Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday motivation.

My motivational moodboard of the week:

Hi peeps.
I'm going through some serious sh*t in my personal life, but you know what? I'm strong, I'll get through it. I'm more motivated than ever to work out like crazy and to get shredded by August. Heck, I'll be in top shape in July.

No excuses, just get it done.

/Coach U

Picture source

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Diet tip of the day: drink more water

75 % of your body is water - in fact, 70-80 % of your brain tissue consists of water. If you're dehydrated, your body and mind are stressed.
Every chemical reaction that takes place in the body needs water - basically, your cells need water to function properly. By drinking water I mean drinking pure water; not coffee, beer, coke, juice or other sugary fluids.

If you wait until you're thirsty, your body is already a little dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration may include dry skin, loss of skin elasticity, increased wrinkles, dry eyes, thrist, tiredness, dry mouth, headache, constipation, dizziness or lightheadedness. Severe dehydration may result in low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, confusion and fever.

Water affects your health extensively. Your body needs water to recover from injuries and diseases, to detox (cleanse the body of contaminants), and to improve digestion. Decent hydration will boost your energy levels, increase your mental sharpness and help boost your immune system. Drinking water helps you build muscle tone (helps muscles to contract better), decreases muscle cramps and lubricates joints. Best of all, water may help you lose those extra pounds you've been trying to shed.

According to a study (Davy et al. 2010) drinking water before a meal has been proved to aid weight loss. The study states that drinking two (2,5 dl) glasses of water before every meal affected the participants' eating habits - in fact, the participants ate in average between 75 and 90 fever calories during the meal. The participants were successful in keeping the weight loss even 12 months after the study. Basically, water makes people feel satisfied and keep hunger off, at least in the older population.

How much water is enough? That's a tough question, since a person's need of water depends on age, body size, physical activity and weather. An average adult needs at least two litres of water a day. You'll need a lot more water if you're physically active, spend a lot of time in a dry environment (for instance, if your home or office has an effective airconditioning system) or if your environment is very warm and you sweat a lot. Keep a glass of water or a bottle nearby to remind you to stay hydrated. When in doubt, drink a little more. ;)
Drinking much water won't give you a bloated body - water retention is caused by eating too much salt, not by drinking much water. In fact, drinking water helps you get rid of feeling bloated, since it flushes the body.

I'm not saying that water is a magic potion, but it can aid you in losing weight. Water makes you feel fuller and revs up your metabolism. Acccording to some sources drinking ice cold water makes you burn even more calories, since your body has to warm it up - but seriously, you'd have to drink a lot of icy water to lose weight solely on that method. A study showed that drinking approximately 5 dl of near-freezing water only burned approximately 4 kcal. Your diet makes a bigger difference to shedding fat.

Remember, that there's also a possibility to drinking too much water (water intoxication). Water intoxication is not easy to achieve, trust me. Obsessive-compulsive water drinking or an extended athletic activity, where the athlete drinks a lot of water, may cause water intoxication. This means that electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium) in the blood are diluted to the point that it interferes with brain, heart and muscle function. Athletes tackle theproblem by using sports drinks with minerals to keep their body in balance. 

Here's a link to an online water calculator, check it out!

A few tips to drinking water:
  • As I said earlier, keep a glass or bottle of water close by at all times, to make sure you remember to hydrate. One tip is to fill a 2l jug of water in the morning and making sure you empty it during the day. I usually fill a 650 ml glass bottle with water three times at work - and I drink a big glass of water with every meal. Think of places you can stash your water bottle (your purse, the car, on your desk at work..)
  • Create your own vitamin drink. For example, try one of my smoothies!
  • Drink a glass of water with every meal. By sipping water during your meals you'll enjoy your food more and slow your eating. 
  • Drink herbal teas. Try different infusions and enjoy them after meals - you'll aid your digestion by drinking a warm tea after a heavy meal.
  • Try berry- or veggie flavoured waters (see picture below). For example, you could stuff a mason jar with ice cubes, citrus slices and some mint leaves - add water and enjoy.



