Mar 02

Building Blocks

The human body is pretty incredible.


25 days ago (pre-cleanse) I was nowhere near the abs I wanted.  My diet was not terrible, but could use improvement.  I was lifting weights, but had hit a plateau with my upper body and all but neglecting legs.  It was time to take the next step in building a better me.

The pictures below are my progress:



The top pic is upper body.  I’ve managed to up my weight on many exercises, not the least of which is lat raises.  Those has always been a weak point for me.

The bottom left ab pic was taken at week 2 of the cleanse and the right was taken yesterday (11 days later… I promise I washed this outfit in that time).  I wish I’d had a before!  I’ve ALWAYS wanted 6-pack abs and I’m so close right now it hurts.

This is thanks to 25 days of pushing harder and building a solid foundation with a clean, plant-based diet.  It can be done!


Believe in yourself and anything is possible.


I also have to make a confession – I almost didn’t post the ab pic.  In fact, yesterday I posted it on Instagram and purposefully didn’t like it to Twitter.  I was scared to share my progress with a larger audience!

Then I remembered this post by Lindsay where she showed off her incredible abdominals.  She posted her post-baby ab pic to celebrate hard work, to motivate, and because she was PROUD.  And she should take pride in her hard work paying off!


Change is hard!  It’s overwhelming to begin cleaning up your diet.


In the spirit of building, here’s how I built a healthy lunchtime wrap.  At least it was supposed to be a wrap… I got a little carried away with the fillings. :)


Step 1:

Prep veggies and slather a tortilla with spread.  I used my Raw Sweet Potato Hummus.



Step 2:

Layer your veggies on the tortilla.



My Fillings:

  • Kale
  • Broccoli and mustard sprouts
  • Beets (raw)
  • Asparagus (raw)
  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Lentils  - ***These are key to making your wrap filling.  Lentils are prepared for the week every Sunday so I can quickly add bulk and protein to veggie dishes.***


Step 3:

Attempt to wrap the monstrosity up!  I had to eat the carrots in the side to make way for the lentils.



Step 4:





Tomorrow I am trying out CrossFit for the first time!  I love a new workout. :)

Have you ever tried CrossFit?  Do you have any tips to share?

Celebrate Friday with some self-love – What accomplishment are you proud of?



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  1. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean

    dang!!! looking good girl :) congrats! ps…i always over-fill my wraps!

  2. Parita @ myinnershakti

    You should be proud and there’s nothing wrong with that! I’m still amazed by how much more definition you gained in just 11 days! Did you do more ab work in that time?

    1. Laura

      Thank you! I do ab work, but I didn’t do any more than I had previously.

  3. Lisa@thedailyrundown

    You look amazing, your muscle tone is off the hook!
    So, during the clense what did your protein look like? Also as far as macros were your calories, carbs,etc… Reduced?

    1. Laura

      Thanks Lisa! I didn’t track closely, but I think I was getting 50-60g of protein a day… strangely enough, that’s less that I was getting before the cleanse and I gained definition all over!

  4. Lisa ♥ Healthful Sense

    Congrats Laura!! Your hard work has definitely paid off!
    Believing in yourself… love that!!

  5. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning

    I haven’t done the actual “Cross Fit” but did very similar workouts with my trainer, back when I used to go to him regularly (before I started teaching Bodypump). I LOVE IT. It made me feel so strong and confident, and I did stuff that I would NEVER go into the gym and do on my own (like beat a big tire with a hammer, or use battle ropes). You’ll love it too.
    And, uh- I’m so jealous of your abs. You look amazing! And BTW- I keep meaning to tell you this- but I love your haircut also. Makes me want to chop mine off.
    One more thing I love- that wrap! I need to copy it!

    1. Laura

      That sounds awesome – I’m so excited to go today!

      Thanks so much – I’m in desperate need for a haircut right now. :)

  6. Lee

    Show off those abs! You worked hard for them!

    I did a boot camp that was CrossFit based in Piedmont Park a few years ago but I’ve never actually gone to the CrossFit gym.

