Interval training: New Super 5-10-15 Method for Kids and Adults

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Now there is a new smart method for interval training, especially for kids and their parents. A method, which can be used by exercisers of all ages and fitness levels – for getting started with interval training or for variation during (interval) running.

The method is called 5-10-15 and is developed by Danish researchers at the Center for Team Games and Health, University of Copenhagen. It has recently been tested at 60 Danish schools with great success. Professor Jens Bangsbo tells, that “the results are even better, than we had hoped for”.


In just 7 weeks with 3 workouts per week of 10 minutes (max. 20 minutes including warm-up) the children and their parents have made impressive health gains:

  • The children now have more muscle mass, stronger bones and better running performance.
  • The parents now have more muscle mass, lower body fat, better cardiovascular fitness and better running performance.

The method is different from typical interval training with work and rest intervals.
It consists of small three-part sets, which are repeated.

  • 15 seconds Walking or very slow running (jogging)
  • 10 seconds Running in a moderate or fast tempo
  • 5 seconds Fast running [sprint]
  • Every 15-10-5 part is repeated 4 times, that is four repetitions without rest-pause, so a set (or block) lasts 2 minutes.
  • Between each set, there is a 1 minute rest-pause.
  • You can repeat the set 3 times: 2 +1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 minutes = 9 minutes in total.
    [Note: Last minute can be a pause before more training or a cooldown].
    Every third workout you can add other 2 minutes (sets) of work.

Repetitions (15-10-5) initially (or onwards): 4

Sets (blocks of 4 rep.): 3 (or more)

Pause: 1 minute between sets.

Duration: Approx. 20 min. workout, including a 10 min. warm-up.

Happy workout!

Stair climbing and vertical running? For you, for me and everyone!

By Marina Aagaard, MFE. Photo: Henrik Elstrup

Stair climbing is an excellent workout. I knew that. Last week I found out that stair running, vertical running, is an extreme workout.

The event was a cool running event, Zoo Tower Challenge, in Copenhagen, Denmark. As the event organizers put it: A race you won’ forget right away!

Apart from unbelievable exertion, I got to see flamingoes, an elephant, a warthog (?) and a beautiful view over Copenhagen city, although there were no time to enjoy it.

During the event I had one sensation only: Borg-scale 19-20 (maximal exertion). And one thought: Why on earth am I participating?
Immediately after the event I thought: When is the next time?

Polar_Pulskurve_taarnloeb_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blogThank you organizers for letting me establish my maximal heart rate (Polar M400). 

Expectations before the race
My motivation for signing up was to 1) try something different, to challenge myself a bit,
2) take part in a tower run and visit the Zoo-tower and 3) support a great ‘local’ initiative.


Race-wise my expectations were low, as my cardiovascular fitness at present is below par – the body weight momentarily too high – and preparation minimal: I would be very pleased to just complete the race; if possible in ~1 hour for a 6,5 km run plus stairs.

When I was almost at the finish line after the second (last) round, I looked up at the town hall clock and could not believe my own eyes: It was only 7:10 pm (my start was 6:30 pm). This gave me the power to speed up and I finished in 0:42:42.


I was met by officials “that’s a good running time”. Not what I had expected to hear at all. During the race I was too busy running to even look at my heart rate monitor.
So a ‘good race’ was a huge surprise to me. Two days after I saw the result lists and to my amazement; in my class I ended up 3. place and 1. place for women.
That’s quite cool for an infrequent, middle-aged (older than most of the other runners), novice race-runner. The will to survive is obviously a very powerful force!

When I accepted the invitation to race around 3rd of June, I had big hopes of proper preparation. Work life and life wanted things to be different, so time got scarce and amount of running stayed low; apart from the usual fitness workouts training came to only 1-2 5 km runs per week; far from impressive.

From around 3rd of July I added stair climbing once a week. I drove to a beach and forest area near Aarhus, Oernereden; 121 steps, walk/jog up, walk down.

From around 3rd of September until right before the race 3rd of October  I got the opportunity to work out in a local block of flats, 214 steps, walk/jog/run up, walk/jog down.


So running preparation was limited, stair climbing preparation was a bit better, so I was partly ready for the 182 Zoo Tower steps – it was still incredibly hard – and in the days after the race there were no soreness of the thighs or calves.

