Healthy lasagna with grilled eggplant

I’m a sucker for Italian food. When a date recently asked me how often I ate pasta, I said “well actually, never!” He thought that was really odd, but I explained that I looked quite differently when I ate pasta 5 times a week. 

I always have to go for a second round when I eat pasta, and I’d preferably eat it with a parmesan cheese-sauce which you make with fresh whipped cream. And then also extra parmesan of course, because that’s an instant happy-maker. But to keep my nice figure, I almost always replace my pasta with zucchini strands, which you can make very easily with a spirelli. Delicious! But today I’m sharing my healthy lasagna with grilled eggplant with you. Eggplant has a soft texture and is a very tasteful meat replacer.

Ingrediënts for 2 people:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • Some mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • Organic tomato sauce
  • Quark
  • (fresh) basil
  • Old cheese (or goat cheese for an even healthier version)

Instructions:

healthy lasagna

  1. Pre-heat the oven on 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cut the eggplant vertically in slices of 1cm thick. Grill them in a grill machine, in the oven or in the pan. These are going to be your healthy lasagne sheets.
  3. Cut the other veggies in small pieces and cook them until ready. Add the tomato sauce and stir well. Turn off the heat and mix the fresh basil in it.
  4. Put some slices of the grilled eggplant in an oven dish and put 1/3 of the sauce over it.
  5. Mix it with some spoonfuls of quark, or some of the cheese.
  6. Put another layer of eggplant on this, and on top of that another layer of the sauce. Continue till everything’s in the oven dish. It doesn’t matter if you end with the sauce or the eggplant.
  7. Cover the upper layer with (goat)cheese and put the dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and crispy! You don’t have to put it in any longer, because your other ingredients are already done.

It’s a little bit different from regular lasagna, but so delicious! You can serve a simple salad of tomatoes, lettuce and olives on the side. Follow me on Instagram for more food inspiration! Bon appetit!

Battling those ropes

To all my Fit Girls, I’m back with another killer workout to try. Want to work your core and attack your arms at the same time?  In this article I’m featuring the side plank rope. As the name implies, these supersized ropes are heavy, which adds resistance to work your muscles like you’ve probably never done before. Let’s start battling those ropes!

Get ready for the battle

What you need to know for executing this move is the following. Keep these key notes in sight.

  1. Bring your body in a side plank position, by laying on the ground.
  2. Lean on your underarm and keep your hips from the floor at all times. This will be your starting position!
  3. Take an end of the rope in the hand that is free, keep the other hand on the ground. Tighten your core!
  4. Initiate the movement by rapidly raising one arm to shoulder level as quickly as you can.  As you let that arm drop to the starting position, raise it up again – the rope will make a wave.
  5. Continue alternating your left and right arm (after 30 seconds), whipping the ropes up and down as fast as you can.

The three benefits battling those ropes will bring you:

  1. You strengthen your abs, arms, and shoulders. If you engage your legs, you’ll get a killer conditioning workout all in one go.
  2. Waving, slamming, and whipping these heavy ropes doesn’t strain your body the way high-impact activities do —but you still reap serious fitness benefits.
  3. Research suggests using battle ropes for just 10 minutes can be considered a vigorous workout. There are a zillion exercises you can do with ropes. If you look back at it, ropes might have been a part of your live since you can remember; think about them skipping ropes, climbing ropes or even rope pulling. So for now I’ll leave you all to try this one out and I’ll come back with another rope workout in no time.

Tell me about your favorite rope workout, or the one(s) you like to learn more about. Hit me up on Instagram and maybe we can do a “Fifty shades of ropes” challenge ourselves the upcoming month. 😉

Jogha Sportswear, because real fit girls come in all shapes and sizes

Even if you’re only a little active on Instagram, you’ve probably seen the new Fearless Collection from Jogha in your newsfeed. If you search for #jogha or #joghacom you see one Fit Girl after another looking totally fab in Jogha sportswear; real Fit Girls in all shapes and sizes. Awesome! It’s Jogha’s mission is to make sportswear in which every woman feels her best. In order to complete that mission your input is awfully important. Ultimately, you are the one wearing the clothing. With your help Jogha wants to lift every collection to a higher level.

Wanna know more about the story behind the Fearless Collection. Check out the video below. 

Pranayama: learning how to control your breath

You might have heard or read somewhere that yoga is more than just the asana practice. And that’s right! Classical yoga under Patanjali has 8 different limbs of yoga, and asana is just 1/8 of yoga. Let me tell you a bit more about the 8 limbs of yoga.

  1. Yama: restraints (non-harming, non-lying, non-stealing…)
  2. Niyama: observances (cleanliness, contentment, intense discipline, self study…)
  3. Asana: steady posture (pose)
  4. Pranayama: energy control (breath)
  5. Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses
  6. Dharana: intense focus (on the breath, mantra…)
  7. Dhyana: state of meditation (focus on a object)
  8. Samadhi: state of oneness

Pranayama

In this article I’m focusing on the 4th limb of yoga, pranayama, which are purification practices which also begin the purely internalised practice through which we can begin to experience physical and energetic balance. The word pranayama comes from joining two words: Prana, meaning life force and all its autonomic reflexes, especially respiration, and Yama, meaning to extend, expand, restrain, or pause.

Create awareness

The techniques of pranayama provide the method whereby the life force can be activated, and regulated, in order to go beyond normal boundaries or limitations and attain a higher state of vibratory energy and spiritual development.

Pranayama does not consist only of breathing exercises. It involves the techniques of mastering the nervous system and the subtle conduits of life force, by gradually slowing down the breathing cycle with the goal to reach an ultimate state of silence by stilling the breath, and thereby the mind. Through breath control, the natural connection between breath and all physiological processes is experienced, as well as a glimpse into being who exists regardless of breath.

A few pranayama techniques are: nadi shodhana, uddiyana bandha kriya (nauli), kapalabhati, kumbhaka and bhastrika. It’s difficult to explain these breathing techniques clearly through a blogpost, so I would like to invite you to one of my breathing classes!

