No motivation ?? Here are 5 tips to motivate you to run ?

Find motivation to run

Stop giving excuses

Have you ever felt so lazy that you couldn’t put on your running attire,  lace up your sport shoes, to get off your lazy ass or to go for your routine run?

And you start to blame the weather,..“it is too hot today and I might get sunburn”, or “since it is windy, i better take a nap” …and you start thinking of thousand reasons to escape your run..

Actually, There’s nothing wrong with you, except…YOU’VE LOST YOUR MOTIVATION.

So, here are 5 tips to motivate you to keep running 😉

1. Set your goal. 

Plan your mileage target for every month wisely. Write them BIG and paste it at an area you can easily see. This will motivate you and get you to be more responsible towards your goal.

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2. Register for a race.

Once you click the ‘register’ button, you definitely feel like,..“Soon, I will run for this event, and yes, I should start run today”. You will start to find time to train and become consistent as the ‘race day’ comes nearer.

At the REPC..I'm very excited to run soon!

3. Remember, it’s for your health.

Do not run because your friends are running too, and that if you’re not running with them,..you’d be left behind and have no friends. Do not run because you wanna have the slimmest figure among your fat colleagues, do not run because it is a trend. Run because you feel good and fresh after accomplish your goal. Run because it is definitely the best stress reliever. And yes, remember that after you run, you can eat like a MONSTER!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

4. Find running buddies. 

Running alone will sometime make you feel demotivated. You will feel bored, lonely and distracted. Get a running buddy, set up your goal together, plan and train. It will be even more fun if you guys sign up for a race and compete together. Your performance will be improve if you guys aim and train hard.

They are doing well today ;) Congrats guys!

Running sisters

5. Put your best attire on

Introduce variety into your running wardrobe so that you will be more excited to run everyday. Everybody wants look good and nice in whatever they’re wearing, so do you when you run. And yes, your running selfie definitely would be gorgeous too. Make sure you are comfortable and confident in your attires.

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

Pacer duty done…..with less drama!

It’s a wrap! Alhamdullilah, I was given a great opportunity to be one of the pacers for all the series in Men’s Health Women’s Health 21km Night Run which held in Penang, Putrajaya and the last one in Puteri Harbour, Johor Bahru last week. And it was pretty awesome!

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Team Pacers 😉

I was the pacer for 2 hours 30 minutes for Penang edition, 2 hours 20 minutes for Putrajaya edition and last one at Puteri Harbour last week, it was 2 hours and 10 minutes. Do read about my previous experience being pacer here → https://blog.nashata.com/?p=6389.

Since this was my third time become a pacer, alhamdullilah everything went well and of course gain more confident and less drama..hehe..

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For slimming effect, cross your legs when people taking your pic..hehehe 🙂

Oh ya, this is my first time running in Johor and of course I’m the one who’s running with widest smile. And the Nashata sisters ran too. Yayy!

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Nashata sisters finished modestly after running and of course still look beautiful as always! heeee

Alhamdullilah, we ‘re given the opportunity to be interviewed by NTV 7 before the event started.

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Overall, the water stations and traffic were well organised, we maintained our pace around 6.00 to 6.15 min/km to finish in 2 hours and 10 minutes. If you always train yourself to run sub 6.00min/km, you can go for sub 2 hours for half marathon 😉

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My favourite moment that night,is when my all- time- favourite running idol, best known as Malaysian’s Fastest Marathoner 2016, paced me for 500m before reached finishing line! Yes, Edan paced me towards finishing line!  And it feel like I’m running on the red carpet with flowers showering my way towards the dais..heee..And after that we accidentally met back at the nearby shop,..and here is our photo together 😉 Yayy, thanks Edan! Hope to meet you again in the future, insyaALLAH.

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Edan is very inspiring and determined. I wish one day I could be like him too, aminnn.

How do I trained?

