Outdoor Training by Graffiti: Port of Aarhus Walk

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Outdoor training is always interesting. It provides a chance of sight-seeing.
No matter if you are at home or abroad, there is always something to see.
If you take a closer look.

I am a BIG fan of ports (and the sea), graffiti (not ugly tagging) and exercise.
This day it is a nice 3-in-1 surprise (but no no, no choko Kinder eggs before Easter) as the graffiti was unexpected, but very, very cool. Respect, Grisk, Peter Birk.


Around the corner, in the outskirts of the Port of Aarhus, earlier (during winter):


As I said: I don’t like tagging, especially not, when it is defacing beautiful buildings.
This, however, is street art, I believe, and in an otherwise bleak, remote place:
“A piece of heaven fell from the sky. Luckily the sparrows put it back before anyone noticed”.

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Gloomy looking, but good (interesting views).

Stay Healthy on the Road: 3 Snack Tips for Long Distance Driving

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Going for a long drive by car? For business or pleasure, job or holiday? Then take care. Not only can driving, sitting for hours on end, (and the traffic) be harmful to your health. If you enjoy snacking in the car, this could lead to unwanted effects.


Apart from gaining weight, if you drive often, too much sugar too fast results in low blood sugar shortly after and this can lead to:

  • Fatique
  • Lack of concentration
  • Mood swings

The first two very dangerous, when driving; should this happen, stop immediately and have a rest, a 5-10 minute power nap . The last could lead to anti-social quarreling, if you are on a drive together with others, family or friends, in the car …

For many people driving equals snacking as a nice passtime on the road. But it is all about habits and actually you do not need snacks for your drive.

Top snack tips for extended driving

  1. Put something nice without calories into your head instead:
    Listen to music or an audiobook. Play a word or numbers game. Talk/stories.
  2. Instead of chewing drink a water-based non-sugary drink: Water with added taste. Herbal teas with fruit flavour, liquorice- og chocolate tea a.o. It tastes delicious and satisfies your craving for sugar. Drink it hot or cold.
  3. Do you need to chew (have nutrients)? Make your own tasty whole-grain sanwiches filled with something you like (protein, e.g. eggs, meat, almonds or peanuts); should taste nice, satisfy you, and keep you full for a long(er) time.

Special tip for drivers

A special and important long-drive tip. A tip which may prevent you from eating too much or getting too tired. A tip which may help prevent blood cluts (which is a risk factor, especially for adults and the elderly, when you sit for too long).

Have a rest area rest every or every other hour. Get out and move about a bit..
Hop, jog, twist, shake your body. Or if you have time, do a short (7 minute?) workout.

Have a nice drive.

Fitness and Exercise: Yoga versus Not Yoga?

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Too difficult, too time consuming, too strange? Yoga versus not yoga? It doesn’t have to be either or. Yoga can be a lifestyle or it can be a frequent or less frequent supplement in your training or sports regimen – adapted to your personal needs.

So the choice is not difficult: Yoga.

Yoga can be anything from breathing exercises and meditation over stretching, balancing and resistance training to daily physical, mental and spiritual practises.

You decide how and how much or how little.


For years I thought, that yoga was too demanding and time consuming. Now I practice it fairly often and when travelling it is a very nice and easy way to keep fit and well.

Have you not tried yoga yet? Give it a go, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Sun salutation A for beginners

Sun salutation B for intermediate level

Top-10 Reasons to Visit Aarhus: Second Best in Europe

By Marina Aagaard, MFE. Photo: Henrik Elstrup

Aarhus, second city of Denmark, and also a so-called second city sight-wise; when everybody has seen Copenhagen, where to next? And now second on the Lonely Planet Best in Europe list, too. That’s okay.


The town where I was born and raised, Aarhus, on the peninsula Jutland in Denmark, was recently named among the best places in Europe by Lonely Planet travel guide.
In second place, just before Venice, the most beautiful city, can you believe it?

Lonely Planet: Best in Europe 2016

  1. Peloponnes, Greece
  2. Aarhus, Denmark
  3. Venice, Italy
  4. Dordogne, France
  5. Lviv, Ukraine
  6. Warwickshire, Enland
  7. Extremadura, Spain
  8. Tenerife east coast, Canary Islands
  9. Texel, Holland
  10. Northern Dalmatia, Croatia

Visit Aarhus, it is worth a visit, for an extended weekend trip, or even a week, which would give you time to visit one of the Danish National Parks in Jutland: Vadehavet, Thy or Nationalpark Mols Bjerge, the latter close by (my new neighborhood as it is).

