Browsing Tag



Tap into that inner smile  

Hate Mondays? Check! Not so fond of mornings in general? Check! Make it better with a workout? CHECK!

Why not start your day by unleashing some endorphins and tap into that inner smile of yours? Because what better than to face Monday head on with a bright smile? (It will require some work from your side though).

We’re only talking two minutes’ people! Two minutes’ max intensity and then you can jump into the shower and embrace the day.

Let get going:
20 jumping jacks
5 burpees
30 second plank
20 squats
20 lunge (10 on each leg)

Done! Have a wonderful day and remember; spread that smile

By: Henriette Danielsen


Five fabulous reasons to work out

While some embrace an active lifestyle wholeheartedly, there are those who can’t seem to find a good reason to work out (myself included from time to time).

Are you struggling with getting your gym shoes on and get active? Feeling like every workout is a battle between what you should do and what you want to do? If the answer is yes, continue reading!

We give you five fabulous reasons to why you should want to work out! And it has nothing to do with looking good on the beach or get that glorious selfie!

You get more energy
We are often under the impression that working out drain us of energy, but quite the contrary. But to get, you must give. “I really regretted that workout”, said no one ever, remember that.

Improves your mood
We all know that working out releases endorphins and endorphins make us happy! The math is really simple! Get active and boost your mood. Even a moderate walk will help you battle the blues, and studies show that being physically active is a natural antidepressant.

Better sex
An active lifestyle makes you feel better about yourself, which again can make you feel sexier. Training also helps boost testosterone and this important hormone, present in both males and females, increases your sex drive. So, let’s get it oooon (the workout, not the sex – or…)

Because it’s fun
You heard me: fun! Working out doesn’t need to be boring at all. Just take the time to find an activity you like. Don’t run on a treadmill day in and day out if it bores you. Personally, I like power walks, yoga and kettlebell. Maybe dance, tennis or whatever more’s out there interests you and sparks something in you?

Improves your memory
Exercise results in higher blood levels of hormones that are associated with a strong memory, so exercise can boost your memory and help you learn better. It also gives your brain more energy and oxygen. Maybe not going to ace your exam just because your working out on a regular basis, but you get my drift!

And if none of the points above motivate you, well then just think of all the brag rights you earn by starting an active lifestyle. And you’ll live longer too, did I mention that?

By: Henriette Danielsen / Photo cred 


Back at it

It’s that time of year again: the time when everyone heads over to the gym, filled with motivation and new goals! Ourselves included!

So, we’re ready to pack our gym bag and get started. Here are some essentials that can be good to remember.

Water bottle
Like always; make sure you drink enough both during and after your workout. Since we’re not a fan of plastic we recommend a cool glass bottle! Both stylish and better for you and the environment.

There’s nothing more annoying then realizing you forgot your headphones, because let’s be honest: music is our biggest motivator. Make sure you always have a pair in your gym bag and don’t forget to have the ultimate playlist downloaded!

Working out makes us crazy hungry, and why wait? By having bars available in your gym bag you also avoid temptations on your way home.

Smell good
A roller perfume or a good deodorant is key! Because that “just came from the gym scent” won’t always do it.

Hair ties
Because sweaty hair in your mouth and eyes isn’t exactly what we like to call comfortable.

By: Henriette Danielsen / Photo cred 


FriYAY workout

On Fridays I usually want to run straight home after work, jump into my softest pajamas and unwind after the week. However, squeezing in a short workout before you welcome the weekend has its benefits.

You smile more (and who doesn’t want that?), you’ll sleep better and best of all; you can embrace that couch with extra much love. Or rehydrate on some margaritas with friends, whatever suits you best!

No matter what you choose, here is a short and effective workout to round off your week:

Warm up
Rowing or running five minutes.

15 reps x 3 sets on each exercise

Jumping jacks

That’s it: quick and effective! If you lack the motivation (it’s Friday after all, we get the struggle) you should read our best tips on how to stay motivated.  Happy FriYAY everyone

By: Henriette Danielsen / Photo cred: Pinterest


Strengthen your back

The muscles in your back serve many functions, so training it properly is key! We’re not just talking about being able to move heavy objects, but having a good posture, reduce back pain and build a strong foundation.

Here’s a workout that will get your back muscles working. Have fun and good luck!

Warm up
Rowing for five minutes

Back exercises
12 reps x 3 sets on each exercise

Barbell rows
Biceps curl with rod
Upright row
Back raise
Push ups

By: Henriette Danielsen


5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a New Exercise Routine

Starting a new routine – whether it be a new school, job, or workout class – can be a little daunting. I’m going to share with you five things I wish I knew before starting a new exercise routine, and I hope it will inspire you to try something new. 

