New Year, New You?

You know you’ve been out of Norway a bit too long when you have to Google translate things from English to Norwegian when writing articles for your dad…

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Anyway. Happy New Year my dear little fitness freaks (and stalkers), a New Year – a new you, isn’t that what we all try to tell ourselves? I personally believe, that all you need is a new morning, to change whatever you’re not happy with, but now that we actually have 12 fresh months ahead of us, we might as well make the best of them, right?

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I’ve had a blast in Sydney, and whatever slight definition of abs I had before I left, is now gone. HOWEVER, I’m not crying. I know that all it will take is another two weeks of doing what I love to do, to get back to where I was before Christmas.Food has been left in charge of the hosts, but I have tried to keep some balance in there (if you ignore my day-long eating parties from Christmas Eve to..eh New Years Eve) and I’ve pretty much had oats and eggs every day, I’ve also aimed for my daily portions of fruit and chosen water, coconut water or a freshly squeezed juice (beetroot, apple, carrot, celery and ginger – get in me) over soda and wine (particularly after I discovered that Diet Coke contains the same chemical as that used to clean garbage bins..).

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There has been time for the occasional workout too, but I’ve spent plenty of time soaking the sun and laughing with my crazy fellow Norwegians. We should all remember that what matters is what you do for the rest of the year, not necessarily what you do for Christmas.

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As a result of putting my body through a lot of stress before Christmas, I have pretty much been sick ever since I left for Sydney. Eating food with sugar has for sure not helped my recovery, so I’ve said that there will be no cheats until I feel like myself again. This might, however, has happened yesterday when I was all by myself and very bored …..

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See, things don’t always go my way either. I did my first run of 2014 in Sydney, and it was bloody hard, I had to stop several times and my heart rate was abnormally high considering that I was running very slowly. I forced through a leg session Friday morning and even though I increased all my weights, I actually threw up before I left the gym because I had pushed my body too hard. Still sore from that leg session by the way. On Saturdays I always pick whatever exercises I like the most and do them without too much structure, and it’s usually fun, however this Saturday was a struggle and I left the gym drowned in sweat. New week, great start, I thought to myself this wonderful Monday morning. 30 minutes of 4×4 intervals, 15 minutes of core-exercises and 15 minutes of foam rolling later…

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HELL, is all I have to say. This is brutal. But I still do it. I love doing it. And I can’t wait to get back to where I was. Motivation is what gets you going, habit is what keeps you going. Make it a lifestyle, guys – all it takes is 4% of your day.

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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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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.

Good girl syndrome

I keep getting emails, messages and comments from people saying that I’m so good at being healthy, like don’t I ever fail? Well, let me tell you about my weekend. Friday and Saturday. Fairly normal days. Had two smashing workouts, ate clean both days. No candy. Then. My housemate had his 21st Saturday night, so I had both wine and beer (and a shot or ten…) and I woke up feeling like shit on Sunday (as always). I then had a homemade pizza for breakfast (the only thing I can never justify buying, is a frozen pizza), chocolate and some other processed lollies in between, a whole litre of pepsi max (!!!!), ate cake straight from the box with a fork, had chips and dip, and then proceeded to order a chicken kebab plate with dips AND white bread.

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Dragged my sorry ass to the gym monday morning to get some cardio done, and boy did I look like shit. Even the guys in the gym had to point that out to me. My hair was one big dread on the top of my head, I really struggled pushing through 45 minutes with a steady heart-rate on the cross-trainer, and I swear I was sweating alcohol.

So no, I’m not always healthy. But I’m not always unhealthy either. There is a fine balance. And no need to go as crazy as I do every hungover-Sunday, that’s not particularly healthy either. And it made me feel really sick, in fact I’m still kind of suffering a tad from that food. The healthier you eat, the more you suffer when you once in a while decide to “cheat”, but I can assure you that whatever you crave tastes about 200 times better if you’ve avoided it for 6 days and finally get to eat it.

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When I quit sugar and all of a sudden had candy, my body responded by giving me a sick rash and the driest mouth ever. I remember telling Line, and she was like.. “yeah right”. Okay, she believed me, but you get the point. Then, Line quit candy on weekdays, and she has noticed her mouth becoming really dry when having candy too. Isn’t it amazing that the body can do that to you?

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And in terms of workouts, it is almost self-explanatory that when I workout nine times a week, I don’t aaaalways have a great workout. Some days I just struggle through, barely sweat and go home thinking I’ll do better tomorrow. Some days I have to lift the lightest weights, don’t even finish my sets and get a stitch just by looking at the treadmill. But then I have those days where the music is perfect, my muscles look defined, I increase my weights and I leave the gym drowning in sweat but with a smile on my face.

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There is a fine balance between everything, I don’t put all of my cheat-meals on Instagram and I don’t tell you when I completely fail in the gym, I’m trying to inspire – not to tell you everything I do wrong. And I don’t consider eating healthy to be annoying, I love eating the way I do, I love my vegetables and I love my regular breakfast of eggs and oats, it doesn’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything. I made the choice, I didn’t give up anything. I’m still living my life.

What’s your excuse?

How did you do it? What’s the secret? And of course you’ve given up on so much, do you even have a life?

So yes, I have lost weight. A fair amount too. Yes, I spend plenty of time in the gym, and some of my daily routines do revolve around food. But I still have a life. I study. I have friends. I go out. I treasure my candy-Saturday and if I have to, then yes, I eat what I’m served. From January and until now, I have lost 13 kg, lowered my body fat and gained muscle. Not too mention my skin has changed, I have more energy and I feel happier in general. My workout routine has not been altered much, but my lifestyle and way of eating has.

