The Fitgirlcode Guide

We’re proud to let you know that we are currently working on our second English guide, the Happy Healthy Guide! Our first guide, the Fitgirlcode Guide, did so well that we decided it was time to make another one. Before we introduce you to the Happy Healthy Guide (which is coming soon!), we thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone of what the current Fitgirlcode Guide has to offer and let the ones who havent gotten it yet catch up 😉 

Together with the help of nutrition, fitness and mindfulness experts, we have created an eight-week guide that gives you the tools to make the best choices for your body and mind so that you can achieve your goals and unlock your personal code to a healthy lifestyle.

WHAT IS IN THE GUIDE?

  • 8-week workout schedule (no gym equipment)
  • 8-week eating plan with shopping lists
  • 8-week mindfulness program
  • Mindfulness audio exercises
  • Happiness Journal to track your progress
  • More than 80 easy and delicious recipes

fitgirlcode guide

WHY IS THE FITGIRLCODE GUIDE UNIQUE?

You can find so many ebooks on the internet about how to live a healthy lifestyle. Some are free and others cost you a fortune, but none of them are like ours. Since the launch of Fitgirlcode in 2014, we have listened to all of your questions and problems, and from this we have created a guide that fits into your busy schedule and allows you to fully enjoy your life! Our guide is a good way to kick-start your healthy lifestyle. But, what happens after you complete the guide? During those eight weeks, you will learn that healthy living is mainly about making the right choices. When you finish the guide, you will have enough knowledge to continue this new way of life on their own.

fitgirlcode guide

By this point we know how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and we really want to share that knowledge with you! We will explain to you why you should never trust the scale and the importance of Before and After photos. In the guide you will also find full-body workout schedules with workouts for advanced Fit Girls and Fit Girls who are just starting out.

In the guide you can also find complete and balanced food schedules. These schedules are created based on macro- and micronutrients. What the heck are those, you ask? You will learn all about it in the guide 😉 When designing the schedules we didn’t want to include any difficult, hard to find ingredients either. We know you all lead busy lives!

Last but not least: the mindfulness part. Through mindfulness exercises you will learn to manage stressful situations. Eventually, you will find out the effects of your new lifestyle on your mind. Inner change is perhaps even more important than external changes! For eight weeks, you will be accompanied by exercises that will give you support and a helping hand in dealing with many different situations.

HAPPINESS JOURNAL

Being happy and healthy is not only determined by your appearance. With the Happiness Journal you can measure and track how you have been feeling. The bottom line is that you should be honest with yourself – even if you have experienced some not-so-Fit-Girl moments. It’s impossible for everything to be perfect, and that’s okay.

fitgirlcode guide

THE PERFECT GIFT FOR FIT GIRLS!

You can download the Fitgirlcode Guide right now and have it immediately. We challenge you to join our fit journey. Maybe you know someone else who always says she wants to be fit and healthy but doesn’t know where to start. Invite her to join too! Even better, start the challenge together!

Join the 65,000 women in our community #FITGIRLCODE and encourage each other to be the fittest version of yourself by using the hashtag #FITGIRLCODEGUIDE on Instagram. Put on your finest sports outfit, drag our BFFF with you to the gym and start your own Fit Journey

5 exercises for the lower abs

Is your goal to tighten your stomach area or loose a little weight? Here are 5 perfect exercises to tone your lower abs. While the upper abs are relatively ‘easy’ to build, the lower abs can be more challenging. The lower abs mostly hide in a cozy layer of body fat which makes them hard to see and frustrating to develop. These 5 exercises are great to do at home or at the gym and don’t take a lot of time. You only need a weight, such as a dumbbell, kettle bell or plate. Let’s grow some abs!

Weighted crunches

The crunch is a well known exercise. Lots of people like to do this one because it’s easy to figure out. Just lay down on your back like with a normal sit-up. The difference with the sit-up is that you don’t come all the way up. With a crunch you only come halfway up and go back down again. This is where you keep your core tight and you don’t release that muscle tension when you sit up straight. Now get a dumbbell, plate or kettle bell. Keep it, with straight arms, above your chest and do a crunch again. You will immediately feel that there is more tension in your core. Take it easy because you don’t want the weight to crush down on you. Always look at the ceiling above you instead of trying to look over your knees as this will hurt your neck.

Reversed crunches

Start by laying flat on a mat and resting your arms parallel to the floor, palms down. Rest your hands on the floor lightly and do not use them to push off. Raise your legs off the floor in a bent knee position. In a slow, steady and controlled movement, use the strength of the lower abdominals to bring the knees close to the chest so that your butt lifts slightly off the ground. It’s important to do this slowly, because toning occurs less from repetitions and more from consistent tension. Keep your muscles flexed. Slowly release to the starting position and repeat.

Leg lifts

Start by laying flat on a mat with your legs straight and your hands (palms down) beneath your booty. Keeping your hands underneath there provides back support and balance for this exercise. Keeping your ab muscles contracted, slightly bend your knees as you slowly lift your legs into a nearly vertical position. Don’t lock your knees, which cuts off the blood flood flow in your legs. Hold this position as you inhale. Lower your legs slowly until they almost touch the ground. Hold them there and breathe. Repeat this as many times as you can or try to make sets of 10 for example.

Plank

The plank is an allround and full body exercise which can make your core (abs and lower back) really strong. If you want to know more about planking, the do’s and the don’ts, go to my previous back to basics article about planking.

