My take on enchiladas

1546617039266

The guy’s dinner

Recently my guy moved in with me, so I’m looking for new recipes that we can share, or easily adjust to our own requirements. I found this great recipe for (zero weight watchers flex points) tortillas, and I decided to add some filling and make some kind of ‘open’ enchiladas. I used the exact recipe mentioned above, and added 2 cloves of garlic to the mixture before baking. I made 5 tortillas with it, 3 for the guy, 2 for me. I really thought I would still taste the cauliflower, but I didn’t, they’re really great! It made me decide to use the remaining cauliflower in the white sauce, and it was amazing.

 

1546617200906

My dinner

What I used for the guy’s filling:
– 200 gr low fat minced beef
– 80 gr corn from a can
– 35 gr black beans from a can
– 200 gr diced tomatoes from a can
– 1/2 green bell pepper diced
– 1/2 small onion cut small
– 1/2 crushed garlic clove
– Chili powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt and pepper

What I used for my filling:
Exactly the same but used a mixture of minced turkey and minced low fat beef. The whole recipe for me was 11 weight watchers flex points. Quite a lot, but so worth it!

I made a white sauce: (1/4 for me, 1/2 for the guy, refrigerated the rest)
– 10 gr real butter
– 1 table spoon flour
– 100 ml low fat milk
– 1 cup riced cauliflower
– 40 gr grated parmesan cheese
– Salt and pepper

Instructions:
I made the tortillas like the recipe said. I used 2 nonstick pans for the filling, for both I just fried the meat, then added the onion, garlic and bell pepper. After a bit of frying, I added the diced tomatoes and spices. For the white sauce, just melt the butter in a pan until it’s bubbling, then add the flour (it becomes crumbly), slowly add the milk while stirring. Add the cauliflower, a bit of water if it’s too thick. Add the parmesan cheese and keep stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fill the tortillas, add the white sauce on top and a bit of extra parmesan cheese if you want. Bake in the oven (200 degrees Celsius) for 15 minutes. You can easily make this meal ahead, put it in a oven dish and pop it in the oven when you want to eat!

Protein bars (made with protein powder)

Hi there!

I currently like to eat protein bars as a snack, because they’re easy to take with you, they’re tasty and the ones I’m eating (clean protein bars from http://www.bodyenfitshop.nl) are also quite filling. But also very expensive! So I was looking to see if I could make them myself using protein powder, which is less expensive. I combined some ideas I saw online and came up with these tasty, easy to make and no-bake bars:

Recipe is for 8 bars:  PicsArt_04-27-09.19.28
1 bar is 2 sp for you ww people out there

1 bar contains 106 kcal, 6.4 gr carbs, 2.8 gr fat and 12.6 gr protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) of unsweetened almond milk
  • A splash of liquid sweetener (to taste)
  • A few drops of vanilla and rum essence (or whatever tastes good to you)
  • 50 gr coconut flour
  • 20 gr unsweetened peanutbutterpowder
  • 100 gr of coconut flavour whey protein powder (I use whey perfection)
  • 15 gr raw cacao nibs
  • 20 gr psyllium fiber

Mix the liquid ingredients with the smashed banana, set aside. Use a sieve for the flour, peanutbutter powder and protein powder, and mix with the cacao nibs and fiber. Throw like a teaspoon of this mix in your pan/mould to ease removal afterwards! Now pour the liquid mix on top of the ‘dry’ mix, and mix until it becomes like a dough. If it’s too dry, add a bit of extra almond milk. It shouldn’t be too wet, because it will not really dry up anymore. Press the dough into a pan, a mould or whatever has a shape that suits you. Put in the fridge for a couple of hours, remove, cut into 8 pieces and use a bit of baking paper to wrap them, because they’re still a bit sticky! Store in the fridge, enjoy!

PicsArt_04-27-09.35.45

Veggie lasagna

My mom gave me the Jamie Oliver’s superfood cookbook for Christmas and I’ve been using it to get some new ideas. Of course I’m not going to completely copy somebody else’s recipe, but I like to use it as inspiration to come up with something that fits my lifestyle, so here is the veggie lasagna recipe everybody’s waiting for 🙂

It contains 291 kcal per portion, 26 gr carbs, 11 gr fat and 24 gr of protein. It’s 6 sp on weightwatchers!