Ask questions
One thing that helped me feel more comfortable when starting my new exercise routine was to ask questions. I signed up at a new studio and made sure to call and ask questions before I started. I was able to meet with the front desk and an instructor to talk about the class, what they recommend bringing, and got a tour of the studio.

Arrive early
Arrive early to give yourself plenty of time to get ready for your new class! Arriving early ensures there is enough time for you to find the studio (in case you get lost!), put everything away, and calm your nerves a little before starting class.

Don’t apologize
Something I struggle with is apologizing… for everything. Especially when I’m in a new class. Instead of apologizing for doing something wrong (or when an instructor corrects your form), say “Thank You!”. Let them know you appreciate them helping you. A little trick that helped me break this habit was trying to go the entire hour without apologizing or saying “I can’t”. Even though it was just an hour, it really helped change my perspective and I could feel myself getting more confident.

Smile. Smile. Smile! It’s always nice to smile at your instructor and fellow classmates so they see you as approachable, or at the very least, friendly. Whenever I exchange a somewhat awkward smile with someone in class, we usually end up talking for the duration of the class and cheering each other on.

Have fun
This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give. Remember to have fun! The whole reason you’re starting something new is to have a new experience, right? Who wants to do something that they hate? Make sure to have fun, be patient with yourself, and even laugh at yourself a little bit. You took the first step to trying something new – that in itself is a big accomplishment!

So, remember to have fun and don’t give up on the goals you set for yourself. The biggest change happens when we step outside our comfort zones. Even if you think you’re not gifted at something, remember that the people who do well at things practice every day to get there. Stay positive and keep trying, you’ll be surprised at how far you can really go!

This post is contributed by Samantha Thayer, Online Outreach and Education Specialist from What’s Up, USANA?. For more information on health, feel free to visit their blog or find them on Twitter @USANAInc. / Photo cred 


6 ways to stay motivated

Some days we’re full of energy, ready to hit the gym, others we just want to bury ourselves under the blanket and watch Netflix. That’s called life! We all struggle to find the motivation to work out, but with these 6 tips we hope to inspire you when the that happens. 

Vary your workout routines
There are so many different ways to work out, don’t get stuck doing the same thing over and over. Not only will you get seriously bored, but your body won’t get any stronger. Vary your workout routines and challenge yourself to try something new at least once a month!

Plan ahead
Nothing is as good as planning your workouts! Make room for them in your calendar as if it’s an appointment (with yourself). Promise you, this little trick does wonders!

Update your playlist
Music is THE biggest motivator both before and during a workout. Pep yourself by updating your playlist. Research show that music actually enhances a workout, so listen to it while getting ready and keep that motivation during your session as well.

Dress the part
You know the feeling when you just bought a new dress or tie and you can’t wait to wear it because you feel amazing in it? The same goes for gym clothes. Don’t underestimate the power of your workout gear! Stay motivated with fresh, colorful clothes!

Change your perspective
Try to see your workout routine as a blessing, not a curse. Be glad you have a functional body and remember that to keep it that way, you need to take good care of it. The commitment begins in your head, so stay positive.

Have fun
Find activates you enjoy and remember; exercise doesn’t have to be boring, you just need to find your thing!

By: Henriette Danielsen / Photo cred: Shutterstock


Gym 101: For beginners

Hitting the gym for the first time can be intimidating. You don’t know your way around, the music is loud, and at first glance everyone looks like an expert. With all the different machines and equipment lying around, it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start.

Getting to know the equipment is an important step for being comfortable at the gym. One thing that helped me was taking a beginner’s weight class. It helped me learn different exercises, proper form, and what muscle groups each exercise would target. It also was a great way to meet other beginners. It gave me more confidence knowing I wasn’t the only one just starting out, and that everyone was there with the same goal in mind: to improve our health and get stronger.

If this isn’t something your gym offers, don’t fret. We created an infographic that serves as a beginners guide to gym equipment. It’s a great visual of gym equipment, basic exercises, and other tips and tricks for starting at the gym. Here’s a run down of what it covers:

Free weights and machines
Free weights includes equipment such as dumbbells, plates and bars, and kettlebells. These are great choices for doing exercises like kettlebell swings, bicep curls, and shoulder presses. Machines are a great option for beginners because it helps you keep proper form, and they often have instructions on the machines if you’re unable to find staff or a personal trainer to help you. (Additional help can be found on YouTube! Search for the exercise you’d like to perform or the name of the machine, and you can find multiple tutorial videos.)

What to bring
If you’re brand new to the gym scene, it might be hard to know exactly what to bring. In addition to bringing obvious basics (proper clothes, shoes), make sure you have a water bottle, a lock, your gym pass, a towel and a music player with headphones!

