Jom Berpuasa & Kekal Aktif

Di bulan puasa ini, saya tetap meneruskan latihan larian seperti hari- hari biasa untuk mengekalkan stamina dan memantapkan prestasi untuk acara2 larian selepas bulan Ramadhan. Saya merancang untuk berlari sekurang2 nya 42km seminggu dengan larian 6km setiap petang.

 

Diet Bagaimana?

Untuk kekal hidrat, saya mengambil 10 gelas air kosong antara waktu berbuka hingga waktu sahur dan elak minuman berais dan minuman manis. Semasa berbuka, nasi terhad kepada 2 senduk sahaja dan selebihnya protein dan fiber.Kurangkan makanan bergoreng dan berlemak. Untuk bersahur, saya mengambil roti wholemeal dan minuman oat untuk kekal kenyang. Saya mengambil sekurang2 nya 5 biji kurma sehari bagi mendapat nutrisi yang tinggi.

 

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Lakukan regangan dahulu sebelum bersenam

Bagaimana untuk kekal aktif?

Sebagai seorang pelajar Perubatan tahun akhir, sememangnya jadual cukup padat, kelas yang panjang, dan perlu berulang alik ke hospital setiap hari. Untuk kekal aktif,di samping diet yg sihat dan pengambilan air yg cukup, saya meluangkan 40 minit setiap petang untuk berlari 6 -7km,iaitu 1 jam sebelum berbuka bagi mengekalkan stamina.

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Cuaca yang baik untuk mulakan aktiviti larian 😉

Larian bermula seawal pukul 5 petang sebaik sahaja kelas tamat pada pukul 4.30 ptg. Saya mengambil masa 40 – 50 minit untuk larian sejauh 6-7 km. Pada jam 6 petang larian berjaya ditamatkan dan saya segera bersiap sedia untuk persiapan berbuka puasa. Alhamdulillah, selesai berbuka saya boleh meneruskan solat tarawih dan bertadarus bersama rakan2 seperti biasa. Di Kuching, waktu berbuka puasa ialah seawal 6.40 petang.

Lari cepat sebelum berbuka!

 

Ganjaran kekal aktif

Oh ya, saya lebih bersemangat apabila HotFM’s Cergas Ramadhan bersama AIA Vitality turut menggalakkan kita semua untuk kekal aktif di bulan Ramadhan. Dan saya juga begitu teruja untuk sertainya, begitu juga dengan anda bukan?

Jom sama2 kita sahut cabaran HotFM’s Cergas Ramadhan bersama AIA Vitality dengan upload gambar atau video anda melakukan aktiviti senaman di Instagram atau Facebook.

Berikan kepsyen kenapa anda pilih untuk kekal cergas di bulan Ramadhan untuk peluang menang baucer barangan sukan bernilai RM 300. Anda juga boleh upload gambar bersenam bersama rakan dan jangan lupa #sayapilihcergasramadhan dan #aiavitalitymy serta tag @hotfm976

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Sweat is fat crying! Jom bersukan dan menangi contest ini 😉

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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6 Tips to Staying on Track

It’s easy to get started, exciting actually. It’s Sunday afternoon and you sit down with a cup of coffee and your last cookie, and begin to plan out the next week. Healthy meals. Gym sessions. You have everything all set up and ready to start your new journey on Monday. The week goes really well, but then it begins to fall. You’re sick of the eating the same meals and your schedule is way too crammed to keep up with these workouts. You lose all motivation and eventually fall back into old habits.

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This is a very common scenario for someone starting down their healthy journey. The slip ups become more frequent and eventually discouragement and hopeless take over the once so lively enthusiasm. It seems to be that other people live up to their goals but you are just not made to do it.

Maintaining motivation it the hardest part of any fitness journey. But, it is not impossible! Many times, people are just going about it in the wrong ways. Here are some pointers what will help you to stay on track all the way to your goals and beyond.

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1. Don’t Rush

The biggest reason for a lack of motivation is that people try to do too many things at once. Think about the years of unhealthy habits you have down your belt. You can’t try and change them all in one day and expect to keep it up. Take small steps. Don’t go from laying on the couch everyday to 6 days a week of intense exercise. Start with 2-3 days per week, even for only 10 or 20 minutes. After about a month, once you feel it’s become a habit and your body is more accustomed, start adding in a bit more and overtime you will be a pro!

