Why you should be working out on your period

All through high school, my classmates and I were always asking to be excused from gym class because of cramps, and I remember in particular that my gym teacher was always rambling about how working out on your period would actually help. The thing is, she never actually explained why, so doing laps around the field just wasn’t going to happen for me.  Looking back, I can now admit that she was right. Working out on your period is actually a pretty good idea, and here’s why. 

I am superwoman

While all women experience their periods differently, there is one thing all have in common: this is the time your body is closest to that of a man’s. During your period, estrogen and progesterone levels drop significantly, leaving you actually pretty powerful. According to Dr. Stacy Sims, an exercise physiologist from Stanford University, working out on your period may result in you hitting higher intensities, lasting longer in your routine, and with a lower core temperature. Besides that, your pain tolerance also rises. So if you’ve been trying to reach a new personal best, heading to the gym the next time you’re on your period may just be what you need!

working out on your period

Say bye bye to PMS and Mood Swings

It’s not new information that exercising makes you feel good. When you exercise, your brain starts releasing endorphins that act just like opiates. They stop the transmission of  pain signals, and instead produce feelings of euphoria. So instead of taking some pain killers, exercise offers an alternate and much more natural remedy for your cramps and discomfort.  It also helps to reduce some of those negative, depressive feelings and stabilize your mood swings.

While getting yourself to actually start exercising while experiencing all those menstrual symptoms  may be difficult, you’ll be left feeling 10x better afterwards. So, put on your comfiest workout gear and just go for it! Are there any Fit Girls out there who always work out while on your periods? How do you feel?

Sources: Women’s RunningWomen’s Health

5 Easy and delicious mealprep recipes

Mealprepping. The saving grace for many Fit Girls dealing with the chaos of everyday life. Once a week, all the pots and pans are being taken out of the cupboard to prepare a multitude of Tupperware cases filled with chicken, rice and veggies for the days to come. This is ideal, because you’ll be ensured healthy food for an entire week! But, there is only one little issue: it’s not that easy or sustainable to eat the same meal twice a day.  But, no worries! Especially for you, I’ve gathered my 5 favorite mealprep recipes.  Say bye bye to the rut and hello to healthy and delicious meals!

Tuna for the win!

Tuna is easy, fast, macro-friendly, and most of all, a tasty source of protein; that’s already reason enough to try out this salad!

For this meal you need: 1 handful of mâche (salad), 1/2 can tuna (in water), 50g olives, 10 sundried tomatoes, 100g cherry tomatoes, 100g cucumber (get rid of the seeds), 15g roasted pine nuts, 1/2 red onion, 100g cooked brown rice, fresh parsley and fresh chive. Cut all the ingredients into parts and mix them well: tadaa, a lovely fresh tuna salad.

(431 calories. 49 carbs/13 fat/26 protein)

 

mealprep recipes

 

Oh my Thai!

A meal with beef, do I need to say more!? Watch out that you don’t eat your Tupperware too! 😉

For this meal you need: about 100g beef, 100g cooked rice noodles, a handful of mâche, 1/2 red onion, 15g roasted cashews, 50g shortly cooked bean sprouts, 100g steamed green beans, 1/2 red pepper, fresh coriander, 50g corn and for the marinade 2 tblsp sweet soy sauce, garlic powder and chili powder. Marinade the beef and leave it in a bowl while you cut and prepare the other ingredients. Grill the beef as you prefer. Mix all the ingredients and you’re DONE!

(622 calories. 61 carbs/19 fat/48 protein)

mealprep recipes

 

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

A meal with chicken, but then with a twist!

For this meal you need: 80g cooked quinoa, 100g diced chicken filet, 100g cucumber (get rid of the seeds), 50g corn, 50g olives, 10 sundried tomatoes, 1/2 red onion, 50g red bell pepper, fresh parsley, fresh basil, 15g grated parmesan cheese, and 25g spicy chicken spices. Mix it together and done!

(617 calories. 54 carbs/18 fat/47 protein)

mealprep recipes

For the love of PASTA!

Zuchetti, the perfect calorie-friendly solution for pasta-loving Fit Girls. You can vary endlessly with this meal: you can make it with tuna, soy meat or make a pasta pesto! Make the strands of zucchini, sweet potato, cucumber or carrot – that way you can save some calories for dessert.

What do you need to make the meal in the picture? 2 cloves of garlic, 1 big red onion, 6 big tomatoes, 1 bell pepper, 150g minced chicken, 1/2 zucchini, 15g grated Parmesan cheese, 15g roasted pine nuts, Italian spices, sea salt, pepper, and fresh basil.

First make the sauce. Briefly cook the garlic and onion and in the meantime, cut the tomatoes and bell pepper into big pieces. Add these, together with some Italian spices, to the pan and cook until they become a bit softer. Add some water so it can simmer for a bit. If you want a thinner sauce, you could puree it with a mixer. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Put the sauce aside and cook the minced chicken. When it’s done, add the sauce and let it all simmer for a bit. In the meantime, make the zucchini strand with the Spirelli (a must-have kitchen tool for every Fit Girl) and put these in your mealprep box. Let the cooked mixture cool down a bit and then put it on the zucchini strands in the box. Top it off with some Parmesan cheese and pine nuts and your Italian meal is done!

(430 calories. 23 carbs/12 fat/32 protein)

mealprep recipes

An oldie but a goodie: Ceasar salad!

