Friday, July 27, 2012

InBody - following up my progress

Happy Friday, fit people!

I've been working out like crazy these past two weeks (and loving every single moment!), keeping a close eye on my diet and making sure that I rest enough.

My efforts have paid off. I did a body composition analysis on myself this morning, and I almost cried out from joy. I know my body has changed during these few weeks (11 days, to be exact), but I had no idea... The results were even better than I imagined.

I'm using an InBody 230 for my body composition analysis. The outputs are: weight, somatic muscle mass, fat mass, total body water, lean body mass, BMI (Body mass index), percent body fat, waist-hip ratio, basal metabolic rate, segmental muscle mass (i.e. muscle balance), segmental body fat mass and impendance of each segments. It also gives a "muscle control" and a "fat mass control", i.e. possible goals for weight loss or gain, either in muscle or fat mass, plus an exercise planner with energy expenditures in different activities.

How does it work?
Muscles, blood vessels and bones are high in water, which conducts electricity. Body fat mass is the type of tissue that conducts electricity poorly. The InBody measures body composition by sending a weak bioelectric current through the body (trough soles and palms) and calculates the amount of fat tissue in the body.
It's recommended to do the analysis in the morning (with an empty stomach) or at least two hours after the last meal. For reliable results, one should not exercise or go to the sauna right before doing the InBody.

You feed your personal information in the machine (age, gender, height) before the analysis and the InBody 230 gives a A4-sized printout that looks like this:

The InBody result sheet. Picture source: InBodyCentral

I, personally, look mostly at the muscle mass / body fat mass - ratio and the segmental lean and fat mass. All my personal training clients get the opportunity to do a body composition analysis, but not everyone wants to see their results, and that's perfectly OK with me. Especially older women don't like the idea of stepping on a scale in front of someone, and I have to respect that. For the record, I propably wouldn't do it myself.

The picture above is an analysis of my muscle balance, showing segmental muscle mass. According to the InBody, I have a lot more muscle mass in my left leg compared to my right leg. There's a significant difference between the strength too, since I've had some serious lower back problems (on the right side).
I won't show you the segmental fats yet.. Maybe in a year or two. Or never.

So, to my results... In two weeks, I have:
  • Gained 1,2 kg in somatic muscle mass
  • Lost 2,6 kg in fat of which:
  • lost 1,2 kg fat around my waist
  • lost 0,8 kg fat aroung my glutes and thighs

Now this is why I don't use a basic scale at home. My total weight loss in two weeks is just 0,7 kg, which is OK, but not awesome. My total body water amount is really high at the moment (+ 2kg compared to the results two weeks ago), and I bet it's just because I spent a really tough afternoon at the gym yesterday.

According to my InBody results printout, I'm overweight (no surprise there!). However, my muscle mass is a whopping 6 kg above average levels (compared to average 24y women). Screw you, body mass index ;)

As I've said before, I'm still really far from my goals, but I'll get there.. The InBody helps me set new (realistic) goals for the next few weeks. I keep track of my goals and progress with a motivational diary, which also holds all my InBody results sheets. I use the diary to document my feelings during my workouts, to collect inspirational and motivational pictures and quotes and sometimes as a nutritional diary.
I'll write an article on how to set realistic goals (and how to reach them!) in a few weeks, so stay tuned.

Have a great weekend!

Stay focused,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Clean eating: Warm meals (part 1)

The clean eating series expands with yet another category: warm meals.
The recipe I'm presenting today is the dinner my hubby made for me yesterday. Simple, yet delicious.

We don't normally eat pork, but Italian prosciutto is our weakness.. We eat it about once a month, usually in a home made pizza or wrapped around a fish or chicken fillet.

Clean eating: Pike by K. (one serving)

150 g pike fillet (skinned, pin bones removed)
2 slices of prosciutto, parma or other air dryed ham
2 fresh sage leaves
pepper to taste
1 tsp butter (for frying)

Spinach and lettuce leaves
Fresh veggies: cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes (chopped)
50 g honey melon (cubed)

½-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Chili sauce to taste
Pepper to taste

1. Season the skinned and boned pike fillet with pepper. No salt needed - the prosciutto will be salty enough.
2. Wrap the pike fillet in prosciutto, leaving the sage leaves under the ham.

3. Heat the butter in the frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the pike fillets. Fry for 5 minutes on each side, or until the prosciutto is golden-brown and the fish is cooked through.

4. Place the lettuce, melon and the chopped veggies on a plate. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle it on top of the salad.

Your plate should look something like this...
(Sorry for the blurry Instagram pics)

Enjoy !

