Meet Judith Pietersen, volleyball player at the Dutch National Team

Judith Pietersen is one of the players of the Dutch Female Volleyball team. We are really proud t0 welcome her as one of the #FITGIRLCODE ambassadors. She is going to tell you all about her fit & healthy lifestyle as a professional athlete. But first, let’s get to know Judith a little bit better.

1. Why do you like writing for #FITGIRLCODE?

I want to convince people how much fun it can be to work out and stay fit and healthy.

2. What do you like so much about volleyball?

I like that it’s a fast-paced team sport. I love to play in a team, because by myself I could never perform like this. Together you can just achieve more, because you motivate each other to make to most of it. And when you’re going through a rough patch, there is always a bunch of girls helping you to pull trough. That’s truly special.

 3. What’s your most impressive sport moment until now?

When I started playing for the Dutch Junior Youth team, I went to a foreign tournament and took part in the European Championships for the first time. That was pretty impressive! But what really stood out, were the Youth Olympics. Together with other athletes I lived together in the Olympic village. That was really awesome! And the cherry on top, was that our team also won the bronze medal!

4. Who is your sport hero?

Caroline Wensink (my cousin), she has always been a great example to me. Eventually we managed to stand together on the field. I’m so proud of that!

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Cauliflower pizza recipe

For the pizza lovers amongst you, I present you: the cauliflower pizza clean eating version. This is a great and tasty alternative for a regular pizza. The entire crust is only 434 calories, which is just insane. Usually a single slice of pizza is 400 calories alone. With this cauliflower version, one serving is just 109 calories. Unbelievable right?

I’m not going to lie and say it’s just like eating a flour pizza crust because it’s not. But surprisingly, it’s doesn`t taste like regular cauliflower either. So if you really, really feel like pizza, but don’t like the feeling you have after eating it, you should try this cauliflower variant. You will definitely get your pizza fix!

Ingredients for 2 serves

–          1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower

–          1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

–          1 egg, beaten

–          1 teaspoon dried oregano

–          ½ teaspoon crushed garlic

–          ½ teaspoon garlic salt

–          olive oil (optional)

–          tomato paste, shredded cheese and choice of your toppings

Directions

To ‘rice’ the cauliflower: Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the vegetable into chunks. Use the food processor or hand mixer and pulse it until it looks like grain. Do not overdo it or you will puree it. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself. One large cauliflower head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower.

To Make the pizza crust: Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Put baking paper on a baking plate. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and salt, stir. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet, and use your hands to pat it out into a 20 cm round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help it colour.

Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and add toppings, cheese (I recommend goat cheese) and tomato paste to the crust. Place under the grill at high heat, just until the cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes). Enjoy!

Special thanks to Yourlightersight for this awesome , healthy and easy clean eating recipe!

Meet Myrthe Schoot, volleyball player of the Dutch National Team

So you’ve met two girls of the Dutch Volleyball and we’re not done yet! Today we want to introduce you to Myrthe! We sat down with her for a one-on-one and asked her everything…Well not everything 😉

1. Why do you like writing for #FITGIRLCODE

As athletes we always have our minds set on living healthy, because in sport the smallest things can make the difference. That’s why I got more and more interested in healthy eating and supplements. Over the years, you find out what works best for your body. We as a team go through life as real Fit Girls, and now being called a #FITGIRLCODE Ambassador is a real compliment.

2. How did your volleyball adventure start?

My volleyball adventure started when I was 12. My sister (7 years older) was a real role model to me. I wanted everything she had or did. I secretly had a crush on the boyfriend she had at the time and he was really into volleyball. So I figured there was only one thing I could do to impress him: play volleyball. Although it never impressed him, it was the beginning of my volleyball adventure.

 3. When did you decide you wanted to do top class sport?

There was not a precise moment I decided to start practicing top class sport; I kinda rolled into it. When I started volleyball I picked it up pretty fast and soon I got invited to participate in selections (a real honour). From there I moved on to the Dutch Junior Youth team, where I learned a lot about top class sport. I liked it, so I kept going forward. For me, it was not really a conscious choice to start top class sport, but during this period of my career, I did see a lot of great talents my age quit volleyball.

4. How do you combine your sport career with a ‘normal’ social life?

I find it pretty hard to combine my social life with my sport career. I am so busy and making plans is difficult because we often get our training program on short notice. I often miss out on birthdays or holidays because I spend a lot of time abroad or at training intern at Papendal. Fortunately I’ll have loads of time after my sport career to catch up on this, and in the meantime I can Skype, FaceTime, Whatsapp etc. Thank God for technology 😉

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Meet Celeste Plak, volleyball player at the Dutch National Team

We are so proud to introduce you to Celeste Plak! This amazing girl is one of the players of the Dutch Female Volleyball team and she is gonna tell all about being a professional Fit Girl.

1. Why do you like writing for #FITGIRLCODE

I want to give other Fit Girls a peek into my life; how beautiful it can be, but also how tough it can be sometimes.

