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.

 

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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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6 Sunnah Foods to Incorporate Into Your Diet

Faith and fitness; what do they have in common? I believe wholeheartedly in the importance of connecting our quest for health with our spirituality. This makes out path to wellness much more meaningful and full of remembrance. One way that we can do this, as Muslims, is by incorporating sunnah foods into our diet. Sunnah foods hold so many amazing blessings and benefits. Here are some easy ways to eat sunnah foods on a daily basis.

 

Honey

The Prophet (saw) said, “Upon you is the two cures: the honey and the Qur’aan” [Ibn Maajah]

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Honey not only has a high nutritional value containing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but it has medicinal uses as well. It can treat nausea, cough and cold and has been shown to be effective against advanced cases of stomach and bone cancer.

Honey can be easily integrated into your diet by having one tablespoon every day. You can eat it plain, mix it into your tea or drizzle it over some toast with peanut butter. It is also popular in baking as a natural sugar substitute to table sugar or artificial sweeteners.

 

 

Dates

Allah’s Apostle said, “He who eats seven ‘Ajwa dates every morning, will not be affected by poison or magic on the day he eats them.” [Bukhari]

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Dates are a very low-fat, nutrient-dense food that provide a great source of energy and a natural sweetness. They contain a rich amount of dietary fiber, antioxidants and minerals. Dates aid in healthy digestion, heart problems, admoninal cancer and more. They are also great for providing natural energy.

I like to eat 1 or 2 dates just before a quick, HIIT workout. It provides me with the short burst of energy I need. Dates are a great, natural replacement for processed sweets like candy or chocolate bars. Lastly, it’s sunnah to break your fast with dates. This is effective because they give you energy after a tiring day of fasting, and they hold you over to perform your prayer before eating your larger meal.

 

 

Citrus

The Messenger (saw) said, “The example of a believer who recited the Qur’aan, is that of a citron which smells good and tastes good.” [Bukhari]

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Citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit etc) are rich in vitamin C which can help protect against the cold and other illnesses. They also contain anti inflammatory and pain relieving properties, can relieve heartburn, can help maintain a healthy mouth and act as a natural remedy for bad breath.

Lemons/limes are probably the most common and popular citrus fruits and I personally always keep them in my house. They are great to have around for cooking. Adding the juice and/or zest of these fruits can brighten up the flavors of your dishes. Squeeze some lemon/lime juice on top of fish and other seafood dishes or add them to your salad to make it extra refreshing. They are also commonly used in dressings and can be used in baking as well. You can also cut up citrus fruits and use them in your water for added flavor and freshness.

 

 

Pomegranate

Rasulullah (saw) said, “Pomegranate and its rind strengthen digestion(stomach).” [Abu Nuaim]

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This amazing, bright and delicious fruit has many benefits. It can help to lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and has anti-cancer effects. It can also stem a cough.

Throw some pomegranates seeds onto your salad for a beautiful presentation and delicious crunch. They pair particularly well with arugula. You can also throw them into a blender with some of your other favorite fruits to make a smoothie, or simply eat them plain with a side of nuts or low-fat cheese.

 

 

Vinegar

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “Allah has put blessing in vinegar, for truly it was used by the Prophets before me.” [Muslim and Ibn Maja]

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Vinegar is pretty well-known for its benefits, particularly apple cider vinegar. Vinegar has antioxidants which can help to prevent cancer, it is heart healthy, it may improve insulin-sensitivity and it may help with diabetes.

Vinegar is another thing that I always have in my house, specifically balsamic and apple cider vinegar. They are great for homemade salad dressings which are much cheaper and healthier than buying them in the store. A basic vinaigrette recipe is 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar. To add more sunnah foods throw in some honey for sweetness and squeeze lemon or lime for citrus flavor.

 

 

Thyme

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “Fumigate your houses with Mugwort, Myrrh & Thyme.” [Kanz-ul-Ummal]

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Thyme is not only an herb with a distinctive taste, but it has medicinal benefits as well. It can help to lower blood pressure, suppress cough, boost the immune system and mood, and is used in many skin care products for its wonderful scent.

