Tuna-crust pizza and a killer back-workout

I hate tuna. With passion. There is not much food out there that I actually say yuk to whenever someone is eating it, but canned tuna is one of those things I just can’t stand. Fresh, grilled tuna is another story, I could probably eat that every day for the rest of my life, if I was capable of cooking it. But I’m not.

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Anyway. Canned tuna. The easiest and cheapest way to increase the protein-intake. 19 grams of protein in that little box for like 1 dollar (I should be eating about 130g of proteins everyday – 2 grams per bodyweight), and people put it in everything! Trust me when I say I’ve tried teaching myself to like it. Covered in cheese, put in a sandwich, mixed in pasta, next to a salad, all the different versions of flavours (I mean, you’d think anything mixed with teryaki sauce is good, but no), eaten straight out of the can – you name it, I’ve tried it all. When I had a friend visiting my first year in Australia, I even ate canned tuna every day for a week, thinking I’d eventually learn to like it – but no, gag-reflexes every damn time.

So of course it would have to take a God damn pizza for me to eat that cat food-looking thing. Most of Norway will already know about this pizza (if you read fitness blogs like a maniac, like I do), but for those who don’t, and for those who aren’t convinced yet – I will convince you.

I can’t stand the taste of tuna, and I for sure can’t stand the smell, so when someone blogged about putting canned tuna in their pizza dough, I was like…. yeah no. But then they said it was amazing (or more amazing than tuna on it’s own), and then the most important thing happened; they said it didn’t taste like tuna. At all. The sceptic in me did of course not believe this, but I had to try. It’s basically free muscles in a can, I had to find a way to like it, and if I won’t notice it’s even in my food – why not?

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So all you really have to do is add a can of tuna (in spring water, the oily ones will prevent the crust from becoming crispy) drained from water to my other pizza recipe. 2,5-3dl oats, canned tuna, psyllium husk, baking powder, 2 eggs, unsweetened almond milk/water until it becomes a sticky dough, some parmesan cheese and heaps of spices (I used oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, cumin). Mix it all, put in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 200 degrees. Cool it down to ensure it becomes crispy, top it with whatever you like and of course, don’t forget the parmesan cheese. Back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. About 70 grams of protein in that crust, not too bad hey! (You’ll probably have leftovers, but still). I swear, you won’t notice the tuna.

Also thought I’d share this killer back workout that my PT throws at me now and then (mine is a bit modified as my lower back is destroyed, but this is the original).

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3 x 10 TRX pull-ups.

5 x 5 assisted pull-ups (either get someone to hold your legs, or do it on the assisted chin-up machine).

Supersets (do one set of each exercise with no rest between x 3) of;

Bent over rows 12 & shoulder press 15 – repeat 3 sets (I do squat and rows or seated rows instead of the bent over rows).

Straight arm standing lat pull-downs 12 & lateral raises 15 – repeat 3 sets.

Hammer pulldowns (machine) or chin-ups (focusing more on the biceps, rather than the lats – they´re supposed to be easier than regular ones, but my lack of biceps kind of works against the ‘easy’ part here) 12 & upright rows 15 – repeat 3 sets.

3 x 12 Face pulls.

3 x 15 Reverse cable cross (light weight).

If you’re not sweating by the end of this…

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The efficient 7 minute workout

Man, waking up at 5 to go to bootcamp is sooo much easier when you know the day ahead is going to bring 28 degrees and time at the beach. We did a circuit of all the things I suck at, and I’ve gotta say that my lack of upper body strength is slowly changing for the better – I no longer collapse doing push-ups, and my back has stopped struggling as much when I do leg-raises. There’s hope for everyone.

Rather than focusing on how much weight you want to lose in a certain period of time, why don’t you focus on reaching an exercise goal? Like finally doing push-ups on your toes, doing a certain amount of weight in a certain type of exercise or maybe running 5 kilometers in less than 30 minutes.

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The Colour Run a year ago.

PT-Daniel has given us a 7 minute workout that anyone can do at home. No equipment required. You might be thinking that yeah we read about this in magazines all the time, it doesn’t work. Well, it has, in fact, been proven to be just as sufficient as a weights session or a run – the key is that you have to do it right, you have to suffer for the results. No pain, no gain, right?

These exercises have to be performed at a high speed, 10 seconds rest between and with full focus to gain the benefits. You should be at a level of 8 out of 10 when it comes to discomfort. Spend 30 seconds on each exercise.

Jumping jacks

Wall sit

Push-up

Abdominal crunch

Step up on chair

Squat

Triceps dip on chair

Plank

High knees running in place

Lunge

Push-up and rotation

Side plank

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So how about you make this your goal for the next couple of weeks? It’s only 7 minutes. Do it three times a week. Or like my housemate Line, who has a thing for home-workouts, do it at night before you go to bed. She went from not doing proper push-ups at all, to simply telling herself she could – and so she did. Maybe make it a goal to see how many repetitions you can fit into each of the 30 second intervals the first time, and after 2 weeks see how much you’ve improved? Exercise is supposed to be fun!

