One of my fitness goals has been to be in a fitness show again – I hesitate to say the word “compete” because for me personally just getting on that stage is success. So about 3 weeks ago I decided to sign up for a local show on June 21st. I sat down and planned out a “show prep diet” using logic, math, and counting macronutrients in foods. I created a rotating carb/calorie cycling diet and made sure to fuel my workouts. Most of my friends who compete in fitness eat meat so I thought I was doing it right to include a lot of meat in my diet plan – even though I know it’s really bad for the environment. The result? I couldn’t eat all of the food, felt sick, and got constipated (despite a fibre supplement and lots of veggies). I was seeing results from the diet in terms of my body composition but I felt terrible (morally and physically).
Thinking there must be a better way to do this I searched for vegan fitness competitors and found out that there are actually starting to be more and more of them. Alas, hope! The interesting thing I found was that most of them eat a pretty balanced diet that includes lots of legumes and starches, as well as high protein supplements like Vega protein powder which is much more nutritious than plain old whey protein and also provides lots of iron. So anyway, on the weekend I decided to ditch my carefully planned carnivore diet for a vegetarian one (I still eat eggs and some dairy) and use the principles of Lean Eating (i.e. listening to my body instead of eating by the clock or based on a strict menu). Only a few days later and I feel a million times better and I am leaning down as well. While I am excited about the show and achieving my goal, it is also important to me that I feel good and have energy to play with my son and write papers, etc. After all, fitness is part of my life, not my whole life!
Things I eat include: lentil stew with brown rice, squash, yams, tempeh/tofu stirfry, tofu pad thai, toasted chickpeas, oats, protein pancakes & shakes, fruit, almond and peanut butter, hemp, quinoa, and of course lots of veggies! I also eat eggs and some Greek yogurt here and there. I also don’t keep track of calories or count anything because it drives me insane (which is interesting considering that I am a quantitative researcher who loves stats). For me, listening to my body has been much more successful and is a lot less stressful.
Here’s a few progress update pictures from this morning (1o weeks out from the show) – note the amazing tan…just kidding. Not sure how I will look in 10 weeks but so far this has been really interesting and I’ve learned a lot about my body and myself.