Eat healthy food

Wait, what? I know this isn’t an exercise but it is REALLY important to grow some decent abs. Stop eating so much crap and you will notice a difference real soon! Good ab foods include: salmon, almond, berries, yoghurts, quinoa, rice, turkey and natural peanut butter.

As you can see, the exercises aren’t that hard. Unfortunately there isn’t a lower ab fairy who is going to just bring you some. But, it’s your determination that will decide if you can grow some pretty lower abs. With some sweat, equipment and a LOT of patience I’m sure you can get them! 

Healthy homemade Nutella

Healthy homemade nutella! Everyone who has been following me for a while knows that this is my absolute number 1 guilty pleasure, or actually, addiction. Nutella should actually be one of my basic needs, I need it to lead a happy life. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but it is just so incredibly delicious! Big thanks to the inventor of Nutella. I always have a big jar of it in my cupboard, but I keep that one for my cheat day (at least I try).

Fortunately, I finally found a healthy replacement that I can eat guilt-free! I have to admit, it is still a bit high in calories, but counting calories is not what we want, right? 😉 It’s full of healthy nutrients and that is what really counts for your body.

This is what you need:

  • 1 1/3 cups hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

nutella (1)

How to make it:

  • Preheat oven to 374 °F. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them until they are fragrant en dark. This takes about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through the roasting process. Beware that you don’t over-bake the nuts; they must not turn black!
  • If you haven’t removed the skin from the hazelnuts, remove it after roasting them. Let the nuts cool to room temperature first. Put them in a bowl and put another bowl on top of it. Shake it well so the skins come off.
  • Put the hazelnuts without the skin in a food processor and pulse for about 5 minutes until you get a smooth paste. Stir the paste every minute so the nuts can release their oils and become a buttery paste.
  • Add the cacao, almond milk, vanilla extract, salt and honey and mix it well until it becomes smooth again. The paste has to become soft and shiny. This will take about 2 minutes.
  • The quantities in this recipe are enough for a small jar of ‘nutella’ of roughly 1/2 a cup. If you keep it in the refrigerator it remains good for a week, for sure!

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

www.inlovewithhealth.com

Tips against hay fever

Unfortunately, hay fever season has started again. A large part of the population is snotty, constantly coughing, sneezing, and going through life with tingling and irritated eyes. In addition to anti-hay fever pills, there are a couple of other ways you can reduce the symptoms of hay fever. They wont help you get rid of it completely but these tips will make the spring and summer months a little more bearable and sneeze-free. Fingers crossed!

Find out what exactly you’re allergic to

By knowing which exact pollen you are allergic to, you can keep an eye on what days you are most affected by it. This way, you can start on time with taking your medicine. This can be monitored through paying attention to bloom periods but there are also a lot of useful apps and websites that show what pollen are most likely to be present in the air during the day and in the region. To find out what pollen has the biggest effect on you, you could also do an allergy test at your general practitioner.

Go outside at the ‘right times’

In the morning and after rain has fallen, there are relatively fewer amount of pollen in the air. Do you want to go out for groceries or a walk in the park? Plan your these activities at a time where your hay fever wont play up as much. Also, think about where you’re going. For some outdoor activities it is better to stay in town rather than go to the suburbs or a foresty area with lots of grass and pollen.

Keep your bedroom pollen-free

Because pollen is in the air, it blows everywhere and can also come on your clothes and hair. Try to keep your bedroom as pollen-free as possible by throwing your clothes right in the laundry basket and brushing your hair before going to sleep. This reduces the chance of them going onto your pillow, where you have to lay in pollen all night. Taking a shower before going to bed reduces the chance even more. Alternatively, you can place a (special anti-pollen) screen in front of the windows of your house and regularly vacuum the place.

Don’t rub your eyes

Of course, it’s an incredibly satisfying feeling to rub your eyes after all that irritation and itchiness. But, don’t do it! Yes, it will lighten up the itchy feeling but only for about 5 seconds and then it starts all over again. In fact, it may even cause the itchiness to get worse. This is because you are rubbing all the pollen on your hand into your eye. Can you really not take the itching anymore? Then use a wet washcloth to place it on your eyes and get some relief.

Protect your face

If you’re going outside all day anyways, there are a few tips to protect your face from pollen as much as possible. For instance, you can wear sunglasses to protect your eyes as much as possible. The best thing is to go for a pair with a large frame. You can also smear some Vaseline under your nose. The pollen will stick to the Vaseline and will not end up in your nose or airways.

Don’t let pollen enter your home

There are a couple of tricks to keep your home as pollen-free as possible. For example, if you have pets, make sure to brush and wash them regularly, especially when they go outside. Dogs love to roll around in that freshly mowed grass, but if they sleep close to you in the evening, you are in for a bad night. Also, make sure not to dry your laundry outside due to the pollen that can easily stick to the wet fabric. In addition, it is a good idea not to buy any flowers during the hay fever period (unless you are sure that you are not allergic to that particular plant).

Do you have any tips against hay fever? Share them with us in the comments so others can benefit from it too!

Sleep: the second best workout

Some of us love it, some of us hate it. But the fact is: we all need it. And no, we are not talking about chocolate, we are talking about sleep. We spent about 1/3 of our lives sleeping, and no, it’s not a waste of time. I’m going to tell you why sleep is so important, how to make sure you get enough of it and what happens when you don’t. Some of us function with only 4 hours of sleep while others need at least 8 decent hours before you can even say a word to them. There have been lots of scientific studies around the topic of sleep, which have resulted in many different theories. To this day there still isn’t a single and correct answer to why we sleep and how much we really need. 

What does sleep do to our body? 

