How to stay fit on holiday (without really trying)

Everyone gains a little weight after the holidays, which seems to have become quite the norm. I’m no exception – and after a question round at the office, there are more of us who tend to take a few extra pounds back with us on the plane home. And that’s not a suitcase full of souvenirs ? During the holidays I’m quite the advocate of having ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You are on vacation, so you have to enjoy it. There’s no room for thinking about a healthy diet, right? Lucky for us, there are ways where eating those ice creams can make us feel less guilty because a holiday can (secretly) be very active. You stay fit without giving up on that holiday feeling. (Of course, you can also just enjoy yourself, do nothing all day on the beach and embrace that extra weight!)

1. Beach walks

Perfect for when you’re on a holiday with your boyfriend! In the evening, head to the beach for a late-night walk and watch the sun set. Can it be more romantic?

2. Sightseeing

Are you in a city? Leave those ‘hop on, hop off’ busses free for the rest and go walking from sight to sight. Believe me, after a whole day of walking around a city, you have burned a lot of calories! You’ll also see more of a city as you walk through it, instead of sitting in a bus. Walking through that picturesque street or window shopping at those beautiful stores. You would have missed out on all that if you were sitting on that tour bus.

3. Tourist activities

Does your destination have a famous landmark where you can go to? Such as a tower? Do that! It is often a good climb up, but all the effort is worth it due to the magnificent view you have on top. Or book that trip to that volcano and climb it in the early morning hours. There are plenty of active things you can do at a lot of different destinations! You’ll probably also enjoy the ice cream more that you can treat yourself with afterwards. (Okay, yes, ice cream is the only thing on my mind right now.)

4. Swimming

Swimming is really good for you! You train so many different muscle groups when you swim. At a sunny destination, you can always use some cooling off. So, if you are on the beach or next to a pool; go in the water and swim a few laps between your tan sessions 😉 You don’t just cool off, but you also have a mini workout in the pocket!

5. Try a new sport

Staying by the sea? Try surfing, water skiing or another water sports. Sign up for that local beach volleyball tournament or go to a cafe where a fun dance evening is planned. Perhaps you’ll come back full of inspiration for a new sport!

6. Discover nature

To discover nature in a sporty way, there are a lot of different options available! You can of course go for a hike, but you can also go for the harder option and do a trail run through forests. Look around in flyers or ask the hotel if there are good routes and whether things like trail runs are organized.

This way you have all the holiday-experiences, but you still stay fit! Where are you going this summer? Let me know in the comments below!

Source (header): Pinterest

Embracing your imperfections

Embracing your imperfections can be really tough. For some this is probably a lot harder than for others. I personally believe it’s harder to love your own flaws than those of others. We are our own harshest judge – we tend to be tougher towards ourselves and our own imperfections than those of others.

Being able to love yourself enough to accept the way you are is one thing. However, some people take it a step further and they share something personal for the benefit of others.

I came across a post on the internet (no surprise there :P) where Rachel Hollis did exactly this. She shared a piece of herself by posting a photo (as seen above) on her Instagram account and it soon went viral.

With it, she said the following:

“I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini. I have a belly that’s permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy… (which is something I didn’t even know was possible before!) and I wear a bikini.

I wear a bikini because I’m proud of this body and every mark on it.

Those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies and that flabby tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight I could. I wear a bikini because the only man who’s opinion matters knows what I went through to look this way. That same man says he’s never seen anything sexier than my body, marks and all. They aren’t scars ladies, they’re stripes and you’ve earned them. Flaunt that body with pride!” 

It’s such a powerful message, so I really wanted to share it. Rachel looks gorgeous and she’s an example for all Fit Girls out there who need to show some love to themselves and their beautiful imperfections. A comforting thought is that nobody is perfect, we all have our imperfections and this is exactly what makes us humans unique.

So dearest Fit Girls, now I’m wondering. What kind of imperfections are you willing to proudly share with us?

I’ll start by sharing one of myself. When I was two years old, I got bitten in my face by a dog. I was eating a cookie while showing it off but I wasn’t willing to share it. The dog got annoyed and bit me. It left a tiny scar on my nose, like a little dent. The doctors told me I could get plastic surgery done once I reached the age of 18 ‘to get it fixed’ but I decided to embrace it and accept it as a part of me 🙂

Now that you’ve read my story, I can’t wait to hear yours! You can post it in the comments below.

xoxo

Safira Audrey

Source (header): www.instagram.com/msrachelhollis

This is how to store vegetables

A few years ago, I always bought a big batch of veggies on the market on a Saturday. I got vegetables for the whole week: ideal and very beneficial! However, my cheap shopping spree became expensive very quickly as I threw away veggies such as broccoli after a few days because it got completely yellow. Shame! So, what was the problem? I kept all my vegetables out of the fridge while they stay fresh much longer when they are in the fridge. Thats why I went to look for a lot of different vegetables and their best storage advice.

Potatoes

Store: in a dry, dark place

How long: about 3 to 4 weeks

Endive

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: a few days

Artichoke

Store: in the refrigerator (wrapped in a damp tea towel)

How long: a few days

Asparagus

Store: in the refrigerator (in a damp tea towel)

How long: about 1 to 3 days

Eggplant

Store: in a dark, cool place (outside of the refrigerator)

How long: about a week

Beetroot

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: a few weeks (if you have raw beets)

Cauliflower

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: about 4 days

Kale

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: a few days

Spring onion

Store: in a cool, dry place (outside the refrigerator)

How long: up to a week

Broccoli

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: about 1 week

Chinese cabbage

Store: in the refrigerator (in an open plastic bag)

How long: one week

Zucchini

Store: in a cool place (outside the refrigerator)

How long: one week

Garlic

Store: in a dry, dark place

How long: a few weeks

store vegetables

Cucumber

Store: in a dark, cool place (outside of the refrigerator)

How long: about a week (cucumbers in plastic wrap have a longer shelf life)

Corn

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: about 3 days (with plastic wrap)

Mushrooms

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: about 2 to 3 days

Bell pepper

Store: in a cool place (outside the fridge!)