  7. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat

    I’ll take your “before” abs ANY FREAKING DAY. You’re lucky I love you because otherwise I’d hate you. :)

    1. Laura

      LOL!!! Thank you Claire. :)

  8. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi)

    I’m one of those “people”. Ya know, the girl who runs marathons, works out hard core, but can never ever ever lose weight. It’s maddening. But lately I’ve been really inspired by clean recipes, your posts and a most recently, Dr. Mark Hyman (hahaha, the name…sorry). I feel this major change coming over me and possibly my blog. This post of your KILLER abs just sealed the deal. Dude, you look amazing. Keep rockin girl, because you are making a difference and helping others.

    1. Laura

      That means so much to be! Thank you!!! It really is all about the food… which is often harder to change than exercise. I can’t wait to see what clean foods you come up with – your recipes always look amazing!

  9. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family

    Oh you make me just a little bit ill…but congrats on all of that hard work paying off. You look fantastic, and I so want your arms I have never had much definition.

    However I do have an unrelated question…tattoos? How many and what are they? I love them and have just one but am always contemplating more. Just thought I would ask if you don’t mind :)

    Have a great weekend Laura!

    1. Laura

      I have 2 – one on my inner hip area. It’s a tribal sun thing… I got it when I was 17 just to prove I could. ;) The other is the one pictured on my write – it says “Believe.” I’m going to get another on my back soon. I love them too! What do you have?

      Thanks Rachel – have a wonderful weekend!!!

  10. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family

    Oh and I meant to mention that even the work out clothes are black and grey…seriously? What is wrong with a little pink or green (not necessarily together).

    1. Laura

      No pink, but I do have a few green shirts! :)

  11. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    I’m so glad you posted that pic – it’s great inspiration. If my abs looked like that, I’d post them too. ;) Good luck at Cross Fit tonight!!

  12. Mattie @ Comfy and Confident

    Dang Girl! You look great!!!
    That wrap is monstrous and looks so filling! I want it… now.

  13. Layla

    Wow, girl – WOW. You were smokin’ before, but what a difference those changes made.

    1. Laura

      Thanks Layla! I hate it, but it’s true… abs are made in the kitchen.

  14. RavieNomNoms

    You look so amazing! I am proud of you and you should be proud of yourself. I so wish that I could have a kick ass body like that. I just don’t think my polish hips are built to look as toned and awesome as that! haha

    Your wrap looks gorgeous to me! I don’t think you went overboard at all, looks delicious!!

    1. Laura

      Whatever – Polish hips are awesome! :) Thanks, Raven.

  15. Lindsay @ Lindsay's List

    Like I said yesterday on IG, you look flippin’ HOT!! So proud! (and thanks for the linkage!)

    1. Laura

      Lindsay… thank YOU for the inspiration.

  16. Andrea

    Great work! You’re brave and inspiring :-) And that wrap looks delicious, too!

  17. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen

    I saw this pic on IG the other day and it inspired me to deem March “eat clean month”. I’m really curious what my body is capable of with 30 days of cleaner eats combined with workouts. Just wanted to let you know you were my inspiration for this ;)
    PS- you look friggin amazing!

    1. Laura

      That’s great! I’m excited to see the results you get. Thank you so much. :)

  18. Laura @ LauraLivesLife

    I am so totally impressed/intimidated by your abs – you rock! I think I need to spend a week with you (or a day, to sound less creepy) so I can learn how to do weight training!

    1. Laura

      Not creepy! We would have a fun week. :)

  19. Carol @ Lucky Zucca

    Oh my goodness, yum!!! Sprouts!!! Ahhhh……. I want that wrap. You’re going to LOVE cross fit. It is really fun and challenging to your muscles in such a different but functional way. Let us know how you like it! Which one are you going to? And let me say, your abs looked amazing, even in the before picture. You should be an ab model. Please don’t stand next to me in a bikini ever, k? <3

    1. Laura

      Sprouts are super cheap at YDFM, FYI. I’m going to BTB today – woo hoo!