2. How did your volleyball adventure start?

When I was six years old I started playing volleyball at the local club in my town Tuitjenhorn. Sometimes I participated during selection days, but I never got selected. That changed when I got invited to the Dutch Junior Youth team on my 13th birthday. At first, I didn’t wanna go, but after many discussions I agreed to go. Soon I realized that this wasn’t for me so I quit. After a few months rest, my coach came to visit me and asked me if I wanted to come back. I said yes and since then I really enjoyed myself and never felt unhappy about my decision again.

3. How do you combine your sport career with a ‘normal’ social life?

When I was 14 I started living at sport centre Papendal, I lost contact with a lot of ‘friends’. The ones that stuck with me aren’t that many, but I’m okay with that. At least this way I can spend the time I have with my family.

4. What would you like to achieve in your sport career?

Very cliché, but I’d like to go to the Olympics. And beside that, I just hope people enjoy watching my game and maybe even get inspired.

CelestePhotography by: Ronald Hoogendoorn

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Meet Femke Stoltenborg, volleyball player at the Dutch National Team

Femke Stoltenborg is one of the players of the Dutch Female Volleyball team. To perform at the highest level, she is always doing her best to live healthy. That’s why we consider Femke a Fit Girl pur sang! She is going to share her personal fit tips and adventures with the community, and she’ll give you a peek into her daily live; where top class sport meets holidays, boyfriends, parties, cheat days and relaxing. But first, we’d like you to get to know Femke a little bit better 🙂

Why do you like writing for #FITGIRLCODE?

I like to share what it’s like to do top class sport and what we have to do to stay fit.

How did your volleyball adventure start?

My whole family plays volleyball. During summer we often played volleyball together outside on the grass. When I was 12, I noticed that my younger sister suddenly played better volleyball than I did. I didn’t handle that all that well, so I decided to start playing volleyball at a club, just like her.

Did you have to sacrifice other important things to play volleyball at this level?

There are quite a few things I had to sacrifice to play sport at this level, such as studying for example. Because I play volleyball abroad it’s not possible for me to do the study I would actually like to do (becoming a school teacher). Instead I have chosen to study psychology at the Open University. This school gives me the opportunity to combine my study with volleyball. Furthermore I don’t see my family and friends as much as I would like. I often miss out on family days because I’m somewhere else playing volleyball. But it’s not like I’m only sacrifcing things, I get so much in return! Playing volleyball gives me such satisfaction, so giving up a few things here and there is really worth the while.

How does your environment respond to you sport career?

My environment is really enthusiastic about my sport career. They like to see and hear how I’m doing. Fortunately social media makes it easier for them to follow my life. My family supports me in everything I do and help me wherever they can. I can always count on them!

Do you like the fact that you have to go abroad so often to play volleyball?

I do! I like to discover other countries and their cultures. Although we often don’t see a lot of the countries itselves, it’s so cool to see how volleyball is experienced around the world. It differs a lot! Something less convenient about traveling a lot are the jetlags though 😉

What’s your most impressive sport moment until now?

Last year we went to Brazil with the Dutch national team. Here we played three practice games against the Brazilian team and it was so awesome! We played for 8000 tremendously avid fans and I was nearly deaf after the game. The atmosphere and the experience of the Brazilians was something I won’t forget.

And what sport moment would you like to forget?

The fact that I broke my thumb during practice two weeks before the European Championship.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Monchou pie (Cheese cake)   🙂

What are the first three things on your buck list?

Make a trip around the world, learn how to surf and speak Italian.

Are there any things you would like to ask Femke? Leave your questions in the comments below!

Reward yourself

When you’re trying to overcome your personal challenges or reach your fit goals, it’s very important to celebrate your achievements. Sometimes you might get frustrated that you are not where you wanna be yet, but if you’d look back you’ve probably achieved way more than you thought in the first place. So when your able to do your first complete push up, run 5 k without pausing, fit in the jeans you’ve bought a size too small or reach whatever goal you might have set: reward yourself in some way! You literally worked your ass off to get there. Also, when you are experiencing a fit dip, treating yourself to something nice might help you to get motivated again.

I have shared another progress picture with you last week, and I am so proud of the goals I’ve achieved so far. So I decided that it was the right time to spoil myself with something awesome. I went on the quest for the coolest (sport) goodies and came up with this wishlist. Hope you get inspired to treat yourself with something nice as well!

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1. The Layla headphone – Frends

I just love, love, LOVE the headphones from Frends. This brand combines function with style and designs all kinds of beautiful headphones to suit your mood. If you missed out on our Frends Give Away contest last week and still dream about owning these stylish earphones, you might consider spoiling yourself with one. My personal favourite is the Layla headphone. I really have a thing for the copper-look!

