The difference between succeeding and failing

Warning; similarly to when I posted an entry about Australian guys, this entry might offend someone. Please remember that I’m often sarcastic, and don’t take everything I say deadly serious.

When it comes to being healthy, working out, and meeting our goals, some work hard and get results thereafter, others look for shortcuts, and see minimal results.

The difference between the one getting the results and the one barely getting results is that the ones with results never lie to themselves. They know if they’ve been eating bad or skipped a gym session, and will make further choices based on that decision.

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If a person getting results is out and about, and forgot to bring a snack/food, he/she will not go to the nearest fast-food joint to buy food, he/she will instead head to the nearest supermarket/health food shop/fruit shop to stock up on bananas, nuts, and other nutritious snacks. There is never an excuse for making poor food choices!

You will see a person getting results eating this

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not this

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when in need of a snack during the day.

Someone seeing results will find a way to buckle the cravings, i.e make dessert healthy, and therefore eat dessert every day. This person is also likely to have one bad treat now and then, because they know that one bad meal once in a while won’t hurt them. Treats 4 times a week, on the other hand, will.

A person with results will go for a run even when the legs feel like heavy blocks, just because it is Monday and Monday is the day to run. If the weather is bad, this person will find a way around it. There is never an excuse to skip exercise!

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The very same person is also likely to go for walks, happily take the stairs, and pay attention to the choices they make during one day. He/she will not make poor choices in the supermarket

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and will not eat a protein bar of 400 calories and a Boost smoothie packed with sugar and more calories than a normal dinner, after their workout, even if they want to. He/she will know that a banana and a proper meal is more than sufficient, and be satisfied knowing that they are nourishing their body properly.

He/she will also know that the fewer ingredients a product has, the better it is for you. And that the first ingredient on the list is what the product contains the most of.

It will be common knowledge that sugar, gluten, yeast and sodium are products we should try to refrain from to a greater extent, and that eating enough of the right food is important to be able to stay away from the bad food.

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The dedicated type of person, is also the kind of person to see results. My housemate has ankylosing spondylitis, in other words a chronic form (meaning she’s stuck with it for the rest of her life) of arthritis causing inflammation in the joint that joins the hip and the spine. She went from being super active to stuck in a hospital bed in no time, but is slowly learning to function again. Despite being very limited in terms of what she can do, she gets up at 5 every morning, rides her bike for 20 min to the gym, to either do rehab and stretch, go in the pool or do the limited amount of weights she is allowed to. If she can, so can you. 

A person with results will know his/her limitations. He/she will understand when to suck it up, and when to stay at home in bed. The rule is; if it hurts from the chest and down – stay at home, if not – sweat it out in the gym.

The person getting results will be ‘cheating’ with the food the person not getting results is eating on a daily basis. Your daily toast and bowl of pasta is my guilty pleasure once a month.

The successful person will know that dedicating time in the gym is only the start. Anything is always better than nothing, but the results most people want are not going to come unless a proper diet is acquired. Why waste your time on endless hours in the gym, only to come home and eat food that your body can’t use to rebuild what you just broke down?

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The person getting results will, however, also be the one understanding that everything has to be balanced. He/she will understand that it is all about the lifestyle change, not a quick fix or a temporary diet, that it is a journey in which he/she will fail, but learn from those mistakes and keep going. He/she will find a way to be healthy, get fit, but also ‘live’ their life. It’s never all or nothing, it’s about finding the way that works for you.

The awkward moment when your girlfriend eats as much as you do

Yeah, it happens. A typical Sunday morning in my life; “I’ll have the veggie breakfast with gluten free bread.. Oh, and can I have an extra side of avocado and bacon?” Then the boyfriend will follow up with a casual “yeah I’ll have the same”.
I always choose the vegetarian breakfast and add either an extra egg or chorizo/bacon (not healthy, I know), because the vegetarian breakfast always comes with the most interesting sides.
If anyone was under the impression that I don’t eat, try again. The other day my boyfriend even said I had to practice portion control… Yeah I don’t think so.
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I’m pretty much always on my feet, and I will eat accordingly. So should everyone else, if all you do is sit still – don’t eat half your kitchen for dinner, plan your bigger meals for after your workout, and Jesus Christ please go for a walk now and then.