Breathing class

Expand your yoga practice with some breathing exercises. In this class we will talk about the 4th limb of yoga, pranayama, and we’ll practice different breathing techniques such as nadi shodhana, nauli, kapalabhati, kumbhaka, bhastrika and star breathing. We will also introduce the bandhas and practice with these energy locks, mula bandha, uddiyana bandha and jalandhara bandha.

Practicing these breathing exercises will purify your body and help expand your lung capacity, which will benefit your overal yoga practice. Lets take our yoga practice to another level!

About the class

  • Thursday October 15, 2015
  • 18:30 – 20:00
  • €15 for this special class
  • Maximum of 20 spots in the studio (be quick to reserve your spot!)
  • Healthy drinks and nibbles after class

Check out my website www.liberty-yoga.com for more info about the class and to sign up!

Hope to see you soon on Thursday October 15th.

prayanama

5 workout habits to avoid to optimize your training

If you’re up to eating healthy and working out, this article is a must-read for you! In this blog post I’m talking about 5 common workout habits you should avoid in order to maximize the effect of your workout routine. In fact, you might not even be aware of these “workout mistakes” that can lessen the impact of your healthy choices on your performance. Such a waste, so let me help you to get better results!

Isn’t it weird when you’re eating healthy, go to the gym, lift weights, run like a rockstar, that each time you climb on that scale, there’s no change?! Or you step in front of the mirror and the results… are the same! I feel your pain girls because I’ve made many mistakes myself. That’s OK, as mistakes are the stepping stones to learning. But we can also learn from each other so today I want to share my 5 workout habits to avoid to optimize your training and help you girls learn from them and put it to good use.

5 common workout habits to avoid

1. Eating heavy meals before your workout
You need gas in the tank, but pick your fuel properly! Click here to read what the perfect pre-workout meal should be like and try to eat it 45-60 min before your workout.
2. Doing the same workout routine
Repeating the same workout routines becomes less effective over time; vary your reps, weight, different cardio, etc. Switch up your workout to keep your body in shock and guessing.
3. Over-exercising
It’s not better to push yourself too hard too often. Rest days are important and a break for your body contributes to a fit shape! Sounds crazy I know, but it’s true;-)
4. Over-cardio
Cardio is important next to your weight-training, yes – absolutely! But don’t over-do it and run too long. You’ll probably think you’ll lose more weight or faster when you run longer; but in fact you’ll break down muscle tissue for energy instead of burning fat.
5. Weak reps & long rests between sets
Long rests between sets will cool down the muscles and make it harder for you to execute the next set. So only use your phone for music, no texting! Execute your reps in a full range of motion, don’t half-ass it. Squat deep! Lunge deep! Why? You’ll burn more calories and build more muscles.

I hope that these 5 tips will help you to focus better on your fitness! Good luck girlssss. Live happily ever active.
Foodie-ness, Carolina.

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The 10 Fit Girl Commandments

Being a Fit Girl is not simply a trend or a hype – it’s the real deal, a lifestyle. And once you see big communities growing and getting more prominent, you can start seeing a certain pattern in behavior and actions. So, we here present to you: the 10 Fit Girl Commandments that not only we live by, but we get to share together as a community of strong beautiful women. May this be your mantra, some inspiration, or even just that little kick of motivation when you feel you’re lacking some. All in all, just unlock your very own #FITGIRLCODE lifestyle!

Fit Girl Commandments:

1. Thou shalt not harbor guilt

By shaming yourself with guilt and negativity after every bad meal, bad workout, or bad day/week, you’re just more prone to failing. It’s OK to have slips. We are human, after all, and we cannot control every single moment that life throws at us! Whether it be an intense few weeks of studying, or a stressful day at work, or just a beautiful sunny day that made you want to skip a workout and enjoy some sweets, SO BE IT! 🙂 As long as you know how to get back on track when the time is right, you keep doing your thang.

2. Thou shalt not compare

Nothing more useless in this pretty little life of ours than comparing ourselves to others. It’s a natural reaction, of course, but learning to look past it is rewarding in every sense of the term. One girl’s fit journey might lead her to 6-packs in a matter of weeks, while another one’s journey will give her completely different results in a completely different amount of time! As Fit Girls, we strive to find our own personal recipe to success.

3. Thou shalt cut the crap

Yes, we do indulge in the occasional cheat meal/snack. NO, that does not mean we let loose for a whole day if we have the chance not to! If you don’t work for the results you want, honey that’s on you. We will be the first ones to encourage you to do what you love and train for what you want, and this more often than not involves cutting the crap here and there! So let’s set some realistic goals and get that adrenaline flowing to reach your own personal goals.

4. Thou shalt support each other

Being a Fit Girl means being part of a community. This is so important to know and be a part of, because it shows the true meaning of beauty: a group of women who don’t tear each other down but help each other rise to the top! Also, we’re basically doing a favor to the world by concentrating all of us into one group to talk about our WOD, proteins, food advice, challenges, and so on 😉

5. Thou shalt treat yo’ self

It is CRUCIAL to pamper ourselves (especially if there is no SO to be doing it for us 😉 ). “I don’t need new workout clothes” – said no Fit Girl Ever. You can never have too many colors of the same sports bra or too many different patterns for your tights, so why not reward yourself for the hard work every once in a while? This also means in food, and in beauty, and anything really! Treat yourself to little things and moments that make you happy – that smile afterwards will let you know it was worth it.

6. Thou shalt listen to your body

Your body is your temple, seriously. If that’s not functioning properly, neither can you. So take your naps when you need them, skip today’s workout if you’re not feeling well, and recover from that little flu you’ve been ignoring the last few days! This also applies to listening to your body when you’re hungry — really think to yourself if it’s boredom talking, or your grumbling tummy is in need of its next shot of energy! You have to remember, your body isn’t just working out during your gym sessions. Your body is under a constant workout: replenishing you during your sleep, digesting your food, breaking down the nutrients and distributing them, and burning calories throughout the day/workouts!

