply to Rocket. My poor little guy has been to the pediatrician more in the past couple of months then his first year. Fortunately for Lee and I and Rocket, he is getting better; no more wheezing and terrible congested coughing. I take Rocket to the pediatrician again on Monday for a follow up. Hoping the pediatrician will take him off the nebulizer.

Because my mommy duties have been double time this past month, consistency in my muscle building workout plan fell by the wayside. I have still workout but I have averaged about 35 minutes in the gym opposed to the hour I was completing in the first and second week. This week I ran more then the week before (which was none): mostly concentrating on speed and hill training for shorter distances (1.5 miles twice, 5k once, and 1 mile once). Quality and intensity of my shorter workouts have been quite high as each day after I workout the body parts worked experienced DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). The last two days of the weekday I also began taking two supplements: 200mg of CoQ10 and one scoop of plant protein powder with greens made my Lifetime Life's Best. The Coenzyme Q10 is supposed to help with muscle recovery by increasing blood supply to my heart and muscles. The (vegan and soy free) plant protein powder which has glutamic acid, algae, spirulina, and chlorophyll (and many many more wonderful ingredients) will ideally help me build muscle and recover more efficiently from my strenuous workouts. I hope to see and feel improvements in my body as this month ends and the next one begins.

In March, April, and May I am looking forward to competing in a 5k and 10k race. I am up to run/walking 5 miles so by the end of March I will be up to running 6 miles.

I will leave you with a picture of my first vegan meal at the UNC at Pembroke dinning hall that recently started serving vegan dishes, and picture of Rocket who is always my inspiration to be a fit veggie mama!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Yummy Recipe and Today's Packed Cooler

I do a fair amount of baking and cooking each weekend. Sometimes I can make up to four dishes (soups, casseroles, salads, oatmeal, and green smoothies). Last night was that kind of night: pre- and post-workout meals were made, lunch were made, and my on-the-car-ride-back-home snack was also made.

What I love about preparing and packing my meals on Sunday is that in the next couple of days all I have to do make dinner when i get home at 5pm on any given night. Also by packing my meals the night before all i have to do in the morning is put everything in my giant cooler, dress my son and I, and put everything in the car. The one extra step of packing my meals the night before is often the difference of leaving 15-35 minutes later than 8am. Today I left at 8:02am- GO me :-)

In my packed cooler:
~Green Smoothie- watercress, kale, pear, banana, celery, apple, lemon
*made this in a big batch for today and tomorrow*
~4-seed oatmeal- with blueberries *I used sesame, hemp, pumpkin and sunflower seeds*
~Asian broccoli and bok choy salad with ginger and soy dressing, and goji berries
~Mixed beans and grains bento "box"-
Black and red beans, chickpeas, rice and quinoa, hijiki seaweed, soy sauce, ginger, carrots, red pepper
~Almond milk and chocolate hemp protein shake

Mmm :-) plant strong meals with a Japanese-inspired lunch.

Now to the recipe.
adapted from Coconut Almond Granola Awesomeness

Coconut Almond Oat Bars
makes 15 mini squares

1/2 cup of grounded almonds or almond flour
1/2 cup of oatmeal old-fashion
1/8 cup of oat bran
1/16 tsp of sea salt
1 cup of fresh coconut- minced in food processor
Scant 1/2 cup of water blended with two pitted medjool dates
2 tbsp of maple syrup or honey or agave syrup

1. preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. line a 8X3 pan with parchment (any square or rectangle pan with do) and put a fine coating of coconut oil on the parchment paper.
3. combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a spatula
4. combine wet ingredients and coconut in with dry.
5. mixed well and spread evenly onto lined pan.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or longer if toy like your granola bar crunchy.
7. Enjoy once cooled!

It is Monday and I am back to weekday routine. Leg workout and swim today- thank goodness I am properly fueling my body with the proper food!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Second Week of Muscle Building

This has not been the week for exercising. Although I did workout out 3 times this week, the only day that I partially stuck to my plan was Wednesday and that was only the spin part.