How long: one week

Snow peas

Store: in the refrigerator (in a plastic bag with holes in it)

How long: a few days

Pumpkin

Store: a cool place

How long: several months (if the pumpkin is uncut. Cut pumpkin can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.)

Leek

Store: in the refrigerator or in a cool dry place

How long: about 2 to 3 weeks

Radish

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: about a week

Lettuce

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: about 1 day

store vegetables

Green beans

Store: in the refrigerator (in a plastic bag)

How long: a few days

Spinach

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: 1 to 2 days

Cabbage

Store: a cool place (outside the fridge)

How long: a few days

Brussel sprouts

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: about 2 to 5 days

Tomatoes

Store: In a cool place (outside of the refrigerator)

How long: about a week

Onions

Store: in a dry, dark place

How long: a few weeks

Chicory

Store: in the fridge (in the dark it will stays beautifully white)

How long: about 5 days

Carrots

Store: in the refrigerator

How long: If you remove the leaves, the carrots can stay fresh for about a week

Sweet potato

Store: in a dry, dark place

How long: about a week

So, now you’re well prepared and you’ll never throw away so many vegetables again! Is a particular vegetable missing from the list? Let me know in the comments! I’ll look for the correct storage advice and add it to the list! 🙂

Source (images): Half Baked Harvest (header), Good Dinner Mom (cucumber), Bon Appetit (beans)

How serious is your (artificial) sweet tooth?

You’ve probably heard claims about how artificial sweeteners can e better for you than cane sugar but also that they might cause cancer and other serious diseases… yikes, how are you supposed to make a decision based on those claims? Having trouble fighting your love for soft drinks and can’t decide between regular Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, and Coke Life? How serious is your (artificial) sweet tooth?

Artificial sugars are a low-calorie alternative to cane sugar, or sucrose, that is used in many products we are regularly exposed to. These products are marketed by brands as being better for your health, since we can no longer pretend that sugar is good for us in the doses we consume it in. Of course, our lives would be easier if soft drinks, packaged desserts, flavored yogurts, and the many more foods we love to eat were as healthy for us as veggies and hummus. Unfortunately they simply aren’t and we can’t drink Fanta as if it were freshly pressed orange juice. From one Fit Girl to another, I have done some reading and will attempt to clear things up about artificial sweeteners.

Types of artificial sweeteners

At present there are six different forms of artificial sweeteners approved by the FDA: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, sucralose and advantame. These substances are chemically produced and are also referred to as “nonnutritive”, meaning that they have no nutritional value or calories but are simply used to make your food taste sweeter. These sweeteners are often found in fruit juices, soft drinks, canned fruit, frozen deserts, and anything labelled as “diet”, “light”, or “sugar-free”. You will surely notice the difference in calories in the regular and “diet” versions of the same product- think of Coke Zero with less than one calorie per 330ml can. Yet, these products taste just as sweet as their sucrose-sweetened counterparts. This is because artificial sweeteners can be up to 13,000 times sweeter than cane sugar! How is that even possible?! Indeed, neotame can be anywhere between 7,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than plain old sugar, which means that you need a much smaller amount in your food to make it just as sweet (hence, way less calories).

While this may all seem too good to be true, don’t go grabbing packets of saccharin to sweeten your afternoon tea without reading about some of the effects these sweeteners can have on your body. The debate about artificial sweeteners is a hot one especially because the FDA and CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) have approved these products as safe for consumption. Also a common element of recent attempts to make unhealthy habits healthier, long-term effects of these substances are simply not yet known since the products have not been in our diets for very long.

They probably don’t cause cancer

A few of the artificial sweeteners have been associated with cancers such as bladder cancer (saccharin) and brain cancer (aspartame) in the past. In fact the US Congress required that all foods containing saccharin mention, “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health” until 2000, when the sweetener was removed form the carcinogen list. Since the majority of tests on these artificial sweeteners are run on rats and not on Fit Girls, the substances have actually never been proven to cause cancer in humans. We all know that rats can’t do burpees so it makes sense that they might metabolize artificial sweeteners a bit differently than humans.

It seems that the sweeteners cannot be said to cause cancer, but that doesn’t mean that you should rush to the store and stock up on them. While cancer is extremely serious, many other conditions that greatly affect your life are more likely to develop with the consumption of artificial sweeteners.

But they’re not great for you either

Your body and brain are powerful and complex and so is their reaction to sugars and artificial sweeteners. We won’t go into the details, but this article gives a good description if you’re interested. Since the sweeteners are nonnutritive you are essentially consuming calorie-less food or drinks which might temporarily satisfy your sweet tooth but is likely to lead to increased cravings for sweet foods later on. This means that the artificial sweeteners cannot fool your brain! Instead, they might be priming your brain to want to consume more sugary foods as they are more satisfying for your brain, no matter how many times you tell yourself that you’ve had enough servings of your favorite soft drink.

The fact that artificial sweeteners are used in products advertised as better for you than their sugary counterparts might play another trick on you- it might prevent you from associating sweet food and drink with caloric intake, something that you should try to limit the consumption of. Don’t be fooled into choosing another artificially sweetened product over fresh, nutritious food, something that has been perceived as an issue with these items. Some studies have even revealed that artificial sweeteners could cause addiction, and being dependent on something like Diet Coke cannot be good for your health as much as we wish it could be.