7. Thou shalt Instagram your Fit Girl life

If you hadn’t noticed already — which I highly doubt — Fit Girls LOVE sharing their life on our beloved Instagram. From uploading the perfect selfie to creating the ultimate food placement for a proper picture, we’ve done it all. Finding the proper angles and playing with the lightings is an art that all Fit Girls are too familiar with, and it comes with the job of being part of such a big community! We want to be aware of what’s up in each other lives and journey, and this is our way of doing so. At the #FITGIRLCODE HQ, it happens more often than we’d like to admit that we spend more time setting up our plates than eating the actual meal, and this goes without mentioning the dilemma of whether to upload the photo before OR after eating 😉

8. Thou shalt challenge yourself

As cliché as it sounds, you are your only competition. You should find it within you to push yourself to new limits (within good reason) and achieve new records. Because the rewards are not only apparent physically when you do so, but amazingly strong inside of you. Ending a workout that you know challenged you on all levels – mentally and physically – leads to an indescribable feeling, almost like a ball of sunshine stuck inside of you bursting through every inch of your body 🙂

9. Thou shalt not blatantly stare at guys in the gym

This should go without saying, but you never know. Being a Fit Girl means acquiring the ultimate superpower of high-end peripheral vision 😀 We know how to spot that cute guy using the squat rack while we are in the middle of a burpee – we just do, don’t ask how. But this commandment also applies to staying focused. We know why we’re there, we’re sweating our boobs off, and now might not be the hottest time to meet the love of your lives 😉

10. Thou shalt love yourself

Lasty but goldie. This last commandment is EVERYTHING a Fit Girl works for. To feel good in your own skin, understand your body, and love every single bit of it! The best part about jumping on board to this journey is the mental satisfaction you get when you look at yourself in the mirror, no matter what size or shape, and feel a glowing sense of love towards your own reflection 🙂

Complete body work out

Looking for an effective bodyweight routine that floats your boat? You have come to the right place! Iris and myself got’chu all set with this on-the-go complete body work out  – Bodyweight AMRAP. AMRAP is an acronym for “as many reps as possible”, so strap on your shoes, grease those elbows and lets go!

Elevated sumo squats

Place two plates on the floor and perform a regular sumo squat on top of them. Make sure you do not bring your knees over your toes and hold proper form. The use of plates will benefit your balance and will activate and work the muscles in your legs and glutes. Squeeeeeeeze those buttcheeks when you come back up for a guaranteed extra burn. Looking for a challenge? Hold a plate or a kettlebell while doing these.

Elevated squats

In contrary to those sumos you just did, this time you will ‘just’ do a perfectly executed squat as many times as possible, while standing on the plates. Form is still key so do not compromise on that. Make sure you wiggle your toes and do not put them on the floor as keeping them lifted will help target your balance while at the same time this will make the exercise more of a challenge.

Elevated donkey kicks

This time you will have to place both hands on the plates and you will work your legs separately. Starting in plank position, you will lift your leg up, bending it at the knee while making sure your foot is flexed and your sole is up. From this position you will keep on lifting your foot up to the sky, keeping your body straight, your back flat and your core engaged. When you have done as many reps as possible, you switch to the other leg of course! We don’t want an uneven booty now, do we?

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Elevated crow hold

Rounding up with some upper body strength, we are throwing in this elevated crow hold especially for you. Start in a wide squat and place your palms on the plates. Bend your elbows back, and rest the inside of your bent knees on the back of your upper arms. Lift up onto your tiptoes, and place most of your weight on your hands. With control, shift forward, lifting your feet off the floor. Hold for a breath or two and then with control, lower your feet to the floor. Repeat rocking in and out of this crow hold to strengthen your core, upper body, and the muscles in your hands.

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We would love to know how this workout turned out for you so make sure to let us know in the comments or on Instagram.

XoXo

Ily & Iris

How to do a Sun Salution

The Sun Salutation is often practiced in a flow yoga session. Flexibility, relaxation and the calming of the mind are just some of the benefits that you can achieve through the practice of yoga. The Sun Salutation can give you all of these benefits and is a fantastic way to start the day. You will allow energy to flow, you will awaken your spine and start your day with a smile on your face. In this article we will demonstrate a classic sun salution A, but the most important thing is not the particular variation, rather it is the synchronization of the motion of your breath with the movement of your body. In short, the motion of breathing is what drives the movement of the body into, through, and out of each of the poses in the sequence.

An easy way to apply this is to allow all upward movements to be coupled with the motion of inhalation and all downward movements to be coupled with exhalation. For example – raising your arms overhead and stretching up is coupled with your inhalation and hinging forward and down (as in touching your toes) is coupled with your exhalation. In this way all movements and breathing motions are in yogic union as you greet the sunrise of new day by awakening/stimulating your body with these poses and breath flow. Suitable for all levels.

1. Start: Mountain pose. Start by bringing your feet and legs together, spread your toes. Make sure your heels are rooted and firm your legs. Then, roll your shoulders back and down and spread and lift your chest.
tadasana
2. Inhale through your nose and raise your arms up to the side, palms facing upwards. Extend your arms above your head.
comeup
3. Exhale, swan dive to forward bend, be sure to bend your knees especially if you have tight hamstrings. This will protect the back. Exhale through your nose. Open your arms wide and bend at your waist to a standing forward bend. Your hands should touch the floor if you can or if not, the front of the ankles.
forwardfold
4. Inhale, lengthen the spine.
halfway-lift
5. Exhale, step back to plank pose. Inhale and take your shoulders forward directly over your wrists, extending well with your arms to form plank position. Keep your thighs strong and firm, your feet flexed and your belly drawn in and slower lower down to low plank (modification: bend the knees and place them on the floor)
lowplank
plank
6. Inhale, cobra/upward dog pose. Inhale and raise your upper body to the cobra pose. Roll your shoulders back and extend the shoulder blades down and press them in towards the chest. Your chest should be lifted and open and elbows should stay close to the body. Make sure to lift up your knee caps and firm your thighs. Your legs and feet should be well extended.
updog
7. Exhale, downward dog. Lengthen the spine, coming in an inverted V position. Stay here for 5 breaths
downdog
8. Inhale, jump or step forward in between your hands, extend the spine.
jumpforward
halfway-lift
9. Exhale, fold forward.
forwardfold
10. Inhale come up with a straight spine, keep pulling the belly button on. Extend the arms over the head.
comeup
11. Exhale, hands in front of the heart.
namaste

Check out the video instructions!

