Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Fitness and health

Hi everyone,
today I want to talk about fitness and health. After I got home from my U.S. vacation I started eating clean and working out regularly! One of my best friends who is super fit had lost her motivation to eat clean and asked me if we should set us a challenge and start this new 'lifestyle' together. We had already done that about a year ago and we make a good team so I was all in. Especially because I wasn't satisfied with how my body looked when I got back from the cruise. The cruise was only a few days long but I ate so much and mostly unhealthy oops. I started working out after the cruise while I was in the US but I didn't feel like it was enough because I didn't eat healthy all the time. It was a bit hard to stay away from candy and other unhealthy food. So when I got home (to be exact: on the 5th of September 2016) my friend and me started to eat clean 6 days a week and have one cheat day! I also started working out everyday except for one rest day. So I have one rest day and one cheat day to give my body time to rest and my mind some peace. I follow Cassey's workout calendar and if I miss a day of working out I will do it the next day. That means that I'll have 1,5 hours instead of the regular 45 minutes but I feel like if I wouldn't make up for the lost 'workout day' I would start slacking on my routine. No one wants to work out twice as much in one day just because you didn't do it the day before, right? So that is motivational to me since I know I should just do my workouts on a daily basis and it will be much easier. Actually, I stick to the plan most of the time. It's very unusual that I miss a workout day. There have been multiple phases in my life in which I've strictly eaten healthy food only and often I didn't even have cheat days. In my opinion cheat days are very important though because they take a lot of pressure off you and make you feel like you can just dig in and won't have to think about what food is good for an entire day. You can have all the foods you've been craving and that will keep you happy and motivated. There have also been times in my life in which I've worked out everyday and followed a plan. The only problem was that I never really combined working out and eating clean (on daily basis). Also, in the beginning I didn't really know which food is considered 'clean' and which one isn't. So I would tell everybody I was eating healthy but I'd only ban candies and chips (potato crisps) and would still eat a lot of pizza or pasta hahaha. Now I'm better informed on this topic and try to eat less carbs and more protein. I try to eat most for breakfast and that is also the time of the day at which I'll have the most carbs. In the morning you want to fuel your body to gain a lot of energy to start off right! For lunch I like to have chicken, fish, eggs or tofu with vegetables or some rice. Couscous or quinoa are also a very nice and healthy rice substitute. I actually believe that chia seeds, quinoa and skyr (yoghurt from Iceland) should be essentials (at least to me) because they are super filling and healthy (a lot of protein). For dinner I'll have a smaller dish just because my body won't burn many calories in the evening/ at night. Of course I have lots of snacks like fruits and nuts. To be honest I am not that good at describing what I eat everyday because I'm still experimenting a bit but I can say that I love to have oats with low-fat milk, chia seeds, nuts and fruit (mostly frozen berries) for breakfast. Besides that, I like to have green tea with it. So as I already mentioned I've started my 'fitness journey' several times but this time I actually feel like I will keep it up! I feel like that I won't lose my motivation this time. It isn't easy especially the 'healthy eating' part because I crave all kinds of unhealthy foods every single day but I'm getting used to it and I always think about how I can manage to wait for the cheat day. My biggest fear is how I am going to cope when Halloween and most importantly Christmas roll around.. Another challenge will be to keep all of this up when I start working/ studying soon since that will be a totally different situation. Right now I am just chilling at home everyday so that is good for the start so you can ease into the changes but it's going to be much harder later. It's going to be challenging but I'm sure it's going to work out. 
I'm not an expert in any way, shape or form. Moreover, I'm not saying that I'm doing 'the healthy lifestyle' the right way and that you should copy it. All I want is to share my motivation, my new goals and put this out here so I stay motivated and can look back in maybe 6 months to see how I felt now when this all started.


My 'rules' and some tips from me for you:

1) Eat clean 6 days a week and have one cheat day!

2) Eat a lot on your cheat day! This is weird and probably a bad tip but: It helps me to slightly 'overeat' on cheat days so that I get a bit grossed out by all the chocolate, pizza etc. That is how I think I've had enough for a week and can look forward to the next day on which I'll eat healthy again!

3) Work out 6 days a week and give your body one day to rest and regenerate the muscles!

4) Train another muscle group everyday (for example legs on Mondays, arms on Tuesdays...) so that you don't overstrain your muscles!

5) Drink a lot of water everyday!

6) Don't track your progress with your scale since you won't be able to tell if you've gained weight or muscles! Muscles are heavier than fat and make people believe that they've put on weight.

7) Make it a habit! At some point it's not about motivation anymore. You shouldn't make it an option. If you have to think about it and take the decision everyday again instead once and for all it will be a lot harder. It shouldn't be a choice..you should just get used to it without thinking about if you want to do it or not.

8) Team up with a friend! Find a friend (or multiple) who loves fitness and constantly update each other about your progress and what you eat for example. It's incredibly motiivational to receive snaps from your friend that show her working out, eating healthy etc.

9) Try new receipts and foods so that you don't get bored or sick of it! That could tempt you to drive to the next fast food restaurant.

10) If you get bored of your workout routine, don't stop working out but find something else instead! You can switch up your routine by exchanging some exercises, do more advanced exercises or even find a sport (maybe a teamsport..?) that keeps you fit. But remember that most sports don't target all muscle groups so that said sport won't be a substitute for all exercises.

11) Get enough sleep! (To be honest, I'm very bad at this. My sleep schedule is so messed up but I try to fix it with that new feauture on iOS 10 that tracks your sleep.) You'll have much better results if you sleep enough. It's super important to sleep 7-9 hours per night. You'll also have more energy for your workout!

12) Take lots of pictures to track your progress! You should take pictures before you start your 'fitness journey' and then of course every once in a while when you feel like you've made a change. It is such a rewarding and motivating feeling to see how far you've come.

13) Work out in short clothes! I like to work out in a sports bra and Nike Pros. Since I do all my workouts at home it doesn't matter what I wear and this is my preferred look. First of all, you will sweat less and not being so hot will help you maintain your energy. Second of all I like to look in the mirror or just down on my stomach every now and then during the workout. This might seem strange but it actually helps me a lot to stay motivated. When I look down on my muscles (that are extra flexed during the workout) I feel motivated and think 'I'm gonna finish this workout!' and "I'll keep eating healthy" because I don't want to loose the progress I've made but improve it instead. If you don't see any progress yet I think it can still be motivational to wear short clothes during the workout because it reminds you what you are doing this for.

Love,
Caroline



(This picture was taken in the end of January 2016.)



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