Friday, August 15, 2014

Debbie in Shape's New Home

After almost 2 years of Debbie in Shape, this blog is moving to another home.

From now on, please find my articles on .

I am looking forward seeing you there. Visit it, enjoy it and share!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Triathlon: The First Steps

Did you really say triathlon?!?

Yes, I did: triathlon! I did mention in on my blog 40 things before 40, but I guess it still may surprise many. And yes, that is true. As of last Sunday, I am officially crawling my way to a triathlon. It is an ambitious plan so I am giving myself enough time to get prepared. It is more than getting ready physically. There are some mental blocks I have to overcome first. 

One of these blocks is the bike...

Triathlon: The First Steps

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tip Tuesday : Choosing a Gym

Where to go?!?

On my blog Move It Monday : The Gym Life, I suggested activities you can do at the gym. Today, I want to share some tips on how to choose one particular gym to get enrolled. These are some of the aspects I take into consideration when picking a place to train.

Tip Tuesday : Choosing a Gym

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Training Thursday : Because There Is More than Cardio in a Fit Life

To do cardio or not?
That is the question!

The idea of cardio being the only physical activity for women is so widely spread that I find it scary. It is not like I am against it though. Far from that! However, the fact that it is frequently treated as the sole solution to all female fitness problems worries me.

Cardiovascular activities, or cardio as they are commonly called, have their importance in the path of a fit life. But how much of it do YOU really need?

Training Thursday : Because There Is More than Cardio in a Fit Life

Monday, July 21, 2014

Getting Geek : Start Your Day With Creativity for Non-Morning Persons

Good morning!
Not really...

Every morning, I do my uttermost best to make breakfast a pleasant experience. I know very well that it is THE most important meal of the day, however, since I am not a morning person, eating does not feel appealing before 8AM.

To compensate for my traditional (bad) mood, I try to keep myself busy with other things while chewing my oatmeal and sipping some coffee. In my search for productivity, I discovered that there is nothing better to do than to kick-off the day with creative thoughts.

Getting Geek : Start Your Day With Creativity for Non-Morning Persons

Monday, July 14, 2014

Move It Monday : Alternative Workouts

Out of the box training!

We all know those jokes about every diet starting on Monday, next Monday, don't we? But there are also those who include the endless postponing of working out to the next week.

You do not need to fall into this trap. Even if you do not feel like attending a class or following your standard schedule, you can still get your workout done. Let's have a look at 3 choices to traditional training that will help you burn some calories and have fun at the same time. 

Move It Monday : Alternative Workouts

Monday, July 7, 2014

Move It Monday : Planning Your Workouts

Plan to succeed!

Yesterday, after I finished my workout and I was getting ready to go home, I was approached by another gym member. He had probably seen me training and he mentioned that he had noticed that I followed a structured plan. He was wondering what kind of sport I did etc.

Indeed, I do use (and abuse) of my geek side at the gym as well. So let me share with you how it works for me.

Move It Monday : Planning Your Workouts

Monday, June 30, 2014

Move It Monday : Transformation and Going Forward

Last Saturday it was the last weight-in of the 8-week transformation plan Summer Shape Up from the Flex Magazine Holland. Based on the great improvement I had shown during the first month, I cannot deny being a little disappointed with the final result. Still, losing 4.1% body fat is something to be quite proud of.

Now it is time to look back at the things I have learned and set plans for the future.

Move It Monday : Transformation and Going Forward

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fancy Friday : Making Time for Yourself

When was the last time you did something for yourself?

You see me posting a lot about my training, sharing my meals and giving tips for organization; but do you remember when it was my last Fancy Friday blog? Yeah, it has been a while...

We are always so busy with things that we easily forget about ourselves. It is work, family, errands, workouts etc; filling up our days that at the end, there is nothing left for us.

It is time to change things a little bit and make time for yourself!

Fancy Friday : Making Time for Yourself

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tip Tuesday : Preparing Your Meals for the Week

As you know, I participated in Bikini competitions in 2012 and 2013. One of the things fitness and body building athletes are known for is the food. Most of us bring our meals along no matter where we go. I do it even for family celebrations when in contest preparation. 

