Fun In The Sun: Stop Being Bored

Salam to all my beautiful ladies.
I pray this blog finds you in your best forms of health and wellness.

Many people are trying to live a healthy lifestyle now more than ever before. Many are looking for that circle of friends that will support this healthy lifestyle. As you know, if we want to build a healthy community and have more health aware circles then we should start with raising healthy children.

As a physical education teacher, I have been searching for the right way to approach my students and encourage them into living a healthy lifestyle and learn how to make healthy choices. The best way I have found is to make fun videos for them and it has done wonders in my teaching so far.

Here is a little fun video I made for my students.
Of course, I never do sports without Nashata being involved. The ultimate meaning if comfort.
In this video I wore the following for the two different characters presented.
– Athleisure and Azza topletics Modest Sports Shirts.
– Hooda Ellipse and Raazglove Sports Hijbs

Enjoooooy

How to be an eco-friendly runner

I was inspired by my recent event called National Geographic Earth Day Run to become a more environment-conscious runner. True to its theme, the run has taken efforts to minimize waste, keeping the environment clean, and ensuring the event is as environmentally-friendly as possible.

As a runner, sustainable living is very easy to start. You don’t have to buy expensive organic food, or turn into a vegetarian (although this is highly encouraged!), or give up your current lifestyle that is accustomed to modern amenities.

These 3 simple tips can help you make the Earth a better place while still enjoying your passion for running:

 

  • Bring Your Own Bottle

This is commonly implemented at trail runs, however it is not yet common for road races. This is a great idea because water stations will be clean without cups littering the road. The only trash collected at the water stations will be mostly bananas or energy gel, and this will minimize the volunteers needed to clean up the roads after an event.

During your long run LSD, bringing your own bottle ensures that you remain focused. You can save time by not needing to stop at convenient stores along your training route. You are also free to plan your own routes without worrying if you have enough water to sustain the long run training.

Water station at this event was one of the cleanest that I have ever seen.  There is almost no trash!

Any water bottle will do, however it is advisable to invest in a bottle that has a handle or belt attached. Keeping your hands free will make your runs significantly more comfortable.

  • Buy your supply in bulk

Instead of buying single servings for your energy gels, energy drink, and recovery drink, buy a tub or a bin that will last for several servings. This is a great idea because it will eliminate single-use packaging, such as plastic wrappings. It might be a big amount to spend initially, but the cost per serving will be significantly cheaper.

It is a bit of a hassle since you have to take time to mix your own energy drink/gel. However you will save money in the long run.

Not affiliated with Hammer Gel, but this is an example of how your cost per serving will be cheaper when purchasing in bulk:

  • Carpool to events or training venues

This is a great idea because it cuts down the number of vehicles on the road. Lesser vehicles means decreased harmful gasses emission such as carbon dioxide, which is a significant contributor to global warming. Parking at event venues will be easier too as there were reduced number of cars. Or better yet, take the public transport and you don’t have to worry about parking at all.

Not only is carpooling beneficial to the environment, it is also good for your too. You will save money because you can share the cost of gas and toll. Not to mention, they will have company to ensure that you get to the race venue in time

  • Plus point: Organizers set up recycling bins

Based on my observation, one of the biggest trash sources from an event are the freebies and the refreshment. To tackle that problem, they did not give any bags at the finishing line – just a medal and a fruit. Should participants be interested to collect freebies from the sponsor tents, they can throw the packaging or plastic away inside these recycling bins.

On top of that, this event has carefully selected banana to give away at the finishing line, so they have set up a compost bin (not in this photo) for organic waste.

Jeri Villareal: The Hijabi Iron Woman

Jeri Villareal is a modest and committed triathlete from St. Louis, Missouri. Working in the Information Technology Service Lead, this incredible 41 year-old mother is also an urban farmer. Her races usually include three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines which are swimming, cycling and running or better known as triathlon.

Nashata team regularly received Jeri’s pictures on Instagram account, @nashatadotcom wearing Hooda Sports Hijab while competing in her triathlon events. After following her account @modestlytri.ing for some time we knew that she is one of the amazing sportswomen that could inspire people to live with passion. Let’s follow our interview to learn more about Jeri’s incredible journey.

N: Nashata
J: Jeri

“I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years.”

