Avainsana-arkisto: wellbeing

Total weight loss 13 kilos! Follow-up for our fitness test.

Who remembers our blog post from last September about Fitness test truck and body composition measurements? If you have forgotten, you can refresh your memory HERE. Nine months passed, and our motivated and scientifically oriented test group was finally ready for a second measurement, this time in Kuopio. We prepared well for the measurement process: avoiding extra salt and carbohydrates to get rid of the excess of body liquids, wearing light clothes (as light as possible), and leaving from home early in the morning so that we could survive without eating until lunch hour.

On our way to Kuopio! Surprisingly happy even without the breakfast.

The results were good. Our test member Kaisa had probably the biggest work to do in achieving the ideal weight and body composition, but of course, we all wanted to get good results and have some improvement compared to last autumn’s test results. It was very rewarding to see that healthy lifestyle with lots of aerobic exercise, muscle training, and proper diet, finally results in weight loss, muscle gain and reduced fat percentage. In Kaisa’s case, the fat content of the body had reduced by 7.5 kg, visceral fat had decreased by 30%, and the overall health and fitness index had improved remarkably. The Body Mass Index had reduced by almost three units, and all measurements were within the normal limits, finally.

So many good changes seen in the Inbody measurements, when compared to the previous time.

During the winter, also Kukka and Kristiina had been working on improving their fitness – with varying success.

For Krista, the results were well in line with the lifestyle. She lost some weight (3.2 kg of fat and unfortunately, 1.4 kg of muscle tissue). Well, she had eaten less and done lots of sports. However, besides the regular dancing and badminton, Krista did not find time for gym. It shows in the results! During the summer, she’ll be planning to go to gym at least twice a week, hoping that that will have some kind of effect. Then to the other results: Visceral fat was reduced by 20%, which was great. Also, the maximal oxygen uptake has increased 20% (from average to very good). Overall, her health seems to be quite good and there is no need to lose any more weight. The Fitness test truck shall come again to Joensuu after four months. It will be interesting to see, what kind of results we get during the summer (and holiday).

What happened to Kukka? “Need to increase weight by raising a bit of muscles and a even more fat” was said in the previous evaluation. Well, the muscle and bone mass had increased, which is a good thing. With increasing the fat, she was not so successful. ”I’m not sure if I really want to carry recommended 15 box of butter”… Anyway, we think that living at countryside by doing things like digging, carting, lifting, running and so on keeps whoever in a good condition.

We were so happy about the results that we directed ourselves for a pizza buffet lunch and continued analyzing our results there. We combined this day with a trip to countryside, where we had an opportunity to pet the cute horses and dogs. Kaisa had a bunch of energy left, so she continued with the sports theme!

After all the hard work, it’s time for pizza. Note, we took also some salad.
A stopover in countryside. It was the first summer day for this year!

 

Photos by Kaisa Figueiredo and Kukka Pakarinen

Good coffee makes a day! Which brands are our favourite?

In our laboratory and office we do high-quality environmental research, but nothing gets us awake to a new working day better than a good coffee! Fresh made coffee has become an important part of our daily routine and little by little we have created a semi-scientific approach to coffee brewing and tasting. We brew our coffee two to three times a day using a basic French press coffee maker and an electric water boiler and normal tap water, which originates from ground water in the Joensuu region, known for its good qualities and excellent purity. In our opinion, coffee has its optimal taste when enjoyed on a ceramic or clear glass coffee mug. Our favourite type of coffee is dark or medium dark roast, and we appreciate organic coffee and ecological and fair trade values, independent on the origin country. We also enjoy tasting new coffees and never stick to one particular brand or type for more than one package at a time. Together with the coffee we always use milk, preferably Arla´s Café-maito or any other whole milk available. Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk is a no-no with coffee. Our department has a shared coffee room where coffee is brewed constantly throughout the day, but we have decided to stick to our own routine and preferences when it comes to coffee and its additives. This has led to several curious co-workers passing by our office after having smelled a delicious scent of good coffee in the corridor outside of our office.

A couple of months ago we came up with an idea to taste new coffees that we had never tasted before. We sent email to some coffee roasters in Finland and asked them for advice for coffee selection. Two of them kindly offered us some of their coffees for tasting, and so we put up an official female scientist’s coffee tasting club at the office number 368. Our high-qualified test group will be introduced here: Krista Väänänen has always been a tea drinker, but after moving to our office and getting under the influence of other coffee drinkers, she has also started to appreciate good morning and after lunch coffee. Kukka Pakarinen, instead, is heavily addicted to coffee and cannot start her mornings without a strong coffee shot, otherwise she would get doctoral withdrawal symptoms. Kaisa Figueiredo, the 3rd member of our tasting team, has been married to a Brazilian for almost 10 years, and therefore good coffee comes for granted in her family.

The free samples that were kindly sent to our coffee tasting. Left: Kaisa with package from Paulig. Right: Kristiina with Kaffiino coffees.
The free samples that were kindly sent to our coffee tasting. Left: Kaisa with package from Paulig. Right: Kristiina with Kaffiino coffees.