This is ideal because I know what I eating and I have the food that I need at hand any time I want it. I cannot imagine not finding a descent place to eat when the hunger hits hard. My gains!!!!

So for this Tip Tuesday, I will be sharing some tricks I have learned the past years. You will see that even a can't-cook like me is able to get things done.

Tip Tuesday : Preparing Your Meals for the Week

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wellness Wednesday : Rolling Like a Boss!

I got a new toy!
And it is PINK...

Since my running comeback I have been discovering some new accessories that make the life of athletes much easier and help recovery. Some weeks ago, I bought running compression socks and I cannot live without them anymore. Last Thursday, I got another toy that works wonders: a Foam Roller.

Wellness Wednesday : Rolling Like a Boss!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Move It Monday : Ambassador

I got news for you!

Probably you have already seen the badge on my blog and some of my sharing throughout the social media. Maybe I should have waited for this blog to come out and make the official announcement, but I just did not want to postpone it one day.

So here I am, another Move It Monday blog, however this time, it is going to be my very first one as a Move It Monday Ambassador!

Move It Monday Ambassador

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Shout Out Saturday : The Blogs's Edition

This week's shoutout will be focused on great blogs I have been reading lately.

Since I decided to get more consistent about blogging, I have been dedicating part of my free time to reading other articles out there. I will already say that this is not an extensive list. There are way too many great entries that if I wanted to share them all, it would simply be impossible. So here I will be sharing (only) 5 of my favorite ones. More will come in the future for sure. Let's get started!

Shout Out Saturday : The Blogs' Edition

Monday, June 9, 2014

Move It Monday : The Fit Journey

The idea of this fourth "Move It Monday" blog comes from a colleague of mine. We had the chance to talk last week and she suggested I wrote something for beginners. An entry that could help starters get (and stay) motivated. I loved the idea right away so here I am. Let's get this journey going together!

Move It Monday : The Fit Journey

Friday, June 6, 2014

40 things before 40

Right after my 39th birthday, I found out some great blog entries about things that the authors wanted to do before reaching a certain age. I loved the idea, but let's face, the older you get, the longer the list gets. Putting it together gets more and more challenging. And to make things worse, the longer it takes to write it down, the last time one has to do everything. Ouch!

Anyways, I did not lose heart. It took me a while, but here you have my list of 40 things I want to do/accomplish before turning 40 (in no specific order):

40 things before 40 by Debbie In Shape

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Training Thursday : The Medal

Hi everyone! On my Training Thursday blog from last week, I bragged about being able to run 10km for the first in years, remember?

I had signed up for a virtual 10km race from the site Jost Running and I was really excited about the whole idea behind.

Well... Today when I got home from work, I saw that I had mail...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Move It Monday - Gym Life

You know where you passion lies when you find something that makes move from your comfort zone without second thoughts. To me it is fitness. It is what makes me set the alarm clock every Sunday to wake up early and hit the gym. No, I am not a morning person at all, but it is worth it.

I love getting ready for my "date at the bar", but I know that there are some people who do not feel comfortable joining a gym. So for today's "Move It Monday" blog I want to share about the advantages of enjoying the Gym Life.

Move It Monday - Gym Life

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Shout Out Saturday - May 31st, 2014

Another week has passed and I hope you have had a great time like I did. But now, it is Saturday again and for me, it means it is time to spread some blogger love. It is Shout Out Saturday time!

Shout Out Saturday by Debbie In Shape

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Training Thursday : Running 10km again

Today it is holiday in Belgium and since the gym was closed, I took advantage of the nice weather to go for a run. The idea was doing it in the morning, right after breakfast, but I assume that I overslept, so I changed my plans to 3PM in the afternoon.

Last week, I did 9km indoors, on a treadmill without inclination. So this week I could not escape it. The time has arrived to go for a 10km again. And that is what I did!

Training Thursday : Running 10km again

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tip Tuesday : Hydrate

We all love warmer days, the sunshine and the endless outdoor possibilities. With those great changes in temperature, we need to be more careful with hydration. 