Sleep is known as a life sustaining activity (just like eating). It’s a protective mechanism that our body developed. Just like not having any food makes us hungry, not having any sleep makes us tired. Even if you move over twenty times in your sleep, your muscles stay relaxed. This gives your muscle tissue the opportunity to restore and repair themselves. While we sleep, our heart rate and blood pressure slow down so that our vascular system can get the rest that it needs. Long story short: your body is being recharged overnight.

What does sleep do to our mind?

Our mind is a miracle and some parts of it are still one big mystery for many researchers. However, one thing they seem to agree on is the fact that sleep has a ‘behind-the-scene’ function. It boosts our memory (even a small power nap can do that) by reorganising and refreshing our thoughts while we think about riding pink fluffy unicorns and having abs of steel 😉 During sleep, brain activity is not interfered with other ‘outside’ experiences and information, giving it an opportunity to use all of its capacity to reorganize and refresh itself.

What happens when we lack sleep?

There is a chemical in our brain that tells us when we are tired, it’s called adenosine. Adenosine is build up while you are awake and the amount of it grows. The larger the amount of adenosine, the more likely you will feel tired and have the desire to sleep. When we sleep our body clears the amount of adenosine in our system in order for us to feel fresh and renewed when we wake up. And then we have caffeine, which does the opposite of adenosine. Although we do not recommend it, it does help to (temporarely) overcome sleepiness but it’s only a short-term solution because the amount of adenosine stays the same and kicks back in when caffeine decides to leave the body.

Here are 5 facts that we dislike about the lack of sleep:

  1. Higher risk of accidents. Due to drowsiness causing slower reaction times, you are more likely to make mistakes that could even be dangerous.
  2. Dumbs you down. Lack of sleep won’t make you a smart ass, in fact, it slows down your alertness, concentration, reasoning en problem solving.
  3. Kills your bedroom skills. Lack of sleep lowers your libido en limits your interest in some one-on-one cardio. You gotta keep the vibes going!
  4. Skin-ageing. When you don’t get enough sleep your body releases more of the hormone cortisol, also known as the stress-hormone. That means no young and shiny skin as well as panda-bear eyes without even wearing mascara.
  5. Weight gain. You snooze, you lose! Sleep seems to be related to appetite. If you sleep less than 6 hours a day you have a higher risk of developing obesity over time as lack of sleep stimulates cravings for high-fat and high-carbs food.

Sleeping and working out

Every decent fitness program should include some advice on sleep. It’s a crucial aspect if we talk about working out. The amount of sleep you get can have a big impact on your athletic performances. Let’s see how sleep and working out are tied together. Anyone who wants muscle definition should definitely make sure to take enough rest at night. At night your body releases growth hormones and you can maximize this hormone production by getting enough sleep.

Every time you lift weights at the gym, tiny cracks are created in the tissues of your muscles. When the cracks get restored by the body, you gain strength and size. Most of these repairing mechanism occur during sleep. If you want to build lean muscle you have to get enough sleep. When your sleep levels are low, your metabolism gets slowed down. This results in messed up blood levels (such as glucose), which can make you feel constantly hungry even if you have eaten a lot already.

Sleep tight!

Although we all need different amounts of sleep, the average amount of time is around 7 hours. If you sleep (a lot) less than 7 hours you will have a higher risk in developing some of the factors mentioned above and we do not want that to happen. Some things that can help you get the right amount of sleep is creating the right environment with a comfy bed, soft lighting and a low temperature. You can also try to get yourself into a routine so that your body gets used to going to sleep at a certain time and it will feel natural. Also, you can start tracking your sleep and start making improvements in your sleep cycle! Check out this oura ring review !

Don’t eat or drink too much before going to bed. Your digestive system will get to work, making it harder to fall asleep because your energy levels rise. If you are hungry (which we, Fit Girls, are quite often if we’re honest 😉 ) keep the amount of food you consume before bed small and avoid high-fat foods. For help finding the right mattress for you, we recommend visiting Consumer Mattress Guide, as they offer a ton of great resources to get a better night’s sleep.

So for all of you Fit Girls out there, get your sheet (get it, sheets?) together and hit the sack!

 

Pink rice with tomatoes

Last Friday I really felt like eating fried rice. It’s so tempting to go to the Chinese take-away, but I wanted to make a healthy version so I ran into the kitchen. This dish of pink tomato rice is not only super healthy, it also looks adorable. I just have to share it with you, a true Fit Girl dinner.

I love fried rice, because it’s a dish that contains everything I like; rice, meat, vegetables and herbs. Traditionally, the rice should be baked in oil but for for this recipe I choose to cook the rice. While the rice is cooking, add ½ a beet cut in cubes. This will make the rice turn pink and make your plate look adorable.

For this fried rice, I like to use a lot of vegetables, such as tomatoes. The tomato is filled with vitamin C, zinc, iron but most of all lycopene, a very powerful antioxidant. Also, tomatoes stimulate the production of pro collagen, a protein that makes your skin glimmer and shine. Apart from the vegetables, this dish also contains a lot of fresh herbs. I love herbs because they add so much taste to your dish and they are filled with a lot of healthy nutrients. For this dish particularly, I like to use coriander. This herb contains a lot of iron, which is good for your blood, reduces the growth of bacteria and improves the digestion.

