Friday, July 27, 2012

PROGRESS UPDATE (week 3), Motivation & Inspiration

Oh wow, what a boost I got this week - I had my second body composition analysis done, three weeks into this project and I wasn't really expecting much of it. But: my body fat had gone down by 1,9% and the figures were also showing a whopping 1,6 kg loss of body fat! Seriously, how amazing is that? I know, still looks like small numbers but ladies and gentleman: it IS progress. And that little progress right there made me believe that I can do this: I can get in shape and be healthy and happy! Woohoo!

I'm well aware of the fact that I'm only in the very beginning of a long journey and it's nice to get some inspiration and further motivation by admiring beautiful and fit bodies. I don't even dare to imagine in what kind of shape I could get with a lot of hard work and dedication, but if I could choose I would rather look like these fitness model ladies than some stick thin models who in my humble opinion don't really live a healthy life in general, just seem to starve themselves and don't necessarily even exercise. Of course, it's a whole different thing if you are naturally skinny, but still eat well and exercise too. 

There aren't too many fitness models that I would know by name so I just used Google to find "role models" for myself. Quite a few were actually named in other blogs, so I thank you for the reference, fellow blogists!

I'm a big fan of a local girl, young, beautiful and positive Janni Hussi, who won Fitness Model 2010 competition here in Finland. Her training diary blog can be found here (in Finnish).


Swedish Linda Fodor was a new name for me but after finding some pictures of her I'm convinced. Definitely role model worthy, though in some of the pictures she looks almost scarily ripped and a bit too muscly to my liking. But in these pictures she looks perfect.


One of the celebrity role models could well be Jessica Biel. Just take a look at these pictures!


Though I'm not a big fan of the Jennifer Nicole Lee's "look at me" behaviour and training sessions in public parks for all (paparazzi) to see I can't help but admire her achievement. She has worked hard to get fit and looks amazing, as you can see in the pictures in this Mail Online article.

Another Mail Online article on 9 July introduced the ESPN Body Issue 2012 and one of the reader comments really made me nod in agreement: "The human body is an amazing machine. Makes me realize i need to take better care of mine! - Daniel, USA".  

So very true. I have been so unfair to mine.

Now it's time to pack my things (again) and start summer holiday part 2. We're heading to Barcelona and Oslo for a week, I can't wait to see my dear friends again! Of course the week will include quite a bit of aerobic training since our hotel in Barcelona doesn't have a gym. 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Holiday (Part 1) - Rain, Cold... And Outlet Shopping!

The first summer holiday week done and dusted! And once again, when I dare to relax on my holiday,  I get sick. And once again, when I have just started an exercise routine, I get sick. So incredibly and frustratingly predictable! Then again, I'm pretty sure sitting out on a terrace (under a big umbrella though) in 17°C, rainy, windy, miserable conditions didn't exactly help. I was actually shivering, I was that cold! The "summer" in the Northern Europe hasn't been exactly glorious. That same evening I felt my throat was sore and by the next morning there seemed to be a cactus stuck there. I think I was also running a fever, but I managed to get rid of it fairly quick. Anyway, I managed to go for a fat burner walk and also managed to come up with some DIY weights for fitness training too, so got a proper workout done on two other days. Walking in different surroundings is always a welcome change to the normal jogging/walking routes back home.

Since we were in Belgium and spent most of the time close to the Dutch border, we also went shopping in the nearby Designer Outlet shopping center. I discovered Designer Outlet Roermond about a year ago when we had just been on a holiday in the United States, updating our wardrobes in amazing outlet shopping centers in California. I was hoping to find something similar in Europe and preferably close to Belgium, where were usually go for a couple of weeks per year to spend time with my husband's family and friends. And oh how lucky we are - Designer Outlet Roermond in the Netherlands is just 45 min drive away from my mom-in-law's apartment! I couldn't believe what a shopping paradise I had found when we first went there in December. So many top quality brands with incredible deals everywhere. I also liked the way the whole place has been designed, making it feel like a cozy little village.

The Christmas time and now in June-July are the perfect periods for a shopping spree there as you don't just get the usual outlet reductions of 30 - 50 % but there's also a sale going on, offering you savings up to 70 - 80 % of the original price. My three must-visit shops are always Clarks, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. And for daydreaming purposes Burberry, Dolce&Gabbana, Gucci, Mulberry and Prada...

This time I wanted to concentrate on the sports stores. Quite a task, considering that there's plenty of choice in sports and outdoor gear stores and brands: Adidas, Asics, Billabong, Fjällräven, Fred Perry, Nike, O'Neill, Puma, Reebok, Salomon, Timberland and many more. I was mainly looking for some waterproof walking/running gear as well as some tops for the gym - and found plenty, with good prices. In addition I found new gym shoes to replace the old and clumsy ones. Lucky I packed lightly to go to Belgium since I returned home with quite a bit heavier luggage...

Until the next visit! I can still hear that Gucci bag calling my name, all sad and lonely because I left it in the shop... *sigh*

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Juicing For Health - With Less Sugar

I remember reading years and years ago that juicing can help you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables and fruit more efficiently since your body doesn't have to digest the fibre in them first. I wanted to try it out too but didn't want to stop eating vegetables or fruit since I know I still need the fiber. I just wanted to add the juices to my overall diet. So none of that celebrity crash dieting stuff for me, thanks.