      I don’t know about being an ab model… but you totally just made my day. Thanks, friend! :)

  20. Cucina49

    You look amazing–I exercise every day, but am nowhere near as hard-core as you are. Your work is paying off!

    1. Laura

      I always resisted believing it, but abs are really all about what you eat. *sigh*

  21. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    Now that’s my kind of wrap! Looks delish. And nice abs!

  22. Christine @ Oatmeal Bowl

    I would devour the wrap! You IG link doesn’t go to your profile. are we IG friends yet (OatmealBowl)?

    I think your progress is awesome!

    I am on week 8 of 12 for Body of Life. And I love having muscle in my arms! haha.
    i would like to see your workout schedule….

    And yesterday, I just tweeted that lat raises are a b*tch. haha. but least I can say I had to go out and by heavier dumbbells. ;)

    1. Laura

      I think I fixed it… thanks for the heads up! I do follow you!

      Every Monday I post my workouts from the previous week. I’m gearing up to post my latest go-to arm moves, but I still do the workouts posted under the Fitness tab too.

      Congrats on upping your weights! That’s such a great feeling of accomplishment. :)

  23. STUFT Mama

    YOU should be so proud of your progress. ROCK THOSE ABS and arms! :) Um.. I’m drooling over your wrap right now. Like DROOLING. Heading over to check out sweet potato hummus. I just bought a huge box of sweet potatoes from Costco. Have a great weekend Laura!

    1. Laura

      Thanks Mama! ;) I’m envious of your killer arms/back!

      Let me know what you think if you try the hummus. I’m addicted!

  24. Meg

    That wrap looks amazing hunnie :)

    And I give YOU a high five for showing your ab pic :) BE PROUD SISTA love them! I am going back to read about your cleanse! I want to see what was “allowed”

    1. Laura

      Thanks!!! It was basically a TON of veggies, some fruit, and one serving of lentils or wild rice each day. And protein powder (thank god). It sounds limited, but I was never felt deprived since you can eat as many veggies as you want.

  25. Khushboo

    Damn right you should feel proud of yourself- you, my friend, have developed some killer abs! You worked hard for them so enjoy the glory too! And just for the record, your before abs were pretty sweet too :)

    1. Laura

      You’re so sweet! Thank you. :)

      Have a great weekend!

  26. Mary @ Bites and Bliss

    You look amazing!! I’m working towards getting a stomach like yours. :) Doing a little changing up to my diet, too!

    1. Laura

      Thank Mary! It’s not an easy thing to change your diet, but you do get into the habit fairly quickly!

  27. Candy @ Healthy In Candy Land

    You look awesome, and you definitely should be proud. Looking like that doesn’t come without some hard work and dedication, and if others give you a hard time for posting that, it is because they are uncomfortable with themselves and their own shortcomings.
    It’s so amazing to see just what a plant-strong diet really can do! I love that photo of your hand holding the weight, showing your tattoo. Pure awesomeness.

    1. Laura

      Candy, thank you so much for the kind words. :)

      Now the real trick will be trying to keep up the plant-based diet!

  28. sportsglutton

    Damn Laura! Nothing to be ashamed of in those images…either one. ;-) Kudos to you and keep on kicking ass.

  29. Turtle-speed Runner

    Awesome progress! You should be super proud :)
    Hope crossfit was fun. I’d like to try it but can’t fit any more workouts in lol

    1. Laura

      Thank you! This weekend’s CrossFit was more of a “how to,” but I can already see how people get addicted.

  30. Sarah

    amazing. enough said.

  31. Stacy @ Stacy Eats

    Dang, girl you look amazing! Congrats!!!

  32. Jamie

    Congrats! It is always so encouraging when you can actually see your hard work pay off. Great job

  33. Hayley @ Oat Couture

    Oh my god I want your arms!!!! You look bloody amazing!! Well done you! :)

    1. Laura

      You have some killer arms, Lady! P.S. I still do your 6 min plank rotation 1-2 times a week. Love. :)

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