What you need:

– 1/4 cup whole-wheat rice
– 3 1/2 ounces cauliflower
– 3 1/2 ounces broccoli
– 1 cup (roughly 7 ounces) different kinds of baby tomatoes (mixed)
– 1 onion
– 1 garlic clove
– Fresh coriander
– 1 beetroot
– 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon of (vegetable or meat broth) herbs
– Salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
– 1 teaspoon of soy sauce

nasi

How to make it:

– Cook 1/4 cup of whole-wheat rice as instructed, together with one beetroot (cut in cubes) and some salt.

– Take a different pan and boil the cauliflower and broccoli.

– Cut an onion in small pieces and cook it in a pan. When the onion is golden, add a squeezed clove of garlic. Cut the tomatoes in small pieces and add it to the onion and garlic.

– When the rice is done, add it to the tomatoes together with the cauliflower and broccoli.

– Finish it off with adding a little soy sauce, lemon juice, coriander and other herbs.

Enjoy!

Omega 3 supplements

Don’t immediately run off when reading the word ‘supplements’. I know most of us are not a huge fan of this word as we tend to associate it with bodybuilding or steroids, but there are actually some healthy supplements that can support you on your fit journey! So, don’t write them off just yet. One of these good supplements is omega 3, also known as fish oil. I will tell you about the pros and cons of omega 3 supplements from my personal experience with them.

Remember when I wrote about protein shakes? I started drinking them and discovered that they have a lot of benefits when you’re working out regularly – maybe some of you have changed your perspective on it as well. Well, it turns out that there are more healthy supplements that are good for you and will help your through your fit journey. I want to emphasize the word healthy, as I will never feed my body crap in order to make it look fitter. That’s definitely not the way to go! Luckily for you and me, there are good supplements out there as well. So, what do we know about omega 3 so far? You’re probably sick of commercials idealizing their products by claiming “it is super rich in omega 3” or “contains the recommended daily dosis”. Although they may or may not be lying about their product, omega 3 really is good for you.

What is Omega 3?

Omega 3 is a collection of polyunsaturated fat, a fatty acid that lowers your cholesterol and reduces inflammation throughout your body. Let’s get a bit scientifical: the fatty acids found in omega 3 are eicosapentaenic acid (EPA), docosahexanoic acid (DHA), found in fish, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in plants. EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids which the body does not produce by itself. That’s why it’s important to get them from foods or supplements. You can find high doses in fish like salmon, tuna and herring, so if you already eat a lot of fish then don’t overdo it by taking supplements (howstuffworks.com). If you are not into the omega 3-rich sea creatures, let me tell you why it would be beneficial for you to take omega 3 supplements.

Omega 3…

  • Reduces the chance of cardiovascular disease
  • Decreases the risk of arrythmias (an abnormal heartbeat)
  • Prevents blood clots from forming
  • Slightly lowers your blood pressure
  • Improves your learning abilities and memory (good for when you want to concur the world someday)
  • Protects your brain against depression and other mood disorders
  • Improves the health of your skin

That’s nice and all, but how does it help you get fit, you might wonder. Omega 3 helps your body to burn fat, increases your insulin sensitivity which causes your body to store less fat, and it keeps your joints and muscles supple. Basically, it helps you turn into a fat-burning machine – even if you’re sitting down. Sounds promising, doesn’t it? But do remember that I’m not an expert in this so I do not know whether this has been proven scientifically, and you will probably not be able to see tangible changes by solely taking more omega 3. Also, there may be some cons that you might experience as well:

  • Unpleasant aftertaste
  • Fish-tasting tiny burps (Ewl! Sounds gross)
  • Mild diarrhea (if you take too much on one day)
  • Rashes

These are symptoms that you may or may not encounter, they do not happen to everybody. For example, I haven’t experienced any of these myself (yet?). I take one capsule a day with my breakfast, so that probably covers up the unpleasant aftertaste. Regarding the other cons – figure out what your body needs and how it reacts, you can always adjust the dosis or decide to take in your omega 3 dosis through food. If you’re interested, you can try out these capsules from MyVitamins.

I’m curious to hear what you think about omega 3 supplements. What are your experiences with them? Let us know in the comments! 

Michelle’s fit journey

We always love to put a Fit Girl in the spotlight who has experienced a special Fit Journey. She shares her ups and downs, tips and tricks, annoyances, good and bad habits and hopes to inspire you to also become the fittest version of yourself. If she can do it, then you can too!

From being a regular customer at gas stations known the get snacks, to eating healthy, balanced meals: Michelle has experienced a great fit journey! In total, Michelle lost 55 pounds and she looks absolutely great. The insecurity she has had has gone away due to her new lifestyle. Today she is sharing her story with us and she hopes to inspire and motivate others!

fit journey

What was the reason you decided to change it all around?

I noticed my clothes became a lot tighter, my largest pants I did not fit me anymore and the pain in my ankle (due to an ankle fracture in 2009) increased considerably.

Who or what motivated you? 

Instagram! I made an Instagram account and started to follow all kinds of Fit Girls, who gave me a lot of energy and motivation that encouraged me to finally push through.

What were you ashamed of in the past?

My belly. I always tried to hide it under baggy clothing. Also, the fact that I was immediately out of breath when I went up the stairs.

What would you do now that you wouldn’t have done before? 

I can finally walk confidently into the gym and I’m not afraid anymore to start conversations with strangers.

What was your worst habit?

Coke, coke and coke. Coca-Cola was my worst enemy! And candy and chips. Everything really, haha. Mainly when I went to work in my car, I was one of the biggest sponsors of the gas stations along the highway. I couldn’t stay away from all the snacks.

Have you replaced this bad habit for a good one or have you managed to balance it with something else? 

