Thursday, November 15, 2012

Clean eating: Smoothie (Part 5)

Boost your immune system with this antioxidant-packed supersmoothie!

Clean eating: grapefruit and blackcurrant smoothie
(serves 3-4)

1 avocado
200g blackcurrants
4 dl grapefruit juice (or 2 large grapefruits, peeled)
100g vanilla whey protein powder
4+ dl water

1. Peel and pit the avocado. Put the avocado, berries and grapefruit juice (or grapefruit) in the blender and blend until smooth.
2. Add the whey powder and water to the mix, blend on low speed (if you blend it on high speed, the whey will foam). Add extra water to get the perfect consistency, if the smoothie feels too thick.

Tip #1: In case you don't want to use additional protein powder, like whey, substitute it with 400 g quark. Make sure you add enough water to the mix to get the desired consistency.
Tip #2: Vanilla whey is quite sweet. In case you don't use whey powder, add a banana or 2-3 dates to the smoothie to sweeten it.
Note: Don't use plain sugar (or even honey) if possible, never use artificial sweeteners like asesulfam K or aspartame. Use natural sweeteners like banana, dates, organic stevia or erytritol.
Tip #3: To kick-start your morning, use chilled green tea in stead of water. Green tea works perfectly for morning smoothies, since it's packed with caffeine and antioxidants.
Tip #4: This smoothie is really nice as a dessert, too. Skip the whey and add a banana to create a tangy, dairy-free, sugar-free smoothie. I like the freshness of this smoothie after a heavy and/or greasy meal, it leaves me feeling light yet satisfied.

Have a great Thursday!


Monday, November 12, 2012

15 tips to stay motivated

Hi gorgeous people,

My personal training clients have asked for this post for sooooooooo long. Sorry chicas - better late then never, right? ;)

Here are my top 15 tips to stay motivated.
  • Set a specific goal, not just ‘I want to be healthy’ or ‘I want to be stronger’. Pick a date and work hard to reach your goal on that specific date. 
  • Write down your goals. When you remember where you're going, you'll get there much faster. The more precise you are, the better. And once you reach your goal, set another one! Click here for my post about setting goals.
  • Know it’s going to be hard You’re going to have good days and bad days. This isn't going to be easy, in fact it's going to be very frustrating, but believe in yourself and you will go far.
  • Be willing to do whatever it takes Do everything you possibly can to succeed and be where you want to be and make it a priority. If you don't have time to go to the gym, make time.
  • Stop focusing so much on the negatives. Bring out the positives and be proud of every achievement made no matter how small. Staying away from the cheesecake, or dragging yourself to go for a run - it all pays off in the end. If you took all that energy you put towards hating your body into changing it, you would be amazed with the results!
  • To be truly successful you need to be passionate about it Think about it all of the time. Some call it obsession, I call it dedication.
  • Remember that you are in control Nobody else can make the decisions for you. You can have all of the knowledge in the world, the best trainer, the experience, but if you’re not mentally and physically ready to do it then it’s not going to happen. You are the one who decides whether you’re going to indulge in social situations or stay on track. Remember that there's always going to be people who won't support you. Some people will try to convince you to share a pizza or go drinking with them and tell you to stop being so "boring", but you have the will power to say no. You should have a social life and enjoy yourself, but shouldn't feel forced into anything you don't want to do.
  • Think ahead This takes practice. Think about how you will feel if you do indulge. Will you regret it? If so, avoid the situation.
  • If you keep failing, maybe you’ve set your expectations too high. Set goals that are realistic, not ridiculous. Don’t set goals that are so far out of reach that every time you try, you fail and beat yourself up about it. 
  • There's always going to be times when you feel progress is going nowhere.  Don't give up! Just because you're hitting a hard point doesn't mean you can't break through it. Sit back, evaluate, change. If it's in your heart then it's worth it.
  • Stop worrying about being perfect NOBODY IS PERFECT. We all strive to be perfect but knowing that you’re going to make mistakes and not living in the past is very important. Even if you have a piece of cake and fall off the diet, there is nothing you can do about it. It is in the past, so move forwards. Learn from your mistakes and you know how you’ll feel next time you’re put in that same situation. Compare yourself against yourself, and no one else.
  • Don’t do what you hate If you hate running, then go swimming. If you hate avocado, eat almonds. If you hate every choice, you won’t last very long and you’ll get unmotivated. Remember you chose to set this goal. If you’re having trouble staying on track, think back to why you started it in the first place.Whatever reason you have is great enough for you to keep going. Don't forget that.
  • Have fun Look at what you're doing and enjoy it! There's endless ways to make exercise and clean eating fun, it doesn't have to be as grim as some people make out. Work out with a friend, have a clean eating cook-off with your family or promise your dog to take it for three super-long walks every week.
  • Make a vision board Cut out pictures of bodies that you aspire to be like and quotes that keep you motivated. My motivational diary works the same way - I regularly "post" my favourite inspirational pictures and quotes in my little pink book and on my blog.
  • Surround yourself with positive people not with people who question why you go to the gym so much or eat in a certain way. Find people who are like-minded and you can help push each other when things get tough. And remember, be proud of yourself.

