dream it. believe it. achieve it.

dream it. believe it. achieve it.

14/02/2018

100 Awesome Workout Songs

workout songs

Hello dear reader, how’s your week coming along? Mine is pretty busy but my driver’s ed is starting next week so it’s only gonna get busier.

 

I was thinking what could I write about next and figured out I need new workout songs. As you’ll be able to see I made a list of 100 workout songs and those are the songs I usually listen to. Don’t be surprised when you see multiple genres but my workout songs and playlists depend on the way I’m feeling that day.

 

If you can relate to that, you will find the following list pretty helpful. There are songs that will take you back in time, remind you of certain awesome moments and songs that will make you feel like a total badass.

 

 

100 Awesome Workout Songs


  1. Eminem – ‘Till I Collapse
  2. Onyx – Slam
  3. AOTP – Dump The Clip
  4. AOTP – Seven
  5. DMX – X Gon’ Give It To Ya
  6. DMX – Where The Hood At
  7. Kris Kross – Jump
  8. Eminem – Berzerk
  9. Grits – My Life Be Like
  10. The Notorious B.I.G. – Hypnotize
  11. DMX – Ruff Ryders’ Anthem
  12. Eminem – Phenomenal
  13. Cobra Starship ft. Sabi – You Make Me Feel
  14. Sean Paul – Press It Up
  15. Will Smith – Switch
  16. Kat DeLuna – Whine Up
  17. Usher – Scream
  18. Missy Elliot ft. Ciara & Fat Man Scoop – Lose Control
  19. Blackstreet ft. Dr. Dre & Queen Pen – No Diggity
  20. DJ Khaled ft. T-Pain – All I Do Is Win
  21. Pitbull ft. Kesha – Timber
  22. Kat DeLuna – Run the Show
  23. Nelly ft. City Spud – Ride Wit Me
  24. Flo Rida – Right Round
  25. Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music
  26. Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
  27. Meghan Trainor – Me Too
  28. Eve ft. Gwen Stefani – Let Me Blow Ya Mind
  29. Jason Derulo – Want To Want Me
  30. OMI – Cheerleader
  31. Ciara – Got Me Good
  32. Jessie J – Domino
  33. TLC – No Scrubs
  34. Flo-Rida ft. Maluma – Hola
  35. Shakira – Bicicleta
  36. Gente de Zona – La Gozadera
  37. Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee – Despacito
  38. Yandel – Moviendo Caderas
  39. Free Deejays – Mi Ritmo
  40. Don Omar ft. Lucenzo – Danza Kuduro
  41. Anitta & J Balvin – Downtown
  42. Gente de Zona – Si No Vuelves
  43. Shakira – Me Enamore
  44. Enrique Iglesias – Subeme La Radio
  45. J Balvin & Willy William – Mi Gente
  46. Gusttavo Lima – Gatinha Assanhada
  47. Don Omar – Zumba
  48. Wisin ft. Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin – Adrenalina
  49. Jennifer Lopez ft. Gente de Zona – Ni Tú Ni Yo
  50. Kiesza – Hideaway
  51. Afrojack ft. Eva Simons – Take Over Control
  52. Havana Brown – Warrior
  53. Timmy Trumpet & Savage – Freaks
  54. Hardwell ft. Mitch Crown – Call Me A Spaceman
  55. Dzeko & Torres – 2013 in 10 minutes
  56. DVBBS & Borgeous – TSUNAMI
  57. Martin Garrix – Animals
  58. Armin van Buuren vs Vini Vici feat. Highlight Tribe – Great Spirit
  59. AronChupa – I’m an Albatraoz
  60. Calvin Harris – Summer
  61. David Guetta & Showtek ft. Vassy – Bad
  62. Felix Jaehn ft. Jasmine Thompson – Ain’t Nobody
  63. Kygo ft. Conrad Sewell – Firestone
  64. Robin Schulz – Sugar
  65. David Guetta – Hey Mama
  66. Pitbull ft. John Ryan – Fireball
  67. Alexandra Stan & INNA ft. Daddy Yankee – We Wanna
  68. James Hype, ft. Kelli Leigh – More Than Friends
  69. David Guetta ft. Kid Cudi – Memories
  70. INNA – J’Adore
  71. Khaled – C’est la Vie
  72. Enur ft. Natasja – Calabria
  73. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us
  74. Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
  75. LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem
  76. Sia ft. Sean Paul – Cheap Thrills
  77. Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
  78. Queen – Another One Bites The Dust
  79. Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5
  80. Metro Station – Shake It
  81. Eric Prydz – Call on Me
  82. Rick James – Super Freak
  83. Ram Jam – Black Betty
  84. Donna Summer – Hot Stuff
  85. Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music
  86. Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive
  87. Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way
  88. The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
  89. Bomfunk MC’s – Freestyler
  90. Crazy Town – Butterfly
  91. Sum 41 – In Too Deep
  92. Blink-182 – All The Small Things
  93. The All-American Rejects – Gives You Hell
  94. Imagine Dragons – Whatever It Takes
  95. Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out
  96. Linkin Park – Numb
  97. Evanescence – Bring Me To Life
  98. Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
  99. Ofenbach vs. Nick Waterhouse – Katchi
  100. Alice Merton – No Roots