 

2. Plan Ahead

Don’t go into the week blindsided. Go over your schedule for the week and plan your meals and workouts around your schedule. Take one or two days to do some food prep for the week. Schedule your workouts on days where you have more free time and schedule your rests on busy days. If you have any plans to go out to dinner, check on the menu ahead of time and plan out your meal. Having things written out will make the week a lot easier.

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

 

3. Make the Time

This goes along with planning ahead. While you don’t want to overwhelm yourself, you also don’t want work and other responsibilities to take over your YOU time. If you really want to be healthy, make the time. 10 minutes of fast-paced exercise is better than nothing.

 

4. Have a Plan B

There will be many times when uncontrollable situations might ruin your plans. Always have a backup plan. Design a few quick at-home exercise routines in case you can’t make it to the gym. Keep smart food items in the house that will be there in case you have no time to cook. Examples of back-up foods I always keep in my house are canned beans, non-fat Greek yogurt, eggs, cans of tuna, and frozen vegetables. Just because you have to throw something together quick doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy.

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5. Modify When Needed

Never be ashamed to modify. If you don’t have the time, modify your workout. If you’re trying a new workout class that is a little too intense, ask the instructor to show you some modifications. It’s great to push yourself, but when you go too far beyond your limits you may discourage yourself and drop out. Stop right at the edge of your comfort zone and work there.

 

6. Make a List

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Write a list of your reasons for beginning a health journey. Don’t be afraid to make it personal, after all, it’s only for you. Whenever you need a little pick-me-up, dig out your list and remind yourself of why you started in the first place. This can be a powerful tool to bringing motivation levels back up.

 

Most importantly…have fun. There will be times when you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. There will be times when you will have to force yourself to work out when you are dreading it. But always remember to keep it balanced. Push yourself, but not over your limits. Recognize the times when you have to listen to your body and just take a rest. The most important means of staying on track is enjoying the journey.

 

xoxo

phonto

**Download a FREE Meal Plan from Fit Muslim Girl >>> FREE Meal Plan <<<

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7 Principles of Healthful Eating

The key to maintaining a healthy diet is understanding how to eat right in the first place. The diet industry could not be more confusing with its conflicting views, fad diets and continuous altering of information.

In reality, a healthful diet is actually quite simple. Once you know the basics you can alter it to fit your lifestyle and your taste buds. Here are 7 principles of healthful eating.

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Eat Real Food

In general, you want to be sure you are consuming whole, nutritious foods such as in-season fruits and veggies, whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc.), whole grain bread/pasta, lean meats, Greek yogurt, hummus, nuts and seeds, all natural nut butters, organic eggs, beans, and water.This is not a definite list but a general idea of good foods to consume.

For the most part try to avoid processed/boxed foods, sodas and other sugary drinks, fast food, fried food, white bread, refined pasta, canned foods, chips, and candy.

The 80/20 rule

While it is important to get the majority of your calories from clean foods, there has to be some room for treats, otherwise you will be miserable and probably won’t last too long on the diet. A general rule of thumb is to eat clean 80% of the time and treat yourself the other 20% of the time. Allow a small treat every day or every other day, or allow for a big treat a few times per week.

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Eat Less Meat

While meat offers a good source of protein, iron and vitamin B12, it also packs a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol. For this reason, meat should make up a small majority of your diet. For the most part the baseline of a healthful diet should consist of grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables; think Mediterranean diet. Nuts, beans, and whole grains are all great replacements for meat as they contain a lot of protein with better (or no) fats and a lot of fiber.

Reduce Sodium and Sugar Intake

While both sodium and sugar are essential parts of the human diet, it is safe to say that most people get more than enough. How can we avoid eating too much? First of all, staying away from the boxed foods is a start. These foods typically contain a huge amount of added sodium or sugar, especially if the labels read “low-fat” or “non-fat.”

Try to avoid adding extra salt while cooking; remember that a little bit can go a long way. Use flavorful spices and a lot of fresh herbs to count for a lack of salt.

It is also wise to limit fruit intake to 1-2 servings per day, as many fruits contain a lot of sugar. Instead of reaching for an apple, go for a serving of berries as they are known for their low sugar content.

