GETFOXFIT | IFBB Bikini Fitness Athlete & Kidney Cancer Survivor Lisanne Keir

Contest Prep | Weight Training | Fitness Motivation | Nutrition & Healthy Living Inspiration


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Friday Five: Top 5 Food Tips to Help you Reach your Heath Goals and Create the Body of your Dreams

Top 5 Food Tips (www.getfoxfit.com)

 

STRENGTH –

Anyone can workout for an hour, but to control what goes on your plate the other 23 hours… that’s the hard work!

 

Ain’t that the truth.

You can sculpt, build, lift, push, pull and sweat as much as you can through exercise, but without the right food (and portion sizes) to fuel your body it won’t change as much as you want.  It’s not just about being strong in the gym but OUT of the gym, in the other 23 hours.

Last year I intensively worked out and ate very healthily however my body made the most dramatic changes when I modified what I ate, how I ate and my portion sizes.  Yes, I was eating healthy food but just way too much and being the carb monster that I was, the percentage of macronutrients that I ate was WAY off.

Once I set my goal the biggest thing I needed to do was change my habits and emotions towards food as well as eat smaller portions, different % of fats, carbs and protein, eat more often (every 2-3 hours) and, like I said before, stick to the plan.  No ifs or buts.

Food really is a science, that’s what makes it so interesting.

Abs really are made in the kitchen!

On that note, here are my Top 5 Food Tips 

1. Portion Control

I cannot stress this one enough!

We all built individually and need different amounts of calories and % of macronutrients (carbs, fats and proteins) depending on your goal(s), so what may work for your friend / sister / neighbour / training buddy may not work for you.  In my case, I was eating the same (if not bigger) portions than Maarten, my husband, who weighs nearly twice my weight!  No wonder I didn’t see any changes for all of those months.

You can check out some example of portion control on my Pinterest board here.

2. The best exercise you can do is walk away from the kitchen and fridge with a glass of water! 

Last year you could find me hovering around the kitchen, usually at times when I wasn’t so busy and had time to think about food.  I would go in there and nibble on a handful of nuts, or have a few sneaky crackers here and there.  Dates filled with walnuts were a huge favourite of mine – so I would have a handful of those too a few times through the day.

I thought I was being healthy BUT I wasn’t paying any attention to the calories or nutrition of the food I was eating.  Yes, dates and walnuts are healthy but they are packed with fats (even though they are good fats) and sugar (even though they are natural sugars), so are high in calories and carbs too.

Even though I was eating healthy options I was consuming far more calories than my body needed.

So next time you find yourself in the kitchen, looking for munchies – get yourself a big glass of water instead!  More often than not we are either “bored” or dehydrated when we think we’re hungry.

3. Be mindful what and when you eat

I have learned to say no.  Believe me, this was a massive thing for me.  I would always eat what, when and where I wanted.

I absolutely love food, especially cakes and would never ever turn down the offer of one.  Birthday parties, work gatherings, dinners out etc. were always exciting times when I would eat any of the things on offer.

However I had to make a conscious decision to really see and take on board all that I was eating – it’s an interesting thing to do – as, like I said, there were those moments alone in the kitchen with the sneaky handful of snacks that I wouldn’t consider as extra calories or even think about… but they all mount up.

So, think before you eat.  Make smart choices.   And learn to say “No”.

4. Keep a ‘food diary’ for a week

Something that made a huge impact was keeping a “Food Diary / Schedule”.

I really wanted to see what, how much and when I was eating so I started using the “Notes” function on my iPhone and ‘writing down’ what, when and how much I was eating.

What an eye opener!

Again – yes all healthy things, but WAY too much – especially in the evening.  I had formed habits, like eating peanut butter on toast with a tea at 20:30 when I would watch The Big Bang Theory.  That was my ritual.  And these were very unnecessary nutrients and calories that my body didn’t need, since I had already ate enough carbs and fats through the day.

