3 Simplified Tips for Self-Defense

With the ladies who floated like butterflies but stung like bees

Self-defense skills is an asset that all ladies should have, yet hope to never use. However, danger can lurk in any corner and women must be prepared. Having self-defense skills does not guarantee that you will be unhurt or unscathed in an attack, however it can increase your chance of surviving. Besides having the right skills, learning self-defense can boost your confidence level, improve your fitness level in a fight-or-flight situation (if you need to outrun your attacker), and makes you more coordinated when fighting back.

Self-defense does not have to be complicated. You don’t need a black belt to try to save yourself. Here are 3 simplified tips I learnt from today’s class at Hammerfist Fight Club, in Cyberjaya:

  • Punch with the correct technique

The knuckles on your second and middle finger is the hardest. Use that to punch instead of focusing on the whole fist.

You can also use the base of your palms to jab the upper body like the throat. The bottom part of your palms just before your wrist is actually stronger than your fist.

The tips of your fingers are powerful too. Use it to poke the eyes using all 4 finger tips. Aim for only one eye, and this is enough to distract your attacker.

Elbows are strong and sharp tools too. Keep it close to your side when punching to block kicks or attacks from the side that can harm the ribs and chest.

Getting as close to your attacker as possible to deliver the most powerful punch

  • Find weak points on the body.

They are:

Eyes, throat, the middle of the chest, stomach, groin, mid thighs, knees, shins, ankles.

These points are most vulnerable as it can inflict the most amount of pain to the attacker. So aim for these body parts when attacked.

Here is a brief video that contains information on how to use these weak points, but with slight variation from what we learnt today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsjXVGhDuFU

  • Act swiftly

When facing an attacker, a split second can make a difference. Hesitation gives a window for the attacker to make his next move. Plus, acting swiftly gives the impression that you are confident and not a vulnerable victim.

I hope that these tips are useful for women when they are forced to face an attacker. For a full list of skills, it is best to enroll in a martial arts class where a certified instructor can help to polish your techniques.

\

4 Techniques to Free Yourself

For more info on Kick Boxing, you can read Sarah’s experience here

 

What I learnt when I did not finish a race

I’ve been delaying this entry for more than a week since I came back from “The Most Beautiful Thing” (TMBT) Ultra Trail held in Sabah. If you have been following me on my social media channels, you would have already known that I did not finish the race. I did not put this entry off because I was ashamed there is a glaring “DID NOT FINISH” in the results list, but because I have been thinking really hard about what I learnt when I did not finish a race.

So here are 3 lessons that I learnt when I did not finish TMBT 2017:

  • There is no shame is not being able to finish a 50km race.

When I signed up for the 50km category, I knew that I had embarked on an adventure that I could not possibly forget. It requires physical training and mental preparation. I built up the mileage needed, consistently did LSD (Long Slow Distance) runs every weekend, and trained for the elevation. In fact, I was mentally worn out from doing the same thing every week.

I can hardly recognize my own feet at 48km.

  • No two trails are the same

I am not a stranger to the world of ultra running. This is my 3rd ultra marathon, and I have ran in several long distance trail events. Yet, I was naive enough to think that since I have completed Cameron Trail Ultramarathon 50km last year, I could pull off TMBT, when in fact, TMBT was a totally different game. Mother Nature is unpredictable. TMBT was the race that I have experienced various types of weather: scalding hot and shivering cold temperatures, bright sunny hours and torrential downpours, all in 16 hours. The only thing missing was probably snow and ice. And weather conditions affects the trail – it can be muddy, dusty, slippery, etc

TMBT – The Most Beautiful Thing or The Most Brutal Trail? I choose to believe in both

Hanging bridges like these seemed to be a permanent part of the route. I have never experienced anything quite like this in other trail runs

  • Never underestimate the mandatory items

I utilized everything listed in the mandatory items, except for the emergency blanket. I was especially grateful for the waterproof jacket, headlamp, and blinkers.

