Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rest: The Best Workout!

 Me and Shaun T...we tight (poor grammar intended, I'm trying to be cool)!  Well, we're not exactly besties!  Heck, he doesn't even know who I am!  But boy am I a huge fan (borderline stalker) of his!!! And he is definitely tight!  I mean, have you seen his rock hard abs(RHA's)? Lucky for me, my running partner is a close second. If you work out to Insanity, you can't help but notice Shaun T's abs.  We share the same core values...whatever rigorous activity we are engaged in, we are always engaging our core!!! You would think by now I would have washboard abs but unfortunately I wasn't designed that way and my love for all things carb certainly doesn't help.  Yet I haven't given up!  A strong core means strong everything else (sorry, I lack sophistication).  It supports your overall framework, keeps you strong and healthy, and can help to prevent injuries related to ITB, hamstrings, hip flexors, knee/joint integrity, etc. What I love most about Insanity is how Shaun T encourages taking frequent breaks, especially if you are feeling fatigued. If you lose your form, rather than continue on, losing the benefits of the workout as well as risking injury, he suggests you shake it out, grab a drink, rest for a sec, regroup and join in again.  You see...rest is key!!!  Same goes for running...there's no point in running on empty!  It's okay to walk or stretch it out, take frequent breaks, and hydrate as you feel before it's too late! For VeGALs, I strongly suggest a pre/during drink mix called activfule+ Sports Nutrtion which contains brown rice protein for stamina support and recovery!  Best of all, it is plant based...ain't no crappy whey protein in this potent powder which means no animals harmed, better digestion and quicker transport of fuel where needed!  Rest is NOT the enemy, exhaustion is!!!  Listen to your body, treat it like the temple that it is, replenish with only the finest plant-based ingredients! Along hose lines is what I strongly recommended for VeGALs (and all other endurance athletes) known as the "scheduled rest day (SRD)."  It is a designated day off each week from any type of strenuous exercise to allow for recovery and repair.  I know, I know, VeGALs may worry about getting fat if g-d forbid you miss a day. But rest assured, you WON'T pack on the lbs in one day unless you stuff your face with french fries and pasta all day in a feeding frenzy, leading to a carb coma which I doubt since you are well-oiled and only crave healthy whole foods, right????  In any case, if you push yourself on tired legs/frame, you are only logging in junk miles which is a total waste! Less is more! If you give up a day, giving your muscles, bones and brains a break, guaranteed you will feel fresher for your next workout, especially if it's a long run, race, tri event, tennis/cross fit tourney! Your body will thank you and you may even score a medal in the process!  My reward...my running partner with the RHA's! Priceless!
As always, VeGALs train with a conscience!  We are FIRMLY PLANTED!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Veggin' Out and About!!!

Hey there VeGALs!  Great news...I am now a staff writer/contributor for an awesome website called Veggin' Out and About, a restaurant and market guide for the veggie loving traveler, brain child of Danielle Bussone, co-founder/editor, www.vegginoutandabout.com.  I get to review vegan/vegan-friendly joints in the South Florida area as well as those cities I may be visiting, usually for a marathon (sometimes just for pleasure).  My perspective is different than the other writers in the sense that I am looking for either pre-race fuel or post-race recovery that is whole-foods, plant-based! As it goes for VeGALs, some indulgence is allowed on occasion as a reward like french fries (from a dedicated fryer with veggie oil) or a basket of tortilla chips with fresh guacamole, washed down with a vegan-friendly wheat beer which works better than ibuprofen as an anti-inflammatory agent. For dessert, some dark chocolate or sorbet, perhaps or a bowl of rich and creamy coconut ice cream.  VeGALs don't count calories!!!  We don't have to since we maintain a steady balance between our work out ethic and our plant-based nutrition.  So when we discover a fab new restaurant with delicious vegan fare, we don't hesitate to order practically everything off the menu. Since we train with a conscience, and we are firmly planted, there is no room for guilt!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Inadvertent Meat Eat!