N: Do you remember your first triathlon? Tell us how you became a triathlete.
J: My very first triathlon was a small local race. It consisted of a 300 yard pool swim, 20 mile bike and 4 mile run. My swim was somewhat slow but steady but I got on my bike and was able to pass a couple of people. Unfortunately, I missed the turn off and ended riding an additional 4 miles. I was so upset but ended up continuing on to the run and finish last. I learned to always review the course before the race. There is nothing worse than getting lost during a competition.

N: What inspires you to become a triathlete?
J: I first started running. Running was something that I never thought I would be any good at. However, I used it as a way to ward off depression that developed for me in the short days of the winter months. Running outside made me happy and in the cool months, my hijab was comfortable. It was a great fit. I found that the more I ran, the better I became and I progressed from running in my neighbourhood, to running a 5K then 10K and half marathons. One day a friend of my family asked me if I had ever considered triathlon. I told her I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years. However she told me that if she could compete at age 60, surely I could compete. I took up the challenge and learned to ride a bike and worked on my swim stroke. 7 months later, I competed in my first triathlon.

N: Where do you usually train?
J: I train at my local gym and also I created a workout room in my basement so there is no excuse for missing my training. I have a treadmill, a bike trainer, rowing machine, resistance bands and weights.

N: Did you have a coach when you first participate in your first triathlon event?
J: At the time of my first event. I did not have a coach. However, I did get a coach soon afterwards.

N: How different is it to train by yourself and with a coach for the event?
J: It is so helpful to train with a coach because they can see the small things that you do that could cause injury or they can make changes to your form so that you are more effective. Also they can give you specific exercises or workout to help improve your particular limitation to help your reach your personal goals quickly.

N: Which is the hardest part of triathlon?
J: For me, it’s open water swim. Especially in a lake. It make me a bit anxious when all I see is darkness in the water. I learned to overcome that fear by swimming in the pool with my eyes closed and only open my eyes when taking a breath. That exercise helps me relax once I get into the murky waters of a lake.

N: How do you tackled getting out of a wetsuit quickly? Is it an issue for a hijabis triathlete?
J: While many triathlons have “wetsuit strippers”, kind volunteers that will assist you in getting out of your wetsuit quickly. I avoid their help with the wetsuit. Their good intentions could result in uncovering more than of your body than you would want. I use a two-piece wetsuit consisting of pants with bibs and then a wetsuit top that goes over that. When I was exiting the water, I can unzip and remove the top without concern of revealing anything and I take the bib straps off of my shoulders. By the time I get to transition, I just have to roll down the pants and slip them over my feet. To me, the two-piece wetsuit is not only easy to get in and out of, it also is less constricting over your chest which can be helpful for those that feel chest constriction with traditional wetsuits.

“The hijab that has truly given me so much freedom in my life.”

N: As a Muslim triathlete who wears a hijab, have you ever experienced bitter moments where people would be prejudice about your religion? Do share your story with us.
J: The triathlon community is a very kind one in general. However I think a very well-meaning woman made a comment that she has seen me at several triathlons and she always “felt sorry for me” because I seems so uncomfortable. I didn’t even know how to respond. The last thing I expected was anyone to pity me for the chose that I made as a Muslim woman to wear hijab. The hijab that has truly given me so much freedom in my life. The comment sat with me for a long time and it really did affect me. I feel sorry for her that she didn’t understand the beauty of hijab.

“A quick conversation upfront can keep you from having a frustrating conversation with race officials on race day.”

N: What is your advice to the other Muslim women who are participating in triathlon event?
J: Speak to the race director to ensure that they are aware that will be competing fully covered. There are sometimes rules about how much of your body you can cover. A quick conversation upfront can keep you from having a frustrating conversation with race officials on race day. You do not need to ask “permission” to practice your religion. This conversation is simply to educate those that may not understand why they can’t write your race number on your leg or your arm. Or why you must cover your legs and arms during the swim when wetsuits are not allowed.