Also, never skimp on anything that you think might become useful in a race. Think thoroughly while packing. Personally, an item that I underestimated its usefulness were tissues (wet and regular tissues) and money. Why?

Tissues – You might never know when you need to go. Decent toilets were available at every checkpoint, but for your own comfort and hygiene purposes you will be glad that you carry a tissue. It is also handy when you need to wipe your muddy hands to eat and drink in the trail.

A typical water station checkpoint. At least there were flushable toilets in mini halls like this.

Taking shelter from the heavy rain in one of the checkpoints. Although there were no designated praying areas, at least halls like this was convenient enough for us to pray.

Money – These villagers were really entrepreneurial! Along the route there were villagers ready with cartons of drinks in ice boxes. There were also food too (eat this at your own risk!). Although I packed enough isotonic drink mix and water, but after a long and hard climb a bottle of cold Coke was very tempting, even if it costs more than RM3.00.

How everyone refuels. Only mineral water was provided, because along the way villagers will set up ‘booths’ selling soft drinks.

 

TMBT will be one of the races that I will never forget. I was happy that I was able to participate in it, even though I did not finish it. If you are up for the challenge and a big fan of trial runs, this route is a must.

 

Product Review: Sibaha Swimwear (Bodysuit) for Water Polo

Everyone knows that Nashata’s swimwear is designed with performance in mind, tested by active women who are serious about sports yet still want to remain modest. It has proven to be great for swimming in the pool, and also for the open sea. So for this week, I tested the swimwear for a different water sport: Water Polo.

This review written is entirely my own experience based on my beginner’s knowledge on water polo. I am not an experienced water polo athlete, but I do swim regularly.

If you have no experience in water polo, the easiest way for me to explain is that it is like a game of netball in the water, but the only difference was that you are allowed to move with the ball as long as you are swimming. Therefore, besides swimming, it involves a lot of quick movements such as jumping, diving, passing or blocking the ball.

Here’s how to body suit looks like without my top on top of it:

How the body suit looks like. To cover up, I used my own long sleeve swimming top

The body suit from the front

So how did the body suit fare? I have listed down 3 points on what I think about the body suit:

  • Black is a universally flattering colour and it is easy to match

The body suit comes in black only (However, the Sibaha swim wear sold separately comes in a variety of colours). Black is a slimming colour. I feel less self-conscious walking around in a tight suit especially when I walk out of the water and everything clings to your wet clothes. Black is also easy to match. If you prefer wearing your own top (like I did), you can mix and match with the body suit and have endless of options

Plus point: It has chest and crotch lining so your underwear is not visible despite having those areas stretched out. It is also best worn with a sports bra.

I am at the most left. The body suit is underneath my top, and goes down to my ankles. The top and swimming cap is my own.

  • I am more focused on the game

I am not distracted about any potential wardrobe mishaps that might happen. Through out the game I have witnessed a few unfortunate incidents of ladies tugging or adjusting their clothes to keep their modesty, or having their clothes get in the way of giving their 100% performance. I did not have to stop playing to tuck in my top  or were unable to raise my hands as high as I needed to to catch a ball for fearing my swim wear might float up (which was the case for most modest swim wear).

The body suit in action. Unlike most modest swim wear, I am not worried is the top floats up when I swim or jump or dive because I am covered underneath. No wardrobe mishaps!

  • Stretchable and streamlined

Despite being tight, it is very stretchable. Swim wears are meant to be body-hugging anyways, because that will allow for fast movements in the water. However, for a more modest look, you can always buy the Sibaha swim wear (sold separately) and use it on top of the body suit.

Unlike other modest swim wear that came with unnecessary piping or seams, or skirts that did not serve any function, this swim wear is streamlined. As it was designed with the athlete’s performance in mind, it does not include “frills” or decorative designs that might add weight to the swim wear, which will affect the swimmer’s speed or strokes. I love that it is a single piece with only a zipper at the top, so water can smoothly glide over my arms and legs without any hindrance.

