I feel the need to start this by stating the obvious…this is my personal health and fitness plan, and I’m not necessarily recommending it to anyone else. The purpose of sharing it is to inspire you, motivate you, and give you some ideas. This is not meant to be a guide of how I think you should structure you own personal fitness plans.
With that out of the way, here goes…
Over the past two years I traveled more than I was at home and never had any sort of structure to my life. My “routine” or sense of normalcy was to be on the road constantly traveling. The idea of a schedule and a fitness plan always sounded like something I would like, but just wasn’t possible with the amount of time and energy I was putting into my travels. However, I recently found myself a little burnt out on traveling and I’m staying at home a lot more often, so I’ve been able to shift my focus towards my health and fitness…and I love it!
Since switching to a very clean and natural vegan diet in January 2013 I’ve also started a pretty solid workout routine that I truly feel is doing great things for my body and mind. Here’s what all I have going on in the kitchen, in the gym, on the road, and more…
This photo of me carving a fullpipe was taken in Gold Coast, Australia at the Elenora skatepark this January. Photo by Danny Josa.
My Current Health and Fitness Plan
8 Things I Do To Stay In Shape
1. I Only Drink Water
I’ve never drank alcohol in my life, I never liked the taste of tea or coffee, I stopped drinking sodas and sugary drinks several years ago, and about two years ago I cut out milk and fruit juice from my diet. So now, besides my after-workout protein drink (I’ll get to that later), I drink 100% water. Nothing else. The alcohol and sodas are pretty self-explanatory, but some people get curious when they hear that I don’t drink any kind of milk or juice. Well, milk and juice have calories and sugar and I’d simply rather eat those calories and sugar instead of drinking them. Partly because I just love to eat so much, but also in part because eating 100 calories of fruit is healthier than drinking 100 calories of fruit juice (dietary fiber and nutrients are stripped away when you only drink the juice of the fruit). Also, drinking water is important in any diet for digestion, hydration, and burning fat, so drinking only water means that I always get plenty of it throughout the day.
2. I Eat Vegan
I have a few other posts on my blog explaining my vegan diet, but in a nutshell, I aim for an all-natural whole foods plant based diet. I try my best to stay away from anything artificial and from preservatives, and I steer clear of processed substitute foods like mock meat and soy cheese. I eat a lot of vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, beans, and fruit. This of course not only has a positive effect on my body, but also positive residual effects on animals and the global economy that make me feel better mentally
3. I Take Hemp Protein
To stay consistent with my clean vegan diet, I use a hemp protein powder with no added ingredients. I only use this after workouts when my body is clearly craving protein for muscle recovery. For my shakes I blend together 8oz of water, ¼ cup hemp protein, a large spoonful of peanut butter (with no added sugar or oil), and a frozen banana. The shakes are very easy to make, taste great, and are exactly what I need to help recover from a workout.
4. I Don’t Eat Sugar
Cutting out sugar was the absolute hardest thing for me to change in my diet, and it is the most recent part of my current health plan that I’ve implemented. I haven’t nixed sugar completely, but I’ve probably cut down my intake of added sugars down by about 95%. I truly feel like I’m a recovering sugar addict. Doughnuts, ice cream, cookies, candy, pastries, and cakes were my weakness. I could (and often would) eat sugary foods all day and all night, and pounding down six Krisy Kreme doughnuts in a single sitting was not uncommon. I slowly but surely began to work on my self-control issues when it came to sweets and even did research on things I could do to help curb my urges. Nowadays I allow myself to splurge on one or two small things every week like a small cup of vegan sorbet, but sometimes I go two weeks without any splurges. Refined sugars like high fructose corn syrup are on the far end of the spectrum of what I stay away from, so when I do eat sweets I try to make sure they are made with pure sweeteners like raw cane sugar. Currently most of my sugar intake comes from fruit or dried fruit. Unsweetened, unsulfated dried figs, apricots, and mangos are my saviors when it comes to helping me stay away from sweets. My homemade vegan granola bars and raw energy balls are also high on my list of sweets replacements.
As always, the more reason you have for doing something, the easier it becomes to do, so here’s a video that really helped me to see just how bad sugar is for you. It’s a long video, and a lot of what is discussed is very hard to follow, but the point gets across loud and clear. Sugar is poison.
5. I Do Crossfit
The idea of lifting weights in a gym by myself does not appeal to me at all. However, crossfit seemed like something I could really get into, and I was absolutely right. I joined a gym near my house called Crossfit Long Beach that I go to three times a week (usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, unless traveling conflicts). Crossfit is an extremely intense muscle and cardio workout that changes every day, so it never gets boring. By going to a gym and having a coach lead each class I learn something new every day, and I always have someone helping to make sure I’m doing things correctly.
6. I Work Out On My Own
Taking Sundays off to rest, I work out on my own during the other days when I don’t go to crossfit. My typical routine includes an hour-long yoga class in the morning and a session at a BMX racetrack in the evening on Tuesdays, some kind of running on Thursdays, and road biking on Saturdays. Since I started crossfit, it’s become boring for me to simply run four to six miles like I used to for my cardio. Instead I’ve been adding crossfit exercises into my runs. For example, last week I did 100 single-unders (jump rope), ran a mile, then did three rounds of 15 reps each: pull ups, push ups, dips, and squats; then I ran another mile, and finished off with another 100 single-unders, all with no rest and no breaks. When I’m traveling, I do my best to stay motivated and make time for a run or a crossfit workout I can do in the hotel room.
7. I Work Out My Abs
One of my fitness goals right now is to get a nice six-pack. Most of that will come from clean eating, some of it will come from crossfit and the other cardio workouts I do, and some of it will come from specifically working out my abs. Once or twice a week I use an insanely difficult P90X YouTube video called “Ab Ripper X” to help guide me through an abdominal workout from hell. Even though I never get through the entire routine, the parts that I do complete are well worth the effort.
8. I Stay Active
Aside from the six-day workout weeks, I also stay very active outside my workout routine. Things I do on a regular basis to keep me active include: riding BMX, snorkeling, various types of hiking, and anything else that comes my way. Just last week I even tried out indoor rock climbing with a couple of friends. I can appreciate lazy days at home, and I love a good afternoon nap, but most of the time I’m on the go and doing something active.
Got anything you’d like to add or share? Or any tips on what I could do differently? Post a comment below!