N: When is your upcoming event?
A: I just finished Ironman Cartagena 70.3 on December 3rd. That was my last event of the year. In 2018, I look forward to the local St. Louis Triathlon Olympic distance occurring in May. Later in the summer there is Ironman Steelhead 70.3 and Ironman Brazil 70.3

N: How is your diet like today? Was it different with what you usually have before being a triathlete?
J: Today I follow a fairly paleo diet. I enjoy eating lots of vegetables, some low-sugar fruits, meats and healthy fats but only consume ancient and sprouted grains sparingly me. Sweets are my weakness and I avoid sugar while training for a race. I usually tighten my diet 8 weeks from race day. Before becoming a triathlete I ate so much sugar. It was in everything and I didn’t even realize it. I was always a lover of green leafy vegetables though.

N: Describe the training process for a triathlon. How did you prepare–both mentally and physically?
J: Training for a triathlon means training for 3 sports. Additionally, as an athlete over 40 years old, it is vital to incorporate recovery into my schedule. I have 2-3 weekly swim workouts, 2-3 run workouts and 2-3 bike workouts. One of the workout will be either a speed or strength building workout like hill training or interval speed work. Also one of the workout will be endurance-based like a long run (5+ miles), a long bike (20+ miles) or a straight swim (2,000+ yards). I also do yoga twice per week for recovery and weight training twice per week.
During a heavy training load, 10 hours or more a week, I tend to get deep tissue massages. I also have tried alternative recovery techniques to combat inflammation such as cryotherapy and relaxing in an infrared sauna.

“I wear my Nashata Hooda Sports hijab while biking and running. It is thin and lightweight while keeping me dry.”

N: What do you wear for your triathlon event? Do you prepare specific sports gear for each of the activities?
J: I wear what is called a triathlon kit, which is a one-piece outfit with short-sleeves and shorts. The bottom of this kit includes a thin, waterproof pad for additional comfort on the bike. Under the kit, I have leg coolers and Nashata arm coolers. Each piece is designed for air-flow and a cooling effect. These extra pieces also provide coverage for modesty as well. Outside of the water, I put on a skirt for additional modesty while biking and running.
In the water, I wear polarized, prescription goggles. My vision is poor and these goggles are a lifesaver. While they come in clear and smoke lenses, the smoke lenses are my choice because they keep the sun and glare out my eyes when swimming.
I have bike shoes that have cleats on the bottom to connect my feet to my special bicycle pedals. This allows me to apply for force at a faster rate without fear that my feet will fly off of the pedals. My bike helmet is an extremely lightweight, aerodynamic helmet which is designed for speed and performance.
I wear my Nashata Hooda Sports hijab while biking and running. It is thin and lightweight while keeping me dry. The airflow is perfect for me on the bike because I am usually still wet from the swim.

N: We’ve seen you wearing Hooda Sports Hijab in your Instagram posts. Tell us your favourite Nashata wear.
A: Just one? Honestly, I love all of the options that Nashata provides! However I think Hooda is my favorite because of its practicality. It is also lightweight, quick-drying and provides wonderful airflow. These are all things that are vital to making a triathlete comfortable.

“In Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina, you can practice bike skills such as climbing and descending on the bike.”

N: Where would you suggest new triathletes to go for a practice in The United States? Tell us the nicest spots you’ve ever been to.
A: There are so many options for practicing and building your skills in many areas of the United States. In Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina, you can practice bike skills such as climbing and descending on the bike. This is usually a skill that is built with a lot of practice. The locations have long inclines for triathletes to build their climbing endurance. In Florida, there is an immersive swimming technique class for triathletes that can get them ready for open water swim by practicing certain techniques in the pool. Areas like southern Texas, Florida and California are great locations for triathletes in the rest of the country to practice in the very late or early season due to their mild winters. When it’s snowing in December in Missouri, I can swim outdoors in Orlando, Florida.

“I tried to leave every Colombian I met with a good impression of Muslims, Islam and Muslim women in sports.”

N: Have you ever participated a triathlon in a different country? What was it like?
A: December 3rd, I travelled to Cartagena, Colombia to compete in a Half Ironman. The experience was absolutely amazing. Arriving in the country I immediately noticed that people were very curious about me. They took photos of me and requested that I be in photos with them. The children that watched the race were very fascinated with me and called out to me specifically to cheer me on and told me that they loved me and referred to me as “Aunty”. As a Muslim woman competing in hijab in a foreign and predominantly Christian country, I know I am an ambassador for all Muslims whether I want to be or not. It is an honour that I take very seriously and I tried to leave every Colombian I met with a good impression of Muslims, Islam and Muslim women in sports.