Alle artikelen van Ivana

 

 

2. Fitness bracelet – Jawbone

Jawbone fit bracelet

Fitness bracelets come in all different styles and shapes, but my personal favourite is this minimalistic model from Jawbone. This Bluetooth activity tracking band promises you to help achieve a healthy and holistic lifestyle. You can sync it with your smartphone to track your daily movements and inactivity. It even promps you into motion when you’ve been in one spot too long. It’s like a personal trainer on your wrist!

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Black

 

3. Adidas ZX Flux Floral

Whenever I start looking for new kicks I always get lost. These days there are so many beautiful and colorful models. Just too many to choose from! But these Adidas Flux Floral kicks just stood out in the crowd! These beauties complement an already colorful outfit or become a real eye-catcher if you combine them with a black sports legging and a dark solid sport top.

Alle artikelen van Debbie

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4. Nike Free 3.0 Shield iD

I am so crazy about everything that comes in a mint green color. I already acquired a mint green Smeg refrigerator, but there is still a mint green Fiat 500 and a mint green Volkswagen van on my wish list! You gotta keep dreaming right? But until then I can hopefully ease my longing to mint green stuff with these awesome mint green Nike Free 3.0 Shields!

 

 

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5. Sigg Aluminum Water Bottle

To my great annoyance (and those of others) I often leave my water bottle behind after my work out. This ensures that I am always rushing to find something to drink from, 1 minute before I have to leave my house. I figured that if I get a water bottle I don’t want to leave behind, the problem is solved! In my opinion, me and this shiny pink water bottle from Sigg would be a perfect match!

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6. Purple 8 Kg Kettle Bell

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Kettle bells are the perfect fitness tools to spice up your work out routine. For example: if you want to re-do the 30 Day Squat Challenge but feel like you want to take it up a notch, add a kettle bell. Check out a work out video first, to make sure you do it the right way, and check out the article on adding weights to your workout. I totally love this purple kettle bell, because even when you’re not using it, it still looks cool in your home.

Alle artikelen van Robin

 

7. Nike Yoga Mat

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When I do fitness exercises at home, until now I’ve always used the rug in my living room or a towel to lie down on. But I have to admit it’s just not it. Towels for example, don’t support your back and your butt enough and they slip away when you start moving. I figured, that since I am an advanced Fit Girl (wink wink), I deserve a pro yoga mat. Don’t you think this yoga mat from Nike is a winner?

 

What do you think is the coolest item on this list? Or have you spotted something cool you would definitely want to share? Please let me know!

No pain, no gain

Hi there Fit Girls (and boys)! I started the most serious part of my fit journey almost 5 months ago. I have shared my personal experiences with you guys along the way and I really enjoy doing that. It first of all gives me a great feeling that I can inspire others (never thought of myself like that), but writing about my ups and downs is also therapeutic for me in some way. Whenever I feel down, writing about my journey makes me realize how far I’ve come already. Yesterday my trainer said: “Setting goals for yourself like you have, and overcoming them is like top class sport. It requires determination and discipline. “ And I think he is right.

It was pretty hard to go to the gym when your friends ask you to join you for drinks in the sun after work. And to say no to someone’s birthday cake at work for the third time in a row. And to keep your snack-hand under control every time you are surrounded by mouth-watering (not so healthy) snacks at a party. And to get yourself straight after you’ve had cheat day. And to not give a damn about the scale at some point and trust your own eyes when you look at yourself in the mirror. And to push through during a training even if you think you are gonna die. I literally cried during my personal training a few times, because I faced my own challenge and got so overwhelmed with emotions.

But you know, it was worth every single drop of sweat, tears and frustration when you finally fit in the beautiful jeans you bought a size too small. When people start telling you how great you look. When trying on a bikini in a fitting room doesn’t make you feel depressed anymore. When you beat your own personal sport records. (I managed to score ‘good’ for my cooper test 2 weeks ago) When eating healthy doesn’t feel like a punishment anymore but you actually prefer your own baked goodies over some crap from the supermarket.

So whenever you have to crawl from your desk to the toilet after an intense ‘leg-day’ or skip the vino and smelly but oh-so delish cheese once again, remember that the old adage applies here yet again:

No pain, no gain!

The Great Humus Guide

I am just crazy about humus. I spread it on top of (almost) everything: home made pizza, bread, rice cakes etc. It’s also a very suitable and delish dip for fresh vegetables like carrots, cucumber and peppers.

The little heroes in this Mediterranean goodie are chickpeas. These little fellas are full of minerals, fiber and protein and other important nutrients. So if you are just like me a little addicted to hummus, try not to worry too much – there are much worse things you could be addicted to!

Another great thing about humus is that you can vary endlessly. This prevents, even for the serious humus freaks, that you get bored with it eventually. I went on a quest for the most mouthwatering hummus variations for the Great Humus Guide.

The Great Humus Guide

Directions: Rinse and clean all canned chickpeas, then combine everything in a food processor (or use a handmixer) and blitz until smooth. For a thinner consistency add 1 table spoon of water. Add pepper and salt to taste.

