Welcoming the new year

Hey everyone!

I know it has been a long time since I last blog. As you might have known, I was well into my third trimester when I stopped blogging, and after 18 hours or contractions and labour, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl via vaginal birth on 17th November 2015 at 1905hrs. She weighed 3.25kg and I was flying high on laughing gas. Her name is Eesha Naira and is currently being fed both breast milk and formula. She is almost 4kg now.

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I am excited to welcome 2016 with a new addition to the family. We will also be moving into our new place next year, est. late-Jan or early Feb. Blogging was not the only thing that I stopped when I was in my third trimester. I also took time off from working out. I spent my last month of pregnancy basically just lazing around and nesting. It’s been over a month now since I delivered and I have decided to start working out again come the January 1st. I’m really excited for it. I hope baby care will not get in the way too much. Eesha’s feeding time is still about 2-3 hours apart and instead of napping during those 2-3 hours, she is now spending it by exploring her surroundings. It’s fine when she does it quietly but sometimes she wants to be carried around. Then I suppose I would have to carry her while doing my squats or something.

Anyways, I hope you lovelies have something awesome planned for New Year’s Eve. I will be counting down to the end of my confinement period. Finally I can go out for a longer period of time. Yeay!

Until then my darlings, take care!

Fitness Feature Monday: @namiramohamad

11391475_1511611669059358_1706294744514255916_nNamira 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.

pyramidSo 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?

endothankyou2Being 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.

11182275_1500030296884162_7198083290533806109_nWhen 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.

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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?

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Ig (awareness): iamnamira
Ig (fitness/personal): namiramohamad
Chat (fb): Namira Mohamad
Email: namira.mohamad@gmail.com

Author’s Note:
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.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/basics/definition/con-20013968
http://www.webmd.com/women/endometriosis/
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adenomyosis/basics/definition/con-20024740
http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/adenomyosis-symptoms-causes-treatments

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 eiravanora@gmail.com. 

Do I motivate you?

Hey Lovelies!

I know it has been a long time since I posted anything in this category. Being pregnant has taken all the energy out of me and I have been focusing on other stuffs. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this long awaited post.

Ever since I started on my fitness journey, people have been asking me, “How do you do it? How do you keep yourself motivated?

Well, it’s not easy. There were days when I would plan to go to the gym only to back out at the last minute with the silliest (and lamest) of excuse like:

  • it’s raining
  • there’s no one to look after the cats
  • mum is not feeling well
  • there’s a good show on tv
  • I have a headache (but I actually don’t)

It felt good to indulge in my laziness sometimes, but then guilt starts sinking in. I paid to join the gym. I made this promise to myself. It’s beneficial for me. So why am I dodging it?

Lack of motivation.

So how do I motivate myself? There’s this one motivational quote that I came across, it has become my favorite.

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar

Daily. That is the keyword. By surrounding myself with like-minded people, I’m bombarded left and right with fitness pictures, workout videos, fitness statuses, I see their progresses on Facebook, on Instagram, on their blogs. and I’m not just talking about the professionals. I’m talking about regular people, housewives, firemen, working fathers, mothers with young kids, interns, students, etc. These are the people who motivate me. I watch them fail and cheered when they succeed. They share with me their stories, tips and advices. Not just about working out but also about diet, eating the right kind of food, about juggling work, family and gym and many more. These are the things that kept me going for the past 3 years.

Even now with a 2 pound baby growing in my belly, I am still going to the gym. I still have my lazy days but I always make sure that I work harder the next day. I owe it to myself. I know its not too late. And it’s not too late for you too. No matter how much you weigh, no matter how busy you are, no matter what your lifestyle was before, it’s not too late. Take one change at a time. Promise yourself to drink more water, eat more veggie, alight one bus stop away from your normal stop and walk the rest of the way, just do 10 push-ups a day, start a fitness journal. It can be anything.

And if ever you find the need to be motivated, just return to this blog post. If I can do it, then you can do it.

Until then, stay healthy!

Taking the first step to fitness…

Now, I am in no way the healthiest person in the world, nor am I the most active or the fittest. But I know that I am in a better shape than I ever was when I was 10 years younger. I hit the gym 4 – 5 times a week, I carry weights and do cardio (as much as I hate it) and I swim. I was never this active, not even when I was in school. And believe it or not, I actually enjoy all these activities.

So how did you get started?

Well, my weight has always been fluctuating ever since I turned 23 and when I hit the 25 mark, I noticed that it was much easier for me to put the extra weight on rather than to shed it off. I used to always tell myself that it doesn’t matter as long as I’m happy, which was true. I wasn’t delusional or anything. Being a chubby baby, I have gotten comfortable with the ‘extra padding’ around my midsection and my cheeks. It wasn’t until I was working as a performer at Sentosa that I realize just how unfit I was. The job was physically demanding, we have to run and jump around a lot while lip-syncing to the songs on playback. And after every show, I would be panting and my legs would ache terribly (but I LOVE performing – reason why I didn’t quit). All these things were alright at the beginning, I took it as the sacrifices I’m making for a job that I love. It wasn’t until my weight tipped over 60kg (which had NEVER happened before) and I find it harder and harder to keep up with my colleagues during the shows. So I’ve decided that I have to do something about it. I have to start losing some weight.

I started jogging at work, before showtime. I was never a very good runner, I never like running either. I once told a boy that I was dating that “if humans were made to run, we would have hooves instead of feet”. Yup, that’s how much I hated running. Regardless, I did what I had to do. I try to run at least 30mins but with the lack of motivation and determination, a ‘run’ ended up becoming a ‘walk’ and 30mins became 20mins and then became…..well, you get the idea. On my 29th birthday, I was gifted a gym membership (one of the most extravagant gift I’ve ever received) and that changed my life. I started doing research on how the machines worked and how they would work for me, I Googled workout regimes, diet tips and made my own workout schedule. Most of the things that I did was more of trial and error. I also joined an online fitness group to keep me motivated (SparkPeople) and that helped a lot.