N: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about triathlon?
J: The challenge of triathlon is so great. I enjoy that fact that there are so many facets to the race. You can have an excellent swim and a difficult bike and turn everything around while running. There are people that are good at all three sports or some that find they excel in one particular sport over the other two. Regardless of your level of skill you will never participate in a triathlon and not hear a perfect stranger cheer for you and say encouraging words. When triathletes see someone struggling, that is they cheer for them the loudest. This sport is kind.

N: What is your advice to the new triathletes?
J: Remember that you don’t have to be better than anyone on the course, just be the best version of yourself. Be better than yesterday and keep moving forward.

N: What do you wish for in the future?
J: I would like to work on improving my swim and run times and work on my climbing skills. I believe I can be a better version of myself and look forward to seeing her very soon.

N: We wish you the best of luck in life! Thank you so much for agreeing to do the interview with us. We gained a lot of information from your wonderful experiences.
J: Thank you so much!

Sometimes we are too busy competing with other people that we overlook what’s truly important, to be the best version of ourselves. Be better than yesterday and keep moving forward. Thank you Jeri for the wonderful reminder!

Weight Loss – Tips for Dieters

Weight loss journey is more of a mental challenge. Being mentally prepared is key that will help you stick to your journey on the long run and adapt to a healthier lifestyle.

Here are some tips that you need to tap into to make your weight loss journey manageable:

  • Think of your self as a think healthy person. Skip all the negative thoughts about feeling that you don’t deserve to be in this journey or how will you achieve your goals.
  • Eat health food that will feed your body not the food that will feed the fat.
  • Avoid dinning outside at least the first two weeks of starting your journey. This will help you to tap into a healthier lifestyle.
  • Plan meals ahead of time. This will help you to avoid dinning outside and will get you prepared.
  • When eating, eat slow, as you are sitting down and chew your food well.

 

 

Turn Your Athleisure Into A Leisure #OOTD

OOTD Athleisure Nashata

Athleisure style is ubiquitous nowadays. Either wearing a pair of leggings, sweatpants, Sports hijab, we are seeing many of these sportsgear worn everywhere apart from the gym. Leggings are no longer consider as “the ultimate gymwear” because you see so much of them worn leisurely and it’s perfectly acceptable. This fashion has become a trend. People are wearing them all day and no one’s complaining. Women today want to wear comfortable clothes yet still look stylish. Thank God we have ditched the corset era. Phew!

In the women’s business, there is no performance without style.

According to our customers’ reviews, Nashata is highly known for its performance and high quality material that lasts for years. Many of them claimed that they love the designs as well. However, not many realized that the designs are evergreen. In other words, if you wear Nashata you can never go out-of-style. wink* In the women’s business, there is no performance without style. From various range of our products such as Azza toplectics, the lovely Jasmine pants, and Hoodie cardigans and of course, the ever versatile Raaz glove – this is the perfect leisure wear for women who place a lot of importance in being comfortable. So get your old Heather top out, because you’re going to need them.

Check out these fab wearable #OOTD on the run!

  • Catching up with your mates are the best thing in the world! There's so much to dish about when both are busy with lives and have less time to hang out with each other. Make time with your best mates and slap on something casual-fun to wear for a catch-up! Hijabs: Athleijab, EZ Tunes in melange grey Tops: Riada Hoodie in teal, Heather top Galaxy series Bottom: Riada pants, Dual stir-up leggings
  • Out for an evening walk? Nothing is looks more casual than a pair of black harem pants and a cool grey Jazri top to go with it! Hijab: EZ Tazz Top: Jazri Bottom: Harem pants
  • Feeling like curling up with a book and longing for some fresh air at the same time? How bout an outdoor reading by the lake for a self-therapy session. Hijab: EZ Tunes Top: Jazri in womanly purple Bottom: Brown speckled harem pants
  • Who said you can't look like a 24K magic in this casual Riada Hoodie? Cool hoodie + black leggings = FAB! Hijab: Raaz Glove Top: Riada Hoodie Bottom: Stirrup leggings
  • Be in your own world with this Harry Potter-inspired robe in dark maroon and just go Wingardium Leviosa! Hijab: EZ Tunes Top: Jazri, Sports Hooded Cardigan Bottom: Speckled Harem pants
  • Are you sick of the mall? Go out for a picnic with your peers for a change! Hijab: EZ Tazz Top: Heather top Gemstone Bottom: Speckled Harem pants
  • Sometimes all you need is a jump and just be YOU! Hijab: Raaz glove Top: Smokey striped Hoodie Bottom: Hattha pants

But the most important thing of all, SMILE. Because just like Annie said, You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile. 🙂

I’m fat?! Blame my metabolism!