So I had to change my habit and make a conscious effort to replace this ritual with something else… which has now become a salad and green tea.

Writing things down and seeing what I was eating was really interesting.  Give it a go!

5. Be accountable to someone other than yourself 

Another biggie!  Sometimes being accountable to yourself is just not enough.  “No one will know if I have that biscuit / croissant / McDonalds etc.”  You, of course, but sometimes the pleasure outweighs the guilt, so you eat it anyway.

However, having another person to be accountable to (and not wanting to let down) can really help you focus, stick to the plan and help in the motivation department.  For me this person was my coach Jerry Koolhoven.

So share your goal with someone (your partner, a friend, a colleague whoever) and go for it!

Another blog post you may find interesting and like to read is:

Hungry, or think you are hungry?  

 


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Friday Five: 5 Simple Health Tips

5 Simple Health Tips (www.getfoxfit)

Happy Friday!  With the weekend just around the corner it’s inspiration and motivation time.  On today’s menu – 5 simple ways to get, and remain, healthy.

We are talking about food, fitness, focus, selfies and that all important rest.  So let’s get to it…

1. Clean up your diet

  • Get rid of refined carbs (in the form of sugar, white pasta, white bread, cakes, biscuits, muffins etc.)
  • Eat more vegetables (especially green leafy veg like spinach, kale, lettuce and paprika, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus etc.)
  • Eat lean sources of protein (white fish, turkey, lean beef, egg whites, chicken)
  • Eliminate processed foods (frozen dinners, microwave meals, pre-packaged goods)
  • Snack on clean foods
  • Always start your day off with a good nutritious breakfast that will kick start your metabolism and give you energy (for example oatmeal)
  • Cleanse your body and system by drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning
  • Eat small portions every 2-3 hours
  • Ditch the fizzy drinks
  • Drink filtered water (and loads of it)
  • Interested in how you can eat cleaner?  How to Start Eating Clean – Tips and Essentials
  • Click here for easy and simple clean eating swaps

2. Move your body

  • 4-5 times a week (45 mins -1 hour)
  • Find a sport / activity that you like and is fun for you (for example try biking, weight training, fitness classes, yoga, dance, running…)
  • Keep challenging yourself – lift heavier weights, run that extra mile, score than extra goal
  • Do you have an office job?  Ensure that you get up from your desk and move around every 20 mins… why not use that time to get yourself more water :)
  • Increase success by setting solid goals.  How do I do that? Click here
  • Looking for more fitness tips?  Click here

3. Take photos

  • Every month
  • Taking photos is one of the best ways to track your progress (and will keep you motivated when you see the changes)
  • Too often we do not see the small changes and a photo can show you progress that you do not see yourself

4. Stay focussed

  • Surround yourself with likeminded people who are into health and fitness, share your journey and passion
  • There will be days when your motivation may be low and these are the times you can really help and support each other
  • Create vision boards on Pinterest
  • Read others’ health and fitness journey’s online
  • Re-charge your fitness goals

5. Rest and relax

  • Try and get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night (when you are sleeping your body repairs itself, grows, changes and restores itself)
  • Ensure you take breaks throughout the day – no matter how busy you are
  • Manage stress and busy-ness by meditating.  Not sure how? Check out – Meditation Techniques for Beginners: 5 Easy Tips
  • Tried meditation and still can’t manage it?  Here are 5 tricks to try

Do you have any tips you would add to the list? Feel free to leave them in the comments below :)


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Friday Five: 5 FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)…

5 Frequently Asked Questions (getfoxfit)

1. Do you live in the gym? 

The biggest misconception, but one that I fully understand as most of my social media updates and photos (via Instagram, facebook and twitter) are gym related, so I can imagine it looks like I live there haha.

The reality is: I am in the gym for 45 mins – 1.5 hours max, and I train 4-5 times a week.

 

2. You must not eat that much? What do you eat?  

I’m a big eater let me tell you, but what I’ve learned is portion control.  Last year I ate healthily BUT just too much of everything.  I ate the same as my 98kg bodybuilding husband, sometimes more than him in all honesty.