On Sunday night I food poisoned myself- not washing my hands after going to the grocery store and eating Oreos in the car ride hold was probably the culprit. In addition to Sunday and Mondays break from running, pool, and gym: today's long run was cancelled due to the fact that both my son and I have chest colds, his being more hardcore because he is only 13 months old. I have not run outside which has been a little tough on me as I love running, but honestly I just don't want to be sick anymore. Today I feel much better than I did yesterday but since Rocket is worse and could not go to daycare, I am home with him and will not take him out for a run.

Not giving up on my 4 week plan because I still DID get two strength training circuits in on Tuesday and Thursday so I did not retard my weeks prior accomplishment in the gym.

That pretty much sums up my week. I have a recipe to share so hopefully I can finish the instructions and post that this weekend.

One final success: I am 141lbs. I am pretty happy about this number because when I joined the National Guard my big almost NoGo was that I was 14lbs overweight. At the end of training I weighed 147lbs from 156lbs at the start of basic training. So the success is that I have changed my diet completely to a vegan, plant-strong diet and when coupled with a sound exercise plan I am losing weight without restricting my caloric intake. Now that is IMPRESSIVE!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

First Week of Muscle Building Workout... COMPLETED

This is a workout program I can stick to for the next 3 weeks! I had my doubts at first because I have ALWAYS been more of a circuit-type workout person, but I have to say that this program even with all it's rest-in-between sets definitely giving me the workout I wanted.

To add to the above using the plan makes my evening less congested with "things I need to plan for the next day" which is sometimes an extensive list. The Sunday through Friday workout, working most body parts just once (excluding abs which are twice) also allows me to fully recover before working that body part again.

My only snags that I encountered were that I probably used weights a little heavier then I should have since my legs have FINALLY gotten back to a non-sore state. And today for my shoulders, back, biceps, abs because I only had 40 minutes to workout I had to cut some of the exercises in the workout plan. Next week I should not have those time restraints.

Tomorrow is my 5 mile run day- Wish me luck!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Most Ultimate Work-out Plan (from Muscle and Fitness Hers Magazine) for the Next 4 Weeks!

As I was rummaging through last year's Oxygen (oxygenmag.com) and Muscle and Fitness Hers (muscleandfitnesshers.com) magazine issues to try and piece together the BEST workout plan for me, I finally found it and it was all neatly pieced together for me so I am going to follow it with only a minor change. I added runs, spin class, a swim, and combined Thursday and Friday workouts as one so that I could do my long run.

Sunday: Tempo run- 3.5-4.5mi
Monday: Legs, calves/swim- 35-45 min
Tuesday: Chest, triceps, abs
Wednesday: Plyo, track sprints, spin class
Thursday: Back, biceps, shoulders
Friday: Long run- 4.5-6mi
Saturday: Rest

I am SUPER excited about this workout plan because I get to work on both building my muscles and increasing the quality of my runs. Also this way I don't feel as if I am going to be over taxing my body.

Wish me luck that next week is a success in the gym, on the road, and in the class room :-)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Something I am going to try and work on!

I am relatively consistent in my workouts, but what I am not consistent at is what I do when I workout. I love to switch up my specific exercises ranging from staples such as pushups, dead lifts, bicycles, planks, lunges, (assisted) pull-ups, and in addition I love to do plyometric exercises. Plyo exercises are squat jumps, lunge jumps, calf jumps, lateral bounds, skips for distance, or skips for height; those are just to name a few. My problem is not exercising but sticking with a routine. I have obviously found success in weight loss with my hodge-podge, fly-by-my-seat type of workouts, but what I really want to do is have a routine that I commit to for 4 weeks and then move on to do something new. I love to workout SO much (no sarcasm because I really do like to workout) that I want to do it all so I try to, and that has kind of worked for me but then again not so my much. The problem with my method or lack therefor is that it is difficult to measure increased strength in different muscle groups because the consistency is not there.