Ingredients for 2 portions:

  • 1 squash/pumpkin (the long type) IMG_20160208_141419
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 hands of fresh spinach
  • 20 gr sunflowerseeds
  • 200 gr cottage cheese
  • 20 gr parmesan grated
  • salt, pepper and italian herbs

Preheat your oven to 340 degrees F or 170 degrees C. I use a silicone cake-shape baking mold to get it in the shape I want. Use a cheese slicer or any other tool to make very thin slices of zucchini and squash. When you reach the middle of the vegetable, it won’t give you nice slices, so cut those piece up and use it in the sauce. Lay the nice slices out on some plates (you’ll also get some bad slices, use them in the sauce!) Sprinkle some salt on the slices. It’ll draw out some of the water which you can remove with some kitchen towell. Repeat once. In the mean time, cut the onion, tomatoes, zucchini and pumpkin pieces and fry it in a nonstick pan. Add the spinach and let it shrink. Make sure it get’s thick and most of the moisture is gone! Add the salt, pepper and herbs.

IMG_20160207_111352Start layering your ingredients, start with pumpkin slices and use your imagination to make the rest of the layers. Be aware that normally the pasta plates absorb a lot of moisture. Making lasagna without the pasta will create a lot of moisture, so make sure you drain the cottage cheese before you use is and make the sauce as thick as possible. End with the pumpkin slices again and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

Put it in the oven and bake it for about 30-45 minutes, check it regularly for getting too brown. After this, remove from the oven, cut it in half and remove. Let it drain a bit on a plate to remove some of the excess moisture and enjoy!

Zucchini crust pizza recipe

It’s been a while, but I’m still alive and doing well! Today I’m uploading a recipe for a great zucchini crust pizza. I’ve IMG_20150726_204046combined some things I’ve seen on the internet and sprinkled it with some own ideas 😉 Be aware, this is not a ‘low fat, carb free, whatever whatever’ recipe. I LOVE cheese, so there’s a lot of real cheese in this recipe. Of course you can change it to your liking. Personally, I believe that if you crave real pizza, go and eat real pizza! One pizza won’t make you fat, just as one salad won’t make you skinny. Myself, I don’t care too much for the wheat based crust, I care for the cheese, so that’s why this pizza is great for me and right now it’s zucchini season so I can get a lot of them for free from my parents garden or from my own balcony. (Unfortunately my round zucchini plant suffered from the storm we had over here 2 weeks ago, it might not give flowers anymore, boohoo)

Ingredients for 1 big ass pizza (you can definitely use this recipe for 2 smaller pizza’s!):

Base:

  • 2 store bought zucchini’s (or 1 large one)
  • 30 grams of goat cheese flakes (or parmesan cheese) full fat
  • 40 grams of coconut flour (or use regular whole wheat flour or almond flour, you might have to add more of it though, because coconut flour is really dry)IMG_20150805_182724
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder (or real garlic)

Toppings:

  • A 7-8 biggish grape tomatoes or 2-3 normal ones, sliced
  • A cup of mushrooms, sliced
  • A small tin of tomato paste
  • 50 grams of blue cheese full fat
  • Italian herbs

Instructions:

Preheat the oven on 180 Celcius or 350 Fahrenheit. Grate the zucchini and put it in de microwave for about 2,5 minutes, stir with a fork and then another 2,5 minutes in the microwave. You’ll see a lot of fluids coming from the zucchini, that needs to be drained. Let it leak through a dish towel, or use a strainer or anything that will let the water flow away. You can also squeeze it a bit to remove most of the water. Now put it in a bowl and add the othe20150805_183628r ingredients for the base. Stir, if it’s too watery, you can add a bit more flour. Put the ‘dough’ on a ovenplate, I use baking paper. Push it around untill you have a pizza base shape, make sure you don’t leave it too thick and make sure the edges aren’t too thin (the edges will burn first!). Now put the oven plate in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. You check the base to see if it’s a bit firm. 20150805_191351Now I do the magic trick, I put a grill on the base (do you call it a grill? Check the pic!) and turn it around, so the base now lies on the grill and can be baked properly in the oven. I usually bake it for another 20-30 minutes, check how it looks, if it gets darker too fast reduce the temperature a bit.