In the week up to the tower run I sadly only managed one 6 km run and two stair climbing workouts, the last one on the Thursday before the race. I took two days off (no workouts) to recover and get ready; no training at all Friday or Saturday before the race at 6:30 pm.

Thoughts on strategy
On the day before the race I thought a little about what would be the best strategy in this, my very first, tower run; a special combined event with running and vertical running.

Zoo_Tower_Challenge_start_foto_Henrik_Elstrup    Zoo_Tower_Challenge_start_foto_Henrik_Elstrup Frederiksberg Town hall Square with little groups of real runners, with the right gear, compression socks and real running headlamps. And me somewhere in the back.

My chosen distance, 6,5 km, meant 2 rounds around Frederiksberg Have (park) plus 3 tower runs. That is, the tower should be passed at least once to get your event medal (race bling) (!) and all three times, if you wanted to be rated and avoid ‘time adjustment’.

It was a tower run, so I thought to myself, that no matter how hard it would be and how long it would take, I would of course complete all three tower runs.

On the copenhagentowerrun website there is a suggestion for the 6,5 km route;
1 tower run in the first round and 2 tower runs for the next round. A sensible model: You complete one tower run at the start to play it safe, when you complete that you have done a tower run. And then you can use your stamina on running and take two tower runs next time around, if you have more energy.

My thought, however, was, that running exhaust me! So to complete the tower running part, I had to start out with them … maybe at the expense of the running part.
At the same time I thought it would be awkward to run in a pitch black tower, even if I had a headlamp. So my plan: Early Zoo-tower runs, preferably all three tower runs in a row.

Ergogenic aid: I normally run without music, but for once I thought that it would maybe be a good idea (research shows that music increases motivation and performance) and brought my iPhone with an up-tempo techno/electronica playlist. It helped!

Before and during the race
Right before the start of the race, I warmed up (very) lightly for 6-7 minutes, short dynamic calf and hamstring stretches, low-intensity jogging, knee lifts and leg curls on the spot, to get ready, but also save my limited energy reserves.

The first start was at 6:00 pm for the half marathon distance (photo below).


At 6.15 pm the 10 km runners started and at 6:30 pm the 6,5 km runners started:

I am not used to races at all (have only tried it once before, 5 km, locally). So I started in a very conservative tempo for the first 150-200 meters to conserve energy and run tactically, but then I thought “no, I will just run as fast as I can, and slow down, when it becomes necessary”. Real amateurish, but the result ended up being o.k. anyway.


As planned, I chose to complete all three tower runs in sequence. Except for the fact that I accidentally ran past the tower entrance and had to run back, all was fine:
I fought my way upwards and jogged down. There was a great atmosphere and people made room for each other in the narrow tower.

I was almost alone in the tower on the first two runs, but on the last run, there was a queue at the top and on the way down with no real chance of overtaking; probably a good thing, there were not much energy left. And a good thing that the heart rate went down a bit before I had to run the last 1½ round.

We had been warned that the Zoo hill could be tough and it was not exactly fun to run upwards (it must have been bad for those poor 21,2 km runners who had to run it six times), but my end of the country is quite ‘hilly’, so to me it was not as bad as expected.


At the top the Zoo-hill you run into the Zoo and (preferably) directly into the tower.

Copenhagen_Tower_Running_Zoo_foto_Henrik_ElstrupCopenhagen_Tower_Running_Zoo_taarn_foto_Henrik_ElstrupPhoto: Talk about surplus energy. A couple of the long-distance runners ran with baby-joggers AND took their child on their backs during the tower run.
There is to you less trained runners!

After ~ 6,5 km and 1092 steps (up/down) later I come gasping towards the finish line.

Copenhagen_Tower_Running_mod_maal_foto_Henrik_ElstrupDrenched in sweat, ugly and heart panting, but feeling good right after having passed the finish line 42:42 minutes after the race start AND after 1) a warm welcome, a medal around my neck and a 2) recovery snack; apple juice, banana, bun and muesli bar.

After the race: Reward and medal
The fine thing about race events is, that everyone wins just by participating. If you finish the race, you have accomplished something and oftentimes you get a ‘medal’, too. Then you have tried that, great feeling. And normally there is a very wide time frame, so everybody can finish – even in a very slow tempo. So I can only recommend participating in a run/event (this one though, was for serious extreme runners, too, I could tell).

I would have liked to take it easy and just jog along in my usual tempo, but I got bitten by a race bug, and then the race suddenly got disgustingly hard. But I survived.