Right next to basil, thyme is one of my favorite herbs. I think it has a very warm, minty taste and is such a great way to add flavor to dishes. It pairs very well with lamb and also many vegetables. I like to roast my Brussles sprouts, tomatoes and sweet potato with some thyme and a dash of salt and pepper. Next time you are cooking lamb or vegetables, consider the addition of this wonderful herb.

 

 

 

 

References

http://www.cabdirect.org/abstracts/20103251958.html;jsessionid=C266DAEDD072D290284CF60877B4E516

http://www.natureword.com/properties-and-benefits-of-citron/

https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/article19.aspx#ref2

 


 

 

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5 Ways to Stay Motivated

If you’ve ever started a fitness routine and quit, you are not alone. Many people have no problem beginning a routine; they feel motivated, excited and ready to tackle anything. But the hard part is keeping that motivation up and continuing on in their fitness journeys for the long term.

Trust me, even those who seem to love the gym life have trouble staying motivated all the time. Here are some ways you can keep your motivation up and actually stick to a routine.

 

1. Set a goal

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to set a specific goal or goals. If you just say “ah I want to lose a little weight” but don’t have anything specific to work towards your likely to fall off of the bandwagon. Make your goals personal. Here are some examples:

  • I want to lose X amount of pounds/kilograms to get to a healthy weight
  • I want to lose weight because my doctor said if I don’t I won’t live long
  • I want to live a healthy lifestyle to set a good example for my children
  • I want show God that I am thankful for the health and body He has granted me

Setting specific goals in this way will really make it about so much more than the number on the scale or the way you look. If your goals are meaningful and close to your heart you are more likely to reach them.

 

2. Schedule a workout time

The key is to make exercise a habit, rather than something that you simply ‘should do.’ You want to think of exercise as a normal part of your day, like going to work or taking a shower. One way to do this is by scheduling a regular workout time. If you workout around the same days and time each week it will start to become a part of your everyday routine.

Sit down each week and plan your workouts to fit into your schedule. If you say to yourself “I’ll try to get my workout in after before dinner time” but have no set plan or time, you’re more likely to let excuses get in the way of fulfilling that workout. But, if it’s written down in your calendar you are more likely to stick to it.

 

3. Make it fun

Although there are numerous benefits to regular exercise, it’s still no easy task. If you do not enjoy the workout you are doing it will be nearly impossible to stick with it. Don’t just do a workout because you think it will burn the most calories or make you sweat more. There are countless different types of workouts to choose from that you’re bound to find something you enjoy.

If you’re a very outdoorsy person and nature lover, you might enjoy walking, jogging, hiking or biking. If you’re social and get really motivated by others, group fitness classes might be best for you. If you like to feel powerful then try picking up some heavy weights.

Variety is also important. It’s not only easy to get bored with the same routine day after day, but our bodies adapt rather quickly and need change to avoid a plateau. Mix it up throughout the week. It’s important to get a combination of both strength training and cardiovascular exercise.

 

4. Find your inspiration

While it’s important not to compare yourself to others, it can really help to have a little inspiration. Find someone who really inspires you, not just because they may be in shape but because they share your values, beliefs and concerns. Maybe they have an inspiring story that teaches you that you can accomplish anything.

Inspiration doesn’t just have to come from people. Other things that can be really motivational, especially during the times when you don’t feel like working out are quotes, motivational talks, or simply just putting on your workout clothes and starting your warm up to get in the groove.

 

5. Accountability

Accountability can be huge in keeping you motivated. Tell your close friends and family about your goals and what you will be doing to reach them. Ask them for their support. Next time you go out to dinner with those friends or have family over for brunch, you will be more aware about making good food choices because they are now watching you.

If you enjoy writing or keeping up with social media you might even start a blog or Instagram page showcasing your journey. Not only can you update your followers about your progress but you will find a lot of support which can be super helpful. Another option is to begin working with a professional, whether a nutritionist, personal trainer, wellness coach, etc. It can help to have a professional to design you a plan and help you track your progress. The fact that you would have to spend money on a professional is also a good form of accountability.

 

So stop telling yourself that you can’t and start telling yourself that you CAN! With some hard work, strong goals, and a little motivation you can start and keep a fitness routine, and it will be one of the best things you can do for yourself, inshallah.