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I was so happy with myself for smashing out over 400 calories doing cardio this week, until I bought the boyfriend a Polar Loop (it’s genius, everyone should have one, it counts your steps, calories etc), and watched how he burnt over 1000 calories doing a chest workout. No wonder guys eat all the time.

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Went for a run last weekend, fell over, and pulled a quad-muscle. It sucked, and I therefore decided to rest for a week. Learning to listen to the body, rather than pushing it. Resting does not mean sitting on the couch for a week, but rather resting actively by going for walks and getting some cardio done.

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Anyway, my newest obsession is chia pudding. Chia seeds are high in fibre, protein, omega-3 and omega-6, and probably the only superfood I will ever buy into (spirulina is literally the worst thing I’ve ever put in my mouth). 100g of chia seeds, a can of coconut milk, raw cocoa, cinnamon and raw honey. Mix and put it in the fridge for 30 min.

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And lastly, a little update on what goes on at work these days.

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Yeah, my life is pretty damn cool.

Somewhere only we know

Thought I’d just show you why I love my job, and why I don’t mind 13 hour working days anymore. Getting up at 5 is all worth it when you get people like this to hang out with.

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Or when you have clients who swear at you for an entire hour, yet hug you and laugh at you as soon as the session is over. It’s for sure nothing like spending 13 hours in a supermarket, time flies!

Anyway, my lack of motivation has turned into a slight motivation again. A beach-weekend away and a killer hill-sprint session was all I needed.

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And should you wonder what a face in pain looks like after 10 competitive sprints with someone who beats you even when he let’s you get a head-start, let me enlighten you

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That was monday, my legs are still very much in pain. In fact, I have to physically move them with my hands when I sit down and want to get anywhere. Tough life.

I’m lucky if I burn between 300-500 calories during a 1hr session with myself, but these sprints…. a 7 minute light warm-up jog and 10 hill-sprints aka 25 minutes all together smashed out 400 calories all by themselves. I guess I’ve realized that I work a lot harder around people that I either want to impress or people that I respect because they are better than me.

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Also had a proper body composition scan done, and I guess I should give myself a tap on the shoulder because I am way above average. Low fat, muscular body type, well hydrated, protein and mineral levels are optimal and my biological age turned out to be 20. All this has now given me motivation to keep improving my body, work on all the…inaccuracies that I know I walk around with, and fill out the low body fat with strong muscles.

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On another note

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No one has time. Ever. There’s so much other stuff that people tend to prioritize, but why would you not prioritize your health? You’re stuck with your body forever, and you might as well make the effort to make it the best version it can be. Imagine ten years from now, when that back-pain has worsened, when your spine is twisted because you didn’t strengthen your core and you walk around with headaches all day because the past ten years you’ve been sitting in front of your computer, your TV and your Xbox, eating crap, processed food because that’s where your comfort zone is found. MAKE THE DAMN TIME. I work at least 20-25 hours a week, I’m in the last year of my degree – and if I can make time, if Barrack Obama can make time – then so can you. Get out of that comfort zone.

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photo 2 (6)And for God’s sake – eat the right food. Stop poisoning your body. I’ve forced the boyfriend and my housemate to join my 8 week health-kick. No more frozen yoghurt every weekend no matter how sugar-free and dairy-free it is. Pick one bad habit that you have, and get rid of it for the next 8 weeks.

 

 

 

 

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 voilá, soft, chewy cookies that probably won’t last more than a day because you will eat it all.

Even the best fall down sometimes

Saturday was measurements-day. And it went a little bit in the wrong direction. Every time my measurements have been due, I’ve been told that things might not have changed much because I was bound to hit a plateau eventually. But I kept losing weight and I kept dropping body fat, to everyone’s surprise.  Until yesterday, my first encounter with a rise in both weight and a rise in body fat. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I got angry.

Combine a rough week with something you didn’t expect, and you’ll find Marita crying in the gym office. The one place in this world that I consider to be my place, the one place where I turn my brain off and fully focus on what I enjoy doing. But not this time, tears. Everywhere.

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Luckily, I have the best support system in the world. When was the last time you took a week off working out? Nathan asked me. I tried suggesting when I went to Noosa, but no, I worked out everyday there too. So I couldn’t remember. December 2012 would probably be the last time I had a rest-week. You even came in a did vigorous exercise when you were injured. Yeah I know, and he’s right. Of course he’s right.