Ready to make my sprinting swim to make sure I get first possession of the ball. Thanks to it’s streamlined design, I can swim as fast as I could.

In conclusion, thanks to this body suit, women who would like to remain modest have no excuses or hindrance to swim and enjoy the water. So, what other water-based activities should I try in this swim wear?

Friendly hills in parks around Selangor/KL

For this week I decided to try something different and hit some elevation instead. This will hopefully make me a stronger runner to hit the hills and add variety to my training plan.

Day 1: Bukit Sapu Tangan, Taman Botani Shah Alam

Total elevation: 230m

Total distance: 6km (Entrance – peak – entrance)

Difficulty level: 2/5 (Very easy)

In a bid to encourage my colleagues to adopt a healthier lifestyle and support my employer’s outdoor event, I found myself back in Taman Botani Shah Alam again for a “hike” at Bukit Sapu Tangan. Disclaimer: “Hike” is a relative term here – If you have been running or a fairly fit person this small hill is very easy.

Riada pants are perfect for leisurely walks like this

Riada pants are perfect for leisurely walks like this

After some quick warm up we proceeded to walk towards Bukit Sapu Tangan. It was still drizzling, and since the route was paved most people walked with their umbrellas too. Some of my colleagues brought their children along too, as the route was kid-friendly.

What I love most about Taman Botani Shah Alam is that you tend to forget that you are still in the city.

After about 1.8km of walking, we reached the peak. It was easy. Unfortunately, there used to be a lookout post at the peak where you can see the whole city of Shah Alam but that facility has fallen into a sad state of disrepair.

No entry to the look out post

Day 2: Gunung Nuang

Total elevation: 1072m (Entrance – Pacat – Entrance), 301m (Entrance – 3km – Entrance)

Total distance: 16.65km + 6km

Difficulty level: 4/5 (Challenging)

Gunung Nuang has always been my favourite place to train for trail runs. Trail runs are never flat and straight, and some routes are technical, and Gunung Nuang provides the perfect terrain and distance to train for trail runs.

Gunung Nuang was challenging, as always. Despite conquering the peak for 3 times, it never gets easier. Mother Nature always throws unexpected challenges along the way, such as rain, fog, and temperature. I have learnt that this is a part of trail runs, which is one of the main reasons why there are loads of mandatory items when entering a trail run event.

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the peak as it was slippery and muddy from the rain. After lunch, we descended from Kem Pacat and make our way back to the entrance point. After a quick change of clothes and prayer break, we continued another small 6km loop from the entrance point. So total mileage for that day was around 23km.

A friend we made on our way down

We spotted a bamboo collector. He will sell these to ‘lemang’ stalls for less than RM1 per bamboo

In the spirit of #bangkitbersama

Day 1 of #bangkitbersama

Distance: 15km
Venue: Larian Sukan SEA 2017, Putrajaya

Swept by the enthusiasm and the spirit to support our marathoners, I headed to Putrajaya to witness our very own Muhaizar and Leo Tan against other South East Asian athletes in the SEA Games 2017. At the same venue there was the Larian Sukan Sea all ready to flag off. I did not register for this event but after a lot of thinking, since I was there to support the athletes participating in marathon that day, might as well I run too. I needed the mileage anyways, it was too hard not to say no to 15km. As I did not pay for the run, I shall reserve my comments about the race to those who are entitled to give feedback ie the participants who paid.

I was not in this picture because I was still running nonetheless, it made me feel so proud to be one of the supporters. (Picture courtesy of Running Malaysia Magazine)

First rule of running in an event that you did not register: Bring your own water, or a whole hydration pack like I did. The drinks at the water station are reserved for the participants only. If you don’t pay, you don’t drink.