Tip Tuesday - Hydrate

Monday, May 26, 2014

Move It Monday - May 26th, 2014

Hi everyone! It is Monday again! How is yours been so far?

I am joining Rana, Erin and Stephanie in their Move It Monday linkup again.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Shout Out Saturday - May 24th, 2014

Wow! What a great week this one was. Since I was home for 5 days (Vacation!!! Whoohoo!), I had time to organize things around the house, read and write blogs almost daily. I had a great time!

Today, I want to take the opportunity to give some shout outs this week:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fancy Friday - Cleaning make-up brushes

The definition of the adjective 'fancy' according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary is:
  • Not plain or ordinary
  • Very expensive and fashionable
  • Done with great skill and grace

That is what "Fancy Friday" is all about. I will looking forward sharing beauty tips, review of products and anything related to beauty and fashion. Because no matter how much we all love our trainers and leggings, at least every once in a while every woman has girly days.

Fancy Friday - Cleaning make-up brushes

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wellness Wednesday : Runner Socks

As I started to run again recently and to get connected to other runners around the globe, I have been discovering a lot of new techniques and products that support performance and recovery.

One of the products I have been reading very positive reviews about are runner and compression socks. No matter how clean my diet is or how much water I drink, I experience frequent swelling. Since it has been proven that compression socks limit, it is already worth trying.

Wellness Wednesday

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tip Tuesday : Planning Your Day

Noticing the success of my blog Five Reasons to Plan Ahead, I decided to put together some tips that will help you get started with your planning too. I will be mentioning work and home related activities because they should be treated the same way. It is your time that we are talking about, so there should be no difference whether you are wasting it in your professional or private environment.

Tip Tuesday : Planning Your Day

Monday, May 19, 2014

Move It Monday - May 19th, 2014

Another week is upon us and it is time to get some action!

Move It Monday - May 19th, 2014

My training plan for this week is:
  • Sunday (yesterday): quads and hams
  • Monday: chest and abs
  • Tuesday: quads, hams and calves
  • Wednesday: back, biceps and abs
  • Thursday: quads, hams, calves and abs
  • Friday: run
  • Saturday: rest day

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Summary Sunday

Hi there! How is everything on your side? I cannot complain about this Sunday. The sun is shining here (it should be National Holiday in Belgium every time we have such a beautiful day) and I killed it in the gym this morning.

This week, I am on vacation for a couple of days. The plan was going to UK to attend Body Power, but even though things did not go as expect, I am still making the most out of my days.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Five : Five Reasons to Plan Ahead

How is your Friday so far? Even though I am on vacation for a couple of days, I woke up early this morning, went to the gym after breakfast, did some shopping, headed back home for lunch and now, I am writing this blog before starting some chores. 

Did the things I mentioned above just happen? No, not at all! Yesterday, I took time to carefully plan everything I wanted to do today. Since I am involved in many activities in addition to common responsibilities like work and family, I need to optimize my time as much as I can to be efficient.

Taking advantage of the lovely initiative from Courtney, Mar and Cynthia, I will be sharing my 5 personal reasons why I consider it important to plan your day in advance to accomplish the most out of it.

Friday Five: Five Reasons to Plan Ahead

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Better than ever

Last Monday, I turned 39 years old. It feels so weird though. It does not look like so much time has passed. It still feels like yesterday that I was in high school dreaming about attending college abroad.

I turned 39yo on May 12th, 2014.

But the fact is, I am 39 now. Nothing changed in me from May 11th to 12th, however, major changes have been happening throughout the past years. And the truth is that I have never felt so good about myself before.

After taking a break from Fitness competitions, I have been enjoying different alternatives to keep my body in shape and improve my overall conditioning. I still lift weight on a regular basis, but I restarted running and have plans for expanding my 'curriculum' soon.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Running for starters

Running has become a major sport in the past years. I remember that when I participated in a race for the very first time, there was room for everyone and even for group pictures. By the second time I attended to it though, the place was packed and it only gets more crowded each year.