My reward: A very different experience (and a markedly improved fitness level), a cool medal and my start number with three crosses for three completed tower runs.
I will save this for a while to remind me of a (to me) challenging and surprising (tower) run.


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DR LEV NU: Vanvid eller vanvittigt spændende nyt motionsløb

Holiday fitness: Get Fit, Keep Fit or Boost Your Fitness

By Marina Aagaard, MFE
Holiday fitness? A hot topic right now. So here are five fab methods for fitness and exercise on your holiday; for the super exerciser, the recreational exerciser or the (almost) physically inactive …

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Get fit on holiday

Not fit or healthy at all? Then this is for you:
You have to start somewhere / sometime and your holiday is as good as time as ever.
If you are used to doing nothing exercise-wise, then start with just a little bit every day:

1. Move a bit more; than you do during every day living, walk and stand more, take the stairs, not the elevator.

2. Add extra activity; use every excuse to move a bit further than normally (e.g. go to the ice cream store at the far end of the beach).

3. Go for walks: Take a lovely morning or evening walk and get some extra free sight-seeing at a time, when it is nice and quiet.

4. Try out exercise or sports activities: Use your holiday to try some brand new activities, not only for exercise, but for new experiences; e.g. aqua aerobics, hiking, badminton, zumbafitness, (water)bikes, canoeing, etc.

5. Eat healthier snacks. Holiday is holiday, but leave out or replace the most severe calorie-loaded temptations by other alternatives, so it is possible to keep your present weight on your holiday. Also it pays off to “neutralize” the side-effects of steaks, drinks and ice cream with exercise …

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Keep fit on your holiday

Are you used to being fairly healthy and doing some exercise, e.g. 3-4 times a week? Lucky you; you have many options for keeping your fitness level, while on holiday.

1. Maintain fitness with a single bout of high-intensity training: Have an all-out holiday – also from exercise – but with one workout in the middle of your holiday week, a workout with high intensity (heavy/fast) or maybe moderate intensity and long duration.

2. Train short and sweet (hard), time-efficient, with circuit training: Do 2-3 workouts on your holiday, with intense circuit training.

3. Train as usual, but with variation: Train as you are used to, 3-4 times, but with novel exercise variations in your usual program.

4. Train more, but in different ways: Be extra active all through your holiday, but with complete different activities; horseback (or camel) riding, water polo, beach volley, kayaking, hula hooping, rope jumping or lap swimming.

5. Eat strategically. Holiday is holiday, but should you choose to accept … a fattening snack, then combine with an intense workout on the same day (before or after) and be a little more healthy the next day.

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Boost you fitness on your holiday

You are used to working out, either very often og very intensely, and you want to improve your fitness? When away on holiday, locally or abroad, there are sometimes special opportunities, which you can take advantage of.

1. Increase difficulty (and/or intensity). If you are used to running, then run the same distances, but under more difficult conditions, in the sand on the beach or in rugged terrain (watch out for obstacles)

2. Increase intensity (or duration). If you are used to cycling, then cycle the same distance under more difficult conditions; harder terrain, e.g. in hills or mountains or go for extra long rides in new surroundings.

3. Train with other equipment, in different ways. If you are used to resistance training, then work out as hard as you can facilities allowing at your holiday hotel/resort; gyms with other equipment than you are used to, or old, worn facilities with only basic equipment, benches, bars and dumbbells etc. or outdoors with racks, bodyweight, logs or stones (e.g. try throwing exercises).

4. Give your body diverse challenges. Replace 1-2 regular workouts with parkour or obstacle course racing (on proper courses or at playgrounds): Overcome obstacles, do balancing and lift, push and pull yourself up and forward in different ways.

5. Give your body and your mind some variation. Push yourself with different activities involving other muscles than usual; open water swimming, sailing, SUP, inline skating, climbing, rappelling, table tennis, formal dance, soccer.

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Bonus tip
Exercise should be followed by quality sleep and adequate recovery; speed up recovery by having a massage, hammam, thermal bath, jacuzzi, sauna or other wellness activities.
Try it on your holiday; your body will love it (check out: Global Wellness Travel Guide).

Happy holiday!