We also got given a 7-day food plan, and I’m not going to share that whole thing with you, but in simple terms, what every meal has in common is a lean protein sourcevegetables and a moderate intake of good carbohydrates (remember, fruit, vegetables etc have carbohydrates too). Look at any food pyramid (part from the Norwegian, for some reason Norwegians are encouraged to eat a lot more bread/grains than what I consider necessary) and they will most likely all suggest a high intake of vegetables as the first priority. People tend to think that the low-carb/high-fat diet is all about eating butter and bacon, but the point of it all is an increased intake of vegetables. Yes, because carbs are cut, they substitute it with a bit more fatty food, but vegetables are still the main priority. Same for the paleo-diet, vegetables first, then lean protein.

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Even I (who can’t cook meat at all) manage to eat a protein source with every meal. Oats w/peanut butter, banana and eggs for breakfast, a salad/stir-fry/soup with nuts/egg/beans/chickpeas/chicken/fish for lunch, roasted vegetables/salad/soup with egg/meat/chicken/fish/chickpeas/veggie burgers etc etc for dinner. It’s not hard. And if I go all vegetarian (which typically happens… most of the week) for a couple of meals with no particular protein source, I make a protein-brownie or a protein-smoothie for dessert.

Basically, by making vegetables, fresh fruit, healthy oils/fats, legumes, lean protein and proper whole grains the basis of our diet, we are good to go. Refined carbohydrates, processed sugar, food with way too much added sodium (aka pre-made anything in the supermarket) and dairy products should be a minor part of what we eat (I think) as we can manage perfectly fine without them. It’s just a matter of choosing wisely and showing some willpower. You are fully capable of walking past that isle of potato chips, chocolate and lollies at half price.

558593_10150734798384010_592859009_9918006_1197381993_nThought I’d share this, we’ve all been there. My first semester in Melbourne, I think.

Another thing that the food plan points out is how much food you need to eat to build muscle. 5 meals a day, all pretty much looking like my dinners. Minced beef with vegetables for breakfast, I mean, come oooon. Building muscle basically means you need to eat more than you typically burn each day, but of the right food (surplus). You won’t build muscle eating white rice and drinking protein shakes all day long. In turn, leaning down and lowering the body-fat means you have to cut the carbohydrates, eat a little bit less than what you burn (deficit), but again – of the right food. Eating 3 apples and 5 oranges a day won’t do anything, but leave you starving and tired. Eat appropriate to your lifestyle and your goals. Eat to protect your inner organs and enhance the functions of your body. It’s not as hard as it sounds.

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Mind over matter; RocFit Bootcamp Melbourne

You’d think I have enough exercise activities with my nine workouts every week, BUT I somehow ended up signing up for boot camp with crazy PT-Daniel. Doing it at 6 am twice a week sounded easy when I signed the papers, but let me tell you; dragging your sorry ass out of bed at 5 am when it is still dark and pouring down outside is a struggle. This is just about how excited I was on Monday.

IMG_4351And this is just about how soaked/sexy/very good-looking I was after dying in the rain this morning.

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These two hardcore Norwegians have joined me in boot camp, and I’ve gotta say, working out in teams is so rewarding! I almost understand why people play soccer now. They’re both competitive, and even though I don’t really think I like to compete much, I’m pretty sure I push myself a bit harder when we’re all working together.

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Daniel is mean, yet knows when to push you and when to let you pull back. My long list of injuries/things I can’t do obviously makes me work around things now and then, but both sessions so far let me burn over 600 calories, and that rarely happens now that I’ve lost weight (the more you weigh, the more calories you burn).

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I think I can’t exercise without music, in fact, if I forget my music going to the gym, I cancel the session and go back home. But guess what, turns out I can! Boot camp is for sure just a matter of ignoring all the things you think you can’t do, and just pushing through. Getting up early is no problem if you go to bed at a decent time, and I’ve gotta say; you do feel pretty badass running around in the rain and having completed a workout by 7 am. 1 week down, 7 to go. We’ve done tests to see where we are now, and by the end of the program we’ll hopefully be way better than before. I’ll update you guys on the journey, and I think everyone should step out of their comfort zone and change their routines up. It’s healthy for the brain.

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Two way french toast

Saturdays are normally dedicated to my second leg-day of the week, but being as handicapped as I am, it has now been turned into a “do whatever I want” in the gym day, and it might stay that way because I really enjoyed that gym session! Despite limping and being awesome with my ankle brace, I managed to pull off a complete hour of pure joy (and sweat).