Listening to music is beneficial because people tend to work harder and push themselves when listening to faster, empowering songs. Furthermore, music puts you in the zone and while the exact meaning of that is hard to properly describe I’m sure you have experienced it more than once.

 

You simply feel like you can do anything and how good of a feeling is that?! Music makes you want to move, it improves your mood and makes your workout go by a lot faster.

 

I would love to know what kind of music helps you push harder during workouts so let me know in the comments below. Also, was there any song in my list that you’re glad you came across because you haven’t heard it for ages? Do let me know! 🙂

 

Stay awesome,

M, xo

07/02/2018

Fitness Equipment Worth Investing In

fitness equipment

Hey there reader, hope you’re doing well and you’re having a good day. Lately I’ve been thinking about quality fitness equipment that doesn’t cost a lot of money but provides great results and can be used in the comfort of your own home.

 

The items listed below are what I acquired over the years and use daily for my home workouts. I am content with each item and that’s why I’m writing this.

 

If you also work out at home and want to add something new to your routine keep on reading. There are five items so don’t feel overwhelmed. You can invest in one thing and see how it works for you.

 

However, whichever you choose I guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth and find new ways to enjoy working out at home.

 

I find the following to be the fitness equipment worth investing in:

 

 

Fitness Equipment Worth Investing In


 

#1 Speed Jump Rope

speed jump rope

If I had to choose one fitness equipment product to take with me anywhere I go, it would be, without a doubt, a speed jump rope. Seriously, it’s a game changer. It’s a great way to make your workouts fun and more intense.

 

Jump rope is portable which means you can work up a sweat even when you travel or go on a vacation. Plus, once you get good with it you’ll constantly want to improve and learn new tricks.

 

Other than helping you burn a decent amount of calories, jumping rope improves your coordination, cardiovascular health, bone density, muscular endurance and cognitive function.

 

It helps you build agility, speed and rhythm and decreases lower body injuries. Jumping rope is great for your physical and mental health, it brings fun to your workouts and is definitely worth investing in.

 

 

#2 Yoga Mat

yoga mats

Whether you practice yoga, do stretches or floor work it is important you yourself a quality yoga mat. For example, doing an abs workout directly on the ground can cause pain and make it really uncomfortable.

 

Yoga mats provide you with support and comfort. Non – slip yoga mats make sure your yoga practices go smoothly and sturdy, without slipping or feeling your carpet running away from you.

 

From personal experience I find yoga mats motivating and calming. What I mean is when I pull out my yoga mat I look at it as my private, personal, calming space. I know the time I’ll spend on it will be the thing I’ll cherish that day.

 

It’s my little escape from the world and my time to tune in with my body and mind. That alone motivates me to get my butt up and working.

 

 

#3 Foam Roller

foam rollers

Foam rolling is a type of self – myofascial release. SMR is basically massaging muscles on your own with the help of certain objects (like a foam roller). Foam rolling improves circulation, relieves muscle tension, helps you recover faster and increases range of motion.

 

It is definitely worth investing in a good foam roller if you can’t afford massages and want to get the best out of your warm up/cool down before/after workout.

 

 

#4 Resistance Band

resistance bands

Okay, you probably noticed that atm Instagram is filled with videos of fit chicks doing some ‘booty band’ exercises. Whilst resistance bands are great for lower body exercises, they’re great for other body parts as well.

 

They are versatile, portable, come in various shapes and range from light to heavy resistance. Other than being great for building strength and toning the muscles they are amazing for rehabilitation as well and can help you get more flexible and improve your balance.

 

Add resistance bands exercises to your warm up routine for improved range of motion during workout.

 

Resistance bands are great for people who work out at home or travel a lot. Adding resistance bands to your workout routine can make it more fun and allow you to let your creative side out.

 

 

#5 Dumbbells

dumbbells

Dumbbells are essential workout equipment if you want to build muscle and increase strength. They allow you to train all the major muscle groups, improve coordination and provide increased range of motion.

