My Skin Care Products

Hello my lovelies!

I hope you had an enjoyable weekend. Mine was pretty eventful. I had dinner with my husband and his family on Friday to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday. I went over to my mum’s on Saturday and met up with a girlfriend on Sunday. It feels so good to be out and about and not worry so much about an early curfew. I’m so done with confinement. Hurray!

I have never been a believer in lying about one’s age. Even when I was a teenager, I never wanted to be older. I never lied about being older. I was proud to be underage, to be the youngest in the group, even though I was often mistaken to be at least 2 years older than I really am. Now that I am older, I never lied about being younger. I just don’t see the point. I’m proud to have the number of years under my belt. It shows how much I have lived. But every time when I tell my age, people always look at me doubtfully. Ironically, now they think I’m younger than I really am. and I’m really flattered and humbled, and I thank my parents and my late grandmother for the youthful genes.

Some say my dressing makes me look youthful, some say it’s my interests and the way I act. Others claimed its my skin and they ask me for my secret. I have none, really, apart from eating right and staying hydrated. But if skincare is what they’re referring to, then I would have to give compliments to my homemade skincare products. Homemade not by me, but by Holistic Isranfi. From facial scrubs to cleansers to treatment oils, its all created by the wonderful Good Witch, Wati Ismail.

Using only all natural products and essential oils, her magic hands whip up concoctions of amazingly scented lotions and whatnots to pamper your skin. Gentle to use on a daily basis, I can’t resist but to have them as part of my skincare regime. And the best thing is, all products are cruelty-free and only tested on family and friends!

 

I can tell you honestly that ever since I started using these products, I hardly ever uses any other brands. Except for facial wash, but that is only because Holistic Isranfi is yet to come up with any soap products. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed though!

Holistic Isranfi also has other products for your home like diffuser oils and insect repellents as well as balms for insect bites, burns and cough. If you would like something a little more personal, just let Wati know and she would be happy to create something specially for you.

Until then lovelies!

P.S.
Holistic Isranfi will be having a booth at the MWM Ladies’ Tea Party at PKMS Building on 9th January, pm – 6pm. Tickets are available here.

 

30 Day Fitness Challenge: Day 1

Hello lovelies!

As there have been much inactivity for the past few months, there has been an increase of junk food intake and lazing in front of the television. Even so, there has also been an increase of sleeplessness, thanks to the arrival of my baby girl. She demands attention 24/7 so that gives me little time to sit and have proper meal. Everything has been instant and fast. Like fast food. Of course being a new mother is not an excuse for falling off the wagon, but I am determine to get back on, not only with my diet but also with my workout.

I downloaded this app from Google Play and even though I’m sure there are many other similar apps, this one caught my eye for it’s simplicity and straightforwardness.

All exercises are clearly categorized into four types and divided into different levels so that you are free to choose how intense you want your workout to be.

Then, you simply follow the workouts listed from Day 1 to Day 30. I am looking to do a full body workout, so I choose Bodyweight Exercises and since I am trying to ease back into working out, I’ve decided to start with the easiest which consists of just-

  • 3 x Push Ups
  • 15 x Sit Ups
  • 10 x Regular Squats
  • 5 x Chair Dips with bent knee
  • 10 Sec Plank

Easy, right? Very doable even for someone who has never worked out before. When you are done, the app will keep track of which day you’re on so you won’t have to worry.

Screenshot_2016-01-01-09-22-19

Apart from this challenge, I am also doing the #photoadaychallenge. One that was posted by a fitness friend of mine on Instagram (check her out: @fitmuslimgirl). I am actually a sucker for photo challenges and even though I almost always never complete them, I can’t stop doing them. I know I have a problem with committing, that is why I want to keep on trying. If you’re interested in joining me, here’s the list.

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Until then, here’s to a fitter and healthier 2016!

 

 

Squats and Lunges while Pregnant – Yes or No?

Hello lovelies!

As some of you might know, I have been working out ever since before I was pregnant. I took a break during my 1st trimester and started again during my 2nd. I have received many stares and concerned looks at the gym where I workout. I’ve also received comments on my Facebook and Instagram about how I shouldn’t be working out as it would lead to pre-term labour or a miscarriage. But my advise is – All in moderation.

Many would say that squats and lunges are a big No-no when you’re pregnant but they are one of the few essential workouts that you need to do during your pregnancy. In our daily life, we squat more than we realize, only that we tend to bend forward while picking up things (not THAT’s a big No-no!).