We all know this old-timer: the Caesar salad. Macro-friendly, super fast and always delicious!

This is what you need: 100g smoked chicken, a handful of salad, 100g cucumber (get rid of the seeds), 50g cherry tomatoes, 50g corn, 50g croutons, 1 cooked egg, fresh chive and parsley. Cut and mix all the ingredients and your mealprep is done!

(291 calories. 19 carbs/9 fat/32 protein)

mealprep recipes

 

Are you Fit Girls joining in the mealprep madness? Tag your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #fitgirlcodemealprep! For more recipe ideas, check out my Instagram acount!

Why more women should do strength training

Whenever I tell people that I like to lift weights over cardio, I always hear: “don’t get too big or muscly, that’s not attractive.” The problem with this is that they ignore the reality of just how HARD it is for a woman to actually get big. The bottom line is that strength training a few times a week will not result in a woman looking like a male power lifter. Now that that’s cleared up, we can dive into what strength training will actually do for women, and it’s a whole lot.

You’ll increase your metabolism

When you perform a really intense strength training workout, you’re capable of burning up to 500 calories in an hour. That’s almost 300 calories more than what you’d lose if you chose to take an hour long walk on the treadmill. Besides that, when compared to body fat, muscles take up more energy to maintain. This increases your basal metabolic rate, meaning that even while you’re resting on the couch being lazy, your body will still be burning calories because of those lean muscles that you’ve built. All the more reason to pile them on!

You’ll burn more calories

What also makes strength training special is that it allows you to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, producing that toned look. When you’re performing these workouts, it takes a great deal of energy out of you, so you’ll be burning a ton of calories while you’re doing them. On top of that, you continue to burn calories even after you’re done. This is done through a process called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) where your body tries to recover from the workout. It can have you burning some more calories for up to a day after your strength training session.

strength training

You’ll have stronger bones

As you age, your bones naturally become weaker which can lead to osteoporosis. This makes it so much easier for you to have fractures and breaks. For women, this is especially the case since estrogen is the hormone that protects the bones. When you hit menopause, and estrogen drops, so does your bone density.  Thankfully, strength training has been proven to increase bone density by multiple studies. So lifting up weights every now and then can save you pain, medical bills and a whole lot of headache.

You’ll prevent back pain & build better balance

If you have a desk job, it’s safe to say that you experience some back pain and discomfort from sitting in the office all the time and you may now be a victim of an endless crouch. Thankfully, there’s an easy fix that doesn’t include chiropractors and massage therapists. If you  build the muscles in your back and shoulders, not only does this improve your overall posture, but it helps to prevent back pain and lower back injuries. So, get started on those deadlifts!

You’ll build up your mental strength

It isn’t until you’re in your 4th set of bench presses, with only 3 more reps to go that you really find out your true potential. I’m still trying to figure out how, but strength training always results in you digging deep and locating the strength to persevere, allowing you to push those last few reps out. Once you do this all the time, it’s going to spill out into the other areas of your life. You’ll be confident and know that anything is possible for you and find yourself always pushing.

These are just some of the benefits I get to experience from lifting weights, and that’s why I love it so much. It also just feels so good to feel yourself becoming stronger and more capable. And you look better in jeans. And you feel less stressed out. And a whole other lot of things. So, girls don’t be afraid of heavy  weights! Have these benefits convinced you? Which have I missed out? 

Sources: BodyBuilding.comWomen’s Health Magazine , Fitness Magazine & HuffingtonPost.com

What’s in my gym bag?

You could say that my gym bag is my BFFF (best fit friend forever). Wherever I go, he goes. We’ve been hanging around for 3 years now and we’re still very much in love. He offers me enough space for my very useful (and less useful) items and I make sure to take him out at least 3 times a week.

I have about 10 items I always take with me each and every work-out. I thought it would be cool to share them in a blogpost. So hereby I present to you: My ultimate gym bag essentials!

1. Work-out outfit

No shit, sherlock. Obviously I take my prettiest work-out outfit with me every time I go to the gym. Currently my favourite outfit consists of these Epic tights by Jogha, a basic black tank and these pink sneakers. This is my favourite outfit during strength training. It’s comfy, simple and it looks good. I like! 

2. Fitness gloves

I still don’t know how I managed to train without fitness gloves for all those years. I recently purchased these Nike gloves and I can’t live without them. The girls who do crossfit or strengh training probably know this already: Your hands look awful after a week of training. These gloves help me to protect them but they also have a very good grip.

3. Water bottle

I always drink a lot of water when I’m in the gym. This gigantic Fitgirlcode bottle is perfect during your work-outs because you can fill it up with 1L of water. Awesome!

4. Earplugs

After my usual hour of strength training, I do about 15 minutes of cardio. Sometimes I think cardio isn’t that bad, but I often dread my cardio routine. Either way, they always get better with awesome music. I recently got myself these earplugs and I just can’t live without ’em. It’s nice to invest in earplugs that last a bit longer than just 30 days… If I don’t bring my earplugs with me to the gym there’s NO way I’m doing my cardio. But that obviously doesn’t happen more than once a week…

5. Jumping rope

Last summer I did the Kayla Itsines work-outs. The resistance training sometimes required a jumping rope so I got myself this bad boy. It’s a very nice way to warm-up before a work-out so I still use them every now and then.

