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My little treat

I thought I would share my favorite American pancake recipe with you.

Whole wheat macadamia and chocolate chip pancakes

1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup resistant corn starch (I use Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw’s Glycemic Control Resistant Starch or Hi-Maize)

1 tbsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

2 tbsp Truvia (can be substituted with other sweetener)

1 cup non-fat plain yoghurt

1 cup non-fat vanilla yoghurt

2 tbsp light tasting olive oil

3 eggs

1/3 cup sugar-free chocolate morsels

¼ cup chopped macadamia nuts

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, and then stir in the yoghurt, oil, eggs, morsels and macadamia nuts. Use a ladle or large spoon to scoop up a desired amount of batter onto a non-stick pan coated with cooking spray and warmed to medium heat. Flip the pancakes when you see bubbles appearing on top.

The pancakes taste great with a protein shake in the morning or with a glass of milk as an afternoon snack.

12 servings

Nutritional value total:

1799 kcal

91 g fat

27 g saturated fat

242 g carbs

62 g fiber

54 sugar

65 g protein

Nutritional value each pancake:

150 kcal

8 g fat

2 g saturated fat

20 g carbs

5 g fiber

5 g sugar

5 g protein


Behind the scenes of a fitness shoot

I had a lot of fun yesterday being a model in a fitness video shoot. The session lasted a whopping 11 hours total including hair and make-up, and setting up of equipment.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes pictures from yesterday:

The skinny on skinny fat

Did you know that one can have normal body weight and still be fat? BMI can be a good indicator of the risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases. However, it does not address body fat percentage and waist circumference which are better indicators of health threats related to being overweight. In fact, someone with normal body weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2) can still have too much body fat which increases one’s risk of developing the abovementioned and other disorders. Acceptable body fat is less than 32% (ideally <25%) for women and less than 25% (ideally <18%) for men. Essential fat for women is 10-13% and 2-5% for men.

With almost two-thirds of the American population being overweight or obese, the common idea of what is considered normal weight is being distorted.  To illustrate this here are three pictures of women that would be considered by most to have normal and healthy body habitus, while in fact having high body fat percentages. Click on the images for body stats.


Hamstrings deserve undivided attention

Recently I reached my 200 lbs (≈ 91 kg) x 10 goal for my two main leg exercises, squats and deadlifts. My leg routine is split up into two separate days, focusing on quads and hamstrings separately, which has been a great success for me. I find it hard to focus on two of the greatest muscle groups on a single day so my hammies were lagging behind until I separated my quad and ham workouts. My training partner has also had great gains in strength, muscle size and shape since we started the split. If you really want to maximize the development and strength of your legs and make sure they develop proportionally I highly recommend splitting up your leg workout.

Here is a short clip from a recent hamstring workout. In addition to Romanian deadlifts and single leg curls I also do glute-ham raises (not shown in video):

Maintain your drive for the long haul

My goal for the last five years has been to build muscle while staying lean. Anyone who has been working out consistently for years will agree that there are times when motivation is lacking or life gets in the way of your workouts e.g. work,school, illness or injury etc. But how do you stay motivated to keep on going? Here are a few tips:

  •  Set yourself a goal, make a plan on how to achieve it and stick to it.
  •  Take pictures of your progress. This is my personal favorite. It’s hard to see gradual gains. Pictures taken over a period of time will show your progress more clearly.
  •  Just as with pictures, logging your workouts will help keep track of progress and provide motivation to continue.
  •  Think about the hard work you have put in so far: Eating healthy, staying away from bad food, and going to the gym regularly. Do you really want to lose all your progress?
  •  Use it or lose it! I know I don’t want to lose my hard-earned muscle.
  •  Is that [insert your favorite unhealthy snack here] really worth taking a step back in your goal towards getting in shape? The craving for unhealthy food will usually diminish after some time of eliminating it from your diet. Find healthy substitutes that satisfy that sweet tooth, they are out there.
  •  The toughest lift is your ass off the couch: Thinking of skipping the gym? Getting enough rest is very important, but if it has been a while since you last exercised just think how great you will feel after a completed workout!
  •  If you have a hard time laying off the junk food try having one day of the week when you pig out with your favorite food. The rest of the days you keep it healthy.
  •  Recipes can be made healthier by substituting some of the ingredients with healthier ones. You can actually make pancakes, cakes and cookies that are good for you and taste as good as the original but without the sugar.
  •  Don’t be afraid to ask other people with physiques similar to what you wish to attain about how they got and keep their body in shape.
  •  Read magazines, books and blogs that motivate you.
  •  Get a workout partner if you don’t have one already. It will help you on those last hard reps and both of you can motivate each other.
  •  Don’t keep unhealthy food at home. If you don’t have it readily available you are less likely to eat it. Keep healthy foods available to prevent you from ordering out and eating unhealthy food.
  •  Don’t work out when you are ill. It will be an unpleasant experience that will set you back in progress and motivation – use this time to rest.
  •  If you are trying to lose fat don’t use food as a reward. Buy something instead (e.g. new workout outfit), treat yourself with a visit to the spa, or do whatever else that boosts your motivation to keep going.
  •  If you currently have an unhealthy lifestyle, make gradual changes. Don’t try to go super healthy over night. It is not likely to last.

There are several ways of maintaining your motivation. Whatever keeps you going, stick with it. 😀

What about those carbs?

In preparation for an upcoming fitness shoot I will be eating and working out like I normally have, however I will be consuming less carbohydrates. Why? Well, I want to make sure that I look lean while getting all the nutrients my body needs. As you may know the body needs essential amino acids from protein and essential fatty acids from fat. However, while carbohydrates are important for dietary balance, there is no such thing as essential carbohydrates. This does not imply that I will drastically cut my carbs like some diet plans propose because not all carbs are alike and different types have different health benefits.

Carbs are divided into three main types: Sugars, starches and fiber. Starches, also known as complex carbohydrates, are said to digest more slowly than simple carbohydrates (sugars) and provide sustained energy over time compared to the quick and brief energy spike that simple carbs provide. Resistant starch is quite unique in its ability to improve insulin sensitivity, fight “bad” intestinal bacteria and contribute to the production of short-chain fatty acids which have a protective function against colorectal cancer. Foods high in starches are often rich in other nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals while foods high in simple carbs are usually not, with some exceptions such as fruit.

It is a known fact that fiber is good for you. It promotes intestinal health and can help lower cholesterol. A diet low in fiber will cause constipation (talking from experience…) and increase one’s risk of certain lower intestinal cancers.

In short, I will be enjoying my fruit, veggies, oatmeal and potatoes, while cutting down on couscous, fruit juices and other foods high in sugars as I prepare my body for this upcoming event. For me it is all about finding a balance.

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