20150805_191801

Now remove it from the oven, add your toppings and put it back for about 10-15 minutes. I usually use regular tomato paste, then add the herbs (if you put them on top, they might burn), then the mushrooms, then tomatoes and finish with the cheese.

Nutritional information:

Kcal: 811, Carbs: 49 grams, fat: 44 grams, 20150805_192058protein: 54 grams. (adjust when you change the ingredients!)

IMG_20150805_194216Enjoy!

Mealprep week 11

Many people tell me that eating the same thing for a couple of days is boring to them. I can imagine that, personally, I don’t find it boring, but that’s just me. This week, I want to show you that by just some minor adjustments, you can make it less boring. Let’s start with an overview of this weeks food:

924098_1061024890579779_1626997518_n

  • Breakfast: superseed oats with pb and fruit
  • Snack: 4x protein-bananabread, 2x bellpepper and cucumber, 2x radish and carrots
  • Lunch: 4x sweet potato, 2x chicken, 2x sausage, 2x broccoli, 2x cauliflower
  • Snack: 2x apple, 1x pear, 1x orange
  • Dinner: 4x yellow brown rice, 2x chicken curry, 2x Indonesian chicken liver, 2x sweet/sour salad, 2x veg stir fry.

Breakfast: Many people eat the same breakfast day after day. A way to make oats a bit different is adding different types of fruit. Personally, I always add a banana with some berries, but you can mix and match different types of fruit and add cinnamon/vanilla or other flavors to spice it up a bit. A great thing about this is, that you can prep a basic oatmeal breakfast and still safe time, but have different toppings every day. (Recipe for this oatmeal breakfast is over here)

Snacks: Making different types of bananabread could be possible with using small trays and adding different ingredients. Personally that’s too much work for me, so I stick with the same (yum) bananabread every day (recipe is over here). I tried to have some variation with the veggies and fruits, which doesn’t cost extra time at all. (It does cost extra money, because buying 1 orange and 1 pear etc. is relatively more expensive than buying it in bulk and eating the same fruit every day).

Lunch: I chose to keep my carb source the same, but to mix up the meat and veggies. I chose the meats that are easy to prepare, I always pop the chicken in the steamer and the sausages are fried with some turning over from time to time. I eat cauliflower raw and I lightly steamed the broccoli in the steamer at the same time together with the sweet potato and chicken (I love that machine!).

Dinner: Again, kept the rice the same for all the meals, but chose different meats and veggies. My mom has Indonesian ancestors and has the best Indonesian chicken liver recipe (yum!). It goes well with sweet and sour cucumber/orange pepper/tomato salad which I’ll make when I’m going to eat it (cut tomatoes don’t stay well, I didn’t show the cucumber in the picture, because it messes the beautiful balance, lol!). The other dish is chicken curry with vegetable stir fry. I fried the chicken with some onion and garlic and added a bit of red curry paste and 3 tablespoons of coconut cream. I fried the veggies with onion and garlic, spices and mustard seeds. I love my non-stick Stonehenge pans, because you really need almost no oil!

I prepped everything in about 1 hour and 45 minutes! I went like a tornado through the kitchen, but what really helps is planning ahead. So for example; start with making the bananabread, because it needs some time in the oven and also needs cooling down before the cutting. I always start with that, then I’ll pop my stuff in the steam cooker and move on to the next thing. If you think about your planning before you start, you can safe so much time!!

Clean eating

So what is this ‘clean eating’ everybody is talking about? It certainly isn’t cleaning your food really well before eating lol! But I’ve found so many definitions and ‘rules’ for clean eating, it kind of gets a forest of information out there and you’ll not know what to follow. In no way I say my own vision is the right or correct one, I’m just going to say something about how I envision clean eating (aka just healthy eating in general).

