Category: Fit & Health

Rocycle Adventure in Amsterdam

11/04/2017 | 0 Comments

I can scratch something off my to-do list. Rocycle class in Amsterdam: check! Joining a class has been on my to-do list ever since I first heard about it a few months back, and, yesterday I experienced what it’s like to join one of their rides! I have one word for you to describe my entire experience: intense!

Firtst things first, what is Rocycle?

It’s a 45 & 60-minute full body workout on a bike. You train your core and your upper body with light hand weights and handlebar pushups, and your heart rate will go all the way up. Each class has a unique playlist handpicked by your instructor to fit their style.

So, what was my Rocycle experience like?

I reserved a bike for my friend Manouk (bikes 18 & 19, just in case you were wondering where we sweated our butts off) for Monday 10 April at 18.00 and we arrived fashionably early. Almost an hour early. As we arrived I was mostly excited, but if I’m very honest with myself I’ll admit that I was beginning to feel a bit nervous. From what I’d heard Rocycle was a lot like spinning, but ‘more’ intense, and my past experiences with spinning combined with my asthma had been less than pleasant. We were shown around and explained how to set up our bikes and that’s when the fun began.

I had about 5 seconds to be nervous before all my nerves were replaced with sweat. The music was good. Our instructor, Isabella, was awesome. It was on from the very first minute and you have no choice but to let the music take you and let your instructor guide you through it. There’s a quote on the wall that says “music on, world off” and it couldn’t be more accurate. It is so easy to get swept along with the music and the vibe in the studio that I had to remind myself sometimes to take it a bit slower. I took a breather every now and then when my breathing got a bit too rough, but it was so much awesomeness in just 45 minutes and it’s over before you know it.

How a workout can be so brutal and so much fun at the same time is beyond me, but I’m not complaining. I repeat: it was SO MUCH FUN. My legs felt a bit wobbly once I got off the bike, but the energy you get from that workout is insane!

The verdict

One thing is for certain: I’ll be back! If you’re in Amsterdam and you want a little something different for your workout, go join a Rocycle class! You can book your ride online, there’s a first-time offer that I promise you won’t regret!

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The Week Before: the Rotterdam 1/4 Marathon

06/04/2017 | 0 Comments

Upcoming Sunday I am running the Rotterdam 1/4th marathon alongside my dad and thousands of other runners. The Rotterdam 1/4th marathon has always been one of my favorite events to run. The vibe is amazing and there are SO MANY people that cheer you on, another thing that plays a big role as to why it is one of my favorite events is the fact that two years ago this was my first ‘big’ run. I will never forget that overpowering sense of accomplishment once I crossed that finish line and even though the time I ran was nothing to write home about, that 10k was about so much more than simply setting a time.

Two years ago I proved to myself that I could do it. It took me WAY too long to run that 10k, but I proved to myself that if I put my mind to it and trained properly I could run any distance I wanted. Look at me now, two years down the road, and I have a lot more distance in those legs of mine. The past two years I ran some more 10k’s, some 10 miles, and a half marathon. I’m a way more experienced runner than I was two years ago and through it all I learned some valuable things about how to prep for race day. Since this is the week before race day for me, I thought I’d share my do’s and don’ts the week before race day.

The week before

Do not train heavy the week before a race. It might seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people make this mistake. And I too made that same mistake before. It is so tempting to do that leg day session or to run a 10k just to prove to yourself that you can do it. Don’t. You’ll tire your muscles and they won’t have enough time to recover. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train at all. I usually go on one or two short distance runs. If you’re running a 10k, run a 3k or 5k during the week. Just don’t speed, aim for a comfortable pace that doesn’t get you winded.

Don’t eat any differently than you normally do and don’t eat anything heavy two hours before your race. It might be so tempting to make a special breakfast with more carbs or more proteins to fuel your body, but this won’t work in your favor. It can have the complete opposite effect. Your body might not be used to this kind of nutrition and react badly to it. Believe me, you do not want the be the runner at the start with a stomach that’s cramping or feel your food coming up during your run. If it is oatmeal you have every morning, have oatmeal the morning of your race.