1. Classis

1 can chickpeas (400 g) – 2 tablespoons olive oil – 2 tablespoons tahini – 2 tablespoons lemon juice – 1 garlic clove

2. Pesto

1 can chickpeas (400 g) – table spoons pesto – 2 table spoons tahini – 2 tablespoons lemon juice – 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

3. Green herb

1 can chickpeas (400 g) – 15 basil leaves – a few parsley leaves – a few tarragon leaves – 2 tablespoons of olive oil

4. Guaca-humus

1 can chickpeas (400 g) – 1 ripe avocado – a few cilantro leaves – two tablespoons of lime juice

5. Italian

1 can chickpeas (400 g) – 6 sundried tomatoes – 2 tablespoons lemon juice – 1 teaspoon dried oregano

6. Greek

1 can chickpeas (400 g) – 50 gram grumbled feta cheese – a few leaves baby spinach – 2 table spoons lemon juice – a pinch of cinnamon.

7. Beet

50g can chopped beetroot – 1 can chickpeas (400 g) – 1 garlic cloves – 1 tablespoon tahini – 1 tablespoon lemon juice – 2 tablespoons olive oil

8. Tapenade

1 can chickpeas (400 g) – 50 gram black olives – 1 tablespoon tahini – 2 tablespoons olive oil – 3 tablespoons lemon juice – a pinch of cumin – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

9. Red bell pepper

1 can chickpeas (400 g) – 2 chopped roasted red bell pepper – 2 tablespoons tahini – 2 tablespoons lemon juice – 2 garlic gloves

10. Cucumber

1 can chickpeas (400 g) – 1/2 cucumber chopped into pieces – 1 tabelespoon olive oil – 2 tablespoons tahini – 2 garlic gloves – a pinch of paprika powder

What is your all time favourite humus recipe? Please let me know! Humus for life! 🙂

 

Create your own bucket list

A while ago I realized I am in the midst of my quarter life crisis. On the one hand I immensely enjoy grown-up-people stuff like: owning a home, staying in on Friday nights and getting a puppy. But on the other hand I am still a rebellious youngster who wants to rage against machines and travel the world in her underpants. That’s why I decided to make a bucket list. I figured if I live my days by personal goals and plans, chances are less likely I spend most of my time caught up in a haze of day-to-day-activities.

A bucket list is a collection of anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to do, whether it’s big, small or random. It’s like planning ahead all the highlights you want for your whole life. It might sound a bit control freak-ish, but I think having a bucket list reminds you of what’s really important so you can act on it.

This is my bucket list, where I have listed all things I want to do, feel, experience, see and achieve before I die.

  1. Become a woman who is comfortable and confident in her own skin
  2. Run 10 k within an hour
  3. Make a journey around the world together with my boyfriend and visit at least the U.S, South America and Australia
  4. Spend more than 1000 EUR on a shopping spree
  5. Pursue my passion and turn it into a career
  6. Have my own car
  7. Own a (mint green) Volkswagen camper van
  8. Go sky diving
  9. Own a cosy lunchroom with delicious and healthy food
  10. Go on a hot air balloon flight
  11. Read the Koran
  12. Learn to speak Spanish fluently
  13. Swim with dolphins
  14. Make a bonfire on the beach
  15. Being able do to one complete pull up
  16. Stomp grapes to make my own wine
  17. Do voluntary work for a few months in a developing country
  18. Give a speech for 1000 people
  19. Trek and camp in nature for at least a week
  20. Visit a nude beach

I am sure I will add things to this list every once in a while, but these 20 things were the most pressing on my mind right now.

If you want to create your own bucket list, these questions might help you:

  • What if you were to die tomorrow? What would you wish you could do before you die?
  • What would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources?
  • What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
  • Any countries, places or locations you want to visit?
  • What are your biggest goals and dreams?
  • What do you want to see in person?
  • What achievements do you want to have?
  • What experiences do you want to have / feel?
  • Are there any special moments you want to witness?
  • What activities or skills do you want to learn or try?
  • What are the most important things you can ever do?
  • What would you like to say/do together with other people? People you love? Family? Friends?
  • Are there any specific people you want to meet in person?
  • What do you want to achieve in the different areas: Social, Love, Family, Career, Finance, Health (your weight, fitness level), Spiritual?
  • What do you need to do to lead a life of the greatest meaning?

Please share at least three items of your own bucket list. I’d love to get inspired by you guys!

 

 

Without before, there is no after

Yep, there it is: my before- and after picture. Damn, it’s insanely scary to share this with the rest of the world. Even though I showed it to a few close friends before I decided to post it on FITGIRLCODE, it’s still a huge step. Some of you might wonder why I would share something personal like this on the world wide web. I have two reasons:

  1. I’m amazingly proud of the results I achieved. I honestly did not expect myself to be this persistent.
  2. I love to inspire and motivate other women to become someone who is comfortable in her own skin.