Before the run I had the opportunity to witness world-class, professional athletes run for at least 10km. Graceful, yet swift and powerful like cheetahs, their beautiful running form made running seemed effortless. All of these take years of practice and coaching. In my eyes, even the last finisher among the countries were already winners for going all out. I may not have the chance to represent Malaysia in the SEA Games, but at least I can learn to improve myself from watching these athletes. I was proud to hear that Malaysia finished 3rd, behind Singapore and Indonesia. Another medal of Malaysia, yeay!

The front pack was too fast for my camera

Day 2 of #bangkitbersama

Distance: 21km
Venue: CICM Responsible Care Run 2017, Shah Alam

I cannot deny that I woke up contemplating if running again was a good idea. Yesterday’s event was not really a hard run however I woke up feeling lethargic, probably from not taking enough protein and water. However, as another ultramarathon looms ahead, every mileage counts. Plus, Taman Botani Shah Alam was a good, hilly training ground so I knew I had to do it.

Total elevation gained was over 400m. To put that elevation into perspective, running from Gombak to Genting Sempah will give over 500m elevation.

The hills are never going to end in this route, aren’t they

Despite the hilly route Taman Botani is secretly one of my favourite places for running events because of the well-maintained roads and lush greenery inside the park. It was not hot despite running at 9am although it was more humid than usual. However, the organizers prepared water station every 3km so it was sufficient. As I was running, I spotted areas inside the park such as the open theatre and a few facilities that were not maintained which is a shame. The park had many visitors who came there for picnics, cycling, or just walking around with their family, hence the facilities should be fully utilized to maximise the visitor’s experience. There was also a clogged drain or blocked irrigation which lead to a mini-flood on the running route, soaking the participant’s pants and shoes.

No where was it stated that there will be a “river crossing” in this event. Did I miss the memo?

You can’t avoid it too because there is a checkpoint at the end of this road

Probably the organizers wanted to have a feel of trail runs but on road conditions?

Other than that, it was a small-scaled, simple, yet good event because it met my expectations. The water station was sufficient, medic and volunteers were helpful, the quality of the medal, event tee, and finisher tee matches the price point, and Taman Botani Shah Alam is a beautiful venue. Taman Botani, I will be back for more!

Views like this serves as an inspiration to just keep going

 

TMMT 2017 Part 2: The Race

 

  1. The Race Kit collection

Like most trail runs that are situated outside KL/Klang Valley, race kit collection venues are usually held at small towns that has a big hall facility. For the remote village of Merapoh, I guess the biggest hall that they have was located at a school SMK Merapoh. Besides as a race kit collection venue, the hall and school is also a venue for:

  • a race expo, selling mostly mandatory items but mostly energy bar/gel/drinks for tomorrow’s event
  • a camp site and an accommodation site. There are no proper hotels in Merapoh village, hence they encourage participants to pitch their own tent or sleep in the school’s student dormitories. However, we stayed at another town called Gua Musang which is about 30 minutes from Merapoh. Just like Merapoh village, there are no reputable hotels in the small town of Gua Musang but we managed to secure a comfortable and clean accommodation through Airbnb called GM Villa.

“Ummm yeah I think I know what I’m doing” #CampsiteVibes

Told ya I knew what I was doing!

Before we could collect our race kits, we had to go through the mandatory item screening to ensure that we bring all the important items just like any other long-distance or ultra trail events. After collecting our race kit, we also stayed for a while to hear the race briefing. It was not compulsory, however the race director will usually leave hints on some dangerous areas to be extra cautious, changes in cut off times, etc.

In front of the school after we have collected our race kits

  1. The Race Day

Distance: 35km

Highest elevation: 271m. The hills weren’t very technical, so they are manageable.

Route profile:

The starting point was not the same as the end point. Even though the flag off time was 7am, but we had to be at the SMK Merapoh school again by 5am to secure a parking spot, walk a few hundred meters to the 100K and 70K starting line, where there was a pick up truck waiting to transport us about 6km to the starting point.

Off to the starting line we go

Do expect everything, even for 35km. For the shortest route available for this event, there was a little bit of every element; the jungle, the plantations, the river-crossing, small hills, and we get a taste of Merapoh’s caves too. Plus, it was raining the night before so it was foggy even after the sun was up.