If you want to attend a yoga class for the first time. Yoga studio Balanz is a great place to start. Namasté.

How to wear sneakers with dresses and skirts

I must be honest with you guys. I may not be the fittest girl around because I only started at the end of last year and nowadays I’m working out around 3 times a week. And yes, when it comes to food I also could be more dedicated to it. But hey, it’s all an process and every week I’m learning more and more about my body and getting fit. This is also the reason I’m probably not the best person with the best knowledge about sharing my view on getting fit. That’s why I’m so happy with all my fellow Fit Girls here on #FITGIRLCODE who are sharing their inspiring personal stories, tips and tricks and yummy healthy recipes. I got in touch with #FITGIRLCODE a while ago and they told me that they would love to see and read how I style sneakers in daily looks. I’m not really wearing my work-out sneakers together with my daily looks, but still my looks consist a lot of sneakers – that’s how I roll!

If you have followed my blog for a while you’d know I’ve got quite a tomboy style. Styling sneakers doesn’t sound like the hardest task for a girl like me. And yes, you’re right about that. But in this case I’ll be talking about styling those same sporty shoes in a more feminine ensemble. Like with flirty dresses or with skirts you want to twirl in. For today I’m sharing a few tips on how to wear sneakers with dresses and skirts. Because hey girls, summer is on its way!

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Keep it easy!

When you’re in doubt about styling dresses or skirts with sneakers, it’s better to start easy with white kicks or a monochrome look so you can get comfortable with the silhouette and don’ have to worry about clashing colours. Similar to dressing up in general, it’s all about bringing balance in a look and considering the type of fabric of your garments with the type of shoes.

 

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Proportions are the key.

Summer is the season to show off your body in that bodycon dress or flowy skirt. To make your look a bit more edgy or give your feet some rest, this will be the time to opt for sneakers instead of high heels. But on the other side you don’t want to make your legs look shorter. So try to avoid sneakers that will visually cut off your legs. Because we’re all trying to make them look as long as possible, right? I would advise not to wear high tops with a knee length skirt – because it will make your legs look shorter. Lower and cotton plimsolls will elongate your legs and make the proportions of your outfit look much better.
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Just do it!

Although it may be against the so-called ‘fashion rules’ or people around you don’t get it – just do it! Dressing up and feeling confident in it is so much more important than fitting in and following some rules. When you feel totally comfortable in a look it will shine through in your personality and that’s what can make a look cool.

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Sushi Salad

I know very little people who don’t like sushi. Whenever you say ‘sushi’ everyone around you instantly drops what they’re doing and starts staring at you with puppy eyes. Yep, sushi is definitely one of the most popular kids in foodland. Unfortunately one sushi roll is already 110 calories, and that’s only the one with cucumber 😉 I’m not saying you should never eat sushi again (that would be a disaster) but there are healthier ways for you to eat sushi. Say whut?!

Last weekend me and Fit Girl Roos made this super delicious and easy Sushi Salad. It’s only 500 calories so it makes a perfect lunch as well.

sushi salad

This is what you need for two servings:

  • 100 gram brown rice
  • 100 gram quinoa
  • 125 seawead salad
  • a few nori leaves (this is normally wrapped around maki sushi)
  • 150 gram surimi sticks
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • seasame seed
  • soy sauce

Directions:

  • Mix some quinoa and brown rice and cook for approx. 8 minutes. In the meanwhile cut all the other ingredients into little pieces and mix them in a bowl.
  • Let the quinoa and rice cool down and add it to the other ingredients in the bowl. Sprinkle the seasme seeds and pieces nouri over the salad, add some soy sauce and you’re ready to go!

Do you wanna go for ‘All You Can Eat Sushi’ anytime soon? Be sure to check out Aranka’s Guilt Free Sushi Guide.

Healthy Fish Fingers

It’s time for some delicious fingerfood! This week I have made no less than some super easy and healthy fish fingers. Which even I, being not much of a fish fanatic, absolutely LOVE them!!

The frozen fish fingers from the supermarket do not define my idea of healthy food, but Oh Boy do I love them… This is why I started my quest to find a healthy version of it! This recipe was my first try, but it tasted surprisingly good so I really had to share it with you guys. You can really taste the fresh fish and the crust is nice and crispy. Add a bit of salt and squeezed lemon juice and you have a perfect, healthy and delicious meal!

P.S. Also a perfect dish for kids! No cutlery needed. They will love it 😉

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So here’s what you’ll need to do:

Ingredients (1 portion)

  • 150gr cod
  • 1 egg
  • 30g shredded coconut
  • Dill
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika powder
  • Lemon juice

For the Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tbsp (0%) quark
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey

Cooking instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cut the cod into pieces of about 4 cm. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika powder and dill.
  3. Get two plates: one with a beaten egg and the other with the shredded coconut. Then dip the pieces of fish firstly in the egg and then in the shredded coconut. Place them on a lined baking tray and sprinkle with a bit of olive oil.
  4. Place tray in the oven for about 10 minutes. When you’re about 5 minutes through, flip the fish fingers to bake the other side.
  5. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together. Season with salt, pepper and dill if needed.

 

Now time to enjoy! 😉 Eet smakelijk Fit Girls. Be sure to follow me on my BlogFacebook and Instagram for more delicious and healthy recipes!

Yola’s back to basics: Burpees

Let’s talk about the famous and probably most hated exercise there is: the burpee. This is an exercise that is well known in CrossFit but is used in many other workout programs as well. There are millions of variations on the burpee that go from low-intensity to holy-shit-I’m-dying-intensity. But what does a proper burpee look like? And how can you make it more or less intense?


