Hi, my name is Angela Dower, I’m a wife and mum to three amazing children aged 18, 15 and 11. My sporting background began in South Africa, where as a child I competed in equestrian sports. I was horse crazy! Fast forward 20 odd years and I began training at my local gym as an indoor cycle instructor. I always aspired to look more muscular and less ‘skinny fat’, but didn’t seem to be able to achieve that ‘look’, much to my frustration.
A massive international move later, 3 small kids in tow, we settled in the UK. My husband and my ancestry is here (mine is Scottish) so it really felt as though we had ‘come home’ and we’ve never looked back. The first thing I did was join a gym and it was there that I began weight training and within weeks I could see my body transforming. This lead me to compete in several fitness model and bikini model competitions where I was lucky enough to place; a wonderful reward for all the hard work and dieting that went into it.
Recently, my life has had a major turn around. This is, in part, thanks to Sundried. When I was first approached by Sundried around 6 months ago, I watched the Netflix documentary ‘The True Cost’ which I saw mentioned on their website. The documentary shows the horrific side of the fashion industry where people are exploited, abused and in some cases killed in the name of ‘fashion’. I never realised what went on behind the scenes of this industry.
I’m hugely proud to be part of the Sundried community, where ethics, innovation and sustainability are at the forefront of it all. This documentary led me on to others on Netflix and I was introduced to another horrific practise...factory farming. I watched and cried and cried some more. Why you ask? Not only from a compassionate point of view was I deeply moved, but from an ethical, sustainability, carbon footprint point of view, I realised that as humans we are fast destroying our beautiful home, Earth. So the major turn around I mentioned? I stopped eating animal products. Just. Like. That.
Being an athlete, I’ve been questioned time and time again where I’m getting my protein from. And my answer is, plants! If you look at the biggest strongest animals on earth: elephants, buffalo, gorillas; their diets are plant-based. If you eat a wide variety of plant foods, you’ll be getting enough protein. Some vegan athletes, to name but a few, are ultra marathoners Rich Roll, Scott Jurek, Fiona Oakes and Ruth Heidrich as well as bodybuilders Torre Washington, Amanda Riester, Jim Morris and Dusan Dudas.
So in a nutshell (nuts are a great protein source too, by the way) I’m now training, just as hard, just as heavy, and am purely powered by plants. It feels great! I’m full of energy and love knowing I’m doing my bit for the environment and the animals. I really hope I’ve managed to inspire even just one person to give plant-based a try.
We continue our Day In The Life series with personal trainer ambassador Shea. Shea is a vegan, so if you have ever wondered how vegans get enough protein to look ripped but stay lean, read on!
Most of my days start early, comes with the territory of being a PT!
Most weekday mornings I'll have hummus with avocado and tomatoes on either rye bread/crispbread or buckwheat bread - mainly because it's quick to prepare but it's also very tasty and energy dense. At the weekends or sometimes on the one weekday that I start work late I'll have (vegan) pancakes or an exotic fruit platter for breakfast.
After my girlfriend brought a box of tamarind home from the market one day, it has since become a ritual for me to eat a few tamarind pods on my walk to the station when commuting to work. My grandma who lives in Antigua makes treats with tamarind, raw tamarind isn't quite the same experience but does taste really good!
After a busy morning training clients in London, it's time for my first lunch. Today I've got a salad with quinoa, lentils, tomatoes, celery, sweetcorn, pumpkin seeds with spinach, beetroot sauerkraut and hummus. Lots of seeds and grains to get my vegan protein in, as well as fresh vegetables for nutrients.
I'm currently enrolled on a Team Leading & Management NVQ to further my understanding of business management. Each day I study to improve my skills and to further my career.
After studying, it's time for my second lunch. Roasted sweet potato, tomatoes, red pepper, mushrooms with boiled kale and soy-free vegenaise.
After a busy day training clients and furthering my education, it's time to leave the PT studio where I work to head to the gym so that I can train myself.
My post-workout snack is a smothering of peanut butter!
I spend the rest of my evening writing client programmes. It's important that I'm prepared when I get to work and that I'm always professional when I train my clients, this means I have to do a lot of homework and always do research and writing to keep up with my career.