Wholesome Grains

Replace refined grains such as white bread, white rice, white potato, white pasta with whole grains. Whole grains are foods like steel-cut or rolled oats, brown rice, sweet potato, whole wheat bread/tortilla/pasta, quinoa, couscous, whole grain barley, lentils, etc.

Instead of white toast in the mornings try having some oatmeal and berries with your eggs. Instead of croutons add some quinoa to your salad. Try some brown rice on the side for dinner.

Healthy Fats

245470Many people are confused about fats. Fats are an extremely important energy source for the body and the brain. There are two important things to know about fats.

1) You want to know which fats are good for you. The “bad” fats are saturated and trans fats which are found in foods like dairy, beef products, palm and coconut oil, butter, and fried foods. The “good” fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are found in foods such as nuts and seeds, nut butters, vegetable oils, oily fish like salmon, avocado, olives, etc.

2) You need to know that fats contain more calories per gram than do carbohydrates and protein. So, although fats are extremely beneficial, you need to ensure you are not over-eating them. I will discuss this next.

Watch Portion Sizes

The easiest, and really only, way to gain extra unwanted weight is by eating too much. While unhealthy foods may be the culprit of various diseases, calories are the one and only culprit of weight gain. No matter what you are eating you need to have an understanding of healthy portion sizes. Does that mean you need to measure everything you eat? Certainly not. Here are some general tips.

  • Women should have about 3-4 oz of meat or a portion of meet the size of your palm
  • Carbohydrates (rice, beans, quiono, etc.) should be between ½-1 cup or a portion the size of one cupped-hand.
  • Because they are so low in calories yet high in nutrients, there is no limit of vegetables. In general about 2 cups, or two cupped-hand sizes is recommended. Shoot for a lot of leafy green vegetables.
  • Have 1 medium sized whole fruit or 1 cup (or size of a cupped-hand) of berries
  • Consume about 1 oz, or a serving the size of your thumb, of nuts/oils.
  • The portion size for nut butters is 1 tbsp per serving.
  • Listen to your body: eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full.

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To sum it up 

The majority of your diet should consist of real, whole foods

Limit processed and junk food but do not completely cut it out. Follow the 80/20 rule.

Try to consume less meat and more beans and whole grains.

Be aware of your salt and sugar intake.

Replace refined grains with wholesome grains.

Pay attention to the type and amount of fats you consume.

Be conscious of portion sizes.

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What Is the Best Time to Exercise?

Many people swear by early morning sweat sessions as the best method for losing weight. But what about those of us who couldn’t fathom a workout that early in the morning? The good news is that finding the perfect time for exercise is more about personal preference than it is about physiological benefits.

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What is important is finding a time of day that works best for you in order to make exercise a habit.

Morning Perks

  • You have the psychological pleasure of knowing your workout is done.
  • It is easier to keep a consistent routine in the morning.
  • There is less room for other responsibilities and time pressures to interfere.
  • A full day of work can take a toll on one’s willpower, no matter how well-intentioned you may be.
  • Early workouts may help with a more sound sleep, while workouts too late in the day may make it harder to fall asleep at night.

Advantages of Later Workouts

  • Body temperature is higher later in the day, which leaves the muscles less stiff and less susceptible to injuries.
  • Muscle strength and endurance may be at its peak in the afternoon.
  • The body produces more testosterone later in the day which is important in strength and muscle building.
  • You may have more energy later in the day after fueling your body with some nutritious meals.

Listen to Your Body

While there may be some advantages to working out at different times of the day, those differences would be minor, with a bigger significance lying in the psychological effects of the workout. If you are not a morning person there would be no advantage to forcing yourself out of bed at 5 am to workout, only to be miserable the entire time. The benefits of working out come in consistency, so pick a time of day that will allow you to enjoy your workout and become consistent.

Be Realistic

Picking the perfect time of day may not be as easy as choosing a number on the clock. Take a look at your daily schedule and pick a realistic time that will not interfere with other responsibilities. If your days are packed from morning until night, a morning routine might be best. If you have a free schedule after work and morning is not your thing, go for an after-work routine. If you have some little bits of free time in the middle of the day, throw in a quick 20 minute workout in the afternoon.