Another issue with sweeteners is that our consumption of unhealthy foods, be it salty or sweet, is much higher than is healthy for us. The tests run on these artificial sweeteners were run with relatively small amounts of them, so it is unknown what a large amount of these chemical sweeteners will do to our bodies in the long run. The consumption of diet sodas was associated with significant increases in the risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, diseases which artificial sweeteners were designed to help prevent in the first place.

It appears that candies, drinks, and other foods labeled as “diet”, “light”, or with “sugar-free” may end up having harmful effects on your eating habits and eventually on your health after all.

Verdict: moderation is key

Like most things in life, artificial sweeteners are most likely safe to consume every once in a while in small amounts. They will not immediately make you inflate like a balloon or cause uncontrollable consumption, but you should not consider them as healthy for you either. These sweeteners are ideal if you are not able to consume cane sugar or if you are trying to change your diet to eventually cut out or decrease your intake of sweetened foods. They can serve as a useful tool to making positive changes to your lifestyle, but keep in mind that it can be harmful if you let yourself get carried away (yes, 5 packets of Splenda in your daily Matcha latte is too much).

If you feel like your sugar cravings are not satisfied, try eating a juicy mango or a bowl of fresh strawberries and remember how tasty (and nutritious) naturally sweet foods are! Just listen to your body and be mindful of what you choose to consume, because you deserve to have a body that is taken care of so that you can dance, squat, and laugh as much as possible and not be hindered by some silly chemicals.

Sources: www.health.com, www.esquire.com, www.health.harvard.edu

Crispy wrap with beet hummus and fried egg

Wraps are a tasty, easy and welcomed alternative to bread, salads and more. And if you fill them with hummus you are in for a tiny, but awesome lunch party. This might sound a bit over the top to you, but for a hummus addict like myself, a day without hummus is a day wasted. Okay, I’m over exaggerating a little bit. I could do 1 day without hummus, but that’s the max 😉 

Crispy wrap with beet hummus and fried egg

So it won’t come as a surprise that I am a huge fan of this crispy wrap with beet hummus and fried egg. Doesn’t it look like heaven on a plate? If you aren’t having a good day, then after this delicious wrap you will hopefully cheer up a bit!

This is what you need:

  • Whole wheat wraps
  • (Beet) hummus *
  • Herbs such as cilantro, parsley, chives, basil
  • Alfalfa or other sprouts
  • Spring onion
  • Eggs
  • Salt and pepper

*I used 1 cup of chickpeas (cooked),1 small roasted beetroot, 1 tsp cumin powder, 4 tbsp lime juice, 3 tbsp tahini, 2 cloves of garlic and a dash of olive oil. Put it all into a blender and voilà: pretty pink hummus to die for!

This is how to make your wrap:

Put the wrap in a dry frying pan and let it brown on both sides until it’s lightly crispy. Meanwhile, fry an egg. Spread the beet hummus onto the wrap and top it off with a generous amount of sprouts. Sprinkle some herbs and spring onions on top of it. Place the egg on top of the sprouts and season with salt and pepper.

Bon appetit!

Looking for more delicious lunch recipes? Check out this delicious quinoa salad with avocado, crab stick and mango.

A special thanks to: Lepeltje Liefde

What should you believe about building muscle?

Facts and fables; you can find them about pretty much any subject. When it comes to building muscle, you read (and hear) different stories from different sides. It can get quite confusing, right? We found so too. Therefore, we have been looking to find the truth behind some muscle-building myths.

1. Women become too masculine from strength training

We’ve either said it ourselves or we have heard someone else say it, “I don’t want to train too much because you become so masculine.” This is absolutely not true. Men and women are built differently and have different hormones. Men have much more testosterone, the male hormone, making them able to build more muscle mass. As a woman, you have less testosterone, causing you to build muscle mass less quickly than men. In fact, strength training actually emphasizes the female curves. Strength training helps you get a tight but, belly and legs. As your body gets tighter, there will be more emphasis on your curves. So, from doing strength training you definitely won’t look manly!

2. You can convert fat into muscle

Sounds good, right? Converting all the fat you have now into muscle, doesn’t it sound like a dream? Well, that’s because it is. The process of building muscle has nothing to do with losing fat. It’s not possible to convert fat into muscle. However, building muscle can be combined with losing fat. This is because the strength training that you do to build muscle enables your body to burn additional calories. As a result, in combination with a healthy diet, you create a negative energy balance. To provide you with enough energy, your body burns fat reserves. In short: to build muscle, you should do strength training, which burns calories and helps with fat loss, but muscle cannot be converted directly from fat.

3. Your body can only process 20-30 grams of protein per meal

This is also not true. If you exercise a lot, your body needs a lot of protein to recover. The amount of protein that your body can process is therefore dependent on a large variety of factors. For example, how many calories you burn daily, how much you exercise, and how intensive these exercises are lean body mass and many more factors. You can imagine that someone who is doing a lot of intense exercises needs much more protein than someone who is sitting behind a desk all day.

4. Protein shakes are necessary when building muscle

Protein shakes, I love them! So many different flavors, my cupboard is full of them. But, are they really necessary? No, they are not. What is necessary is that you get enough protein to build muscle. How you get those proteins does not matter. If you eat a boiled egg after your workout, it has as much of an effect as that protein shake. A shake is just an easy, tasty, and handy on-the-go way that helps you reach your daily macronutrients.

Hopefully, it’s a lot clearer now what you should and shouldn’t believe about building muscle. How many of these myths had you already figured out?

Source: Nutrition and Fitness, Guy Dry

Fit skin: Peach and brown sugar facial scrub

When you lead a healthy lifestyle, it not only shows through your body. Your hair, nails and skin also improve a lot from eating right and drinking lots of water (something I personally have a lot of trouble with). Having healthy, radiant skin is sooo important to me. If your skin looks healthy it reflects that you are also healthy on the inside. But, you can always give it a little boost from the outside, by using a facial mask or scrub.