Any other motivational tips you'd like to share with the crowd?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday motivation (part III)

Happy Monday, people!

I hope you had a great weekend. I sure did.

Reasons to stay motivated - part 1.

Picture this: Sunday night (around 9 p.m.), I realized that we (my hubby and I) haven't done our workout for the day. My mister was really tired and didn't want to work out - although he loves his TRX routine. I told him I'd work out as well - I needed to get a few (hundred) crunches in, plus a few planks of course. He did his routine, I did my "core crunch" right beside him, our dog playing around us. I <3 family-time. Working out together is the bomb! Motivating each other to push a little further... We need to do this a lot more often.

We worked out for 20 minutes or so, but guess what? A 20-minute workout is better than a 0-minute workout. He was really happy that I gently pushed him, since he wouldn't have done his routine if it wasn't for me.

The lesson of the story: By staying motivated you'll help yourself, and others too. Spread the spark! Partner yourself with a friend, co-worker or a loved one - someone who'll support you and your goals without sabotaging them.

Have a great week,

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How should I start running?


Hope you've had a great Halloween! I don't know about you guys, but we had a really quiet Halloween with just two trick-or-treaters. We didn't stock up on sweets, because we didn't want to eat all the leftovers ourselves. My plan worked perfectly, no excess candy to munch on the weekend.

I promised myself last week that I'd go jogging on Saturdays. I promised myself to keep my promises too, ha ha. Since I woke up an hour earlier than I should and I had a tremendous amount of energy, I decided to go for a 45-minute run before work. I felt awesome!

If you haven't been exercising regularly for years, start off with brisk walks. When your walks feel light in intensity, you can add a few jogs into your regular routine (read a bit further, running for beginners-routine coming up!).

How should I get started?
Make sure you're exercising properly. Don't be greedy, your fitness level won't improve massively on the first jog.

Here are a few pitfalls you should avoid when beginning your new hobby:
  • You're running too fast. Make sure your pace is mild and you feel good during your workout (and afterwards!). Running at a high velocity requires a few week's training, so be patient.
  • You're runs are too long in duration. Keep in mind that your career as a runner should start with walking and progress into jogging. Running won't become a habit if you start with high-intensity workouts and feel like sh*t afterwards.
  • You're running because you "should be running". If you have no interest in running, why do it? There are a million different cardio exercises that are just as good. If you don't like what you're doing, it's hard to stay motivated.
Set goals.
Set your own goals based on your own fitness level. Read here about setting goals, if you're insecure. An example could be to run for 45 minutes without feeling like dying.

Exercise routines -interval training

If you've never run before, start off with 2-3 brisk walks per week. Each workout should last for 20-30 minutes and you should feel energized afterwards.
When your walks feel really easy and light in intensity, add a few minutes jogs into the routine. Your walks could look like this:

Warm-up for 10 minutes (brisk walking)
Light jogging 1 minute
Walking 4 minutes
Repeat the jogging/walking-interval twice for a 20-minute workout.