6. Snack

I hate it when my stomach is growling during my work-out. That’s why I always bring a snack with me to the gym. Before my routine I always eat a banana or banana bread. It’s the perfect snack and it keeps me going while I’m doing my work-out!

7. Phone

I always take my phone with me when I go to the gym. It contains my monthly work-out routines and I often use the timer function to practice my plank. During my cardio routine I use it to listen to some awesome work-out songs. My current favourite: Riton – Rinse & Repeat FT Kah-Lo. It’s AWESOME.

8. Shower cream

I always take a quick shower at the gym after my work-out. When I do this at home it will take me about 30 minutes longer because my shower at home is awesome. That’s why I always take my favourite shower cream with me. Currently this minty eucalyptus scent is my favourite.

9. Deodorant

After my shower I always use some deodorant. I want to stay fresh all day long and that’s why I choose for the basic Dove. It’s my all time favourite and never fails me.

10. Bag with random stuff

I use this bag for my just in case items. This is where I keep my bandaids, razor, paracetamol, tampons and so on. It’s always handy to take these items with you wherever you go.

These are my 10 essentials which you’ll always find in my gym bag. Which item can’t be missed out when you go to the gym?

Protein powders and how they work

As a Fit Chick you’re probably familiar with healthy foods and super foods to include in your diet, though the world of protein and more specifically protein powder might be slightly confusing at first. We got a question from fan Ana asking us what kind of protein powder would be right for her, and we figured more Fit Girls would be wondering about this. That’ s why we’ve broken down some of the most common types of protein powders and how they work for you! 

Whey Concentrate

This is one of the most basic forms of protein powder out there as well as one of the most common types of protein found on supplement sites or stores. This is a great choice for beginners and people who are looking to add more protein in their diet. This is essentially good, as protein helps you reduce fat and grow your strength, reduce huger, fight cancer cells, cope with stress and improve your immune system. Out of the various types of protein powder on the market, whey concentrate is one of the cheapest forms available.  This powdery substance can be used both pre and post workout and even as an in between snack, though it’s not preferred to be used at night.

Casein Protein

If you are looking for a protein that will slowly breakdown over the course of several hours, that you can use as a meal, or better yet right before you go to bed then casein is the one for you! It also has a creamier consistency than other protein powders as well.  Casein takes anywhere from 5-7 hours to fully breakdown which keeps your body absorbing and utilizing the nutrients even while you sleep. People also use casein during the day to help stay full and to keep a constant supply of protein in your body to supply the muscles with proper nutrition for hours after drinking the shake. This is the stuff you wanna go with to build more muscle but not the only thing to include in your diet. 

Whey Isolates

These are one of the quickest absorbing proteins out there, and are the ideal choice for people who follow a low carb diet. This is because the formulas available on the market have very low – if any – carbohydrates (sugars). This type of protein works well both pre and post workout and has the ability to provide your muscles with all the nutrients necessary for them to help  recover and grow! You will most likely find this type of protein in mixed designed to help you loose weight, without loosing muscle. 

Hydrolysate Protein

This baby is the best quality protein you can possibly find but also comes with a matching price tag. It provides highly absorbable peptides that can have a great anabolic effect (highest absorption rate of the proteins available).Hydrolysate protein is also much better on the digestive system compared to whey concentrates, less bloated-ness or gassy symptoms and is (much like the above) suitable for pre and post workout shakes.

Soy Protein

This is a good source of protein for vegetarians! This is a useful source of protein and comes with many benefits to its user. It is loaded with glutamine (to help with recovery),arginine (help dilate blood vessels to allow nutrition to get into the muscles quicker), and  BCAA’s (help with recovery). Soy supports a healthy cholesterol profile due to the isoflavones found in the product. Some research shows that it can boost thyroid hormone output. By doing so, it speeds up your metabolism which aids in fat loss. This type of protein can be used both pre and post workout or anytime throughout the day if you feel like having a snack or meal replacement that’s high in protein.

Milk Protein Isolate

Milk protein isolates contain both casein and whey proteins. If you check out the label on protein bars, yogurt, cereal bars or sports recovery drinks, you may see the ingredient “milk protein isolate.” This substance is a concentrate that provides the same proteins found in fresh milk. Milk protein adds a high-quality boost of amino acids (similar to soy protein) to these products that helps you gain or maintain lean muscle, increases feelings of fullness and enhances their texture.

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And of course you’ll need an awesome bottle to drink your protein shakes from! Be sure to go to our webshop and get the #FITGIRLCODE bottle!

Using protein shakes will not make you gain weight in the sense of “getting fatter” but it will help you get more lean and stronger. Remember, muscle is heavier than fat, so don’t get scared by what your scale might point to! You can read more about the effects of protein powder here.  Was this helpful for you in deciding the type of protein powder to go for? 

3 healthy breakfast mistakes that cause weight gain

We all know it: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Do you feel like you’re eating healthy in the morning but still not managing to lose any weight? Keep reading! There are 3 healthy breakfast mistakes that we’re not all aware of and could even cause weight gain. Wait, what?! Yes! Today I am going to talk with you – my #FITGIRLCODE babes – about the golden rules to a high speed metabolism and fat burning first thing in the morning!

