Name: Ashli McKee
Year of Birth: 1980
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, FL
Current Residence: Austin, TX
Sports: Distance Running, Weight Lifting
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions you have.
I am a certified independent personal trainer and owner of Chapter Fitness in Austin, TX. I’m passionate about health, science, learning, nature, travel, volunteerism, and the arts. When I’m not working with clients, lifting weights, exploring Austin’s parks, cycling or training for a race, you’ll find me reading nonfiction (and the occasional fashion magazine) or planning our next party or trip,
Why did you become vegan?
I’ve been meat-free for 18 years. I became vegan because I believe we have a responsibility to care for all of Earth’s creatures, not torture, kill, and consume them.
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
I became interested in fitness first through training for distance races (marathons are my favorite and I’m training for my first ultra-marathon now). My love for running expanded into weight training; the injury prevention that has brought to my endurance training has been awesome.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
My diet doesn’t vary too much day to day before dinner. I drink water with lemon immediately upon waking and then a small cup of iced coffee with almond milk before my strength training workout. After that workout and before I run, I eat a breakfast of oats or a quinoa porridge blend with cinnamon. Mid-morning I have a piece of fruit or raw vegetables. For lunch I eat some variation of a grains, beans, and greens bowls, usually spinach, brown rice, and pinto beans sometimes with half a small avocado. Mid-afternoon brings another piece of fruit or raw vegetables and a protein shake. For dinner I aim for more variety and experiment with appropriate portions of ethnic foods, like Asian, Indian, or African cuisine. Bananas, cashews and avocadoes are my favorite foods.
I love trying new recipes and making nutritious, flavorful meals for my family and friends. There’s so much meat-free variety out there and I find it really fun to cook great tasting vegan food at home. I’m not a fake-meat fan and focus instead on simple whole foods.
How would you describe your training program?
I do a split program of weight training and I distance train year-round. A typical week for me is Monday – rest; Tuesday – 3.5-4 mile trail run and 30 minutes of core strength training (6 sets of 12 reps of a variety of different exercises each time to keep it interesting; planks are my favorite); Wednesday – run 6 hill repeats totaling about 1.5 miles and legs strength training (using the same time and number of sets and reps described above with plenty of squats included); Thursday – 3.5-4 mile trail run and chest & shoulders strength training (I’m a big depression dips fan); Friday – speed work at the track including sprints and power drills totaling about 1.5 miles of running, and arms strength training (of all different types though I prefer the good old bench dip); Saturday – hiking or about 10 miles of cycling and more core work; Sunday – long run of anywhere from 8-22 miles depending on where I am in my training cycle. I also make sure to stretch for 5-15 minutes every day.
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That it makes you scrawny and weak, or that it’s really difficult to do.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with veganism or training? Veganism is much easier than you think. Stick with it, be open-minded about trying new things, and you’ll be on the way to healthiest you’ve ever been.