  • Benefits of squats includes
  • Increase pelvic floor muscle strength
  • Prevent pelvic and lower back pain
  • Prepare for labour
  • Strong birth position
  • A great looking butt

Apart from doing your kegal exercises, squats (with proper technique) can help to strengthen your pelvic floor which in turn helps to elevate any kind of pelvic pain. Squats would also strengthen your glutes which would help in decreasing any lower back pain as it helps to stabilize your pelvis. This functional exercise also mirrors a position that you can hold longer while in labour. Strengthening your leg muscles with squats gives you more endurance in your birthing positions, especially the ones that allows gravity to assist in pulling the baby lower and opening the pelvis wider which would definitely help if you’re afraid of tearing during delivery. And as mentioned before, squats works your glutes so in the end of the day, you will get awesome looking butt!

But despite the benefits of squats, there are times when its not advisable to do them. Always check with your doctor before starting on any new workout during your pregnancy. Make sure you have a personal trainer or someone  who is experienced to correct you in your squatting technique. If you are in pain, then stop. Avoid squats at all cause if you have high risk pregnancy or are going through any kind of complications.

Other than that, you should be fine. =D

squats

Note: As your tummy gets bigger, you would have to spread your legs wider. Focus on doing Sumo Squats rather than regular ones when that happens.

As for lunges, many tend to avoid doing this especially in the later trimester as it gets harder to balance. If you’re at the gym, use the straps of the TRX or anything that secured to a wall to help maintain your balance. At home, you can use a chair to help with your balance.

IMG-20150603-WA0010[1] IMG-20150603-WA0011[1]

The benefits of lunges are pretty similar to squats. Lunges keeps the hip flexible making it easier to spread the legs during delivery. It helps strengthen your lower back and legs and is also a simple core exercise that doesn’t require you to lie on your back.

When doing lunges, remember to keep your back straight and make sure that your knee is align with your ankles. Push upwards using your heel and not your toes. Don’t lean forward as it would add pressure to your knee. Lift your back heel and feel the muscles tighten as you come up. This would make your hamstrings stronger and lift your butt.

You can use weights with both exercise but always remember to maintain at 70% – 80% intensity. What I do is that I cut down my regular weight to 50%, so if I was using a 6kg dumbbell before I was pregnant, now I just use 3kg. Remember – workouts during pregnancies are to help maintain your fitness so focus on high repetitions rather than high weights.

If you would like to share your experiences on how squats and lunges has helped you in your pregnancy, feel free to leave a comment. You can also ask me questions if you have any and I will try to answer them as best as I could.

Until then, stay strong!

 

 

Spa Feature: Danai Spa Kuala Lumpur

Hey lovelies!

Over the weekend, I was able to get away for a bit to surprise one of my dearest girlfriend who is to be married next week. With the help of two other lovely ladies, we ‘kidnapped’ her and put her on a bus to an unknown destination. About 6 hours later, we arrived at our destination – Corus Hotel Kuala Lumpur. It was my second time staying there and one of the convenience of it is that when you take the Aeroline Coach service, that would be your drop off point. So there is no need to travel anywhere else. Anyways, it was a weekend of suspense and mental torture for the bride-to-be as she had no idea what we had in store for her.

Danai-Spa-Massage-Body-Beauty-Treatments-Corus-Hotel-KL_2One of the surprise that we had planned for her was a treatment package at the hotel’s spa. Danai Spa is located on the 2nd floor of the hotel. We were greeted by the most welcoming receptionist named Jessy. She was excited by the idea of surprising our dear friend, she even played along with adding her own little intrigue. Upon arrival, Jessy offered us warm face towels and also some tea. She went through our requested treatments with us again and confirmed what kind of carrier and aromatherapy oils we would be using. Mine was grapeseed oil with no aromatherapy oils as it is best for pregnant ladies to stay away from any kind.