Your breakfast should be the most important meal of the day. I deliberately say ‘should’, because the well-known shouts about having breakfast and initiating your metabolism are pretty much useless when you’re not eating breakfast properly. The following tips will help you to see a valuable change in your body and mind, by eating the right amount of calories and distributing macronutrients properly. So what are the three most commonly made mistakes AND how should you eat breakfast to improve it?

breakfast mistakes

1. You eat too little protein

Eating a considerable amount of high quality protein contributes to a better production of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters send messages to body functions and determine how you feel emotionally. Besides that, they take care of a good memory, alertness and focus. Furthermore, protein rich meals satisfy you more and thus you will have less cravings during the day. Sounds great, right?!

2. You think you eat enough protein

It’s a common mistake that people think they’re consuming a protein rich meal or ingredient while it’s actually not really the case. Take the following popular breakfast meals for example, there’s a common misunderstanding that they are actually rich in protein:

  • Oats with fruit (and seeds and nuts)
  • Yogurt with muesli/fruits
  • Bread with peanut butter/sweet sandwich filling

Yes, all these products contain some protein, but the amount is overestimated. Besides, the quality (biological value) is very low, so you can better choose some other sources of protein. Further on in this article, I will give you some good breakfast options – rich in protein!

3. You skip breakfast

Not having breakfast does not harm your metabolism. Moreover, it will probably make you eat more during the day than when you had your breakfast. In my first argument I mentioned that by having a protein-rich breakfast you will have less cravings during the day, and that’s exactly the reason why it’s so important to NOT skip your breakfast. It is easy to consume 500 extra calories when you feel like snacking.

Any of you out there thinking: What if you skip your breakfast because it’s hard for you to eat something in the morning? Help is here! It’s time to give you three breakfast tips to easily eat a protein rich breakfast.

breakfast mistakes

Three examples of a healthy protein rich breakfast:

Eating enough protein in the morning does not have to be difficult. You can make the following 3 breakfast meals in five minutes and make sure that you have the best possible start of your day!

  • Omelet with spinach, bell pepper, onion and whole wheat bread;
  • Skinny quark with cinnamon, nuts (handful), oats and a piece of fruit;
  • Protein shake with banana, oats, spinach and avocado.

I am a big supporter of integrating veggies into my breakfast meal, simply because you should eat a lot of them each day. They contain a lot of fiber and give you a full feeling. Adding veggies to your smoothie is easy, healthy and tasty! Click here to see my skinny smoothie recipes!

A final piece of advice: breakfast all starts with a decent preparation. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting up five minutes earlier (what we are talking about) and making sure that your fridge is nice and full. Outcome? A happy and energetic YOU! 🙂

Hope you find this blog post helpful!

With love,
Carolina.

P.S. What’s your favorite healthy breakfast? Please tell me in the comment section below!
P.S.2. Don’t forget to head over to the Foodie-ness blog: www.foodie-ness.com

Couscous salad with avocado and feta

Today I’m going to share the recipe of my favourite couscous salad with you. If it was up to me, I’d eat couscous for lunch all day err day. But hey, I know it’s important to variate with your regular meals. Still, I eat this salad at least once a week. It’s just so good… So, are you ready for the (extremely easy) recipe? 

I always prepare this salad the night before I go to the office. I just mix all of the ingredients up in a plastic tray and put it in the fridge. This means I can stay in bed a little longer during the morning… 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 80 grams of couscous
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 6 Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Spring onion
  • Piece of feta
  • Salt & pepper
  • Thyme
  • Honey
  • Olive oil

couscous

  1. Let the couscous soak in boiling water for a couple of minutes. (1 cup of couscous = 1 cup of water)
  2. Cut the avocado, tomatoes, feta and spring union into small pieces.
  3. When the couscous is ready, add one tablespoon of olive oil and a bit of salt, pepper and thyme.
  4. Mix together all of the ingrediënts and add some honey. Seriously, couscous and honey is the best combination ever!

I hope you are all going to enjoy this amazing couscous salad as much as I do! It’s very simple, healthy and easy to make. And these are all pretty basic ingredients which are probably lying around somewhere in your fridge already. Good luck!

Beginner’s guide to flexible dieting

No one really wants to live a life that makes you sad or feeling super guilty when you ‘cheat’ and eat something you’re not supposed to. After all, food is your friend, not your foe. Diets that result in these feelings only work on the short term, while what you really need is a long term solution to set you up for living a healthy and fit life. Thankfully, that’s exactly what flexible dieting (IIFYM) offers.

IIFYM 101: what does it even mean?

Flexible dieting is sometimes also called ‘if it fits your macros’ or IIFYM for short. It has become increasingly popular in the last few years, because it works and the premise is pretty tempting. Being able to be so lean that you have visible abs and a donut too? You won’t believe it till you try it. While it may be true that this lifestyle does allow you freedom in your diet, there are still rules that come into play that require some self-discipline.

It’s all about determining your necessary macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) and eating a diet that satisfies those needs. Whether your goal is to lose weight in general, gain muscle or just look leaner, you will be able to calculate your macronutrient needs as necessary and eat accordingly to make those goals reality.

Planning it out

Flexible dieting means planning your meals around filling up your macro needs. Your needs will decide whether you’ll be eating at a caloric deficit or caloric surplus, depending on if you want to lose weight or gain. Once you know exactly what your body needs, this leaves space for you to treat yourself to a nice dinner or something sweet if you’re into that. And not restricting yourself and your cravings will also make it less likely that you’ll go crazy on a ‘cheat day’ and ruin all that progress you made.

