How Team #FGC is making September healthier

Here at #FITGIRLCODE HQ we keep up with the latest health trends not only to share them with all of you but also to apply them to our own lives! Each of us is different and has unique strengths, weaknesses, schedules, and needs. After a summer filled with one too many scoops of ice cream (sound familiar?) we are ready to conquer September 2015 by trying out something new!

We’ll each share with you one workout, food tip, beauty tip, or new habit we’re trying out this month to continue unlocking our personal code to a healthy and happy lifestyle. We are determined to make September healthier!

 

Drink 2 Litres of water per day

Shelley, Brand Relations Manager

“I’ve started committing to drinking 2L of water a day and plan to make this a habit. For some this is super easy but for me it’s a downright struggle – I’m just a very non-thirsty person and now I have to go to the bathroom ALL. THE. TIME. They say it takes you 2-3 weeks to form a habit so let’s see if I can do this! Why? Drinking enough water is very good for your health and on top of that, my skin definitely can use some improvements.”

Bottoms up, Shelley!

Vary workouts to avoid a Fit Girl rut

Anna, Press Relations Manager & Lead Editor

“Prevent yourself from getting into a workout rut. If you do the same thing over and over again you’ll get bored no matter what, and the same goes for your workouts. I was doing CrossFit all the time and just didn’t feel like it anymore”

“This month I’m going to try all different types of workouts to keep surprising my body and mind. I want to keep it playful and exciting to avoid getting into a rut and to make sure I keep enjoying exercising!”

“… recently I’ve tried Hula Hoop, swimming, Grit Strength classes, running, and I’m having such a blast!!”

Cutting out dairy and adding fermented foods

Andrea, Marketing Intern

“My skin has been all over the place this summer, and I have not been able to figure out what’s causing it. I eat super well but have a weakness for certain dairy foods (cheese, greek yogurt, ice cream…). Dairy products are full of natural hormones, are a natural source of sugar, and increase inflammation in the body. These are all things that could be contributing to my not-so-great complexion as of late.”

“So as much of a cheese-lover as I am I will do my best to skip the dairy products and go for kimchi instead as I embark on my mission to baby-soft, clear skin”

Unplugging

Aranka, CEO

“I’m going on holiday and limiting myself to 30 min of internet per day during that week. I am going to read books and try to take less pictures. I sometimes don’t even see the view, only the picture of the view… Bring on the beach!”

 

Train for 10K

Laura, Project Manager
“I slowly built up my running ability to a 5K then had a bad ankle injury. This set me back and I broke up with running for several months. I’m looking for love again and am hoping to find it at the 10K finish line!”
“I’m going to use my Nike + app to train for running a 10K in 8 weeks. I know this is not just for September, but I plan to using the app’s schedule this month so I have clear goals I can stick to. I’m still looking for a race in the Netherlands in the coming months, any suggestions?”

 

Starting fresh with a positive mindset

Vladana, Online Editor
“This summer was marked by a lot of changes in my life, both good and bad. I met a lot of positive people here at #FITGIRLCODE who helped me change my negative mindset and inspired me to make changes”
“September will be my fresh start. I will find a routine and balance that work for me and get back on track in the gym after being injured for 4 months. More sleep and more water seems like a good place to start 🙂 “

 

Start going to yoga again

Laura, Chief Production Manager

“Team #FITGIRLCODE is moving to a new HQ! A new office means a new start. I’m letting go of old bad habits, including not going to yoga. I see every Monday as the 1st of January, a new opportunity to start fresh. You’ll see me back at yoga in September!”

Sleeping more

Joey, Graphic Designer

“This month I’m going to catch more zzzz’s and rest so that I can properly focus during the day. I plan to have more energy so I can be more productive and get better results in all I do, in and out of the office”

“A clear mind allows me to be on top of my game while working on my latest big project for the #FITGIRLCODE website! Stay tuned in the coming months to see if I succeed!”

So that’s what the #FITGIRLCODE team is up to this month! We’d love to hear about your plans, goals, dreams, and everything else. Tag us on Instagram or comment below and share what you’re doing to make September 2015 healthier!

3 things you didn’t know about your coffee-to-go

Is grabbing a morning coffee from your favourite cafe on the way to work or school more of a ritual that allows you to find the energy and strength to get through your day? You’re not alone. But do you really know what’s inside your cafe shop coffee?

There are benefits to drinking caffeine, in moderation of course, and it’s nice when the barista knows your order by heart. But it could be one thing that your consuming that is sabotaging your healthy lifestyle without realizing it so now could be time to change it up if these are things you didn’t know about your coffee!

The sugar shocker

Some of the coffee beverages on offer at the coffee counter are more like a dessert than a drink. With upto 69 grams of sugar in say a caramel frappuccino, about 13 teaspoons, that warm and fuzzy feeling you get inside afterwards might in fact be from a sugar hit. It’s very possible that the post coffee boost you are experiencing isn’t coming from caffeine at all! Yikes. You can of course customize your coffee in so many ways, so if you are a real regular and haven’t taken advantage of this at the coffee counter,  don’t be shy to make some changes to your order and skip the syrup and cream.