Since last August I chose to follow a hybrid of a vegan and macrobiotic diet – no eggs, no diary, no meat.  I eat clean and make everything from scratch.

If you are interested in eating clean, check out: How to Start Eating Clean – Tips and Essentials.  And 5 Clean Eating Swaps you can easily make.

A bodybuilder who doesn’t eat meat, eggs or dairy may seem quite funny when you consider an average bodybuilding diet.  So what does this No Meat Athlete eat exactly?

  • Protein: White fish (cod, haddock, whiting, tilapia, pangasius) and Hemp Protein powder, like GOOD and TerraSana (after trainings).  I also get some protein through vegetables
  • Carbs: Gluten free oatmeal, sweet potato, rye bread and rice crackers
  • Fats:  Nut butter, flax seeds, cashews, almonds and walnuts
  • Veggies: LOADS but my fav’s are: asparagus, courgette, broccoli, spinach, kale, red peppers, plum tomatoes and celery

 

3. How do you deal with cravings or hunger?

Check out my 5 tips here.

 

4. How do you stay so motivated and driven? 

My biggest motivator was, and still is, cancer.  I was ‘kind of’ (rather semi) motivated before but not to the point that I have become after hearing about the Big C.

I nearly lost my life so want to make damn sure that I am the healthiest version of myself and be around for a long long time.

Cancer left me with one kidney, so I need to make sure I keep it as healthy as can be (meaning more water, less salt, watching specific proteins etc.)  I wrote more about this here: What are you training for?  LIFE!

So basically I use this ‘health challenge’  as an opportunity to fuel my food choices and trainings.

 

5. What are your top tips to get and remain fit and healthy?

  • Be consistent.  Big changes will not happen over night, but with every choice you make (fitness and food wise) you are constantly bringing about changes.  Slow and low is the way to go!  Keep the faith and keep going
  • Adopt an athletic mentality – whatever your goal is think and train like an athlete
  • Lift heavy and challenge yourself.  You are MUCH stronger (mentally and physically) that you think.  Don’t be afraid to lift heavy ladies!
  • Find a way to incorporate health and fitness into your lifestyle.  You want it to be sustainable for the long term, indefinite actually… not just a “diet” or fitness schedule you follow for a few weeks
  • Create short and long term goals.  Check out: 5 Steps to Create a Solid Health & Fitness Goal
  • Need more fitness tips?  Check out: Top 5 Fitness Tips
  • For more nutrition tips, click here

 

6. (BONUS) What did you do exactly to change your lifestyle?

In a nutshell:

  • I changed my eating habits and attitudes to food
  • I made a decision to make fitness, healthy eating and working out / exercising part of my daily habit
  • I made goals (short and long term)
  • I kept (and keep) it interesting by reading more, learning more, seeing what others are doing (through Instagram etc.), I try out new ways of exercising and make healthy living a main part of our family life

Ain’t nothing to it but to do it!


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Friday Five: 5 Steps to Create a Solid Health & Fitness Goal

5 steps to create a solid health and fitness goal (via getfoxfit)

Goals, and in turn, plans.  A necessity if you want to achieve anything in life.

We can all have wishes, ideas or a vision of what we would like – to lose a few pounds, be a different dress size, have bigger biceps, eat less sugar or processed foods, have a six pack, provide healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners for yourself and your family, be able to walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath, squat more than your body weight, do a pull up (or do 10 pull ups), be more active with your kids, be more confident etc.

BUT without a clear, well defined, goal those things are just ‘wants’ and wishes.  So, what can we do?  How can we create a concrete plan that will enable me to reach my goal?

Let’s go back to school days – do you remember those S.M.A.R.T. goals the teachers were on about?  To be honest I only ever used them in the business and management exams where they were needed.  I never actually used them in real life ‘personal’ situations until recently.

