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Sunday
Apr012012

Interview with @FitnessChamp

 

I’m obviously no celebrity athlete or fitness model, but I do get lots of questions around my own eating habits, workout patterns, and which fitness sources have taught me the most. 

This is the only time that I’ll ever “self-interview”, so here you go…

What’s your athletic background?

I was a basketball player growing up, and that’s my first love.  GOD had other plans for my body type and picked up football my freshman year of high school.  I went on to play running back in college, and also ran track for three years, competing in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay.

 

What are you currently training for?

I ran two half-marathons within a month between October and November 2011, but am done with endurance events for the time being.  I trained hard but realized that endurance sports are just not what I am cut out for, both physically and psychologically. Several friends are avid CrossFitters and have been giving me the hard sales job to get me involved. The competitive-but-positive plus testosterone-fuled vibe keeps drawing me in little by little.

 

What does an average week’s workout look like?

I don’t get as much time as I’d like to dedicate toward my own workouts, but I do what I can with the time I have.  I try to go for intensity over duration, so I’m usually hitting some form of HIIT intervals or  tabatas on the bike or rowing machine for cardio.  I’m a big fan of Olympic-style lifts, so each week I try to hit some hang cleans, power cleans, push press, and dead lifts.  I’ll mix in some pull ups, heavy rope  work, and box jumps if available.  

As I mentioned,  I have several friends who are CrossFit addicts and have been giving me the hard sales pitch to join them soon, so this workout approach will keep me in close enough shape to hang with the group (hopefully anyways).  Once or twice each week I also add in some typical standard bodybuilding work, as well as some sprint work (100s, 200s, 400’s, court gassers) to maintain my capacity in that area as well.

 

Describe your fitness classes.

The best way to describe my classes would be 45-55 minutes of multi-faceted intervals and running drills, very similar to what you might see on infomercials for “Insanity” and “P90X”.  I try to model the workouts for a demographic that used to play sports in high school or college, and desire that style of training as adults compared to simply running on the treadmill, lifting weights alone, or logging repetitive sessions on the elliptical. I also try to make sure the playlist is continually up-to-date because if the women in class don’t like the music, they will turn on you quickly.

 

What does an average day’s eating look like?

It’s not inaccurate to say that I’ve tried almost every nutritional philosophy out there.  Currently (and perhaps for the foreseeable future) I’m sticking fairly close to a Paleo eating style.  Like I said, I work out in the mornings, so it’s either an empty stomach workout, or possibly a scoop of whey protein in water before heading out the door.  I used to down a banana, Gatorade Prime, and/or a gel before hitting the gym but while this was great for my performance, this was surely killing any fat loss goals I was after (due to the over-reliance on Simple Sugars).

Post-workout is usually another scoop of whey in water, then 3-4 scrambled eggs with some spinach, and a couple slices of lean turkey tossed in.  I’ll usually eat that with half a sweet potato (3-4oz).  Mid-morning snack is a protein shake with almonds or sunflower seeds,  then lunch is usually a few turkey meatballs with some green source like asparagus.  Depending on whether or not I have class in the evening, I may eat the second half of the sweet potato here.

Late afternoon might be some turkey jerky and sunflower seeds, with perhaps a tablespoon or two of almond or peanut butter.  If I’m teaching a class in the evening I’ll either repeat lunch, or go with a tuna pack and an apple. 

Dinner lately has been white fish (tilapia, cod) with steamed shredded cabbage (seasoned with oil & vinegar, lemon pepper seasoning, and mustard). “Dessert” is a blended smoothie with carrot juice, acai juice, whey protein, blackberries, almond butter, half an avocado, and 2-3 handfuls of spinach.  Sometimes I'll swap out the avocado for coconut milk as an alternative healthy fat source.

 

Must-have vitamins and supplements?

Standard: multi-vitamin, fish oil, vitamin B, vitamin D. 

Nice to have: vitamin A, BCAA (Scivation Xtend), chia seeds

 

What’s your favorite cheat food?

There is a local smoothie shop across the street from where I live, they make a Green Tea Smoothie with non-fat frozen yogurt that is my biggest guilty pleasure. I used to go 5-6 days a week, but chopped that down to once a week on Saturdays in an effort to tighten up my diet for fat loss goals.