It has been a while, since last December 2016, I had a break from any events due to busy schedule with classes and exams. But, I never miss my usual training every evening to maintain my stamina and momentum. I run at least 10 km with average pace 5.45min /km ,4 times in a week, and other 3 days I run at my easy pace,..and do daily planks as my daily routine.

The secret is,..set your goal, aim..and train for it! Get rid of any excuses that will disrupt your goal, be confidence and persistent to what you want to achieve. The utmost important is..always believe that you can do it. When your mind believed it, your body will achieve it. InsyaALLAH.

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“Believe you can and you’re halfway there”

How do I eat? 

I do eat like other people but the different is I know what i am eating and I care about it. I never miss my meals. I eat carbs for lunch and dinner. I always take bananas and half boiled eggs every morning and after running for energy and muscle recovery. Don’t skip your meal and don’t overeat.

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And yes! I had char kueh teow for my post running treat..and it’s yummeh!

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

The Kuching Marathon when I no longer run with my legs

Yesterday, I ran the Kuching Marathon for the second time. It is one of my favourite homeground running events that I never miss.

At the REPC..I'm very excited to run soon!

At the REPC..Looking very excited to run!

What’s exciting about the run was that I did a back to back full marathon (FM). A week before, I ran a full marathon (42.195km) at the Standard Charted Kuala Lumpur Marathon better known as SCKLM.  My goal was to  finish BOTH marathons without injury and I did it! Hoyeahh!

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Hoyeahh! I finished strong after back to back FM.


After coming back from SCKLM, I was very busy attending classes and lectures. Honestly, a week before the Kuching Marathon I didn’t run much, only carbo-loading and hydrating myself well. I believed that all I needed was a good rest and to continue loading myself with carbs since there was only a week gap before the Kuching Marathon.

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I couldn’t wait to arrive at the finish line,..but before that let’s take a pic first!

I was glad that the number of participants at the Kuching Marathon increased this year. Yayy! Here’s the breakdown:

  • 5km – 2200
  • 10km – 1897
  • 21km – 2343
  • 42km – 1658
    (info from KPD Kuching)

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It was almost time to flag off,..and everybody was soo excited!

The full marathon flagged off at 2am. I liked it early because first  – no sunburn and second – the weather would not be not that hot. I was hoping to finish the run before 8 am.

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Yayy! Aina was back hometown for this event! Run Aina run!

The route was almost flat with some not-so-hilly, and long, never ending road. I started my first 10 km with paces ranging from 5.30 to 6.30 min per km and the timing for first 10 km was 59 min. For the next 11 km, my average pace dropped to 7 to 8.30 min per km, hence my timing was 2 hr 21 min for the first 21 km. Oh ya, I did spend 6-8 minutes for toilet stop at the Shell petrol station nearby. Hmm, how I wished that I didn’t stop.

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Running with energy for a selfie ;P The Nashata hoodie top keeps my head dry from morning dew

It was cold and humid, and was sure most of the runners performed best at their first 21 km. I then continued running until km 32. It was already 5.50 am and I stopped at the Petronas Petrol Station nearby for about 7-8 min to perform Fajr prayer.

By the time I started running back, it was already 6 am. If I really wanted go for sub 5, I only had about one hour left for my last 10 km. However, sub 1 for my last 10 km was probably impossible. I remained positive and changed my target to sub 5 hr 15 min, 1 min earlier from my timing at SCKLM – 5hr 16min.

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I like this pic very much! I look like an Olympians..teehee 😛 photo credit to DNA Sport 🙂

I kept telling myself, “just keep running, this suffering is almost at its end”

My last 5 km was really tough, as I was fighting with myself to complete within my target. I no longer ran with my legs, I ran with heart. I kept running, no matter how slow it was, at least I kept moving. I kept my pace within 9 to 10.30 km/min, and at that time, I could no longer feel my leg. All I could feel was my socks soaking in sweat, my big toes felt like being pressed, this and that…my only wish was that I could just walk.

Towards the finish line, there were a few cheering squats who kept entertaining the runners. I ran even faster towards my last 500 m., and yet that 500 m felt like 500 km. Arghh!