No that’s not haze. Foggy conditions up to 9am.

My verdict:

Since I had very minimal training for this event, I found the distance daunting. If it wasn’t for the manageable hills that weren’t very technical, I would have found the race to be quite difficult.

Weather can be unpredictable. It was raining the night before so it was cool and foggy. However, it got hot really fast once the sun was up. Always make sure your hydration bottles are filled at water stations. Isotonic drinks with salt will help too. Most importantly, bring a hat if you predict that you will still be running after 11am.

The view and scene were rewarding. Besides Cameron Ultra, it was unlike any other trail runs I have been to. The 4 hour driving journey to get to run in Taman Negara Merapoh was so worth it. My favorite part of the route was definitely the caves, however here are a few highlights of my 35km journey:

Rubber plantations at the fringe of the forest. We saw rubber tappers collecting latex.

The first cave that we entered

What are trail runs without some fun in the river

More caves! But we didn’t enter this one. Limestone caves seemed to be a popular theme in this route

It’s sad to see deforestation through out this forest. But how does one choose between developing the nation and maintaining the natural ecosystem?

There were at least 3 of these signs through out the 35km route. The organizers had some sense of humor!

Conclusion: If you want to try a long-distance trail running event but not ready to take on ultra marathon distances, TMMT is the one that you should enter.

TMMT 2018, maybe?

TMMT 2017 Part 1: The Pre-Race

I am drafting this out just a few hours before we drive towards Pahang for The Magnificent Merapoh Trail (TMMT) 2017. I will be doing the shortest distance available: 35km. My main motivation to enter this race was because I have never ran in that part of Malaysia before. It is also one of the National Parks in Malaysia. Don’t you just love how running takes you to extraordinary places that you could not think of if you’re just a regular traveller?

The pre-race is always the most exciting yet nerve-wrecking part of the race. What if I didn’t train enough? Did I miss something from the mandatory item? Do I have enough equipment? There are many aspects  To make things more manageable, I have prepared a to-do list to ensure that (hopefully) I have covered everything.

  • The training

I admit that this is one of the areas that I lacked the most. I have not been running any longer than 21km for quite some time, although I do run 5-7 km on weekdays and more than 15km on weekends. Due to my busy work schedule, I had the time to attend my CrossFit class for once a week only, and that is insufficient. Therefore, I had to set realistic expectations for this 35km race: Just finish it within the cut off time (COT).

Training also involves route studying. For my ease of reference, I have printed out the elevation profile along with vital information required. I didn’t print the map because I’m going to be really honest here: I don’t understand maps. As long as I keep up with the crowd and don’t steer off course, I shouldn’t get lost.

Why printing out the elevation profile is important, especially for trail running at long distances:

  1. Your GPS watch will be inaccurate. It will not state the actual distance covered.
  2. Since your GPS watch is not accurate, you have to use a different method to gauge your distance – the elevation. For example, the highest elevation point that you will hit first is at roughly KM8-9.
  3. You will know which checkpoints have drinks/food/bag drop/toilet etc. This is also important if you want to quit from the race as not all checkpoints are accessible by car/ 4 wheel drive.
  4. You will know the COT at each check point to ensure you’re not disqualified

The most cost-effective yet crude method to ‘laminate’ your elevation profile. Sloppy workmanship, but oh well, as long as it gets the job done!

  • Equipment

Always always always refer to the mandatory list as a guideline for packing. They are important for a reason. Many participants take the mandatory list too lightly, but most trail run especially long distances will have a mandatory item check-in to ensure participants comply. Usually, at the race site there will also be several booths selling the mandatory items but at a very high price.

Hence, the packing begins. Luckily, I did not have to buy a lot of new stuff as I can still use some of the mandatory items from Cultra 2016 and my previous trail runs. Here is a #flatlay of the items I will be bringing. In the end, I decided not to bring the jacket. I also added some painkiller and socks into my bag later. Not in the flatlay is also my headlamp.

