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Interview with a Fit Warrior Girl – Vanessa Chow

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Vanessa Chow grew up in Southern California where she have lived all her life.  She has a graduate degree from a local Cal State College and her profession is in Law Enforcement. Vanessa has always enjoyed running, she ran track in her high school and college.  After having her son, she came to a quick realization that those 65lbs she gained during pregnancy were not going to magically disappear.

Tell us about your expedition to becoming an endurance athlete?

Years before the pregnancy I started training for my first marathon, suffered a work related knee injury and subsequently had surgery. Then my husband and I decided to start a family putting my desire to run a marathon on hold. After my son was born and with the extra 65 lbs I decided that it was the perfect time to rekindle my desire to run long distance. I began training for a marathon with Beach Runners, a local running group. I ran several marathons, half marathons, 5k and 10k for several years. One day I decided that I needed a bigger challenge as I enjoyed running so much. I joined Ultra Ladies a local ultra-marathon training group and began my long distance running. The trails in ultra-marathons are beautiful but yet brutal. There is something so  peaceful and rewarding about running trails.

What were your initial thoughts behind creating Fit Warrior Girl?

I created Fit Warrior Girl because after surviving cancer through fitness I was getting a lot of different people asking me how I did it and how I managed to survive. Frankly surviving was a miracle. One thing I could share was how I stayed physically active and ate healthy through my cancer journey which ultimately is what helped me endure the harsh treatments that saved my life. I created Fit Warrior Girl to raise awareness on the correlation physical fitness and exercise has on cancer or any illness.

You have faced a major hardship in your life, one major hardship was losing your mother to cancer when your were young and subsequently being diagnosed with cancer yourself. Can you tell us more about it?

I was diagnosed with Leukemia and was in treatment fighting the disease for 3 years. I am actually still fighting because 3 years of harsh chemotherapy leave some serious side effects on the body.  I struggled physically, mentally and emotionally during my cancer journey, I sought comfort from my friends and family and for the physical struggles I embraced the gym and healthy eating which I had already been doing prior to the cancer. You have to keep in mind that none of us are exempt from an illness but how we treat our body to help it fight an illness makes a big difference.

What inspired you to become an athlete?

I have always enjoyed running and I was addicted to the feeling of always feeling good with myself and my body because I was treating it good. I like the feeling of challenging myself in a sport and discovering just how amazing the human body is and how much you can push it to accomplish physically challenging workouts. The sense of accomplishment you gain after a hard race is unbelievable and that feeling transfers to other aspects of your life, it gives you that confidence to accomplish greater things in your personal or professional life, you almost become invincible.

What are certain principles you have for yourself as an athlete and a fitness person?

The principles I live by is to always work hard and to stay humble. There is always something new you can learn from someone else and you aren’t always the best at something. They key is to recognize that because you then open yourself to growth.

What advice would you give to struggling athletes?

This might sound cliché but the best advice is to never give up, we are human and the road gets though sometimes when you are trying to live a fit lifestyle. The key is to forgive yourself for slipping on your goals and to just pick up where you left off. Remind yourself that it’s OK to have cake on your birthday or that special meal with a love one,  just remember to get back on track and never give up. Fitness is a lifelong journey and it’s something you have to do every day, it’s a lifestyle. A very rewarding lifestyle.

How do you inspire your child to live a healthy lifestyle?

My son was born running (haha), the poor child had many miles with me on a running stroller. He had waited for me at many finish lines since he was a baby. Basically my son is used to the lifestyle, I do allow him more treats because he is a child and I don’t want him to grow up being a closet eater or hiding snacks under the pillow. I do try to choose healthier versions of snacks for him. For example, I give him pure chocolate or dark chocolate instead of the sugary filled ones. If he wants a baked good I bake it at home for him to avoid some of the preservatives in packed baked goods. I basically try to have him eat more whole foods. I also talk to my son about how whole foods make his body perform better and gives him more energy. My son is involved with Soccer, Swimming and Brazilian jiu Jitsu and he has learned that his performance in these sports is affected depending on the foods he eats.

Please tell me an example of a one day nutrition (food/supplements) plan would look like for you.

A one day nutrition plan for me varies depending on my fitness goals. A typical day looks like this:

  • Meal 1: ½ cup Oatmeal with ¼ cup fruit. 3 eggs whites with 1 whole egg with vegetables made into an omelet. Black coffee and water.
  • Meal 2: 4oz Grilled Chicken and 2 cups vegetables.
  • Meal 3: 4oz Grilled white fish, ½ cup Brown Rice and 2 cups vegetables
  • Meal 4: Quest Bar
  • Meal 5: 4oz Ground Turkey with 4oz baked potatoes and 2 cups vegetables
  • Meal 6: 1 cup Greek yogurt with Hershey’s baking chocolate and stevia

I take fish oil every day, BCAA, multivitamin and sometimes substitute a meal for a protein shake but I prefer real food.

What does your weekly exercise regimen look like?

  • Mondays: Shoulders
  • Tuesday: Legs
  • Wednesday: Back
  • Thursday: Chest, Biceps and Triceps
  • Friday: Shoulders
  • Saturday: Legs

(I do abs everyday)

What is your favorite healthy recipe?