Paleo-vs-Clean-EatingWhen  you look up clean eating on the internet, you’ll find a lot of lists of food to avoid, or even worse, food that’s forbidden. You’ll find a 30 day clean eating cleanse or the ‘whole 30’, which is practically the same to me, or the Paleo diet. Personally, I believe in moderation. Yes, of course, I would love to be able to eat clean 100% of the time, but then life happens and social situations occur and there’s also the inner fat girl that just wants to eat pizza and drink wine. So I’ve learned the hard way that by forbidding myself to eat something ‘unclean’ I will end up eating a truckload of it, so that doesn’t work for me personally.

Of course, there are foods that I’d rather not eat and are ‘unclean’ in my eyes, which is to me simply everything that’s been processed. It comes down to: all types of bread and pasta, white rice, all types of dairy, processed meats like burgers or sausages, all ‘diet’ products, anything with white flour or sugar in it, like cookies or nutella, fast food and probably some other things I forgot to mention. I’d rather not eat dairy because it seems unnatural to me to take another species mother milk that’s meant for its baby, but that doesn’t mean I never take it, because cheese is one of my weaknesses. (I know generally dairy is allowed in the ‘clean eating society’.)

So to me, it’s all about that balance, I try to eat as natural as possible, but allow myself to eat certain unclean things on a daily/weekly basis.

So why is this important?

Well, to start, clean and whole foods contain a lot of nutrients. Yes, a nice big steak contains more calories than a skinny chicken sausage, but have you read the labels of those sausages? Most of them only contain 40-50 % meat, they add all kind of things (mostly white flour and other unclean things). In the end, you’ll get more nutrients (protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals) from the steak than you’ll get from the sausage. If you look at losing weight, people might choose the sausage because it contains less calories. I think this is a very important mistake many make! We are surrounded by ‘diet’ products, low fat this, sugar free that….. and they all try to convince us it’s healthy. You might be able to lose weight with it, but at what cost? It’s time for us to stand up to those big brands and say: NO! We want real food and if I decide to take something ‘unclean’, I’ll go for the real deal, full fat/sugar dark chocolate and wine, or a really cheesy pizza.

Basis for a clean and healthy lifestyle:

Vegetables, fruit, legumes/beans, whole meat, whole fish, eggs, nuts/seeds, whole grains (including brown rice) and starchy veg/roots like (sweet) potatoes.

Mealprep week 6 breakdown

I always start with the fact that I don’t think everybody should mealprep, I’m writing this because I want to show people a way that most think is impossible or very hard. It can be done and it’s not even that hard! For more tips go and check out this mealprep 101 post. I kept it relatively easy during this weeks mealprep. So what did I make:

IMG_20150202_131058

Breakfast: superseed oats with pb and a banana (and I add blueberries and goji berries): With pb:7 pp, 275 kcal, 23 gr carbs, 13 gr fat, 16 gr protein. Without pb: 5pp, 224 kcal, 22 gr carbs, 9 gr fat, 14 gr protein. Check out this post for the exact recipe.

Snack 1: carrots and 1/2 bell pepper. 0pp, 64 kcal, 1 gr fat, 12 gr carbs and 2 gr protein.

Snack 2: banana-protein bread, The whole bread contains 1441 kcal, 30 gr fat, 179 gr carbs and 101 gr protein. A 1/6 slice (which is BIG) contains 5pp, 240 kcal, 5 gr fat, 30 gr carbs and 17 gr protein. Check out this post for the exact recipe.

Lunch: sweet potato, chicken, tomatoes and sugar snaps. My serving is 8pp, 408 kcal, 6 gr fat, 37 gr carbs and 47 gr protein.

Snack 3: 2 clementines. 0pp, 54 kcal, 0.4 gr fat, 11.2 gr carbs and 0.8 gr protein.

Dinner: yellow brown rice, cauliflower and a pork sausage (100% clean). 7pp, 348 kcal, 11 gr fat, 30 gr carbs, 28 gr protein.

Nutritional information of 1 day: 27pp, 1389 kcal, 36 gr fat, 143 gr carbs, 110 gr protein.

IMPORTANT: this is a VERY basic mealprep. I will add at least 1 questbar to get to my daily allowance, but will add more food on the days I workout. This is meant for an average women to lose weight when already close to goal. This will NOT be enough for an average male or female who doesn’t need to lose weight or for a very obese person! Calculate your specific needs on www.iifym.com.