If you decide to stay in the city you can spend a day in and around Aros, the main art museum of Aarhus, which had an amazing roof top added later (60 mio. DKK, 10,7 mio. USD): Your rainbow panorama by Danish-Icelandic Olafur Eliasson (top photo).


Aarhus is a fairly small city – 264,716 inhabitants in the inner urban area and 330,639, municipal population (2016) – has been named ‘City of the Smile’ and ‘World’s Smallest Big City’, especially the latter being reasonable descriptive: Aarhus offer smaller scale sight-seeing opportunities and facilities similar to those of bigger cities.
There is a concert hall, Musikhuset, for opera and classical music, and there is a small, cozy theatre (plays in Danish, though) as well as exciting modern dance scenes.


Aarhus has a festival week, Festugen, first week of September every year. There is an abundance of music, dance and plays in many genres. A lot of the events are free. There are also many beer stalls and tents, some with live music, during festival time making the event and city a bit loud and messy in some places. (photo: Sculpture by the Sea 2015).

The city has affordable – not supercheap nor overly expensive – offers for shoppers from visiting cruise ships and elsewhere. Exclusive top brands like Prada, Gucci and Hermes may not have shops in Aarhus, but you can get Danish design fashion, jewellery and art.


Top-10 Reasons to Visit Aarhus

  • Worldclass architecture, old and new, some street art
  • Great museums: Aros, MOMU (photo), Den Gamle By (open air museum) a.o.
  • Michelin food, quite a few star restaurants (see list below)
  • Nice quarters, e.g. Latin Quarter with designer fashion and organic food
  • Port, akward infrastructure, but nice anyway and with two little marinas
  • Great music and dance, not only local stars; also international guests
  • Pedestrian streets with coffee shops, bars and small restaurants
  • Shopping, Danish design fashion, furniture, art
  • Fairly friendly people; Danes may look ‘busy’, but do ask, give us a poke
  • Great surroundings, bay area, forrest and fields

Come and see us : – )


Top-10 Aarhus Restaurants

Restaurant Frederikshoej
Michelin starred restaurant Restaurant Frederikshoej is in the top-league of Danish gastronomy, thanks in no small measure to the prize-winning celebrity chef Wassim Hallal. Restaurant Frederikshøj became a star in Guide Michelin Nordic Cities 2015 and again in Michelin Nordic Guide 2016.

Restaurant SUBSTANS
Michelin starred restaurant 2016. Restaurant SUBSTANS had a star in Guide Michelin Nordic Cities 2015 and again in Michelin Nordic Guide 2016

Restaurant Gastromé
Michelin starred restaurant In Restaurant Gastromé you can experience gourmet country-inspired cuisine at Michelin-standard. Once again the restaurant recived a star in Michelin Nordic Guide 2016. The two chefs’ philosophy translate into their wine, food and quality.

Guide Michelin Bib Gourmand. Guide Michelin also awards the Michelin Bib Gourmand, and two restaurants in Aarhus have received this award which is designated to restaurants which serve exceptionally good food at moderate prices.

Restaurant Pondus
Michelin Bib Gourmand Restaurant Pondus was awarded a Bib Gourmand in Guide Michelin Nordic Cities 2016, given for high quality food at affordable prices. At restaurant Pondus the focus is on modern and simple Danish cuisine combined with ecology and Danish commodities. With a feeling of french bistro.

Restaurant Haervaerk
Michelin Bib Gourmand Restaurant Hærværk was awarded a Bib Gourmand in Guide Michelin Nordic Cities 2016, given for high quality food at affordable prices.
The commodities dictate the menu. Unpredictability, free hands and solid craft is what characterize this restaurant.

Ratings in Guide Michelin. In addition to Michelin stars and Bib Gourmand awards, several restaurants in Aarhus are rated in Guide Michelin Nordic Cities 2015, which only recommends the very best of restaurants in Scandinavia.

Nordisk Spisehus
Delicious Scandinavian cuisine and wonderful wines at the critically acclaimed Nordisk Spisehus eating place – in the heart of Aarhus. A true Scandinavian gastronomic experience at its very best, when its team of top chefs, including members of the National Culinary Team of Denmark, compose luxurious Scandinavian menus which are always prepared from fresh seasonal produce.