If I am REALLY, legitimately cheating, I love French fries, pizza, and burritos. The funny thing however, is that once your diet really gets in-tune, these foods stop being as fun once you see them as set-backs from ultimately having the body you want.  You can eat almost anything once or twice a week, but the saying is true – nothing tastes as good as being lean feels.

 

Who are your favorite fitness follows on Twitter?

@JadeTeta, @JillFit, @RobRiches, @cutandjacked, @SPNetwork

Who are your other fitness inspirations?

The Rock (obviously), Greg Plitt (#1 male fitness model in the world), Mario Lopez, Georges St. Pierre, Pauline Nordin (creator of “Fighter Diet”, her dietary discipline is a tremendous motivator) and “normal” people like my friends Demi, Philip, Brendan, and Lyndsey.

 

What’s your biggest motivation?

Aside from the standard stuff like wanting to fit well in my clothes and like what I see in the mirror, long term health is very important.  I had a close relative battling colon cancer several years ago, and a few others with high blood pressure issues.  My eating habits were terrible in graduate school during my early 20’s, and I spend every day trying to undo the fat, unhealthy condition I was creating for myself.

 

What’s the one thing you wish you could share with others at the gym?

I'd tell them that More isn’t necessarily better

I see so many people (often the same faces) logging away hour after hour on the stairmaster or elliptical every week and their bodies never change.  People training for specific  events like a half-marathon or 5K certainly need to get their mileage in, but others wanting to shed pounds, or look good for the beach really need to learn that you can meet your goals in less time, by working smarter. 

For fat loss goals, intensity trumps time spent.  The body is not like a calculator, fat loss is more complex than eating 500 fewer calories and burning 500 calories more per day.  Things like stress hormones and insulin manipulation play a big role in whether or not one’s body will give up stubborn fat.  This is usually sad to see, because I see lots of effort and “want to” from people in the gym (or even jogging down the street), they just don’t have the proper tools and information to accomplish what they are working so hard to achieve.

Will you ever grant yourself another interview like this?

No way. This was an obnoxious thing to do and I'm ready to go back to interviewing other people.

Sunday
Feb122012

6 Keys To Losing Bodyfat

In the past two weeks, three different women have separately asked me for tips on how to reduce their bodyfat.  I'm not sure if everyone is envisioning bikini season despite the freezing winter temperatures, but this seemed like a perfect time to record some of the keys I see as essential elements in any fat loss program.

These tips are meant to be (somewhat) simplistic and easy-to-follow, but as always you can find much more in-depth scientific research by Googling any of the key terms to follow.

The first axiom that helps plot the course to fat loss is to remember that DIET IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EXERCISE.  I'm sorry for yelling, but often that point gets missed and requires loud tactics to drive home the point. I've used this saying before, but it bears repeating - great abs are made in the kitchen.

Now that we've successfully established that when it comes to fat loss, diet is more important than exercise, we can move on to some of the micro-level details:

#1 - Cut out the junk.

In-case you are puzzled as to what constitutes "junk", it would be any of the following: sugars, sodas, fried foods, white carbs like breads, pastas, white potatoes, and heavy dairy like cheeses or most regular milk.  None of these sorts of foods belong anywhere in a fat loss program.

 

 #2 - Keep it clean.

After eliminating the "bad", begin to focus on the good.  Your daily eating habits should be focused around solid clean food sources.  Base your grocery shopping and meals around lean proteins, LOTS of vegetables (particularly leafy greens and colors), moderate amounts healthy fats, low-to-moderate amounts complex carbs (more on this in a minute) and some select fruits.

Examples are as follows:

Lean Proteins: Lean turkey breast, organic chicken breast, Tilapia, Salmon, Egg Whites, organic eggs, Tofu, Bison.

Vegetables: Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Mixed Greens Salads, Baby Carrots, Red/green/yellow Peppers, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Cabbage.

Healthy Fats: Avocado (this does NOT mean guacamole), extra virgin olive oil, Almonds, Almond Butter, organic Peanut Butter, Coconut Oil.  Eggs and Salmon also fit into this category.

Complex Carbs: Oatmeal, Oat Bran, Sweet Potatoes, Brown rice, Quinoa

Fruits: Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Grapefruit

 

#3 - Reduce carbohydrates later in the day.