Consider the Social Setting

To some people, the social setting is a very important aspect of their workout. Some prefer solitude and alone time which you can get early in the morning, in the middle of the day during the work-week, or much later at night. Others prefer a gym atmosphere with plenty of people to keep them motivated. The gym tends to be packed mid-morning, or around rush-hour time between 5-6 pm. You may even do better with an exercise partner. If that is the case, try to come up with a time that works for the both of you, even if that means a quick walk during your lunch break with a co-worker.

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The Bottom Line

The most important things to consider when coming up with a workout time is your preference, your schedule, and how you can be consistent. Exercise is not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of thing, so don’t be fooled by the people who say that one time of day is best. If you find mornings the best for you, just be sure to warm-up a little bit longer than normal to avoid injury. If afternoon/night time is better, keep the timing consistent and eat after your work out, not before.

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A Proper Cool Down

This is going to be my last post for my #workoutwednesday series. I thought it was a good idea to close it out with a cool down routine, which is often the most overlooked aspect of exercise, although it is equally as important as the warm-up.

 

The Importance of a Cool Down

A cool down takes place after a workout with the goal of slowly getting the heart-rate, breathing, and body temperature back to its pre-exercise state. A proper cool down usually lasts for about 5-10 minutes, and should start off with some low-intensity exercises followed by stretches.

The benefits of cooling down include

  • Bringing the body’s physiological state back to normal
  • Reduces the risk for muscle cramps and spasms
  • Helps to offset some muscle soreness
  • Aids in muscle recovery
  • Removes waste build-up (like lactic acid) that occurs during physical activity
  • Prevents dizziness and fainting after exercise

 

How to Cool Down

Step 1: Light Activity

The first part of a quality cool down should start off with about 3-5 minutes of light activity. This can differ depending on the individuals workout.

Here are some examples:

  • After a run you might take a light jog for 2-3 minutes, followed by a 2-3 minute walk.
  • After a spin or bike workout you might pedal on a flat road (light resistance) for 3-4 minutes, followed by 1-2 minutes pedaling with no resistance whatsoever.
  • After a strength training workout it’s a good idea to do 3-5 minutes of dynamic stretching, like we saw in our warm-up routine, or even some yoga poses.
  • After a swimming workout one can swim a few leisurely laps around the pool.
  • Instructor-led fitness classes typically have a warm-up and cool down built into the routine.

Step 2: Stretching

The second and last part of a quality cool down will consist of stretching for another 3-5 minutes. You want to make sure you are focusing on the muscles that were being activated during the workout. In order to incorporate relaxation into my cool-down routine, I like to hold each stretch for 5 deep breaths.

Here are some examples of stretches:

Front Shoulders Stretch 

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Triceps Stretch 

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Standing Side Stretch

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Chest Opener Stretch 

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The Forward Hang 

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Upper Back Stretch 

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Quad Stretch 

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Calf Stretch 

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Forward Fold

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Glute Stretch 

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Hip-Flexor Stretch  

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Lower Back Stretch 

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Cobra Stretch 

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I truly hope that you all enjoyed this series! The aim of #workoutwednesday was to share some information related to proper exercise, promote a healthy lifestyle, give ideas of some different types of workouts, and most importantly, to inspire you to exercise and take control of your health!

Please keep checking back on this blog for more health and fitness posts, and possibly a new series =).

Enjoy your cool down and don’t forget to incorporate it after every workout. If you are short on time, modify; something is always better than nothing.

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A Dynamic Warm-Up

For this weeks #workoutwednesday I decided to talk about warming up. Your warm is just as important, maybe more so, than the actual workout itself. Therefore, it’s imperative to understand the importance of warming up for the body and which types of warm-up exercises are best.

The warm-up is meant to gently prepare the muscles for physical activity by increasing heart-rate and blood flow. It is also a means of mentally preparing for the upcoming workout. A warm-up is the best way to loosen up the muscles and prevent injury.

About a decade ago, static stretching, which requires holding a stretch for about 8 or more seconds without movement, was considered to be the best way to warm-up before sports or any type of physical activity. However, we now know that dynamic stretching, which is a combination of stretching and movement, is in fact the most effect method to engaging the muscles before physical activity.

Through a mixture of stretching and light cardiovascular activity, dynamic stretching will activate the muscles, improve range of motion, and enhance muscular performance.