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I have torn three ligaments since I came to Melbourne (both ankles and my lower back, tip; don’t try to be cool in the gym and don’t walk down stairs when drunk), I have a 2 x operated left knee not interested in co-operating, I have hypermobile joints, and for the past 4 months I have been unfortunate enough to suffer the annoyance and pain of inflamed shoulders. Being the slightly grumpy, but oh so compelling Norwegian that I am, I have managed to build some sort of a support system and I am lucky enough to argue with both my physio, my dad and the poor poor gym instructors every time I am in pain, but refuse to not work out. So what have I learnt? Work around it. There is always a solution.

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Not only am I banned from running outside, I can’t bench press, my don’t-even-think-about-it-list of shoulder exercises is longer than the approved list, normal squats are out of the question – as are lunges and leg extensions, normal ab-crunches hurt and I am stuck with rehab exercises for an eternity. But that’s no excuse, is it? If it is important, you will find a way, and if it is not important – then, well, you will find an excuse.

If you can’t run, you can walk. If you have a nazi physio who argues with your definition of complete rest, you can still eat the right food. And pull through your elastic band rehab exercises. And yes, the humble Marita also admits that there is no use in overdoing things. Know your limits. Do it the way it works for YOU. I have been fortunate enough to get a lot of help, and I now know what I can do – and what I can’t. I don’t own a scale, I don’t do my own measurements and I don’t count calories. Having somebody being responsible for that (not the calorie part, counting calories is out of the question) has allowed me to not go crazy and not obsess too much. And they sure let you know once you’ve gone too far – I got yelled at for my bodyfat being too low, and I am trying to put on some more muscle. But remember, even though you have a PT making your gym program or a nutritionist telling you what to eat, you’re the one moving your body and you’re the one preparing your food.

IMG_1971October 2012 – May 2013

Maybe doing some kind of physical activity nine times a week sounds obsessive and crazy, maybe buying more fruit and vegetables than you can carry looks weird, maybe choosing an apple with cinnamon and peanut butter when other choose chips is found silly, but that is the way I have chosen to live my life.  A chocolate bar may only be 100 calories, but so is a banana, and I’d rather eat the calories packed with good things for my body. That one hour I spend in the gym in the morning equals 4% of my day, planning my meals is fun – and by all means, I still live a very happy and social life. And I get an excuse to buy and wear the most colorful workout clothes.

IMG_3133And finally, August 2013. 

This is me

I might be a 22 year old Norwegian chick lost in the streets of Melbourne where I am currently doing my bachelor of media. So why yet another bloody fitness/health/clean eating/love yourself kind of blog, you ask. WELL. Besides this being a part of my assessment for one of my subjects, I happen to have developed a passion for these things and as my old blog sort of suffers the design of a frustrated high school student, I decided to go for a fresh start.

I have never been overweight. Never had THAT bad of a diet. Kept the candy for Saturdays. In fact, my parents are very health conscious and I was never fed much soda or candy as a child. My sister and I were the kids with parents turning down coke and handing us a bottle of water in kids birthday parties, and we always had more vegetables than anyone else on our plate (okay, my sister drank – yes drank – sugar as a child and might be suffering from bad vision now as a result, but we both have great food habits). I might have hated it back then, but boy am I happy I learnt to drink water when thirsty and eat nutritious food when hungry now.

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So where were we? Yes, I never had a bad diet. I had the good carbs, the good protein, the veggies, eventually learnt to like salmon…and a little bit of crap food on top of that. I have always been physically active, figure skating was my life when I was younger and then I got into weights and interval training – and I guess that is where I have landed.

I happen to be very injury prone, and the stories behind the injuries are typically very stupid, you name it – I have probably done it. But I learn. I learn slowly and I learn the hard way, and believe me – I get yelled at all the time, my physio, my dad, my friends.. but the important thing is that I am learning.

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Anyway, my real journey started in January 2013 when a friend came to visit in Melbourne and had changed her way of eating. To not make it difficult, I decided to simply follow her ways and I guess I never stopped. I believe in eating food that nourishes your body, food that your body will benefit positively from. To me this means quitting sugar, quitting nasty food with preservatives, quitting wheat, and as of recently, also avoiding dairy to the best extent due to a lactose intolerance. Hard and unnecessary, some might say, worth it, I would say. I am, after all, stuck in this body for the next 60-70 years. The key is consistency, to keep going and remember why you are doing this. Why you load your plate with delicious vegetables and other nutritious deliciousness, whilst other choose the greasy cardboard pizza. Why you drag yourself to the gym, whilst other choose the TV.

But please note, my candy-Saturdays are sacred. This does not mean I stuff my face with candy every Saturday (okay, sometimes it does mean that), but if there is anything I crave during the week I know Saturday is the day to have it – because of course, I crave things too.

Yes, I am addicted to working out, hence being there 9 times a week might sound crazy obsessive to some. BUT, the day it stops being a part of my “me-time” and starts becoming a hazzle, is the day I will stop working out that much. And it is important to note that working out for me can be anything from a killing interval-session to going for a walk in the park around my neighborhood. Furthermore, I am no expert, I have no health or fitness education, I am simply doing what works for me. I often have to work around things because of my injuries, and I therefore believe there are no excuses – only different solutions.

There is no magic pill, there is no secret, it is all about the decisions made every day.

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