Instructions:

I’m not going to write a complete shoppinglist anymore, because the chance somebody wants to do this exact prep is very small and it’s a huge time investment on my part. So generally, I do my preps like this:

I wake up Monday morning and start with the breakfast prep (recipe over here). Sometimes I already put everything in the pan on Sunday evening for easy and fast cooking. I eat 1 of the breakfast, then I’ll go shopping for the rest of the ingredients. When I come home, I pop the chicken (4 200gr pieces of boneless chicken) in the steam cooker, while I peel and cut the sweet potato (4×125 gr). I add those in the top layer of the steam cooker. Total steam cooker time is 60 minutes. Meanwhile, I preheat the oven and make the dough for the banana-protein bread (recipe over here). When the bread is in the oven, I wash the brown rice (4×30 gr) and boil it with tumeric, salt and hot curry spices for about 30 minutes. I also throw the sausages in a pan and fry them slowly for about 30 minutes (turning them from time to time). Usually around this time I have some waiting to do, I’ll use this for cutting/cleaning my veggies and put them in the tubs. Now some of the things are finished, I’ll let it cool down before I put them in the tub. I let the bread cool down partially and slice it into 6 pieces (eat 1 right away, nom nom). Let everything cool down properly before you put the lids on! Divide your portions using the weighing method I describe in my mealprep 101 post!

Enjoy!

Plantain-peanutbutter patties

I’m trying out other ‘clean’ carb sources and though plain fried or baked plantain is already really tPicsArt_1422432782215asty on itself, I created this recipe to have some variation in my repertoire. It also makes a yum snack! Just so you know, these patties stay kind of soft and don’t get hard and crispy. This recipe makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information:

Weightwatchers: 5pp per serving. Per serving: 206 kcal, 4,5 gr fat, 112 gr carbs, 6 gr protein.

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams of plantain (it doesn’t matter if it’s getting a bit soft or growing legs like mine)
  • 1 big or 2 small onions
  • A piece of gingerPicsArt_1422432879341
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 25 gr natural peanutbutter (mine has no additives)
  • 30 gr natural peanutbutter powder (mine has no additives)
  • Salt, pepper, chilli and curry powder
  • Optional: non-stick spray or some oil to fry (not calculated in the nutritional information)

PicsArt_1422432846892Instructions:

Throw all the ingredients in a food processor! Yes all! Process until its smooth-ish. Take a non-stick pan (I have a Stonehenge pan which I adore because almost nothing sticks to it!). Bake/fry the patties on low-medium heat. They WILL burn if you use high heat! When the top is starting to look a little bit dryer, flip them gently as they are still a bit soft. Heat for another minute or so and remove from the pan.

Enjoy! PicsArt_1422432813801

Banana-protein bread recipe

So I’ve been looking for a good alternative for questbars. I love my questies, but I’ve been eating soooPicsArt_1422188847215 many of them, some days up to 3 or 4! I track everything, don’t worry, but it’s been heavy on my wallet. They used to cost even more over here, now it’s about 20 euro’s for a box containing 12. I’ve tried a couple of different homemade protein cupcakes, but in the end it wasn’t really what I wanted. Until I found a basic recipe for a nice bananabread by the lovely @jonboklofffitness on instagram. I adjusted the recipe quite a bit to fit my needs, here it is! It is so delicious! It contains more carbs than a questbar, but hey, it tastes good and has 17 grams of protein in 1 slice! The whole bread contains 30 pp, and because I want it to be 5pp like a questie, I divided it by 6, but those are huge chunks, so it’s easily divided by 8 or 10, making it a lot lower in pp per piece. I used oatflour and coconut flour. You can experiment by using different type of flours, but adjust the amount of ‘wet’ content when you use less coconutflour, because this type of flour makes stuff more dry and your PicsArt_1422188885239bread needs more wet ingredients to compensate.