You will still end up eating good foods that are dense in nutrients like lean meats and vegetables, but you will get to plan around your nutrient allowances. If you can make a bacon cheeseburger fit your macros, then you are free to treat yourself to it every once in a while.

Getting started

To determine your macros, the first tool you can use is this Basal Metabolic Rate calculator . It basically lets you know the number of calories you burn if you did absolutely nothing.  Next, include your activity levels using the Harris Benedict Equation to find out your total daily energy expenditure. You can either subtract some calories if you’re looking to lose weight, or add them on if you’re looking to put on some muscle. From then on, the only thing left to do is to track your meals using a calorie counting app.

This is definitely one lifestyle switch to try on your journey to finding out exactly what works for you and your body. It promotes a healthy and sustainable relationship with food, so don’t be afraid to try it out and see how your body responds to it!

Sources: Simply Shredded & Trimmed & Toned

 

What I learned about weight loss

It’s not rocket science and we all know it: if you want to have a killer body just like Doutzen Kroes, you should not live the life of cookie monster. So why do we still all think it’s difficult, complicated or even impossible? Looking back at my own journey of losing 13kg, I can definitely say I made some big mistakes while I truly believed I was doing it all right!  

Especially for the lovely #FITGIRLCODE girls I want to talk about one of my biggest lessons learned. Why? Not because I like to show you my mistakes or “wrong-thinking”, but because I can imagine some girls think the same way and you might keep on struggling with the same weight-loss issues. So if you feel like each weight loss plan fails and ends up with no or slow progress, I hope that me sharing my experience and advice will give you a better understanding and new insights!

Lesson learned: Eat less = weight loss? WRONG!

I used to think that I had to eat less in order to lose weight and lose it fast. I felt so unhappy and sad in my own body that I was willing to try it – and so I did. I started with skipping the junk food, followed by skipping as much calories as I could and beat the hunger as long as I could. From that moment on I started dropping weight like crazy, and looking at the numbers on the scale you would expect me to be happy – right? NO! I soon realized the following:

  1.  I had to continuously consume less calories in order to make the same progress; that’s impossible!
  2.  Still wasn’t losing the fat roll
  3. Though the scale was telling me that I should feel happy, the truth is that I felt terrible! Worse than ever! Weak, pithless and tired. And NOT looking healthy at all!

Truth is…

Here comes the lesson learned! I lost water and no body fat at all. When un-feeding you body, your body has no fuel to function properly. It takes on a kind of “reserve modus” in which the “reserves” are saved as fat. The carb-shortage leaves you feeling tired, weak and pithless. It also causes disturbed sleep, digestion and the color in my face faded more and more. The results of my “eating less approach tactic” didn’t turn out as I expected and definitely wasn’t sustainable.

Never ever-ever-ever will I treat my body this way again! A.) because it’s wrong and B.) because I know better now. Nowadays I’m more happy with how I feel and look and that has all been accomplished by eating.. healthy and a lot! I learned to listen to my body and it made me stronger! Click here to read what I eat on a day and click here to read more about my transformation and see the before and after photos.

A picture says more than a thousand words, so see here my results: the left photo was me eating less calories and the right photo is me eating a lot (healthy food), eating carbs and I weigh 2 kg more.
weight loss

Hope you find this blog post helpful! If you need any tips, we’ve set up 5 tips for fat loss here.

With love,
Carolina.

P.S. Questions? Feel free to raise them in the comment section below or head over to the Foodie-ness blog: www.foodie-ness.com

5 Everyday Fit Girl Problems

Being a Fit Girl is awesome! You feel super healthy as you sit down with your bowl of kale salad (guilty!). You’re also secretly just a bit proud when you buy almost only fruits, grains and veggies at the supermarket.  And you feel incredibly sexy the day after you’ve exercised. You might even set off a metal detector with your abs of steel! Sometimes though, your friends don’t manage to be on the same vibe as you and you may find yourself on the receiving end of some jokes about your Fit Girl habits.

I’m not the only one experiencing this, right? Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends, but some of their jokes really make me want to throw a high-fiber cream pie in their faces. I often catch myself on the defensive “haha, noo, I’m not that much of a Fit Girl!” But really, that gets me nowhere. So what if I am? I’m curious if you all can relate to the most common Fit girl problems (all are true stories bro)!

When you post a super healthy and Instagram-worthy salad and your friends talk it to death in your group Whatsapp.

The salad in question. This picture was later used as a rebuttal to when I once claimed that I wasn’t “such a die-hard Fit Girl.”

When you haven’t seen someone in a while, and the first thing they do is poke your stomach and ask “how is it going with your abs?”

Thank you for inquiring about the well-being of my abdominal muscles. I haven’t seen them in a while, but I’m sure that everything is going well with them. Maybe they’re a bit in shock from the unexpected poke.

When you want to eat a pizza and someone says “But you can’t eat that as a Fit Girl, right?”

Oh watch me.  I like to always choose the biggest and fattiest pizza there is, just to prove them wrong.

When there’s a sleepover, and you suggest a healthy breakfast, and your idea gets completely bashed.

And then they say “We’ll pick up some Greek yogurt for you”. No, it doesn’t matter anymore. I’d rather eat my shoe.