The milk mystery

Then there’s the choice of milk. Unless you ask for skimmed, then the default milk will be 2% or full fat and vegan choices are in most cases limited to soy milk. And if you’ve ever wondered, almond milk isn’t so commonly found in cafes because of the complications for those with nut allergies. But uhm hello coconut milk! It might be music to your ears that coconut milk can now be found as a lactose free alternative however we have some bad news that this isn’t necessarily a more nutrient rich alternative if you’re looking to make a healthier choice. Specifically at Starbucks, the coconut milk product they use is actually a beverage with coconut water from concentrate containing a list of more than 10 ingredients. Coconut milk is naturally low in sugar which is why it is extremely popular but be wary that it might not be the all natural source of coconut milk you expected.

The decaf dilemma

Opting for a decaf black coffee and skipping the flavoured syrup might sound like the sure bet to minimize any negative post coffee crash. But have you ever wondered how coffee is decaffeinated? The coffee bean in its green form (what it looks like before its roasted) undergoes one of three methods used to remove the caffeine. Two of these methods are certified organic; the Swiss Water method which uses a process of soaking the beans in water and the other which uses carbon dioxide to dissolve the caffeine. The third method uses a chemical solvent to strip the beans of caffeine. So if you’re especially keen on only consuming ecological products, this is definitely an important factor to consider when making a coffee choice. Why choose organic everything else and compromise when your on the go?

It isn’t the end of the world if you go all out and indulge in a specialty coffee now and again but it’s good to now what’s going into the things you eat and drink when you’re not at home. 

Courgetti with avocado pesto

A few weeks ago, I made a delicious raw dish during the after-tox from sapje and I promised that I would share this with you girls. I made a raw vegan pasta from courgette and avocado which tasted oh so good. 

courgetti

Courgette is one of my favourite vegetables – you can add it to any dish, they are cheap and always in season. In stead of pastas loaded with gluten, we can use this delicious vegetable instead. All you need is the courgette and a vegetable spiraliser. And that’s how you make courgetti, a fresh, raw, vegan, gluten-free pasta that you can make with any sauce you like, perfect for the summer.

avocado pesto

The sauce that I made for this recipe is an avocado pesto. You really want a rich and creamy texture so a ripe avocado would be perfect for this recipe. As you might read somewhere else, avocados are filled with good fats that fit perfectly in our healthy lifestyle.

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ingredients:

  • 1/2 courgette
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5-8 leaves of basil
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • a hand-full of cherry tomatoes
  • 1tbs pinenuts
  • salt and pepper

Kitchen tools:

  • vegetable spiraliser
  • food processor / chopper

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Directions:

  1. Use the foodprocessor to chop the garlic and basil fine.
  2. Cut the avocado in two and remove the seed. Use a spoon to remove the avocado and add this to the garlic and basil.
  3. Add the lime juice and a drizzle of olive oil to the foodprocessor and bring to a creamy consistency.
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Make the courgetti. Use the spiraliser to cut the courgette into long, thin slices.
  6. In a bowl, mix together the avocado pesto and the courgetti.
  7. Cut the cherry tomatoes in 4 and add these to the pasta.
  8. Serve on a plate and top off with some pinenuts.

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I really like this cold and fresh pasta dish and love to have it for lunch. You can always play around with the recipe and add any other ingredient you like. I once added some spinach leaves to the pesto and this tasted really good. Try this courgetti with avocado pesto and show me your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @libertysuares and use #FITGIRLCODE so we can see your pictures.

xoxo

Liberty

https://instagram.com/libertysuares

Fit Girl Iris takes you to Squat City

The squat is known for being one of the best moves in fitness. I want to take all you lovely Fit Girls  to squat city. Keep on reading If you’re on for this booty and leg-burning trip.

Just google the word #SQUAT and you’ll get a ton of information about the variety of squats you can do. There are many challenges out there on this subject. The squat is seen as a main (basic) move in fitness; for building an insanely strong lower body. For this reason I can’t stretch the fact that it’s important to never neglect this exercise.

At the same time  squats also deliver a number of numerous benefits including increased hormone release and improved flexibility. Because I’m all about building strength, variety and improving (my) form I’ll serve you with favorite  squats.

This week I’m starting off with the overhead squat, thanks to The Fitness Studio. #TFS is helping me to master this move.

Good & Nice to know is that this move can be done with:

  1. A Barbell (my choice)
  2. Kettlebell
  3. Dumbell
  4. Gymbag
  5. Weight plate

So ladies, book your ticket and come to squat city with me:  a trip you’ll enjoy…. at the end. Don’t forget to hit me up on @iris_fitgirl to share your squat improvements with me, and inspire me with some squats you’ll like to (see me) do.

Why aren’t you noticing the fitness results you want?

Are you on a fitness train to nowhere? Have you been putting in hours of exercise but aren’t seeing the fitness results you expected? Even though you might be getting sweaty several times per week, there are some reasons you might not be toning or losing in the places you’d like to. 

 

What’s the deal?