Muscles

Burpees are known as a compound exercise which means you train multiple muscle groups in your body at the same time. It’s a really demanding bodyweight movement. Most of all you use your legs containing hamstrings, glutes and calfs. But when you do a proper burpee (including the push up) you also need your core, chest, triceps and shoulders. No muscles are left behind!

How to
First of all burpees are a great exercise when you don’t have and/or want to use any equipment but you do want an intense workout. Burpees get your heart rate up in no-time and can give you some serious muscle soreness for sure. A burpee isn’t that hard, you just have to follow some steps. Six to be precise:

1. You start by standing up straight with your arms next to your body. Now bend over, squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you
2. Kick your feet back so that you’ll end up in a plank position
3. Exactly, now we drop to a push up. Remember to keep your core tight!
4. Push yourself up back into the plank position
5. When you did your pushup kick your feet back in towards your hands
6. Explosively jump up in the air, arms reaching straight overhead

On the first three burpees you think: “Oh, this is nice. I can do 50 of them”. At number 10 you think: “F*ck this, I’m never doing these again”. But after all we know you love burpees because they make an awesome workout and you can do them everywhere and at anytime.

Do’s
✓ Take good care of your burpees. Don’t speed them up too much. It will only make you look like an idiot that fell down and stood back up again. Keep in control of your burpee, don’t let it control you.

✓ Always keep your core contracted while jumping up, going back down and doing the push up.

✓ Try to find a steady pace that works for you and the type of workout. So if you only have to do 10 burpees, you can go a little faster. But if you’re doing 50 burpees, go slower so you can maintain a consistent pace. Always remember: form over speed!

✓ When you think you can’t do any more burpees, scream out loud and do 5 more. You can do this for sure!

✓ Try to combine burpees in a workout with other compound exercises like squats, lunges, situps , jumping jacks and crunches. You just can’t do burpees all the time. It will be too exhausting and you will get bored really soon. Don’t believe me? Just try to do burpees for only five minutes in a row… Now we can talk!

Absolute don’ts
✗ Don’t stop halfway, only stop when you are done. Resting in between will only make it harder to get going again.

✗ Don’t hold your breath! Find a rhythm for your breathing while doing burpees. Get in that robot-mode and keep moving and focusing on one movement at a time instead of how many there are left.

✗ If you can’t perform burpees anymore, don’t arch your back. Just modify the movement by leaving out the pushup or the jump and keep going steady.

Variations
When you are a beginner and you want to do burpees you can do them without the jumping and/or pushup part. Just stand up, come down, jump back, (push up), jump back in and stand back up.  If you can’t make a full push-up yet you can do one on your knees as an alternative.

You can also try the jumpee. This is a burpee with a jump to  the left, right, front or back. For example you can set goals from starting at a wall and jumpee to the other end of it. Of if you are outside you can jumpee in between trees.

If you want to challenge yourself you can try the #FITGIRLCODE 30 day burpee challenge, with looooots of burpees. Soreness guaranteed! And always keep in mind: when life knocks you down, do a burpee! Or 10!

6 tips to help plan and commit to a healthy lifestyle

Working up to 40 hours a week or more can make it difficult to find time to work-out and make healthy choices. No one says it’s easy but there are things you can do to help yourself to make it happen. We can all spend hours making a schedule, some of you may even enjoy colour co-ordinating a pretty timetable, but what good is a plan if you don’t stick to it? At #FITGIRLCODE, we work with the fact that one rule does not fit all. Try applying some of these practices to your life that will enable you to plan and commit to a healthy lifestyle.

1. Meal planning

First things first. Still haven’t tried to prepare any meals or snacks in advance for the busiest days? Having a list of food that you need to buy when you go grocery shopping is the least that you can do but have lunch and dinners jotted down too. Buy ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes and make meals big enough to give you leftovers. That way dinner and lunch for the next day is sorted out. Get started with the art of ‘meal prepping’ which will definitely save you some time during the week. Of course, you have to plan time to work this into your schedule but doing it will create so much more space in your overall weekly schedule and will make it so much easier for you when the going gets tough.

2. Get a little help from your friends

Make a pact with your best fit friends that demands the first one to cancel on your workout, has to take everyone out for lunch. Getting other people to hold you accountable for your actions can be one of the best ways to change something that you don’t like. Agree on a forfeit that will encourage you to stick to your word, because integrity is important and we don’t want to be unreliable. Remember that your BFFF needs you as much as you need them, they will keep you going when you want to quit and you need to be there to do the same for them. If you do decide to cancel and not to go, your friends might then decide to give the workout a miss too!

3. Stop prioritising

“Madness,” you say. “I’d explode. There is simply too much to get done!” Prioritising is often encouraged but exercising is likely to keep getting moved down on the list of your priorities each day when you have a busy schedule and responsibilities where other people depend on you. It is recommended by the World Health Organisation that adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity 5 times a week (read more here). This is something we have known for some time, so why do we keep prioritising other things before our health? Treat all tasks equally because being healthy is your responsibility to yourself and those around you in order to perform everything else.

4. Book a ‘workout appointment’ one night before

The weekly schedule you currently live by has probably been established for some time so its no wonder that a new 5 day work out plan is difficult to stick to. Our lives are busy enough otherwise we wouldn’t need to plan to work out, so it’s important not to overwhelm yourself by looking too far ahead. Each night, a least two hours before your head touches the pillow, check your schedule for the next day. Just like you would do if you were making an appointment at the dentist or the with the doctor, see where you have time to ‘go’ (either to the gym or at home) and enter it into your calendar. Then, don’t look at it again until the morning. Once you have done this, pack your gym bag and put it in the car or beside your jacket to grab on the way of the door the next day. Scheduling your appointment well before you go to bed may also help reduce thinking about it as you try to get to sleep so you don’t dwell on all the other things you think you should do tomorrow instead.