Nutritional information:

The whole bread contains 1441 kcal, 30 gr fat, 179 gr carbs and 101 gr protein. A 1/6 slice contains 240 kcal, 5 gr fat, 30 gr carbs and 17 gr protein.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 80 gr of oatflour
  • 70 gr of coconutflour
  • 4 egg whites
  • 15 gr of raw cacao nibs (or the powder)
  • 20 gr of peanutpowder ( I used the natural type, with no other ingredients besides peanuts)
  • 1 apple (pealed)
  • 2 scoops of protein powder (I used 1 scoop of peanutbutter flavoured and 1 cookies and cream flavoured, my protein powder is 3pp per scoop)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground cloves
  • Vanilla extract (or use a bit of pumpkin spice to replace all these spices)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150 ml of water
  • 15 gr goji berries (optional)
  • 15 gr mulberries (optional)

Instructions:PicsArt_1422188947971

Put the oven on 180C or 350F. Use a food processor to puree the following ingredients: bananas,apple, cacaonibs, goji berries, peanutpowder and mulberries. Put it in a bowl and add the eggwhites and the water. Put all the dry ingredients (except for the baking powder) in a separate bowl or plate and mix them a bit. Now add the flour mix slowly to your bananamix and use a mixer if you have one, because it clots easily. Now add the baking powder and mix shortly. Put everything in  cake-tray, or any type you want to use. Baking time might be less for those flat large trays! I used a silicone one, because you don’t need oil, paper or anything because nothing sticks to it! Now spread everything evenly and bake for 35-40 minutes. After this, I put the oven on 140 C or 280 F and let it bake for another 15 minutes. Let it cool down a bit before you cut it!

Costs:

Somebody commented about the costs, worrying that the flours and berries are costly and that this is an expensive bananabread. I was also kind of curious on how much it actually costs to make this, so I calculated everything, except the salt and the spices, because I don’t really know how to calculate them. The most costly thing was actually the eggs, as I used the best forest bred organic eggs. If you use egg whites from a box like I know you can buy in the US, the costs will significantly reduce. I used specific oat flour, but you can also process normal oats in a blender or mixer until its like flour, which can also reduce costs. The costs might also be different in different countries, but I don’t believe they will differ much! The whole loaf was 4.83 euro, which is 5.44 dollar. 1 slice would be 0.80 euro or 0.90 dollar. For me, a questbar is about 1.67 euro/1.88 dollar so it’s half of the price I would pay for a questbar.

  • Mulberries: 250 gr is 5.90 euro, 15 gr is 0.35 euro
  • Goji berries: 500 gr is 7.99 euro, 15 gr is 0.24 euro
  • Bananas: 2 for 0.40 euro
  • Apple: 1 for 0.50 euro
  • Oats flour: 1 kilo is 2.90 euro, 80 gr is 0.23 euro
  • Coconut flour: 500 gr is 3.90 euro, 70 gr is 0.55 euro
  • Eggs: 6 eggs for 2 euro, 4 eggs are 1.33 euro
  • Cacaonibs: 500 gr is 6.96, 15 gr is 0.20 euro
  • Whey protein powder: 1 bucket is 81 scoops is 34.90 euro, 2 scoops is 0.86 euro
  • Peanutbutter powder: 454 gr is 3.90 euro, 20 gr is 0.17 euro

Weightlifting 101

I’m not a personal trainer, seek one for professional advice. This is from own experience and research.

If you want to know why I think weightlifting is a great workout for losing weight, check out my previous post about this subject. Check also this post about changing your lifestyle and this post about changing your mindset to lose weight. Exercise is great, but nutrition is more important when you want to lose weight! This post is for the people who are like me when I first started: yeah you want to lift weight, but how do you start??

If you are not totally broke and spend every last dime in your wallet on food and rent, I highly recommend you to take a (or more) weightlifting lesson from a personal trainer. I personally did not do that, because I was stubborn and thought it was a waste of money. Looking back, I could’ve really learned stuff that I only got to know later in my journey. Most gyms also offer some kind of personal plan, which you can use to get to know lifting. Make sure you tell them you want to lift weights, because the perception that people who want to lose weight or get fit should do cardio and light weights is still widely spread. Some gyms have weightlifting classes or classes like bodypump. They’re great, but the problem is that you won’t get that personal attention to your form which is VERY important.