I have doubted whether I should post this picture already or if I should wait a few more months so the difference would be more ‘shocking’. But then I decided that it’s important to tell you guys that I feel super confident and proud of myself looking at this picture.

Don’t compare yourself to others
I want to emphasize, that you should keep in mind that you and your body are one of a kind. So don’t compare yourself to others. Everybody responds totally different to food and exercise. I, for example will never fit into a size 36 EU/8 UK like Aranka or Chris (only if I’d starve myself). It’s simply not possible because of my bone structure. But that doesn’t mean that my body is less beautifull or fit. Everyone is georgious in their own unique way. That’s what makes the world an interesting place.

The road to transformation
I gotta tell you, that the changes I have undergone lately didn’t happen in two months. Physicall yes, but mentally no. I have prepared myself for this new lifestyle over the past year – step by step. Like Shelley wrote in her article: changing you habits doesn’t happen over night.

After preparing myself all this time, I was ready to change a few things radically. This is what I did to achieve my goals:

  • Accept the fact that I need to make sacrifices. I can’t have both: drink loads of wine, eat cheese AND look like Beyoncé.
  • I work out 4 times a week: 3 times strenght training and once a week I go for a 8k run.
  • I drink a lot less alcohol. And if I do, I stick to some ground rules to limit the damage.
  • I found myself a few Fit Friends For Life to keep me motivated.
  • I try to eat as clean as possible. Check out 6 healthy tips to starting eating clean.
  • I quit drinking soft drinks and fruit juices and committed to green tea and (flavored)water
  • Last but not least: when I slacked I tried not to panic. Sometimes I just want to eat chocolate, cookies and A LOT of potato chips. But I don’t trow in the towel. I tell myself that every day is a brand new day for me to work my ass off in the gym and eat super healthy.

The key to succes
I`ve been training with Georgios from Sixforty for over a year now. Before, I didn’t get the results I was aiming for at all. So I asked him why he thinks I am succeeding this time around.

Georgios: “Succes has everything to do with the choices you make and how much you are willing to sacrifice to let them succeed. Anna chose what’s most important for her: becoming a woman who’s comfortable in her own skin. And because she comits to this choice there’s nothing in her way to reach her goals.”

Anna & Georgios Kleur
photo credits: Vivienne Magalie

A little thank you

I didn’t reach my personal goals yet, but when I started this journey I’d never thought I would get this far, this fast. But you should all know that I have couldn’t done this without a few important people in my life.

Shout out to my boyfriend (also my Best Fit Friend For Life), the most amazing trainer in the world: Georgios, my close friends and ofcourse everyone in the FITGIRLCODE community. Thanks ya’ll!

Healthy breakfast foods – PART 2

Earlier this week I wrote about why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While I was doing research on this subject I ran into so many delicious foods for a healthy breakfast, I decided to divide my article into two parts. I don’t want to just sum up all the foods, but also want to tell you about all the special qualities they have.

It’s easy to eat stuff because other people tell you it’s healthy, but in my experience it works best if you know WHY some foods work wel for your body and others just don’t. Take a look at a few other amazing breakfast foods.

  • Blueberries: Fresh or frozen, these tiny super fruits pack a lot of health benefits. Studies suggest that eating blueberries regularly can help improve everything from memory and motor skills to blood pressure. Moreover, blueberries can help you battle the bulge. First of all, blueberries are lower in calories than a lot of other fruits (they contain just 80 kcal per cup), but researchers also found that if obese animals  were given meals enriched with blueberries, they lost fat from their stomachs.
  • Lemon: Start the day with a glass of warm water and the juice of half a lemon. My experience is, that when you start of the day right, it’s easier to make the best choices the rest of the day. Lemons boost your immune system because they are full of vitamine C. They are also high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. And if you’re having trouble pooping, warm water and lemon might be just the thing to help you go. Last but not least: drinking lemon water combats the bacteria that causes bad breath. Not bad, huh?
  • Flax seed: Sprinkling ground flax seed into a smoothie or bowl of cereal will turn your breakfast into a gold mine of omega-3 fatty acids; just two tablespoons contains more than 100% of your recommended daily intake for those heart-healthy fats. Flax seed, which has a nutty flavor, is also rich in fiber and lignan, an antioxidant that’s been shown to protect against breast cancer. You didn’t expect all this from such a tiny seed, right?
  • Green tea: Have you been wondering why everyone is so psyched about green tea? Now you can stop wondering and just start drinking it. This flavorful beverage offers many health benefits to anyone who drinks it regularly. Green tea contains a plant nutrient known as EGCG. This superb ingredient increases the rate at which fat is burned in your body (especially your belly fat). And if that’s not enough, drinking green tea also keeps your energy stable by balancing blood sugar levels. EGCG improves insulin use in the body to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes that can result in fatigue, irritability, and cravings for unhealthy foods.
  • Eggs: These little rascals have made quite a comeback in recent years. Once shunned for being high in dietary cholesterol (one yolk contains about 60% of your daily allotment), eggs are now embraced as a healthy source of protein and nutrients. Why the turnabout? Research has shown that the cholesterol in our food has less of an impact on blood cholesterol than previously thought. If you are not eating eggs regularly this is why you should:*One little egg is packed with several vitamins and minerals essential to your health.