Every now and then I tend to drink a Coke Zero for taste. I mainly drink sugar-free lemonade with sparkling water to still be able to drink some kind of ‘soda’. Candy and chips have left my diet. Nowadays, I make lots of snacks myself, which are much healthier than what I consumed before and are really tasty as well! I also look more at the portions I take than I did before.

If I have to drive for a longer period of time I make sure to have cucumber and little tomatoes ready in my car. This way I am not tempted to stop at a gas station anymore to get snacks. Should I stop at a gas station anyways, then I grab a protein bar from my glove compartment and buy a Coke Zero at the gas station.

What can you really not live without?

Eating a peanut butter sandwich. When I was young I did not like it as much but over the years I have learned to love it. I love it even more with slices of banana on it.

fit journey

What were the greatest high- and low-points of your fit journey?

I reached my lowest point after loosing weight for 1.5 years. I was so obsessed with exercising and my diet that I had an unhealthy and low fat percentage, which made me constantly tired and decreased my energy. Luckily my boyfriend stepped in and helped me out by slowly making me eat more exercise less heavily. This resulted in a healthier fat percentage and a better understanding of nutrition and exercise. The highlight of my fit journey was when, after a little over a year of losing weight, I reached 165 lbs. I have been wanting to be this weight for years but it just seemed impossible.

What has made the difference for you: sports, nutrition or as the combination of both?

Losing weight consists of 80% dieting and 20% exercise. For me, my biggest change was switching my diet around. I started with low-carbohydrate foods, then moved to the so-called “tracking” of food process, and in recent months I’m eating through the ‘palm method’.

What are your long and short term goals? 

In the short term, in terms of body: I would like to reduce my body fat by 5%, so I can get more muscle definition.
In the short term, in terms of exercise: This year I want to be able to do one pull-up.
In the long term, in terms of body: stay fit and healthy.
In the long term, in terms of exercise: I would like to a spread angle followed by a handstand, while balancing on two kettle bells. #nevernotgonnahappen haha.
Furthermore, it is my goal to inspire as many people as possible and motivate them to live a healthy lifestyle through food and exercise.

fit journey

Perseverance is often the most difficult. How do you make sure you stay fit?

I just continue to do exercises, especially the ones I like the most. I surround myself with people who give me positive energy. I continue to enjoy all delicious foods, but do so while moderating my portions.
Every 1st day of the month I weigh, measure, and take pictures of myself. I often know beforehand what the outcome is going to be as I now know my body well enough to know whether I have gone up or down in my percentage of fat. But, this monthly check up is a good way to control myself and continue to stay as healthy and fit as I can.

If you could say something to the person you were before your transformation, what would you say?

Girl, get up and chase your dreams. You can do much more than you think!

What does your sports regime look like? Do you have a schedule you follow?

At the moment I do weight training three times a week and I try to go to boxing once a week. If I’m not in the mood for boxing then my boyfriend, who is also a personal trainer, exercises with me in the weekends. We box together in the backyard and do a short but intensive workout.

fit journey

What do you think is the biggest bullshit hype within the fitness world?

Doing hours of cardio with the goal of loosing weight.

What’s your biggest annoyance when it comes to health and fitness?

Dieting. A diet is temporary and causes you to lose weight. But if you decide to eat “normally” again after you finish your diet then you’ll also get the body back that you had before. The point is, you have to change your lifestyle, otherwise it will never work.

How do you make sure your diet is balanced?

I tend to keep a somewhat ‘standard menu’ when I eat, so I roughly know what my macro nutritions are during the day. One days that I plan to do a workout I eat more carbohydrates and less fat. And on the days when I do not exercise I eat less carbohydrates and more fat.

How do you feel about counting calories and macro nutritions?

Counting calories and macros is something you should definitely do, especially if you are just starting your fit journey. This gives you a lot of insight. Even through healthy food you can gain weight. Ultimately, it comes down to energy. How many calories are going in and how many are going out. But, once you have enough knowledge about nutrition and you roughly know what portion sizes you should be consuming, then you can stop counting calories and macros. I think just counting calories is nonsense. You should also be looking at the distribution of macronutrients.

fit journey

How does a healthy menu look to you?

On a training day in the morning, my menu looks like this:
Breakfast: Quark with Herbalife Formula 1 Sport along with a handful of oatmeal and a banana.
During my strength training: CR7 (electrolyte drink).
After my strength training: Herbalife Rebuild Strength, peanut butter sandwich.
Lunch: 2 sandwiches, 1 with lean toppings and one with fatty toppings (cheese, goat cheese etc), in addition to two eggs.
Snack: Protein Bar (yummyyyyyy) and an apple.
Dinner: fist-size amount of carbohydrates, flat hand full of protein and half a plate of vegetables.
Pre bedtime meal: Quark with nuts.

What’s your favorite ‘food prep’ meal?

Pretty much anything in my freezer. I like to cook bigger servings, so if I’m late home one day and have no time or just don’t feel like cooking, I always have healthy meals waiting for me in the freezer.

Do you also participate in the so-called ‘cheat meals’ or ‘cheat days’?

Not really. If I’m going to give myself a free pass for a meal or cheat day, I will eat way more calories and macros than needed and just end up gaining weight. I’ll eat chocolate once a week in my quark, but only two squares of chocolate instead of the whole bar, as I did in the past.

What is a healthy alternative for your guilty pleasure?

A healthy Dutch ‘Kapsalon’! Chicken with shawarma spices and sweet potato fries from the oven.

What is your ultimate Lazy Fit Girl product?