 

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Have you ever heard someone (or you!) nagging like this?

“I’ve cut off  my calorie intake, I maintain those regular exercises,..but..why am I NOT losing weight?”

And they will start to blame themselves by saying “Perhaps, my metabolism is low!”

Do you know what METABOLISM is ? 

Metabolism is the chemical reactions that occur in our body. It requires energy for us to undergo living processes such as breathing, digesting, healing processes and etc.

And wait! Is your metabolism same as mine?

Each and everyone of us has different metabolic rate; it depends on your gender, age, body size and of course your genes.

Men have more muscles, high bone mass and therefore they have high metabolism compared to women. And as we grow older, we tend to loose muscle and gain fat, and these two lead to slow metabolism. People with big body size will have more fat, thus their metabolism is slow. Yes, genes basically play a role in determining your muscle growth and size – hence affects your metabolism.

Now, you will start saying, “Let’s kill those fats, and start build muscle!”  Right?

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But wait, to increase body metabolism, it is not all about building muscles. I will share a few tips that you can practice to boost your body metabolism.

1. Don’t miss your breakfast – Start your day with nutritional breakfast. It can start up your metabolism and keep your energy high throughout the day. People who skip breakfast tend to eat a lot during lunch and this will increase calorie intake more than what you need.

Eat them all!

Eat them all!

2. Take enough protein– Our body needs protein to build muscle. The more muscles you have, the more calories you will burn. Besides, our body use up more calories to digest protein compare to fat and carbohydrates.

3. Eat enough everyday – It simply means consume food moderately and do not overeat. Do not starve yourself either. If you cut too much calories, your body will start to reduce metabolic reaction to conserve energy. Thus, the fat burning process will be slower. You will start to lose muscle and this will slow down your metabolism.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Be a Snow White – Eat an apple

3. Be active – When you increase physical activities, you will burn more calories. Build up more muscles by running and pilate regularly or perform strength training. You will use up more energy and burn those stubborn fat.

Marilah beramai-ramai bersukan sambil bersosial!

Marilah beramai-ramai bersukan sambil bersosial!

4. Drink a lot of water – take 3-4 litres of water per day to stay hydrated. Your body needs water to process those calories, if you are not drinking enough, your body will burn less calories, thus your metabolism will be slow down. Cut off your sweet drink, it contains high calories.

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Bring a bottle full of water with you everyday.

6. Have adequate sleep –  having sleep deprivation will increase cortisol level (stress hormone) in our blood.  Thus, it will disrupt glucose metabolism, thus lead to glucose intolerance. Leptin will be reduced and ghrelin will increase. This can cause increase in appetite, craving and tendency to eat a lot unnecessary.

After a run get a good sleep

Be a Sleeping Beauty.  After a run get a good sleep

 

Basically, you can still enjoy your food while maintaining a good metabolism.

Till then, we’ll meet again, keep fit and be inspired! 😉

Healthy isn’t a goal, it’s a way of living ;)

 

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To be healthy, you don’t need to run full marathon, you don’t need to starve yourself. All you need is.. be active and eat well…

So here, I want to share some of my diet routine that I’ve been practising since high school. I’ve been inspired a lot by my supermum 😉

Drink Plenty of Plain Water

I drink lots of plain water everyday. I drink 3 to 4L per day. Reduce or better cut off your high sugar drinks such as soft drinks, carbonated drinks, etc because it will increase your calories intake.

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Consume Oats

I take oats once per day, either for my breakfast or for my dinner. Oats are high in fibers, which is very good for your digestion, and you will feel full faster and last long.

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Large Portion of Vegetables

I take a large portion of vegetables in my meal. For those who plan to reduce their weight, reduce your carb portion and replace it with veggies.