These days we are overwhelmed by endless new “it” workouts said to work magic on all parts of the body. I know they are tempting, and it’s tough to resist when friends are constantly insisting, “You haaave to come try this [insert trendy workout here] with me! It’s amazing!” With all these new ways to work out, we can lose touch of what is best for our body, since we are all different and have different goals.

You’re putting so much time and energy into workouts so you are off to a great start. If you find yourself thinking that you should be looking more like the women you see on the workout videos you’re following, you might not be directing your efforts in an effective way.

What’s the plan?

HAVE ONE.

In order to see results, you should tailor your workouts to your fitness goals. For example, if you want to build arm muscle, a Zumba class probably won’t help you much. Do your research and develop a schedule that fits your fitness mission rather than randomly selecting classes or workouts.

Make sure to keep track of your progress and hold yourself accountable for your workouts. You can use a fitness app such as one of these to help you stay on track and make sure you are balancing your workouts well. I for one am sometimes tempted to only do core exercises, but that booty needs some work too!

Remember to have a backup plan. If you were planning to go for a run but the storm of the year has decided to pour down on you, opt for a dance video or a jog on the treadmill instead. If your boot camp class gets cancelled last-minute, do some lunges, pushups, and other body-weight moves at home or at the gym.

Keep your favorite workout in the mix. Even if your absolute favorite way to exercise isn’t directly related to your current health and fitness goals, keep it in your schedule. It will keep you motivated and will give you a good dose of those endorphins to push you through the workouts you aren’t as crazy about!

 

Most of all, remember to listen to your body! If something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t helping you like you want it to. Set goals, keep track of them, and find ways to stay motivated and hopefully you’ll start seeing the fitness results you deserve to! 

 

source: www.womenshealthmag.com

Add a little bit of yoga to your life with Balanzs Yoga

My name is Zsoka Bernard, owner of the Balanzs yoga studios in Rotterdam and The Hague. Want to know why  I think that adding yoga to your exercise schedule is one of the best things you can do? Here is my story…

From marketing manager to yogi

My yoga practice started about 14 years ago. Stressful job, busy social life, and no time to relax… I used to be an avid runner, but I was experiencing injury after injury. The gym was not for me – I cannot count how many memberships I have had, and how after a month or so I decided not to come anymore. I wanted to find an activity where I could build up strength and flexibility and quit my busy mind. However, yoga seemed to be for people with smelly armpits, free spirits, very spiritual people… so not for me. Having a corporate job as marketing manager. But, I decided to give it a shot. And I fell in love with it.

Add a little bit of yoga to your life!

My yogaclasses are for laid back, down to earth people. We don’t want you to meditate 3 hours a day, we are already happy when you leave with a smile on your face. Our classes our challenging and at the same time relaxing & fun. I love to add heat, so your muscles can lengthen more safely and you will get a great cardio workout at the same time. After teaching thousands of classes we would like to inspire you to add a little bit of yoga to your life!

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The final week of the #PinkChallenge

We have almost reached the end of the #PinkChallenge and the last three weeks have been a very fun and educational experience. I’ve tried lots of new recipes and exercises thanks to this challenge and I’m going to include them in my daily routine!

The purpose of this challenge was to work towards a new goal of healthy eating and being active by changing up the normal routine. We all know that variety isn’t always possible to maintain to the hectic pace of daily life, but the important thing is that you always do what makes you happy. The first step to a healthy and happy life is to accept yourself and see what works for you. 

FOODIE

I like to eat lots of food every day and I off course it’s a constant struggle to find the right balance between a healthy lifestyle and having fun. Of course it is important that you eat your daily portion of fruits and vegetables, but you shouldn’t deprive yourself of treats you want either. You want to enjoy a juicy burger and a cold beer at the weekend ? Just do it! There’s really nothing wrong with that. During this challenge I didn’t follow the schedule rigidly, swapping meals here and there and yes, I’ve even had some cheat meals but I don’t feel guilty about it. We only live once, so don’t be too hard on yourself. I also tried lots of new recipes over the last three weeks that I will be including into my routine from now on. I often tend to eat the same things because life is hectic and this just makes it easier but I get tired of certain dishes quickly. This challenge has shown me that you can rustle up a simple but healthy meal with a few ingredients without spending too much time and energy! I’m also very happy with the Perfectly Pink Smoothie innocent because not only do I get the right vitamins, but it also gives me building blocks to support my body for working out. And I’ll let you in on a little secret, it saves me lots of time, that my blender has been a little neglected and left in the back of my cupboard.

Sports Fanatic

Exercise is good for you and gives you a lot of energy, but again you shouldn’t feel guilty if you don’t go to the gym every day. Before I started this challenge, I thought that a workout should last at least an hour and it could only be considered a succes if you are totally exhausted afterwards. Of course this is nonsense. Alicia’s workout videos showed me that short and powerful exercises can accomplish as much as an hour of intense training on the machines at the gym. More is not always better! This schedule also highlighted yoga to work into an active, lifestyle with videos from yogi Liberty which has given me variety and helped me to find the right balance for body and mind. It’s very relaxing and it brings a much needed sense of tranquility to my mind.