I don’t really have one.

Are you curious about Michelle’s progress? Check out her Instagram page! Do you want to lose a few pounds yourself and build a healthy and happy life? The Fitgirlcode Guide helps you get your diet, workouts and mind organized! 8 weeks long you will work on exercises, food schedules, and any necessary ‘mindfulness exercises’. Let’s go!

Do you know or are you someone who has experienced a special Fit Journey? Send an email to community@fitgirlcode.com. Your story can help push someone one step closer in the right direction.

Chocolate cake with hidden vegetables

This is a very easy way to get all the vegetables you need 😉 Personally, I love to throw in vegetables in a cake because you often don’t taste any of it and it is super healthy! This cake contains vegetables, fruit and chocolate, what more does someone want?

chocolate cake

Recipe: Chocolate cake with pumpkin

Ingredients:

  • 10½ ounces pumpkin
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate
  • 3/8 cup coconut (shredded)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 2½ tablespoons stevia sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Toppings: almonds & coconut

Preparations:

  • Cook the pumpkin and blend it until it becomes a purée.
  • Cook the blueberries and mash them with a spoon until a dark red liquid is formed, add this to the pumpkin puree.
  • Cut the chocolate into small pieces and place in a clean bowl together with the coconut.
  • Put the eggs in the pumpkin/blueberry purée and mix until smooth.
  • Add the spelt flour, cocoa powder and stevia sugar to the mixture.
  • Finally, add the chocolate and coconut to the mixture and put everything in a greased cake mold.
  • Place the mold in a preheated oven (356 ºF) for 45 minutes.
  • Garnish with some almonds and coconut.

Tip: cook the pumpkin with some cinnamon to get a delicious flavor!

Love, 

Maartje 

Instagram: @gezonderecptjes
Facebook: Gezonderecptjes

5 tips against a bloated belly

On a scale of 1 to stepping on lego, how much do you hate feeling bloated? With all the hard work and effort you put into this new and improved body, you don’t want to have a “food baby” every time you eat something. Luckily, there is something you can do about it! 

After receiving and hearing so many women complain about bloated bellies, we sat down together and came up with 5 tips to prevent a bloated belly.

1. Rule out any wheat or lactose. Some of us are (unknowingly) lactose intolerant which causes bloating. You can check this with your doctor, or if that seems a little drastic to you, pay attention to what you have eaten before you felt bloated. This might point out that it often happens after you have eaten bread or drank milk for example.

2. Avoid foods that makes you gassy, such as all beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

3. Eat high fiber foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. They are extremely good for you and will prevent the food baby!

4. Drink plenty of water, and don’t drink soda (carbonated) drinks. Soda is not only packed with sugars, but it also contains a lot of carbon acid, which will cause your belly to bloat.

5. Eat slowely. By chewing your food longer and better you will mix more saliva which will make you digest your food better. Also, don’t watch TV or check your phone or computer during dinner. Try to make dinner last for at least 30 minutes, eat slowly and enjoy it to the max.

Are there any more tips that you know of? Let us know in the comments and share them with your fellow Fit Girls. 

Healthy banana breakfast muffins

Did you skip breakfast because you’re in a hurry? Never again with these babies! These fluffy banana breakfast muffins are nutritious, filling and taste wonderful. Plus, they’re free of added sugars and fat!

Healthy banana breakfast muffins

For 10-12 muffins, you’ll need:

  • 3 medium/large overripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup oat flour (you can also make this yourself by grinding oats in a food processor)
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • ½ cup spelt flour
  • handful of chopped dates
  • handful of chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • ½ tspn baking soda
  • A food processor or blender
  • A muffin tray

It is important that you use overripe bananas; that means really spotty, almost completely brown bananas. This way you don’t need to add sugar as the bananas will give a nice sweet flavour. These muffins are also a great way to use up overripe bananas and not throw them out.

Now what?

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
2. Put the bananas, eggs and vanilla extract in the food processor. Next, add the oat flour, the buckwheat flour, spelt flour, and blend until smooth.
3. Add the chopped dates, the chopped walnuts, the baking powder and the baking soda to the mixture.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin tray.
5. Put the tray in the oven for about 25-30 minutes; they are ready when they are golden brown colour in colour.

Processed with VSCOcam with t3 preset

Make a batch in the weekend, and you’ll have a great start of the day the entire week. Enjoy your healthy banana breakfast muffins! Let us know how they turned out x 

How to bake with no eggs

Quite a lot of our followers, as well as our own Fit Girls, tend to be vegan. Often they come across delicious baking recipes that fit their diet perfectly and then there is one thing that ruins it all; an egg. But lucky for us, there is always an alternative that can be found to eggs!

The product you are substituting the egg with depends a lot on the function that the egg has within the recipe. An egg can act as a binding agent, a leavening agent or can be used as a way to create a glossy finish. Below I will discuss alternatives for each of these functions. If you want to keep the flavor of an egg within a dish, but you don’t want to consume the actual product itself, then you can use kala namak as an additional ingredient. Kala namak is also known as ‘black salt’ and comes pretty close to the taste of an egg. Tip: season some tofu with kala namak and you can get yourself the perfect egg-free scrambled eggs.