So how do we make a rock solid goal and plan?  I will go through it very simply below and provide examples for you…

Get your pen and paper ready!

1. Specific

Question: Who?  What?  Why?  Where?  When?

The more focus you have, the more powerful the goal is.  AND the better the plan you can make towards reaching it.

So instead of having the goal “Get healthy and fit” make it as specific as possible, for example:

“Join a gym in my neighborhood, train 3 days a week after work and drop 1 dress size within 3 months”

“Eat cleaner and lose 2 kilos in 4 weeks by making 5 dinners a week from scratch”

“Find a running partner locally to train with 3 nights to prepare (and compete in) the half marathon that takes place in 6 months time”

So identify who is involved, what you want to accomplish, the location, a time frame, requirements and the purpose / benefits of reaching your goal.

Like I said, More Focus > More Power.

2. Measurable

We are talking numbers here.  Think about how much / how many and how you will know when you have achieved your goal.

Set target dates.  For example:

“Lose x amount of pounds in x weeks”

“Squat x kg in x training sessions”

“Win x tennis matches in x amount of time”

“Eat x healthy meals every x days”

“Do x amount of pull ups in x amount of time”

3. Attainable

Dream big but create timelines.

You can achieve anything you want, but you need to establish a timeframe and plan for each step of the way.  By making a timeline of what you want to achieve by when, goals will become more attainable.  You can then take small steps in the right direction and do something every single day that will ensure you reach your goal.  Let’s not forget, dreams don’t work unless you do!

4. Realistic

Write down the results that can be realistically achieved given the resources available to you.

Aim as high as you like… even if it may seem impossible, but ask yourself – “Do I have the resources and time to reach this goal?”

For example, since last year my goal has been the following:

“In 14 months I will be alive, healthy and in the best shape of my life to stand on stage and compete in an IFBB Bikini Competition (October 2014).”

This was my goal since I was diagnosed with cancer.  I wanted to prove to myself that anything is possible if you put your mind to it… plus I wanted to create the best physique I had ever had in my life, no matter of my age or what I had been through.  The quote, “It’s never too late to be in the best shape of your life” made a huge impact on me.

My goal was pretty high, something I never would have imaged, but I had enough time to reach the goal even though I knew there would be a lot to overcome to reach it.

Physically speaking I had to recover from having a 1kg cancerous tumor and kidney being taken out of my body, I had to adjust to having one kidney, I had to go from not being able to walk after surgery to regaining the strength and energy that was necessary to get fit, healthy and back into the gym to train.

I had to adapt mentally – by nature I am a shy introvert (too sensitive and too much thinking), so I would need to get over ‘stage fright’ and gain the confidence to not only stand in a bikini on front of thousands of people, but also get out of my comfort zone and share my journey and progress online.

Yes, there are challenges to overcome BUT realistically speaking this goal is attainable through hard work and by taking small steps every day to inch me closer to my goal.

I would go so far in saying that the bigger the goal the more passion, love and determination you have!  So bear that in mind when you are creating your goal – aim high!

5. Timely

Specify when the result will be achieved.

What is the specific timeframe?

A deadline time will create urgency.  If you don’t have a set time or any urgency then your focus and momentum may slip away.

So, if you want to lose 12 lbs, when do you want to lose it by?

If you want to squat 100kg, when do you want to squat it by?

Anchor your goal with a date.

 

Recap and goal checklist

Now that you have a clear idea of how you can make a concrete goal, let’s just double check you have all of the elements needed to make it rock solid.  So read your goal again and ask yourself, is it….

1. Specific?

2. Measurable?

3. Attainable?

4. Realistic?

5. Timely?

Now, go and take those steps each and every day to reach it!!!  #GameOn

I would love to hear what your goals and plans are!  Please feel free to share them in the comments below!


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Friday Five: 5 Clean Eating Swaps

In my experience getting healthy, and eating healthier, has been something that happens one decision at a time.  Making choices that you will stick to – not just for one day or a few weeks, but making the same decision so often that it becomes habit.