Even before you’re going to start, it’s very wise to do some reading about weightlifting. This post can be a nice start, but more reading is recommended! I got a lot of info from www.bodybuilding.com. Don’t get scared from their pictures though! Lol! They have a great database of weightlifting exercises including video’s of how to perform them. Be aware, almost every fitness or weightlifting website/magazine is sponsored by supplement producers, so don’t fall for all those ads, I’ll talk about those supplements later!

Food for thought… erhm musclesPower%20Shaker%20Hi%20res

When you lift weight, your goal is to gain muscles, right? So how does your muscle grow? I’ll have a more in-depth post about muscles later, but here’s a summary: muscles need strength training to get a growth impulse and they need protein as a building block to make it bigger and stronger. My advice would be to eat/drink a good protein source within 30-60 minutes after lifting. Make sure you also have protein with every meal during the day, I aim for at least 100-120 grams of protein a day. (When you have kidney disease or any other health problem, ask your doctor for advise!) You can calculate your protein needs on www.iifym.com. Make sure you don’t have a too big of a caloric deficiency! You need to fuel your body in order to build muscles, you cannot gain muscle when you eat 800 kcal a day! Don’t worry, you’ll still lose weight! Look at me, I eat 1600-2300 kcal a day! (There are also people who say you can’t build muscle without eating more than your body needs, this is not true, though it can go slower than when you’re ‘bulking’.) (Most hardcore body builders go through a ‘bulking’ fase, where they’ll eat more, gain weight which is muscle and fat, and then go through a ‘shredding’ fase where they’ll lose fat and maintain their muscles) You can check out my instagram pictures to see that I do have muscle gains without going through a bulking fase!

Form form form!

Yes, form is so important when you lift weight! Many people just want to compete with each other, try to lift heavier every week, but sacrifice their forms to be able to do it. Well ladies and gentlemen, that’s how you get injuries! It’s better to do some great form total range squats with 10 lbs than to do squats with 100 lbs with bad form. You aim for muscle fatigue, or the feeling that you almost can’t do another repetition. If you reach that with 10 lbs, fantastic! If you reach it with 100 lbs, fantastic too!

Reps and sets, what?

For the total gym newbie: reps are repetitions, they are divided into sets. So for example, when something says 4 sets of 10 reps, you do the exercise 10 times, then rest small and repeat this 3 times. There are a lot of thoughts about how many sets and reps are good for muscle strength/muscle growth/muscle endurance. The common mindset is that if you do 1-5 reps, you’re training for strength, if you do 6-15 reps you train for muscle growth and if you do more than 15 reps, you train for muscle endurance. Of course, the weight you’ll use is higher when you do low reps. Personally, I don’t think those ranges are that fixed, you do 1 more rep and boom you’re not training for strength anymore? It’s more of a percentage, so you’ll also train for strength when you do 12 reps, just less then when you do 4 reps, you get me? So how do I do it? Well, I do 4 sets of 10 reps for compound movements (I’ll tell you about that later) and 4 sets of 12-15 reps for isolations. I didn’t start like that though, I started with 4 sets of 10 reps for everything, later did 15 reps for everything and then progressed to my current schedule. I’m not saying this is how you should do it, try and see what works for you.

Total body workouts vs split schedules

When you read about weightlifting, you will definitely read a lot about split schedules. A split schedule is where you divide your body into parts, and you’ll only train that part on 1 particular day. Though training with a split schedule has its benefits for very experienced amateur lifters and professionals, I don’t see any benefits for beginners. I’ve been lifting for a little over 10 months and still only doing total body workouts and they work fine for me! The benefits are that you will train your total body a couple of times a week, you won’t get that with a split schedule. As a beginner, you won’t have a big load so your muscles will not need a whole week to recover (ok, maybe in your first week lol!).