It's time to start looking at food (particularly carbohydrates) as fuel.  Carbs make up the body's most immediate energy source (especially fruits, sugars, and non-complex sources) so it makes little sense to load up on an energy source when the remainder of the day will be mostly spent sitting in-front of the computer or television, or preparing for bed.  Replace the space on your dinner plate that would normally be filled by pasta, mashed potatoes, white rice, or dinner rolls with salads and/or vegetables.

 

#4 - Focus carb intake around workouts

To build off of point #3, it makes little sense to continuously fill your body with carbs (think muffins and bagels around the office, lunchtime sub sandwiches) throughout the day if your energy expenditure is mostly walking back and forth to the copy machine or restroom.  One strategy that has worked well for me is to limit carb intake to pre-workout only.  The goal is to fuel up with energy and burn those carbs off during my intense workout.  I've even abandoned the long-held strategy of post-workout carbs (rice cakes, gatorade, bananas, etc) to "refill muscle glycogen stores" after an interesting read which made tons of logical sense. Post-workout carb refilling is appropriate if you are an endurance athlete. It does not fit into a plan focused around reducing body fat.

  

#5 - Limit "Reward Meals" to 1-2 times per week

I use the term "Reward Meals" instead of cheat meals to signify that these meals truly should be a reward for your hard work and diligent eating during the week.  The 90/10 rule applies towards your diet in that if you keep on-track 90% of the time, the remaining 10% may slow your progress slightly, but will not ultimately derail it.  It is important to remember however that a Reward Meal is not an entire Day's worth of gorging. It may also be helpful to plan your reward meals the day before a tough workout so that those extra calories go towards your energy level and performance in the gym.

 

#6 - Intensity of Exercise > Duration of Exercise

The metabolism is a lot like a fire.  Focus on using your brief-but-intense workout to rev up the metabolism for the remaining 23 hours of your calendar day. A fat loss workout does not need to be two hours.  It should not be an endless marathon on the stairmaster or elliptical trainer.  Those machines can have a small-but-focused role in your workout, but they should not be foundation of your plan as I so often see many women doing in the gym.

Those looking to shed bodyfat should instead utilize interval training like Tabatas, or High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to get their heart-rate up, which takes advantage of the fat-burning qualities of Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and Lactic Acid.  Intense resistance training (don't be scared ladies) also plays a HUGE role in priming the body's hormones to burn off stored fat cells.  A targeted clean diet plan sets the stage for the correct hormonal environment within your body.  Intense resistance training brings hormones like testosterone and HGH into the equation, which have proven fat loss attributes.

 

There are other aspects of your fat loss plan that need to be in-sync, such as getting a proper amount of sleep (8-9 hours per night is recommended), and avoiding a stressed daily mindset.  The body will not release stored body fats if your normal temperament is stressed and agitated, as this throws the hormones I mentioned earlier out of balance.

Losing body fat is a process not an event.  It is not a linear, mathematic equation (eat 500 calories less, burn 500 calories more, etc) that happens exactly as it would on a calculator.  It requires patience, perseverance, and a plan.  Life does not happen in a linear fashion, and neither will your fat loss.  But with the right tools in-place, it can be put into action just in-time for beach and bikini season around the corner.

Tuesday
Dec202011

Weight Loss All-Stars Volume 2: Brendan

It's been a while, but previously I highlighted one of my friends for her inspiring weightloss story.  For volume two of the Weight Loss All-Stars, we're going to look at one of the more incredible body transformations you'll see.

Pictured on the right, is a "before" photo of my friend Brendan.  He has become one of the regulars who crushes the workouts at my YMCA Athletic Conditioning classes each week.  

I want to avoid spoiling the details of hisBrendan [Before] awesome story, in which he lost close to 95 pounds.  He was nice enough to share his story in our Q&A session below.

Be inspired.

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What's your athletic background?  

 I have been involved in sports my entire life. Was a three sport athlete in High School (Football, Basketball, and Baseball). However; my main sports were football and baseball. I attended Catholic University of America and played both Baseball & Football my freshmen year. It became too much so I chose to focus solely on football.

 

What was your weight at its highest, vs your current (average) weight? How long did the process take?

 

I graduated high school in 2000 right around 225 lbs. Finished football my 5th year Dec 2004 right around 265 lbs (although it was an in shape 265 lbs). Once I graduated I dropped back down to 225 lbs. From Jan 2006 to May 2009 I slowly put on weight. The most I ever saw on a scale was 296 lbs in May 2009 (although it was very likely that I was 10 to 15 pounds bigger than that a few weeks before, just never got on a scale). In Dec 2009 I hit 203 lbs on the scale. On average I have been about 215 since.