I think that covers pretty much most of my pre-race to-do list. Time to head off to Merapoh, wish me luck!

Just when you think you can’t get enough of hilly routes…

IMG_0497

His & Hers – Me in Ultra Top while our 2:10 pacer is in Luke Top

When Sis Eliza (founder of Nashata.com) asked me if I would like to join Men’s Health Women’s Health (MHWH) Night Run 2017, I said YES in a heartbeat. I joined the 12km category this time, compared to 21km at the Johor edition because I had plans to run PJ Half Marathon the following morning (Kids, don’t try this back-to-back event thingy at home!) but however, that plan did not materialize because I had a family event.

This is not my first MHWH event. I have been a fan of this event since 2015, and it has expanded ever since. Why MHWH Night Run is one of my favourite running event:

  • Generous contests and giveaway. AIA Vitality and MHWH chanelled plenty of free slots through various groups and organizations, and luckily Nashata was one of them.
  • Exhibition seem to be one of the highlight of the event. Plenty of lounging spots for supporters to just chill and enjoy the night. There were plenty of food trucks too
  • I love the fun, party-like vibe to the event. Meriah!
IMG_0541

Pacers need to fuel up too! Image courtesy of Kyserun Krew

I had no ambitions to renew my personal best (PB) once the organizers announced that they changed the venue to MARDI Maeps. I had experiences running there previously, and it is known for the rolling hills compared to their original route at Putrajaya. Hence, my aim was to just keep going and don’t give in the the hills – just run to enjoy the view, and that’s precisely what I did.

For example:

Enjoying the view #1

IMG_0488

I did not detour to see what they had inside, but the cute statues did catch my eyes

Enjoying the view #2

IMG_0489

The half marathoners had to go in a loop twice, hence this screen was very useful to keep count if they have completed the second loop

And the rest was too dark to be captured. I knew MARDI Maeps has some pretty calming countryside views in the day; you can see horses running around and some cows grazing. However since it was night time and insufficient lighting even the roads became hard to see. Oh well, at least I can’t properly see the rolling hills ahead of me until I started to ascend it.

When I reached the finishing line at around 10pm the crowd was still buzzing and there was no signs of slowing down. We tried several food trucks however I was already exhausted from running, I did not walk around the exhibition area. Eventually, it was time to go back. I went home with a full belly and only good memories about this event, and hope to run for another MHWH event again in the future.

Ending the night by bumping into a familiar face

Ending the night by bumping into a familiar face

IMG_0495

An event will be incomplete without a group photo with them

Making Healthier Choices at Eid Buffets

Do you find yourself…

  • feeling guilty after eating at Eid buffets or “kenduri”?
  • gaining weight?
  • feeling sluggish with low energy?
  • not able to run as fast as you used to?

Then it might be from all those unhealthy food choices that we make during our Eid feasts. We cannot avoid from fulfilling invitations to open houses, especially from friends, family, or relatives that we have not seen in a while. However, we can still make healthier choices. Don’t forget to burn off those excess calories too!

*all tips are adapted from Kevin Zahri’s ebook “Survival Guide – Diet and Exercise During Ramadhan” and “Survival Guide – 20 Hari Raya Tips to Keep That Weight Off”

WebPhotos courtesy of google image and free image banks

 

However, if you do fall into the trap of over-eating, you can always burn off those raya goodies. Here’s a reference of how much your favourite ‘kuih’ or cookies, their calorie count, and how much work out it takes to burn off, so plan your menu accordingly!