If you’re nervous about running a new route: don’t sweat it. The organization usually make the route known so you can cover the route beforehand. You can go check it out to get familiar with it, or, if you know the area, you can just check it online to see where you’ll be at what distance. I know from experience that it can be a bit daunting when you’re running and you have no idea how far into the route you are. Checking the route beforehand can solve that problem for you. There usually are markers alongside the route as well. Another option is a running watch, this is the more expensive option, but I promise you once you get one you’ll never want to go back again!

Last but not least, stop stressing. If you’ve trained well try to relax a bit. A week before the race there’s nothing you can really do to prepare better. The time to train for a distance is not the week before race-day. Try to enjoy the process. The events itself, you’ll see for yourself, are filled with positivity from the community! You’ll find tons of strangers cheering you on, feeding you, and giving you water. It is so much fun and you’ll only impact your own experience if you don’t try to take it in and enjoy it.

 

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New Year’s Resolutions and Goals: the 2017 Edition

06/01/2017 | 6 Comments

I’ve never really been the person to set New Year’s Resolutions, but, reading-wise, 2016 was a disastrous year for me… This is something I aspire to change in the upcoming year. We’re now a few days into the new year, and I realized there are some things I want to do differently in 2017.  And, there are some goals that I really want to achieve, things I really want to do and not postpone any longer, cross off some things off my bucket list so to speak. So I figured I’d try my hand at a New Year’s Resolution list and share it with you guys.


Finish at least one book for myself every week

I want to finish at least one book for myself every week. Looking back at the amount of books I’ve read in 2016 makes me sad… I got so wrapped up in my study and LIFE, that it became normal when weeks went by when I didn’t read at all, or the only books I read were university-related. I feel like I missed out on tons of good books and, with a little help from you, I am going to try my best to get all caught up again!

Question for you: What were your favorite reads of 2016? Leave your reply in the comments and I’ll add the books you mention to my list of books to read!

Get back into reviewing ARCs and books

I want to get back into reviewing. I’m pleased to tell you that I’m already working on this resolution! I currently have 3 ARCs at home that were sent to me to review and I’ve almost finished the first of the three books and am jotting down my thoughts on this book on the go, which, hopefully, will make writing reviews go more swiftly! I also wrote down and marked deadlines for reviews in my planner, to make it easier for myself to stay on top of them.

Another question for you: Do you have to juggle studying and blogging? How do you make sure you’re on top of it all? I should probably plan ahead more…

Start reviewing NA and Romance novels

More sexy time! Which I realize sounds odd, haha, but what I mean is that I want to start reviewing New Adult and Romance novels on the blog as well. Since I am painfully single, I get my fix in the form of books.  I never really reviewed these books on my blog, because I thought it didn’t really fit in with the Young Adult books (which I predominantly reviewed). New blog name, new resolutions, new books that will be reviewed.

Run a full marathon

In 2016 I set the goal to run a Half Marathon. I ran the Amsterdam Half Marathon in October, which was quite the experience. Some things are bound to go wrong when you do something for the very first time, this happened to me as well. I made some stupid newbie mistakes, which I shared in this post. This year I want to run the Rotterdam Marathon! Yes, that’s the full marathon, 42 point something kilometers. And yes, I am crazy, but it’s something I want to do at least once in my life, so why not in 2017? I already got my starting ticket, and training has already started, for I’ll be running this bad-boy April 9th. If you’re in the neighborhood and want to come cheer me on, do feel free!

Try new workouts or sports

I want to try different things. I know I am a good runner, I know I can lift weights in the gym (which I’ll continue to do in 2017), but I want to try new workouts. For instance, I want to go climbing (or bouldering!) and try a kickboxing class. I might want to start doing yoga at least once a week as well because it helps with the muscle soreness and it is so incredibly relaxing (and boy do I need some more relaxing in my life). I just want to try more things and, who knows, maybe I’ll find something I will love so much I’ll stick with it.