 

What caused you to want to make a change?

 

One of my roommates from colleges’ girlfriend was venturing out on her own as a health coach. She had success in the corporate world as a health consultant and decided it was time to branch out on her own. I was her first client. I knew in order for ME to really make a long term change I would need to make a pretty big financial commitment. This way I would be forced to stick with the program (in fear of just wasting my money).

So it was time for my yearly checkup at the doctors office. On the way to the doctors office (I knew I was going to have to get on a scale and was mortified at what I would see) So, I called my Buddy’s gf and signed up. I paid $1400 upfront and the program lasted 6 months. I lost 93 pounds. Best money I have ever spent.


What were your initial first steps?

 

I had completely stopped working out for nearly 3 years. Which was odd because I had been so active my entire life. So I slowly started working out again. Along with working out again (at first just 2 times a week) I was watching what I ate. I was eating a great deal of organic foods for the first time in my life. I was also consuming a ton of fruits and veggies. However; I still ate what I what I wanted one day a week. She encouraged me to find things that I enjoyed to do. I started volunteering at Big Brothers and Big Sisters and started attending a class 2 times a week at the YMCA (Athletic Conditioning). I got hooked on both, and still do both to this day.


Did you ever get discouraged during the process?

 

I was by far the most out of shape person in the Athletic Conditioning Class. I was running 12 minute miles where the slowest person besides me was running under 9 minute miles. I couldn’t do a single pull up and I could barely do 5 push ups, where the rest of the class were doing sets of 25 push ups. However; I stuck with it and it paid off.


 Did your diet change at all from your heavier days, to now?

 

I have changed my diet, but not a great deal. I don’t eat fast food or anything like that, but for the most part I eat and drink what I want.

 

 

Describe your fitness activities these days 

 Working out has become a part of my everyday life.  I continue to take athletic conditioning class about 4 times a week. I am also a member of Crossfit, which I love. I also run competitive races now and compete in Crossfit events.

I have recently got my mile time down to 5:16 and can do 30 pull ups at once. I am by far the most fit I have ever been and stride to improve that fitness level each day.

 

 

  

 

 

 

(Above is Brendan's "After" photo.  Doesn't even seem like the same guy, does it?)

 

 

 

What would you say to heavy people who feel like remaking their body composition is "impossible"?

 

 Losing weight is really quite simple. The key is to stay dedicated and find something that you really enjoy doing. Once you find something that you enjoy, it doesn’t become work anymore it becomes fun and you look forward to working out.

 

What other advice would you give to a heavy person who has yet to make a change?

 It took me 6 months to loose my weight. It comes off fast, you just have to stick with it and make a lifestyle change. The key is taking it off and keeping it off. Once your workout and diet become a habit, then its smooth sailing….

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There are many different paths to significant weightloss and body transformation, however the main consistent is a combination of work ethic and an internal desire to make a change in your life.  I hope to continue spotlighting people once in a while that have made dramatic physical improvements in their health and nutritional lifestyle. 

For anyone reading this who may not like what they see in the mirror, on the scale, or struggle fitting into their old jeans - hopefully Brendan's awesome transformation story help to inspire that with hard work, patience, and a plan, anyone can achieve great results.

 

Thursday
Nov242011

Black Friday - Time to Fix Your Diet

I highly doubt I need to delve into what "Black Friday" is in the U.S.  Many of you (by the time you read this) will have gotten up before dawn to stand in-line at Wal-Mart or Best Buy or Macy's or the shopping destination of your choice.  Understandably, there will be tons of great sales and many people (some in my own family) will make a mad dash to get their Christmas shopping finished by sundown tomorrow.

But I believe "Black Friday" has another purpose that is greatly overlooked.

"Black Friday" is the single best day of the year to clean up your diet.

As our culture embraces, many people will stuff themselves to the point of food coma with turkey, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and other family-made dishes.  Most of those same people face looming guilt the following few days after they see all the damage they've done at the dining table (and on the bathroom scale). But the Day-After-Thanksgiving also marks one of the best times to refocus and clean up your eating habits for the rest of 2011.