Here is a quick dynamic warm-up that can be done before any type of workout. You will perform each exercise once for 30 seconds each.

 

Knee Highs 

Glute Kicks 

Alternating Knee Hugs 

Alternating Ankle Grabs 

Alternating Leg Kicks

Walking Squats

Lateral Lunge Stretch

DESCRIPTIONS & VIDEOS

Knee Highs

Start by standing straight with feet hips width apart and arms hanging down by sides. Jump from one foot to the other while at the same time lifting the opposite knee as high as possible. You should be jumping onto the balls of your feet and arms should be swinging in motion with the movement. You may move forward while you perform this exercise or remain in place.

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Glute Kicks

Start by standing with the knees close together and arms by the sides. Flex your right knee behind you so that the heel of the foot touches (or comes close to) the glutes. Then lower the leg back down and do the same thing with the opposite leg. You may do this at a faster (almost jogging in place) pace, or you can do one leg at a time and do more of a stretch pace. You may also move forward while performing this exercises or remain in place.

Alternating Knee Hugs 

This exercise is similar to the high knees only it is performed slower and more like a stretch. Start by standing tall with feet under hips and arms by sides. Lift one leg to bring the knee as high up as possible while grasping it with your hands and hugging in towards the body. Lower and repeat on the opposite side. This can be performed while moving forward or while standing in place.

Alternating Ankle Grabs

This exercise is similar to the glute kicks only it is performed slower and more like a stretch. Start by standing with knees close together and hands by the sides. Flex your right knee behind you while grabbing the ankle with the right hand and squeezing it closer towards the body to close the knee joint. You should feel this stretch in the thighs. Lower the leg and perform on the opposite side.

Alternating Leg Kicks

Start by standing with the feet shoulder width apart and arms by your sides. Engage the core and kick your right leg forward with flexed feet as high as you can (hip’s height is advisable) while reaching the opposite arm forward to meet the toes. Lower the leg and bring the arm back to the starting position then perform on the opposite leg. This can be done moving forward of by standing in place.

Walking Squats

Start with feet together and hands by the side or on hips. ‘Walk’ the right foot out to the side until the feet are about hips distance apart and perform a squat. Then, using the same leg you stepped out with, push back to the starting position. Repeat with alternating legs.

Lateral Lunge Stretch

Start by standing tall with feet hips-width apart and hands on hips. Step out with your right foot and shift your weight over the right leg while holding the leg at a 90 degree angle. Push with that same leg to bring yourself back to the starting position. Repeat with alternating legs.

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The Ladder Workout

This week for #workoutwednesday we will do a ladder workout. A ladder workout is a type of workout that focuses on gradually increasing or decreasing the difficulty of the exercises. It is a great way to build up endurance and strength. Due to a few requests this workout can be done at home and requires zero equipment.

Because all of these exercises have been featured in my previous workouts there will be no description at the bottom. If you do not know how to perform any exercise, YouTube is a great tool.

To complete this workout, perform each exercise down the list back-to-back. There is a short rest incorporated into the workout but remember to go at your own pace and take a break any time you need to.

5 Push-ups

10 Burpees

15 Crunches

 20 Jumping Jacks

25 Squats

30 second rest

25 Squats

20 Jumping Jacks

15 Crunches

10 Burpees

5 Push-ups

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6.Air-Squats

PICTURE CREDITS

1. http://media3.onsugar.com/files/2014/10/31/677/n/1922729/f5a12f7fbcd52af8_Basic-Push-Up.xxxlarge.jpg

2. http://www.munsterbootcamp.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/knees-pushup-munster-bootcamp.jpg

3. http://www.smartfoodandfitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Burpees.png

4. http://31.media.tumblr.com/c07f5137b8a54faa06ba920de03cd77f/tumblr_inline_mx41bxukVQ1rdu2za.png

5. http://www.dietsinreview.com/images/cache/450x300_Jumping-Jacks.jpg

6. http://www.rockwallrectech.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Air-Squats.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Jumping Over the Workout Hurdle

We all know those fitness freaks; the people who can’t live without the gym, who revolve their schedule around their workout, who show up late to plans because they couldn’t pull themselves away from the treadmill. What makes them this way? Why can’t I be like one of those people? It seems to be that some people are just born with the will to work out while others have to force themselves to get moving. Although genetics seems to be somewhat at play, the good news is that you can become one of those people. You just need to spend some time with your thoughts. Here are six tips to get you jumping over that workout hurdle.

