Apart from make up and fashion, one other area that I’m interested in is fitness and health. I wouldn’t say that I am a gym bunny or a health freak. I simply like taking care of myself. One reason why is because it makes me feel good to work out regularly and eat healthy foods. This doesn’t mean I’m a stick, nor do I mean to say I never eat junk. I have plenty of curves (also in places where I wouldn’t want them to be) and as you could read last week, one of my guilty pleasures is to pig out on tubs of B&J. Now, I’m no expert on health and fitness. I’m not a dietician, a doctor, or a fitness expert. I just feel that after a few years of trying different things, I have found what works for me. And I thought I would share with you what it is that I do to stay fit and healthy, since summer is on its way and every one is trying to fit into their bikinis again.
A typical breakfast
For me there are two main fields that I use to achieve and maintain my fitness and health: food & exercise. So I will discuss both areas below.
Let’s start with food, or diet if you like, as that is a topic that I have written about before. I am a bit against calling what I eat a diet, because it sounds so temporary. Diets only work if you stick to them. They are never a quick fix that you do for a while and then go back to your old ways. That, I believe, simply doesn’t exist. So the first thing I try to do is to maintain a varied, semi-low carb, wheat free diet. I wrote about going low carb and wheat free before and have since decided that I should try to find a middle ground between the two. I need carbs to maintain my exercise routine and I do find that wheat free carbs are better for me than regular ones, so when I eat starchy foods I will from now on make them wheat free.
Here’s a rough overview of what I eat on a regular work day:
Breakfast: Yoghurt with different toppings, i.e. fruit, flax seeds, nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate sprinkles, popped amaranth, oats
Lunch: Salad with at least 3 different veggies, cheese and/or nuts, meat, fish or eggs. If I have more veggies I leave out the meat or fish. I sometimes add (dried) fruit as well. If I’m working from home I’ll have a protein smoothie to go with the salad. Or I just make a big one and have it for lunch.
Afternoon snacks: fruit (salad) or rice cakes
Dinner: veggies & eggs, meat or fish. Sometimes includes pasta or rice (roughly twice a week). I dislike potatoes so I eat them as little as I can. I only eat pasta or rice twice a week as eating more of it upsets my stomach.
Evening snacks: cheese, popcorn, assorted nuts, a scoop of peanut butter.
Drinks: water, (green) tea.
I change things up a bit on weekends. I tend to get up later, especially on Sundays so I tend to skip lunch then. Brunch then usually consists of eggs, be it fried or boiled, with bacon or ham, cheese or nutritional yeast. If I do have a separate lunch I tend to have bread. Especially on Saturdays. Dinners are usually a bit of a last minute thing for me during weekends. I sometimes cook something, but I also throw something together with whatever is left in the fridge. I also allow myself to have some ‘bad food’ during the weekend, if I haven’t had any yet during the week.
I try to make sure the food I eat is as fresh and natural as possible. I read a lot of labels, buy organic products where I can, especially dairy, and make my meals from scratch. My starchy foods are all wheat free as of last month and the only other carbs I really eat are from fruits and veggies. I add fiber to my daily intake by adding flaxseeds to my breakfast and a hemp protein powder to my shakes.
A typical lunch time protein shake
Eating right only gets you halfway there. You can eat all the healthy food in the world, but if you don’t exercise regularly you’re fighting a lost battle. You don’t need to go to a gym to get and stay in shape, but since going to classes to work out is such a given for me, I prefer doing that. I go to the gym three times a week, then I have dance class once a week and I also try to squeeze in one or two rounds of exercises at home. The latter totally depends on my schedule. Here’s what my weekly work out routine looks like.
Monday: Body Balance at the gym. A 50 minute, low impact class based on Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates exercises to build balance, strength and flexibility.
Tuesday: A yoga work out through youtube videos or my Tara Stiles workout DVDs. I also tend to add some abs and push ups if I feel like it. Or just do the latter if I don’t have much time. Something is better than nothing. Time: 15 – 30 minutes, sometimes I can squeeze in 60. If I don’t have to work on Tuesdays I go to the gym to take a Body Combat class.
Wednesday: Intermediate jazz/ show/ musical class at the dance school. 75 minute class including a 20 minute warm up (for technique, flexibility and balance), 20 minutes across the floor (technique: turns, kicks, leaps), 35 minutes of choreography (for cardio and applying all the techniques covered earlier in the class).
Thursday: day of rest or a home work out as described on Tuesday. It completely depends on how I feel that day.
Friday: Spinning class at the gym. A 50 minute, highly intense cardio work out that also trains your leg muscles like crazy. This class always has me wonder why I take it until half way through, then I’ll have worked through the pain and I simply go.
Saturday: Body Combat class at the gym. A 50 minute intense cardio work out based on the movements from different martial arts and boxing. It involves a lot of punching into thin air and doing kicks, while sweating buckets.
Sunday: Nothing yet, but my gym is changing their schedule so something might change here in the near future. Not sure whether I like the class yet, nor whether I’ll actually be able to get up before 10 AM on a Sunday. Sunday’s is for sleeping in and PJ day.
Classes at the gym as well as dance class, all involve some round of abs/ core training. Some are more intense than others. If I can’t make it to a class I sometimes go 2 hours on Saturdays to still get the work out I usually get and I also dance quite a bit at home. I tend to practice turns, freestyle to my favorite songs or try to work my way through routines I’ve learned in the past.
As you might have noticed, being fit & healthy doesn’t come easily. It requires diligence and perseverance and it’s sometimes hard work, especially if you’re having a bad day. The important thing is to keep going, despite what people think or say. I work out 4 – 6 times a week and am no size 0. I always get questions and remarks on why I eat what I eat. As challenging as that can be, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Eating what I eat and exercising regularly helps me feel good. I function better because the exercise is a major stress relief and the food gives me energy and prevents me from getting stomachaches. It literally keeps me sane.
What is your fitness & health routine?