By scrubbing your skin regularly, you remove dead skin cells. These dead skin cells make your skin look dull, so it’s good to get rid of them every once in a while. Depending on your skin type you should scrub once every week/two weeks. If you have oily skin, you might want to stick to once a week. Otherwise once every two weeks is fine. Here’s the recipe for a peach and brown sugar facial scrub, that will leave your skin feeling smooth and looking radiant again.

Jasmine Joyner Blog 11

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • One ripe peach
  • 1/2 tbsp oil (coconut, almond or olive oil)
  • 1/2 tbsp raw organic honey (warm it a little in the microwave so it gets runny)
  • 1-2 tbsp brown sugar (you can use more or less depending on your own preference)

HOW IT’S MADE:

Puree the peach in a blender or foodprocessor. You can add a little water if needed, to get it nice and smooth. Put the peach puree into a bowl and mix in the oil, honey and brown sugar.

HOW TO USE IT:

Take the mixture onto your fingertips and apply on your face and neck in circular motions. Remember that your goal is to exfoliate the dead skin, so if you feel you need to add some more brown sugar, go for it!

Let the scrub sit on your face for about 5 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and/or a warm washcloth. And voilà! Your skin is ready to shine like never before! (P.S. don’t forget to moisturize afterwards!)

How to: exercising while pregnant

The Fitgirlcode community is very diverse! We have individuals who are just starting their Fit Journey to become healthy and fit reading our blog as well as Fit Girls who are already on their journey but are looking for motivation to continue. However, we also have soon-to-be moms in our community who tend to ask us questions about exercising while pregnant. Recently, we have written an article about inspiring Fit Moms on Instagram. Now, it’s time to pay some attention to those who are still carrying their little ones with them and are trying to keep up their Fit Journey. Take a look at what you can do below! 

Yoga

By now all of us know that yoga is great when you need to relax. Therefore, practicing yoga can be very beneficial during pregnancy as it helps you relax, practice deep and consistent breathing which can help during labor. Yoga exercises also strengthen muscles and core as well as improve flexibility. As you move through your pregnancy, it is of course important not to do too difficult moves where you tug your stomach too much, lay on it or on your back for too long. Want to know what exercises you can do? Take a look here for pregnancy-safe yoga moves!

Water aerobics

Swimming is one of the safest forms of exercise. Swimming takes the weight off your legs and back and is a great way to improve circulation. Also, while pregnant, your spine and shoulders tend to round forward. Swimming strengthens these muscles and relieves pain. Another advantage of being in the water is that your body won’t over heat when doing exercises and less injuries will occur. You can just dip in the pool and take a swim yourself, but you can also join water aerobics classes for pregnant women! These classes tend to be fun as you’re in a group and you do exercises that are baby-safe! Oh, and remember to drink lots of water when exercising, doesn’t matter what you’re doing! You may be surrounded by water, but you’re still sweating and it’s important to keep your body hydrated.

Walking

As simple as it may sound, walking can get you a long way. Walking provides a lot of benefits while pregnant, such as improving your overall cardiovascular health. Walking tones down your body and keeps your, as well as your baby’s weight in check. It is also a great way to balance out your stress levels during pregnancy and reduces the chances of morning sickness and cramps. Take a look here for a whole list of benefits. When walking, you can do it how and where you like. The treadmill is ideal to walk on as you can control the terrain. You can manage how fast you walk and how much uphill you want to go. Or, you could go outside and enjoy some fresh air and peaceful surroundings. The best thing about walking is that everyone can and should do it more often! Whether you are pregnant or not. And to encourage it, take a look at some of these stylish strollers where you can walk your mini-me in! 😉 

Pilates

Pilates! Pilates are a great exercise to strengthen your belly muscles. It helps you gain body strength, become flexible and balanced. Pilates are also great when you’re facing back pain. They help reduce the pain and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Oh, and just like yoga, Pilates are great to help you relax and control your breathing. The chance to strain joints is minimal and is therefore great for pregnant women.

Moms are true superheroes in our eyes! We believe that they are meant to be put in the spotlight. Baby Cubby agrees with us and decided to team up with Fitgirlcode to give all moms-to-be (as well as recent new moms!) 15% discount on all their goods! From their own experience, they inspire moms to see their importance and make parenting easier through their products. They provide a fun shopping experience and are passionate about what they believe in, just like us 😉 With the code ‘fitgirlcode15’ you’ll get the discount until the 22nd of June, 2017. Shop around, Fit Moms!

Healthy candy balls

Who doesn’t love snacking? I noticed that many of you choose snacks like sweet protein bars. These products are made to believe that they’re healthy, but unfortunately this is not always true. Most tend to contain a lot of sugar which we all know isn’t very healthy. And although I like to snack, I’d rather not eat products with added sugars or unnatural substances. That’s why I started to look for products that are not only tasty, but also super healthy.

”Powersnack balls”, that’s what I call these delicious and healthy little candy balls made of dates, nuts, pits, coconut and MACA. It’s a real power snack because it’s filled with healthy nutrients, fibres, vitamins and minerals. And why did I add MACA? Well, MACA is a tuberous plant that originates from Peru. First of all, it is a source that stabilizes your nervous- and muscular system, and keeps it balanced too. Also, it stimulates the production of hormones in your body. Last but not least, it stimulates your libido (don’t let your man read this ;)). Not entirely unimportant, right? Yes ladies, this little snack does a lot of good to our body!

What you need:

– 200 gram of dates
– 50 gram of oatmeal
– 50 gram of pumpkin pits
– 50 gram of sunflower pits
– 50 gram of raw cacao powder
– 3 tablespoons of maca powder
grated coconut
– 2 raspberries

How to make it:

– Add all the ingredients, except the raspberries and coconut, into a food processor and pulse until everything is well mixed.
– Scoop out the ”dough” with a tablespoon and use your hands to roll the mixture into small balls.
– To make the pink coating, blend the grated coconut and rasperries together. Roll the balls in the grated coconut mixture.

