Postpartum Vegan Bikini Competitor 8 Weeks Out

Bikini Competition Prep As a Vegan Mom – Eight Weeks Out, Can I Make It?

It seems so long ago since I posted about training for my second pregnancy like any athlete trains for an event. I guess because it was – our daughter is 17 months old now as we’re getting to compete with the rest of the Plantbuilt team in Austin this June. Total deja vu – I posted about my progress at 8 weeks out before, with a toddler the same age! Life is weird.

So, there are a few reasons why I think this might interest anyone, not just competitors, but anyone with a goal for their body:

  • I’ve been through this process of trying to lose a lot of fat postpartum on a deadline, twice, and we’ve learned a few things!
  • Our approach to dieting is primarily whole foods plant based and we are always keeping long-term maintenance and longevity in mind. No quick fixes here that will wreck the metabolism and lead to unhealthy regain.
  • I’m a normal person. There are some amazing vegan physiques out there (Derek’s included) and we might all hope to get the same results on a plant-based diet BUT genetics are always going to play a role in your results. What you’ll see when you follow my journey is what a formerly obese woman with two kids, tiny narrow shoulders, wide hips, loose skin, and cellulite can achieve! In other words, a normal person.

I achieved a pretty crazy transformation last time, as you can see below!

Bodybuilding Contest Transformation

It was necessary for me to bust my butt in the gym and end up on severe caloric restriction at that time because we didn’t know everything we know now about the reality of pregnancy weight gain! I kept hearing “Oh, it all come off breastfeeding”…yeah, no – in order to breastfeed round the clock you have to sit on your butt. I don’t think anyone’s figured out how to do it on a treadmill yet.

What did we do differently this time, to put me in a better position to lose the post-baby fat? These strategies apply to anyone who’s considering a diet, by the way, and are detailed in our book!

  • I reverse dieted (increased calories) through pregnancy to get my metabolism roaring in preparation for the coming postpartum diet. We also tracked my calorie intake and macronutrients, and had actual body fat gain targets – because putting on fat is what a pregnant body does! Interestingly, I was below my target fat gain at every assessment until the final month when I suddenly packed on a bunch of fat even though my diet and exercise hadn’t changed. Depressing to know that nature has it in for me, but also reassuring to know that it wasn’t my fault! I was working out up to 90 minutes daily up to the day before I gave birth and eating clean right up to the end!
  • I made sure I was at a good place before dieting – eating plenty of calories and doing minimal cardio – so there was lots of room for change. This is the important step that many skip.
  • Increases in cardio and decreases in calories eaten are changed very gradually. I’ve cut 1300 calories in over 10 months, basically, which is only 130 calorie monthly decrease on average. And I’ve gone from doing basically no cardio, with a new infant, to doing several workouts a week that are either HIIT, metabolic conditioning, or steady cardio plus trying to get my NEAT up daily.
  • We still eat a normal amount of carbohydrates. I know at this stage of the game last time I was eating a lot more tofu and seitan, and it made me sad. I still eat fruit and grains daily, and I’m at a lower body fat now than I was before. I guess fruit doesn’t make you fat after all.

Ok, we are a little ridiculously objective in our approach to transforming our bodies, probably because we’re both science nerds. I’m actually working toward a PhD in mathematical biology and you’ll never guess what my dissertation research is on…drumroll…I’m working on a mathematical model of lean mass gain in response to resistance training, testing how different diet and exercise strategies lead to long-term change in body composition. Derek and I, combined, have read hundreds of studies and meta-analyses on literally every combination of training and diet that’s been tried clinically, and we try to combine that knowledge with what we’ve seen empirically with clients and in our own bodies, when we implement our crazy schemes. We are fans of efficiency, so you’ll never find us doing more than we have to to improve our bodies and the same goes for our clients!

So, without further ado, here’s what I looked like about 6 months out,  almost 1 year postpartum:

Postpartum Vegan Bikini Competitor 6 Months Out

Here’s what I look like at 8 weeks out:

Postpartum Vegan Bikini Competitor 8 Weeks Out

By the way, I know these bottoms can’t contain MY bottom, which has it’s own postcode after months of hip thrusts and glute bridges…and just being Latina, I guess. The seamstress is sewing me some in a larger size as we speak!

So this is my progress so far, after implementing the strategies above. How far can I get in the time I have left? I don’t know –  but I’m going to give it my all, within reason! No strategy exists that is going to give me the small-bottomed, lanky build that seems ideal for bikini so my goal is to be the best ME I can be, cellulite and all!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll be updating my progress as we approach the Naturally Fit Super Show, June 3rd, as part of Team Plantbuilt!