I’ve got a riddle for you:  What weighs a couple tons and provides a 16 hour workout every day non-stop for over a month?  No, it’s not wrestling with large muscular men all day long (wish it were, that would be much more fun than what I’ve been up to).  Nope, the answer is: moving all my stuff!  I just moved into a new house and have been lifting box after box and moving and re-arranging furniture for the past month or so.  It has literally taken over every moment of my life for the past month (except for the stand up comedy show I did last night—which was an added challenge considering the circumstances of my life at the moment).  So,  anyhoo that’s why I took a little hiatus from blogging.  But I’m back now and will keep you updated on my adventures as a Female Vegan Bodybuilder once again. Have you missed me?  I missed you—I really, really did!

For now, I will just explain how I maintained myself this past month despite the challenge of being swamped with moving:

First of all, I continued to eat right.  High protein, vegan (or course), low fat, non-junk food.  I admit to eating way more processed and frozen meals than usual.  But I chose things like Amy’s Enchiladas with beans and brown rice as a frozen dinner—nothing from Stouffer’s or anything like that.  I also kept having my Vega protein shakes and eating handfuls of walnuts and unsalted peanuts throughout the day.  I am also fortunate to live in Los Angeles where I can pop into a vegan restaurant (or have food delivered) and count on easy access to soy and wheat meats and beans and even pancakes made with Kamut flour (FYI– they’re from Green Leaves Vegan Restaurant and they have blueberries and bananas in them and they serve them with fried soy chicken—yum!)   Other vegan restaurants like Veggie Grill, Vegan Glory, and Real Food Daily also took good care of me.  I even discovered the Berkeley Vegan pizza at Z-Pizza—wow, really tasty stuff there!  I ate more starchy carbs than usual because all the moving and packing and unpacking amounted to 16 hours of non-stop cardio every day for days and days on end and I could feel my glycogen stores hit the floor. Whenever this happens I start feeling really stupid—you know how it is when you keep walking into rooms and you can’t remember what you went in there for?  Yeah, lots of that behavior lets me know it’s time to feed the brain some starchy carbs!   I made sure to boil up some little red potatoes (or get some from a restaurant) every couple of days or so, and it would really help my brain recover (suddenly I could remember things and carry on conversations again—amazing!)

The next thing I made sure to do was to use proper form when lifting boxes and really take every opportunity in lifting each and every heavy box or piece of furniture to focus my energy on squeezing my glutes and/or holding my core tight (I actually did some squats and calf raises when I’d find myself holding the right weight box—something you don’t see traditional movers doing very often—but maybe you should!)  This attitude of treating the heavy box lifting like I would treat weight lifting not only saved my back, but it helped my body parts that need it most (legs and core) to benefit from all that hard work.

Finally, but maybe most importantly, I made myself take a break and do a little 5 minute yoga stretch every hour.  I would simply lay down on the ground and allow my spine to align properly.  Then, raise my knees and twist them to either side.  Then, raise each leg while reaching toward my toe to stretch my hamstrings.  Then flip over and do some cobra and pigeon poses.  This made all the difference in the world to my back!  I herniated a disc in my spine a couple years ago when I was really out of shape while moving and lifting heavy boxes (not much muscle whatsoever because I wasn’t working out). I ended up in the hospital in excruciating pain and had to deal with all the fun (not) things that go with going to the hospital—a very hefty bill, prescription drugs that messed with my mind and wasted more muscle, as well as several months of rehabilitation to learn to walk again.  I am determined to never let that happen again!  I have no doubt that if I had done  yoga and focused on my form more (oh and if I had done a little weight training ahead of time to create some muscle to rely on later instead of allowing myself to become a flabby, muscle-less skinny person) I wouldn’t have ever seen the inside of an ambulance or been a resident at a hospital—I wouldn’t have minded going my whole life (or at least waiting until I was much, much older) to have the experience of using a bed pan.  Lesson learned!!!

Another bit of yoga that really helped was remembering to breathe properly.  I kept catching myself breathing fast and shallow as I ran around trying to get stuff done and was getting fatigued.  Forcing myself to breathe deeper and slower really made a world of difference in how I felt at the end of the day.  And whenever I got to take a break from running around or lifting heavy stuff (like while driving in the car or having a meal or even while painting) I would really do some focused deep breathing, while listening to classical music and it really made me feel much, much better.

And now that I’m finally settled in my new place, and since I took care of myself properly throughout this ordeal, I will be back in the gym tomorrow. It’s time to resume pumping the old iron to build my dream body.  I will keep you posted as I progress with my workouts and diet.


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