5. Minimise Your Options

Decide one activity, class or exercise and one time slot to do it. When planning your day it might seem like a good idea to have back up plans when things don’t go how they were was supposed to, but I think doing this ahead of time actually provides you excuses to not commit to what you set out to do. Having no plan B emphasises the importance of plan A. When activities have a fixed place in your day so you know exactly when it is going to happen and you can tell others around you; this potentially increases the chances of things going according to plan! Put minimising your options into action a different way by changing into your work out clothes soon as you get home before sitting down on the couch. Taking a break to recharge is a good idea but if you change into clothes that you can exercise in, it means working out isn’t just an option but your plan A.

6. Define what a healthy lifestyle means for you

A healthy lifestyle is not purely setting time aside to work out 4 times a week and choosing to bring carrots sticks and humus instead of cookies for an afternoon snack, it is a way of living that promotes optimum physical health. Acknowledge that making more movement part of your daily life, is essential for healthy internal organs and well being. In the past humans hunted their food but now the most that some of us walk is from our house, to a car, to a desk and to the bathroom or kitchen between times. Thinking about how often you are stationary throughout your day may encourage you to realise that a brisk walk after work for 30 minutes is actually essential, rather than optional, to keep your body functioning properly. If you really don’t have a solid 30 minutes spare then there are lots of opportunities to make a healthier choice every day. Think about how you travel to work, could you take the stairs rather than the escalator or get off of the bus a stop early?

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Life is unpredictable so we need to nurture our mind as the tool to cope better with a busy schedule rather than a back up plan. Striving to adapt your attitude when the unexpected occurs will allow you to become resourceful and creative in getting your heart rate up one way or when all of the above fails. The ability to do this will also mean that you can say yes to an impromptu dinner date with friends, because this is part of a healthy lifestyle too. Making your mind flexible will help to avoid the ‘on-the-wagon’, ‘off-the-wagon’ mentality because your body is the only wagon to take you on your journey called life.

Letter to the scale

Yo Scale,

I’m just gonna get straight to the point: I think you’re a terrible asshole. A manipulative bastard, you are! My whole life you’ve been screwing with me. You can either make or break my days. What gives you the right to decide whether I am beautiful or ugly? You make me doubt myself. Sometimes I honestly think I’m going crazy. You’re like a second voice in my head. A while ago I agreed with myself that I didn’t wanna see you anymore. I wanted to do without you and trust my own eyes. You used to be my compass but once I became a fan of strength training, you just started blabbing out nonsense. Hello?… Muscle weighs more than fat! But you don’t tell me that. With that unvarnished opinion of yours. Even though I saw my body change for the better when I looked in the mirror, you always had to have the last word. A slap in my face. On days that I felt like a sexy superstar I dared to look you right in the eye. I felt beautifully slim but you had to ruin that, didn’t you? I should have known better. Always the same, denigrating shit: “You’re not as slim as you think Anna. You’re fooling yourself because you want it so badly. So here it is, the undeniable truth: you didn’t loose weight. You’ve become even heavier. Muscle weighs more than fat? In your dreams! So eventually you’ll weigh 100 kilos and wear a size 36? Do you even believe that yourself?” When you took that tone with me, I had to show you the door. I don’t need someone in my life who gives me such a bad feeling. And so you know, my life has improved a lot since you’ve been gathering dust in the corner of the bathroom. Yeah, I was experiencing a fit dip the other day, but don’t start gloating because it had nothing to do with you. I just lost my mojo, but I found it again. All by myself. That surprises you? Well, I set new goals for myself and found a new gym. In no time I was back in the right flow. It even felt like this different way of training was already paying off. I was like a rocket! Until I had to adjust my ADHD medication. Then there you were again, lurking in the corner. I couldn’t ignore you any longer. I had to deal with you. I wished I didn’t need to. And you just can’t help yourself, the nasty piece of shit that you are.  “You see Anna! You’re not doing as good as you thought, huh? Was it really such a good idea to change the gym? Apparently those workouts you do by yourself don’t do much for you. You have chosen the easiest path again. You’ll be back to your old weight before you even know it. You only see what you want to see, but I advise you to get off your pink cloud and accept the facts: you’re fat! No progress! You call yourself a Fit Girl? If only people knew what you weigh…” And there, my mojo left the building. But dude, I out smarted you. I know the truth now. I know about all those other women. You’ve been messing with them too. You won’t get away with it any longer. We know what kind of sick games you play! Together we are much stronger than you. We do strength training. Did you forget about that? So if you harass any of us again, we’ll throw you right out the window. “Gosh, what happened to the scales?” No idea! I guess nobody gave a shit about that thing anymore!

TTYN,

ANNA

Peanutbutter Banana Pancakes

Last week was all about experimenting with pancakes. After I saw Michelle’s photo and recipe, I found myself in the kitchen the next morning – with success! 

Peanutbutter Banana Pancakes

I’ve twisted the recipe a little bit – I added peanutbutter and superfoods and used whole eggs in stead of just egg whites. Here’s what you’ll need to make 4 pancakes:

Pancake batter:

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 6 tbs whole oats
  • 1 ts pumpkin spice
  • 1 ts peanut butter (or pb2)
  • 30 ml (almond) milk

Toppings:

Stir all the ingredients for the batter in a bowl to combine. The batter should be thick. Heat up a good pan and add 1 tbs of coconut oil. Make small pancakes (about 1/3 cup batter for each one), and with each new pancake add coconut oil in the pan! When all 4 are ready, serve with 1 tbs of peanutbutter and 2 tbs of greek yoghurt / soy yoghurt. Add fresh fruit and superfoods!

Tip
This meal is perfect for breakfast, but also serves as a good pre work out meal. Just eat two about 1,5 hours before you’re hitting the road/box/gym. They are really filling.

Looking for more breakfast inspriration? Follow me on Instagram!

Rutabaga ‘tagliatelle’ with radicchio and grilled pear

The oldskool veggie Rutabaga (swede) is one of those things that I keep staring at in the store. What the f… can I do with this? Well, you can make ‘pasta’ with it! Combine it with a bitter Radicchio salad and sweet grilled pear – lovely.

What do you need for two portions?