Finally, I finished my 10th Full Marathon strong at the Kuching Marathon in 5 hours 9 min.*drum rolls*.. Yayy, mission sub 5hr 15min accomplished and 7 minutes earlier from FM SCKLM. Alhamdullilah.

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My first time running in Amin Sports Hijab and I love it. I love the look and the feel. Yeahh! I made it! Forget the mile, and just remember the glory 😉

Overall, the traffic was well controlled and organised. However, the water stations had limited supply of  plain water and isotonic drink. Runners had to queue up and share cups to drink, to our inconvenience. My take home message is to bring small bottle at my next run. Should the organiser fail to provide enough water throughout the run, at least I have my own.

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Thank you guys for support 😉 and not to forget, Fatin finished her first run, a 10km within cut off time..congrats! *claps

Before I went back, I managed to meet up with some friends who flew in from Peninsular just to race. Ermm, not entirely, they flew in for Kek Lapis and Mee kolok too 😛

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Congrats Khairul (in black shirt) for doing his personal best for his HM. And others, congrats guys for finishing strong.

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This superman did a back to back too,..with an awesome timing ,..sub 4.30..congrats Mambo!

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My medical lecturer (in blue hijab) also ran this morning,..she’s did 5km but overmileage with 3km add on! Congrats Dr! Next time she should upgrade to 10km 😉

When someone tells you, ‘You can’t’, turn around and say, ‘Watch me!’ ….And the bragging continues ….. 😛

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We continued bragging,..because the suffer is astounding!

Before the moment ended, we celebrated our victory with…..tadaaa!

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Mee Kolok with FM finisher medal add-on!

Till then, we shall meet again in next post 🙂

Keep running and be inspired!

Words from The Pacer!

Pacers on the go!

Pacers on the go!

It was such a great honour when I was given the opportunity to be one of the pacers for 21km Men’s Health Women’s Health Night Run, for the second time, with improved timing : 2 hours 20 minutes.

My first time being a pacer was in May’16 at 21 km Men’s Health Women’s Health Night Run in Penang for timing 2 hours 30 minutes. And the next is a…surprise!

We can't wait to pace!

We can’t wait to pace!

Are you ready guys?!

Are you ready guys?!

It was raining heavily a few hours before the run, and we were worried and had questions in our minds, “Will there be lightning during the run?” “Will the event run smoothly?” But, yes! I love to run in rain.
When the race was about to start, the rain almost stopped but drizzling. I was quite nervous because my timing for pacing improved to 2 hr 20 mins, and it was raining, the road was wet and may be slippery, this and that..…
I was glad to meet other pacers for my timing and they were very friendly and kept supporting each other. As the race start, everything went smoothly until one of our balloons …popped!,..yes. It was.. at kilometers 2 (yup, as early as that,..am not sure why). Fortunately, we have another one since we were given two balloons. We kept inspiring people around us to keep up with our pace

“Keep running, keep moving guys”
“You can do it!”
“We almost there!”

We tried to maintain the pace, 6.25 – 6.30 min per kilometer. I was enjoying my run with the songs I downloaded a week before the race, and I played them on the loud speaker, and yes! Everyone seemed to enjoy them too. Yayy!

At the kilometers 14, my other pacers started to leave me behind. They ran even faster than the pace we were assigned to. Perhaps they were so used to run faster until they forgot our pace. And I kept running alone, entertained by the songs played on loud speaker. Fortunately, there were still a lot of people following me.I felt relieved –  Hoyeahh! Women power here!

With Amie Pacer 2:40 #nashatarunners

With Amie Pacer 2:40 #nashatarunners

Things got worse when I felt I needed to go to toilet so badly at kilometers 16. Unfortunately, there was no portable toilet, no petrol station, no mosque. It was just a long, straight road ahead. It was a tough run, running with full bladder, but I had no choice but to continue running. I prayed to Allah, to help me finished the race on time, and to finished strong with this full bladder! At least for this time! Please!.… I kept on running.