Wellness Travel Around Cyprus: Sun, Sea and Some Serious Sightseeing

By Marina Aagaard, MFT. Photos: Henrik Elstrup and Marina Aagaard

A beautiful and interesting place for a holiday: Cyprus. Take a tour around the country, check out the coastline, walk, swim, dive or surf, hike or bike in the mountains. And of course visit Pafos, the former Roman capital, on the UNESCO World Culture Heritage List. Pafos, along with Aarhus, Denmark, is to be European Cultural Capital 2017.



Cyprus, Kýpros, (Cyprium and Cuprum), meaning copper. It is the third-largest island in the Mediterranean in the north-east part near Turkey. The population is approx. 858.000 (2014). The currency is Euro and the official EU-language is greek.

The island is divided in two, a Greek and a Turkish part, which is seen in the capital Nicosia which has a barbed-wire-and-oil-barrel-lined border. It is possible for tourists to pass the border via a checkpoint.

Cyprus has had a turbulent history, which goes back to the antiquity. The area around Pafos, in the east of the island, is well-known for its sights related to the goddess of love, Aphrodite.

Cyprus used to belong to the Roman Empire and later on Italy and in present times, from 1878 to 1960 (Independence Day 1.10.) it was under British administration, which is still clear around the island, e.g. you drive in the left side of the road and the plugs are British standard (remember your adapter).


Cyprus has a subtropical Mediterranean climate with 340 days of sunshine per year and apparently the area around Pafos has the warmest climate.


Cyprus has some very nice beaches (with brownish sand); some of the most popular are found 6 miles north of Pafos in the Coral Bay area.

The middle of the country is dominated by mountains and leafy forests.



Pafos city, approx. 32.754 inhabitants (2011), is a mix of ‘small tourist city’, with Pafos airport nearby and ‘cultural wonder’ with many archeological sites and mosaics, all of the city is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.


Pafos, situated on a hill, has two parts:

Pano Pafos, the old or upper Pafos; the city centre, where the locals live, with many small shops and boutiques.

Kato Pafos, the new or lower Pafos, near the harbour, here are both historic sites and brand new tourist areas with hotels, shops and restaurants.

Cyprus_Pafos_Kings_Avenue_Mall_photo_Henrik_ElstrupPafos_Agia_Kyriaki_Church_Henrik_Elstrup   Cyprus_Pafos_Agia_Solomoni Catacomb_photo_Henrik_Elstrup

The signs for the amazing sights are puzzling in places, but don’t give up. Keep looking.

You can easily get around in Pafos on foot. And taking a bus from the bus station to the surrounding cities is very easy. You can also take a taxi, but it is not all that cheap and you have to agree on the price in advance.

Cyprus_Pafos_UNESCO_site_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog   Cyprus_Pafos_Amphi_theatre_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog

By the harbour in Kato Pafos you find the entrance to a very large site; The archaeological site of Kato Pafos, with remnants from various time periods.


Even if much has disintegrated, there is a beautiful amphi theatre and som impressive mosaic floors from e.g. Dionysos’ villa. The place is worth a visit.

Cyprus_Pafos_Castle_Henrik_Elstrup  Cyprus_Pafos_Castle_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog

In the harbour area you also find Pafos Castle, a small fortress-like castle – and next to it a long beach promenade with modern benches.


On your way out of the city a little over a mile to the north, you find Tombs of the Kings, (several from around 400 BC), another UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

Fitness and wellness

For exercise lovers there are ample opportunities for walking, e.g. Avagas Gorge north of Pafos and Coral Bay, and running and cycling on the narrow mountain roads is also very popular. And Cyprus is a haven for diving, windsurfing, kite surfing and fishing.

Around Cyprus and in the hotels you will find small fitness centres and in and around the major hotels also pools and spa facilities.


Aphrodite’s Rock

All of the area around Pafos has been a centre of the cult of the goddess Aphrodite, which is said to have been born by the sea.


Close to Pafos is Petra tou Romiou (the rock of the Greek, above) called Aphrodite’s Rock, because it is considered the birthplace of Aphrodite.

A few miles to the north is Kouklia, where you find the Sanctuary of Aphrodite. A large archeological site and a small museum with selected findings.


Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus. Nicosia, is the Greek name, Lefkosa or Lefkosia, is the Turkish name as seen on many road signs. Nicosia is over 4500 years old and has been the capital since the 10th century. It was divided into a Greek and a Turkish part in 1963.
There are approx. 286.257 inhabitants (2011)

Cyprus_Nicosia_Street_cars_414X2350   Cyprus_Nicosia_Wavehouse_414X2394Cyprus_Nicosia_Street_Henrik_ElstrupCyprus_Nicosia_Square_w414X2355         Cyprus_Nicosia_the_Gym_414X2364

Limassol (Lemesos)
Limassol, Turkish name, or Lemesos, Greek name, is the second city of Cyprus with a population of approx. 101.000 (2011).