The great about running is that you can do it anywhere. You do not need much equipment and how fast or long you run is entirely up to you. You can run in groups or on your own at any time of the day, any day of the week.

Everything is simple and there are excellent plans out there for those who want to get started or improve. However, there are those small details that are hard to figure out on your own and less mentioned by experienced runners. I have learned some tips and tricks throughout the years that I want to share with you.


When running outside, one has to be extra careful when moving among vehicles and passers-by. If you are using on the road, make sure you run against traffic. Personally, I prefer to wear a fluorescent vest. It makes easier for drivers to see me in any weather condition.

When on sidewalks or trails, stay on the right, including when sharing the path with bikers and skaters. This can be a tricky one if others are not aware of it, which happens a lot to me. In this case, timely move to the other side after checking oncoming traffic. Sometimes, you will be able to force your way, but watch out for kids, elderly people, large groups and animals.


Mainly when you are working on improving your performance, be careful not to be sloppy with your posture. The same way as we tend to sit badly in our chairs at the office after many hours, we also get loose when tired during a workout.

In short, keep your head high, shoulders relaxed, hips facing forward, torso slightly lean forward and land using the area between your heel and midfoot. Your arms should remain on the side of your body swinging in rhythm with your stride.

Four simple steps to good form


Whatever sport or physical activity you incorporate in your routine, it will require more energy from your body than you used before in your sedentary days. Therefore, you will need to have in mind that your eating habits have to changed a little bit.

Running (or jogging) is an aerobic exercise. Many use it as support for weight loss because it allows burnning more calories during practice. Reaching deficit is the ultimate goal of those who want to lose some extra pounds. However, you still need energy to train and perform your daily activities. 

The solution in this case is to use and abuse of slow carbs such as vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts. They will support your training as well as stimulate your weight loss. 

Proteins are a must. Meat in general, (low-fat) yogurt and fish are great sources of protein and accessible to various doctrines. I also incorporate protein shakes to my diet because of their fast absorption and I do not get sick during training as I would after a full pre-workout meal. 

Tilapia Burgers


Water has to become your best friend, if not already. There is an endless list of great beverages that promise (and some deliver) fast hydration, performance improvement and whatsoever. Still, nothing beats a minimum of 2 liter water for me. On the days that I need some extra minerals, I add some Celtic salt to the mix. Note that my longest race was a 10km. If you are going anything above that, other rules apply to speed up recovery and avoid health issues.

Note that I do make use of BCAAs during my training with weights, but when I run, I try to stay away from sugar. I have seen some alternatives out there recently, but I have not tried them yet. Time your water intake so that you have enough reserves during a race and hydrate again as soon as you are done.

These are very basic tips. I hope they can help you quick start, but be aware that the more you progress, the deeper you may need to go for efficiency. If there is anything else I can help you with, please let me know it.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Breaking the rules

Whenever people ask me about my job, mainly when they know I am a fitness freak, many get surprised when I say that I work in IT. It is common sense that IT workers are geeks who do come out in the sun and have no life. I am not here to say that it is a lie, but one has to be careful with stereotypes.

In spite of all the changes in our society, there are still those who think you are doomed to do or become something because of your profession or hobbies (in some extremes, because of your origin). I could not disagree more with that.

The second you limit yourself is the second you fail.
Now tell me: why do you "have to"? Who said that you must do this or that to be right? Who has set these rules? And why can't you be more?

Look around you. You are unique! Act like it. What do you like most in life? What dreams do you want to achieve? What are you doing at this point to reach your goals? What do you need to do to achieve them? Think carefully about it. Visualize accomplishing that dream you have inside of you that many times, you do not even dare sharing because you are afraid of what people may say or of being laughed at.

We live in a world without frontiers. With the internet, you can "be" anywhere at any time. You post something, it goes viral, BOOM!! You are the next big thing. And if you are smart, you can make it last much more than Andy Warhol's fifteen minutes. So even if your burning desire has nothing to do with becoming a celebrity, why not giving it a shot?

There are many stories out there about those who pursued careers, but never really took off. I am in no place to question their efforts however, there is no success without failure. Look back at the story of those who started from scratch and became standards for generations.