Enjoy! 🙂

Lisa from Inlovewithhealth.nl

Work on your balance

Holla Fit Girl! How many of you are keeping up your Fit Journeys? First you were afraid, you were petrified. Kept thinking you could never live without another training. But then you spent so many nights thinking how you did it wrong, and you grew strong, you learned how to train along! *sings*

I must admit, I need to get my balance back after all the wine I consumed these past couple of weeks. After a huge party I attended I wasn’t able to walk in a straight line for days. I started off with some serieous healthy eating, and what’s better to complete this than with a Balance Workout?!

Who needs Balance anyway?
Balance benefits your neuromuscular coordination – basically it helps improve the communication between your brain and muscles. It helps with muscle isolation – during balance training you have to maintain stabilization and you are forced to engage an individual muscle predominantly so that you are not using other muscles to help you “cheat.” During balance training your body has to work that much harder to stabilize – in turn this helps you to burn more calories. Balance workouts also improve your hip stabilization. For example, single leg balance exercises engage your glute medius very well.  It also helps with core stabilization – this in turn helps to improve your coordination, athletic skill, and posture.


All right, if you’re absolutely determined and you can complete this workout in three rounds with a 30 second workout time per exercises try the following:

Put your interval timer on 40 seconds per workout with a 10 seconds break; now try this for 3 rounds.

Good luck!!! And for more videos check out Modelworkout.com!

Ps: If you want to become super sporty put your interval timer to 50 seconds for each workout. You’ll feel superior!

xoxo

Paultje

Do the Fitgirlcode Guides really work?

You may have seen them pop up in our articles and on the website: the Fitgirlcode Guide. Maybe you’ve already seen some Fit Girls in our articles or on Instagram who have started with our guide and have shown their transformation. But you might still be in doubt… You’ve already tried so many diets, so what is it about our guide that makes it worth it? Well, first of all, it’s not a diet. The guide is a helping hand in learning how to live a healthy lifestyle. No crash diet, no hunger, no crazy ingredients you’ve never heard of. Nothing of that! To show you that our guide can really help you, we’re happy to share some success stories we’ve gathered! ?

Fitgirlcode guide

Karlijn: “After a lot of diets and an attempted to eating healthy, I looked for help to lose weight because I wanted to lose those extra kilos. Of course, I had hoped that the process of losing weight would be faster and more drastic, but when I look back on it, I had eaten so deliciously all those weeks and did see quite a difference in the end. Meanwhile, I’m 6 months further and I see that my body has changed quite a bit. And it’s still changing! Every two weeks I make a progress picture and I always see a difference. And I see that if you want to change in the long run, that change doesn’t have to happen fast. Change takes time, no matter how difficult it is (I really have no patience at all…). Every step forward that I make, I truly enjoy. Whether I break my personal running record or get way less tired after doing an exercise, I’m proud and happy with what I have accomplished and what I am now.”

Iris: “The recipes (more than 80!) have been prepared in collaboration with nutritionists. The ingredients are easily found in the supermarket, so no fancy products for which you have to travel half the world for to find them. In addition, the recipes are very easy. Everything is described step by step of what you need and how exactly to do it. Also, the macros are listed, which may be useful for some people if they don’t adhere to the strict dietary schedule, but want to keep their food more or less up to date. So, you can just use the recipes separate from the dietary schedule.”

Mandy: “On the Instagram account of an acquaintance, I saw all kinds of delicious meals and recipes. I asked her what she did and how she got her hands on all those recipes. She referred me to Fitgirlcode, and to me that seemed like the perfect new beginning. It was time for me to start a new lifestyle and leave everything bad behind me. The biggest highlight of my journey was finding a balance for my body. I’ve always found that very difficult. Now that I’ve finally figured out what works for my body and I know what I can and can’t eat, I’m starting to lose weight and I hope a lot more. By losing 17.5 pounds with the Fitgirlcode Guide and quite a few inches, I also see that I’m being noticed much more. Before, I used to see myself as the chubby or ugly duckling. There weren’t many people paying any attention to me. Since I started my Fit Journey, more people have received admiration for me. This feeling is actually pretty great.”

Melle: “Before I started, I mainly hoped for inspiration for recipes and workout exercises. Also, insights on how I could do things differently. But as time went by and I got to know the Guide, my interest in macros was also awakened. The Guide has taught me a lot of new recipes and a different way on how to stay fit. It was the mindset that I really needed to get used to, but now that I am I feel very good about it. The aim of the Guide has already been achieved! In addition, my personal progress is also good. Since last December, I started strength training to get my skin tight. Every 6 to 7 weeks I measured myself. During the last measurement I had only just started working with the Guide, for 2.5 weeks. And guess what, for the first time since December there was a real difference. My weight had increased, my fat percentage had fallen by 1.5% and my muscle mass had grown. I’m building muscle!”

Gudrun: “I think the food section of the guide is really useful for people who have just start with their fit lifestyle. You really get a full dietary schedule, containing more than enough variation in recipes and a complete shopping list. This allows you to start your Fit Journey without having to find out everything by yourself, and you already learn a lot through the schedules alone. Are you already further in your Fit Journey, then you don’t need to follow the whole diet plans. You can see yourself which recipes and ideas you want to use and which may inspire you.”

Claudia: “The Fitgirlcode Guide gives you handles to hold on too. It specifies what you can eat, how much you can eat, when you need to train and even when you have to take a moment for yourself. This works very well. I used to spend quite some time on exercise preparations on Sunday’s. This didn’t leave a lot of time for planning my food. The trainings are easy to do at home and with the step-by-step lists and clear pictures you know exactly how to do the exercises. I always went for 100% but after a few days I tended to slack off. With the guide this wasn’t the case as I could keep up with it. I wasn’t even slightly bothered by cravings or a hungry feeling!”