When it comes to sports and someone says “you don’t have time for that”.

1) Are you implying that I don’t have a life? And 2) I make time for things, that is something different. Byeee.

I have to admit that I find my friends super sweet. Thankfully, I have a healthy dose of humor and can laugh about it with them. What Fit Girl problems do you experience? Or do you have some more to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!

How to have the best Valentine’s Day ever

valentijnsdiner

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you may already be bombarded by commercials and a gazillion articles about the “perfect Valentine’s day date”. Like you really need to be reminded that you’re single. But fret not, because one, you’re not alone. Two, the expectations never live up to reality and three, there’s nothing wrong with being an independent woman that don’t need no man.

At #FITGIRLCODE, what really matters is a healthy mind and a healthy body. So that’s why we’re here to remind you that you’re pretty great and that you should focus on giving yourself some love this holiday too. Let’s be real, you deserve it. I know; sometimes this is easy to forget when you’re surrounded by people going crazy about finding a date, or wondering what their perfect boyfriend is going to do for them. But what really matters is what you’re doing for yourself. And no, you’re not going to die alone or become a crazy cat lady, stop worrying!

TREAT YOSELF

If you’re single this Vday, why don’t you plan a date for yourself? You’ll be in complete control and you know it’ll be great because of that. There’s no pressure to have that romantic comedy type of night looming over your head anymore. Think about it. Who knows you and what you enjoy better than yourself? There’s no room for disappointments here. (Sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on sounds like a perfect date for me personally…)

Step two is to look in a mirror and dole out some compliments! You’ve got to love the skin you’re in. It’s basically the glue that holds you together, so it should be treated to some lovin’. Do you love your smile? Your hair? Ah, I got it. It’s your knees, isn’t it? Build your confidence and fill yourself with so much love that there’s no way that images toting “the perfect body” have any effect on you. You’ve already got the perfect body for you.

And if there’s something you don’t like, you have the tools to improve it. With a healthy mind and on a high from a successful Valentine’s Day, you can approach your physical health in a much more constructive way. Once you love yourself, it only makes sense that you’ll be good to yourself and make those kind of decisions that make you happy.

Lastly, of course, there’s the gift. Round up your self-love holiday with the perfect little gift, courtesy of Jogha. Right now, special Valentine’s day e-gift cards are available to make sure that you look as good as you feel when you hit the gym. A girl’s got to splurge on herself every now and then, you know?

So come February 14th, take out a toast to you. To your wit, your personality, your kind soul. To your curvy build, to your intellect, to those sexy knees you’ve got. To your slim physique, that hair, and that infectious laugh of yours. Whatever you’ve got, it’s perfect! 

Face Mapping: how to listen to your acne

Struggling with acne that just won’t go away? If you’ve tried everything you can think of, and still can’t get rid of those stubborn pimples, then perhaps the causes are more than skin deep.

There’s a theory held by traditional Chinese medicine called Mien Sheng that is still around today. In this view, you can infer a lot about someone’s health (and even their personality) from just looking at their face. If your skin is pale, you may need to incorporate some more iron into your diet or if you have dark circles under your eyes, you need to get some more sleep.  Besides that, each zone on the face correlates with a certain internal organ. So, when you have persistent acne that always pops up in the same places, this can be a sign of an underlying issue in some other organ in your body.

What does it mean?

  • The forehead: When the bulk of your acne accumulates here, this might be linked to issues in your digestive system. If your body is not able to properly break down certain foods, this could be allowing toxins to build up. So kick out some of those greasy or fatty foods and replace it with more antioxidant rich foods and drinks like green tea and lemon infused water.
  • On your cheeks: Spots that pop up here are linked to the lungs and can be caused by allergies and breathing in polluted air. If you’re a smoker or breathe in a lot of smoke, it’s a good idea to cut back on that exposure!
  • Your nose: Acne here can be an indication of an imbalanced diet, or show that you’re suffering from high blood pressure or bad circulation. Keep your blood pressure stable by watching your cholesterol intake and keeping your stress levels low.
  • Sides of the chin: This area is linked to your reproductive system and your kidneys. Leading up to your menstrual cycle, you may experience more breakouts here than normal. That part is pretty hard to control, but what you can do is minimize your stress. Stress causes your kidneys to do more work than necessary, so calm down, drink lots of water and eat as many vegetables as you can.

Do note, however, that there are also external factors that play a role, like touching your face regularly with dirty hands or not washing your face every night. These are just some starting points to help you figure out where your problems lie, and shouldn’t negate medical advice.

Sources: annmariegianni.com & davidwolfe.com

5 easy peasy lunch recipes

I want to make myself happy every day with a delicious lunch. That’s why I dive into my kitchen and get prepping during the evening for the next day before I go and enjoy my late night snack. But it doesn’t have to take all evening, you just need to do some necessary preparation. Today I want to share 5 easy peasy lunch recipes for you to take a moment each day and truly enjoy your lunch!

MEAL PREPPING LUNCH RECIPES, YES OR NO?

I often get the question if I practice meal prepping. The answer is no, but that’s not because I’m against eating the same thing every day. As some of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen, I have oatmeal for breakfast every day. But why I do not do meal prepping? It’s very simple. I find it nice to try something new in my kitchen every evening. I discover new recipes and not only do I have a nice lunch the next day, it’s my daily relaxation moment! A win-win situation! Today I share 5 of my favourite lunch recipes so tonight you can also dive into the kitchen and prepare a healthy meal.