  • 1/2 Rutabaga
  • handful of mixed salad
  • 2 pieces of radicchio
  • 1 pear (Doyenne du Comice)
  • 1 small hot pepper
  • 125 ml sour cream
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 big sweet onion
  • handful walnuts
  • peeler & grill pan
  • olive oil, coconut oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper

Cut the Rutabaga into thick slices. Use the peeler to get rid of the skin. Cut the slices in half and use the peeler to cut ‘tagliatelle’ from the inside out.

 

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Cut the garlic, onion and hot pepper into small pieces. Heat up some olive oil in a pan, add the garlic, onion, Rutabaga & hot pepper and stir for a few minutes. Ad the sour cream, a little bit of water (50ml) en let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

 

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Use these 10 minutes to cut the pear into thin slices and grill them in a grill pan. Cut the Radicchio in thin slices (don’t use the heart, it’s too bitter) and toss these with the mixed salad, lemon juice, some salt & pepper.

On each plate – a little Rutabaga, Radicchio salad, grilled pear. Add walnuts to garnish.

That’s it! Enjoy. 

 

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How To Choose a Sport That Fits Your Personality

When you start your fit journey, you soon find out that you ‘simply’ need to do two things: eat healthy and work out. One does not go without the other. Eating right can be a hassle and it isn’t easy fighting daily temptations. But choosing the right kind of sports isn’t either. You have to find something that is exciting enough to drag your ass to for three or more times a week. And it must be a place that doesn’t serve wine or cocktails 😉

How to choose a sport that fits your personality
Let me start out by making clear that EVERY type of workout is better than not working out. Whether you start out with two short runs a week or completely dive into an active lifestyle right away: it’s super badass that you came off the couch and started to care for yourself and your body. So what can help you find something that suits you?

Team player or solo?
You could start by asking yourself: am I a team player or do I like flying solo? Think about if you would like to compete against others with a group of people or if you are more interested in challenging yourself. Examples of group sports are soccer, basketball and hockey. How about thinking outside of the box and looking into street dance or rowing.

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Healthy Lemon Cheesecake

I eat cake because it’s somebody’s birthday somewhere! 😉

Cheesecake, definitely a guilty pleasure of mine and it is so incredibly delicious. Plus, it comes in so many delicious flavors you can’t just stick to one! Because it’s such a popular cake, I couldn’t resist making a healthy version of it. This cake is very easy to make, and the taste… A beautiful mix of fresh, creamy and deliciousness!! If you want to celebrate a birthday in a healthy way, this is the perfect recipe. But who are we kidding, let’s not limit ourselves only to birthdays, it’s also a perfect dish for breakfast, lunch or as a snack (yum yum yum)!

The crust is made of a perfect combination of almond flour and cacao. Together with the fresh tangy taste of the lemon, it makes an amazing little party in your mouth! Enjoy it Fit Girls 🙂

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Healthy Lemon Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 40g dates
  • 150g almond flour
  • 2 tbsp cacao
  • 40g melted coconut oil
  • 750g (0%) quark
  • 6 sheets of gelatine
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 50g blueberries
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • lemon slices for decorating

 

Cooking Instructions

  1. Grease a cake pan with some coconut oil. Put the dates, almond flour, cacao and melted coconut oil in a food processor and mix well. Spread the mixture over the bottom of the cake pan, press firmly and put in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, mix the quark with the lemon zest, you can also add a little bit of juice if you want to add a little sourness. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat a little of the quark mixture in a saucepan and add the soaked gelatine leaves. Remove the pan from the heat and stir well. Add the rest of the quark to the pan. Remove the pits from the vanilla bean and add to the quark mixture. Mix well and pour the quark mixture over the cake crust. Sprinkle the blueberries on top.
  4. Lastly, put the cake in the fridge for about 2 hours. Garnish with some lemon slices.

Enjoy!

www.inlovewithhealth.nl

How to get to know your skin

Last week I visited an Dermalogica event together with our brand relations manager Shelley to attend the launch of a new product. Well, that’s always a good reason to get out of bed in the morning! I feel much more confident when my skin looks good too. And it just happens that Dermalogica is an expert in this area. We cruised over the canals in our brand new Jogha/#FITGIRLCODE car and arrived safe and sound at the event which took place in Amsterdam.  

These kind of events are always a lot of fun and not only because I think Dermalogica is a cool brand! I love to chat with other bloggers and exchange stories and ideas. We don’t get to see each other that often (you know Amsterdam – Rotterdam 😉 ), so it’s always nice to discuss all the ins and outs of bloggerworld. And of course the snacks hmm… the snacks. For once I didn’t have to think about a healthy lunch.

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Face Mapping

Face Mapping was an important part of the day. I had never done it before, so I was very curious! So, what is Face Mapping exactly? A Dermalogica specialist performs a skin analysis and determines which skin care products suit your skin best. I thought I was doing a reasonable job, but I guess not! I have a irritated skin around my nose and my chin is pretty sensitive as well. I’m not really surprised. I have a busy lifestyle and run from one meeting to the next. I also train several times a week at Elevator Sports. I sweat a lot during these killer workout and obviously this is not very conducive to your skin. A lot of sweat leads to irritated skin, so there you are! Conclusion: my nose and chin need extra attention and care so it’s quite handy to know which products I should use. I got some tips on how to deal with this so I will start right away! According to the Face Mapping the following products are most suitable for my skin:

UltraCalming cleanser: purifies and calms a sensitive and irritated skin.
– Skin smoothing cream: hydrates and nourishes combined to dry skin.
Barrier repair: helps shield the sensitive skin against environmental and internal triggers.
– Gentle cream exfoliant: helps detach dead skin cells en increases cell renewal.

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Concept store Maastricht

So, did you also get curious how to treat your skin properly, then don’t forget to take a look at the Dermalogica concept store. It’s the first store in the Netherlands, yes finally! The store is located in the centre of Maastricht, so I can hear your girls thinking… Perfect shopping weekend in Maastricht! 😉 They offer many other treatments besides Face Mapping. I would love to try out the Skin Bar and Microzone treatment, but unfortunately I didn’t have time yet, busy busy busy.