This city by the southern coast is a very important tourist city. It can be reached via Pafos or Larnaka airport.
It has a long impressive harbour promenade and behind this, there is a small city with pedestrian streets, shops, restaurants and coffee shops.

The port to the south of the city is one of the busiest in the Mediterranean area.

The Marina close to the city centre is under development and is super modern and elegant with brand new architecture and popular European fast-food restaurants such as Wagamama, Fridays, a.o.

Cyprus_Limassol_Marina_Architecture_Henrik_Elstrup       Limassol_414X1839-2Cyprus_Limassol_Boardwalk_w414X1856Cyprus_Limassol_Marina_Henrik_ElstrupCyprus_Limassol_Marina_414X1704-2Limassol_medieval_castle_Henrik_Elstrup

To the west of Limassol lies the Kolossi castle built in 1210. A very small fortress-like castle, but apparently a popular tourist site on the island.


Larnaka is a tourist city on the south-east coast and the third city of Cyprus with a population of approx. 84.591 (2011). It has the second-busiest port on Cyprus and is a popular windsurfer paradise during autumn.
Some popular sights are the Kamares Aqueduct, a fortress from the middle ages, the Saint Lazarus church and the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque.

Cyprus_Larnaka_Abandoned_Turkish_Mosque_414X1381 (1) Cyprus_Larnaka_square_414X1365 (1)

Agia Napa (Ayia Nappa)
A very popular tourist town by the coast in the eastern part of Cyprus; a city with lots of hotels, restaurants, bars and attractions. Beach and party are keywords around there.

Cape Greko 
A few miles outside of Agia Napa on the easternmost tip of the Greek part of Cyprus, there are some beautiful coastal areas and sea caves. If you can find them … the road signs are minimalistic, so keep a keen eye on the road side.


A few miles to the north close to Lefkolla, you will find a nature-made bridge and a small church and a grotto (photo at the top of this post).



Troodos Mountains

Troodos mountains is a beautiful area in the middle of the island. The highest point is Mount Olympus, 1.952 m.o.h. – a ski resort with four pistes only.

Do not go to the top, though, as it is occupied by a British radar surrounded by barbed wire. If you want to see the views, take one of the lower paths.


From here you can walk, 30-45 minutes, to the water falls, Milomeris and Kaledonien.


Kefelos bridge; a beautiful stone bridge, hiding behind the trees. Walk a 100 m from the parking lot along the gravel road to find it.

Cyprus is surrounded by water and has several rivers, still it is a dry country. So large dams and reservoirs have been built to provide water to the inhabitants (photo: Asprokremmos Reservoir and Dam).


A small town with several hotels to the coast, a rocky coast with dangerous waters, however, by each hotel there is a small cove, a private beach.

Here the coast by Queens Bay Hotel (base camp).


Coral Bay
Coral Bay is a real tourist town with lots of hotels and restaurants catering to different tastes. Here andria restaurant for meat-lovers.

Cyprus_steak_IMG_2702 Cyprus_Food_IMG_2692

A few miles to the north, there is a bay, where the water has carved grottos into the cliffs, sea caves. You can walk down to the rocky beach across from the sea caves, but beware and stay clear of the edges: Smaller and larger bits of rocks fall every day.

Cyprus_Sea_caves_beach_wIMG_2720     Cyprus_sea_caves_wIMG_2709 Cyprus_Sea_caves_sunset_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog

If you continue north, you get to Polis, a small town with approx. 1300 inhabitants, in the western part of Cyprus, right north of Pafos, by the Chrysochou bay.


From Polis you can go west to Cape Akamas, passing Latchi a popular small fishing town with several fish taverns and boat trips to the Akamas peninsula.

Baths of Aphrodite 

The main attraction on Akamas is the Baths of Aphrodite. The name refers to the entire area, so do not look for ‘the bath’ on the beach, because you will not find it.
From the parking lot go through the park about 300 feet. There, among the trees you find a small grotto with a tiny water wall. From here you can follow the natural paths to the beach and surrounding areas.


