Namira has always been the gutsy gal but hefty while growing up with 73kg being her heaviest. It was when her mum had to be rushed to the hospital due to an infection from Diabetes that struck a chord in Namira and made her turned her life around. Being the one to administrate the insulin injection for her mum opened her eyes to the importance of nurturing a healthy lifestyle. It was a double scare when she was told that there is a high risk of her getting Diabetes too. She became a gym member soon after and hired a professional trainer to help her navigate her way in this new fitness world.
It was during this process that she fell in love with fitness and nutrition and got herself certified so that she was able to understand her bodily functions. The idea was to be independent on keeping a sustainable healthy lifestyle for her but little did she know that it was the first step for her to helping others too. She eventually made a career out of it for a few years, before she decided to quit and focus on furthering her studies on health sciences, to better educate herself and to provide better insights to future clients.
What are your workouts/diet like?
Ever since I started lifting 5 years ago, I became passionate about bodybuilding and aestheticism. I hit the gym 5-6 times a week to do a push/pull/legs split workout progressively. I keep a notebook to stay sharp on my progression and I find this crucial cause mental note is unreliable. No, I do not skip Legs Day because I find it essential in attaining ‘balance’. Plus, muscles are sexy and I am all about that.
I do not go by any specific diet because I am particular about having a lifestyle that is sustainable. What is the point of curbing yourself from certain macronutrients/micronutrients and go to such ‘dietary extremities’ when adopting a healthy lifestyle is supposed to make you build a better relationship with food? It does not make sense to eliminate any components of your food. This to me is just another vicious cycle of extremities. A big no-no in my fitness journey.
So I go by the basic idea of the ‘Essentials of Nutrition Science’. You have a daily calorie, macronutrient (carbohydrates & fibers, proteins & fats) & micronutrients (vitamins & minerals). This concept aims to hit your target intake and as long as those specific numbers are achieved, then food selections is left up to your personal preference. Supplements are necessary only if you are not able to fill up your nutritional needs through the food you eat or you do have medical issues that hinder you from absorbing these nutrients effectively on your own.
This concept is also known as IIFYM (If It Fits Your Micros) and I personally go by this rule. I go by science and not bro-science. It makes total sense to have all these components in our daily meals because they need each other to allow our body to function properly. This is what eating ‘right’ & ‘healthy’ means to me; attaining balance.
What other activities do you do?
I used to do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and when I miss the sport, I would come down for some sessions at my fight club. Unfortunately, due to health reason, I am not able to participate religiously like I used to.
What are your other interest/s other than fitness & health?
Being diagnosed with stage 4 Endometriosis and Adenomyosis, I refuse to spend the rest of my life wallowing in self-pity. The fact that there is no cure to these chronic illnesses and my life span is predicted to deteriorate over time, I am determined to show the world that ‘I AM NOT MY ILLNESS’. I have always been an athlete and I will continue being one come what may, looking adversaries in the eyes and walk right through it, coming out stronger.
Before the diagnosis, I was doing combat sports and strength training for a good 3 years all in all. I have the advantage being guided by Coach Jonathan Wong from Genesis Performance, killing the sets in every bootcamp and choking the guys in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes at Juggernaut Fight Club. Tears, blood & sweats, I have given my 101%, breaking PRs and making gains.
When I was told of the devastating news, instead of it crippling my soul, I told myself that I need to be the voice of our women who has been suffering in silence due to the lack of awareness. If only there is a community that push to educate others on an early detection, I would not be in this situation in the first place. Thinking of that, I started my journey in educating the community about Endometriosis & Adenomyosis, taking the gym as a platform to interact with other athletes and share the campaign to them.
I created the movement known as ‘endometriosistersinsg’ which I changed it subsequently to ‘iamnamira’ for the fact that others keep looking at us as ‘sick women’ and only as that. Instead of throwing prejudices we were labeled with other negative connotations. With this name change, I hope to let them understand, that yes we are sick, yes there is no cure, but there are a lot more to us than just our illness; we are our own ‘WARRIORS’. 3 years on, and the movement has been helping women internationally and island wide too, slowly changing the mindset of our conservative nation on issues pertaining to the reproductive system.
So far I have managed to collaborate with a local internet sensation, the humorous duo, ‘Bonda Bedah & Mak Temah’ & have the support of Dr Peter Barton Smith of Singapore General Hospital. The video of ‘Bonda Bedah & Mak Temah’ is as listed below. Up to date it has been viewed by over 39,000 viewers and was shared 489 times. My efforts were acknowledged by Endometriosis Africa Awareness too and I was featured in the local newspaper Berita Harian/Berita Minggu.
Why do I choose the fitness industry as the platform for my movement?
POSITIVITY IS ADDICTIVE and the fitness industry is wafting with it. By breaking barriers & challenging the social perspectives of what ‘strong’ & ‘being strong’ is, it creates curiosity and eventually penetrates into wanting to be aware of the illnesses I am dealing with. I have received a lot of ‘Hey, that woman has stage 4 and yet so hardcore’ from those who know me and my followers, and I hope this would make others think thrice on giving excuses to not train twice as hard.
In conclusion, I bring with me an image of an empowered woman, not just physically fit, but mentally and emotionally ready to get people on board for a life check & question themselves, ‘What’s your excuse again?’.
Being a woman of fitness, what is the most common misconception you get from people?
Well, being in the bodybuilding industry the common misconceptions are, if you lift weights and develop muscles, then you must be taking steroids. The more popular misconception is that if you lift weights, you’re gonna look like men and if you stop lifting, your muscles will turn to fats. Like seriously? That is so ridiculous…I CANT EVEN! OMG! LOL!
Any tips/advices for those starting out?
I am delighted whenever I am approached by beginners who are still so motivated and already set with a good mentality. Always ask yourself first, why are you doing this?
Never do this for other people or for a short term goal. Remember this and plant it to your heart, fitness is a marriage. It has to come from a correct mentality. Be the change for the fact that you know it is a lifestyle, a lifelong commitment. When you understand this purpose, then you will get it that this is a journey. It is about patience, consistency and sustainability. Do not rush perfection. Do not go by any extremities. Make the change to live by healthily. Forgive yourself on days that you falter but do not stay there for so long. Keep going.
How can the readers reach you?
Ig (awareness): iamnamira
Ig (fitness/personal): namiramohamad
Chat (fb): Namira Mohamad
Thank you Namira for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this feature. To know more about Endometriosis and Adenomyosis, click on the links below.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s feature. Stay tuned for next week’s feature and if there’s someone that you would like me to feature, drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.