Binding agent

In sweet dishes you can replace eggs with fruit. Instead of using an egg, mash half a ripe banana or roughly add 1⁄4 cup of apple sauce to the recipe. If you’re making a savory dish, then 1⁄4 cup of tomato puree, pumpkin puree or mashed potatoes can be used as a substitute for an egg. You can also mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, chickpea flower or potato starch with 2 tablespoons of water. If you have flax seed at home, then you can grind this and mix it together with 3 tablespoons of water to act as a binding agent for your batter. What also works, but is quite tricky in regards to using the right proportions, is to use cooked oatmeal or rice. It will take some trial and error to know how much oatmeal or rice has to be mixed with how much water and how long it has to cook it in order to create the perfect consistency for it to bind properly. But, once you figure this out, rice and oatmeal act as great binder alternatives for egg in savory dishes!

Leavening agent

In order for your baked goods to rise, you can replace the egg in the recipe by mixing 3 tablespoons of baking powder and 3 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil. You can also mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. This is how you can create your own leavening agent!

Glossy finish

If you want to create a nice, glossy layer on top of your cake, you can substitute the egg wash with (apricot) jam. Keep in mind that jam does have a stronger flavor, so make sure to see which flavor you like and what fits the recipe the best! What you could also do is add a thin layer of soy milk on the top of your cake just before sliding it into the oven. Due to the protein in soy milk, the cake will get a shiny finish, creating the same effect as using an egg!

Baking without eggs might seem as a challenge at first, but, due to the many alternatives that exist, it’s not that hard after all! Wil you let us know if you made something delicious with an egg replacement? We are very curious!

If you love eggs just a bit too much to let them go, then you should take a look at our other yummy breakfasts with egg recipes.

What to do when having a fit dip?

Since I started my fit journey, I have been working out 4 times a week and paying real good attention to what I eat. But, I noticed lately that I am going through a bit of a fit dip. I really have to push myself to go and work out and my energy level seems kinda low. Besides, I keep fantasying about all my favorite foods and slack way more than I should. This stuff instantly has a negative effect on my self-image. I start to get the idea that I don’t make any progress anymore, and at some point, I even try to avoid the mirror. Deep down inside, I know that the image I see in the mirror is only formed by shitty and destructive thoughts, but I feel sad and uncomfortable looking at myself anyway. It’s not the first time that I have been at this point, so nowadays I recognize my behavior better.

I came up with some tips & tricks to get myself through these ‘fit dips’. If you have a fit dip from time to time as well, these tips might help you:

Talk to someone (trainer, BFFF, partner) about your fit dip.

If you share your problems with someone else you will not only get a new perspective on things, you also admit to yourself that you’re going through a rough patch. Once you say what’s on your mind you are more likely to start solving your problems.

Acknowledge the goals you have already achieved.

I never thought I would have come this far, and sometimes I forget that. At those moments I only think about the fact that I’m not nearly where I wanna be. I noticed that a lot of people who post a before-and-after picture on Instagram share my thoughts, they say something like: “Check out the progress I made although it’s not nearly where I wanna be”. So on one hand they are proud of themselves (because they are sharing this photo for a reason) but on the other hand they sound a bit disappointed. So look back on your fit journey and try to be proud of all the progress you’ve already made, instead of beating yourself up about the results you didn’t achieve YET.

 

Try to change your work out routine.

Unfortunately when you do things often they become a bit boring after a while. So challenge your mind and body with new exercises (like the 30day ab challenge), a new running route or join a new group training at your gym.

Reward yourself.

Whenever I spoil myself with new sports apparel or other goodies, I instantly get motivated again. I just can’t wait to try out my new sports leggings or bake those healthy protein pancakes.

 

Try out new recipes.

Eating healthy day in, day out can be pretty difficult. Sometimes you just really crave that unhealthy crap and you don’t have any inspiration to treat yourself with healthy alternatives. Go on the search for some new, healthy and delicious recipes and filling up with junkfood will no longer seem like a good idea. Select some yummy recipes at the beginning of the week and try out a new one every day. I love to wander around on Foodness.nl and A Couple Cooks. The attractive food photography on this website always motivates me to try and make it myself.

 

Get inspired by other fit girls and boys.

Although you should never compare yourself to others, it could be helpful to see how other fit people try to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. Get inspired by their tips, tricks, recipes and progress. There are loads of very inspirational Instagram accounts you can follow for your everyday dose of fitspiration. My personal favorites are: fitdutchies, foodie-ness, healthyfans, Lynn Hoefer, minimalist baker and one of our own bloggers, Anne.

Do you have any tips to overcome your fit dip? Please share them with us!

5x Healthy Tacos

Yummy! Tacos are sooo tasty. But, like so many other tasty foods, they are not always the best for Fit Girls with a strict schedule due to all the calories and macronutrients they are trying to maintain. We believe that you shouldn’t just ban all nice foods from your diet, so, we started to look for healthier variations of the traditional taco. These recipes are perfect for your taco-cravings! 

Source: SWEET AS HONEY

Carrot Taco Shells

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cup grated carrot + ½ cup tap water to cook
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of gluten-free oat flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

An easy way to make healthy tacos is to replace the shell with lots of veggies! Take a look here for the full recipe.

SOURCE: SWEET AS HONEY

Taco shells with spinach

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons almond flour
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • 2 liters boiling water

Not a big fan of carrots? No worries! Here you can take a look of how to make a soft taco shell with spinach.

SOURCE: SINFUL NUTRITION

Sweet potato tacos

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ cup green onion
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Optional toppings: chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado, hot sauce, salsa

Sweet potatoes are delicious on their own, but especially in taco-form. Here you can make this tasty recipe yourself.