Of course this is only a selection of the most delicious and healthy things you can eat for breakfast. What food do you prefer to start of the day fresh and focused?

Source: health.com, foodmatters.tv, besthealthmag.ca, huffingtonpost.com

Strength training for women

I used to sweat over every piece of cardio equipment in the gym. Beside the fact that this is all but an inspiring sport activity, it didn’t give me the results I was aiming for either. When I started training at Sixforty I got introduced to strength training workouts. And suddenly the scale gave me much more love than before. And no, I didn’t become a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Let me clarify this first: women naturally can never get as muscular as men! This has to do with the fact that women have a smaller amount of muscle fibers and testosterone. So no reason for you to hide behind this ancient myth.

Strenght training for women

I`ll give you some undeniable reasons that will convince you to start lifting weights:

  • 2 strength sessions a week can reduce overall body fat by about 3 percentage in just 10 weeks. That translates to as much as three inches total off your waist and hips. Suddenly, dumbbells sound like a smart idea.
  • Your after burn increases with 100 calories per training when you lift weights. If you train three times a week, 52 weeks a year… well, do the math! There’s a longer term benefit to all that lifting too: muscles are, unlike fat, metabolically active. That means that muscles chew up calories, even when you are not in the gym.
  •  Add heavy weights to your training. In a study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, women burned nearly twice as many calories in the two hours after their workout when they lifted 85 percent of their max load for eight reps than when they did more reps (15) at a lower weight (45 percent of their max).

It’s recommended to do three weight training sessions each week. Aim for total body workouts that target your arms, abs, legs and back. For each exercise you do, try to perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps with a weight heavy enough that by your last rep you can’t eke out another one without compromising your form.

And remember to fuel your body properly before working out. Treat your body like a car: food = fuel. If you put the wrong gas in your car, it won’t work. The right food prevents you from losing muscle along with any fat that might have melted away. So make sure you eat high protein food like chicken, soy products, eggs and quark.

(Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com)

Healthy breakfast foods – PART 1

For as long as we can remember, we’ve been told breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But why was that again? A good breakfast does not only boost you energy and memory level, it also prevents you from overeating later in the day and has impact on how long you live. So keep this in mind next time you rush out the door without something to eat.

Make sure you start off your day with a breakfast that combines good carbs and fiber with some protein. Have a look at these healthy breakfast foods. They kick start your day and make you feel full and energized throughout the whole morning.

  • Bananas: There’s nothing like a banana at breakfast to keep those mid-morning cravings away. But you`ll never eat a banana the same way after reading the next sentence. This yellow piece of fruit helps you combat depression, makes you smarter, cures hangovers, relieves morning sickness, protects against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and blindness. And believe it or not, they can a cure the itch of a mosquito bite and put a great shine on your shoes (true story)
  • Grapefruit: These guys have a beneficial effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. Grapefruit is also hydrating, filling, and packed with immunity-boosting antioxidants. Some of you might have to get used to the bitter taste (I know I did), it`s worth the while.
  • Raspberries: These summer favorites are the main berry source of ellagitannins, a type of antioxidant that is thought to have cancer-fighting properties. They’re also high in fiber (8 grams per cup), vitamin C, and vitamin K, which helps build strong bones. Although you can buy fresh raspberries year-round, during the off-season you’ll find them cheaper (and with equal nutritional value) in the frozen foods aisle. They’re perfect as an addition to cereal or yogurt, or mixed into a smoothie for a quick, drink-on-the-go breakfast.
  • Oatmeal: Whether slowly cooked and creamy or blended with fresh fruit in a smoothie, oats provide your body with many benefits. If you’re not eating oatmeal for breakfast, you’re missing out on a delicious way to add fiber and nutrients to your body first thing in the morning. So what exactly makes oatmeal so superduper healthy? For years, research has shown a strong connection between oatmeal and cholesterol reduction. Oatmeal is rich of a certain type of fiber that gets rid of “bad” cholesterol. That means when you eat oats for breakfast, you’re going to feel full for a long time. Breakfast foods high in sugar and fat can make you feel full for a brief period, but then you’re hungry again. A breakfast smoothie, consisting of blended oats, fruit and ice, can satisfy your hunger easily until lunch. Check this delicious banana peanut butter oatmeal recipe.On top of all: oats also are packed with the antioxidants that battle against cell damage. And that can help plump up your skin and reduce wrinkles.