Question for you: Any fun workouts or sports that you think I should try out? Or want to see me try out? Let me know in the comments!

Start a fitness journal

I want to start keeping track of how much I lift.I know there’s progress, that I do more reps and lift heavier, but I never really wrote it down before. So when I wanted to see how far I’ve come earlier this week I pretty much blanked. I have a beautiful planner and I am going to put it to good use and write down the reps and amount of weight from now on.

So these are my resolutions for 2017! I am going to put my Erin Condren planner to good use and let it help me keep track of my reading, my blogging, and my workouts. I might share a post in the future on how I divide and format my planner to fit me best.

Do you have any resolutions? Do tell me what yours are!

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First Half Marathon: The Lessons I Learned

05/01/2017 | 0 Comments

Before the start of the half marathon

My very first Half Marathon is a fact! Yes, you read that right, I ran my very first Half Marathon. This is my furthest distance up to date, and it was scary and nerve-wracking but also exciting and incredibly exhilarating! Even though I have been running for quite some time now, even I make mistakes, and looking back I find that there are some things that I would have done differently now I know what running 21,0975 kilometers is like.

1. Don’t do ANYTHING the week before the race

You’re gonna roll your eyes and say “damn Iris, you actually made that mistake, that’s the golden rule before race days” and YES I admit it, it was stupid as hell, but I did make the mistake. I didn’t go on a run that week. Nor did I train my legs in the gym. What did I do? Train my biceps and abs in the gym… I wanted to work off some steam because I was really nervous, so I figured that since I don’t run with my biceps it would be fine. NOT. I was really sore after training them, and a sore body equals a tired body. Tired body before running your very first half marathon is not a good combination.

2. Avoid adding stress

There were two things that had me stressing out before going into the race. Firstly, considering it would be my very first time running a half marathon I was nervous already, but knowing I did something stupid and knowing it was going to affect my race doubled those nerves about tenfold. Secondly, someone had told me that the last three kilometers would be really hard. I was so afraid of  those final three kilometers in advance, that when I actually got to them I made them harder for myself because of what I thought  they would be like. Turns out that those three kilometers were pretty much the best part of the entire race and I didn’t enjoy them AT ALL because I had been so afraid of them in advance. Running such a long distance is already stressful enough, you need to avoid adding EXTRA unnecessary nerves to that.

3. Shit happens

Sometimes things happen that you just can’t foresee or change. During my second kilometer I got this stabbing pain in my right side. I still don’t know what it was, I never experienced it before, but it hurt A LOT. I kept running but had to slow down because it hurt that much. You can probably imagine how bummed I was. I trained my ass off for this, and then right at the start things don’t go as planned. Sucks, but shit happens, you can’t change it. All that kept going through my mind was that this couldn’t seriously be happening. Those first five kilometers were a struggle but then it faded away. Just as sudden as it came up it disappeared again. Around the ten kilometer point there was another kilometer or so that the same pain bothered me, but just as before it faded away again. Some things happen that you just can’t see coming. It sucks, but you have to go with it because you can’t change it. Will I try to find out what it was so I can make sure it doesn’t happen again? Absolutely! But during the race you will have to face whatever is happening and deal with it.

4. Don’t set a time goal

This might sound unrealistic because EVERYONE sets a time goal for themselves, but I wish I hadn’t. As you can read above my first half marathon was far from perfect and all of the things mentioned above kept me from finishing under the time I’d set for myself. I was quite disappointed at first until I realized that was so damn stupid. I just finished my first half marathon ever. Key words being: I FINISHED! Perks of that first race? It’s always a Personal Record.

5. Enjoy the little things

This too might seem like it speaks for itself, but sometimes it’s not. I was so busy with myself, with running and finishing the race, that I sometimes forgot to look around. The route was great, the supporters were awesome, and kindness and support come from so many different angles. Around the twelve kilometer point, this little boy handed me a cup of water. Imagine me, all red faced and starting to tire, and the little boy just pats my back and tells me “Come on miss! You can do this! You’ve come so far already.” I smiled at the boy and continued but what he said didn’t penetrate until after I finished. Just like my father’s antics. My dad ran the race with me (he’s the best support system a girl can wish for!) and he’s always been faster than me, when I started to tire he would crack jokes or race ahead and make funny faces, at that moment I just brushed it off. I mean, some moments I felt like I was dying, ain’t nobody got time to laugh when you feel like your legs are going to give out. But looking back these moments bring a big smile to my face. I genuinely think that if I would’ve been more open for these moments this race would have been much more enjoyable!