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Even though it is important to push all of your muscle groups into working throughout the week, it is also important to enjoy what you do. Considering that I sort of ran out of muscle groups to kill pretty early this week (yeah a whole workout dedicated simply to triceps isn’t gonna happen), I decided to simply pick all my favorite exercises for the upper body and core and make it a workout. Push-ups, face pulls, rear delt flies w/ cables, triceps pushdown w/ rope, dips, scull crusher, lat pulldowns, bicep 7s, hanging leg-raises and plank x 3. Nailed it.

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You know how they say that it is important to keep track of your workouts and log everything into a system? Yeah, I’m not really that organized, but I have found my own way of recording and remembering my workouts. Tiny notes and post-its! They are all finely stuffed into the pocket of my jacket and I never have to worry about losing them. They obviously only make sense to me, but that doesn’t matter. I do, however, keep track of my measurements and body fat, how much energy my body needs to stay alive etc. in a folder. Sort of. Simply trying to prove to you that having a system for what you do when you are working towards a goal, doesn’t have to be hard. As long as you can keep up to date with it.

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Line and her no-sugar-in-the-weekdays-routine has resulted in the making of french toast quite frequently. I’m easy to influence, and pretty much every time she cooks something – I want it too. When swimming on Friday, my friend Tara told me that she always makes her french toast into a savory version with avocado and tomatoes. Now, I like having my cake and eating it too, so I figured I’d give both a try. Great success!

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I used the microwave-bread as a base. Added savory spices to the savory one, and cinnamon and cardamom to the sweet version. I take it everyone knows how to make french toast, if not; mix 1 egg and milk of desire (I used unsweetened almond milk) in a bowl. Add cardamom and cinnamon if you want the sweet version, if not – skip them. Put the slices of bread on a plate and pour the mixture over. Let it soak, and fry until golden on each side. Serve with vegetables if savory or bananas and warm berries if sweet.

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Yeah yeah, I know they don’t exactly look like chef-material, but they were so filling, and so good! Promise.

That ass

I have never been much of an “ass” girl. Not that I’ve ever had boobs either, though that’s a different story. But getting interested in working out has taught me that lifting weights (in a combo with proper nutrition of course) is the way to go to sculpt your body. Not dying on the treadmill every day. Not hating on the crosstrainer every day. But building muscle. Now, I am no bodybuilder, in fact, I barely have visible muscles. But I grow stronger, I push limits and I learn. Lifting weights = more muscle = burning more energy every day = toned body.

It has been requested that I put up my program for building, eh.. “that ass”. If I could choose, there is a plethora of other exercises I would rather include in my leg-day program, but because of knees not willing to cooperate (surgery gone wrong x 2) and a torn ligament in my lower back, I can’t. And well, this ankle injury isn’t really allowing for any leg program right now. I simply have to do the things that works for me and my body. My program is as narrowed down as it can possibly get and I am very happy I still can dedicate two full workout sessions a week to my legs.

I don’t have pictures of all the exercises that I do, but I will include them anyway.

Smith Machine Squats.

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90 degree legpress, I do one leg at the time simply because I am stronger in one leg, but doing both legs at once is fine.

Hamstring curls on a machine (-13kg old picture).

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Cable kickbacks.

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Hamstring curls on a swissball (yes, I struggle too).

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90 degree wall-sits (hate hate hate).

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Calf raises either in stairs, using the smith machine w/weights or on a step.IMG_1486

And I always finish my workout with the most awkward exercise in the book; hip thrusts. Now, I know we all read fitness blogs where the girls do crazy amounts of weights with their legs, but that does not mean you have to. We all have to start somewhere and work our way up. I found this photo the other day, and see where I started with my hip thrusts. I’m pretty sure this bar weighs about 20 kg..

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And now I am (after strongly motivating myself) doing 12 x 3 of 70 kg.

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I also tend to throw in the occasional supine bridge with one leg at the time, sumo squats and squats with elastic bands if I am feeling it (and have the time).

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If I could, I would also include, deadlifts (done properly, not the way I destroyed my lower back) bulgarian split squats, normal squats with weights and lunges. Promise me that you will google the exercises (or get help) before trying them for the first time, technique is so important to avoid and prevent injuries.

When I was at my physio, we discussed the fact that so many people eliminate leg-day from their workout routine because “they already use their legs enough”. You’ve seen them. The guys at Stereosonic with chicken legs and a massive chest. We concluded that they were lazy, as working out the largest muscle group of the body can be both challenging and exhausting. Including compound movement exercises, rather than solely relying on isolation exercises (bicep curls….) will allow for building of muscle and increase in strength, whilst attacking fat and sculpting your body. Furthermore, studies show that resistance training can promote bone re-calcification, enhance tendon and ligament durability and aid in the strengthening of joints.

We should not only lift weights for the sake of our own appearance, but also to minimize the risk of injuries and to enhance performance in other sports, such as soccer, running etc.