     Well, hello there VeGAL (Vegan Girl AthLete, in case you forgot!).  And welcome curious non-veg athletic friends.  No matter what our diet, it is safe to say we go the distance when it comes to our training! We adhere to a strict fitness paradigm only straying from time to time.  For many of us, our strenuous workouts are completed long before most folks even wake up. We are committed (non athletes agree we should be committed!) to our goals. We follow rigid training programs, we design as well as follow hard core work out schedules though we may bitch and moan about it.  Bottom line...we don't quit...even when our bodies scream for us to do just that!  So for vegan athletes, as well as our meat-eating counterparts, would it not be foolish of us to blow all that intense training by stuffing our faces with junk food??? 
     For VeGALs in particular, we pride ourselves in being meticulous in all that we do, from our neat and tidy and oh so adorable workout clothes to our snazzy shoes to our natural fragrant, flowery scent (hahaha) and our freshly washed (colored!) hair.  Naturally, when it comes to our fuel, same rules apply!  Whether prepared at home or ordered out at a restaurant, we uphold the highest of standards in our whole foods, plant-based endeavors.  VeGALs stay elevated in a mainstream world.  That said, we dine out mainstream since basically, we have no choice, especially in the burbs!  Questions are posed, suggestions are made in order for VeGALs to remain true to our convictions all the while feeling satisfied as well as nutritionally balanced no matter where we find ourselves! As careful as we are...those taking the orders as well as those preparing the meals unfortunately are not so careful!Which leads us to the INADVERTENT MEAT EAT!  Simply stated, it's when a vegan mistakenly bites into something assumed to be "safe" only to find out there was an animal involved!!!  YIKES!  Surely, VeGAL, this has happened to you before, maybe even more times than you care to mention!
     Once such incident occurred a few years ago when I was carbo-loading with my family at an Italian restaurant the night before a local marathon.  I had ordered rigatoni with marinara sauce and mushrooms, thinking this meal had the perfect balance for sustained energy.  Eager to empty the bowl, without leaving one delicious morsel behind, just when I wasn't looking, I sank my teeth into a brown chunk that was anything but a tender mushroom! It suddenly occurred to me I had taken a bite of beef that probably sneaked its way in disguised as an edible, highly valued fungus!  Did I spit it out like a toddler, toss my hands up in disgust and throw a tantrum right then and there?  I kept my family in suspense as they looked at me in horror (thar she blows!).  But no, I simply released it into a napkin and carried on, to my kids' relief.  I realized at that point that it was an innocent error.  Had I continued to chew on animal flesh with a big gulp finale, my actions would've been egregious! I had bigger fish to fry, a marathon, the next day.  I shook it off and carried on.  As it turned out, I earned myself a PR for that course that year!  I wouldn't exactly attribute it to the beef bite but more like "that which does not kill you..." 
     Just last week, while I had a layover in the Charlotte airport, my travel companions and I decided to kill some time with a light Japanese lunch.  I ordered the vegetable pot stickers as an appetizer (I had no intentions of sharing). When they arrived, my chopsticks grabbed hold of one before anyone had noticed.  One little bite and I knew it was too late...I had encountered animal flesh right there inside my pie hole!  Its origin was a mystery but I had a hunch it was the worst kind...PORK!  I give my company a lot of credit for not bursting out in laughter at that point but perhaps they were grinning on the inside (I would've lol).  When brought to the food server's attention, she immediately removed them and apologized.  To drive home a point, with no mention of my veg status, I had stated that for religious reasons (Jews don't eat pork) that I most certainly didn't order those!  The chef then rushed up, reassuring us that the meat was chicken, not pork!  That didn't exactly make me feel any better! Luckily, we were presented with a plateful of scrumptious steamed veggie pot stickers to the delight of all, FREE OF CHARGE!  Score! It's true that meat, especially the ground, formed kind, masks the subtle nuances present in an array of fresh vegetables.  Much to my chagrin, my companions found them equally irresistible, not taking the hint that they were MINE ALL MINE!  They can order whatever they want but I am limited with choices and always hungry for goodness sake!!!  It is my strong belief that everyone, deep down inside, longs to go veg!
     I wouldn't be me if I didn't ramble on but I hope you get the point, VeGAL! We have all been victims of the INADVERTENT MEAT EAT and will continue to undergo less than savory experiences and that's okay.  It is how we choose to react to those awkward, uncomfortable situations that set us apart from the rest of the plant-based community.  Just like anything else, we handle them with grace since we are firmly planted VeGALs who train with a conscience (tip: take advantage of the debacle, it might just get you a free meal)!