Famous Failures
Luck is a word frequently used to describe the events that lead to success. It is true that, a lot of times, we hear about something "impossible" happening and changing the course of things. However, do not let yourself be fooled by that. Unless you have done the work and you are prepared, a chance can still be lost, no matter how good it was.

So let's go back to your dreams... What was it again? And what are doing to accomplish it? If the answer is nothing, it is time to get off the chair and kick-off. 

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Start by putting things on paper. It can be a text or a scrapbook. If you have room for a visual board, it is even better! At this point, let's not filter any thought. Set free all those incredible ideas you have been hiding from the sun. Forget about limitations of time, money and abilities. Let it be a constant work in progress for you. Whenever you discover something new or learn more about a certain topic, add it to your sheet.

Invest time of rising this dream. Break up with the misconceptions you have been attaching yourself to. Believe with all your heart that it can be done and do not accept excuses, mainly from yourself. It will be tiring; it will suck up energy out of you like you never thought possible; you will hate yourself for the investments you will have to do (I am not talking only about money here); you will feel like giving up... But don't! In spite the hardship, you will only know how close your are to victory once you cross the line. 

Never! Never! Never Quit!
With this said, let me share a little about my dream. Yes, it has to do with fitness. My life has changed so much, for better, since I put health in the spotlight that I became addicted to it. It is so much more than just looking good and fitting in small sized clothes. It is having more energy, almost never experiencing migraines (and when they come, they are nothing compared to the ones I used to have) and doing something that makes me happy. It is about self-esteem and appreciation.

There is still a lot I still want to accomplish for myself and you can follow my progress here and on social media*. And I also want to be able to help others who like me, have doubts, fears, are lost and who do not know how or where to start.

I hope I could inspire you get started. If there is a specific topic you would like me to write about, please let me know it. I would love to be of help!

Thanks for stopping by.


* You can also find me on:

  • Facebook:
  • Instagram:
  • Twitter:
  • Pinterest:
  • Google+:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Take your time

It is funny to realize that while I still have a long path ahead of me, a lot has changed in my body throughout the years.

Me at the age of 10yo during my thinnest years
I am perfectionist to the extreme. My OCD takes me from picking falling leaves on the floor at work, to putting away the weights at the gym. And I make faces when people lift weight but do not put them back. I take it very seriously. So having to accept that it takes time to build my body in a healthy way is not an easy task.

How many of you have caught yourselves envying those fantastic transformation stories? I did! Many times...

It is true that all we see are the results. We were not physically close to those athletes to know about their struggles and hard moments entirely. What we have are pictures of incredible bodies, while us... Well, the mirror talks to us.

My turning point: August, 2010. I cried after seeing it
But let's face the truth: is everyone the same? Are there two of the same human beings walking on earth? Two with the same characteristics, background and experience? The answer is no! So even though we give thumbs to those who achieve their top at a fast pace, there is no reason to beat yourself for not being the same.

My journey is far from being a fairy tale. I did improve a lot, but I still cannot tell when I will get "there". Last year, for instance, I reached a great shape. Unfortunately, I was not able to sustain it for long. I had some health setbacks and after a period of recovery, I noticed that I had taken some steps backwards. It all may have slowed me down, but the amount of experience and knowledge that I acquired in the process was not waste.

Whenever someone asks me how to get started, I always suggest taking one step a time. I myself did not like drinking water at all. My life was coffee (=caffein), Coke (caffein+caffein) and Mate (caffein+caffein+caffein). The only food for me was fast-food. For a while, I used to eat McDos three times a day on a daily basis. I love French fries (with lots of mayonnaise in the best Flemish style) and pizza. I could surely eat them every single day. At a certain point however, I realized the damage my bad eating habits were causing my body and, consequently, my health.

In 2012,  right before my very first contest preparation
I still drink one cup of coffee in the morning, but that is it! Throughout the day, no sodas either. I did drink one last week and it felt weird. Industrialized juices or smoothies are in my things-to-avoid list as well. However, despite the amount of sugar contained in them, they are still a better choice than a soft drink. Ideally, make them yourself with organic fruit and greens.