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The workouts from Alicia and Liberty are completely different, but they complement each other nicely. And the best part is that you can do both of them at home on a mat. Going to the gym is completely unnecessary! I definitely want to try and maintain this variety. I am guilty of focusing on my body and wanting look good, but I’ve also learned that it is important to be satisfied with yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. So it is not all about getting that perfect booty!

And here’s the next video for you so don’t wait any longer and get started. Just one week girls so pull out all the stops and just go for it!

It is your final chance to win some goodies now that we are in the last week, so don’t forget to upload and tag your photos on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #PinkChallenge and you could win a limited edition #FITGIRLCODE tanktop AND Jogha Racerback Bra!

blog4aShot at Balanzs Rotterdam 

Healthy Cheesecake Ice Cream

WARNING: this recipe is extremely tasty! … I devoured this dish in less than two minutes of taking the photos!

Cheesecake is definitely high on my list of favourite guilty pleasures. This combined on top with ice cream… well it was just heaven! Maybe eating ice cream is the best part of summer, don’t you think so? In this recipe I’ll show you how you can get that delicious cheesecake flavour into ice cream. Even the non-ice cream and non-cheesecake lovers will loooove this recipe!!! This dish is irresistible (even with rainy weather)!

cheesecakeijs2

HOW TO MAKE THIS HEALTHY CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM

Ingredients:

Ice cream

  • 1 banana
  • 500 gr low fat quark
  • 50 gr cherries
  • 5 stevia drops

Topping

  • 20 gr almond flour
  • 20 gr oats
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

1. Mash the banana and mix it with the quark and stevia.

2. Heat the cherries in a saucepan and crush them with a fork.

3. Mix in the quark roughly. You can also add the cherries at the end.

4. Put in the freezer for about 2 hours. Don’t let it freeze too long, then it will be too hard.

5. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

6. Mix all of the ingredients for the topping together in a bowl and spread the mixture on a lined baking sheet.

7. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes.

8. Then turn the mixture and put it back in for another 10 minutes.

9. Let it cool and crumble over your ice cream to serve.

You can eat this dish for breakfast (yayyyy ice cream for breakfast!) lunch or as a snack. It’s high in protein so it’s even a perfect post-workout meal! Go to my blog for even more healthy recipes www.inlovewithhealth.com enjoy Fit Girls!

Stressed? 5 on-the-go yoga poses to relieve tension

Do you sit in the same position for hours on end at your job, study, or other daily activity? It’s no secret that this is not the best for your health, as you’ll have noticed by your need to fidget, get coffee every 30 minutes, and general discomfort. Try these 5 on-the-go yoga poses to relieve tension in your body and mind and that will help you conquer your work day! 

The Huffington Post recently wrote about some yoga-inspired stretches that can be done without freaking out your coworkers… we do not recommend breaking out your downward dog in the middle of the office or library surrounded by people who are trying to concentrate on important projects. That bootay in the air is a spilled-drink-on-keyboard waiting to happen! We tried out these 5 poses that can be done in just a few minutes and are sure to rejuvenate you.

1. The Seated Backbend

Straighten your spine in your seat and take a deep breath. With both arms open wide, reach up as high as you can so that you are stretching while opening up your breath. As you exhale, bend your upper back slightly so that your gaze shifts slowly behind you. Hold this relaxing pose for a few seconds, then release both arms back to your side. Repeat this a few times.

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8 Habits of positive people part 2

In my article “8 Habits of positive people part 1” I shared with you the first 4 habits of positive people. If you haven’t had the change to read it, please do so. I promise it will make you SMILE! In Part 2 I will share with you, the last 4 habits of positive people, which Huffpost recently wrote in the healthy living department about perpetually positive people. Along with their input I will again give my “positive”  point of view on this matter. Are we ready Fit Girls? Oh YEAH! 🙂

In part 1 of the article, you could read about, how positive people have their calming rituals, tap into their positivity during challenging times, but also embrace the negative and that positive people don’t bully themselves but that it’s all about the “Loving-Kindness Meditation”. Does any of these habits sound familiar? I believe all Fit Girls are positive people in one way or the other.  Because we challenge ourselves and when we overcome our fears / challenges we can be proud and look back of our journey with a smile on our faces.

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Soda side effects: the 60 minute cycle

We all have our guilty pleasures that we give into now and again and that’s perfectly OK, however not all treats are created equal. Although a can of cola is a quick way to get a sugar fix that might not leave you as bloated as a pizza, it could create chemical chaos in your body and derail the rest of your day! 

