The essential fitness equipment

I overheard someone on my way home from the gym today talking about how they couldn’t afford working out because it’s so expensive. Now, I believe that working out can be pretty much free if you want it to be – the nature is there for everyone, and there’s not much stuff you need to live a healthy lifestyle. Forget all the super-foods and seeds, forget the designer workout clothes and forget the ab-roller from TV-Shop, here are my personal essentials to being active and healthy every day.



Proper running shoes

I cringe inside whenever I see people running in Nike shoes with no support. Try twisting the shoe and it won’t even resist you from bending it in two. Yeah, they’re awesome, they look fresh and they are fashionable, but they will eventually injure your feet, legs and back. Get your feet checked out by a specialist and listen to their advice regarding what shoes you should wear. A person who has supinated feet and runs half-marathons will be needing other shoes than the best friend who pronates and likes running intervals. I’ve tried numerous brands, but have come to swear by the Asics Nimbus model or Mizuno’s shoes, based on my feet and my exercise needs. These brands have started following Nike in terms of cool design, so if you’re one of those running with Nike’s on your feet – pretty please find a better alternative.


A heart-rate monitor

Yeah, it’s a tad expensive, but exercising becomes so much more fun if you have one. It’s of course a bit more useful for running in terms of logging distance etc, but I only run intervals once a week (inside), and the rest I sort of only do weights, and I still use it every day. It’s great to pay attention to what heart rate zone you’re working in in terms of what your goals are when you lift weights, it’s motivating you when you run and it helps me stay in the fat burning zone when I do cardio at night. Mine also has the option of downloading workouts and will thereby tell you when to rest between your sets etc. I prefer Polar, but I’m sure there are others out there that are cheaper – mine gives me a star or trophy if I’ve worked hard enough that week too. Bonus points.


Lifesum App (previously called ShapeUp)

When I was losing weight, I tried paying attention to the amount of protein I ate based on my exercise, and also made sure I ate the amount of calories I needed. In the beginning I sort of wrote it all down and made calculations online, but that proved to be slightly time consuming, until I discovered the app that was then called ShapeUp. It lets you put in your details, your goals etc, and makes calculations on how much protein/fat/carbohydrates/calories you need. Now, I’ve had some questions regarding if you should trust this app, and the answer is to some extent no. Let it serve as a guide, but don’t obsess over it, I’ve found that it for example suggests the minimum amount of protein you should eat each day, rather than the optimal amount. Let it track your food and workouts, but use it with a little dose of common sense – we’ve learnt to not fully trust technology by now, haven’t we?


Don’t worry about the supplements, or all the complicated things you can get into when researching exercise. Just get started!

Motivation to stay on track

Ever since I came back from Norway I’ve used my dad’s old heart rate monitor, as I sort of might have left my own at the beach when I was in a hurry going to a festival ….. As with music, I cannot function during a workout without my heart rate monitor. There are not many things I think people crucially need to exercise (part from a pair of proper running shoes, no one should run/walk/exercise with shoes not suitable for their feet), but a heart rate monitor certainly works as a huge motivational factor for me.


It helps me knowing how fast I need to run during intervals to reach a level of 90-95% of my max heart rate, it tells me how many calories I’ve burnt and how far I’ve gone for a walk (GPS), and it helps me keep at a steady heart rate of 150-160 when I’m doing my boring cross-trainer cardio in the afternoon. So now that the Polar one I’m using (I prefer Polar, but there are tons of other probably equally great brands out there) is telling me I have a heart rate of 237 while doing sit-ups (the max heart rate can be averagely calculated by subtracting your age from 220, which obviously means something as little as sit-ups shouldn’t raise my heart rate that much), I’m kind of realizing it is about time to invest in a new one.


As anytime I’m in doubt, I’ve asked my health/fitness-freak of a dad for help. I am, like most girls, easy to sell in terms of design, and it’s therefore easy for me to choose something because it is pink, rather than because it is made of quality. Like the Nike FuelBand, I’d go there. But does it really serve any of the purposes I need it for? Not so much. I’m currently considering the Polar RC3 GPS HR, but if anyone has any other tips, I’d be very happy.

I know people struggle to stay motivated all the time, and I can tell you that when I first decided that I wanted to drop body fat and really start taking care of my body and health, I made a massive motivational board with pictures of things that I needed to (and still need to) remind myself the importance of. Things such as what benefits healthy food and exercise has, how sugar affects the brain, how the oil from chips clogs the veins, things reminding me that ‘actually, I can’.  No pictures of skinny girls or things that would make me feel angry or upset/ugly/fat/all the stupid things girls tell themselves, only motivation.


Buying new, colorful workout clothes is something I still do whenever my motivation is lacking. I can spend hours in the Nike store trying to pick out what I want the most. Sure, you can exercise in your mom’s t-shirt from the 80’s because that way you don’t have to spend money on new things – but seriously, the fact that I get to wear as much pink or neon yellow in the gym as I want, gives me a massive reason to go to the gym. Being blonde kind of deprived me of the allowance to wear pink on pink in public on a daily basis, but I don’t really care in the gym. The more pink, the better. And trust me, running intervals in my Asics that have drowned in like twenty different colours is so much more fun. Not to mention, people (and guys) talk to you when you wear a rainbow in a place where most people only wear black. It’s fun.


I also made little goals within the big goal. Things like going for a walk in the park for 30 minutes 4 times a week because I know I highly enjoy that, or healthy recipes that I promised myself to try following, rather than eating lettuce leaves every day. Even things like running my 4×4 intervals within a time period of 30 minutes and making them become 5 kilometers, and managing to be done working out and eating breakfast by 10 on days I didn’t really have too much of a reason to even get out of bed. One thing I never did, however, was to say that by a certain date I wanted to have lost x amount of kg, because if I reached that date and ‘failed’, I would have been so annoyed. Trusting the process is so important.


Another thing that proved important to me, was having my measurements done. The hip to waist ratio is way more important than your weight and BMI, as the ‘dangerous’ fat often is stored around your waist. BMI can tell you that you’re overweight even if you’re not, because it doesn’t consider what part of you body is muscle and what part is fat.

Now, I know you guys favor these before/after pictures, and I’ve gotta admit I find it a bit awkward. But anything to illustrate my point, right.

This is a Norwegian who works out 6-8 times a week, but has an ok diet.


and this is one who got fed up of being annoyed when trying on jeans and decided to make a change.

IMG_2408 IMG_2043

No matter what you want to do, it is important to remember that it doesn’t happen over night. Consistency is key. There will be bad times, and there will be better times. Baby steps. Keep it up, and you will get exactly what you want.


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.



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.


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.


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.