Free weights vs machines

So when you look at the gym, there are machines, cable machines and there are free weights. All have their strengths, I prefer free weights and cables, but sometimes use a machine too. I recommend to do the same. The benefit of using free weights (dumbbells, barbells) and cables is that you’ll use your own body to stabilize yourself instead of a machine stabilizing you. This way, you’ll train those small muscles to keep you balanced, which can be very good for injury prevention! And of course you burn more! Another benefit is that you’ll train your core muscles throughout your training, so you don’t need endless ab exercises (I hate those…). There are a couple of things that can help you to use free weights. A squat rack for example. When you progress to higher weights, it’s nearly impossible to get the weight you need for squats from the floor and onto your shoulders/back, because the upper body is usually less strong than the lower body. You can put your barbell on the rack a little lower than shoulder height, put your weights on it and than go stand under it to get it on your shoulders. There’s dumbell-barbellalso the smith’s machine (look it up if you don’t know what it is). It guides the barbell up and down (some of them can also move back and forward). Though it can be very useful, I prefer to do my squats, bench presses and overhead presses without it, the same reason why I don’t use the other machines. The only reason I’ll use it, is when I want to try what my max is in a specific exercise. I add weight until I fail, so in that case, the smith’s machine can create some safety, as you can turn the bar and it won’t fall. I don’t recommend maxing out for beginners.

Kettlebell

Lately, the kettlebells have become really popular. I use them too, I actually do a kettlebell circuit once a week. I also love them for my step ups, because they fit nicely in my hands. Some gyms have kettlebell classes, so go and try them! Form is very important for kettlebell workouts too!

How many times a week?

I started with 2 total body lifting workouts a week. Take it easy in the first couple of weeks, try your exercises first with bodyweight or low weight only. You won’t be happy when you fly into your new routine and then won’t be able to walk for 3 weeks…. I would say, try to strive for 3 total body weightlifting workouts a week. Make sure you rest enough too! Everybody needs a restday, I personally have 2 full rest days a week, I only do light walking on those days. Your muscles need rest after lifting!

Cardio?

There’s nothing against cardio, so if you like it, go do it! But know it’s not necessary to lose weight! Doing it more than an hour actually can cause muscle decline. Personally, I end my workout with 10-15 minutes on the elliptical. I do 1 fasted HIIT workout a week on the elliptical too (can’t do other HIIT workouts due to hip injury caused by running/jumping). I will write something about HIIT too in the next couple of weeks.

So now you know something about weightlifting, but you still don’t know where to start. I highly recommend to start with compound movements and total body workouts only! Compound movements are those exercises where multiple joints will move and you train multiple muscles at the same time. The opposite of compound movements are isolations, where you will isolate 1 or 2 muscles. Why am I saying this?

  1. With compound movements, you will train multiple muscles so it saves time
  2. Training multiple muscles –> burning more during 1 exercise
  3. With compound movements, you will also train those muscles that keep your joints stable, which will benefit you in your fitness journey
  4. As a beginner, you have to learn your basics and get stronger in that before you go further

Lower body compound movements:

  • Squat (different types, like goblet squats, plié squats, single leg squats)
  • Lunges (different types, like walking lunges, curtsy lunges)squat-like-a-boss-1
  • Deadlift
  • Step ups
  • Leg press

Upper body compound movements:

  • Pull up (assisted on the machine when you can’t do bodyweight)
  • Dips (assisted)
  • Push up
  • Bench press
  • Military press
  • Lat pull down

There are numerous ab exercises out there. As I said before, I don’t do them too much, they’re just a muscle group that you need to train a couple of times. A great one is planking, another great one is the V-up. Try to find 2-3 that work for you and stick to them!

If you don’t know these exercises, go and look them up on www.bodybuilding.com! Click on the squat picture above to go to an article of them about squatting.

What about that booty?

A lot of women want to lift weights to get a nice and round booty. I’ll write something about that soon. The compound lower body exercises I wrote here, also target the booty. There are a couple of isolations for the booty (and other muscle groups), which you can add later into your routine.

So now start:

Choose 3 lower body exercises, choose 3 upper body (try to combine push and pulling ones) and go do them! Choose 6 different ones for your second workout day of the week and you got yourself a beginner’s schedule! Good luck! And let me know how it goes!

Example:

  • Monday: Squat, pull up, step up, military press, lunges, push ups + 2 ab exercises
  • Friday: Deadlift, bench press, leg press, dips, plié squats, lat pull down + 1 ab exercise

Oh, and if you feel like you’re too big to go lifting or you’re afraid people will look. Well… yes, people will look, but 90% of them are just really nice people! Everybody was a beginner once and had to start somewhere, remember that!