 

Dumbbells fall under the free weights category meaning you can use them for various exercises without space limitation. Furthermore, they allow you to do unilateral training (single leg or single arm exercises) and they’re suitable for cardio.

 

Unfortunately, weights are pretty expensive so the best option is to invest in adjustable dumbbells. These allow you to decrease or increase the weight by removing or adding plates. Adjustable dumbbells are perfect for home workouts because they don’t take up a lot of space since they can include 10 – 20 sets of weights all in one.

 

 

Guys I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful. If you have any further questions feel free to leave them down below or message me personally.

 

Stay awesome,

M, xo

30/01/2018

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries You’ll Love

oven baked sweet potato fries

One of my all-time favourite side dishes is oven baked sweet potato fries. I want to share this recipe with you because it is easy to make and relatively quick. More importantly though, it is healthy and you’re free to make it your own by adding your favourite seasoning and spices.

 

What makes this recipe healthier than standard sweet potato fries is the fact that we will be baking them, not frying. This means minimum use of oil and you should always aim for that!

 

Other than being versatile and highly nutritious, sweet potatoes come with many great benefits. Since they’re packed with vitamins (A, B6, D, C) and minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium) they support healthy immune system, strong bones, improve heart health, control blood sugar and aid in digestion (rich in fibre).

sweet potatoes nutrition

One medium sweet potato contains more than 100% of your daily vitamin A recommendation making it one of the best sources of beta-carotene (vitamin A).

 

Beta-carotene enhances immune system and when it is converted into vitamin A in the body it is essential for vision, bone health and skin.

 

As you can tell, you can’t go wrong with sweet potato and you should definitely include it in your meal plan. But enough of that for now, let’s get baking!

 

 

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries Recipe


oven baked sweet potato fries

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium to large sweet potato
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower oil (or olive oil)
  • Paprika seasoning
  • Vegetable seasoning mix
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder

 

Directions:

Peel the sweet potato and cut it into fries lengthways. Add to a mixing bowl and drizzle with sunflower oil. Toss lightly for 30 seconds so the oil spreads evenly over the sweet potatoes.

 

Add paprika, vegetable seasoning mix, black pepper and garlic powder. The amount of seasoning you add is up to you, hence why I haven’t given measurements for it. Once again toss everything lightly to spread the seasoning evenly.

 

To make your sweet potato fries more flavourful let everything sit for 5 minutes. Now lay parchment paper on a baking tray and spread sweet potato fries equally. Make sure you don’t crowd them too much. If there’s space between each fry they will come out crispier and tastier.

 

Turn the oven to 200C/390F and bake for 20 minutes. Keep in mind that baking time may vary so check on your fries every 5 minutes or so. Bake until golden brown. Wait a couple of minutes before serving.

 

 

Enjoy oven baked sweet potato fries on their own as a snack or a side dish. Let me know in the comments below how this recipe turned out for you and in what other way do you bake sweet potatoes!

 

Happy munching,

M, xo

24/01/2018

5 Minute Plank Challenge

Hi there, hope you’re all doing well! We’re continuing to move strongly through 2018 so today I have for you a fun 5 minute plank challenge. This is a great, quick workout that will help you strengthen your core and tone the muscles.

 

Planks are one of the best bodyweight exercises and should be a staple in anyone’s workout routine. If you aren’t including planks in your workout start doing so.

 

Other than the fact you can do planks anywhere without any equipment, they are amazing because they work all the major muscles in your body.

 

When you’re in plank the following muscles are working:

  • Erector spinae
  • Rectus abdominis
  • Transverse abdominis
  • Deltoids
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Trapezius
  • Rhomboids
  • Pecs
  • Quadriceps
  • Gluteus maximus
  • Obliques (when in side plank)

It’s incredible how such a simple exercise can work and strengthen so many muscles. Given the fact that planks primarily work your core, they improve posture, balance and keep your back strong and healthy.

 

If you’ve never done a plank then I suggest you practice and get good with it before doing this 5 minute plank challenge. 5 minutes might not sound like a lot but it is actually pretty tough and requires a lot of strength.

 

I would like to mention that throughout these 5 minutes you are not allowed to rest your knees on the floor. So the whole time you’re in plank, you just move from one plank variation into the next.

 

It’s gonna be tough but I know you can do it, so without further ado, let’s destroy this 5 minute plank challenge!

 

 

5 Minute Plank Challenge


 

High Plank – 1 minute

How to perform:

Begin on all fours, placing your palms directly below your shoulders and your knees in line with the hips. Press firmly through the palms and extend one leg back, then the other. Your body should create one straight line from head to toes.