 

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The Perfect Workout for Your Fitness Goals

When people think of diet and exercise, weight loss is usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, there are countless reasons why people engage in a healthy lifestyle and weight loss is just one of the reasons. People may decide to take up exercise to build strength or muscle, to get faster, to improve overall health, or even as a means of socialization and keeping busy. Whatever your aim may be you need a proper workout plan that will help you reach your specific goal most effectively.

One Size Fits All

Here are the best ways to reach five of the most common fitness goals.

 

Goal: Weight Loss

Plan of action: When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, there’s a lot to think about. It is recommended to dedicate 3-6 days a week to cardio for 30-60 minutes. It’s also a good idea to incorporate strength training into your routine about 3 times per week. Building lean muscle tissue will aid in the fat-burning process.

If you really want to burn a lot of fat but don’t have the extra time HIIT workouts can take as little as 8-20 minutes. It involves short bursts of energy followed by an active rest period. Examples of HIIT workouts are sprinting and plyometrics.

 

Goal: Build Muscle/Strength

Plan of action: Although I’ve grouped muscle building and strength building together they are actually two different goals. While both goals call for resistance training, muscle builders are training for size while strength builders are training for strength and endurance.

In general, muscle building requires lighter weight as you should be lifting one to six sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Building strength requires lifting heavier weights for less repetitions. A strength goal should incorporate one to five sets of weights for one to eight repetitions.

 

Goal: Overall Health

Plan of action: Some people neither want to gain nor lose weight but aim to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In order to maintain a healthy weight/lifestyle one should workout 3-5 times per week and should mix it up between cardio and strength training. Lean muscle helps to burn fat even while at rest so strength training is great tool to keeping your body in maintenance mode. Cardio can be anything you enjoy like walking, running, biking, swimming, yoga, etc.

 

Goal: Increase Speed

Plan of action: If you want to increase your running speed whether it’s for a 5k, a mud run or a marathon, consider adding specific drills into your routine. Sometimes people think that if they want to run a faster mile they should train by always running a mile until it gets faster. But the real way to amp up your speed it to switch up your routine. Try adding some sprinting and strengthening drills into your normal running regimen like sprints, pushups, lunges and squats. Drills can be added in as part of a dynamic warm-up, they can be added after your regular run, or you can even dedicate a few sessions per week just to drills.

Goal: Socialization

Plan of action: If you want to get your workout in all the while interacting with others, try a gym membership. Group fitness classes are a great way to interact with others who share similar interests. Many times you will see the same people attending the same classes so it’s easy to get to know each other. Not to mention the motivational atmosphere of ‘all being in it together’ really helps give you that extra push.

 

Goal: Stress Relief

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Plan of action: First you have to figure out what relieves your stress. Some people might benefit from light yoga classes that involve meditation and relaxation, while others may find that a sweaty kickboxing class really helps them to take the edge off. You may even benefit from a mix of both. Take one or two days a week to engage in relaxation and take another few days to attend a kickboxing class and let it all out on the bag.

 

 

 

If you feel you have been putting everything into your workout but are not seeing that outcome you would like, it may be that you are not training the right way for your specific goal. I hope this post can help to shed some light on the different methods of training that go along with different goals.

 

 

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Sticking to Your New Years Goals Part 4/4: “I want to stop overeating.”

OK, here is the last post of this series. Many people who decide they want to eat healthier don’t realize that it’s not just about what you eat, but about how you eat.

The biggest factor in weight gain is calories. Eating more calories than your body is burning in a given day will result in excess weight, whether those calories come from healthy foods or not-so-healthy foods.

Granted, this does not mean I promote eating McDonald’s everyday! Healthy food provides us with the nutrients we need, promotes higher energy levels and aides in bodily processes. Thus, the majority of our diet should come from wholesome foods where about 10-20% of our diet should come from the foods we really enjoy.

Still, we must remember the importance of portion sizes regardless of what we are eating. Here are some quick tips to help you to control your portions.

 

Drink before you eat

Drinking a lot of water throughout the day, particularly right before mealtime, can help you feel full faster. It’s also a good idea to sip on water in between chewing. This can not only help to fill you up, but will aid in slower eating.

 

Fuel up every 3-4 hours

Don’t hold on to the old mindset of only 3 meals a day. If that really does work for you then there is nothing wrong with it. But, in general, people have long days and three meals simply isn’t enough. Snacking in between meals prevents you from extreme hunger which often leads to overeating. If you are going to be out all day, make sure to pack a piece of fruit or a protein bar in your bag.