Tip #1: Try this with different types of fish. For an energy-richer meal, choose salmon in stead of pike.
Tip #2: For a less-fat version, cook the fish in the oven. Heat the oven to 200C, leave the fillet in for max 15-20 minutes (until the prosciutto is golden brown and the fish is cooked through).
Tip #3: For a bigger meal, serve with quinoa and steamed broccoli.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My leg workout


Just wanted to share my newest leg workout with you guys. This workout suits me perfectly at the moment, because it challenges me, every time! Some of the guys at the gym look a little worried when they see me jumping around like a maniac, but you know what? It's totally worth it. I'll be doing another InBody-measuring on myself on Friday morning, so I need to be focused.

I keep myself motivated by doing a body composition analysis every two to three weeks. It keeps me focused on my goals (which I'm still far from) and working really hard. I need to see some change every time!

One major thing in my process is changing my workouts regularly. I grow easily tired of the same workout routines, and I need a challengein every workout. I do legs twice a week (sometimes three times a week), always keeping 48 hours between leg workouts to let the muscles recover. My leg workout consists of supersets/circuit training. I use heavy enough weights to allow me the desired amount of reps with good form. Never compromise good form for heavier weights!

Ok, so this is a long workout - it takes about an hour to complete this, with short water breaks. I can't stress this enough, this is not a beginner workout! I've been going to the gym regularly for quite a few years now, and this is the most challenging workout I've done so far. I wanted to share this to give you ideas for your own workouts. In case you've been gymmin' away for a few years, try this out. Start off with 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps, resting 30 secs between sets. Work your way towards heavier weights as you get used to the movements, minimizing rests between sets.

Start off with a 10 minute warmup on the stairmaster/treadmill/stationary bike/cardio machine of your choice.

A1 3-4 sets, 8 reps Sumo squat with barbell across shoulders*
A2 3-4 sets, 15 reps V-ups on a bench*
A3 3-4 sets, 30-45 seconds Bench jumps

B1 3-4 sets, 8 reps Lunge with the back leg on a bench, barbell across shoulders*
B2 3-4 sets, 1 minute Side plank with pulse*
B3 3-4 sets, 45-60 seconds Jumping jacks

C1 3-4 sets, 8 reps Deadlift*
C2 3-4 sets, 10 reps Cable glute kickback

D1 3-4 sets, 15 reps Incline reverse abdominal crunch*
D2 3-4 sets, 30 seconds Burpee
D3 3-4 sets, 10 reps Seated hip adduction

Sumo squat
Get Ready: Stand with your feet wide, toes and knees pointed slightly out. Set a barbell across your shoulders, resting on the muscles (not pressing on the spine!). Brace your abdominal muscles.
Go: Squat down, keeping your back straight, bending only at the waist and knees. Push through your heels to standing position. Slowly lower yourself back into a squat and repeat.

V-ups on a bench
Get ready: Sit in the middle of a bench with your knees and feet together. Grasp the back of the bench and lean backward, making sure your shoulders are pulled back. 
Go: Lift your knees toward your chest and then extend them back out. Make sure to use your arms to support your body and maintain balance.

Get ready: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell across the shoulders. Make sure the barbell is resting on the muscles of your upper back. Always keep your back straight, chest out and shoulders back.
Go: Step forward with one foot. Slowly descend toward floor, allowing your knees to bend. The idea is to make sure that the thigh behind you is perpendicular to the ground while your leading thigh ends in a parallel position. Do not allow your knee to touch the floor. Push back up to starting position through the heels. Repeat with same leg for desired reps. Beginners can begin with no weight and arms crossed at chest.

Side planks
Lie on your side and support your body between your forearm and knees. Hold your spine in a neutral position (normal curves)— avoid letting your back sag during the exercise. Do this exercise on your left and right sides. Try to hold the plank position for as long as possible, starting with 15 seconds. As you increase fitness, support your weight between your forearm and feet and add a pulse, lifting and lowering your hips during the exercise.

Get Ready: Using a weighted bar or dumbbells, stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Keeping your knees slightly bent but locked throughout the exercise. Hold the bar in front of you with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Engage the core the whole time!
Go: Keeping your back straight, head up and chest out, slowly lower the bar, bending only at the hips. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings and glutes. Squeeze your glutes to help raise your body back into start position. Repeat.

Incline reverse abdominal crunch 
Get ready: Lie on decline bench. Grasp bench behind your head for stability. 
Go: Raise legs to sky and extend fully, pulling your hips off the bench. Slowly lower to starting position and continue for desired reps.