Kähler Spisesalon
Prizewinning open sandwiches in a unique setting At Kähler Spisesalon you will immediately sense the passion and love for Kähler’s world-famous ceramics. The unique ceramic design of Kähler converges elegantly with the classic and modern Danish dishes on the menu.

Hotel & Restaurant Ferdinand is placed on Åboulevarden in the centre of the city. Ferdinand was named the best Danish brasserie of 2009 by Den Danske Spiseguide (The Danish Restaurant Guide). Gourmet dinners, high quality combined with simplicity and elegance. Includes dishes in all price classes. In addition you can also choose from a large assortment of wines.

Enjoy an exclusive dinner at Castenskiold – Food & Nightclub. Their main concept is the new initiative which should invite everyone to culinary curiosity. They have made more room at the tables so the shared food experience gets elevated without having soaring prices.

Froeken Koch
Classic cuisine with care & consideration Overlooking the Marina in Aarhus and in a simple black and white setting that is warmly illuminated by copper lamps, you will find “Frøken Koch”. A popular restaurant by the local Koch Brothers’ where they serve classic Danish cuisine. They will serve you a full plate of simple, honest and no-frills food that is expertly prepared and served with the unique care and consideration that is characteristic to the Koch Brothers and their varied restaurants.

There are actually many more restaurants with very nice food, indian, persian, vietnamese, japanese, thai, greek and more, as well as these:

Restaurant ET
French restaurant in Aarhus, mentioned in the 2015 Michelin Guide.

Restaurant MASH
American steak restaurant in Aarhus, reviewed in the Michelin Nordic Guide 2016

Brasserie Belli
French restaurant in Aarhus. Reviewed in Michelin Nordic Guide 2016.

Danish restaurant in Aarhus, mentioned in the 2016 Michelin Guide.

F-Høj Deli
Café and deli in Aarhus, mentioned in the 2016 Michelin Guide.

And a personal favourite for a wonderful Sunday Brunch with a lovely view:

Goumet restaurant just outside the city centre. Run by master chef Palle Enevoldsen (earlier together with Michelin chef Wassim Hallal). Very nice restaurant by the bay.

Bon Appetit!


Stability Ball Workout Design: Working out with the big ball

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Swiss ball or stability workouts are fun and effective and provide variety as part of a general exercise program. The ball workout format is the same as other workouts for personal training or group exercise. 


The workout can have a traditional resistance training format with 1-3 sets of 6-10 repetitions of each exercise, from 6-16 exercises depending on difficulty and intensity. And a 1-2 minute rest-pause between exercises. Or:

The workout can be performed as circuit training with 8-12 exercises and 30-60 seconds of each exercise (or 6-12 repetitions of each exercise) for 1-3 rounds.
All exercises should be adapted for the purpose and the person(s) working out.

Exercise suggestions

  • Squats and lunges with the ball as a prop
  • Chest and triceps via push ups
  • Lat work via roll outs
  • Back extension
  • Ab curl and oblique curl
  • Bridges and alternating superman
  • Planks and side planks

The structure may vary according to needs and preference, but here is an example of a group exercise swiss ball or stability ball class:


Part of class | Duration | Music tempo

  • Introduction | 1-2 minutes | No music
  • Warm-up | 5-15 minutes| 120-130 BPM (or no music)
  • Cardio (optional) | 20 minutes+ | 120-135 BPM (or no music)
  • Resistance exercise / balance | 20-60 minutes | 90-130 BPM (or no music)
  • Cool down / stretching | 5-15 minutes + | < 110 BPM (or no music)
  • Outro / closure | 1-2 minutes | No music

A typical swiss ball / stability ball class has no cardio section as this is not the primary focus, but it is possible to have som fun and/or challenge drills for light cardio work.

For more exercises:

Stability ball exercises (500 exercises for cardio, strength, stability and flexibility)

Dream Travels and Travel Dreams: Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in the World

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Travels, Best in Class, is the headline of a section in the local newspaper, today. It contains lists of best things related to travelling. It takes a travel fan, me, less than 250 milliseconds to open this section.


The first list is about the most beautiful places in the World. American travel magazine
Condé Nast Traveler has named the 50 most beautiful. This newspaper lists Top 10.

The number one spot is Cappadocia in Turkey. It may not ring a bell, but think balloons floating over strange lava mountains, then the place probably comes to mind.

Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in the World (Condé Nast Traveler)

  1. Cappadocia, Turkey
  2. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
  3. Mù Chang Chái, Vietnam
  4. Algarve-coast, Portugal
  5. Iceland
  6. Palawan, philippines
  7. Vence, Italy
  8. Ashikaga, Japan
  9. Brecon Beacons, Wales
  10. Dessert, Namibia

A quick search reveals that these are truly wonderful places often seen in magazines and on television. Personally I have only visited two of the places: Iceland – twice as a fitness workshop presenter – and Venice – four times with work, family and husband.
Iceland and Venice really are beautiful and dream travel destinations.

This summer the family holiday of this year goes to number four on the list, Algarve, Portugal, so I am looking very much forward to that. The other destinations are a little out of the way in every respect, so they have to be travel dreams for now.

Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in the World (my view so far) 

  1. Norway, West-coast and more
  2. Greenland, Thule
  3. Tanzania, Kilimanjaro National Park
  4. USA, Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon
  5. Italy, a.o. Dolomiti Mountains, Venice and Rome
  6. Iceland
  7. Montenegro, a.o. Kotor
  8. Mallorca, a.o. Cuevas Arta
  9. Cyprus, coastline
  10. Croatia, a.o. Plitvice Lakes

Most beautiful city: Venice. A unique place with 117 tiny islands separated by numerous canals with condolas and 431 small bridges. Picturesque, narrow alleys and lively squares with pigeons and people; marked by time and with an unreal fairytale-like atmosphere, especially early in the morning. A must-visit part of the world.

Venedig_Venice_Venezia_leaning_towers  Venedig_Venice_Venezia_Canal_Grande_and_GondolasVenedig_Venice_Venezia_Bridge_of_Sighs   Venedig_Venice_Venezia_Leaning_BelltowerVenedig_Venice_Venezia_PIazza_San_Marco  Venedig_Venice_Venezia_Canal_and_BridgeVenedig_Venice_Venezia_San_Marco_Basilica

Happy weekend and holiday.

10 Question Fitness Quiz: Are truly you fit enough?

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

You body is phenomenal. It has the capacity for incredible feats. There is a latent, potential, power surplus, which comes into force, when needed.
Furtermore you can condition your body to perform better – perhaps even super good – in general. Start making yourself superfit from now on.


Does your body perform as well as you would like it to?

If yes. That is great; build on that or maintain that status.

If no. No worries. You can do something about it.

No matter who you are and what your fitness level is: Ask yourself these 10 questions:


Do I have:

1..Good stamina? Can I walk, run or cycle very far, for long, without problems?

2. Good cardiovascular fitness? Can I sprint or stair run (without stopping (too soon))?

3. Good strength? Can I lift myself and heavy objects, jump high or squat deep?

4. Good strength-endurance? Can I carry things (bags, rucksacks) around for hours?

5. Good mobility? Can I move freely? Are my movements unrestricted?

6. Good balance? Am I stable on one leg and in end ranges of motion?

7. Good motor control? Can I coordinate arms and legs, follow a rhythm, catch a ball?

8. Good agility? Can I get around quickly and easily; up, down, under, over with ease?

9. Good adaptability? Can I switch with ease; light, heavy, slow, fast, inside, outdoors?

10. God mental capacity? Am I positive, balanced, motivated and focused?

Score | Number of yes-answers:

0-3 Good. You have room for improvement. Start by strengthening weaker areas.

4-7 Better. You have potential. Work on improving both stronger and weaker areas.

8-10 Best. A strong base for top performances; maintain or progress (great for brain) .

Action: Act now:

During everyday living as well as sports all the above capacities are important to varying degrees. And in special sports, leisure and travel activities you will find, that a good performance in these areas will ensure better, more fun experiences and less risk of low energy levels, poor performance or even acute or overuse injuries.

Sometimes life challenges you with mentally or physically taxing situations.

The more prepared you are, the easier and more enjoyable everything is.
Become your very own ‘Ninja Warrior’.

Do not get caught off guard. Start moving your body in a variety of (novel) ways; with all kinds of all-round functional movements from today and onwards:

Creep, crawl, walk, jog, wog, run, hop, leap, jump, lift, pull, push, heave, swing, hang, climb, throw, catch, balance, twist and more.

You do that already? Then seek greater challenges.

You can almost always move or lift more than you think.

Have an even better workout – at home or on the move!