WRAPS WITH SMOKED SALMON

Wraps are very high on my list of favourite products. You can vary them endlessly and they are ideal to take with you for a packed lunch.

Ingredients

  • Two wraps
  • 2 tablespoons light cream cheese
  • 25 grams of rucola
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large green onion
  • 50 grams of smoked salmon
  • 30 ml of yoghurt
  • 5 ml mustard
  •  pepper and salt

Preparation
Spread the cream cheese on the wraps. Cut the tomato and spring onion into your preferred size and place some on each wrap along along with the rucola and smoked salmon. Finally, create a dressing of yoghurt and mustard and spread over the whole lot. Add some salt and pepper to finish it off and your lunch is ready lunch!

lunch recipes

SPINACH COUSCOUS SALAD

Aside from wraps, couscous is something I like to eat several times a week. What makes it perfect for lunch recipes is not only is it easy to make, but also because you can make so many tasty, different combinations!

Ingredients

  • 75 grams couscous (uncooked)
  • 75 ml of boiling water
  • 100 grams of chicken breast
  • 2 good handfuls of fresh spinach
  • half a pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 spring onion
  • oregano, salt and pepper

Preparation:
Cut the chicken into small pieces and fry in a pan until cooked. Pour the boiling water over the couscous and leave covered for three minutes (with some foil or a lid.. Meanwhile, cut the pepper, tomato, spring onion and spinach to the desired size. Stir the couscous, then add chicken and all the other ingredients. Finally add the spices. I’m sure you will get envious glances when you are eating this one.

lunch recipes

MEXICAN SALAD

This salad was conceived by accident. The night before I had a dinner made with mince and rice. Since I had a fair amount of it left over, I decided to keep it. When I went to the kitchen to make my lunch for the next day, the idea for this Mexican salad suddenly popped into my mind!

Ingredients

  • 100 grams of lean ground beef
  • 35 grams of sweetcorn
  • half an onion
  • 1 tomato
  • Half a mozzarella ball (light)
  • 1 spring onion
  • 70 grams kidney beans
  • 2 good handfuls of iceberg lettuce
  • 30 grams of cucumber
  • handful of sunflower seeds
  • Mexican spices, salt and pepper

Preparation
Brown the meat in a pan with some Mexican spices. Meanwhile, cut the tomato, onion, mozzarella, spring onion, lettuce and cucumber in the desired size. Add the onion, tomatoes, kidney beans and corn to the pan and wait for a delicious stew to cook until everything is heated through. Once cooked it is time to add the mozzarella. Wait until it begins to melt and then remove the pan from the heat. Allow the contents of the pan to cool and mix with the remaining ingredients for a tasty salad!

lunch recipes

SALAD WITH SWEET POTATO

Sweet potato, who doesn’t at this nowadays?! I remember very well when I didn’t, it always looked very dirty at the supermarket, so I never wanted to try it. But once I decided to taste anyway, I was immediately sold. Hence this salad with sweet potato!

Ingredients

  • 1 good handful of iceberg lettuce
  • 1 good handful of fresh spinach
  • 100 grams of chicken breast
  • 100 grams of sweet potato
  • half an avocado
  • 30 grams of cucumber
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 spring onion
  • 30 ml fat free yoghurt
  • 5 ml mustard
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:
Cut the chicken breasts into chunks and fry until cooked. Do the same with the sweet potato. In the meantime, chop the iceberg lettuce, spinach, avocado, cucumber, tomato and spring onion into desired size. You could also try a honey-mustard dressing on it instead by mixing in some honey with the yoghurt and mustard. Let the chicken breast and sweet potato to cool down, when they are ready and mix them with all the other ingredients. If you prepare the salad the night before, take the dressing in a separate container so the salad stays crunchy!

lunch recipes

CRACKERS WITH TURKEY BREAST

Whenever I have lunch at home, I eat something that is more difficult to bring to the office. Crackers quickly go soggy when you take them with you so I like to have those when I’m eating lunch at home!

Ingredients

  • 3 crackers
  • 30 grams light cream cheese
  • 6 slices of turkey breast
  • a handful of rucola
  • salt and pepper

Preparation
Spread crackers with cream cheese, turkey breast and rucola. Finally, add some salt and pepper! Easy peasy.

lunch recipes

Are you inspired to dive into the kitchen and make these delicious lunch recipes? Let me see your creative ideas by tagging me @estrellavtoor and of course @Fitgirlcode on Instagram! If you’re looking for more of my easy recipes that support an active lifestyle, get yourself the Fitgirlcode guide with 80 delicious recipes!

10 easy ways to stay healthy on a budget

Staying healthy on a budget. Even though it seems impossible for some people, it certainly is not. In fact it is very easy to live healthy on a budget. Especially if you take some time to plan your meals and groceries. These easy tips could help you to save some money!

A lot of people who are starting to make their diet more healthy, struggle with expensive groceries. Fresh fruit & veggies, meals that contain fish and homemade snacks… This does sound quite a bit pricey, but if you take some time to plan it’s actually really affordable. Buying healthy food without a clear plan will often lead to you paying a fine price for your food.