So this is my post to declare that I, Alexandria Lewis WIll commit to a workout routine for 4 workouts before changing it.

I will post that routine hopefully by Sunday night. I think that my previous plan had me doing a little too much leg/glute training with no time for full recovery so I am going to do only one day of weight training for legs/glute training and perhaps at the end of the week I will have a plyo and track workout. I just need to commit to my plan this next 4 weeks in order to truly see my muscle mass increase.

Happy workout planning to me and to you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thursday-Monday Workouts- January 19th-23rd

          A few postings ago I mentioned outlining the actual exercises I do when I workout so that is what this post will be dedicated to. Be aware of a few things if you wish to mimic my training plans:
(1) I am not a professional personal trainer, one day I would very much like to do that but I am not, so what is working for me may not work for you.
(2) Thursday through Monday workouts include only 2 runs and 2 lower body workout and 1 core workout. I will be posting this weeks workout-upper body, spinning, and core soon!
(3) I have been engaging in intense strength training circuits for the past 8+ months so weights that I have specified are what I personally have built up to and not something that you should begin with.
(4) I am pear shaped and after reading much literature of the subject I am currently using high repetitions and low-to-moderate weights for lower body.
(5) I am in the SLOW process of losing excess body fat and I am hoping that my two leg/glute workouts coupled with high intensity and steady state cardio will help me achieve that goal.

Without further adieu I bring you my workouts:

Thursday's leg, glute, and calve workout
40 minutes not including warmup and cooldown
Superset 1:  Standing calf raises 3X20-45lbs each hand
                   Bulgarian split squat 3X17-10lbs each hand
Straightset 1: PliƩ squat 3X20- 25lbs
Straightset 2: Single legged leg press 3X15-weight set at 25lbs
Superset 2: Single dead lift 1X20- 20lbs in one hand
                                            2X20- 20lbs in each hand
                  Calf raises on leg press(toes in) 3X25-145lbs
*warmup consisted of incline treadmill walking and lunging and plyometrics for 10 minutes
* cool down hatha yoga series for 7 minutes

Friday recovery/long run
1) 4 mile run (this is the third time post-partum I had run 4 miles. My goal is too increase this to 13.1 miles by year's end). My pace was a little faster than 12 minutes per mile as I ran this in 47 minutes and 24 seconds. I stretched for 7 minutes afterwards

Saturday Rest Day :-)

Sunday run- 5k tempo/sprints/jog/walk
 *I broke this down by 1/2 and 1/8 mile stints:
1st half mile: 5mph pace jog
2nd half mile: 6.5-7mph pace run
3rd half mile: 4mph pace walk
4th half mile: 1x200m sprints followed by 1x200m recovery walk repeated once more
5th half mile: 5mph pace jog
6th half mile: 6-6.5mph pace run
Final 0.1 miles light jog >5mph jog
*I briefly stretched after this run mostly calves, hip flexors, hamstrings

Monday legs, glute, and abs
40 minutes not including warmup and cooldown
Superset 1: Dead lift 4X5- 45+70
                  Planks 3X30 seconds
Superset 2: Exercise ball leg curls 3X15
                  Lateral Jump squats 3X20 *10 left then 10 right
Superset 3: Weighted hip lifts 3X18- 35lb plate on abdominals
                  Captain chair straight leg lift 3X15
superset 4: Kneeling on bench) single leg cable lifts 3X15- 20lbs
                 Bicycle 3X20
Straightset 1: Russian twist with weights 3X20
*warmup consisted of incline treadmill walking and lunging for 10 minutes
* cool down hatha yoga series for 7 minutes

This is me flexing my little bicep before my Monday swim. I am hoping and working towards that bicep to be nicely capped in a few months time. I want to have biceps that POP!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Live for the Weekends so I Can Plan My Meals

Especially now that the semester is in full swing, the weekends are my time to organize, meal plan and prep, do laundry, and RELAX. Haha on the relaxing part but I do spend a lot of quality time with Lee and Rocket so that is the most important use of my time.