Let me know what you think, I love hearing from you guys!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Clean eating: Salads (part 1)

Happy Monday, fit people!

The clean eating series continues with salads. This is the first part, introducing a heavy salad packed with protein and polyunsaturated fats. And it's delicious, too! This salad works really well as a lunch or dinner salad and it keeps you satisfied for a long time. I don't normally do dressings, but I love the taste of spicy chili with blue cheese and salmon.

I'm really bad at measuring things. Mostly I just throw ingredients together and see what happens. :D So sorry for the vague measures in this recipe (and the ones before).

Clean eating salmon and bluecheese salad
Fresh spinach leaves, mixed lettuce leaves and onion stalks
½ Diced bell pepper
diced cucumber
5-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
5-10 red grapes, halved
100-120 g smoked salmon (with lemon, dill and unprocessed sea salt)
30-50 g blue cheese

Dressing: 1 tbsp olive oil mixed with chili sauce and black pepper to taste.

As always, my recipes are easy to make. Place the spinach leaves and diced and halved veggies on the plate together with the salmon and bluecheese. Mix the dressing in a separate bowl or bottle and drizzle it on top. Enjoy!

Tip #1: Mix it up with different colours. Yellow bell peppers are packed with vitamin C, red cherry tomatoes are rich in potassium. Red grapes are packed with phytonutrients: the seeds are loaded with tannins and other antioxidants, the sweet flesh is loaded with fiber and the peels are rich in flavonoids.
Tip #2: For a non-dairy version, ditch the blue cheese and add a few almonds for a heavier protein and fat content.
Tip #3: Use as many organic ingredients as possible, you will taste the difference.

Have a strong Monday!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Clean eating: Smoothie (part 1)

I'm now introducing one of my favourite morning smoothies. I first started making this one to soothe my tummy aches during my periods (sorry for the excess info!), and it worked. The fats from the coconut milk are polyunsaturated ("good fats"), the fibers aid your digestion and the berries are packed with antioxidants! It tastes really good, too: almost like strawberry ice cream! What's not to love?

Clean eating strawberry and coconut milk smoothie (serves 4)

1 can organic coconut milk
2-3 dl water
2-3 dl frozen strawberries
1-2 tbsp psyllium or other fiber source
If you need additional sweetener, try using a banana or a few pieces of mango. (or stevia, if you need something really sweet)

Here comes the easy part: place everything in a blender and blend until smooth.

Tip #1: try making this smoothie with different berries and fruits. If you're not that into sweet flavors, try making this with lingonberries or cranberries - the coconut milk has a soft texture and it brings the tastes really well together. Experiment with different berries and spices. I really love the combination of coconut milk, raspberries and cinnamon!
Tip #2: This is one of my "cheat meals", in case I get cravings. I always store cans of coconut milk and frozen berries at home. Use this smoothie as a compromise, in case you crave for ice cream or something sweet. My hubby doesn't really fancy my smoothies, so I often freeze the leftovers. This smoothie sure makes a delicious popsicle ;) (I bet kids love it too!)
Tip #3: For a less-fat version, replace half of the coconut milk with natural low-fat yogurt.

Hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Booty workout

Picture source: FitFemmes


 What should I do to get a tighter bum and toned thighs?

 I'm going to share my favourite glute workout with you guys. Here goes:

Warm up for 5-10 minutes on the treadmill, stairclimber or any cardio machine of your choice.

1a. Wide squat (smith or barbell)
1b. Bench rise with dumbbells

2a. Vertical press (or leg press)
2b. Deadlift

3a. Cable hip extension
3b. Cross back lunge (barbell or dumbbells)

4a. Lying knee flexion
4b. Box jump (or stair jump)

A few tips for your workout:
1. Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Make sure you use big weights ! No challenge, no changes.
2. Try to take as few breaks as possible. This workout is designed to do in supersets. It means that you should do your 1as paired with 1b's (etc), no breaks in between sets! Do each set with full control, even though it's tough. Fight through the pain :)
3. Focus on your glutes in every move! Squeeze at the top of every exercise and push through the heels in all lunges, kickbacks, squats, etc.
4. Train your booty 1-2 times a week. If you're going with two workouts a week, make sure to leave a few days between workouts. Spreading out your workouts will give your glutes time to heal and plump up. Don't be afraid to go heavy with the weight; when trying to build muscle heavy is the way to go!
5. Cardio and diet are of course very important in our search of the perfect booty. Don't underestimate the power of the gym. You should definitely do muscle building workouts even though you're dieting. Dieting without weightlifting can cause your booty to shrink and flatten. You want your bum to be round and tight, right?

Have a kickass Monday,