So he took his time, made diagrams, explained how the body of an athlete works, how you need rest to be able to fully benefit from what you do the rest of the year, how constantly pushing limits and ignoring aches will lead to the body breaking down instead of re-building itself. And you know what the most annoying thing is? I know all this. I’m, in fact, fully aware of it.

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Here I am, telling you guys not to obsess over your weight, but what do I do? Start crying because I’ve gained 2 kg. It’s ridiculous. He had to remind me that I’m a lot stronger now than what I was 6 weeks ago, I’m pushing 80kg with my own ass, I do pull-ups with help from a person rather than on a machine, I can finally do bloody pushups on my toes. I get out of bed and go to bootcamp before the sun is even up. 2kg of fat isn’t helping me do that. My muscles are. My diet is almost impeccable, I love working out, I’m healthy. I shouldn’t be crying in the place I love the most. But I was.

After a bit of arguing, I realized I couldn’t do much but listen. I got sent home, leg-day got cancelled and for the next couple of weeks I’m only allowed to do bootcamp. And maybe yoga. No body balance, no weights, no intervals, no afternoon-cardio. I get to walk, not for the sake of the exercise, but because I enjoy walking. And the same goes for other activities, go ice-skating, you like that, he said.

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I spent Saturday being upset, trying to find a way to fool the system. Surely I was just having a bad day and could do gym again soon. But when PT-Daniel called and said they were only trying to help me, I realized there was no point doing anything but listen and comply to what they ordered me to do. All I want is a healthy body and mind.

Only a couple of days ago both housemate Line and my friend Ina told me to be careful, make sure I didn’t hit a wall or become dangerously addicted. I ensured them that that wouldn’t happen. But it did. I think sometimes we just need somebody with authority to tell us to slow down. I don’t want exercise and nutrition to be an obsessive thing, it’s not supposed to be something that controls me. It’s supposed to be my break from reality.

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I’m still trying to figure out what I’m gonna spend all this time doing now that I’m banned from the gym, but I guess the fact that I’ll be studying to become a personal trainer this summer will keep my brain occupied a bit. I’ve put my heart rate monitor away, my ShapeUp app is closed. Let’s just learn to listen to our bodies, shall we?

Inspiration

Unfortunately, taking a break from real life requires a bit of catching up when you get back. I’ve almost been sitting on my ass all day long, every day, since I came home. I’ve had headaches for the past.. 72 hours, my back is aching and I’m so tired my eyes are stinging and get teary when I close them. And that is why working out is SO important to me. In spending so much time sitting still, my body needs that little hour of doing cardio or lifting weights every day. 60 tiny minutes. 4% of the day. It also needs the appropriate nutrition. Otherwise, I would crash.

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I was constantly working at uni for 7 hours yesterday, with my weekly 24-hour pounding headache in the background and when I was heading home, I was very tempted to skip going to body balance and just go to bed, I did after all smash my leg workout in the morning. But my headache doesn’t really allow me to sleep anyway, and whether I choose to go to body balance or not, my headache will still be present. So I went. And it helped. Stretching my back and all other kinds of tight muscles is probably the best I can do when I feel like I just wanna hide in the dark. Line went to spin-class with a massive headache too, and when we were talking on the way home, we discussed how much harder doing things really is when you have twenty elephants on top of your head. I guess I’m just trying to say that sometimes you have to push through and motivate yourself, but listen to your body. If you’re like my other friend, Lillian, who’s stuck with crutches and half a finger missing, maybe stay at home – but if you’re just tired from sitting down and working/studying all day; go do something.

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The other day, I was talking to Nathan, the poor guy in the gym who’s had to listen to all my complaining every time we do measurements or every time I want a new gym program, and I realized how much of a transformation he’s gone through without me even noticing. First getting to know him, he knew absolutely nothing about nutrition and probably didn’t care too much either. He’s probably one of the pickiest people I know (he barely likes fruit……), and we’ve had some interesting conversations/arguments in terms of food, i.e. I believe kids shouldn’t get sugar at footy-practise vs he thinks it’s fine. Anyway, he’s quit eating chocolate every damn day, and is now monitoring his carbs, fats and proteins. He’s even looked up what his typical food contains and calculated his average daily intake. He was saying that it doesn’t really require too much work or thinking, once you sort of know what you’re doing. And that you can eat as much vegetables as you possibly want. And he is of course right.