I have a sweet tooth so naturally a baked good. Grandma Oatmeal Cookies from the Eat Clean Diet.

Grandma Oatmeal Cookies

PREP TIME: 10 min.
COOK TIME: 10-12 min.
YIELD: 24 cookies

Ingredients
2 2/3 cups Good quality unsalted, butter
1 cup Raw honey or maple syrup
3 large Omega-3 eggs
1 Tbsp Best quality vanilla
1 ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt
3 pounds (8 cups) Old-fashioned Gluten Free rolled oats
4 cups Power Flour**
8 oz Dark raisins (optional)
8 oz Coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat sheets.
3. Cream butter and eggs together in a large bowl until smooth.
4. Beat in eggs, honey, vanilla and sea salt until smooth and creamy.
5. Use a large wooden spatula or clean your hands to work in the power flour and oats until well combined.

To make Power Flour:
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup white sorghum flour
2 tbsp tapioca flour
1 tbsp xanthan gum
6. Add raisins and walnuts if desired and mix until evenly distributed.
7. Shape dough into large three-inch balls and press into five or six inch flat cookies on baking sheets.
8. Bake for 15 minutes or until as brown as you desire. Remove from heat and cool.

We recently had the opportunity to work together to create a website for you. How would you describe your overall experience with Natalie Minh Interactive? Did all your thoughts and ideas come across clearly?

When looking for a website development company, I did a lot of research and found that Natalie was the best and she had already developed some awesome websites that I enjoyed perusing through. I contacted Natalie and she took the time to listen to my project idea. I immediately got the sense that Natalie was not someone that would take on a project for the pure financial benefit. Natalie asked me many questions to gain understanding as to what I was trying to accomplish with my project, this to me proved that she truly cares about your vision and works really hard to make your dreams a reality and to capture your idea. Natalie’s design team was very patient and efficient, I never felt like my project was less important than any of the bigger companies out there. I changed my mind a few times as to my vision and every time this happened her team was clear and fast to deliver a product with my new vision. Natalie and her team are the real deal in this industry. I highly recommend Natalie to anyone trying to create a top of the line site, Natalie immediately makes you feel like you are her friend and not a client.

Why did you choose to work with Natalie Minh Interactive and how was your experience?

I choose Natalie because of her work product and the successful sites she had already developed. My experience with Natalie and her team was great, I almost wanted to delay the publishing date because it meant the end of a project and it felt like saying goodbye to friends. I was so used to talking to Natalie and her team about my vision and project that when we published I didn’t want to let go of that relationship.

If I only had 8 weeks to lose 15 lbs what would you advise me to do?

First advice would be to get a physical and the go ahead from your Doctor to begin any exercise or nutritional plan. Show your Doctor the plan you want to follow. Take it slow and stay consistent. Below is a meal plan and exercise plan I use for beginners. 8 weeks to lose 15 lbs is a healthy realistic goal. This list is not absolute and you are welcome to substitute for similar food items.

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Meal 1
6 egg white vegetable omelet with salsa or hot sauce
1/4 cup oatmeal cooked in water for 2 minutes in the microwave (use a big bowl to prevent overflow)
add 1/4 cup of fruit to oatmeal, I use stevia for sweetener.
Coffee with stevia, no creamer or sugar free low calorie creamer.
Meal 2
Protein shake after my workout with a banana or small apple
Meal 3
Chicken breast palm size, fish or ground turkey, low fat ground beef,
½ cup of brown rice or any other starch. You can use quinoa, couscous, bread, tortilla
instead of the brown rice so get creative, you can make a sandwich (no cheese) or tacos….
side of vegetables (try to stay with low starch green vegetables)
Meal 4
1 cup Greek yogurt with stevia and a small handful of berries.
Or 1 cup cottage cheese fruit is optional
Meal 5
Protein bar less then 200 calories, high protein (I get my fat source from the bar)
Meal 6
Chicken breast palm size, fish, ground turkey or low fat ground beef.
½ cup of brown rice or any other starch. You can use quinoa, couscous, bread, tortilla
instead of the brown rice so get creative, you can make a sandwich (no cheese) or tacos….
side of vegetables (try to stay with low starch green vegetables)

Basic Exercise for beginner weightlifter’s Work arms twice a week and legs twice a week for a total of 4 days.
Do cardio (any form) 30-45 minutes 5-6 times a week.

ARMS
(3×12 each exercise)
Bicep Curls
Overhead Tricept Dips
Front Shoulder Raise
Chest Presss
30 Minutes Cardio

LEGS
(3×12 each exercise)
Leg Extensions
Deadlifts with bar
Leg Press
Standing Calf Raises
30 Minute Cardio

If you could meet the younger version of yourself, what would you tell her?

I would tell the younger version of myself that starving myself is not the key to fitness, don’t be afraid of food and consistency is key.

What are your plans for the future?

I have a bodybuilding fitness competition coach, Shane Heugly. I am transitioning from ultra-marathon running to Competing in fitness. I plan on embracing the lifestyle even further and I hope to be a positive influence for those looking to live a healthier lifestyle.

Where can we find you on the internet?

My website developed by Natalie is Fitwarriorgirl.org I am also on social media, Instagram, Facebook and twitter as Fit Warrior Girl.

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