How do you stay motivated?

One of the advice that I really love Accountability – tell as many people as you can on your new fitness journey. Post pictures of yourself working out, progresses that you made and anything related to your new fitness journey. Not only will it help to keep track of what you’re doing, it would also keep you accountable. It will be made as a reminder to you as to why you started on this journey in the first place.

Another way to fitness on track it to Google for Fitness Challenges. I found a few on Instagram. Fitness Challenges are similar to the Photo-a-day Challenge. Each day, you have to post a photo on Instagram something related to fitness (in accordance to the list given). It could be your healthy breakfast on the first day of the month or a picture/video of you doing push-ups / sit-ups on the following week. Eventually, this becomes a habit (habits are developed between 21 – 28 days) and it’ll be as easy as breathing or shopping.

Of course there are days where I don’t feel like going to the gym, or even getting out of bed. Some people would say that “you should not give in to it and should suck it up“. But I believe that everyone deserves a break sometimes. That’s why you need rest days in your workout schedule. When things gets tough like this, I let myself take a breather. I would skip the gym and do something to pamper myself like maybe going for a manicure or a foot massage. Or even just stay home and do a marathon of sappy romantic movies. But this is also a very risky thing to do because of you were to get comfortable with it, then you would get lazy. So being discipline is very, VERY important. It’s alright to fall off the wagon once in awhile, especially when you first started out, just as long as you get back on it immediately.

If you want to stop starting over, then stop quitting.

Now after almost 3 years of this lifestyle, I am happy to see some of my friends following suit. I advice them of things that I know and when the asked me about something that I don’t, I research on it. I am still very new in this and I’m looking forward to learning more. But if there’s anything that you would like to ask me, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer.

Until then, take care!

Fitness Feature Monday: @Radzmaniac

Last week, I went on the hunt on Instagram. I was looking for inspirational individuals to feature on my fitness section. There has been numerous nominations but one stood out. Her name is Radhiah.

20131027_121815Name: Radhiah Binte Zulkifli
Age: 26 this year
Occupation: Promotions Producer (TV) / Freelance Herbalife Coach
Year/s Active: 3 months of working out

Back in November 2013, Radhiah weighed 61.9kg. By January 2014, she had lost 3.4kg in body weight and her body fats went down from 29.5% to 25.7%

As a Herbalife coach, she has been helping people to lose weight since 2012. Having been on Herbalife herself since then, she has always been conscious about her weight.

Having a 6-pack abs has always been a dream of hers ever since her secondary and tertiary years but due to other commitments and financial constraints, she was unable to achieve that dream. Until recently did she decide to stop procrastinating and get in shape, because she realized that she was only a year away from her wedding.

Her fiancé, who is active in Muay Thai, influenced her into being active. They often jog and hit the gym together but Radhiah realises soon enough that she would need to do more to achieve her goal of owning a 6-pack. She received a complimentary trial at California Fitness Gym, courtesy of her bestfriend and that was when her fitness journey began. Since then, she has not looked back and is constantly looking for creative ways to eat clean and lose body fats.

Radhiah      Radhiah2

What are your workouts/diet like?

Workout
I work out 3-4 times a week at California Fitness and also attends the classes available particularly Le Mils BodyPump, BodyCombat, ABT (Abs, Butt, Thighs) and CXwork & Bodypump.

On days that I’m not in the gym, I do abs workout like In/Out, Bicycle Crunches, Burpees, Leg Raises, Abs Twist and weight training at home by following videos on YouTube.

Diet
Breakfast & Dinner
– Herbalife shakes + Personalized Protein Powder

Lunch
– Half a container of boiled veggies like broccoli, asparagus, baby carrots,
– 1/4 container of boiled sweet potatoes
– 1/4 of baked/boiled chicken breasts

Snacks
– Fruits or digestive biscuits

3 litres water daily.

Are you active in any other activities?
Being dedicated to my goal leaves me little time for other activities but to compensate, I focus on doing other things that I love like doing prep meals. I also take in requests from my customers and do prep meals for them.

What are your other interest/s other than fitness & health?
I am a lover of music, movies and video games.

Being a woman of fitness, what is the most common misconception you get from people?
People tend to not understand the reason why I train so hard, and why I eat the way I do, because to them I’m already pretty slim. But what they don’t see are the excess fats around my mid-section and my thighs. It’s something that I would like to get rid of and even though I have made much progress (I can see my 6-pack slowly forming), I know that I still have a long way to go.

One misconception that most people have is that weight training should be done only by men, because women would lose their femininity when they start gaining muscles as big as the hulk. But that is not true. Our muscles are not developed to grow that big. Women train to look toned, in order to look sexy!

Any tips/advices for those starting out?
Losing weight or toning up is never an easy process. Therefore, for those starting out, go easy on yourself if you’re afraid that you won’t be able to take it. Then, slowly increase the frequency of your workouts as your body gets stronger. There will be days when you will feel unmotivated, but keep your goal in. Once you start seeing results, you will definitely feel motivated to keep going!! The most important part is to always look forward to your goal!! This is a lifestyle change, therefore, once you get started, there is no turning back, unless you want to throw your efforts of working out, down the drain. It’s 80% Nutrition and 20% exercise!! To keep you healthy and fit! 🙂

Follow Radhiah on Instagram or check out her fitness journey at #RadzFitChallenge. 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 eiravanora@gmail.com.