I’ve been active all of my life and growing up I remember how simple life was when I played at the local playgrounds, went for bike rides with my friends, and played in my backyard. Today, with there being so many choices it seems like life is harder, not simpler, to stay healthy and fit.
Art and I decided we wanted to make a lifestyle change several years ago so we decided to move from a small town community into the country where we currently live today. When we gave our realtor our wish list of items we wanted in a home, we never thought we would actually receive what we asked for. A small humble home with an acre of land located on a dirt road with a large vegetable garden already established, a herb garden, a few fruit trees and bushes, surrounded by farmland not far from reality. We arrived not just in our dream home, but we were taking an adventure together to change our lives for the better both inside and out.
So what does this have to do with fitness and nutrition? Well, I’ve been a personal trainer for almost 25 years and Art a Certified Exercise Physiologist (CSEP) and we want to inspire people to become the best they can by keeping it simple it simple when it comes to fitness and food. To be quite honest with you, I’m not a big fan of going to the gym. I’m not saying that the gym isn’t beneficial to staying fit and healthy (I currently teach spin classes at a local gym) but I do believe that we have options when it comes to our fitness. Choices like being outside in nature, running, cycling, kayaking, SUP’ing, canoeing, or simply doing a cardiovascular circuit in your backyard that involves equipment around your home.
I’ve been a runner (mainly a trail runner) for more than 30 years and for me, nothing beats being out on the trails amongst nature and wildlife. For the past four years, I’ve been out with a foot injury that has prevented me from racing or running long distance. Over the past couple of months, I have built up my mileage and I finally reached 10km which I did this morning, and it’s the most I have ran in almost four years. I can’t begin to tell you how great it felt to lace up my running shoes, go outside, and run in the country. Being alone with my thoughts, no judgement from others, and simply enjoying the sounds of nature throughout my run brought back memories and I felt the urge once again to get on the trails to start trail racing again.
The one thing that has changed since my running injury is the way that I eat. I’ve always thought of myself as a healthy eater but quite recently I have adopted a whole food plant base lifestyle. What does that mean? It means that I don’t consume any animal protein, no refined sugars, and very limited processed foods. I’ve been eating this way for over 3 months and I can’t begin to tell you how great I feel, in fact, I’ve never felt better. The biggest thing that I have noticed since I’ve adapted this eating lifestyle is my energy level. I’ve always thought of myself as a person who can’t sit still and I’ve always been on the go, but my energy level has actually increased since I started to eat this way. I no longer worry about what I put in my body as the food is always clean and full of nutrients. What I mean by this is that I don’t eat specific foods for specific nutrients as everything I consume throughout the day is clean and has an abundance of nutrients to fuel my body. I consume about 80% carbohydrates (yes, I know what you’re thinking—-that sounds like a lot of carbs but it’s really not), 10% fat, and 10% protein. They key to this eating lifestyle is staying away from the refine sugars and processed food. All my energy comes from the large amount of carbohydrates I consume on a daily basis, and being an athlete, we all know that we need our carbs, it’s what fuels us.
Here in North America along with some other countries in the world, we live in a protein obsessed society where protein is constantly brainwashed to us through TV, radio, the internet, and large corporations. Yes, our bodies require protein, but not the amount or type that mass media has been selling to us for decades. I’m not here to preach to you about adapting a whole food/plant base lifestyle but instead tell you about my journey as an athlete as I am now 45 years old and I’m coming back from years of injuries and health issues (this is for another blog post) to live a clean and healthy life through fitness and healthy eating. I’m here to inform you that you can eat these foods and reach your goals of a fit body whether you want to body build, run races, take up a new sport, or simply have the best body of your life even after the age of 40.
With all that being said, I want to take you on a journey that is working for my husband and myself as we get into the best shape of our lives again and try to eat off of the land (as much as we can) we purchased a few years ago which is still a work in progress for us. Just for the record, I’m not a big believer in keeping track of my own weight/body fat loss but I can tell you that since I took on this eating lifestyle, the clothes that I wore over 15-20 years ago, I can still fit into and some of the items are now even too big for me. So for many of you looking to lose weight or decrease your body fat levels and have failed to do so over the years, this is something that might interest you.
So here’s how I spent my day:
7:30 am – Breakfast (Yes, I get up this late sometimes —I’m not a morning person)
-water (I like to hydrate myself before I start eating in the morning)
-a bowl of kamut
-1 tbsp of algave
-1 tsp of cinnamon
-1 sliced apple
8:00 am – Meditate (it’s important to me to fit in a 20 minute meditation to help keep myself grounded. It’s also helped me with sleeping)
8:30 am – cardio workout, leg workout & stretching
-ran for 10km in the country
-stretch outside as I hydrate myself with more water
-3 sets of squats
-3 sets of lunges
-3 sets of box step-ups
-3 sets of calf raises (I used the stairs with a DB in my hand)
-ab work (5-10 mins) – I’m not a big fan of abdominal work but I do a little bit a couple times a week
10:30 am – post run smoothie consisting of:
-2 ripe bananas
-1 tbsp of raw cacao
-sometimes I add 1 cup of almond milk (my choice for non-dairy milk) or ice & blend it altogether
12:30 pm – Lunch (I eat whenever I’m hungry)
-a bowl of potato & leek soup (leftover from last night’s dinner)
-a few slices of whole bread with cranberries and nuts
2:00 pm – Snack
-organic peas from my garden (they taste so fresh when just picked)
5:30 pm – Dinner (I just fill my plate with a little bit of everything)
-grilled veggie sandwich (we used veggies from our garden)
-crunchy coleslaw with nuts
-wild rice with dried fruit & a Dijon mustard dressing
9:00 pm – Snack (I generally don’t like to eat food this late in the evening but it’s date night so why not!)
-snackaroons – a little vegan treat (the chocolate ones are my favourite)
One thing that is very important to me, is to make time for yourself and others. I always say that your time is your most precious commodity and it’s the best gift you can give to yourself and other people. Art and I have incorporated date night at least one night a month to get out of the house to either try something different or simply sit back and relax like we are tonight at the drive-in.
Have a great night and I hope you enjoyed the post today. See you tomorrow!
Maureen & Art