We try to live by the attitude that you can enjoy any food or drink, completely guilt-free if you really fancy it, as long as it’s in moderation. But there’s more and more information to suggest that soda is at least one exception, Coca-Cola in this example. Everyone knows that a can of Coke is loaded with sugar which won’t do your teeth or (your waistline any favours). But the chemical effects that take place in your body after you drink it, might set you up for more than trouble than a trip to the dentist. Here’s what happen:

  1. In the first 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) Phosphoric acid effects the flavour of the sugar so cuts down on how sweet it tastes to you.
  2. 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can, into fat.
  3. 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate; your blood pressure rises; as a response, your liver puts more sugar back into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain become blocked, preventing drowsiness.
  4. 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production, stimulating the pleasure centres of your brain. Similar to other high fat and sugar products such as Oreos that are known to hit your sweet spot
  5. Around the 60 minute mark: Phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium, and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a boost in metabolism. The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you need to pee.) So you evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium, and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolytes, and water.I t’s likely then you will have gone to the bathroom so you would get rid of any water that was in the Coke that gave you hydration.
  6. After the 60 minutes: All of these effects then calm down and blood sugar levels start to rapidly decrease. This is when a person would reach for a second soda and the whole cycle would start again. If you don’t have that on hand, it’s likely you’ll look for another sweet and sugary snack to suffice. You may become irritable and/or sluggish and will be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours. (As little as two if you’re a smoker.)

Does zero sugar mean zero problems?

I’m afraid not! They don’t fool your brain and can increase your cravings. The bottom line is if a sweet tasting drink is mysteriously lacking any calories, it often contains chemicals, artificial colourings, and artificial sweeteners. All of the above effects also take place and might be even more confusing to your body.  You can read more about artificial sweeteners from Andrea’s post here which raises some important issues. You might think that they satisfy your sweet tooth but as they don’t contain any sugar it it doesn’t fill you up in any way and research shows this can mess with the balance of bacteria in your gut which plays an important role in weight regulation.

On the very rare occasion that I reach for soda, I confess that I too would be guilty of grabbing the 0 calorie version as a ‘healthier option’. But not anymore. Instead, I’m going to try sparkling water with fruit when I feel like having some fizz! 

Source: Renegade Pharmacist What Happens One Hour After You Drink Coke & What Happens One Hour After You Drink Diet Coke

Yogurt and Egg Face Mask

I thought it was time to share another easy, inexpensive, natural beauty product with you. This time I will be sharing a yogurt and egg white facial mask to sparkle up your skin again. Read below how to make it and what the benefits are.

Yogurt contains high levels of lactic acid, which is beneficial to skin and hair care. So here’s a super easy yogurt and egg face mask to promote healthy skin. Make sure to use a yogurt that is unsweetened and unflavored, because some ingredients can cause skin irritation. And that’s exactly what we’re NOT aiming for here! I’ve listed the benefits of yogurt for your skin at the end of this post.

Eggs, on the other hand, contain lots of proteins and minerals that help tighten and firm the skin.
Now let’s go…

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 tbsp (plain) yogurt
  • 1 egg

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HOW IT’S MADE:

  • Separate the egg white from the yolk and pour into a small bowl
  • Add 2 tbsp of plain yogurt and mix together

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HOW TO USE:

Apply to face using a facial mask brush (or your fingers, whatever you prefer).
Leave on face for 5-10 minutes, then rinse face with warm water and/or warm washcloth.

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THE BENEFITS OF YOGURT FOR SKIN:

  • Natural moisturizer and skin brightener
  • Hydrating scrub to remove dead skin cells
  • Fights pimples and acne
  • Reduces blemishes, tanning, under eye dark circles and skin discoloration
  • Fights skin infections
  • Anti-ageing

How to do pull ups

Do you Fit Girls still remember the pull up? For many of us one of the hardest exercises out there. And because of this reason dreaded, neglected or forgotten to involve in their sport regimen.  Well I’m here to remind y’all that this move isn’t going anywhere and neither are you!

So come on, get your act together and get ready to rumble…

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Health benefits of having a pet – part 2

Living with pets is great and it’s good for your health (as an animal lover, I can confirm this). I read an article that described the health benefits of living with pets and because I almost have all of the animals mentioned in the article I thought it would be nice to write about these awesome pets while comparing it to my own perspective.

In part one of this article I explained why my pets aren’t just the fluffy and feathery companions I share the house with, they’re part of my family. I also stated that with kids and pets,my family is pretty big! We couldn’t live without our pets, even though it’s a lot of work, they make our family life more fun!

Back to the benefits of owning pets. After part 1 you’re probably curious to find out more about health benefits of having a pet. In part 2 I’ll write about three more pets. Hopefully you already get to enjoy being a pet owner, if not, I hope this article might persuade you to become one!

3. Fish

Looking to bring some relaxation and calmness into your life?! Apparently, by watching fish you can distract yourself in a good way, says Dr. Becker. Many studies show that spending time in nature can improve your well-being. An aquarium or a fishpond in your garden lets you bring this in and around your house. One study showed when dental patients (that were about to undergo surgery) felt less stressed after gazing at a fish tank for 20 minutes.

Fishies2

I think this is so true. I have a fishpond with Koi’s in it (see the photo above) and I often do yoga outdoors beside the pond because it’s way more calming and relaxing. I wish I would do yoga like this every day of the year. Beside this it’s really fun to feed the fish, they’ll eat from your hands (mind you, these are not small fish, they’re huge, so it can be a bi scary haha).

On page two you can continue to read about great pets for your health.