The second most important use of my time is....

Meal Planning:

A thing on meal planning for me is that it is essential to my sanity during the week. On Saturday I shop for fresh fruit and veggies and any odds and ends needed for the week and on Sunday I spend about two hours cooking and chopping up vegetables for the next couple of days. Ever since I started during this 4 or 5 months ago I practically ensure myself a super healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner (I have come home late ever blue moon or so only to make myself a pb and jelly sandwich and a bowl of Kashi with soy milk for dinner- but those nights are the exception and not the rule!). Examples of meals that I have planned out-

Breakfast: green smoothies, big green salad with fresh fruit and 1oz of raw nuts, oatmeal with fruit or cheezy buckwheat groats with spinach or kale
Lunch: homemade vegetable and bean/lentil soups (any variety), raw vegetables and hummus in pita bread, bean and rice burrito with a big green salad, quinoa and edamame salad with raw vegetables
Snacks (post workout snack): chia seed protein pudding, hemp or pea/rice fruit smoothies, pb and jelly sandwich on ww
Dinner: vegan enchiladas, tofu and vegetable stir fries, beans and brown rice with kale and peppers

The combinations of food that I have created far exceed what I have listed above but the list serves to exemplify the types of food that I eat on a weekly based. The list further serves a purpose that with proper planning nutritious and delicious meals during a busy work week are completely possible!

Happy meal planning to you :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting into the swing of things.

Me after cycling :) Maybe next time I will flex for you!
          This is the second week of the spring semester and I have promised myself to dedicate the same amount of time to my workouts (including planning and executing) as I do my class work/home work.  That being said, I am taking a Spinning class every Wednesday. Today was my first day and I will say that I kicked butt at it and enjoy it immensely.  I am not a huge fan of treadmills, upright or recumbent bikes, and especially the elliptical machine so I was a little anxious about whether or not I would enjoy Spin class and the verdict is in- I do!! I love the high pace (and intensity), high energy and especially the group dynamic. Before the class I went to the university's gym and did a 10 minute core-focused warm-up and I definitely liked going into class with my energy already up so I will be repeating that for next week's class. 

 Workouts for the rest of the week!

Thursday: Upper body focus with heavy weights.  Using the 5X5 method; meaning I am going to do 5 sets of a exercise for 5 repetitions. for cardio I am going to go to the stadium bleachers and do sprints up and walks down for 25 minutes. 

Friday: Lower body focus with medium or light weights or bodyweight depending on exercise performed (I will post exactly what I did in a few days!) I will be doing the exercises for higher repetitions and shorter sets- i.e. 3X15-20.  No Cardio for the day but I will be doing an extended Hatha yoga stretching series afterwards.

Saturday and Sunday will be be active recovery days with light jog/brisk walking :)
Until next time :) stay active and eat yummy healthy food.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Run Today and Then Some

Today started out with good intentions: a gentle detox for my body and my mind.  The goal was to do a water, juice, and herbal tea fast today not for weight loss but to give my body a day off from using so much engery to digest food.  I read an article last night in one of the free mini-magazines that I get from my local health food store that discussed how much engery the body uses to digest cooked foods so last night I decided that I would give my body the rest it needed by drinking lots of fresh pressed juice with my Breville Juicer and lots of herbal tea and water.  Those good intentions lasted until 10am when I decided what I really wanted was homemade hot chocolate and toast with earth balance.  Staying vegan, I used non-dairy chocolate chips melted in soy milk but regardless my good intentions were waylaid completely for my desire for sugar and fat.  After finishing said hot chocolate and toast I felt pretty crappy and for the next 2 hours watched National Geographic's "Wild China" and reading my almost completed fiction novel of the month: Under Fishbone Clouds by Sam Meekings- which by the way is written like an extended and mythic poem.  When Rocket awoke from his nap ready to play and eventually eat. I still felt sluggish and foolish for giving in so easily to the lure of hot chocolate and toast, and it was pretty difficult to be my usual "run around the house and play with my son' kind of mom.  Regardless I did my best to muster up some sort of enthusiasm when I took him outside for some sunlight and fresh air.  The combination of the two had a rejuivenating effect on me because within 10 minutes or so I was stretching out my body and playing with Rocket with gusto.  After a while I felt ready to take Rocket for a little walk in the jogger.  Well that short walk turned into a nearly 4 miles jog/run/speed walk/recovery walk.  Happy to say that afterwards I feel pretty awesome and ready to get all the little things I had planned today completed sans fasting.  