Picture source 1 2 3

Brown, CM; Dulloo, AG; Montani, JP. Water-induced thermogenesis reconsidered: the effects of osmolality and water temperature on energy expenditure after drinking. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Sep;91(9):3598-602
Dennis, EA; Dengo, AL; Comber DL; Flack, KD; Savla, J; Davy KP; Davy, BM. "Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-aged and Older Adults", Obesity 18 (2): 300–307
Popkin, BM; Barclay, DV; Nielsen, SJ.Water and food consumption patterns of U.S. adults from 1999 to 2001. Obesity 13 (12): 2146–2152

Friday, January 4, 2013

Clean eating smoothie: part 7

Good morning, fit people!

Today's clean eating recipe is a pineapple and berry smoothie. It's simple, it's packed with vitamins and other antioxidants and it tastes wonderful.

Now, before I reveal the simple recipe, I want to share the health benefits of the basic ingredients of my smoothie.

Health benefits of pineapple
Pineapples are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and B-complex group of vitamins like folates, thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. Potassium (K) is an important component of cell and body fluids, helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Copper (Cu) is a helpful cofactor for red blood cell synthesis. Manganese (Mn) is a trace mineral your body needs to build bones and connective tissues, and it also is a co-factor for an enzyme which battles free radicals.
Since pineapples have these anti-inflammatory qualities, eating pineapples can greatly ease the pain of arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and gout.
Pineapples are also the source of bromelain (a mixture of protein-digesting enzymes). Bromelain helps regulate the secretions in the pancreas to aid in digestion, and it neutralizes acidic fluids in the gastrointestinal tract.
Pineapples are 94% carbohydrates, so if you're on a carbohydrate-restricted diet, keep your pineapple intake at one cup per day.
Always go for fresh pineapple when you have the chance. Here's a great seven-step wikihow article on how to tell if a pineapple is ripe.

Health benefits of lingonberry
Lingonberries are supposedly one of the richest sources of polyphenols. The little red berries are an excellent source of vitamin A, B and C and are packed with minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, sodium and potassium, and also flavonoids, especially quercetin. Quercetin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, but it also has antihistamine properties that help alleviate allergy symptoms.
Lingonberries contain tannins that help boost the walls of blood vessels, resolve mineral metabolism and neutralize toxins. Like other dark red and blue berries, lingonberries boost the levels of good cholesterol and improve blood pressure. Also, lingonberries contain a berry biocomplex that reduces hardening of blood vessels. Lingonberries are and excellent addition to a diverse diet, since it improves heart and circulatory health. Apart from being rich in essential nutrients, lingonberries are also a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Health benefits of blueberry
The nutrients in blueberries include selenium, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, manganese, anthocyanin, vitamins A, C, E and B complex. Several studies show that blueberries can improve brain function and prevent (or slow) the progress of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Blueberries also improve glucose and insulin levels, and reduce abdominal fat. Like lingonberries, blueberries are a heart-healthy superberry. They also boost your immunity, since they are packed with enzymes with antibacterial and antiviral properties. The blue shade of blueberries provides anthocyanin, which is rich in bioflavenoid and antioxidants.
Both lingon- and blueberries are excellent to use both fresh or frozen.

Now that you know why I like my berries so much, here's the recipe to my antioxidant-packed supersmoothie:

Clean eating: Pineapple and berry supersmoothie
1 dl fresh pineapple chunks
1 dl lingonberries
1 dl blueberries
1-2 dl water, coconut water or any clean eating liquid you prefer to use

Place all the ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth. Pour in a tall glass or protein shaker and enjoy :)

Tip #1: I use this as an addition to my breakfast omelette. In case you plan on having just a smoothie for breakfast, make sure you get enough proteins. The protein count of this smoothie is really low, so feel free to add a protein powder or quark to the mix.
Tip #2: Since pineapples are diuretic (drive water out of the body), make sure you drink plenty of water with your smoothie.
Tip #3: For an added "superfood effect", add a tablespoon of maca, a teaspoon of Opti-MSM and a teaspoon of lucuma to the smoothie.

Now, I'm a regular multitasker in the mornings. I brush my hair while I let my dog out, I get dressed while my omelette is cooking and I enjoy half of my breakfast in the car on my way to work. Today I poured my smoothie in a protein shaker and drank it whilst commuting. It ain't pretty, but I got to get my natural vitamins in the morning!



Picture source 1 2

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Workout schedule for January and February

Hi peeps,

I want to share my workout schedule with you guys. This is a schedule I'll keep up for two months, starting this week.

If you missed yesterday's post about my new year's resolutions, read it here. I've modified my usual workout schedule quite a lot, trying to keep it as simple as possible without putting too much stress on my body.