While I was writing this article I discovered loads of delicious and healthy foods to make a nice breakfast. And each food has so many good qualities. So I deciced to write a part 2 about this subject. To be continued…

Source: health.com, foodmatters.tv, besthealthmag.ca, huffingtonpost.com

Don’t let your fit goals become an obsession

I am really proud to let you guys know that I`ve completed a whole month without a single drop of alcohol. Of course I`ve had my highs and lows, but I didn`t give in to any temptation. The most important learning in overcoming this challenge is, that I know now, that if I really set my mind to something I can do it! I just kept reminding myself why I started this challenge in the first place.

RESULTS
For those who wonder about the results I achieved so far: I lost almost 8 kg (18 lbs.) in 2.5 months. And I feel way more energized. Although I increased my workout frequency from 3 to 4 times a week (due to the personal training sessions I have now), I constantly feel like doing stuff instead of being a couch potato. But I realized that when you work out a lot, you should also allow yourself plenty of rest. When you work out in the morning you can feel really tired in the afternoon. Don’t fight it, just reward your body for the hard work with a well deserved powernap.

TAKE IT EASY
It’s very motivating when you and the people around you start to notice the changes you’re undergoing. But prevent yourself from exaggerating it. Of course you need to push yourself to reach your goals, but enough is enough. I set some rules for myself to make sure this whole pursuit of fit won’t become an obsession.

  • Allow yourself a cheat day. Don`t deny yourself everything you love. If you really like Ben & Jerry’s, spoil yourself with a few scoops  (better not down the whole pint at once) every once in a while. But make sure you really enjoy the taste of your favorite food instead of gorging yourself on it.
  • Weigh yourself only once a week. If you stand on a scale every day, you’ll drive yourself crazy. It`s normal for your body weight to ebb and flow. Because if you step on the scale you are not just measuring muscle and fat. That number also represents the weight of your bones, organs, bodily fluids etc. Given all of these variables you shouldn’t panic if your weight slightly increases on some days.
  • Schedule a day of rest in between your workouts. The body repairs and strengthens itself in the time between workouts, and continuous training can actually weaken your muscles. I know the feeling of sore muscles is kinda nice, but this saying applies to (almost) everything: don’t overdo it.

Don’t let your fit goals become an obsession

  • Set realistic goals and celebrate if you achieve them. My ultimate goal is to lose 20 kg (44 lbs.), but I don`t expect it to happen overnight. I agreed with myself that it is more realistic to lose 10 kg (22 lbs.) before the end of July. Every kg I lose extra, is a nice bonus. And if you reach your goal at any given time, don’t forget to celebrate. You worked your ass off to get there (wo)man.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t get hyponotised by all the fit pics you see on Instagram or the body of your BestFitFriendForLife. Yes, it’s good to get inspired by someone else. But no, you will never look exactly the same as the person you see in the picture. Every body responds totally different to food and excercise. The world would be a boring place if we’d all look a like. Check out Aranka en Chris`s foodlog. They`ll explain that they might look the same on the outside, but their bodies work totally different on the inside.

Transformation to the new you

I think I’ve finally seen the light! It really feels like I am at a turning point in the process of maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle. A few weeks ago I told you guys that drinking alcohol during the weekend really is my guilty pleasure. At that stage I didn’t feel strong enough yet to quit drinking for a while, so I could boost my weight loss. But I am proud to say that I survived my first weekend without a single drop of alcohol. I have to admit, it was pretty hard though.

Friday I went out for dinner with my boyfriend and I am so used to order a nice glass of red wine. Instead I asked for a  bottle of sparkling water! Ordering it was the hardest part, but once it was on the table I surrendered to the situation. Saturday I was surrounded by friends drinking, while I was sipping my green tea. This also felt really unnatural at first, but I got used to it. The best part of the story is that I felt like a newborn the next day. I woke up at 8 am, killed my workout like a mad woman and felt fresh and energized the rest of the day. So I am going to keep this up until Kingsday (Koningsdag). Perfect timing, right? 😉

Another great thing happened: my trainers at Sixforty offered me 12 free personal training sessions! They told me that they really wanted to help me achieve my goal before summer. They believe in me and see how motivated I am, and this way they want to contribute to overcome my challenge. I was over the moon! It really feels like my hard work finally is paying off. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and the last push in the right direction.

I’m damn sure that I am going to nail this thing, once and for all!

Developing the new you might be difficult, but once your transformation continues it gets easier.  And down the road you’ll experience some sort of rush. A feeling that changes thoughts like  “I hope I will succeed this time” into “I am sure I going to nail this thing, once and for all!” So keep up the good work, and surround yourself with people that motivate you! Get yourself a Best Fit Friend Forever and support each other during highs and lows. And most importantly: celebrate your achieved goals! Because if you work hard, you can play hard!

Quinoa salad with avocado, crab stick and mango

Why is quinoa the new health food superstar? While no single food can supply all the essential life sustaining nutrients, quinoa comes as close as any other in the plant or animal kingdom (Huffingtonpost). If that`s no reason to start eating quinoa, I don`t know what is!