If sugar is your weakness, try observing why you "need" it. Is it because you are feeling anxious or stressed? Are you dehydrated? Are you having an energy crush? Watch your meals during the day. Are you eating enough? Are your dishes varied? Carbohydrates and healthy fats are not evil monsters and they must be part of any diet.

Personally, I am not the most creative person in the kitchen. I only learned how to cook after my first Bikini competition and I am not a cooking princess. On a weekly basis, I browse the internet looking for new recipes to bring some new colors and flavors to my intake.

At the first Arnold Classic Brazil, April 2013
Some of the tricks I also use to keep myself on track are:
  • Have a strong shopping list: I crossed the items when I buy them, but I do not erase them from my list. This way I keep track of the food I still have in the freezer as well;
  • Try new things: look for new recipes, make substitutions in your traditional plan. There is way much more than chicken and broccoli out there. And it does not have to taste bad to be healthy;
  • Remove ONE bad habit a time: in the beginning you may want to change things drastically, but if you want to make your changes last, it is better to give your body and your mind time to get accustomed to everything;
  • Watch your emotional level: we live under pressure every day, the whole day. It is traffic, work, family affairs, financials, etc. These things cannot control us though. Find a way to work it off without eating it out;
  • Keep yourself busy: find a hobby. Ideally, get involved with some physical activity. I love running and lifting weights. Is there any sport you like? Or dance style? A walk around the block is much better than sitting around;
  • Enjoy your new lifestyle: remember that you want to improve your life. It has to be fun even before you start enjoying the new you. Do not take it too seriously. 
Above all, have in mind that no matter how long it takes, it will be worth it. It is more than fitting in smaller clothes or hearing compliments. It is about improving your well-being. Do not punish yourself if you slip up. It happens to everyone. Be your best friend, motivation and inspiration. No one can be 24h a day by your side so become your best companion. Whether you lose one inch or improve your performance, be proud. You did not get in the shape you are now in just one day. You can and you will achieve it as long as you keep on doing what has to be done!

Pre-workout picture from April 22, 2014.
Now let me know about yourself? How is your progress going so far? What victories have you already booked? What are your plans for short and long terms? I would love to learn about your path too.

Wishing you all a great day!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Gain muscle mass and lose weight

I remember that about 10 years ago, when I first attempted a come-back, someone asked me the killing question: "What is your goal: to lose weight or to gain muscle mass?" Unless you start the right way, with someone orienting you in the right direction, you will not be able to answer to it as I could not either.

My return did not happen back then because of health issues (I will talk more about it in another blog in the future). However, the truth is, I did not know what to say. For me, it was obvious that everyone wanted to lose weight. There was absolutely nothing else to think of. And what was this "gain muscle mass" talk?!? I did not want to become a bodybuilder...

Please note that I had already lifted weights before at the age of 19yo. At that time, I was also on a diet to 'put on muscle', but I was not even aware of that. The 10 years gap made me forget the whole process though.

Easter Sunday strength training

But why was this question so important? The thing is that, depending on your goals, not only your workouts, but your diet and supplementation, changes. Because you will be training your body differently, it will need more, or less, of certain nutrients and vitamins in order to function properly and lead you to the desired results.

You will surely find experts (and I mean real experts, not broscience) who talk about doing the two things at the same time. Do I believe it is possible? Yes, I do. Can anyone achieve it easily? I am not so sure about it.

Similar to those who show progress with IIFYM plans, those who have muscle maturity tend to have higher levels of success in building muscle and leaning down at the same time. Unless their metabolism is damaged for whatever the reason, such athletes (professionals or amateurs), are real fat-burning machines on a daily basis. And when they add some cardio to their routine and keep their carbs intake monitored, BOOM!

Unless you have some genetic predisposition, things may not go that smooth when trying to do both at the same time. It is true that you can (and should) try, but be aware that it will take a lot of pre-work before finally being able to implement a solid routine safely if you are new to it.

Temperature in °C earlier today: Perfect weather for running!