I reached my goal before Christmas, by the way. I deadlifted a 5 reps set with 100 kgs and benchpressed a set of 6 reps with 50 kgs. Soooo happy.

Leg workout - supertough crosstraining strength & plyo workout. This is a set I would love to do with a friend, since lifting heavy and jumping high is really tough, and a little competition never hurts.. If I'm the winner, of course ;) No, just kidding. Four rounds of 15 burpees superset with 6-8 heavy deadlifts is so much more fun to do with someone else cheering me on.

If you don't puke, faint or die KEEP GOING!

Upper body crosstraining workout.

I still love my handstand push-ups and chin-ups, and I won't stop doing them. I've added a few basic dumbbell exercises to this workout - you'll see it with pictures as soon as I recruit a friend with me to the gym.

Low-impact leg & core workout at the gym, focusing on my glutes and deep abs (i.e. M. Transversus Abdominis). I've modified a few Tracy Anderson's leg series to match my goals, so I do them with a pulley or elastic bands. This workout includes a lot of bodyweight training, too. Workout coming up...

Pole dancing at my local gym. Love. Pole dancing really works my upper body, I'm sore in places I didn't know existed. Gripping the pole, climbing it, spinning on it makes me work my muscles in a way I haven't done before. I love it.

I love the feeling after a great yoga workout. Energized, but not drained. Remember my motivational yoga video? Check it out here.

Endurance training of my choice - dancing, jogging, skiing.. Anything that I find fun at the moment. This is the part of my workouts that I do for me and me alone.

Rest day.

This workout schedule is missing my daily walks with my dear little puglet (it's a dog, in case you don't know) and my evening stretches. One of my goals for January is to increase the range of motion in my hips.

Hope you're feeling inspired!


Picture source: Fitness girls on facebook

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New year's resolution: goals for 2013

Hello beautiful people,

I hope you had a splendid Christmas and NYE - now that you're (hopefully) back to your normal routines regarding eating and working out, I'd like to share my top 5 goals (i.e. New year's resolution) for the year 2013.

1. I will stop competing with others and do more stuff for ME.
This one is really tough for me. I've already written a few texts about motivation, and to be quite honest, I have no problems with it - quite the opposite. I'm strongly externally motivated, i.e. competitive. Last year I would have written phrases like Squat deeper than the guys at the gym, finish first on a 10K run, lift heavier than any girl I know. This year I'll compete with myself, and no one else. I will do more stuff I actually love, i.e. dance like nobody's watching. I'll start this tomorrow with poledancing ;)

2. I will make sure that I rest enough.
I've learned to accept the fact that I have a sleeping disorder. I wake up at 5:15 every morning and go to bed after 11 p.m. I have chronic black circles under my eyes, and I'm ready to get rid of them. I'm launching a huge battle against my sleep deprivation and stress levels, starting today. My means are clear, too. Less running, more yoga. Less coffee, more sleep. 1-2 rest days per week (now that's a tough one!).

3. I will be in the best shape of my life on August 10th, 2013.
Do I really need to explain this further? I have a few motivational pictures I'd like to share with you guys, here goes:

Picture source
That's Nicole Wilkins, by the way. She's an IFBB Figure competitor, and I absolutely adore her. I don't need to be as ripped as she is on stage, but her off-season body is smashing. I'd love to look like that.

Now, I'm reeeeeally far from my goal #3, but you know what - I don't care. I'll beat the odds, you'll see. I have a metabolic disease which affects my hormonal balance (and therefore my body composition), and I hate it - but I will give 110% and work with what I've got.

4. I will spend less money on excessive junk.
By this I mean that I'll think twice before buying any clothes or any other unnecessary sh*t. I'll bring my lunch and snacks to work to avoid spending excess money on groceries, I won't go shopping unless I actually need something and I'll sell my clothes online or at a thrift store before August.

5. I will start enjoying my meals more.
I'll keep eating healthy and clean, but I will enjoy my meals a lot more. Ever get the feeling that you eat the same stuff week after week, lacking variation and taste? That's my November and December for you, ha-ha. I promise myself that I'll eat more stuff that I actually enjoy, and not choose foods solely based on their nutritional value. Food is fuel, but it's a big part of my life and I should teach myself to enjoy every meal more.

Here are my top 5 goals for the year 2013. I wish you a healthy, happy new year and hope to hear your goals and resolutions ;)