 

Eat smart

Eat high volume meals that contain the right nutrients. Let’s compare vegetables with crackers as an example. Vegetables have a very high water content, which allows you to eat a lot with very few calories. Crackers, on the other hand, have low water content so a small amount has more calories. Thus eating a lot of vegetables are a great way to add volume to your meals because you can eat a lot and feel full for a lot less calories.

 

Along with high-volume you also want to ensure you are eating the right types of foods. Eating foods that are high in protein and fiber will fill you up until your next meal. Be sure to include protein with each meal, and eat a lot of fiber-rich foods throughout the day like vegetables and whole grains.

Smaller plates

If you are feeling very hungry and decide to eat a bowl of cereal, you are likely to fill that bowl all the way up. Use smaller plates and bowls when portioning out your food to avoid overdoing it.

 

Know your portion sizes

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I always like to tell people to spend one or two weeks measuring out food portions to get an idea of what they look like. From there, you will be able to eyeball it. You can also use your hands to measure the size of food. Here is a general set of food portions:

  • Meat – 3 oz or the size of the palm of your hand
  • Carbohydrates (pasta, beans, rice, etc.) –  ½ cup or the size of a clenched fist
  • Fats (oil, nut butters, nuts) – 1 tablespoon or the size of two thumbs
  • Vegetabels – 1 cup or the size of two clenched fists

This is a general list so always check labels for portion sizes.

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Keep the right mindset

Always ask yourself if you are actually hungry or if you are just thirsty or bored. Eat when you are hungry and find other ways to entertain yourself when you are bored. Also, keep the thought that you can always have seconds. Even though it’s important to follow correct serving sizes, it’s also important that you are not still hungry after eating. Having the idea in your mind that you can have seconds will make it easier not to overfill your plate. Many times we think we can eat more than we actually need so you may surprisingly find that one plate is enough.

 

I hope these tips were helpful. I really enjoyed writing this series.  Many times people tend to hit the New Year hard and then lose momentum as they go.

The key is to remember that healthy living is a lifestyle and you will grow and learn with time. Take small steps and don’t think that you have to do everything in January. You have a whole lifetime ahead of you and everyday is a chance to be better than the day before. No single day will be perfect and that is OK. Keep striving and you will get there, inshallah.

Keep Going

 

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Thank you all for reading. Please feel free to comment below with any questions or ideas for articles you would like to see. I’d love to bring you valuable content that can help you learn how to live a healthy life; mind, body and soul.  

 

 

 

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Sticking to Your New Years Goals Part 3: “I want to eat breakfast everyday.”

While breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, it is often the hardest to implement. Morning-times tend to be rushed; you overslept, you have to get the kids ready for school and make it to work on time, you can’t find your keys. It’s no wonder why so many people skip it.

However, adding breakfast into your daily routine may be worth it. A nutritious breakfast has been shown to:

  • Aid in a more nutritionally complete diet
  • Give a mental edge
  • Help with energy and alertness throughout the day
  • Provide more strength and endurance during physical activity
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Aid in weight control and appetite control

 

WHAT SHOULD BREAKFAST CONSIST OF?

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Adding a lean protein to your breakfast, such as eggs, Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, will keep you feeling fuller longer. It may even hold you over until your lunchbreak at work!

Complex carbohydrates, like oatmeal or fruit, provide a slower-releasing energy which will last throughout the day.

Healthy fats, such as nuts, nut butters or avocado will not only provide you with extra energy during workout time, but will also promote the fat-burning process.

A little caffeine can give you that quick mental alertness that you so desperately need in the mornings!

 

HOW CAN I EAT BREAKFAST EVERYDAY?

  • Wake up early enough to give yourself time to prepare and eat breakfast
  • Prepare breakfast ahead of time: overnight oats are a great option
  • Have a ‘no-cook’ breakfast like Greek yogurt with granola or cottage cheese and fruit
  • Take breakfast on-the-go: Quest bar or a piece of fruit with nuts are good choices
  • If you are able you might even take some breakfast with you and eat it while you are at work

I hope these tips were beneficial and can help you to add breakfast into your daily routine, inshallah.


 

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