Name: Louise Winders
Year of Birth: 1977
Birthplace: Etobicoke, ON, Canada
Current Residence: Kitchener, ON, Canada
Sports: UFE PRO Bikini Model
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have.
I am a teacher as well as a certified personal trainer. I am passionate about fitness and nutrition and enjoy helping other women achieve and/or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Being a teacher I see firsthand the child obesity epidemic and its effects. I like that I am able to help educate students and parents about health and nutrition. I also enjoy hiking, scuba diving, and doing the odd skydive!
Why did you become vegan?
During my recent pregnancy I developed an aversion to meat, the smell of bacon and the taste of chicken made me extremely nauseous. After giving birth the aversion remained and I also found myself to be quite disturbed at the whole process of how meat gets to our plates and the thought of consuming dead flesh. After watching a couple documentaries and reading a variety of books I learned that there are so many plant based foods that can give me the nutrition my body needs. In addition to the compassion and health reasons, I like that I am also doing my part to help with the environment.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I first joined a gym at 16 with a friend and have been going ever since! Of course, I didn’t always know what I was doing! It wasn’t until a few years ago that I became more serious about my training. I needed new motivation so I decided to compete. My first show didn’t go very well as I didn’t know what to expect and was REALLY nervous! However, I enjoyed the experience enough to want to try again! I hired a trainer with competition experience as well as a posing coach. My next competition was a year later where I placed 2nd in my category! It has now been five years of hard work and dedication, which recently paid off as I won the bikini category at UFE Havoc 8 months after having my baby girl and went on to earn my UFE PRO card two months later!
How would you describe your nutrition program?
I eat about 5-6 times a day. It pretty much remains the same all year. Although I will experiment with more recipes during my off season and have a couple clean treats when I feel like it.
Upon waking: about 16 oz of water with Chlorophyll or warm water with lemon and cayenne pepper
Breakfast: a protein shake or green smoothie and raw oatmeal
Snack: homemade protein bar or Ezekiel bread with almond butter and a banana
Lunch: a HUGE salad with lots of veggies and black beans or chickpeas
Snack: a piece of fruit or raw veggies
Post workout: protein shake
Dinner is a salad and usually one of the following: veggie fajitas, homemade soup, rice & beans, black bean burgers
If I’m still hungry I’ll have some berries or a piece of fruit as an evening snack.
How would you describe your training program?
Competition season - Cardio 6 x/week, weights 5 x/week, plyos 1-2x/week
Off-season – I train 4x/week. I try to keep my diet pretty clean as I don’t always have time for cardio and it’s usually limited to 15 min.
I also start each day with about 15-20 min. of yoga.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That vegans don’t get enough protein! There are many other sources other than meat from where to obtain quality protein. You just have to conduct the proper research and make sure that you are eating the right foods and enough of them. I’m still figuring this all out and tweaking my diet when need be.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training?
Educate yourself. Watch some movies, read some books, seek out other vegans. www.veganbodybuilding.com is a very valuable resource. It has great info and put me in contact with a couple people who have given me advice and helped to keep me motivated during my transition.
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
I have more energy and a greater spiritual awareness since transitioning to veganism. My skin and hair is healthier and I feel so good on the inside. It has made me more aware of my body and my surroundings. I’d like to help people realize that it is possible to be a healthy, successful vegan athlete.