Yes, I eat fat

Following the principle that “a calorie is not a calorie”, I include healthy fats in my eating habits. Contrary to what the media, the food industry and even several doctors advocate, fat is good for you on so many levels. Just not the saturated/chemically processed kind. When I say “fat” I mean the real, the natural, kind: avocados, nuts, olive oil…

Since I started this process I have aimed for optimum nutrition. Unfortunately, aiming at something, doesn’t mean achieving it, but I strive for it and constantly look for new information with that in mind.

Of the several articles I have read this is probably my favourite one because it includes a lot of information (yes, it’s quite long, but worth reading):

Choosing Healthy Fats – Good Fats, Bad Fats, and the Power of Omega-3s

If you prefer something shorter, here’s this quick overview:

Five Reasons a Healthy Fat Diet is Good for You

And ever shorter, these 6 bullet points:

12314016_819024711558298_8996262211739341009_n

I still strongly believe that information is key in changing anyone’s mindset. Information is power, use it.

Monday Thought

3cf03cd18291e4d19719cfbb7a05f50a

I have progressed further than I could ever have dreamt I would.
I ended completely changing my lifestyle, and my body had no choice but to follow.

It was a process – in several ways it still is –  , and a very challenging one. Therefore it’s not all smooth sailing, but as long as we’re willing to do the work, it’s perfectly achievable.

Recipe x3 (part 3)

So, I’ve come across another couple of recipes which really come in handy. They are super quick to make, not too complicated on the ingredients and taste amazingly. I’ve done them over, and over, and over

035b8dc2a8b084d9e97359fdf236cc43Baked Eggs on a Bed of Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
This feels fresh, but it’s still super comforting. I cook 2 eggs per person, and have tried adding spinach with great results! For me, toasted bread is a must with this recipe, that liquid at the bottom of the tray just begs for it.

IMG_5402edit

One Pan Mexican Quinoa
It’s a one pan dish so you know it’s super practical. Since I don’t like spicy food, instead of the jalapeño, I use red bell pepper. It still adds that “something”, but without burning in your mouth.

2Oats, banana and cocoa cake (flourless, sugarless)
Ok, this one is from a Portuguese website, so here’s the recipe:
Ingredients for 1 small cake: 1 banana; 1 egg;  2 soup spoons of old school oats; 1 tea spoon 100% cocoa powder; 1 pinch of cinnamon; 1 pinch of baking powder. Instructions: break the banana into medium pieces into a bowl and heat it in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove. Add the remaining ingredients and with a food processor (any processor will do) mix everything. Into the microwave it goes again for 1 1/2 minute. Tah dah! It will be spongy and moist and awesome.

Enjoy!

Recipes Part 1 here
Recipes Part 2 here

Supplements & Me – It’s complicated

Just a little over a month ago I took up a new class, Les Mills Body Pump, and with it came a new level of fatigue. I noticed – when I actually should have seen it coming –  that my recovery time after Pump is much longer than after all the other classes I take (Combat, Balance, CxWorx, RPM), and that weariness began to stand in the way of my performance on the following day(s).

I seriously dislike taking any kind of supplements and I haven’t taken absolutely anything since I changed my life (and even b4 that, tbh). However, having come to terms with the idea that my body needs a helping hand to timely recover from strength training, I talked to one of my instructors. I trust her completely, so whatever she says, goes. And she said ZMAs (just a quick overview here).

Ok, Ok… I can handle that. I guess. Kinda. I’m uncomfortable, but for a different reason than the one I foresaw: I feel horribly pretentious.

I’m no athlete, I’m no crossfitter, I’m no bodybuilder… I’m just someone who takes a few fitness classes, and look at me, taking a supplement like some big shot. I am aware this feeling is fuelled by pre-conceived ideas, but nevertheless it’s here.
On the other hand, most people look at me in awkwardness inducing awe when I tell them I workout 6 days a week. So I guess I do exercise more than average, and it is to be expected that my body needs some kind of supplementation to remain balanced.

So, like I said in the title: Supplements & Me – It’s complicated. Moreover, I’m naturally resistant to change, and this is something new I’m introducing in my life, so I’m sure to struggle with the idea at first. Perhaps it’s just me, perhaps other people have experienced the same mixed feelings, I don’t know.

And just so I don’t leave you imageless:
3f0fb82132f5e51fd055f346ba1d66ec

Rest. It’s part of the program

I acknowledge I should respect rest more than I do. I take 1 rest day per week, but sometimes – alright… often – I end up not taking any.

There was this one time when I ended up doing something quite stupid: I went about a month and a half without a single rest day. There were several reasons, including special events and friends asking me to tag along in classes. It wasn’t a “let’s see how far I can go” moment, time just passed. My body became so tired that I got to a point when I was feeling truly frustrated in class because I had a really hard time executing exercises which I usually handle with ease and I had to lower my weights on CxWorx because I felt really unstable with my usual weights.
I had to force myself to stop. Trust me, I didn’t want to. I felt super annoyed that I could be taking this or that class, but instead there I was just sitting on the couch. I recognized it wasn’t a “want” moment, it was a “need” moment. And one must do what is needed, even it we don’t feel like it.

I can say I learned to esteem rest as part of the cycle. At this point I’ll skip 1 rest day at the most and on the week up until the next rest day I’ll pay close attention to what my body “tells” me.

Below you’ll find an article – of so many available online – about the importance of rest after exercise, please do read it!

The Benefits of Rest and Recovery After Exercise

0d0f7a64eeeac069c30997a22e36834e

Guy gives up added sugar for 1 month

Dutch TV producer LifeHunters recently created a short film (6m35s) with the highlights of an experiment where a man completely gives up added sugar,  artificial additives, and alcohol for a month.

I believe this crash approach is too extreme and completely unsustainable, but since it was just an experiment, sure, why not?

I have heard the expression “toxic environment” several times, and one of the things I like about this film is that it showcases how difficult it can be to “stay the course” when everything around you is set up to lead you into consuming food-like products, and that includes your friends. Saying one “just needs will power” is a gross understatement, and this video sort of touches that subject.
You also get a glimpse into the emotional hardship everyone should expect when first giving up sugar (even me, who took the baby-steps approach felt it). But it wears off, and afterwards you realize how much better you feel, and how the struggle was worth it.

Here’s the video, it’s short, enjoy:

The 7am class

For almost 6 months now I’ve been taking the Friday 7am RPM class. It started out with a heat induced insomnia – I couldn’t sleep anyway, so why not head to the gym and try the class? – and I ended up becoming a regular.

Up until the day I took the 1st class if you had told me I would enjoy 1st:RPM and 2nd:the 7am class I would’ve laughed, and laughed and laughed…and called you insane.

I used to look at cycling classes like “argh, how boring is that? Just pedaling along for an hour… I’ll never like that.”
I used to think “how insane are those people? Getting up ultra early to workout before going to work, I’m never doing that”

And then I tried it.

To me RPM is a battle between my brain and my body. My body wants to slow down, to quit, and my brain doesn’t let it. Every week I notice progress, and every week I push harder. I enjoy that, a lot.
Also, it’s not super hard to get up at 6am when you look forward to what’s about to happen. Moreover, I notice that when I get to work I’m in a good mood and feeling refreshed (thanks endorphins ❤ ) and the day just flies by.

The 7am class is really one of those things you don’t know until you try it, and I believe it’s a love it or hate it moment.  So why not try it yourself? You never know! (I sure didn’t…)

PS: Additionally, the look on people’s faces when you tell them you take the 7am class is priceless!! xD

until-you-try1