Oy Gustav Paulig Ab kindly sent us two packages of their UTZ-certified coffees: Mundo (roasting level 3, on a scale 1 to 5) and Brazil dark roast (level 3½). Kaffiino roastery offered to us two different coffees from their quality selection: Guatemala Huehuetenango and Colombia Woman´s Coffee Project, both with roasting level 3. Additionally, we bought one package of Arvid Nordquist REKO, Meira’s Kulta Katriina dark roast premium, and Paulig´s new city coffees café New York and café Havana to complete our test procedure. As an extra bonus sample, we had Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee brought directly from the United States of America, where one of our group members went on a conference trip in November. All of these sampled coffees were ground to suit a French press coffee maker and therefore fitted well for our needs.

What can we say about the coffees then? It was difficult to define if one coffee was better than another. Paulig’s Brazil dark roast is a very good coffee for basic everyday use, and we preferred that over Paulig’s Mundo. Although Mundo is organic and UTZ-certified, its flavour did not reach the qualities of the others. However, the city coffees New York and Havana were proven excellent coffees as well. The medium roasted New York has a well-balanced taste and it will be our future favourite to serve in parties and gatherings. Dunkin donuts gave a good boost for upcoming Christmas time, but after all was our least favourite of the selected coffees. Instead of filling the coffee maker with Pumpkin Spice flavoured coffee, we mixed one coffee scoop of that and five scoops of Kulta Katriina’s dark roasted coffee, and still felt the flavour very strongly in our coffee. The taste was rather sweet and artificial, and the coffee itself was a bit too light to our taste.

 Kukka with Kulta Katriina Premium dark and Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin spice coffee.
Kukka with Kulta Katriina Premium dark and Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin spice coffee.

Kaffiino offered us two special coffees, which we immediately felt that were “luxury” for us. Beautiful well-designed packages, delicious scent and a perfect grind for French coffee makers. Both coffees that we received from Kaffiino were very good, but of some reason did not convince us at a first taste. However, from the second taste onwards they tasted excellent, and the only bad thing about the coffees were that they did not last for the whole week. Going back to market selection after drinking these great coffees was a bit disappointing. By the way, did you know that in Kaffiino’s web shop you can buy a large selection of coffees from different origins, and even design your own label for the coffee package? What would be a better Christmas present than a good coffee with your personalized label?

Finns are the people with the highest consumption of coffee in the world, at 12 kilos per person per year and coffee in Finland has traditionally been roasted lightly, brewed with a filter coffee maker and enjoyed pure, or with sugar/milk. After all, when it comes to coffee preferences, it is always a matter of taste – some like it espresso-like dark and strong, while the others have it filtered and light, or anything in between. Others buy the cheapest supermarket coffees, while others pay attention on the roast, origin and ecological aspects. We have made our choice and we thank our sponsors Paulig and Kaffiino for offering us a tasting menu from their selections. The winner of the competition is Kaffiino’s gourmet coffee Guatemala Huehuetenango, which definitely was creamy and full-bodied as stated in its description.

Text by Kaisa Figueiredo, photos by Kristiina Väänänen

Work wellbeing – scary day with fitness test

There came a day when we heard about the free of charge “Fitness test truck” that was coming to town. This Matka Hyvään Kuntoon kiertue  –was especially directed towards work wellbeing. Since I am the work wellbeing representative in our department, I started advertising. And it was a success, I heard of many people going to take the test.

A fitness test truck - such a great idea.
A fitness test truck – such a great idea.

The test pattern included body composition test (InBody 720), compressing force test and an aerobic test (with Polar monitors). I have taken the body composition test before – and was rather disappointed with my results. Therefore I was rather excited and scared when signing up for the test. The others from our group were strongly against the idea, I was the only one going to take the test.

I prepared for the test with scientific accuracy (and probably a bit beyond that). Took the test in the morning, didn’t eat or drink before it – not even my morning coffee – and wore light clothes. I even reduced the carb and salt intake few days beforehand (this might be the excessive part).

And the test: more muscles and less body fat than the previous time. A relatively bad result from compressing force test (I blame my short fingers, it’s difficult to grasp with them!). But, apparently I managed to inspire the others. More people from our group went there together the next day. We even managed to persuade our trainee to go as well. As a results, some of us had too little fat and some of us a bit too much. There were a lots of muscles and great aerobic fitness to be found. We also managed to found a possible case of edema.

Our long-distance runner is becoming skinny enough to hide behind a tree.
Our long-distance runner is becoming skinny enough to hide behind a tree. Maybe she should eat all our lunches.

And as scientists, it took us a whole lot of time to interpret the results. We weren’t happy for just BMI or body fat percentage. We wanted to know everything about ECF, TBF, ECW and TBW (the parameters for intracellular and extracellular water). We questioned the waist-hip ratio results that didn’t seem accurate. And after a small research we found that waist-hip ratio was actually not a measurement, but “a scientific estimation”.

Have you seen a face of a totally average person before? Here I am!
How to become such an average person? Lots of dance, a bit of gym, great amount of chocolate and daily portions of oat meal.
Encouraging our trainee Risto to have more breaks between the work.
Encouraging our trainee Risto to have more breaks between the work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of us ended up being more motivated when it comes to sports and diet. Better lunch choices, at least for a while. We also enjoyed the comparison between the results. How does a low fat percentage affect to other results? How does the body composition affect to the daily energy consumption (physical activity excluded)? It actually had quite big difference. It was also nice to see that if a person had more muscles, the calculated ideal weight was higher. Good bye to old-fashioned BMIs! I would say that this was an easy test, giving a lot of information to think about.

See you in the spinning class!
See you in the spinning class!

Text by Kristiina Väänänen, pictures by Kristiina Väänänen and Kukka Pakarinen