Adapted from: Singasports.com/health-fitness/8-hari-raya-goodies

Kuih Serving size Calories Equivalent to…
Pineapple tart 1 piece 82kcal 8 rounds of continous lap swimming
Kuih Bangkit 1 piece 23kcal 5 minutes of jumping jacks
Kuih Makmur 1 piece 57kcal Walking up a flight of stairs to the 10th floor
Honey Cornflakes 1 small cup (approx 15g) 61kcal 20 minutes of yoga or 11 minutes of Zumba
Chocolate Chip Cookies 1 piece 110kcal Weight lifting at moderate intensity for 15 minutes and then row for 13 minutes
Kek Lapis 1 slice (approx 30g) 147kcal Cycling at 15km/hr for 17 minutes
Popiah/ Spring Roll 1 handful (approx 45g) 228kcal 4km run
Spicy Tapioca Chips 1 handful (approx 68g) 317kcal Circuit training with weights/ aerobics class/ other strenuous high intensity exercise for at least 45 minutes

Top 5 hijabis in crossfit/strength training who influenced me

IMG_9784

Women have realised the importance of incorporating weights into their training and work out routine. Not only it will make ladies toned and less flabby, but it will also increase their strength in their day to day activities such as lifting heavy groceries, keeping up with their kids, and running errands. I have listed my top 5 favourite strong hijabis, and provided the link to their instagram account for your ‘stalking’ (i.e. reference) convenience.

IMG_9769 IMG_9771IMG_9770

 

A trainer based in Canada, she shares how she balances her daily life as a mom, fitness instructor, and CrossFit student.

Her passion for fitness inspires me to press that “follow” button on instagram. It’s not just her hobby – it’s a way of life. Her lively posts showed the importance of cultivating healthy habits from young through her kids, such as encouraging them to be active in sports and eating ‘clean’. Hopefully, when I have children of my own I can adopt some of her tips and healthy lifestyle for my family.

IMG_9772 IMG_9773 IMG_9774

A trainer from Malaysia, she became an icon as there are not many hijabis locally who are proud about about sculpting their bodies. She is also passionate about making Malaysians a healthier nation by collaborating with well-known fitness icons and trainers such as Kevin Zahri.

She faced comments from haters regarding her body, but that only made her stronger. Her positive content, humour, and activities are relatable to most Malaysian girls in their 20s and 30s, proofing that strong is indeed successful and beautiful. I hope this will spark more interest and change the perception towards ladies who lift.

IMG_9776IMG_9777 IMG_9775

Based in UK, Nesrine breaks stereotypes by being an instructor at a gym. Not only does she trains weight lifting classes, she also trains muay thai. She is definitely one strong woman that you don’t want to mess with!

Her videos and photos are always fun to see, showing women from various background, shapes and sizes working hard to get fit. Sports can indeed be a powerful uniting tool! Nesrine also proofed that staying modest does not hinder your performance in sports, and she gets creative with layering when she practices muay thai.

IMG_9778 IMG_9779 IMG_9780

Haya Alsharhan is a trainer in the 1st affiliated Crossfit box in Kuwait. She also competes in Crossfit Games Asia Regionals 2013 where she finished as the top 50.

In a world where Crossfit is dominated by women who embraces their muscles in sports bra and shorts, I follow her because she is one of the few professional Crossfit athlete who wears a hijab. Crossfit is a fast-moving, dynamic sport that requires jumping and inversion movements such as handstand push ups and gymnastics. As a newbie in crossfit, I still feel conscious about what I wear as ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ still accidentally happen from time to time when I’m in the box. I take pointers on how she dresses up, because sometimes all you need are minor tweaks to the regular work out clothes so it becomes hijabi-friendly.

IMG_9781 IMG_9782 IMG_9783

A familiar face in the running scene, she requires no introduction as her photos with Nike’s Pro Hijab became sensational worldwide. She does not practice crossfire, however she teaches cycling and strength training as she is also a NTC (Nike Training Club) instructor.

What I like most about her is that she opens up about her personal life as well. It gives a glimpse into the cultural nuances and preferences from the Middle East, which can be studied and further developed into a collaboration. Despite the misleading, conservative images that the main media portrayed, I see immense potential in the fitness industry in the Middle East, and I hope that Mani Rostam continues to be a positive influence.