Looking back at my first half marathon there are quite some things that I could’ve done better, but in the end, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I finished my first half marathon and no one can take that accomplishment away from me. I learned from my mistakes and hopefully (probably) the next one will go much smoother. Running isn’t a walk in the park, it’s hard work, it’s pushing through pain, but that moment you cross the finish line is indescribable. That euphoria, that feeling of accomplishment, knowing your body is capable of running 21,0975 kilometers is indescribable!

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Changing up the change, what’s going on?

24/10/2016 | 0 Comments

Shocker, I’m still floating around somewhere in the blogosphere. Although, maybe floating isn’t the most accurate way to describe what I’ve been doing these past two months. It was more like looking around every now and then, and then disappearing again. I promised change, then partly delivered, but disappeared right after. It was terrible, I was terrible, and I’m REALLY (don’t want to use the f-word, but it’s the only word that will suffice here, so just imagine it’s actually here) sorry. Now, let’s not focus on making this a 1000 word post on how sorry I am… I’ve said it once and truly, unquestionably, absolutely, without a doubt, mean it, but no one wants to read a post where someone apologizes 100 times by saying the same thing (but putting it a little differently every time). So I’m not going to.

Okay, you’ve been stating A LOT of things you aren’t going to do Iris… What ARE you going to do? Well, first of all, I’m going to tell you what actually happened, and then I am going to do things differently.

Let’s change things up and get down to business

One of the last things you heard from me was that I was going to switch things up. Then that change partly came through, and then you didn’t hear anything from me for two whole months. Change? No change? What’s going on? Well, what happened is that I completely and utterly lost all motivation to blog. I just didn’t feel like blogging at all anymore, so I didn’t. It’s sad, but it’s true. And I realized this week that I don’t want three years of blogging passionately to end by just quietly fading into the background of the blogosphere. These three years have given me so much and pulling a disappearing act is a really crappy move on my part.

I wanted to figure out the why. WHY did I lose motivation? Tough question, very tough question, and it took me a while to figure out. Actually, it took me quite a while to figure out, and I shed quite some tears over it when I did. Whoah! That dramatic? No.

You gotta give me more than no…

Short answer: I changed. I changed and while I did, this, my blog, just no longer felt right to me. This caused irritation and frustration and I no longer felt like blogging. I’ll go one step further by saying that I didn’t want to blog anymore. Which sucked. My blog used to reflect me, and the moment I said that aloud (teary eyed) I was able to put my finger on the problem. I changed and the blog should’ve changed with me, but it didn’t, which is why it never felt right to me. My blog no longer truly reflected me, it showed a part of me, but not really ME, not anymore.

I think we can all agree that’s a pretty big problem to have. So, now I know the problem, that means I can work on finding a solution. True, and I did think of one: change the blog, fix the problem. Easy-peasy right? Unfortunately, easier said than done. I don’t have the skillset to make the kind of changes I want to make, but changes need to be made. So the search began for someone to help me. That road has been a little rocky. I thought I found someone, I was hopeful, then that someone let me down and I was back at rock bottom. Time passed, I looked around but found nothing that seemed sufficient, or it was sufficient but too damn expensive for me. Frustrations grew even more and at the same time I grew sadder about this.

Where’s that sappy happy ending we all love?

BUT… now we’re here, and this is a blog post… which means that somewhere along the way something changed. Well, let’s just say that it turned out help came from closer than expected. Even more importantly, it means that if I hadn’t tried to solve this all by myself I probably would’ve found help way sooner. Whoops.