Happy healthy guide

In case you haven’t heard the good news, we have recently launched our second english e-guide, the Happy Healthy Guide! Are you actually doing pretty well on your own when it comes to exercising, but are you struggling to maintain that healthy diet? No stress! The Happy Healthy Guide is here to give you a helping hand with your diet and provides you with a 12-week nutrition plan you can easily follow! The guide has certainly worked for Anna, read her story below.

Anna: “When I started my new job at ThePerfectWedding.nl, some changes didn’t go unnoticed. I wasn’t surrounded by those die-hard Fit Girls everyday anymore, so I let myself go a little bit. In summary: I exercises less fanatic and I ate less healthy. No idea how much weight I gained exactly because I’ve thrown my scale out of the window a while ago, but it was definitely a kilo or 5. Maybe even 7… Ouch. The guide made me focussed again. I know how to eat healthy, but by following the nutrition plans in the guide, I became aware of the quantities. You underestimate how many calories you eat unconsciously throughout a day, mainly when snacking. Many people around me doubt that they are going to start with the guide because they are afraid that they will give up when prepping the food in advance. But people, you have to cook anyways, right? Whether you do this the evening before or between noon and lunchtime. You have to do it anyway! This way, you can look forward to that delicious cauliflower curry with coconut in the morning. I rest my case.”

Did you know that you now get a free water bottle (worth € 16.95) with your e-guides? Use the code ‘FREEBOTTLE’ when purchasing! Add the water bottle to your shopping basket and the amount will be deducted when you enter the discount code at the check out.

Get in balance with your partner

Don’t we all know that one person that can eat E V E R Y T H I N G  without gaining weight? While you just look at some chocolate and already feel like you’ve gained weight? Yup. I have that one person in my life and like that isn’t enough already… it’s my boyfriend and we live together. He wants to gain weight and I want to lose some. Quite the challenge! In the past months we’ve finally found a healthy balance and we went from being each others irritation to motivation!

1. RECOGNIZE THE PROBLEM

When we just met, I was insecure and felt like I needed to lose a lot of weight. But I wasn’t overweight; I had a normal figure with curves, but insecurity took over my common sense. My boyfriend was too thin, and this was so problematic it held him back in his education and pursuing his dreams. Both unhappy and out of balance, things had to change for the both of us. And so we decided to take on our problems individually. 

2. IN AND OUT OF BALANCE

I soon found a way in my fit lifestyle, but every time we were together and he ate a lot, I did the same. And when he was with me and I was eating healthy, he would get out of balance. We both had such a different diet that eating together was barely doable. There had to be another way instead of making two different dinners?

3. THE SAME, BUT DIFFERENT

After a lot of irritation and failed attempts, I all of sudden realized it wasn’t that difficult at all. For example, if I baked banana pancakes, I ate mine with low fat quark and he would eat his with Nutella and chocolate sprinkles. Minor detail, but it helped to eat together again. Soon we would apply it to everything: he would eat pasta and I would make zucchini noodles. I’d have a bowl of Greek yogurt and he has a bowl of full quark. Suddenly we had found the balance! 

4. BE EACH OTHERS MOTIVATION

I always make sure that he eats more than be but also of the right stuff and he lets me know when I’m making unhealthy decisions. Like digging in the freezer for some ice cream. We motivate each other to go to the gym and we regularly go together. We’re not there yet, but we’re on our way. Of course, there are days I’m not being healthy at all and finish a whole bag of chips, but when I do so, I do it with him. And at that moment, there is nothing else I’d like to do. 

Do you recognize this, Fit Girls? And how are you dealing with these kind of moments? Let me know about your tips! Would love to read them below. 

Three Boob-Boosting Exercises

Let’s workout they said. It will be fun they said! Until your boobs slowly started to disappear… Are you one of those girls that lost their boobs or boob shape on a Fit Journey? Well, don’t be sad! There are some ways to make your chest look bigger and/or more perky with the same way you lost it, exercise! 😉

Of course, you’re welcome to buy that extra-double-filling-padded-pushup bra’s that will do the work for you but that isn’t your only option. Developing some muscles underneath your boobs could enhance the look of them. Please keep in mind that these exercises won’t turn A’s into B’s or C’s but it can give that that little all-natural push-up effect that you were missing. Don’t expect miracles to happen. There hasn’t been any scientific research about booblifting exercises, but it’s worth the try, right?

Boobs low fat

 

The muscles behind the story
Before we start talking about the exercises it’s good to know what muscles we will be working on. First of all, when we talk about the chest, we talk about the pectoralis. Actually we have two, a major and a minor one. The pectoralis major is a thick, fan-shaped muscle, situated at the chest under our boobs. Underneath the pectoralis major lays the pectoralis minor: a thin, triangular muscle. In sports such as bodybuilding, the pectoral muscles are often referred to as “pecs”. Next to the pecs we will be working on shoulders, back and arms while doing the exercises. Not bad huh.

If you’re a Fit Girl, you probably are familiar with the upcoming exercises because they are quite common in the gym. But did you already know that your chest will thank you for doing these on a regular basis? These exercises strengthen the muscles underneath the boobs and in some cases it helps them become more perky.

It’s all about them weights
To make this work you need to choose weights that are heavy enough. Make sure you can do max 12 reps with the weights you choose and no more. You can try this out yourself: pick some weights and count until 10. Do you feel like you can do 10 more? Way too easy! Pick a heaver weight. Do you feel like you can do a few more (2 or 3) but not that many? Then this is the right weight. Did you already stop at the eight rep? Then the weight is a bit too heavy. Pick a lighter weight and try the heavy ones again in a few weeks.