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Milk

I have a glass of milk for my breakfast and before going for sleep. My favourite one is Anlene chocolate as it is high in calcium and…yummeh! You can have any brand of milk that you like, and if you are lactose intolerance, you can have soy milk. My favourite one is V-soy…you can try it guys!

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No Junk Food

I don’t take junk food as it is high in salt and seasoning. I like fast food too but I don’t take it regularly.

Be active

I spend at least 30 minutes per day for a run. I walk to hospital and class every day. For those who are very busy, you can walk to your office from the carpark (park your car far away from your office then). And use stairs instead of lift, you will burn more calories.  IMG_0341[1]

Smile the brightest!

Be happy, have confidence and give your biggest smile to everyone. Spread the positive vibes and be a happy you!14581342_10208611588820541_2851726595590193638_n

Last but not least, don’t take heavy meal 4 hours before sleep. Because our gastrointestinal system starts to slow down to digest food when we are going to sleep. You may develop reflux or delay gastric emptying if you take late meal. This will lead you to have poor metabolic rate, thus it’s easier to gain weight faster.

That’s all for now,  so let’s eat well and live healthily 😉

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4 Reasons Why Yoga Is for Everyone

I often get emails and comments from people telling me they want to start yoga but don’t think they have what it takes. I’m too big, I’m not flexible, I could never do that pose or I don’t have the strength. These are just some of the many excuses people put in the way of them and their yoga practice.

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Here is something I’ve learned through my journey with yoga thus far; it is truly not about the destination. It’s not about putting your legs behind your head or standing on your hands, and this is something you will learn quickly if you go to any yoga studio. Yoga is a journey of self-love and acceptance. Perhaps, for this reason, yoga is best for those who think they can’t.It doesn’t matter if you can’t do a single pushup, or if your hands don’t even touch the ground in a forward bend. There is a famous saying by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, founder of the Ashtanga yoga method that says “practice and all is coming.” Yoga is about dedicating oneself to their practice as a means of becoming more self-aware. Some of the advanced poses are bonuses of a regular practice, but not everyone gets there and that is completely OK. Yoga is an individualized practice and you work wherever you are comfortable.

 

Picture Credit

Here are some reasons why yoga is truly for everyone.

 

1. You can find a style that suits your needs – All yoga classes are not created equal. Some are more vigorous while others are based more on meditation or relaxation. There are even therapy-based yoga classes which specialize in specific types of injuries or ailments such as chronic back pain or rheumatoid arthritis. Do some research, reach out to different yoga instructors to get an idea of their style, and possibly try out a few different types. When you find one that suits your needs, stick with it!

 

2. Yoga is a personal practice – The main goal is not something physical, like building strength or getting lean abs. The most important aspect of any yoga practice is finding oneself, accepting oneself as they are, and working to become a better person on the inside. Everyone’s journey is different and unique and one should not compare themselves to others. Many yoga styles even encourage developing a home-based practice as a means of personalized self-growth.

 

3. Yogis are non-judgmental – Yoga encourages a completely judge free atmosphere. Yogis will generally be very accepting and supportive in your journey. They will not judge you for your size or abilities, mostly because they are focusing on their own personal journeys…not to mention they were once beginners as well. Just try it. Sign up at a yoga studio for the minimum amount of classes they offer and commit to sticking it out. I guarantee you will be surprised by how supportive and welcoming everyone will be.

4. You are bound to get better with time –One of the worst excuses you can give is that you are not flexible/strong/skinny/whatever enough to do yoga. You must remember that every single person started somewhere…yes even the most advanced yogis were once beginners. One of my biggest inspirations is Kino Macgregor, who is a well-known Ashtanga yogi who travels worldwide to teach. She didn’t begin yoga until 19 years of age without any training in movement therapy, and is now learning the fourth series of Ashtanga yoga (there are six series and most people never move beyond the first series!).

 

 

With patience, and practice comes change. You may only be able to touch your shins in a forward fold, but a few months down the road you will get to your toes. You might need a wall or a teacher to help you into a headstand but one year down the road you will do it on your own. So long as you don’t give up, change is bound to occur.

 

The change that has occurred through my yoga journey extends far beyond physicality. Sure I can touch my head to my shins in the forward fold (something I never thought I would do). I can balance upside down on my forearms. But more than any pose, I have gained an appreciation for myself; an appreciation for what I am capable of becoming, an appreciation for who I am and what I have. I’ve learned patience, I’ve learned mindfulness, and most importantly, I’ve learned to love myself even on the bad days. Now that is an important lesson for anyone.