After completing this routine for 2-3 weeks (and still feeling good), add a little bit of length to your runs. Keep in mind that the workout should still feel easy and you add a maximum of five minutes to each workout per week.

Your fitness level is "intermediate", you work out 2-3 times a week and have done the beginner phase already, or you've been walking/running 20-45-minute runs for 3-4 weeks.

When your fitness level is improving, you can easily crank up the volume:
Warm-up: walk 10 minutes
Jog 2 minutes
Walk 3 minutes

You can slowly move onto a more jogging, less walking type of routine: jog 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes or jog 4 minutes, walk 1 minute. As soon as this routine feels easy, start doing your workouts jogging.

In case you've been running straight for 45 minutes and it still feels easy, add a little more intensity to your workouts.
Warm-up: light jogging 10 minutes
Run 1 minute
Jog 4 minutes
Repeat the run/jog-routine 2-6 times.

Run a maximum of three times per week, keeping at least one rest day in between workouts. Remember to stretch your quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes and hip adductors after every workout!

Have a nice run ;)

Picture source

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Workout routines: Lower body plyo circuit

This is what really got me and my friend Maija going last month  - a lower body plyometric circuit! I presented my September workout schedule earlier (here), and now is the time to show you exactly what the plyo circuit is.

Get shredded with this awesome routine! Incorporate it into your workout schedule by replacing a lower body resistance training or a high intensity interval training (HIIT) routine with this. I recommend that you do this 1-2 times per week, keeping a minimum of 48 hours between workouts.

This is one of my favourite workout routines so far. It's short (it takes me about 35 minutes to complete five rounds), effective and I can totally feel my buns and thighs burning afterwards!

Before starting the circuit, make sure you're decently warmed up. By that, I mean a 10-15 minute light cardio on a stationary bike, treadmill or any cardio machine of your choice. You should have broken a bit of sweat before moving on to the circuit.

You'll need: a bench or a step, 2 x 3-5 kg dumbbells, a water bottle and a towel to wipe your sweat (trust me, you'll need it!). Bring a stopwatch to time your progress.

Remember to drink lots of water after the workout. Have a healthy carb-filled recovery drink or meal waiting for you ~30 minutes after working out.

Five rounds of:
Weighted reverse lunge from bench or step (15 reps per leg)
Mountainclimbers (30 seconds)
Bench jumps (10 reps)
Weighted lunge jumps (10 reps per leg)
Jumping jacks (30 seconds)

Try to keep minimal pauses between rounds, no pauses between exercises. Start off with three rounds and work your way up as your body adapts to the workout. This set shouldn't feel easy; in fact, this is one of the toughest sets I do during my workout week.

Breaking down the routine
Reverse lunge from bench or step
Get ready: Stand on an elevated platform, feet hip-width apart with two 3-5 kg dumbbells in each hand. 
Go: Step back with your right leg and lower your body until your left knee is bent at at least 90 degrees. Pause, then push through the left heel and step your right foot on the board. That's one rep. Do all reps on the right leg before stepping back with your left leg.

Get ready: Start in a full plank position, with your palms straight under your shoulders and feet hip-width apart. Make sure you don't round your shoulders or let your hips sag!
Go: Alternate running your knees into your chest as fast as possible, sprinting for 30 seconds until you're completely out of breath.

Bench jumps
Get ready: Stand in front of your bench (or box) with your arms by your sides, feet hip-width apart.
Go: Jump onto your bench, landing as softly as possible, and jump back down. Repeat 10 times.

Lunge jumps
Get ready: Feet in a hip-width position, hands by your sides (holding dumbbells, if possible). Step back with your right leg and lower until your left knee is in a 90 degree angle.
Go: Jump up as fast as you can, extending your knees. Land softly in the same position, lower and repeat 10 times before stepping back with your left leg.

Jumping jacks
Get ready: Stand with your feet together, arms straight by your sides.
 Go: Jump and spread your feet, extending your arms up. Jump and bring them back together. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Tip: Keep your arms as straight as possible, stay on the balls of your feet.

Have a great workout!


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