When I first set out on eating cleaner there are a few swaps that I made, which have stayed with me up until this day.  Simple swaps can make a huge difference.  Like I said, it’s these incremental changes that pave each day out to make a healthier you.

5 Clean Eating swaps (via getfoxfit)

Below are my top 5 clean eating essential swaps:

1. (Cooking) oil / butter SWAP FOR extra virgin coconut oil

Not only is it the healthiest oil to cook with but it has loads of health benefits.  A win win!  A side note – extra virgin olive oil is very good for you, but should only be used cold, not heated up as an oil to cook with.

2. Salad dressings SWAP FOR Apple Cider Vinegar or biological balsamic vinegar (pls check out the ingredients for sneaky E numbers!)

Many pre-packaged salad dressings have added sugars, chemicals, E numbers and salt, which all lead to weight gain and a build up of toxins in your body.  My advice is to go simple by adding a little extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar or biological balsamic vinegar – not only will they spice up your veggies but apple cider vinegar has many of health benefits too.  For more spice in your salad add black pepper corns and cayenne peppers (which boost your metabolism and burn fat).

3. Latte / macchiato / cappuccino SWAP FOR black coffee / espresso

OK, this took a major switch for me, habitually and emotionally.  I knew that when I sipped on my latte coffee I was consuming unnecessary calories that wouldn’t help me lose body fat and I also knew that I was drinking something that was full of sugar which my body just didn’t need.  So, one day – motivated by the knowledge that my latte (as yummy as it was) just wasn’t benefitting my health, I switched to black coffee.  Granted, it didn’t taste like my latte BUT I’m now converted.  I can actually taste the gloriousness of the actual coffee (rather than the milk or sugar which I added to it), it gives me a productivity boost, fuels my work outs and is my new found morning friend.  Give it a go, you must just like it. BTW, black coffee can also help you lose weight!

4. Black tea with sugar and milk SWAP FOR green tea

Being British I grew up with PG tips and earl gray tea, which I would drink with milk and sugar.  No matter what situation, tea would always be the answer, as well as a staple 10:30 mid morning habit.  However I have been a green tea devotee for over a decade now when I made the decision to switch, knowing that it was packed filled of health benefits (for instance it helps fight cancerous cells, fights inflammation and helps aid weight loss).

5. Sugary snack or biscuit SWAP FOR rice cracker with nut butter

This was another habit I had to break – mid morning and evening sugary snacks.  My best advice is to just go ‘cold turkey’ – get rid of the sugary snacks.  If I have them in the house, then I knew they are there, and there was just too much temptation.  Instead of reaching for the biscuit / chocolate etc.  go and spread some yummy nut butter on a rice cracker.  It not only fuels you with good carbs and fats but is a very good substitute for biscuits or snacks.


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Friday Five: 5 clean and healthy snacks

Let’s talk snacks.  In all honestly I would always go for the carb option – crackers, muffins, toast etc.   White, refined and processed carbs (yes, I’m talking about you Mr Muffin) will give you a quick fix, but they are simple carbs which will spike your sugar levels and leave you feeling hungrier… not good.  PLUS, sugar is not good for you.

My best advice – stay away from sugary snacks.  This took a change in my mindset, as I did like my evening bit of toast and my muffin on a Friday afternoon, but once you change your habits you will start to see physical results whilst making your body a healthier place – a win win if you ask me.

So, what shall we snack on? I hear you ask…

Here are 5 healthy and clean snacks that will fuel you body with valuable nutrients and antioxidants whilst help keep hunger at bay.

1. Vegetables

Slice up veggies (for example red pepper, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, spinach, kale) add pepper and chili pepper to spice things up a bit and fuel fat burning.  Important note:  do not consume too many vegetables that are high in starch (like green peans, sweetcorn etc.) as those calories will start to mount up quickly. Check out a list of vegetable groups here.