Tips and Tricks for Dining Out

Eating out shouldn’t be considered as an excuse to sabotage your whole diet, especially if you eat out regularly. Eating out can still be a fun experience filled with delicious, but healthier, choices. Here are some tips and tricks for staying healthy at the restaurant:

 

Have the right mindset

Take some time to prepare before going out to eat. The first thing you want to do it’s create the right mindset. Don’t think of it as one big ‘cheat night.’ I like to allow myself a small treat every day, rather than dedicating a whole meal or day to binging. Surly you can enjoy yourself, but instead of choosing to most unhealthy meal you can think of, choose a balanced meal that is still healthy, but can also be considered a treat.

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Plan ahead

Choose your restaurant ahead of time. Most restaurants have their menus available online. Check it out and make your decision before you even get there. This way, you don’t have to look through the menu while you’re hungry and ready to eat. Not only telling yourself you will make a smart choice, but committing to a meal before you get to the restaurant will make you more likely to stick to that goal.

 

Don’t starve all day

Many people make the dire mistake of skipping meals before a night out to eat. They think they can make up for missed times. Skipping meals will only make you hungrier and more inclined to crave the fattier options. Think about it; you’re starving and you’ve been waiting for a good 30 minutes for your food to come out…would you be excited for a grilled chicken salad? Not so much. Eat like you normally would any other day. Try to plan it out so that your last meal is a light snack about 2-3 hours before going to the restaurant.

 

Control portions

Make sure to control your portions, especially if you decide to treat yourself with your meal. Here are a few tips for portion control at a restaurant:

  • Order from the kids menu if they have one
  • Split a meal with a friend
  • Turn an appetizer into a meal with a side salad
  • Ask the waiter/waitress for a to-go container so you can put half of your plate out of sight to take home
  • Ask the waiter/waitress not to bring bread to the table

 

Substitute

Make substitutions when necessary. If you’re going to treat yourself to a cheeseburger, you probably don’t need the fries on the side. Order a side of salad or veggies instead and order a vinaigrette dressing, or oil and vinegar, over creamy salad dressings.

 

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Dessert?

The most important question, should I have dessert? If are out to dinner for a special occasion, and you don’t do it often, I say go for it…only if you have room for it of course! If you ordered a healthy meal and were good with your portion sizes, a little piece of dessert on a special occasion is perfectly fine. Be sure to split it with at least one other person. On the other hand, if you tend to eat out often, and/or you decided to treat yourself with your main meal (maybe you ordered a cheese burger or a creamy pasta dish), then I would say skip the dessert for the night.

 

Remember that healthy eating is all about balance. Going out and treating yourself to a delicious dinner is fine,  just find your balance by choosing a meal that is well-balanced (meaning it contains protein, carbs and fats), watching your portion sizes, and substitute with healthier options when you need to.

 

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15 Ways to Make Exercise Fun and Productive

Working out is no easy task. We get busy, tired, lazy, stressed or simply have other things we would rather be doing. But getting in a good workout is actually the best remedy for all of the above. It gets your blood circulating and heart pumping, it gives you energy, helps you to sleep better at night and can act as a great stress reliever.

The goal with a consistent exercise routine is to knock out all excuses. One of the most common excuses is, “I hate to exercise.” I find that the general population hates to exercise because they don’t really know what exercise is.

Let’s clear up a few key points about exercise before moving on:

  • 60 miserable minutes on the treadmill is not the only form of exercise
  • blood, sweat and tears does not equal exercise
  • you do not need to be in shape to start
  • a gym is a great resource, but is not the only answer
  • a 10 minute workout still counts
  • exercise can be fun!

Here are some exercises that are so fun you don’t even feel like your exercising:

 

1. Short Workouts

Ever tried HIIT training or Tabata? If you’re short on time these workouts are perfect for you…they can be as short as 5 minutes! The trick is to push your body to limits you never thought it could go. Spike your heart rate by quick, short bursts of exercise, and then follow it with a short active rest period. The cool thing about these workouts is you can do so much; sprints, plyometrics, strength training, rowing…just about any form of exercise you can think of can be turned into a HIIT workout.