4. Birds

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Birds have been companions for humans for ages. Recently they have been recognized for bringing you health benefits says Gregg Takashima, presicent of the American association of human-animal bond veterinarians. Like fish, they offer ‘nature on demand’ so you’re basically bringing nature in and around your home by becoming a bird owner.

Keeping them is surprisingly similar to keeping cats or dogs; it’s really fun. They’re very interactive, especially the more intelligent ones. I currently have 5 birds, two ‘grown ups’ and their three hatchlings. To make the best out of their days and my playtime with them I let them fly freely every day. It makes them happy and lots of fun to interact with.

 5. Horses

Last on our list are horses! If you’re not familiar with them, they can be a bit intimidating. “By gaining control of a creature so much larger than you, you can gain control of a larger problem in life,” Dr. Becker explains. This is why horses are often used in animal-assisted therapy programs. It can even reduce stress hormones a 2014 study shows. Riding horses is a great workout; it improves balance, strength and it builds muscles.

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My sister Katinka has a very sweet horse named Djinty. I can confirm that being around Djinty is a good way to relieve stress. Either through a riding lesson or by just working on her and being around the stables. She loves to be brushed, she loves to cuddle and I’ll become totally Zen in the process, it’s a win-win!

On the main photo you can see my sister giving Djinty a kiss and on this photo you can see Djinty and me!

This was part 2 of the health benefits of having a pet. As a pet with health benefits I kind of miss bunnies on this list. What do you think Fit Girls? What are your experiences with pets and the health benefits they provide? Are there more pets missing on this list? Well, let me know! As always I’m curious to find out.

Source: www.health.com

Guilty pleasures during the #PinkChallenge

Two weeks into the #PinkChallenge and still going strong! Are you Fit Girls keeping it up? Despite one cheat day I enjoyed every minute of it.

We are only human and I also can’t always resist the temptations of everyday life. Although I am determined to keep up the challenge and eat clean, I still surrendered to a little cheat day. During this busy day, I nibbled on some liquorice and in the evening I treated myself on a piece of chocolate and a glass of red wine. This is just part of life and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. I’m not saying you girls should now all take that chocolate bar out, but please don’t feel guilty if for some reason it doesn’t work out or you eat something that’s not on the calendar. The goal of this challenge is to try out new things and incorporate them into you daily routines and food schedule. It’s important you feel comfortable in your own skin . So don’t worry if you have a bad day. Tomorrow is a new day!

Fruit benefits

Coffee is my guilty pleasure. When I started the #PinkChallenge, I thought I would miss the coffee in particular but it turned out to be just fine. I tried to replace my caffeine shot for a vitamin shot. Every time I crave a cup of coffee I drink a Perfectly Pink smoothie of innocent instead. Why? Because these juices are packed with fruit and, as we all know, fruit is healthy. Fruit is low in calories, high in fiber, and contains lots of healthy sugars, vitamins and minerals that keep your mind and body function properly. It’s also packed with vitamine C and this is important in order to retain a good resistance. Plus it gives you more energy which can help you through an active day. A fruit juice is therefore a good kickstart of the day and gives you a positive boost! The innocent smoothie is the right choice as it contains no added sugars. And it also tastes delicious!

Two more weeks

So what can we expect the next two weeks? In the upcoming weeks the recipes of the first two weeks will be combined. It’s not necessary to prepare new dishes every day, but you can also integrate certain eating habits into your food schedule. Breakfast is my favorite meal and I could eat oatmeal the whole day everyday. I try to play around with different fruits and combinations. So every morning it’s a little party when I sit down for breakfast. It’s important to choose food that makes you happy and you look forward to, otherwise life will get very boring. Try to find the right balance in your diet and enjoy every moment!

Workout

And remember to keep moving girls! Working out gives you lot of energy, confident and makes you happy. It’s really not necessary to go to the gym every day for a killer workout, but it’s important to stay busy. See what works for you and incorporate it into your routine. Would you rather go for a long walk? That’s also possible. This week our Fit Girl Alicia has shared some new workouts with you which make sure you will sweat. Check it out and go for it. We can do this girls!

Beginners:

Advanced:

Don’t forget to tag your photos on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #PinkChallenge for the chance to be one of four lucky winners who will receive a limited edition #FITGIRLCODE  tank top and a Jogha Racer Back Bra! 

Healthy Watermelon Salad

If you think that salads are only made of veggies… You are wrong!!! Try to use fruit in your salads more often! For example this delicious salad with watermelon. It so fresh and sweet and tasty… Yum! And you only need a few ingredients to make it!

Did you know watermelon is related to the cucumber!? And watermelon… what’s in the name… consists of 95% water. Moreover, it’s not only a water bomb, but it’s also rich in iron, potassium and vitamin C. Watermelons really are great because they are low in calories and you will leave you feeling full after eating it.