On the beach you find a geology supersite: fantastic stones and rocks.


If you have half a day or more, you can walk from here to the Fontana Amoroza, popular bay (diving) area. It does not take that long, but you have to include photo stops. Wear sensible, non-slip shoes.

You can also join a ½ times jeep ride from the parking lot to the Fontana Amoroza. Or:
You can drive on your own, but you need a true 4×4 WD vehicle and very good driving skills. The road is considered dangerous and is not for your average rental car. 


From Polis you can also go to the east. Just before the small town Nea Dimmata there is a small, but spectacular lava beach with an amazing wave scenario.

Cyprus_Lava_beach_Marina_Aagaard_Fitness_blogCyprus_Lava_ beach_Nea_Dimmata_photo_Henrik_Elstrup

If you continue north, past the small town of Pomos, you get to another small town, to the very north of the Greek part of Cypus. In this town, Pachyammos, there is The Church of Saint Raphael. It is famous for its miracles and pilgrims come from all over Cyprus to pray in the hope of being cured.

Cyprus_Pachyammos_The Church of Saint Raphael_photo_Henrik_Elstrup

The church is rather small and from the outside it looks quite plain and modern; it was built in the late eighties replacing a tiny church a few feet away.

Inside the church is breathtaking. Dark and with phenomenal murals in traditional style with biblical stories on most of the ceiling and walls.
Truly a sight worth seeing, when you are in that part of Cyprus.


There is an abundance of things to see and do in Cyprus …

Week Visit or Weekend Trip? Flensburg, Germany

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Exercise should be followed by recovery and longer stints of exercise ought to be followed by longer periods of recovery e.g. in the form of a holiday … if there is no time for a real holiday, maybe a couple of intensive days off will do the job.
Luckily my parents invited my husband and me on a
weekend trip to Flensburg, Germany, just south of the border. A popular shopping destination for Danes in this part of the country.


Flensburg is a nice and cozy city with reasonable prices. Compared to Scandinavian prices they are generally lower. Also the supermarkets have many specialities a.o. lots of organic food.


Flensburg lies 7 km south of the Danish border by Flensburg Fjord in the state Schleswig-Holstein. There are approx. 83.971 inhabitants (2013), which apart from germans include the Danish minority with own churches, schools and libraries.

The city is a commercial town from around 1200 and has a city centre with a small harbour (and museum harbour) and an old part of town with well-preserved old buildings … and novel street art.

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Flensburg_Shoes_art_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog      Flensburg_Streetart_If_I_Only_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog

Apart from art and architectural sightseeing, there are also several small museums, a.o. a rum museum, as well as theatres and libraries. In the summer there is a regatta and festivals and in December there is a Christmas market, so it is a good idea to do some research before heading for Flensburg.

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The town or small city is a university city as per 1994 and also boasts a Technical School and a Naval Academy at Mürvik for all German naval officers.


Flensburg has a long pedestrian street – and smaller streets – with boutiques and shops and department stores. On Saturday mornings there is a fruit-vegetable-flower-and-more-market on one of the town squares, Südermarkt.

Flensburg_shop_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blogFlensburg_Photo_Shop_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog   Flensburg_Marked_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog

Flensburg has many restaurants with hearty and tasty dishes. In that category e.g. Gnomenkeller (Porthouse in Gnomenkeller) – which from the outside is nothing but a door and a very touristy sign – but inside cosy and with special steak menus.

Flensburg_Restaurant_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blogFlensburg_Boef_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog    Flensburg_Laks_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog

Flensburg sightseeing
It is wonderful to get up early. Then you can enjoy a walk or a run, also in a new town. When it is very quit and with hardly any other people in sight, you spot interesting details, when you look up, down or around. Here are a couple of photos from an early Saturday morning walk in Flensburg.

Flensburg_Rooftop_Figurines_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blogFlensburg_street_detail_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog_web   Flensburg_K_doorhandle_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog  Flensburg_Doorhandle_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blogFlensburg_Truck_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blogFlensburg_Glaskunst_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog          Flensburg_Hus_dekorationFlensburg_Camels_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blogFlensburg_Museum_Harbour_Marina_Aagaard_Fitness_blog     Flensburg_Hus_kunst_Marina_Aagaard_fitness_blog

Flensburg wellness
Germany is well-known for its baths and spas and in the Flensburg area there are also ample opportunities for wellness, if you want even more relaxation.