To start things, build muscle. If you have never dared entering the free weights room (this one goes mainly for the ladies), it is time to get over it. Personally, I have already gone through pretty much everything, but I am way too stubborn to let a spotter or a sexist take me away from my objective. When there, lift as heavy as you can. If you have to start with 2lbs weight because that is all you can, so be it. However, do not get stuck with them. Remember the quote: "Don't lift weights lighter than your handbag." For the moms, think about your kids weight. You can carry them around, can't you? So why not lifting at least the same weight at the gym?

For the guys, the tip is not lifting whatever weight you can unless your form is perfect. You may not feel it now, but no one can tell the damage bad posture can cause to your back and joints. Swinging dumbbells during curls will not make your biceps grow, but it may hurt your elbows seriously. Remember that you are at the gym for yourself. Leave the ego at the door. It is better to go ass to the grass with light weights than 3/4 squats with 100lbs. 

Depending on your fit level, wait from one week up to two months to start doing cardio. Hard gainers should wait the longest. You do not want to blow your gains at any cost. And when I mention cardio, I am not suggesting that you become a battery bunny and spend hours on the treadmill. Getting fit is the ultimate goal no matter. Becoming a toothpick is not an option. What you want is to get blood flowing in your body and to strengthen your cardiovascular system. Steady cardio once a week is fine and if you need some extra burn, go for HIIT.

Why? Because! Leaving for today's run.

Log your exercises, meals and progress (please see my blog "How you can make it work for you" for tips on ways to create your log). Take your mood and energy levels into consideration. Did you have a stressful day? Did you sleep enough? Everything matters. After a while, you will be able to see a pattern. This should be your guide for moving forward.

These are a few guidelines I have been using for myself in my "Personal experiment". Do you have other suggestions? Please let me know them. I would love hearing from you too.

'Till next time!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Personal experiment

Some blogs ago, I mentioned that I was about to start a program to get in shape for the summer. Unfortunately, it seems that there was some confusion with the date. Instead of today, May 3rd, 2014 is the appointment for the kick-off. With that said, there is going to be a change of plans.

In the past month, I have been bulking. It is not like have been eating crap like there is no tomorrow, but I have increased the amount of carbs of my intake in an attempt to build some muscle mass in the process. I did hit some PRs at the gym however, my weight pretty much stayed the same no matter what.

Well, now I have two extra weeks in my hand, without any plan limitations and total freedom. So, I decided that I am going to make the best out of it.

Why? Because!
All these years, I have been always following someone's 'plan'. Whether it was a plan put together specially for me by a personal trainer or from a book or website, I myself never dared being creative about my training. Despite having the example of my boyfriend who built a great physique throughout 20 years of being his own trainer, I have always feared not knowing enough. But let's face it, no one knows me better, right?

Therefore, the time has arrived when I am going to be a big girl and put into practice all the things I have learned so far. It is going to be a great experience no matter the results. Of course that the knowledge my trainers acquired throughout the years is not to be compared. Still, I think I have gone through enough to deserve my trust too.

For this week, the idea is lifting three times and running/jogging/sprinting three times. I want to make sure that I improve my running performance without damaging the (little) muscle mass. It will be an experiment and I am really excited about it. So you will be hearing (or should I say reading) not only about my impressions, but I will be sharing my workouts, meals and everything related to my fitness schedule and reactions to it.

Where you invest your love,  you invest your life.

I am looking having you in this journey with me, but it will be great to hear from you as well. Who puts your plans together? Have you ever trained your own? What sports do you practice? Please let me know about your experience too.

Wishing everyone an awesome Easter!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

How you can make it work for you

Last week I wrote about how I get things done in my life. Those were general rules that I have in mind on a daily basis. They allow me get a lot done within the limited free time that I have. And more importantly, without exhaustion myself.

Each person is different and each moment in our life may require a different approach. We have to keep our eyes and mind open for the need of changes and not to be afraid of jumping in if necessary.

Personally, I prefer to use applications and keep most of my stuff online. This way I can check all my appointments any time, anywhere. When you plan ahead it becomes crucial to have as much information as possible at hand. If you need to make changes in your schedule, you will not have to guess anything. It is all there and you can (generally) drag them from one day or time to another to have them rearranged.

