Sina M Martinez
Sina moved to a vegan diet as a way of healing herself from fatigue, stress, anxiety and injury. With an extremely busy schedule working full-time, teaching Les Mills fitness classes out of hours, following an intense personal training regime and part-time study, she has no time to be operating at less than 100%.
We ask Sina about training, her favourite food and life without animal protein.
Why did you change to a plant-based diet?
I started to feel quite run down, fatigued and anxious last year. I developed constant back and leg pain that never seemed to go away. I felt stressed and tired all the time. I couldn’t understand it because I was eating a ‘clean’ healthy diet. I went to several physios, osteopaths and specialists to determine the cause of my pain or ‘injury’ but none of them could find the cause.
My diet was predominately a high protein diet from animal/animal products (lean chicken, whey protein and the like). I was determined to find a way to heal myself so I started looking into a healthier food lifestyle – all my research seemed to point to a plant-based diet that was high in unprocessed carbohydrates. So I decided to give it a go. Within a few weeks, the benefits were amazing.
My recovery time from intense training shortened drastically, I had more strength and was more alert in everything I did. I also slept more deeply, my skin cleared, I had more energy, I felt less anxious and most importantly my back and leg pain reduced significantly. I almost could not believe it was that easy. All the answers lay in the food I consume. Admittedly it’s not the easiest thing to make such a drastic shift, but it was well worth it for me.
Can you see yourself going back to eating meat?
There is absolutely no turning back for me! I have more energy, am clearer thinking and never get sick. Everything feels like it’s functioning at optimal levels. I don’t crave meat or sugar any more. I see no reason to go back when I feel this good. Before I was fatigued, stressed out and anxious – I manage so much better now.
When did you first get interested in fitness?
I was into fitness from very young age and played a lot of school sport. I joined the gym and got really into running and fitness classes when I was at university. I was so passionate about group fitness that I became an instructor for Les Mills teaching ‘RPM’ and ‘SPRINT’ classes.
Why did you start taking NuZest products?
In the past I had had issues with whey protein, I struggled with digestive issues and often felt bloated afterwards, especially when taking it more than once a day.
Now I get a lot of my nutrition from food I consume and top it up with Clean Lean Protein as an afternoon snack. It gives me energy I require especially for my training which is mainly in the evenings.
How do you take your Clean Lean Protein?
I usually use Clean Lean Protein in my smoothies or oats daily. My favourite recipe is my Heavenly Oats – Clean Lean Protein (Creamy Cappuccino), banana, raisins, blueberries and peanut butter (sometimes topped with dairy free dark melted chocolate) = YUM! (For the full recipe for Sina’s Heavenly Oats, see below).
I also sometimes use NuZest protein powder to whip out some awesome healthy baking.
What is your favourite type of training?
High intensity interval training, whether it’s cardio or with weights – so it’s no surprise that I teach high intensity cardio programs. I love sprinting, cycling, HIIT workouts with weights and body weight. My training regime consists of the above workout styles but I also include one to two heavy weights sessions a week as well.
What helps you to stay motivated?
Training has never been a chore for me. In fact it’s something I look forward to – so I’m lucky in that respect. We all have long, busy days but even when my energy is low or I’ve had a crazy day, I still do some form of light exercise or yoga.
How long have you been competing in Fitness competitions?
My first competition was March last year. When I incorporated heavy weights into my training regime, I saw some huge shifts in my body shape so I decided to take up a challenge and try out a body building competition. I placed third in my first competition (bikini class) and second in my second competition which I was very happy with.
How would you describe your day to day nutrition?
I try and stay ‘raw’ from morning to lunch by eating only fruit. My go to fruit is bananas! I tend to make 7-8 banana smoothies for breakfast and sometimes mix them with other fruit such as blueberries, strawberries, persimmons and pears as well as adding some greens. Generally though I tend to eat the bananas as is and graze on anywhere between 8 – 12 bananas from morning to lunch.
For lunch and dinner I always have a MASSIVE raw salad made with green spinach leaves or cos lettuce, carrots, grated beetroot, courgettes, cucumber and capsicum. I accompany it with cooked lentils/sprouted mung beans/black beans/ pinto beans/silver beet, courgettes/eggplant in a tomato and onion spiced gravy – which tastes absolutely amazing.
I eat quite big portions. This is important because often people transitioning to a vegan diet tend to under-eat. Fruit and vegetables are not very high in calories so it’s quite easy to eat too little. If you exercise regularly it’s really important to eat enough calories. Initially I used the online app ‘cron-o-meter’ to track my calories and check out my nutrient breakdown.
I also often cook either quinoa/buckwheat with mushroom or broccoli to have with my meals or in corn/spinach wraps. Another of my favourites is a MASSIVE pot of steamed vegetables (kumaras, carrots, beetroot and courgettes) which I add to my other cooked meals.
My treats (if I need it) are Little bird cakes, dairy free dark chocolate, peanut butter and other vegan homemade delights (there are sooo many)
What is the best way for people to follow your fitness journey?
People can follow me on Instagram sina_788
Sina’s Heavenly Oats
½ cup oats
1 scoop NuZest Clean Lean Protein (I use Creamy Cappuccino)
1 ripe banana
½ – 1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tbsp organic peanut butter
You can have this uncooked or cooked. For uncooked, soak the oats overnight add in NuZest protein powder, banana, peanut butter mixed all together and top with frozen blueberries,.
Alternatively mix all ingredients together and cook in microwave or on stove for a few minutes and top with frozen blueberries.
Photos courtesy of Paul McSweeney