It’s really important to challenge yourself with heavier weights over time but always make sure to be safe when doing these exercises! Follow the instructions and don’t use weights that are too heavy. Remember to do the exercises well at your own pace and take more time rather than focus on speed.

1 | Dumbbell bench press

Lie faceup on a bench with your arms straight up and a dumbbell in each hand. Lower the dumbbells until they’re close to the sides of your chest, then press them back up to the starting position. That’s one rep.
Do a total of 10 reps.
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2 | Push up

Yes, the old fashioned push up. Start with your hands and feet on the ground, your palms slightly wider than your shoulders and your feet close together. Your body should form a straight line from head to toe. Lower your body down until your chest almost touches the floor. Keep your upper arms along your torso. Pause, then push back to the starting position. If you can’t do a regular push up you can do one using your knees instead of your toes.
Do 10 reps in total.

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3 | Dumbell fly

Lie down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand, resting them on top of your thighs. Raise the dumbbells like you’re pressing them, but stop and hold just before you lock your arms. This will be your starting position. With a slight bend in your elbows (in order to prevent stress at the biceps tendon) lower your arms outward to both sides in a wide arc until you feel a stretch on your chest. Breathe in as you perform this movement. Keep in mind that throughout the movement, the arms should remain stationary. This means that the movement should only occur at the shoulder joint. Return your arms back to the starting position as you squeeze your chest muscles and breathe out.
Do 10 reps!

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Try to do all these sets without taking too much breaks in between. You muscles need to refill with energy but if you rest them for too long they will be fully recovered before starting the other rep which won’t make them grow. Rest for max 60 to 90 seconds.

We would love to know all about your experiences with these boob-boosting exercises! Let us know in the comments below how the results turned out. 

Vegan walnut pesto

Question: what is better than pesto? Homemade pesto! It is super easy to make and absolutely delicious. Lately I’ve been addicted to a simple walnut pesto that is even suited for vegans due to the use of nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese.

Nutritional yeast does not only have a yummy, nutty and cheesy flavor, but it’s also packed with nutrition. Nutritional yeast is a great source of B-vitamins which makes it perfect for vegans and vegetarians. But, this pesto does not only hit the spot for vegans!

For this vegan walnut pesto, you’ll need:

  • 100 g walnuts
  • 2 big handfuls fresh basil
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • some pepper and sea salt

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Now what?

Grab your food processor and simply put all the ingredients in it. Pulse the ingredients until you have a semi-smooth consistency; I personally like it when the walnuts don’t get chopped up too finely. If you like some extra crunch, first try to blend 75 grams of walnuts with all the other ingredients until smooth and add the other 25 grams later on. Serving tip when you’re eating this pesto with pasta; use the nutritional yeast as an extra topping. Enjoy!

Vanilla-coconut chia pudding

I love chia seeds! These little gems are packed with omega-3 essential fatty acids (good fat) that helps with heart and joint health and keeps you full for a long time. I use them in smoothies, salads, cakes, etc… But my favorite way to enjoy them is as a pudding. A tasty way to sneak some healthy fats in your diet!

Recipe: Vanilla-Coconut Chia Pudding

Ingredients (for 2 bowls): 

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

How to: 

Mix all the ingredients in a jar and set in the fridge overnight. Transfer the pudding into bowls and decorate with any toppings you like. Et voilà!

This Vanilla-Coconut Chia Pudding is tropical heaven. It’s so easy and quick to make and you can have it as breakfast, a snack or dessert. I topped it with blueberries, physalis, cherries, cacao nibs and an edible flower. You can use any toppings you like though!

Want to know more about me or try some more of my recipes? Take a look at my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram @dailybowlofhappiness.

Love, 

Moon

What happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep

We all know that a good night’s sleep is important. If you got too little sleep, you feel futile and weak the next day. But there are many more consequences of a short night’s sleep. And some of them are pretty terrifying! Hopefully, this article is a true eye-opener for you because this is what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep:

You’re more likely to cause an accident

If you’ve slept badly, you concentration tends to be lower than usual. Also, your reflexes are worse and you process information at a slower rate. So, a major setback on your driving skills. Not only in the car, you can also be a hazard on the road when you’re on a bike or even walking. (For example, last week I almost walked under a car after a short night’s sleep.) According to the Foundation for Scientific Research on Traffic Accidents, fatigue and tiredness play a role in 10 to 15% of road accidents. That’s quite a lot!

You’re more hungry

You burn a lot of calories in your sleep. But, more happens with your metabolism at night than you may think. If you don’t sleep enough, the hormone ghlerine is created. This is a substance that generates appetite. If you slept too little, you’ll be less full during the day. (And then snacks tend to become very dangerous…)

Your skin becomes older

Look, your skin won’t look 10 years older overnight. But, if you get too little sleep for longer periods of time, the aging process of your skin speeds up. However, there are also some short-term effects on your skin. Lack of sleep can make your skin dry (because your skin gets hydrated at night) and acne can occur. They don’t call it a beauty sleep for nothing…

Your immune system becomes affected

During your sleep, important proteins are created. These are used for a lot of things, for example, the construction of antibodies. An insufficient night’s sleep causes less of these proteins to be produced, which means that you are more susceptible to diseases. Did you know that you are three times more likely of getting a cold when you sleep less than seven hours a night? Another reason to go to bed on time…

In the long run you are at risk of severe illnesses

Do you lack sleep way too often? Then you seriously have to take care of yourself. Sleep shortage can have serious consequences. It makes you less sensitive to insulin, which could cause diabetes. You can also get increased blood pressure and you have a greater chance of having a heart attack. This doesn’t sound all too good…

Wow, these are all quite serious consequences if you don’t sleep enough. I also read that if you need to catch up on sleep, it’s better that you go to bed earlier than sleeping in in the morning. Are you doing everything you can to get enough sleep?

