What are you exercising for?

Some Norwegian blogger has stated that anyone who exercises and eats healthy is only ever doing it for the looks. Girls to be skinny, guys to be muscly. And I can, to some extent agree. It all usually starts with the desire to look good, never really to feel better, BUT as you learn what your body is capable of and how it reacts to various types of food, I dare claim that you keep doing it because of the way it makes you feel on the inside.

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Sure, these past weeks I’ve been as little motivated as you can ever imagine, but because I’ve found a way of exercising that I like, and made it a routine, I’ve still been doing it. New after I started working is less exercise hours during the week. I no longer do 9 sessions, but 6, as the cardio I used to do during the evening has been swapped for running after my clients all day long. I know what it’s like not being able to do anything, when all you really want to is to exercise. Knees, ankles, back, shoulders – you name it, been there done that, and it sucked. 4 months of only walking because the upper body didn’t wanna co-operate, but I still got out of bed and walked. Every day. Because I like the way I feel after moving my body, and I don’t like the way I feel when I know I’ve been dodging what I’m meant to do.

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I also know what it’s like to be 15kg heavier and dreading putting on tight clothes, and I don’t ever want to go back there.

IMG_4666So yes, a part of me is exercising and eating healthy because I want to maintain what I’ve worked so hard for. But the bigger part of me is exercising and actually loving vegetables because of the way it makes me feel, all I want is a well-functioning and strong body that is injury and pain free. Sure, I’d love to be able to do pull-ups (veeeery slowly getting there), and other cool Instagramable stuff, but if that means that I’m gonna go back to not sleeping because my shoulder joints are inflamed, then no. I’ve found a balance in my life, and I like it that way. Having that said, I had 3 cheat days this weekend, so yes – it is possible to not be healthy, even for me, and I kinda freaked out, but it didn’t turn me into the Marita that I was a year ago – all it did was give me bad skin and made me feel like shit, but there’s nothing a little bit of fruit and vegetables can’t fix, right (yes, I’m joking).

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Anyway, my little sister requested a cookie recipe.

Mix 2 eggs, 1-2 ripe bananas, almond milk (other milk/water), raw honey (not necessary) and PB2 or peanut butter. Add rolled oats, baking powder, sesame seeds, chopped dried figs, almonds (or other nuts), dates, a sprinkle of sea salt, raw cocoa, chocolate protein powder, cinnamon, cardamom and ground ginger. Form the dough (it’s meant to be a bit sticky) into cookies on a baking tray, put them in the oven on 200 degrees for 10-15 minutes, and voilΓ‘, soft, chewy cookies that probably won’t last more than a day because you will eat it all.

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They see me rollin’

People often forget that exercise doesn’t only revolve around the actual workout that they do. What matters just as much, is how you treat your body pre and post workout, and what you do to further enhance your performance during a workout. I had never heard about trigger point release or foam rolling until I came to Australia. Probably spent my first 6 months in a gym here just rolling around and pretending I knew what I was doing, then I saw an exercise physiologist, and whoa my mind was blown.

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The body is connected by various lines, so let’s say someone has poor stability in their ankles, but also suffers from headaches. Could that be connected? Hell yes. Let’s consider me, myself and I in this case. I have the worst ankles (aka torn ligaments in both), one knee with 2x surgery that still isn’t fine and one knee that acts up all the time, one hip flexor is incredibly tight, I’ve got a winged scapula, and I’ve had weekly non-migraine headaches since I was about 12. I did my knee for the first time when I was 12, but no one has managed to tell me that it could be related to the headaches until about a few months ago. In other words, my spiral line is affected, and my body is compensating for the pain in the lower parts by giving me pain in other places.

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And this is where foam rolling and trigger point release comes in. The general rule is that you start at the bottom of your body and work your way closer to the heart and head. Find a point where it hurts at about 7/10, breathe into the pain, hold until the pain releases at about 4/10 and work your way up the body. Tip; inner thighs and front of thighs hurt like hell. Don’t resist the pain by tensing your muscles, as that will work against the purpose and make it worse. Also, when foam rolling or releasing trigger points, your body will be releasing and flushing out toxins that has been stored in your body for a long period of time. The first time I did it, I actually felt really sick, and my face kind of turned green and I felt like I was about to throw up… My point is, that it works. I feel better, I move better, and I don’t have to force anyone else to give me a massage when I can just release the pain on my own.

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I can’t believe I’ve worked as a PT for over a month already, time goes by so fast, and I swear I’ll probably be 25 (that’s when life ends) before I even notice. Anyway, what I’ve realized is that people tend to trick themselves. The amount of people who claim they eat healthy….. When they tell me what they’ve eaten that day, it’s typically sugar with sugar on top, with a little bit of sugar next to the sugar. Most people are generally good with their dinners, but let me just tell you – it doesn’t matter how many veggies you put on your dinner plate, if you eat crap for the other 3 meals of the day.

Be good with your food, do some foam rolling – and take care of your bodies!

To carb, or not to carb?

So a dear friend from home asked me about carbohydrates. What should we eat? How much should we eat? When should we eat it? And not to mention, are carbs bad for you? The answer is no – carbs are great for you, you just need to choose the right type of carbs. Carbohydrates equal energy for the brain, if you deplete your body of carbs, you may risk losing brain cells – sucks, right?

As with any other food, STOP OVERCOMPLICATING THINGS. Unless you’re planning on competing in bikini fitness or other body building competitions, when you eat your carbs will not matter. The general rule is 5 g per kg of bodyweight, so I’d wanna be at about 65-68 x 5 g of carbohydrate every day. However, if you’re attempting to lower your body fat slightly, you might wanna consider lowering the amount of carbohydrate and substitute it with healthy fat and protein.

Now, there are carbohydrates in everything – so don’t think that just because you don’t eat pasta, bread and rice you’re not eating carbohydrates. People often tell me that because my body fat is low, I must be dodging the carbs. But I’m not. Let me introduce my food for the past days.

IMG_5825Okay, this is like the story of my life every day. Whoever said I have mad organizing skills – you’re right.

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On weekends, I try to have a variation of my normal breakfast (particularly if the boyfriend cooks it, or we go out for breakfast, and all I have to do is eat). Scrambled eggs with heaps of veggies, oven-roasted potatoes and some gluten-free bread (I don’t normally eat gluten-free bread, or much bread for that matter, but this one was actually ok). CARBS.

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I’m trying to learn to like the seaweed part of sushi, so we made homemade sushi-rolls stuffed with quinoa, veggies, salmon and tofu. CARBS.

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A half eaten salad at work. With oven roasted pumpkin, potato and sweet potato. CARBS.

IMG_5870This picture does not do justice at all, BUT this is probably one of the best meals I’ve had in a long long time. Kangaroo with a salad made of grilled beetroot and sweet potato, some other vegetables, brie and nuts. Carbs, carbs and more carbs.

And I do of course eat my normal oats for breakfast, eat at least 5-6 different types of fruit every day, and I’m pretty sure that counts as carbs too. So let’s conclude. Carbohydrates are not bad for you, if you eat the right type.

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