2. Rice cracker + nut butter

My favorite at this moment are spelt rice crackers + 100% organic almond butter.  Nut butters are so easy to make yourself, click HERE to see how.  Let’s remember, everything in moderation (this is also a note to self) – so 2 rice crackers + nut butter are sufficient.

 3. Glass of veggie juice

My recommendation – 2 celery sticks, 1 carrot, 2 big handfuls of spinach or kale and a little water – chuck it in the blender and voila, done!

4. Cup of green or herbal tea

My 2 all time favorites are 100% green tea and Nan Yu tea.  Full of antioxidants, they help burn fat, have loads of health benefits and helps to curb food cravings. Awesome.

5. Teaspoon of virgin coconut oil

1 teaspoon of virgin coconut oil will give you energy and keep hunger away.  I would recommend 1 teaspoon per day, max. as you don’t want to be consuming more (good) fats than your body needs.

Need more ideas?  Click here for my clean eating snacks board on Pinterest.

What are your favorite healthy clean snacks?  Leave your comments below, I would love to hear them!

Clean and healthy snacks (getfoxfit)


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It’s never too late to change your body (true story)

It was 1995, Rhythm of the Night was playing everywhere and there lived an insecure teenage girl.

She used to look in the mirror and wonder why she was “blessed” (ahem, sarcasm) with a bigger behind than fit the rest of her body.  She used to cover it up with long jumpers and by tying things around her waist.

One summer she was lying out in the garden reading Cosmo and came across an article that said “…no matter what training exercises you do, you cannot change the shape of your butt”, well this utterly depressed her and made her think  ‘Oh well, why bother if nothing will change it’, so she lived with it, covered it up with long tops and wore baggy trousers.  No, she was not a fan of this body part at all.

Luckily a sort of “Booty Saviour” came along in the late 1990’s, in the form of J Lo, who made it cool to have a bigger behind.  This helped a little in making Ms Insecure feel a bit better BUT she was still very self conscious.  Let’s flash forward to last year when she started eating clean, lifting weights and doing some cardio – changes started to happen, however bigger and better significant changes started to happen since January this year (under the guidance of her coach and trainer Jerry Koolhoven).  By sticking to a strict, but healthy food schedule and by focussing on specific weight training exercises (namely in the form of squats and kickbacks), this booty of her’s transformed and still is transforming, one squat and one rep at a time and by carefully choosing specific foods to fuel her body, and glutes.

In her head, she is still the girl with the bigger thighs and booty than fits the rest of her body, but progress photos and the mirror shows a different story.  It is indeed possible to transform your body and health.

Learnings

Insecure about your body?  So are many many others.  Embrace those parts and make the most of what you have!  If you want to make them more toned, all I can say is There Ain’t Nothing to it but to Do It (thanks Ronnie Coleman).  It won’t happen over night, but by eating right and working out, you can make changes where you want them.  Have faith, persevere and Just Do It.

Do not believe everything you read, that article all those years ago in Cosmo was very questionable – who was the source? Who was it tested on? Over what period? Through exercise only or also diet? Data and stats can always be questioned so make yourself aware of which to disregard and which to see as true.

That article really made an impact on me and all I can say is that I wished I had started having more confidence in weight training and eating clean way before last year.

So whether your goal is to be healthier, eat cleaner food, cut out sugar, get involved in fitness, take up running, do a marathon, compete for a contest or competition, drop a dress size, tone your muscles, whatever.  Have a clear focus of what you want and go for it.   Try and surround yourself with people who believe in you, or have similar interests, as this will help support you and give you more confidence to reach your goal whilst helping you see body changes that you sometimes don’t see.

The good news – it is never too late to change your body.  Why wait and why be self conscious like I was?  You can start today!

I would love to hear your stories!  Is there something would like to change or have changed?  Please leave your comments below.

getfoxfit

getfoxfit

Sneakers: Asics

Leggings: Nike Legend 2.0 tights (similar here)

Tank: H&M