HOW TO DO HEALTHY ON A BUDGET

1. Eat seasonably

When you’re planning on eating mango’s regularly during winter, this obviously isn’t very budget friendly. Oranges and mandarins are very cheap during winter, though. So make sure you spend some time selecting fruits and veggies that most readily available in that season. This is by far one of the easiest ways to eat healthy on a budget, it will save you quite some money each week!

2. Less is more

My meals often contain about 5 ingredients. Sometimes even less. When it comes to cooking my motto is ‘less is more.’ Of course a healthy salad made out of shrimps, avocado, fresh thyme and almonds will be quite expensive. Try to pick just one of these ingredients and then combine them with cheaper food to make saving on a scrummy meal.

3. Eat oats regularly

Starting off your day with a bowl of oats is very healthy and so cheap. I eat oats for breakfast everyday. Sometimes I use oats in my smoothie but during winter I love to eat a bowl of hot oats. It gives me a very satisfied feeling until lunch time. We love to share our favourite oat recipes on the blog, so make sure you check out our breakfast page!

4. Mix & Match

If I get myself a pack of fresh salmon, I make sure I use it a couple of times a week. The same goes for sweet potatoes. I love to make fries out of them for dinner and I also use them to make these pancakes for breakfast. You will save quite a lot of money if you use the same ingredient several times in one week. The possibilities are endless but you need to try and think outside the box a little. 🙂 You could for instance make your own simple version of granola.

5. Don’t buy pre-packed food

Although those pre-packed cookies are delicious and easy, they aren’t that cheap. And most of them are quite unhealthy as well. It’s very easy to make your own bananabread which will last en entire week. It contains only a couple of budget friendly ingredients. Easy peasy!

healthy on a budget

6. Make a plan

When you prepare well before doing groceries you will save some cash. Make a shopping list and plan out your meals and recipes. This will make it less tempting to buy stuff you really don’t need. Not only will this save you money but also a lot of time in the supermarket. Score!

7. Store your food the right way

About 14% of the groceries in Holland go unopened and into the garbage bin. What a shame! Products which are thrown away most often are fruit, vegetables and bread. We should actually all start to invest some time in learning about how to store your food the right way. Vegetables need their own space in the fridge. So don’t just lay them underneath your meat & cheese. And some kinds of fruit & veggies (mango’s, melons, bananas and avocado) belong on the kitchen counter. If you’re afraid your bananas will decay soon, peel them, cut them and put them into the freezer. This way you can even use them for a nice smoothie!

8. Arrive fashionably late at the market

Even though it’s quite a lot of fun to go to the market in the mornings, it’s not the most clever option. When you visit one hour before it closes, everything will be a lot cheaper. I always go around 4 o’clock on a Monday afternoon. This way I can get myself a nice stock of fruit & vegetables that will last the entire week.

9. Check the freezers

Raspberries and forest fruits can be quite expensive, unfortunately. But they’re a lot cheaper when you check out the freezer at your supermarket. I always stock a couple of bags of frozen fruit in my freezer that I use for breakfast. These bags are perfect for lazy fit girls like me. You can also find quite a lot of mixed veggies in the freezer. Delicious and cheap, YAY!

10. Become a couponing pro

With a little time and attention to detail, it is true that any average shopper can lower his or her grocery budget. Subscribe to your local supermarket via email or post to keep up with the offers. And ask your friends to help you out when you need some more coupons! Nowadays it’s even easier to save up coupons with the help of apps on your phone too as they offer different deals each week.

You’ll definitely save some money if you put these tips into action the next time you go shopping. Share your own ultimate saving tips in the comments below because all Fit Girls love to know how to stay healthy on a budget!

Running recovery: Liberty’s journey

It’s been a while since my last post here on #FITGIRLCODE… Weeks have passed and I finally started to run again. Those of you who read my very first blogpost know that I started my yoga journey because of running. Injury stopped me from getting out there for some time, but now I’m back on track.

My Running journey

I used to run 3 to 4 times a week for a long time. I discovered yoga along the way and wanted to deepen my practice, which resulted in less running and of course more yoga. Yoga not only made me stronger physically, but also mentally. There were days where I would put on my trainers and run a 10K without practising or building up on the distance. Mentally I was strong and determined, so before I knew it I would pass 5K and continue running for a few more K’s. Daily yoga practice also increased my lung capacity which made me capable of running even longer, without getting out of breath.

Sadly after months of intense physical practice and exercise I injured my knee and stopped running. I though a few months of rest would be enough to recover, but that was not the case. After months and months of avoiding running, I decided to get back on track and start again.

running running

Road to recovery

A good friend of mine helped me with some exercises that would make my legs stronger, and ready to rack up those K’s again. Also a few deep tissue massages really helped my muscles to recover. I started all over again. Exercises for strong legs (I use the NTC app), daily stretching and slowly picking up distance. I started with long walks, followed by speed walking and eventually back to running. From 1 to 2K, 2 to 3K, and so on. Listening to my body and stopping whenever I feel like it became too much is what I did. There are many ways to recover, but this is what worked for me. I’m happy to say that I finally have my running back under control and I’m feeling great. I try to run 2 – 3x per week (depending on how much free time I have) and still practice yoga every day. I also foam-roll and do some specific yoga stretches after my run.

Just like yoga, running makes me feel alive and present. It doesn’t matter how far of fast you go. Just go out there and start again. Make sure to check out my next post “Yoga for Runners” for some good stretches.

xoxo

Liberty