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HOW TO MAKE THIS HEALTHY WATERMELON SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 400 gr watermelon
  • 1 tbsp almonds
  • 1 red onion
  • fresh mint
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ lemon (juice)
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Instructions

1. Cut the watermelon into cubes and put them in a bowl.

2. Cut the onion into rings and add them to the bowl.

3. Make the dressing from finely chopped mint, lemon juice, honey and olive oil.

4. Stir the dressing through the melon cubes.

5. Finish it off with some fresh mint and chopped almonds.

 

P.S. You can also eat the seeds! Did you know that they consist of 35% protein and are rich in vitamins and minerals!? If you’re looking for more meal ideas this week, go to www.inlovewithhealth.com for lots of healthy recipes!

The many benefits of exercising outdoors

Ever heard the saying “you’re just one workout away from a good mood”? We totally live by this, and some of us prefer hitting the gym while others go outside in rain or shine. Have you ever thought about how your satisfaction, the efficacy of your workout, and your mood might differ if you exercise indoors or outdoors? 

There are some physical differences between working out indoors on stationary equipment or outdoors, but the major differences have to do with mental benefits. I’ll take you through both so that you know when it might be nicest to go to the park with your #BFFF like Fit Girl Vladana and I did today instead of hitting the treadmill or the elliptical at the gym.

Pssst: there is a surprise on the last page if you read through the entire article!

Active Leggings in Black and Onyx, Jogha; Racerback Tops in Teal and Blue, MyProtein

 

Get the most out of your workout

The gym has some obvious benefits, especially in terms of predictability and convenience- you know exactly when the gym opens, closes, and what the temperature will be like. The presence of many different types of equipment in the gym is also practical if you plan to, for example, do a circuit training on your own and are not able to carry kettle bells, mats, barbells, and stability balls around with you. Going to the gym is a safe bet if you want to squeeze in a great WOD when the weather outside is just not on your side. However in terms of getting the most out of a workout, you’re better off taking your booty outdoors.

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Veggie summer rolls

During the summer I don’t like to stay in the kitchen for too long. I like to eat fresh dishes that contain lots of veggies. I absolutely love these healthy veggie summer rolls, they taste delicious and are also great to bring with you for lunch at work or school.

What you need for veggie summer rolls : 

  • 8 rice papers
  • 100 g bean sprouts
  • 150 g carrots
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 100 g sugar snaps
  • 50 g peanuts
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 80 ml chili sauce
  • 1 lime (juice)

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Directions

The dip:

Mince 30 g peanuts and place with the onion in a bowl. Add the chili sauce and lime juice. Stir well.

The veggie rolls:

Pour boiled water over the bean sprouts and rinse cold after. Grate the carrots. Place in a bowl and stir in the soy sauce. Cut the sugar snaps lengthwise into strips. Cook them for 1 minute in boiling water. Drain and rinse cold. Fill a deep plate with lukewarm water. Soak the rice papers for 20 seconds. Place in the middle of each rice paper a little bit of the bean sprouts, sliced sugar snaps, bell pepper, grated carrots and some peanuts. Place the bottom of the rice paper over the filling, then fold the sides in and roll up. Serve with dip. Enjoy your veggie summer rolls!

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Busy life? 5 tips to eat and move better

Improving your health requires focus two things; 1. eating healthy and 2. workout and being active. Ever since I started to improve my health, it seems like it got easier for me to live with a busy agenda and be active all day – every day. The benefits of eating healthy and working out are remarkable! Your energy levels will get a boost, you’ll sleep better, be more productive, have less stress, a positive self-esteem and overall: a better mood in body and mind.

Of course improving your health doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, discipline, involves making small changes to your daily routine and patience. So when you have a busy life, you’ll probably think there’s no way for you to realize a healthy lifestyle? WRONG! You can. Myself, I have a fulltime job, am a fulltime blogger and owner of Foodie-ness, follow a traineeship program and workout 5-6 times a week. Today I want to share 5 tips that helped me to eat healthy, workout (efficient), perform to the max and most important: be happy!

5 tips to eat and move better

  1. Shake up your wake up with a healthy breakfast.
    Kick start your metabolism first thing in the morning with a healthy meal for breakfast. Boost your energy, focus and concentration.  Read more on the Foodie-ness blog about how to jump start your body with breakfast and try some of my recipes to find a breakfast meal that will fit into your busy morning
  2. Meal prepping!
    Meal prep is KEY for busy girls to reach their body goals. Two reasons: 1. By prepping your meals you will save yourself time during your busy day. You can eat whenever there’s free time and refuel your body and mind. 2. Eating a healthy meal can be difficult when you’re job or school restricts your to options nearby. Bring your own meal and the chances to eat junk food will decrease.Tussen tekst 1
  3. Eat small meals 6 times a day
    For me it’s much more easy to fuel my body regularly with 6 small snacks/meals compared to 3 large meals. I’m not fast in eating and thus it’s time consuming. By eating multiple times during the day your body will maintain a steady amount of energy, your brain will get constant nourishment and your metabolism will run all day to the max! Taking a 10 min break between meetings for a small healthy meal makes me perform full power AND contributes to realizing my body goals.
  4. Incorporate quick workouts
    Ok, so after finding yourself a way to eat healthy it’s still important to workout and live active each day! Make your workouts a priority and schedule time for it. Though some jobs make it impossible to be flexible in time management there’s a solution called: HIIT! Read now on my blog how I incorporate a morning HIIT before work. It won’t take you longer than 25 minutes AND will help you to burn calories like a rockstar! After a morning workout you’ll feel completely energized to get your day started and blessed that your workout is done already
  5. Plan to be a planner!
    A goal without a plan is simply a wish. No matter what type or size of goals you have, planning ahead of the curve is crucial in order to be successful. Especially if your life is busy, you have to plan all your activities in order to keep up and multitask. Be specific in your goals and plans, prioritize them and don’t forget that there are 7 days in a week: time management. Be proud of yourself each day you finished all your action items (breakfast, meal prepping, morning HIIT.. ha ha) and are one step closer to a healthy, happy (and busy) you!
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    See you next week!Live happily ever active,
    Foodie-ness, Carolina.