Source (header): Weheartit

How to eat less sugar?

Last week we talked about how nowadays sugar is everywhere. When you walk through the supermarket and take some random products, there’s a very large chance that there’s sugar in it. Once, sugar was only used to sweeten food or drinks, but that’s no longer the case. Not eating sugar is a really big struggle for me. Especially since it’s in all of my favorite cheat snacks ;). But, I decided to eat clean, healthy and really decrease my sugar intake. In this article I will tell you all about sugar and give you tips on how to eat less of it.

What does sugar do to your brain?
When you eat sugar, your brains releases dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical which makes you feel really good. Your brain gets addicted to this feeling and tells you to take more sugar. Sugar stimulates the same part of the brain as several kinds of drugs. You can experience some real heavy withdrawal symptoms when you decrease your sugar intake. This proves that sugar does more to your body than you know. If you want to read more about how sugar affects your brain, read this article from Fit Girl Shelley or this article from Fit Girl Annegeke.

So how can you decrease your sugar intake? I’ve collected some great tips I want to share with you.

Beauty sleep
Taking enough sleep is one of the simplest and most important ways to decrease your hunger and cravings. Research shows that when you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases an appetite increasing hormone called ghrelin.

Replace sugar for other flavors
Experiment with some different flavors instead of sugar. For example:

  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Orange
  • Coconut

Choose savory snacks
Savory snacks are better for your body than sweet ones, because these don’t have the same (addicting) effects. Some healthy examples include:

  • Hummus with cucumber and bell pepper
  • Carrot or celery with nut spread
  • A boiled egg

Choose naturally sweet foods like fruit
There are a lot of fruits that are good for your digestion and for burning fat. For example:

  • Strawberries
  • Apple
  • Kiwi
  • Berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and mulberries

Read labels
Even products from which you don’t expect to contain sugar, contain it. (Such as crisps!) Sugar also has a lot of nicknames; here are some of them:

  • Dextrose
  • Caster sugar
  • HFCS
  • Fructose
  • Fructose syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Glucose
  • Glucose syrup
  • Syrup
  • Invert
  • Granulated sugar
  • Molasses
  • Cane sugar

Drink unsweetened drinks
No soda and ‘fruit juices’ of course; freshly pressed juice is good for you every now and then, but most juice packs contain loads of sugar. Also, try to drink your coffee and tea without sugar or spice up your water with some fruit or fresh herbs.

Cook with fresh products
Cook with pots and pans and fresh products. Prepacked products probably contain sugars and often too much salt as well. Go back to basics and create your meal from scratch.

Resist the sugar replacers
Some sweeteners are really bad for your body. It’s better to use natural sweeteners like stevia. On our website you can find plenty delicious recipes without using artificial sugar.

Check out the recipe of this fingerlickin’ good cocochoco almond muffin!

Avoid sugar in your comfort food
If it is your cheatday, try to avoid eating everything sugary that comes along. It’s better for you to choose salty food instead of sugar or else you need to go cold turkey again when your cheatday is over. Believe me, you’ll really notice some serious sugar cravings after a wild party with Ben & Jerry!

80/20 rule
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? This rule means that 80% of the time you’ll track what you eat, 20% of the time you can eat what you want. You can compare this rule with having a cheatday every week.

Don’t go shopping for groceries when you’re hungry
When you’re hungry you will for sure buy all the bad foods you’re craving for. If you shop when you’re full, you can think more logically and will probably only buy what’s on your list ;-).

Do it together
Find a buddy who is willing to change their lifestyle together with you. It’s always nice to have someone who supports you in your Fit Journey. You can work out together and keep each other motivated.

Are you going to apply any of these tips onto your lifestyle? Or did you already cut back on artificial sugars? Share your tips & tricks with us!

 

Myrthe’s favorite leg and butt workout to do at home

The summer is almost starting! It’s time to go on holiday and take the shorts and dresses out of the closet. In order to give my legs and butt an extra boost in the right direction, I often do these leg and butt exercises at home. I found out a few of these exercises through Fajah Lourens’s workout “XL Butts and Legs” during the Healthy Fest sports festival. The following days I had so much muscle pain that I thought to myself: I should try this at home! And who am I not to share my formula for strong legs and a round butt? 

Donkey kicks

Put a yoga mat on the ground and sit on your knees. You can also do it without a yogamat, but that’s not that comfortable! Push one leg back and forth (make sure to kick your leg upwards and not to the ground). Try to do it a total of 40 times per leg. Let that booty burn!

 

Abductor knee raises

This is the same starting position as the donkey kicks. Now, instead of pushing your leg back, lift it sideways. Also try to do this exercise 40 times per leg.

 

The bridge

This is one of my favorite exercises! Just lie on your back and push your butt into the air, causing your back to line up with your thighs. Only try to touch the ground with your feet, shoulders and of course your head. Repeat this exercise about 30 times.

 

The bridge + leg raises

This is a more challenging version of “the bridge”. The basis of the exercise is the same, just bring one leg into the air. Do the exercise 30 times per leg. Switch leg after every ten leg raises.

 

Jumping squats

Adding that little extra to your normal squats! I’ve done this exercise thousands of times with Insanity (a workout video). I, myself, try to do the movement as often as I can for 1 minute. Then I take a break. I try to do as many squats as possible in three rounds. Do you not want to work with a timer? Then do a total of 30 jumping squats.

 

Lunges with kick

Do a normal lunge but end it with a front kick, it’s that simple. Make sure to bend your knees at a 90 degrees angle when doing the lunges. Repeat the exercise 30 times per leg.

 

After doing these leg and butt workouts you’ll have muscle ache tomorrow and maybe even the day after, guaranteed! Especially in your butt! Do you often train your legs and butt? Which exercises do you like most?