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Hijabi Pacers who choose to move a little more, to inspire a lot

I passed by the boards with marked “5km to go” then “3km to go” and finally I arrived at the finishing line with timing 2:20:40. Yayyy! I felt like I was on top of the world. It felt like I just crossed the finish line on a red carpet. Lots and lots of people cheered for me, “Good job Nasuha! Good job!”

I feel like a star that night. Alhamdulillah for that night!

 

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.

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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.

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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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Hijab Promotes Inner Beauty

Wearing the hijab comes with a heavy responsibility. Not only are we, as women and mothers, the role models for our children, but we represent our families, our communities and our religion. When people look at a Muslim woman the first thing they see is her scarf. Someone who knows nothing about Islam is likely to judge the entire religion based on the actions of that woman. Therefore, it is up to us to uphold the morals and values of Islam as best we can.

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As World Hijab Day is nearing, I thought it was a good time to reflect upon the hijab. I wanted to reflect not just on the importance of the hijab itself but how it has shaped my life, particularly in my field of work as a fitness trainer.

I’ve been wearing hijab for about one year now, alhamdulillah. Of course, the hijab changed me in so many more ways than just my choice of clothing. Hijab started off as something physical. It made me look different. It made me look Muslim. It hid my hair and body. It acted as a barrier between me and strange men.

But as time went on it started working a little more deeply. I began to notice that I was being respected. People were forced to look at my eyes and not my body. I felt proud of the courage I had to wear it regardless of what others thought. I became more aware of my actions and words. And most importantly, I felt a deeper connection to Allah (swt).

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While hijab was helping me in many ways, it was also hard. The hardest part about hijab for me was fitness. As a trainer I thought, “who will want to be my client if I can’t prove to them I have what it takes?” I thought proving I was a good trainer meant showing off my hard-earned muscle as a way to prove I was fit and able. I didn’t think people would take me seriously. But I trusted Allah (swt) and knew that if I had given something up for His sake, He would give me back something better.

As a trainer I had always said health and fitness was about more than just looks, but I never truly felt it. Putting on the hijab helped me to truly grasp the concept of inner health. Of course, I still wanted to look good and be happy with my body, but that became less of my aim and focus. I started feeling beautiful on the inside.

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I was eating better food; I was eating food for their nutrients and the benefit I could gain from them, rather than just eating for low calories. I developed a more well-rounded sense of health; a sense of health that enveloped full-body awareness. Awareness of the mind, body and spirit. Religion actually became a part of my health practices, and health became a means of worship and giving thanks to Allah for all that He blessed me with. And I think that this radiated off of me.

I realized that I was still getting clients. I realized that I now had the power to not only talk about full-body health, but to promote it through my own lifestyle.

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People may not be able to see my body, but is that a true indicator of a healthy person anyways? A healthy person is someone who works not only on their bodies but on their mind and soul as well. A healthy person is someone who balances between food they love and food that is nutritious. A healthy person is some who feeds their spirit. A healthy person is someone who recognizes the issues surrounding this world and lends a helping hand. A healthy person is someone who practices patience, gives their body a break when it needs one, and loves themselves through every step of their journey.

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As hijabis, we have that power to change the fundamental notions of society. We don’t have to live by the idea that beauty and looks are everything. We have the ability to force people to look at our hearts, personalities and intelligence. We have the ability to help other women who believe that their worth lies in their beauty alone. We can promote self-awareness and self-love. We have the choice to use health and fitness as a means of worship and showing gratitude, rather than using it to flaunt our bodies.

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As Muslim women, we have an obligation. An obligation to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah regardless of the barriers our society may put up. Hijab can evoke fear in some people, especially in Western cultures. But if we wear our hijab with confidence and dignity and portray as many characteristics as our beloved Prophet (saw) as we can, we can change that. We can stand up for women around the world and show that health is so much more than our external being. We are unique. We are beautiful. We don’t hide behind our hijab, rather, we use it to blossom.

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