 

Picture Your Ideal Self

What are your goals? Do you want to fit into an old pair of jeans? Do a pushup? Run for 1 mile without stopping? Be able to bend down and touch your toes? Whatever your goal may be, picture yourself having already accomplished it. How do you feel? This is a useful mental exercise to keep you motivated and determined. The more you imagine yourself in the situation you want to be in, the more you believe in it and the more real it starts to become. 

 

Zero In On the Perks 

Due to our human nature we tend to focus more on the negative than the positive. When it comes to exercise we are quick to think of all of the reasons why we shouldn’t workout. Next time, force your mind to shift to the positive. “I will be one step closer to my goal.” “It’s good for my health.” “Pushing myself will make me stronger both physically and mentally.” “I want to grow.” If you have to, write a list of all of the positive aspect of exercise and read it just before getting ready for your workout.

 

Believe in Yourself

Often times we consider laziness to be the culprit of skipped workouts. Although that may be part of the problem, the biggest hindrance to working out is a feeling of discouragement. Many people don’t actually believe they will ever change, or don’t believe they have what it takes. Everyone has the ability to change if they want to. If you trust in the process and practice consistency then you WILL see changes. Keep telling yourself that it will happen and don’t let doubt cloud your mind, for that is the biggest setback.

 

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Form the Habit

Get in the groove! Once exercise becomes a habit, a normal part of your routine, it’s likely to become much easier to stick with. It’s just like work. No matter how much you love your job, it’s not always easy to get out of the bed every morning five days week and go to work when there are plenty of other things you’d rather be doing. But, we do it because we have to. Sometimes our five daily prayers become heavy on us, and we feel unmotivated. But we push through because we know that the reward at the end is greater. Keep that same mentality with your workout. Do it because you have to; do it because of the reward and the growth it will bring. Push through until it becomes a habit.

 

Accept Where You Are

phonto“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” This quote by Zig Ziglar is my absolute favorite quote because it is so comforting and true. Everyone has to start somewhere. It is truly OK to be completely and utterly out of shape. Maybe you can’t even do 1 pushup. Maybe you are out of breath after only 3 minutes running on the treadmill. Maybe you want to start yoga but you can’t even reach your toes in a forward fold. That is OK. Find beauty and solace in the place that you’re in. It gives you that much more opportunity for growth and improvement. It gives you that much more of a challenge to overcome. It gives you that much more of an inspiring story to share with others. Where ever you are now is OK. Giving up because you are not where you want to be is a sure way to stay in the same place. You will change. You will advance. You just have to accept yourself as you are and continue to work towards your goals.

 

Take Small Steps

Sometimes we want to reach a certain goal so badly that we take all of the wrong steps to get there. When I first started yoga I was dying to be able to do a handstand, to be able to bend my body in half like a pretzel, and to be able to hold myself in impressive arm balance poses. But I overstepped all of the most important means of getting there. How can I do a handstand without learning a headstand first? How can I bend like a pretzel without perfecting the most basic yoga stretch, the forward fold? How can I hold myself in arm balances without building up the necessary strength? I got so caught up in all of the advanced poses that I was going nowhere fast. As tempting as it is to push beyond our limits, we must master the basics or else we will easily give up. Build your foundation. Start small. Progress is not supposed to be fast. No matter what goal you are working towards, it will take time to get there. Islam did not come in one day, but rather it came over a 24 year period. Take your journey one step at a time and be patient.

 

A Morning Yoga Routine

Yoga is a full-body workout that really incorporates a great balance that is hard to find in other exercise routines. It encompasses both physical and mental strength, endurance,  flexibility, balance, and relaxation all in one. It’s quite near impossible to hit all of those elements together in any other form of workout. Since we’ve been focusing a lot on endurance and strength training I thought it would be nice to take it a little slower this week with a morning yoga routine.

This workout is meant to flow so you should move through each pose back-to-back with no rest in between. If you wish you may repeat this sequence up to 4 times. So grab bottle of water and lets hit the mat!