Flensburg fitness
Germany is in the forefront of fitness exercise and has lots of fitness centres, you can check out fitnessstudios in Flensburg, if you are on the lookout for a workout.

Ski and Spa Holiday: Bad Gastein, Austria

By Marina Aagaard, MFE. Photos: Henrik Elstrup and Marina Aagaard

Skiing Holiday in Austria? There are pros and cons. My skiing holiday this year went to Bad Gastein in Austria, my second time there. It is a very special city with lots of spas and a beautiful skiing area.

One advantage of skiing in Austria is that the national parks and mountains are very beautiful and when the weather is good, the skiing is super nice.

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A special advantage of going on a skiing Holiday to Bad Gastein is, that the city occasionally is having skiing and snowboard events and every year in the beginning of february the city is hosting the Red Bull Playstreets, a freestyle skiing event (for pros) in which the city’s historic centre is the centre of skiing on narrow ramps through and over the city. There is a very special atmosphere and some impressive stunts to look at.

The downside of going skiing in Austria is, that the weather and snow is of mixed quality. If you are lucky the sun is shining and the snow is super, however, in latter years, there has been a lot of wind, fog and grey days. Also warmer weather and less snow has resulted in the base pistes being closed.


1) Get ski fit – do ski specific fitness – before going; be ready (for slush or ice).

2) Buy a 5-days-within-7-days lift Card. If the weather gets bad and the lift stations close, you won’t have wasted 30-40 Euros that day. You can always buy extra lift days later if the sun keeps shining.

3) Have a plan for activities, if the weather is poor. Austria has a lot of great spas and public pools. In Bad Gastein there is a large spa; Felsentherme Gastein. Alternatively you can take a train trip to one of the cities close by.

Bad Gastein city
Bad Gastein, until 1996 Badgastein, is a historic old spa town, formerly a fashionable destination visited by royalty and celebrities from all over the World.

The city is known for its spa treatments and idyllic surroundings and there is a picturesque water fall in the middle of the city.


The water in the springs in the Gasteiner valley contains Radon, gas, which is said to have a healing effect on the body; Radon is absorbed by the skin and by inhalation and boosts the immune system. Spa visits in general soothes several chronic diseases. Wellness and spa treatments are offered several Places in town a.o. 2 km inside an old mine; Gasteiner Heilstollen (healing tunnel).


The city looks impressive from a distance with large majestic buildings from yesteryear. Unfortunately a lot of the buildings have been bought by foreign investors, who have left them to disintegrate, so now the city is a strange mix of beautiful, but worn out buildings and really ramschackle ditto, a ghost town look in places, and more modern, ugly buildings.


Still the town is quite popular among tourists (especially skiers and spa enthusiasts). There are many large hotels with spas, e.g. the grand old Hotel Elisabeth Park, which boasts a pool, spa, beauty salon and a tiny fitness centre.

The city has several cozy and nice restaurants as well as bars, the famous Silver Bullet bar, coffee shops, discos and a casino. Furthermore there is a large super market and several shops.


Recommended restaurants a.o.:
Wirtshaus Jägerhäusl, a very cozy restaurant with traditional Austrian food and a friendly staff in Tiroler clothes.
Prälatur in Hotel Elisabeth Park. A small à la carte restaurant with a nice atmosphere, they serve Austrian specialties as well as international dishes.
Restaurant Wildbad in Hotel Salzburger Hof, offering international dishes and fine wines and exquisite meat.

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Wildbad (above), stylish setting, very nice food and a gourmet buffet. A popular place, so you have to book in advance.

Location and journey
Bad Gastein lies in the Gasteinertal in the Salzburg region in the middle of Austria and in the Northern part of the Hohe Tauern National Park; a very beautiful mountain area.

You can fly to Salzburg or Innsbruck and take a bus or go by car.
In Europe you can go there by bus or by car, which is fairly easy.


Bad Gastein is a part of the Ski Amadé area with  860 km pistes.
With the lift Card you have access to other skiing areas (you have to drive there) e.g. in St. Johann im Pongau, Wagrain and Flachau, Schladming and Maria Alm.

From Bad Gastein in Gasteinertal you have access to five Towns/skiing areas with 202 km pistes; Bad Gastein, Bad Hof Gastein, Dorfgastein, Grossarl and Sportgastein, the latter can be reached by bus or car (1600-2700 m a.s.l., open until late April).