With quinoa you can vary as much as you want, but my all time favorite is this recipe with avocado, crab sticks and mango. (Inspired by Iowagirleats)

Ingredients (2 servings)

2 cups quinoa, rinsed very well
200 gram crab sticks
1 mango, chopped,
1 avocado, chopped
1 spring onion, chopped
2 table spoons grated old cheese

For the lemon-honey vinaigrette

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1- ½ lemons)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon honey
Salt & pepper

Instructions

  • First, rinse the quinoa well under cold running water. Bring water to a boil in a pan,  add a dash of salt and the rinsed quinoa. Place a lid on top then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Keep a close eye on it, because if you overcook, it gets sticky. When the quinoa is finished, fluff with a fork then transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa, crab, mango, avocado, grated cheese and green onion then season with salt.
  • Add the ingredients for lemon-honey vinaigrette into a small bowl and stir. Then add the vinaigrette to the rest of the salad.

I promise, you`re in for a real treat!

 

Borrowing happiness from tomorrow

Clean eating is working really well for me. I have been doing it non-stop for 4 weeks now and am starting to notice some changes: no more sugar cravings after dinner, I dropped 3 kilos and I feel way more energized (I wake up before my alarm goes off). I start to enjoy looking at myself in the mirror and I love every small change I see. I realize that the features I don’t  like are currently under construction.

However, on the weekend I keep fighting alcohol. This remains my biggest temptation. It’s not like I drink throughout the whole week, but for me Friday night equals drinking with my friends. Last year, immediately after New Year’s eve, I abstained myself from drinking for three whole weeks. I know, what a cliché! Anyway, those were the three longest weeks in my life. I did not like it a single bit. It felt like someone or something deliberately tried to ruin my weekend. Everyone could go out except for me. Yeah, of course I could go with my friends, but I tried that once and I was bored out of my mind and annoyed. The only thing I did like about this period was that I didn`t feel hungover the next morning. When I wake up, I never think: I wish that I’d had gone out last night. So when I start my next attempt I need to focus more on that feeling.

So until I really make up my mind to quit drinking for a while, I have some ground rules to limit the damage.

  • Replace white wine with sparkling water & vodka with a slice of lemon, strawberry, raspberry or whatever you like. One glass of white wine is 155 kcal and vodka with sparkling water is only 85.  That’s a whole lot of difference right? Just add a few pieces of fruit, because fruit contains sugar as well.
  • No more eating after supper. So no nuts, cheeses or whatever when drinking with my friends. Needless to say, that includes no midnight snack when I get home.
  • Whenever you feel hungover, your body automatically craves for more (fat) food than usual. But I promised myself that I can’t have both: drink alcohol and eat shitty the next day. So I won’t give in to my hangover cravings and I will think wisely about alternatives. Falafel with hummus in a whole-wheat tortilla, or a cauliflower pizza works really well with a hangover. 
  • Drink loads of water and green tea to cleanse your body from all the bad things that alcohol contains.
  • If you don’t feel too bad, try working out. Sweating also helps to cleanse your body. But don’t overdo it en listen to your body. Enough is enough.

Somewhere deep down inside, I know that drinking alcohol is borrowing happiness from tomorrow. So when the time is right and I challenge myself again, I will let you guys know how I am doing.

Sacrifice

I think, that ever since I started wearing a bikini I have bikini stress. I love the summer, but I would love it even more if I loved myself in bikini. So each year, directly after the holiday season I get panicky. I need to get rid of the gained weight that kept me warm during winter, but deep down inside I know that these instant crash diet thoughts don`t make sense. I am working towards the summer season all year, but I don`t reach my goal because I make too many unhealthy en unwise (food)decisions.

Beyoncé in shorts
But it`s never too late to change! I have four months left to summer, more than enough time to reach my goal. (Which is looking like Beyoncé in shorts). The only important thing I need to keep in mind that I have to make sacrifices. For me, that`s the hardest part. Why can`t I not have both? Drink loads of wine, eat cheese AND look like Beyoncé at the same time? It frustrates me. Often it feels like I am the only one fighting this battle. That other people manage to look gorgeous and fit just by sitting on the couch and eating whatever they feel like. But I had to admit that this is just another excuse not carry on.

Sixforty
That’s why I started training at Sixforty a month ago. Sixforty is a personal training concept in which personal challenges are the starting point of achieving sporting goals. Challenges that everyone faces in pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

The only workout you regret, is the one that didn`t happen
I made an agreement with myself to go three times a week. Obviously every now and then with a healthy dose of reluctance, but I promised myself that canceling is not an option. The 640 workouts are definitely one of a kind since they  are a combination of bootcamp exercises, HIIT and crossfit. Believe me, THIS workout is the heavy metal variant amongst all workouts. It sometimes makes me feel like I wanna die, but most important of all it makes my body shrink and my clothes looser. And after every training I feel like the queen of the world. So whenever there is temptation lurking around the corner, I remember that no one ever said: “Wow, I really regret that workout”. Because the only workout you regret, is the one that didn`t happen.