Gym shopping
It’s important to tour multiple gyms and find which one has the right equipment, culture, and trainers for your needs. Make sure you check contracts, pricing, classes they offer, personal training options, and peak attendance hours. Fun fact: In 2014, the average monthly membership cost was $41.

I hope this article inspires you to try hitting the gym and getting in a good workout. And if you’re not a beginner, I hope this sheds some light on some of the struggles beginners might face.

What’s your advice for gym beginners? Do you prefer free weights or machines? Let us know in the comment field below!

This post is contributed by Samantha Thayer, Online Outreach and Education Specialist from What’s Up, USANA?. For more information on health, feel free to visit their blog or find them on Twitter @USANAInc.


Went from hating to loving it

Growing up, Cristina Castillo never liked sports or physical activity of any kind. Little did she know that she would end up working as a personal trainer. We met up with Cristina to talk about health, happiness and passion!
By: Henriette Danielsen Photos: Private

Cristina Castillo’s days are spent at Balance Training in the heart of Stockholm, where she helps people of all ages to reach their goals and maintain their health. But it hasn’t always been like this for Cristina herself.
– I used to hate sports and I don’t even remember if I had a gym membership, but if I did I wasn’t using it, she says while laughing.

So, what happened?
– Four years ago I was invited to a pool party and I decided I needed to lose some weight first. I started doing cardio and those extra kilos fell off pretty quickly. Sadly it became an obsession, but my family and friends got me back on the right track before it got out of hand, she explains.

Cristina then realized she started for the wrong reasons and should be doing this the right way, so she hired a personal trainer to learn more.
– During my sessions I always remember thinking he had to have the greatest job in the world! As my interest for health grew I started to hobby-coach my colleagues at the real-estate company I was working at. It was when one of them told me I should quit and start coaching fulltime I realized that it was exactly what I wanted to do!

She quit her job, completed her education and started working at Balance Training, where she is able to do what she today is so passionate about. But working in the fitness industry has its ups and downs.
– I love the fact that I am able to help people take care of their health and get stronger. I also like that so many women have come out of their comfort zone and into the weight lifting section at the gym. But like every other industry, we need to remember that it’s in fact that; an industry. And like any other they want to make money. We just need to use our common sense and not buy into everything they’re trying to feed us, she says.

You told us earlier that you came close to an eating disorder and was obsessed with your looks. What kind of view do you have on body pressure now, working in an industry often blamed for promoting that certain pressure?
– Personally I feel this matter is evolving in two ways: on the one hand people are focusing more on the functionality of their body, to be able to use it as it is supposed to be used, without any pain or restrictions, which I think is a good thing! On the other hand there is a huge amount of focus on how we look, and social media has such a big influence, especially on the younger generations. I can only imagine how much pressure it puts upon them. But I think people will always want to look a certain way and I just hope that we can enlighten everyone on how to do it in a healthy and sustainable way.

Cristina emphasizes that health is a balance between good sleep, nutritious food and a balanced mind.

Why do you work out?
– Because I love the feeling of being able to do things I literally couldn’t do before. And I’m also very fascinated by the fact that I can shape my body the way I want to. It’s up to you and only you, and if you’re in need of any help, motivation or guidance, hire a personal trainer! Because we love to help you reach your goals!

Before we say goodbye we just have to ask: What is your favorite exercise?
– Right now is the Romanian dead lift. It hits the entire backside of your body and you can really feel how it hits the glutes and hamstrings. But I think I need to slow down a little, because my butt almost doesn’t fit into my jeans anymore, she says with a smile.

Name: Cristina Solange Zurita-Castillo
Age: 26
Occupation: Personal Trainer and Nutritionist at Balance Training
Lives: Uppsala and Stockholm
What gets you up from the couch? Goals! Or more precisely, goals with deadlines.

Follow Cristina on Instagram or her blog.


Come prepared

//Contains sponsored product

We all know how it feels to come to the gym, only to realize that we forgot something important. Luckily, most gyms have all you need, but usually for a fee. Better to come prepared if you ask us! We give you the gym bag essentials!

Water bottle
Water is super important both during and after a workout. Our body needs a refill! Why not invest in a bottle of glass? It both looks good and is environmentally friendly.

There is nothing more important than music. It’s actually a must have at the gym, since research shows that listening to music during exercise leads to a better workout. So download a good playlist and remember your headphones!

There are some things we just can’t be without!  First off; hair ties! We all know how terrible it can be doing a killer workout with hair in our face at all times. Second; deodorant! It’s natural to sweat a lot, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs to smell you. And lastly for all the ladies; makeup remover! Let your skin breathe!

It’s important to fuel your body after a tough workout. Remember to always have a bar, some fruit or a smoothie at hand! Our favorite right now is red berry coco bar! The perfect refill after exercising!

By Henriette Danielsen