IMG_4124Tip; stock up on fresh vegetables so that you’re forced to prioritize eating that before it goes off

I am so proud. Like, words can’t even describe how proud I am. He wasn’t really interested in trying anything new or caring about food in the beginning, and I can’t take all the creds for what he’s done, but I like to believe that deep down somewhere I did inspire him just a little tiny bit. Forcing him to try sushi was a big step for humanity. But for change to happen, you have to be interested and willing to try new things. Forcing someone to the gym or to eat things they think they don’t like is pointless if they’re happy the way things are.

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My goal with this whole thing is to inspire people. I don’t care how many I inspire, as long as there is a possibility for changing someones attitudes into something better. I get these little messages and emails from you guys all the time, and they make me happy. It boosts my confidence knowing that I can positively influence the choices you make. It is also important to me that you know I’m not always good with everything and that I have shitty days where I don’t wanna get out of bed, but that’s when good routines play an important role – you just do it, because you’re so used to doing it no matter what.

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Be the best version of you

I think it’s a natural thing for us to compare ourselves to other people, compare the money, compare the looks, compare the relationship, compare the education, compare the body, compare the diet. But why? We are all made up of different genetic combinations, we’re not all supposed to be doing and looking the same.

I’ve told you I’m easy to influence, and that I’ve taken my precautions to avoid falling into a pattern of destructive thoughts, but I still notice how easily affected I can become by little things. In the gym, see a girl doing supersets of chin-ups (my ultimate goal in life…. almost) and pushups, get pissed because I can’t do the same, and decide to give it a try. The result? Complete failure and an arm and a wrist in pain. The same story has happened with the squat rack, the treadmill, the hip-thrusts, the shoulder-presses. I’ve hopefully learnt now.

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I’m not saying we should instantly be satisfied with the level we are at, because there is always room for improvement, but I’m saying we should get there in our own time. I’ve learnt the hard way, trying to dead-lift an obscene amount of weight by myself in the gym, instead of slowly working my way there. Up until July I’d only ever done one complete pushup in my life, now I’m able to do 12×3 sets, and it burns. When I finish those three sets, I’ve given it my all. I’m slowly decreasing the weights on the assisted chin-up machine, in other words – I’m closer to be doing one single chin-up with my own bodyweight. I will get there, I just happen to have bumped into about three hundred obstacles on my way because I’ve not listened to the advice I’ve been given by professionals, or the signals my body has been giving me.

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I like the idea of being better versions of ourselves. Not better than our best friend, not better than the chick on the cover of the magazine, not better than the bloody fit girls in the gym. We can look at them for inspiration, but we’re all different and maybe we are better at something that they completely fail at. It is also a lot more fun working out, eating clean and working towards a goal like chin-ups, a six-pack or the feeling of a healthy body, than saying “I will lose x amount of weight in 4 months”, because trust me, that’ll just make you slightly depressed.

Either way, I’m finally back at the stage where I can do hip-thrusts properly again, and I had another personal best yesterday of 75kg. I still remember looking at those girls on Instagram doing 50kg about 6 months ago, not understanding how the hell they managed moving that much weight with their legs and ass, whilst I was struggling with my 17kg, but now I’m moving my old bodyweight. A whole person!

Yesterday was also my cheat-day and I enjoyed mountains of chocolate, and woke up with a mouth as dry as a desert this morning. We were meant to go for fro-yo’s yesterday too, but some silly Norwegian was trying to make peanut butter on her own, and decided to put her finger in the blender, so we ended up hanging out at the emergency room instead. Life in Melbourne.

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Got fro-yo today instead, and guess what guys, they had three flavours sweetened with stevia instead of sugar! Now, that doesn’t mean we should be eating it everyday, but every once in a while, the treat is great (ignoring that I’m not supposed to have dairy). If you top it with berries and nuts that is, not chocolate and cookies like a certain housemate did.

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Speaking of becoming a better version of myself, I am terrible at budgeting and have been dodging my account for the past two months. Line forced me to check it yesterday, and let’s just say that.. my lunch won’t be looking like this in the future.

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My dinners still will though. It is of course fully possible to eat healthy and work out on a budget (story of my life the last three months of every damn semester), and I’ll tell you how; prioritizing what you spend your money on. Don’t buy that chocolate, don’t buy that coke, don’t buy that special offer of ‘buy 3 pay for 2’ of the chips. Buy the real food that your body is in need of. Dodge everything else.