Right after running. Rocket fell asleep on mile 2.

A little bit about my run:
     I ran the first 2.25 miles at about a 12 minute per mile pace. Slow and steady as I really had not run the last week as I focused more on strength training and besides it was rainy and cold.  After I had returned running back to my cul de sac I felt really limber and ready to run faster so I picked up the pace for the next 0.1 miles and alternated sprinting that and walking the next 0.1 miles two more times. After that I increased the sprint to 0.15 miles with same distance recovery speed walk two more times. Finally I finished up with a 0.2 mile sprint and a slow jog until I had completed 3.5 miles.  
As always after I am done I do a recovery cool-down walk and stretch out my lower body doind static stretches.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Theme of this blog: Becoming a Vegan Athlete

 I am a Political Science major, minoring in International Politics whose passioin is health and fitness.  This is something that I over a month long holiday break from classes realized. I spend many more hours each week creating my meals and planning/executing my workouts than I do reading my notes, or reading from my assigned text.  I will scan the latest international news articles, while I diligently read the articles on detoxing the body naturally and how to most effectively lose body fat without losing muscle mass.  I am sure that I mischoose my major but since I am a senior I have no inclination to change my major this late in the game.  I do know that I will graduate with a Pol Sci degree in December 2012 and I also know that I will have my personal training certification by the end of 2012.  The summer would be an ideal time to do that as the time needed to study the material for getting my personal training certification will be time consuming and I can not have that interferring with my major studies. 

I figured out that over the holiday break as well that I am not so much interested in poltics as I am interested in the idea of being interested in politics. I feel very strongly that the political is personal so I decided in the beginning of my junior year that I should major in Poli Sci. Was this a mistake, mayhap but I do know that I have a great understanding of our politcal system than the average person because of the classes I have taken so I am happy nevertheless on what I have learned so far. On the other hand I also am very aware that I know tenfold the amount of information on being a vegan athlete than I do about any of the Republican candiates for president or the current Iranian/Persian Gulf issue. 

SO all that is said so that I can say that the theme of my blog is my expereince with becoming a vegan athlete.  I am still in the very beginning stages of athletism and veganism- 12 days strong! .I have reached my end of 2011 weight loss goal of losing 90lbs.  Now that I am at my average high school weight of 147lbs I feel that I can (almost) earnstly begin creating the body I want with weight training and cardio.  The almost part comes in because I can only lose so much bodyfat  while I am breastfeeding -currently at 32% and would like to get to 17%.  I am increasing the duration of my workouts from 30-45 minutes 5 days a week to 45-60 minutes 6 days a week, but I also am increasing my caloric intake to match that. I feel that I am past the moderate training phase that got me to my end of 2011 goal weight so now I can engage in more intense training sessions.  There is a certain amount of vanity behind my reasons to exercise more and harder but there is also a purpose and that purpose is to become an athlete again.  I want to do triathlons, tri-fitness competitions, marathons, ect.  I loved being a high school athlete and want to become an athlete again so I will. 

My postings will becoming more regularly as I share training plans, meals plans, and the like on this blog.  I want to dive into the world of veganism and my experiences with it including how I am able to eat on the cheap; how I create my meal plans and the tools I use to do so.

I am exciting to finally have purpose for this blog and not just my random musings on any topic- although that will probably come up as well :)