I had been eyeing different juicers for a while when I saw a small article on one of the magazines I had bought, introducing a JuicePresso slow juicer. According to the article a slow juicer is superior to the traditional juicers especially in preserving the enzymes, minerals and vitamins. I found only one reseller in Finland, so I ordered mine from Hobby Hall and started juicing. I had previously bought a "Super Drinks" (Superjuomat, 2003) recipe book for juices and smoothies so it was fairly easy to start. In addition I searched for some recipes online. Making fresh for example orange-watermelon or grape-apple-carrot juice with breakfast or a pineapple-apple-kale-broccoli-alfalfa sprout-wheatcrass-watercress-parsley juice (yes, you read correctly, all that in the same lovely green juice) after work felt so great and refreshing.

BUT: I had a chat with the Personal Trainer to have a look at my eating habits based on the food diary I had kept last week and what should be done to it to help my project. I was happy to hear that overall I had a pretty healthy and balanced diet, but I had a feeling she might say something about the juices (after all, some days I could drink up to three different juices) and especially the more fruity ones. And I was right. I completely understand that the juices with grapes, pineapple, oranges, apples etc. have a lot of sugar and carbs, so I should a) limit my consumption of the juices and b) use vegetables and berries instead of sugary fruits. Fair enough. Time to remove the fruits from my recipes.

Funnily enough, I noticed a couple of weeks after getting my JuicePresso a very familiar looking package carried by actress Jennifer Lawrence, somewhere in Hollywood. The brand seems to be different, though according to some websites Hurom Slow Juicer is basically the same product as my Coway JuicePresso. I'm all confused with these different brand names. Juicing seems to be quite popular at the moment, even among celebrities but I guess quite a few are using them for detoxing or crash-dieting.

OK, back to finding recipes with less fruit and more vegetables and berries... If you have any favourites please do let me know!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Warm Up Week - Done!

The warm up week is now behind, mostly including just writing down what I normally eat and drink during the days as well as lighter exercise to wake the muscles up and prepare them for what's coming the first actual training week. So, my task for the weekend was the following fat burning exercises:
  • 45 minutes walk/slow run + stretching (hear rate 112-132)
  • 60 minutes walk/slow run + stretching (hear rate 112-132)
Going for a walk or a run might sound simple but there are certain preparations you have to do. Where's the Bluetooth heart rate transmitter, is the battery OK? Wet the strap, click the transmitter on. There's my mobile phone with Sports Tracker - oh, but is the battery charged though? Oh and also the iPod. Right, then a good amount of mosquito repellent on and I'm good to go.

Sunday evening's 60 min brisk walk proved to be a sticky one as it was 26°C and very humid. The weather forecast was predicting thunder storms and you could really tell by just stepping out.

The first actual training week started with another meeting with the Personal Trainer. It included the last fitness level test and a gym workout session afterwards. Not even hoping to be able to move normally for a couple of days now! It's amazing just how badly your muscles can hurt after a good workout when you have had a long break in exercising. Oh well, at least I know I've done something right.

Just checked my e-mail and there was the exercise program for the rest of the week, including another gym session with the PT, another 45 min walk/slow run and a muscle training exercise I will have to manage by myself while I'm enjoying a holiday week in Belgium. We'll go through that during the next gym training so it should be OK.

Speaking of Belgium - it's quite challenging to start this just before the summer holiday that interrupts the daily routine. At the same time I'm sure this is just what I need for telling myself "No!" when it comes to eating or drinking too much of whatever and not going for a walk or a run like I should. Just because "I'm on a holiday".

More about Routine vs. Relapse later!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Ugly Truth

The first official meeting with the Personal Trainer including fitness level tests went as well as it could, considering the circumstances. Body Composition Analysis was the most intimidating part and yes, the results can be called the ugly truth. Something - well, quite a bit of something actually - needs to be done and fast. Seeing the figures and graphs on a print out was quite a slap in the face. Thanks, I needed that!

Now I have the body fat percentage graphs in a visible place at home, reminding me why this project is so important. Taking care of your health means everything. If you're not healthy, everything else becomes secondary, right?

I believe this Operation Brazil has to be done using a "from zero to hero" approach, since I have been so inactive for several months. The reason (or excuse) was one huge project: my 110-page Master's thesis, which glued me to my office chair for about 4-5 months. My body was screaming for exercise but I knew I needed every minute of my free time and still steal some more hours from my beauty sleep if I wanted to get the thesis ready by the deadline and graduate in December. When I did actually sleep I was half awake, moving paragraphs back and forth on an imaginary Word-document... I believe I was a little bit stressed. I managed to make the deadline though and graduated in the planned schedule, but it came with a price: +7 kilos. And of course, those added kilos have not gone anywhere.

To get started I have written down everything I have eaten or drank for two days now, to provide my Personal Trainer some information concerning my eating habits and nutrition. I'm eagerly waiting for the training programme Sanna will come up with and start working on it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So The Journey Begins...

If everything goes as planned, I will travel to Brazil in February 2013 with my husband and I'm determined to get myself into "Brazilian bikini shape" by then. Just the thought of those tiny bikinis is scary enough to get me started. That's the reason for the name of this project, too.

My three months with a Personal Trainer are about to start - and I decided to add some extra challenge by starting a blog to follow the progress and to keep my motivation up.

The goal is simply to get in shape and making excercise and healthy living a daily routine, rather than having the occasional peaks and then doing absolutely nothing for weeks. Or months. I guess you could call me "bipolar" when it comes to excercising: I can get super enthusiastic about it and overdo it, then comes the collapse and all the will power vanishes. I will count on my Personal Trainer to push me in the right direction, because I simply don't trust my own resilience in this project. It's so ease to ignore the training or food diaries etc, if there's no one checking them and also monitoring your progress.

So, my journey to whatever fitness level I can reach by February 2013 begins here.
Ready... set... GO!