Mindfulness benefits for multitaskers

In today’s information-savvy age, we are increasingly busy and are often being interrupted by notifications, pop-up events, running into friends, an unexpected phone call and many other surprises. These constant interruptions can cause unwanted multitasking, and a study done in 2012 by 4 American academics gives insight into how mindfulness meditation might just make it easier to focus on one thing at a time.

 

Multitasking- why it’s holding you back

Imagine you’re at the gym trying to finish your last set of box jumps but you just can’t ignore that flashing light on the corner of your phone that surely means your latest exam result has been published, not to mention your earbuds playing your favorite podcast and the gym television screens showing the latest fitness infomercial all at once. By being exposed to so many different attention-grabbing medias, you might find yourself less able to focus on your WOD.

Indeed, multitasking has been shown to compromise learning and attention in a variety of settings. There is also concern with multitasking’s effect on personal health and effectiveness. With the action-packed lives we lead, we often forget that human attention is a limited resource and must be trained just like your body in order to perform at its best.

 

What the researchers tried

The researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Arizona gave groups of people stressful office tasks to complete before and after exposure to either an 8-week mindfulness meditation program, an 8-week body relaxation program, or an 8-week waiting period (this group did not receive any training in the first 8 weeks). They found that the individuals exposed to mindfulness training were able to stay on task longer and made fewer switches between tasks, meaning that they were not necessarily affected by the interruptions presented to them. They also reported less negative emotion after completing the office tasks compared to the other two groups of people.

The muscle relaxation training involved physical stimulation and relaxation through tensing and relaxing major muscle groups, accompanied by relaxing imagery and instructions. Both this group and the meditation group showed improved memory about the office tasks after their trainings compared to before.

It appears that mindfulness meditation might be able to help us busy bees to manage the many different tasks and focuses we try to balance on a daily basis. Here’s more about the type of mindfulness training the experiment participants underwent and how you might apply it to your life:

Mindfulness- how it can help

The training received by the mindfulness participants consisted of two types of meditation:

  • Focused Attention meditation: this type of mindfulness meditation is focused on the breath. This method encourages you to retain focus on the “in” and “out” pattern of your breathing and to return your focus to your breath once you notice that your mind has wandered elsewhere (boys, holidays, work…).
    • This type of meditation strengthens your ability to stay focused.
  • Open Monitoring meditation: this mindfulness technique entails you allowing whatever catches your attention (sounds, smells, physical sensations) to come into your awareness and then to fluidly release your attention on this subject. This practices switching your object of focus from one sensation to the next in a natural way.
    • This type of meditation improves your ability to attend to a succession of stimuli or interruptions of sorts without being overly drawn in by any one of them.

What Fit Girls can do about it

One major skill that mindfulness practice facilitates is the ability to notice any interruptions that may arise without kissing your current task goodbye- this means that you have a choice whether you want to switch your focus to the new task or remain with your current one without getting totally distracted in the process. The truth is that most of us don’t even acknowledge the many interruptions we are faced with as distractions and end up succumbing to them without thinking. Consider how much more productive your work day or study session might be if you were able to disregard the frequent flashes on your phone or your neighbor’s conversation. By practicing mindfulness for just a few minutes every day you might be able to conquer your tasks that you consider stressful by focusing on one thing at a time.

Another interesting result from this study is that those who underwent the mindfulness training experienced less negative moods and fatigue after completing the same task as the other groups. Overall, the individuals who were trained in meditation saw many more results with regard to multitasking than those who received the physical relaxation training.

Just as in order to become physically stronger you need to clock in the hours at the gym, being a strong and efficient multitasker requires training your mind regularly. Mindfulness is a great way of accomplishing this and can bring benefits to many aspects of your life. I personally really love Headspace, an app available for Apple and Android; the free trial includes ten 10-minute introductory guided mindfulness meditation sessions that are very accessible for beginners and advanced meditators alike.

Take care of your mind the same way we Fit Girls love to take care of our bodies, and you may just see some incredible results in your productivity, stress, and overall mood. While multitasking is sometimes inevitable, try to remain focused on one thing at a time and you might find that each task is not so mundane after all. 

 

 

source: The Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Training on Multitasking in a High-Stress Information Environment (Levy et al., 2012)