It is a nice area for beginners and intermediate skiers, who wants long outings and there are 24 km Black pistes for advanced skiers.

By the lift station Stubnerkogel there are two popular attractions, a panorama point and a suspension bridge.


Location: Bad Gastein is 1002 m a.s.l.
Highest skiing: 2686 m a.s.l.
Lowest skiing: 835 m a.s.l.
Lifts: 48
Cross county skiing tracks: 35 km
Number of pistes: ?
Piste kilometers: 202 km

Black:  24 km
Red:  118 km
Blue: 60 km
Green: 0 km

Ski rental: Yes
Ski school: Yes
Accomodation: Lots of hotels, hostels and Apartments.
Dining: Several restaurants.
After skiing: Yes. Many places.
Fitness: Yes. In hotels.
Wellness: Yes. Several places and thermal baths.
WIFI: Yes, most places
Facilities: Shopping/shops, bars, coffee shops, thermal baths, casino.
Activities: Skiing, snowpark, ice climbing, sled tours, ice skating, paragliding, golf, tennis, hiking, wellness.



You can find more information:

Gastein Ski, Mountains & Spa – the Monte Carlo of the Alps

Gasteiner Heilstollen Bad Gastein

Super Shape in 7 Minutes: The New 7-Minute Workout

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Time-efficient bodyweight circuit training? Here is the New 7-Minute Workout.
Some time ago the “The 7-Minute Workout” was making headlines in fitness media around the World. As circuit training is excellent for allround fitness, fatburning and weight loss and on the Top 20 Fitness trends 2015 list here is a new improved 7-Minute Workout for variety.

The original 7-Minute workout is in reality just one example of a circuit training workout and was provided by the authors of the ACSM article: High-Intensity Circuit Training Using Bodyweight about HICT, High-Intensity Circuit Training.

The 7-Minute Workout is an excellent way of exercising both at home, in the gym and on the road; travel fitness.

However, in fact this workout as well as similar circuit and interval programs are rather:
The 14 Minute Workout, The 21 Minute Workout (20 min. minimum recommended in the ACSM article) or The 28 Minute Workout, when you do a warm-up (which you should) and add extra rounds of the exercise series (which you normally do in circuit training). Even so circuit training is very time-efficient training.


The HICT Circuit training concept is great, however, the original “7-Minute Workout” model as demonstrated in most media including the ACSM Journal could be better I think: The model has more isometric exercises, less functional exercises and a less than ideal sequence.

Recently I was asked to be the ‘workout expert’ on a 7-Minute Workout video, which I accepted as I was allowed to make a New Workout with some small adjustments:

  • To minimize premature fatigue; a slighty changed exercise order.
  • To preserve intensity and functionality; wall squat replaced by box squat.
  • To protect the shoulders and balance the workout; chair dips replaced by back extension (as there were 3 triceps exercises and 0 back exercises).
  • To avoid confusion; reverse plank instead of side plank (do you change side half way or do left side, round 1, and right side, round 2 (= 14 min. workout)?

To remain faithful to the original concept the structure, most original exercises including the isometric exercises are still in. Personally I would leave isometric core exercises for after a circuit workout, as I would like even more intensity, but maybe maybe next time.

Link to Danish video with the new 7-Minute workout. Exerciser: Coach Filip Hansen.

The New 7-Minute Workout

Every exercise is performed for 30 seconds; 12×30=6 min. + extra seconds for change.

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Push-ups
  3. Squat
  4. Ab curl
  5. Step up (cardio version with leg change every step)
  6. Back extension
  7. Lunge
  8. T-push-up (push-up with turn right and left)
  9. Kneelift (jog on the spot, tempo with high kneelifts)
  10. Reverse plank
  11. Box squat (squat, buttocks touch (preferably low box) box lightly)
  12. Plank

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Training tips

  • Warm up for 7-10 minutes; easy jogging, low impact dancing or similar.
  • Repeat the sequence 2-3 times for extra effect.
  • Cool down for 3-5 minutes; walking or similar.
  • Safety: Use sturdy chair or box for stepping. Feet safely centered on the top.
  • Technique: Keep the correct posture and technique in spite of tempo and quick changes; Watch your knees, back and wrists; the workout should feel intense and challenging, not painful.

Happy workout.


Aagaard (2014). Circuit training Programs and Posters.

ACSM: High-Intensity Circuit Training Using Bodyweight.