This is not meant to point fingers at anyone else but myself.  After training for, and completing two half-marathons in the past month, my diet has gotten way out-of-wack.  Not compared to the average person, or those around my office, but by my own personal standards.  When logging heavy miles and lots of hours of endurance training, it becomes very easy to allow dietary standards to relax by rationalizing things such as "I ran 5 miles this morning, I can have this cupcake that so-and-so brought into the office"  or "These fries from Chick-Fil-A won't kill me, I did 8 miles yesterday, I need the carbs."  Even someone like me who is heavily concerned with proper diet and nutritional function can rationalize eating junk, just because it tastes good.

One of the fitness experts I follow on Twitter, Jade Teta said it well in a recent article (he frequently drops Tweet knowledge), that there's no point in claiming you are "Eating Right" if your diet isn't giving you the results you're after.  As usual, he is spot-on, and might as well have been speaking to me directly.

Many people, myself included often have a single "tipping point" (credit: Malcolm Gladwell) that causes them to (figuratively) jump off the couch and decide to clean up their diet.  In-addition to finishing my endurance event calendar for 2011, my recent tipping point was seeing The Rock come back on WWE Raw last week (confession: we are potentially entering Man Crush territory). 

The People's Champ looked great, he was more ripped and defined than ever.  Some of his tweets while on-set shooting the movie "G.I. Joe 2" mention his diet, and Rocky eats clean even while busy.  The Rock trains hard, and he eats clean, it's not a magic formula.  It works for him, it works for Jade Teta and his wife Jill Coleman, it works for another of my fitness heroes Rob Riches, it works for Jamie Eason, it works for ironman triathlete Nell Stephenson, I think we're seeing a pattern develop.

I'm not "done" with running, I'll still work in 2-3 solid runs per week (one tempo/speedwork, one long run) but after close to six months away from regular resistance training, it's time to ditch some of the superfluous cycle classes and jogs, and get back to throwing some weight around. 

As for the rest of you, hopefully you enjoy your Thanksgiving dinners, and take time to enjoy the company of your family and friends and reflect on whatever it is that makes you thankful these days.  Even those with many problems in life have blessings for which to still be thankful.  Be sure to mix in some football games on the couch as well.

Then, come "Black Friday" take a detour from Best Buy or Nordstrom or the mall, and head to the grocery store and get a head start on eating clean for the rest of 2011.  Not only will your body will thank you, but bathing suit/bikini season will be here before you know it.

Sunday
Nov132011

Fitness Spotlight: Lyndsay Braswell

I've spent time writing about a variety of nutrition philosophies (Paleo, Intermittent Fasting, Vegan, etc).  This next section is a more in-depth look at one of the more interesting people I've come across in the fitness world.

Lyndsay Braswell  (@FitRawChic) is a fellow fitness enthusiast, but her diet is completely vegan.  She is a walking example that disproves two long-standing stigmas: 

(1) Vegans can't be athletic or have muscle tone

(2) A vegan diet has to be boring and bland

She also serves as another example that if you want to badly enough, people with regular jobs can still find time to fit their workouts into the schedule.

Lyndsay's personal site, LilGreenDress.com is diverse in fitness guidance, as well as recipes, video How-To's and other culinary ideas.  We took a break from commiserating about our respective NFL teams' (Redskins & Panthers) terrible 2011 seasons to dive into a few questions about her background, current projects, and future plans:

How did you become a vegan?

 Several times in my life people have tried to convince me to go vegan, but I like many other people thought that meant a diet of twigs and berries. It also meant giving up the bodybuilder staples, chicken and eggs.  

Wanting to take my nutrition to the next level because I still had issues with certain aspects of my health, I took a food intolerance test and come to find out I am highly intolerant to eggs!  Dairy was also found to be an enemy as well as certain kinds of seafood. 
I began reading up on the vegan diet, and one thing led to another. I've been meat-free for almost 2 yrs now and I feel and look better than I ever have! Hands down, one of the best decisions I've ever made!



What is your athletic background?

 

My introduction to lifting weights was in 8th grade when I was chosen to be in the Bigger, Faster, Stronger program.  This was a club that prepared middle schoolers for high school sports by lifting weights before school.  Not missing one workout I had my first real taste of what it felt like to throw some real weight around.  Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment as I improved in all areas of performance.
In High School I played Varsity Field Hockey and Lacrosse and in order to be better my dad felt I needed to pump some iron. I was given my first gym membership at 15 and I haven’t stopped since!



