My name is Renee, but online I go by Fit Aussie Sista, and you guessed it, I am Australian. I have pledged to not set foot inside a car for a full year for a charity called World Bicycle Relief. They gift bicycles to children and healthcare workers, including midwives that get around via foot. Owning a bike gifts them back their time. It also improves education rates and healthcare. Many of the people receiving bikes are girls and women, which is why I love them so much! I was also inspired to reduce my carbon footprint and do my bit for the planet.
Australia, particular the outer suburbs of Brisbane, is much like other car centric nations like Malaysia. Life is busy and cities are designed for cars to dominate. I am a teacher, a wife with two busy sons. I also love to run ultra-marathons and cross train with cycling and the gym. My life was full before this challenge, so you can imagine this has been a stretch so far! I have been car free so far for ten weeks, riding roughly 280-300 km’s a week, running about 40- 50km a week, and completing my regular gym sessions. Don’t forget the household, employment and my son’s sports activities as well. During the yearlong challenge, I hope to raise enough money for 100 bikes. At $195 AUD that is about $19 500, or roughly $55 000 Malay Ringgit.
What I do sounds exhausting just reading it aloud, but I wasn’t always this active. Although I was the sporty girl in high school and selected sports captain, life started to get in the way in my 20’s. I married and had two children and got on with work. In 2015 I got a job at an international school, and moved to Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia opened up a world of hot weekends spent in shopping malls, roti chanai and tea tarik along with every other delicious treat it had to offer. With the stress of work, highways, my trusted MyVi, and cheap delicious food on my doorstep my fitness faded and the kilograms started to pile on. Living near Bukit Jalil Park I spent many a Saturday morning watching joggers and walkers sweat it out as I casually meandered through.
In Australia I had used the lack of Muslimah or modest active wear as an excuse or barrier to not participate in activities, although I knew I had skill and drive from my youth if I could just activate it. But after spending time in the park I knew that Malaysia had an active wear brand, I just had to find it. Towards the end of my contract, and 2016 I found Nashata, packed it in my back and headed back home to Australia.
With nothing but our suitcases I knew I wanted to design a new life. I decided to buy a bike that I could use as a form of transportation rather than for fun. That is when I found cargo-bikes and my love of cycling evolved. I later fell pregnant and was excited, alhamdulliah. But after 14 weeks of a rough pregnancy I lost the baby. I started to get depressed, but a friend pulled me out of it by asking me to go for a jog with her. Running gave me something to focus on. I fixated on improving my times and it was from there I got addicted to the adrenaline of exercise again.
After everything, I am thankful that I found Nashata and my love of exercise again. It helps me to stay balanced and calm. I am a better mother, employee and Muslim because of it. Now, in 2020, I have taken on my biggest challenge yet in the hope of making a small change in the world. Practically, due to my busy schedule I am going through multiple outfit changes, but Nashata has my back! I particularly love their Amin Sports Hijab, Hooda Ellipse hijabs, and the Ultra and Azza tops. These products have got me through many a race, and hopefully the year of training and cycling. In the future I hope to head overseas, hopefully back to Malaysia for one of the amazing Ultra Races on offer!
I would really appreciate it if you could support me on my journey by checking out my weekly YouTube updates on my channel Fit Aussie Sista and @fit_aussie_sista on Instagram. It is through the power of social media we can show the world that we can be taken seriously as athletes and active, passionate members of society. Of course, I would also appreciate if you could support a fellow sister and donate at the following link.
Renee- Fit Aussie Sista