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Skin Bar

As a true Dermalogica fan I really have to try out this treatment. It’s calling my name! During a miniworkshop you get the opportunity to try out all the Dermalogica products. Sounds like heaven to me! Why didn’t I try this earlier? And it’s a good excuse to do something fun with your friends, or it can be the perfect birthday gift. Who wouldn’t love that?

MicroZone

As I said earlier, like many others I’m really busy and I can use a boost once in a while. The MicroZone treatment is the answer to this problem. It’s ideal when you’re busy or stressed or just need some me-time. It gives you a lot of energy so you get to it again. I’m all over the place and I find it difficult to make time and plan something like that, but I think I will manage to take a day off between Christmas and New Years and treat myself in Maastricht. I’m already looking forward to it!

10 Things a Fit Girl who starts lifting should know

On the hunt for some much needed pointers on starting your own lifting journey ? Search no more as I hook you up with the tips I found here, which helped me when I started taking my lifting game seriously. These 10 things a Fit Girl who starts lifting should know will have you up and running no time.

1. Lift with guys and with other girls.

Lifting with men is very motivating; however sometimes they just don’t understand certain things. Such as, why we act crazy in the gym. Only girls can understand why you have to turn up Beyonce, why you check your booty and mascara in the mirror to pump you up and why  you break out in your PR dance every time you hit it. I think other girls, especially those who you have built a strong friendship with and have a sense of loyalty to, will keep you motivated even on the worst of days, and be smiling and cheering with you on the best of days. It’s like opening a fresh jar of Nutella, but better.

2. Know that you will cry.

Weightlifting digs down in to the deepest parts of your soul, and can dig up some fierce emotions. You will cry because you made a lift you have been working so hard for and on the other hand you will cry when you miss one. You will cry when your trainer yells at you, and you will cry because your BFFF just had a break through. You will cry because you want to quit, and you will cry because you don’t. You will cry because you’re afraid. These crying episodes do not make you a cry-baby-titty-mouse; they make you passionate about what you care about: the barbell,  ‘dem plates’ and lifting all of it, just because you can.

3. Your fave skinny jeans aren’t going to fit anymore.

Your body is going to change. You are going to build muscles, develop traps, tris (triceps) and back muscles and your legs are going to get bigger. This doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy and feminine. There is a big misconception that lifting will make girls manly. I don’t agree – duhhhh! You just have to know that you’re going to have to give up the size 0 runway model look, and recognize your ass is going to be more like Serena Williams’ and your quads are not going to squeeze into skinny jeans anymore. You’re going to start living in your Jogha tights and want to wear jeans less and less. You see, you’re going to have to move up a few sizes, simply so your ass and legs can fit. And then you are going to have 4 extra inches of waist just hanging out all loose and poking out above your booty because your waist will likely still be pre-lifting small. You will have to wear long shirts; otherwise when you sit down everyone will see your butt crack as the jeans ride half way down your ass. This will happen. Just accept it now. But despite your problems with finding jeans, you can still wear high heels and dresses and look hot. You will have a nice rear end, quads and a sexy back— just flaunt that sh*t!

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4. You will more than likely pee a little when you squat or clean heavy.

It will happen eventually; don’t be embarrassed. You will likely pee a little or squeeze out a fart at some time. Hey! This stuff happens when you are squeezing and pushing. It happens to all of us. You are just human.

5. You need to have patience.

Snatching and Clean & Jerking can be frustrating, painful, scary, rewarding, hard, easy, tiring, and exciting. If you go into weightlifting thinking you are going to be a world champion in 6 months, I hate to burst your bubble.  You have to learn to be patient and not get frustrated every time something goes wrong. This is easier said than done, but really try to go into the gym every day and set little daily goals for yourself. Remember the good things that happen in the gym, and hang onto those on days you are feeling broken. Always remember that setting yourself up with good technique and patience will get you a long way. Don’t just stack the weight on and lift it with shitty form. Trust that all the time you spend working your technique, movement and body awareness will totally pay off.

6. Have a life and interest outside the gym.

Whether it be cooking or baking, shopping, hanging out with friends, reading, serial dating, being a cat lady or chasing unicorns, try to have interests outside the gym. This will help you stay sane. If your life is 100% weightlifting all the time, you will never stop thinking about your bad benchpress practice or the fact that your deadlifts suck right now. You have to have some time outside of the gym so you can regroup and not dwell on your frustrations.

7. Shorts and tights.

If you wear booty shorts to the gym, which of course are uber comfortable, make sure there are no men sitting directly behind you unless  you want to  bend over to grab the bar to snatch or clean or pull and give them a show. The same goes for thin tights.

8. Nails.

If you go get a manicure, know that once you chalk up your hands a couple times, snatch 5 sets of triples, and do some jerks, your manicure is going to be chipped and you are going to be freaking PISSED. If you go get a manicure use something a little more sturdy like gel. It costs a little extra, but your nails will look freshly painted for 2 weeks, and they won’t chip or peel that easily.

9. Knee sleeves & gloves.

If you wear knee sleeves or gloves, they are going to stink badly. You will start to have stinky knees and hands after training. My advice is to not put them in your gym bag straight away, and instead let them air out. I have a small gymbag  that I use to put them into so I can keep them from smelling up my bigger bag.  You can also put them in your trunk to let them dry outside your gym bag so they don’t taint all your other belongings. I also keep baby wipes handy to wipe off my knees and hands after training so you don’t walk around with fresh stink.

10. Have fun.

Have fun in the gym. Have fun feeling strong. Weightlifting will make you strong mentally and physically, and it will make you feel empowered. In the gym, or through the sport, you will meet some of the greatest people. I have met some pretty awesome people in the gym and through spreading my love for it here and on Instagram.  I even found the girl in most of the pictures there; my new hero Quiana Welch. That, along with all the lifting I have done amazingly, makes it all worth it.

Bonus advice anyone? Drop ’em in the comments!

ILY