What are you up to now? (contests, competitions, recent or upcoming events, etc)

Due to my workload I decided to take the rest of the year off from competing. I plan to compete next Spring in Fitness America and/or the WBFF. I did just complete a half marathon on a whim, and want to set doing a marathon as one of my goals for 2012 if time permits.

What's a typical day's schedule for you (ex: from wake up including workouts/cardio, normal job, etc to bed)

My work dictates my workouts and my customers dictate my work! I try to workout before work and a normal day for me in the office is 8am-4:30pm.  If I’m traveling my workday could be longer and whereas it’s easier for me to hit the gym after an office day, when I’m traveling it is harder.  In a perfect world I’d be working out at 9:30am after a good nights sleep.  A 6am workout after a restless sleep is not exactly my ideal workout time, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

What is your diet like in a typical day? (normal circumstances vs contest prep)

Again my diet changes, it’s actually changed more so as a vegan than when I was a non vegan. Before my diet was standard and typical. I did the egg whites and oatmeal for breakfast, fish or chicken, sweet potato or brown rice, veggies for lunch and dinner,protein shakes in between. Thank goodness those days are over!

Now I might start my day off with a green smoothie or a quinoa dish (quinoa is a complete protein source), lunch I still might have a sweet potato and/or a salad with beans, and for dinner I might have a big salad and lentil or bean dish, with a glass or two of wine.  I snack on nuts, fruits, dark chocolate, and in a pinch, vegan protein shakes.
I’ve learned to eat light during the day because I spend sometimes almost 8 hours behind the desk.  I find if I eat heavier it makes me sleepy and my creative juices come to a halt! 

All in all, I try to eat a lot of antioxidant rich fruits and veggies, and my staples are black beans, chickpeas, quinoa, and spirulina. During contest prep I eat the same foods, just less and I don't like to cheat except for maybe a glass of wine here or there. :)

How do you manage to watch your carb intake being a vegan (versus a typical "all meat & veggies" fitness diet)?

 

I eat more carbs than the carnivore dieters.  It’s hard to get all the protein I want without added carbs.  I’ve tried to swig down just vegan shakes all day, but it was hard on my stomach and I didn’t feel good.  Tofu is another low carb source of protein and not that I’m against soy, just not for every meal. I am still working on finding the vegan competitor diet that suits me best. It’s always a work in progress.

Are you a fan of "empty stomach morning cardio" or not?

 I do believe in empty stomach cardio, especially since I have to workout so early. There is NO way I’m waking up extra early just to eat!  It’s also not like I’m running a marathon at dark thirty in the morning.  I mean we are talking no more than 45 min.  I’ve been fine with averaging up to an hour sometimes and did not feel as if it ate up my muscle.

What's the one "cheat" food you can't live without?

Cheat food: dark chocolate and Grey Goose. I love sweets!

What's your favorite exercise/activity? What's your least favorite?

Favorite exercise, squats! They are a great all around exercise! Least favorite, squats! They are problematic. People tend to do too much weight with poor form, which will as you know, kill their joints and give them serious knee and back problems.


If you could send one message to women out there (about taking control of their fitness/health...being afraid of lifting weights...anything) what would it be?

 

Women tend to want to take care of others in sacrifice of their health. I want them to know lifting weights is not a vain activity and even if they only have 30min (although 1 hour is ideal) to workout do so, because eventually 30min will turn to 1 hr anyway!  The better they take care of themselves, the better they’ll take care of others. Plus they will feel amazing, and confidence breeds success!



If you could send one message to people in-general about the typical American diet, what would it be?

Vegan is not a boring diet by any means, and you can still build muscle not eating animals. However, I understand unless you are passionate about one of the 3: health, animals, environment, it could be difficult to give up the animal kingdom. Although I believe the healthiest way to eat is a whole foods, plant based diet, I don't judge or force my lifestyle on anyone. Instead I encourage everyone to eat less meat and incorporate more fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are full of nutrients and our body needs them to prevent disease and to stay looking good! 

 

Whether you're a vegan, or still fit animal products into your diet - Lyndsay is still a great example from whom we can all learn.  We agree on many of the same fitness principals, particularly that women should never be afraid of the weights, and that both men and women should prioritize how you take care of your body (and what kinds of fuel goes into it) every day.