 

From here tuck the pelvis and draw your naval toward your spine. Ensure your core is engaged and your glutes tightened.

 

Keep your gaze down and slightly ahead of you. Congrats, you’re in plank! Now hold this position for a minute.

 

 

High Side Plank (R) – 30 seconds

How to perform:

Without resting your knees on the ground, move from high plank directly into side plank. Do this by placing your right hand in the centre of your mat. Rotate your body so your right hip is facing the floor and your left hip is facing the ceiling.

 

Depending on your core strength and balance, your left foot can either be stacked on top of right or placed on the floor. Extend your left arm toward the ceiling or place it on your hip. Hold here for 30 seconds.

 

 

High Side Plank (L) – 30 seconds

How to perform:

Repeat the same action on the other side by moving from right side plank through high plank into left side plank.

 

 

Low Plank – 1 minute

How to perform:

Moving on to the next exercise, from high side plank come back to high plank then lower down onto your elbows. Keep in mind your elbows should be directly below your shoulders.

 

Once again your body should create a straight line from the crown of your head to your toes. Tuck the pelvis, draw your naval toward your spine, engage your core, quads and glutes. Keep the head in neutral position by looking down and slightly ahead.

 

Create either two parallel lines with your forearms or clasp your hands together. Breathe and stay in this position for one minute.

 

 

Low Side Plank (R) – 30 seconds

How to perform:

For low side plank you’re going to do the exact same thing as you did for high side plank, except now you’re using your forearm as the base of support. Hold the low side plank for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.

 

 

Low Side Plank (L) – 30 seconds

How to perform:

Move from right side plank through low plank into left side plank. Keeping the core, glutes and quads engaged throughout the whole time and your spine neutral. Stay in this position for 30 seconds.

 

 

Spiderman Plank – 30 seconds

How to perform:

You can do Spiderman plank low on your elbows or high on your hands, it is up to you. Come into a plank of your choice then try to touch your right elbow with your right knee. Return to plank position and repeat on the left side. Keep alternating sides until 30 seconds is up.

 

 

Rocking Plank – 30 seconds

How to perform:

Last exercise to finish off the 5 minute plank challenge is rocking plank. Once again you are going to begin in either a high or low plank.

 

From plank position you are simply going to rock front then back for 30 seconds. Do not forget to squeeze your glutes and engage your core.

 

A woohoo! 5 minutes is up and now you can drop down to the floor and think about how awesome you are; congrats! However, don’t stay on the floor for too long, you have to stretch the muscles you just worked. Stretch, cool down, drink lots of water and have a lovely day.

 

 

I value your opinion so let me know in the comments what you thought of this 5 minute plank challenge, how it went and how it made you feel.

 

Stay awesome,

M, xo

16/01/2018

Why I Stopped Taking Protein Powder

whey protein powder

Oh man oh man, where to begin? It’s been 5+ years since I started working out actively and regularly. In those years I came across numerous advice, tips and tricks. Out of everything I read and heard, protein powder “rules” stuck with me the most.

 

Unfortunately, as I was reading more and more articles I got the idea that protein powder is crucial if you work out and want to look good. What a fool I was.  Since I had no money to buy protein powder at the time my mind was a monkey mind.

 

At first I used to worry if I’m getting enough protein at all. Then I got to a point where I thought my workout isn’t that effective if I don’t drink a protein shake afterwards. I used to stress over the fact whether I will or won’t miss the anabolic window.

 

I was always thinking what my next meal will be. During daily activities I was calculating calories and macros in my head like a crazy person. Now I’m actually getting a little stressed out as I’m thinking about all of that again haha!

 

Eventually, the time has come. I was able to buy my first ever protein powder. If you’re wondering which one it was it is MyProtein Impact Whey Protein. So at this point I had a shaker bottle and protein powder.

 

I was excited, I was ready to destroy my workout each day. There were many new recipes I was trying out such as protein cookies, protein pancakes, protein smoothie bowls, etc. I thought this is it, this is what’s going to help me build muscle, help me get toned and look better.

protein balls
Protein balls.

 

I think it was all in my head because I felt like my body was changing for the better. Like my legs were stronger, bigger and my muscles more defined. However, looking back at my progress pictures, not much has changed during the time I was consuming protein powder.

 

One thing did change though – I started having really bad breakouts. I never had a problem with acne but all of a sudden my face was full of them. Clueless as to what was happening, I tried to convince myself it’s just some phase I’m going through and it’ll pass soon. I kept buying different face creams, tried many home remedies but nothing was helping.