If there’s anything this whole issue taught me is that sometimes you just have to speak up and let somebody else help you find a solution to your problem. I have a stubborn streak a mile wide, and if I’d just told my friends and family about what had been going on with my blog sooner it wouldn’t have taken me quite this long to climb out of this nasty rut.

 

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Weekend Special #1: BBG Meetup & 24k Walk

13/06/2016 | 1 Comment

Weekend Special numero uno! That’s right, I’m introducing a new feature! We all have those weekends that are more fun than normal weekends (because let’s face it, some weekends we just don’t really do anything special), and the weekend of 4 and 5 June was definitely a memorable one for me. I’ll admit, it’s a bit late (after this first attempt at recapping the weekend I’ll start posting them in between Mondays and Wednesdays, pinky promise), but better late than never!

Saturday: #BBGDUTCHIES

Dutch BBG meetup time! This was only the second BBG meetup ever, but ever since that first meetup back in March I’ve been wanting June to arrive faster. I stayed the weekend with a friend who lived closer to the city we were meeting up in and on Saturday morning we got up around 8 to get ready for the day. The meetup started at 11.15 am and we were early, which left me plenty of time to catch up with everyone! It’s so crazy to realize that I’ve only met these girls once of twice before. We’re always talking and supporting each other online and this makes it feel like I’ve known them for so much longer already. Anyway, I’m getting off-track here. After some quick hugs and catching up it was time for the actual workout and to get sweaty!

Ik

The warming-up consisted of some partner exercises, which were so much fun! Now, Kayla’s BBG workouts are never easy, but I can tell you that they become even harder when you do them when it’s 24 degrees outside and the sun is shining. It was ridiculously hot outside and the water in my bottle more or less resembled lukewarm tea water after only a few minutes. You wouldn’t believe how red-faced I was when the workout was done. I pretty much flopped down on my belly and stayed down for a while.

Ik (groep kayla pose)

Djanne, who organized this meetup, pretty much anticipated us being totally overheated after the workout and arranged for some ice lollies. Best. Decision. Ever! After some stretching and some group pictures, it was time for the picknick. Everyone made something and brought it to the meetup, so we had a huge amount of food to choose from, it was perfect and my tummy was totally happy (which it always is when good food is involved haha). It was crazy fun catching up with everyone, loooooots of pictures were taken, and at the end of the day I was crazy sore from the workout, which is just how I like it! A Saturday well spent in my opinion!

Sunday: 24k walk baby!

The plan was to take it slow on Saturday during the workout because I was going to walk a 20k the next day with 7kg in my backpack as a part of my training for the Camino I’m walking this summer… Of course, taking it slow totally went down the drain when it was actually time to do the workout, so when I woke up on Sunday my quadriceps were terribly sore. No time to whine, we (my friend and I) wanted to beat the heat and get an early start so we got our butts out of bed and left the house around 8am.

Walking went pretty well, although the downhill parts of the tracks brought out the soreness of my muscles. Around the 15k mark, the heat was starting to get to me a bit. We might’ve missed a turn and realized that only about 1k later (so had to go back), plus, at that point we should’ve passed the second rest stop already and we still hadn’t… Turns out they had to make some changes to the route and it ended up being a 24k walk instead of a 20k walk.

No biggie, except I ran out of water at 20k… and they had no point to refill our bottles. Even when we finally got to that second rest stop (which was at the 20k point) there was no possibility of refilling and for an event this big, and with temperatures running so high, that just can’t happen. Frankly, it got me a little cranky. I was pretty happy once we finished the walk, and boy was I feeling my legs.

Weekend Special #1

All and all it wasn’t the best walk ever, but I only had myself to blame by pushing myself a little too hard the day before. At the end of the day, we finished that 24k and it was a very good training walk for the Camino. And don’t you think I look adorable in my walking gear? Totally sexy if I do say so myself *cough* haha.

I’ll just leave out how CRAZY sore I woke up on Monday… haha. I think we can all agree it was a very active weekend for me. I gave my body some well-deserved rest on Monday and did some extra stretching and yoga to get rid of the soreness of my muscles.

 

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