With that said, I still keep a paper agenda with me for the times I have bad connection and cannot go online. Even though I should have 4G by now, I feel lucky when I have connection sometimes. 

Tracking my workouts prevents me from getting stuck in plateaus.

So what do I keep track of?
  • Appointments (professional and private)
  • Projects (professional and private)
  • Goals (professional and private)
  • Groceries
  • Workouts
  • Meals


Whether it is a meeting in the office or an appointment with my hairdresser, I write it down. As a rule of thumb, I keep my professional schedule on the agenda from work, and my private ones, electronically. Double booking oneself or forgetting a call is not a pleasant experience and it can spoil your day or even your career.


I am always working on something. I love sewing, knitting, reading and taking pictures. That in addition to my hobbies and regular chores. To avoid losing sight of deadlines, I make notes about everything. Ideas do not come at predetermined times. Wow-moments can hit you when watching TV or when you are stuck in traffic. You do not want to miss them!


All the time and energy I invest in my projects and plans cannot be in vain. Many times we are so busy "surviving" that we forget the meaning behind our actions and the reason why we started them in first place.
No matter how much you enjoy the race, remember what you are expecting to accomplish with your efforts. Otherwise, you will not be able to measure your progress. Set goals for 2, 5 and 10 years from now and record them. You cannot get anywhere without a destination.


Because of the limited hours of shops and supermarkets here, we buy our groceries on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Therefore, I must keep close track of all ingredients I need to buy for the week in advance. If I miss something, I will have to change my meal plan and it can damage the balance of diet. If you are an athlete, you surely understand I mean.


The only way to improve your physique is by breaking plateaus. If you are a runner, it means running faster or longer. If you lift weights, you want to go heavier and have more intense sessions. How can you remember where you were at if you do not write it or input it somewhere?


After spending more than year following no-brainer diet plans, suddenly I was confronted with having to put my own meals together while keeping a balanced intake. Needless to say that it sounded pretty scary to me in the beginning (I'm a no-cook) and it is still a challenge to keep them varied.
However, when I started putting a schedule together, things got much easier.

When it comes to choosing the tools to use, have your personal preference in mind above any fashion or tendency. At the end of the day, it has to work for you. It might be flashy, cheap, expensive, cool, whatever, but if you do not feel comfortable working with it, it will be a wasted effort.

As mentioned above, I use both applications as well as paper tools to get organized. The more centralized your lists are, the better. And that is the main reason why I go online. However, I do not want to be in the dark if I run out of battery or a server somewhere around the globe goes down.

My number one tool is Google. I use not only Gmail, but their Calendar and Google docs. To keep my partner updated of my schedule, we adopted Cozi. Their system is user friendly, available for both IOS and Android phones and tablets and in addition to a family agenda, they also offer to do and shopping lists as well as a recipe book. For my workout and meals, I have recently adopted BodyMinder. I was still struggling with a method to use for my training and intake journal and it is proving to be a great alternative.

Cozi and BodyMinder are two the tools that I use.

These are just examples of some of the tools that I use. There are other great ones out there for all tastes and preferences. So before choosing one, the first step is to ask yourself what you need to start with. If you are not accustomed to writing things down, do not expect you will get everything tracked at once. It will just create unnecessary stress. Take one step a time. Pick the aspect you need to improve most and work on it. Once the first barrier is broken, the rest will be piece of cake.

Get others in the family involved. Kids may work with stickers, for example. Working together will surely make it a fun experience. How about a vision board? Or a board on the fridge? Be creative!

Once you are into it, you will see how much more productive you have become. And if by any means you do feel at ease with the way you chose to do things, do not be afraid to change. You will only succeed if you use the right method. If you have to do some monetary invest, think of the return you will get by getting your time managed better.

You already have something going on. Awesome!  Let me know what tools you use. For what do you use them? I would love to learn from you too!

Thank you all for stopping by and I hope these tips can be helpful somehow. Success and see you next time!