 

2. Walking/Hiking

You don’t have to be dripping sweat and out of breath for your workout to be considered effective. Go for a brisk morning walk, even grab a coffee on the way, or get together with a group of friends and enjoy a beautiful day on the hiking trail while stopping for a picnic. That doesn’t sound like exercise to me!

 

3. Biking/Rollerblading

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Whether you’re into hardcore biking or just enjoy a leisurely ride, biking or rollerblading can be great exercises. You can enjoy the outdoors on a beautiful day while getting your workout in.

 

4. Yoga

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The great thing about yoga is there are so many different types that you’re bound to find something you like. From beginners to advanced to yoga therapy, yoga for relaxation, yoga for flexibility, strength training, even hot yoga or power yoga where you’ll find yourself wiping the sweat off your mat. Do your research, try a few different styles and decide which one your enjoy most, or even mix it up.

 

5. Group Fitness Classes

Group fitness classes are amazing! Not only do gyms typically have a wide variety of classes to choose from but they provide a great atmosphere of camaraderie and motivation. Typical gyms will offer classes in zumba, aerobics, kickboxing, kettlebells, spin class and more. You might like a mix throughout the week or you may search for a studio that specializes in the type of group class you enjoy.

 

6. Crossfit

A lot of women are afraid of weights. Crossfit is definitely an exercise that will get you over that fear. Learn proper form and push your muscles to their max with squats, deadlifts, weights, pushups and more.

 

7. At-Home Workouts

You may enjoy more solitude while you workout. There are countless DVDs out there ranging from total-body workouts to exercises targeting particular muscle groups, to dance and more. Pop a DVD in while your dinner is in the slow-cooker and you’re good to go!

 

8. Adult Sports Leagues

Were you active back in school? Do you ever miss being part of a team and competing? Join an adult sports league. Choose something you may have never tried like volleyball, softball, tennis or rowing, or kick it old school with something you used to do back in grade school like running, soccer o basketball.

 

9. Races

Races can be a fun way to get your exercise in, and many runs are set up as fundraisers for great charities. Try an adventure run, a color run, or simply run for a charity that you are passionate about.

 

10. Swimming

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Swimming is a low-impact exercise that is great for your heart, muscles and joints. Get in a pool and start swimming some laps, or if you don’t know what to do on your own, try a water aerobics class.

 

11. Get Active

Next time your friend wants to meet for coffee, suggest something active instead. Go for a walk, throw a frisbie, fly a kite, go bowling, or anything else that gets you up and moving.

 

12. Play with the Kids

Don’t just bring your kids to do fun activities to sit and watch. Spend some time with them and engage in those activities. Play tag outside, bring them to the playground, an indoor trampoline park or bring back your childhood games and play with them. Not only is it your exercise but it’s setting a great example for your kids to be fit and active.

 

13. Clean

Don’t feel like working out? Well I’m sure you don’t feel like cleaning either but remember those tedious house tasks that you keep saying you will get to but never do? Skip a day at the gym and instead get some house-cleaning done, especially the tasks that you’ve been putting off for months. You can also make cleaning time Qur’an time. Most of us probably don’t read or listen to Qur’an as much as we should. I like to play it in the house while I’m cleaning to be extra productive and feel good.

 

14. Ditch the Car

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Ditch the car whenever possible. If you work or go to school close by, swap the car for a walk or bike ride. If your gym is close to your house, jog over as your warm-up. Always take the stairs instead of the elevator and choose walking or biking over driving whenever possible.

 

15. Stop Sitting

If you have a desk job it’s a good idea to take a break and get some movement in every hour or so. Studies show that sitting all day can not only lead to back problems but also heightens the risk of heart disease, even if the person is thin and exercises regularly. Take a short, 1 or 2 minute walk around the building, or, if you have a private office or cubicle, you might even throw in some squats, pushups and stretches every hour. You can also use your lunch break to get active. Take a walk or go up and down the stairs a few times.

 

You see, the possibilities for exercise are endless. You don’t have to have a treadmill or a sweat rag. Any type of movement truly counts. It’s not about the calories you burn but it’s about getting the heart pumping and staying active for long-term health.

 

What types of exercise do you do for fun? Did I miss any that you want to add to the list? Comment below!

 

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