Source: THE COZY COOK

Lettuce and Turkey Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey (also possible: ground beef or shredded chicken)
  • 1 red onion
  • ⅔ cups water
  • 1 oz taco seasoning
  • 15 oz black beans
  • 1½ cups diced vegetables (such as: tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, red onion)
  • ½ cup black olives
  • 12 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

Swapping a taco shell with a lettuce leaf is one of the easiest ways to make the recipe more healthy!

Source: LEMON TREE DWELLING

Taco Bowls with Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups quinoa
  • 1.3 oz taco seasoning
  • 14 oz black beans
  • 8 oz shredded cheese
  • 3 cups chopped lettuce
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • salsa
  • sour cream

Are you only craving the taste of tacos and not the crispy shells? They try out this quinoa taco bowl!

In the mood for Mexican now? Also take a look at at these delicious wraps

Source (header): A Dash Of Megnut

5 ways to add dumbbells to your exercises

Dumbbells, they come in all sizes, shapes, colors and weights. But besides training your arms with them (and looking like a beast doing so), there are many more exercises you can do using these babies. Have you been squatting for a while now and are you getting bored? Is your daily home workout routine not challenging you anymore? Or do you want to add some extra sweat and tears to the 30 day ab challenge? Then I’d like to welcome you to the wonderful world of dumbbells. Try out these 5 favorite dumbbell exercises of mine!

1. Dumbbell Squats

We all know squats are good for the booty and we should be doing them, but let’s be honest: they become quite boring after a while. To make squats more interesting I started adding weights to them, which I’ve become quite hooked to! I hardly ever do any squats without dumbbells anymore. You can hold them in different ways, or even switch the different types up during your squatting exercise:

  • Hold 1 or 2 dumbbell(s) in front of you while squatting. It gives you a great balance and puts extra pressure on your abs and arms.
  • Hold 1 dumbbell in each hand and keep your arms vertically, completely stretched out along side your body. Then go on doing your regular squats.
  • Keep 1 dumbbell vertical and fold your hands underneath the upper weight part, like you’re forming a cup with your hands. This one you will also feel extra in your abs and arms.

2. The Ab Workout

Want to spice up the 30 Day Ab Challenge? Add weights to the exercises! Or do an extra set of russian twists.

  • Make the crunches harder by holding a dumbbell to your chest while you do them. Try not to hold it in front of your chest, but really on it, so you will have to lift that weight as well when you come up. This might be somewhat easier to execute for those in #teamsmallboobs but also our more busty fit girls can do it!
  • Have someone lay the dumbbell on your back while planking. Definitely way harder than a regular planking session.
  • Try russian twists! They are a killer exercise for your obliques. While in sit-up position, hold 1 dumbbell with both hands and move it to the side of your body until it nearly touches the ground. Then move it back up to the center and go over to the other side, and so on. Going from left to right counts as one russian twist. If you want to make it even harder, elevate your legs up into the air.

3. Heavy Lunges

Lunges are already hard, I know. But still, if you have a set of dumbbells or weights, why not use them in every way you can? Lunge through the house with those heavy babies!

  • Just like option #2 of the dumbbell squats, keep one dumbbell in each hand and keep your arms vertically, completely stretched out along side your body. Lunging will become quite a bit harder with that extra weight to carry around.
  • You can also hold one dumbbell at the back of your neck and support it with your hands and shoulders to add some extra weight to the exercise.

4. Schwarzenegger Arm Workout

No, you’re not gonna get arms like Arnold. But of course when you have dumbbells, you also have to do some arm exercises. Imagine being super lean and bikiniproof but having bony chicken arms, that would be… Well, let’s just say it would probably make for some funny gym memes 😉

  • Take 1 dumbbell in each hand and lift them up to shoulder height with your arms stretched. Your feet need to be at shoulder width. Now start making small circles with your entire arm.. And feel the burn.
  • For an arm & shoulder workout that we often do at Elevator Sports you need 2 dumbbells. Take 1 in each hand and keep your hands alongside your body, your arms completely stretched. Now lift your arms up horizontally, still completely stretched, up till your shoulders. Slowly lower them again to your start position. Now lift your arms up in front of you, up till your shoulders, and back. Lastly, you lift the dumbbells in front of you while bending your arms – keep the dumbbells horizontal and make sure your elbows point sidewards. Lift them up to your chest and lower them. Repeat this cycle as much as you like.
  • A classic dumbbell arm workout: keep your arms along side your body, with 1 dumbbell in each hand. Make sure that your hand palms are facing front, and then lift the dumbbell as far as you can towards your shoulder. Repeat repeat repeat!

5. Deadlift Exercises

Deadlift. It always sounds so tough to me, which is partly why I love them! While doing deadlifts you should really pay attention to your form, because if they aren’t done right, your back will hurt like hell. Read the instructions well and maybe even look up a video tutorial if you are doing them for the first time.

  • For a classic deadlift, you take 1 dumbbell in each hand. You put your feet at shoulder width, with your knees slightly bend. Now slowly lower the dumbbells untill they are just underneath your knee while you bent over forwards, and come up again. Make sure that your back is kept straight at all times during this exercise. Do not arch over or let your shoulders hunch, that will ruin your back, while we are trying to strengthen your back with this exercise! If you have never done a deadlift, please look up an instruction video.
  • You can also use the couch as a gym tool (no we’re not gonna sit on it). Place one knee and one handpalm on it, and put your other foot flat on the ground. Now take a dumbbell in the remaining hand and raise it to your midsection and back. Again, make sure your back is straight!

Try out these exercises and let me know which one you like (or hate) the most! I’m curious to hear what you think. Do you know about any other dumbbell exercises that I could do at home?