 

Tree Pose (Vrksasana) 

Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Plank Position (Phalakasana) 

Yoga Push-Up (Chaturanga)

Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana)

Cat-Cow (Marjaiasana & Bitilasana)

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

DESCRIPTIONS

Tree Pose (Vrksasana) 

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Start in Mountain Pose with feet shoulder width apart and hands on hips. Inhale and bring the sole of your right foot to your inner calve or thigh. Exhale to reach the arms overhead. Stay here for 5 breaths, then repeat on the other leg.

Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

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Begin in Mountain Pose by standing with feet shoulder width apart and hands on hips. Take a deep breath in and then exhale as you hinge at the hips to bend forward, sucking in the belly. Bring hands flat onto the ground right by the outer edges of the feet. To modify you may either use a yoga block or keep the knees bent. Stay here for 10 breaths.

Plank Position (Phalakasana) 

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From forward fold, inhale and lift the chest up and look forward to straighten the spine, then exhale and step back one foot at a time until you are in a full plank position. Hands should be flat on the ground directly under the shoulders, feet hips distance apart. Squeeze the abs here and be sure to keep the body in a straight line. Hold for 5 breaths.

Yoga Push-Up (Chaturanga)

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From your plank position, keep the elbows close by your side and directly over the wrist, then exhale and slowly lower the body to hover a few inches above the ground. Fully engage the body and squeeze the abs. To modify you may drop down to the knees. Hold this position for 3-5 breaths.

Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

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From Chaturanga, inhale and bring the chest forward and straighten out the elbows until they are directly under the shoulders. Switch from tucking your toes to pressing the tops of the feet on the floor and keep drawing upward through the chest. Lift the torso and legs a few inches off of the floor. To modify you may slightly rest the thighs on the floor. Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

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From upward dog, exhale and press back into down dog by lifting the tailbone upwards towards the ceiling. Curl the toes under and re-position the body so that the feet are hips distance apart and weight should be evenly distributed between hands and feet. Draw the sit-bones back towards the wall behind you and try to press the back heels into the mat for a nice stretch along the hamstrings. The ears should be aligned with the upper arms and let the head relax but do not let it dangle. Stay here for 5 breaths.

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana)

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Here is where you finally get to relax those arms! From down dog, inhale as you lift the right leg high then exhale and step it forward in between the hands. Spin the left heel inwards so the foot is flat and the toes are pointing slightly out. Exhale as you lift the arms up above the head, bringing the body into a deep lung. Relax the shoulder blades down the back and allow the bent knee to come slightly forward over the right ankle. Square the hips towards the front of the room and stay here for 5 breaths. Then, inhale and switch to the other side simply by pivoting around and bending the left leg forward to lung on the other side. Hold here for another 5 breaths.

Cat-Cow (Marjaiasana & Bitilasana)

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Shake out the legs and make your way back down to the mat. Start on all fours (tabletop position) with the knees directly under the hips, wrists directly under the shoulders, toes tucked under, and the spine in a neutral position. Inhale deeply, then exhale and make your way to the cat position by tucking in the chin and arching the spine towards the ceiling. Engage your abs and think about pulling the belly button in and up. Then, inhale and begin to enter cow position by arching the back in the opposite direction, releasing the abs and fixing your gaze up towards the ceiling. Repeat the Cat Poses on your exhales and Cow Poses on your inhales for 10 breaths.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

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From tabletop position inhale deeply, then exhale and, leaving your feet where they are, pull the tailbone back and lower the torso over the thighs. Lengthen the spine by pulling the ribs and tailbone away from each other and reach the crown of the head away from your shoulders. Keep the arms extended in front of the body. Hold for 10 slow and deep breaths.

 


PICTURE CREDITS:

http://images.meredith.com/fitness/images/2006/08/ss_FI090106TRYIN002.jpg

http://www.yogajournal.com.au/wp-content/uploads/standing-forward-bend.jpg

http://www.anahataproject.com/storage/_COB0099.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1429973407981

http://yogadoctors.com/DrEdenGoldmanBlog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HP_209_Chaturanga_2481.jpg

https://yoginisam.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/up-dog.jpg

http://www.joannesumner.com/js/tinymce-upgrade/plugins/imagemanager/files/downward_facing_dog.jpg

http://yogahathayoga.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Iyengar-Balance-Warrior-1.jpg

http://kimfischyoga.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/20100215-0010.jpg