 

Eventually I ended up going to my dermatologist (at this point I wasn’t taking protein powder anymore). He had a quick look and recommended a face cream for me. I was also supposed to do quite a few medical tests to see what could be causing my acne.

keracnyl PP ducray acne
Keracnyl PP by Ducray is the cream my dermatologist recommended.

 

However, I didn’t have money at the time and all the medical tests combined were pretty expensive for me. I ended up not going. A month or two later I noticed my acne getting better. They weren’t as often but I was left with a lot of scars on my face.

 

As the time went by I didn’t stress about it as much and still tried to convince myself it’s just a phase. Summer 2017 and I decided to buy protein powder again. The acne on my face started acting up again but since I had so many scars I didn’t register it as ‘that bad’.

 

However, something else happened that made me anxious and stressful once again. Alongside the acne on my face, I got acne on my back. At first it wasn’t so bad but then it kept getting worse and worse.

 

Since it was summer I thought my sunscreen could be the reason for it. Then again, it wouldn’t explain how it was only my back skin that reacted. One day it just clicked for me. I was thinking about when I bought protein powder and when my acne problems started.

 

The times overlapped and once I figured it out I stopped taking protein powder. So that is my story and my reason for not taking protein powder anymore. My face still has a lot of acne scars but actual acne breakouts have decreased by around 85%.

 

 

How Can Whey Protein Cause Acne?


Firstly, what is whey? Whey is one of the two main proteins in milk (other being casein). It is a liquid that remains once the milk has been strained and curdled. Liquid whey is later pasteurised and dried into powder. And as most of us are aware, whey powder is used in the bodybuilding/fitness/sports industries.

whey protein powder

Some studies have been done to determine the relation between whey protein and acne and although there is some data to support it, specific research is inconclusive. Whey protein comes with insulin-like growth factor 1 or simply IGF-1. IGF-1 is a growth hormone which plays a big role in childhood growth and later has anabolic effects in adults.

 

IGF-1 is produced by liver and body tissues of mammals and normally it is regulated by your body to keep your hormones in balance. One of the theories suggests that straight drinking the stuff gets your hormones out of whack and creates imbalances.

 

Makes sense when you think about it, doesn’t it? More often than not, acne problems come down to hormonal imbalances.

 

Furthermore, whey encourages the production of insulin and insulin influences the production of sebum.

 

To put it shortly, you drink whey – whey contains IGF-1. IGF-1 spikes up your insulin levels and insulin influences sebum production. Sebum is the oily substance that can clog your pores and cause acne.

 

Since acne causes vary from person to person, this is just one of the theories. If you’re using whey at the moment and suffer from acne, ditch it for a couple of weeks to see if anything changes. Or simply visit a dermatologist.

 

 

Other reasons to re-think buying/taking protein powder


#1 Anabolic window is crap.

“Drink protein shake within 30 minutes of finishing your workout or you won’t make any gains.” I’m sure you read that somewhere by now. I know I have, on multiple websites unfortunately.

 

And yep, you guessed it, it’s bulls*it. I feel like articles like that were written by people who are strongly addicted to their protein shakes and want to promote a certain brand.

 

Don’t sweat it, don’t stress about it. You have 1 – 2 hours post workout to have a nice healthy meal so take your time.

 

#2 Not worth the money.

whey protein money

To be fair, protein powder saves time. It’s convenient, you can take it anywhere and it’s the easiest way to get enough protein in a day. That being said, I find it expensive and unnecessary.

 

The only justified reason to take protein powder is if you really cannot consume the required amount of protein through food. Of course, that is just my opinion.

 

#3 Too processed.

Most of the whey protein powders are too processed. Just take a look at the ingredients list and you’ll find loads of artificial colouring, artificial sweeteners and artificial flavourings.

Getting tired of the word artificial? I am trying to stick to as much unprocessed food as possible and protein powder isn’t one of them.

 

 

Conclusion


Figuring out what causes your breakouts is a long process of trial and error. Of course there are some basic guidelines you should follow, such as eating healthy, washing your face regularly and changing your pillow case often.

 

However, we’re all different and in majority of the cases it comes down to genetics. For example, whey protein could have zero effects on your skin but for me it causes bad breakouts. For some people it can be the food they’re eating, the lifestyle they’re leading or something bigger like hormonal imbalances.

 

On the other hand, I recommend going to dermatologist first to see whether he/she can determine the cause of your acne. Second thing I recommend is keeping a journal. In this journal you can keep track of the food you’re eating and take notes of any skin changes you notice.

 

Also, if you’re currently taking whey protein cut it out for a month or so and see if you notice any differences.

 

 

I hope this post was helpful to you and feel free to express your thoughts on this topic and your own experience with protein in the comments down below!

 

Take care,

M, xo