IMG-20150830-WA0092The spa has about 1500 sq feet indoor spaces and has 5 treatment rooms in total:

  • 2 couple rooms with complete shower, Jacuzzi bath and lavatory
  • 1 single room with shower
  • 2 single rooms


They offer a variety of treatments including facials, wraps, scrubs, nail services and also waxing. The first time I was there (back in March), I was in my 1st trimester so any massage of any kind was not advisable, so I took the 30 minutes Revitalize Express Facial which includes a double cleansing, scrub, tone, conditioning mask and moisturize together with the Glamour Manicure and Pedicure service (110 minutes). Of course now that I am in my 3rd trimester, I opted for the Prenatal Massage and since it was not recommended for me to take any kind of scrubs or wraps, I also took the same facial service as I did before.

danai-spa-at-corus-hotel  IMG-20150830-WA0096

The massage was amazing! It started with me lying on my left and that made the little ninja inside me squirm with excitement. Before the massage actually started, the atmosphere in the room was so calming that I could have dozed off straight away (especially after a 6 hour bus ride). The therapist was friendly and attentive (but I didn’t catch her name), she asked if the pressure was enough and it was exactly right for me. Less than 10 minutes in, I was already asleep (and according to Arina, whom I was sharing the treatment room with, I was snoring. LOL!) But I could still feel her hands working through my muscles, the knots around my shoulder blades and upper back. She was gentle while working on my lower back and little ninja was surprisingly quiet. I wish she the therapist could have worked a little longer on my legs though. She avoided touching my belly and did minimal work on my upper chest. She didn’t massage my bosoms but I’m not particular about that.

I suppose I should have requested for the facial to be done first because after lying on my back for 30 minutes, it was a little achy again. But nothing that a good warm shower couldn’t ease up.

After the massage, we were offered hot towels again and some ginger tea but I had chamomile tea instead. All in all, my second experience with the spa is as amazing as my first and I can’t wait to return to the spa again. I am looking forward to going there after my delivery and confinement so that I can try their other services, especially their scrubs and wraps.

For more information on Danai Spa, head to their website http://www.danaispa.com/.
Book early to avoid disappointments especially if you’re planning on being there on a Saturday. Bookings are opened as early as 1 month in advance.

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. 

Gym Day

Hey everyone!

I’m so glad that I managed to hit the gym today. Been missing it for almost a week now. 1st week of the 3rd Trimester is not easy. Fatigue is setting in as the baby gets heavier. Feels like its the 1st Trimester all over again.

Anyways, I did back and legs today. As my lower back muscles gets weaker, I find that working on my upper back helps to elevates the pain. I also did a little bit of shoulders and abs. Fine, you can pretty much say that it was a full body workout.

Legs Extension 15 reps x 3 sets
Single Leg Extension as 15 reps x 3 sets

Cable Twist 15 reps x 3 sets

Standing Cable Row 15 reps x 3 sets
Bent over Row 15 reps x 3 sets

Other workouts I did were:

  • Lateral Pulldowns
  • Straight Arm Cable Pulldowns
  • Shoulder Press
  • Upright Rows
  • Prison Squats
  • Sumo Deadlifts

All of them I did 15 reps x 3 sets. Everything that I did, I decreased the weight by half as compared to what I usually do. I focused more on form (of course it can be a little tough when there’s no mirror and no one there to spot you). I’m not saying that you have to do all these, but I’m just saying that being pregnant should not hinder you from doing these workouts, or from working out at all.

But of course, please check with your doctor before attempting any of these work outs. Especially if you’ve never done any of them before.

Until then, stay active!

Dealing with backaches

Hello all!

As I go into the first week of my 3rd Trimester, I’m constantly reminded of this growing human in my belly. With the kicking and punching, its no surprise that I’m beginning to get many sleepless nights. But I think the worse (apart from heartburn) would be the backaches. This time, its nothing like the one I had in my first trimester. It aches even when I’m lying down and the more I lie down, the more painful it gets. I thought that my regular weight training of deadlifts would help strengthened my lower back but I suppose its not enough. So I started searching YouTube for alternative workouts, and I stumbled upon this.

It has helped me so far but just be sure not to do it on a hard surface. Lay a yoga mat or a towel on the floor before doing this. If there are other methods that could relief backache, do let me know in the comments. Would love to hear from you.

Until then, stay safe!

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!

Portable Snacking Tips and Ideas

How many times have we skipped a meal all because we’re rushing to meet a deadline, or rushing to reach somewhere on time? Sometimes all we can grab is a snack on the go. But are you grabbing a healthy snack? That is one point that’s often overlooked when we’re strapped on time. Here is a list of healthy easy-to-do and on-the-go snacks that you can consider packing into your lunchbox. Some of them might need some thinking ahead but your body would be grateful for it.

  • Celery sticks with peanut butter and several raisins on top
  • Rice cakes with peanut butter (good for getting a protein punch)
  • Low-fat cheese cubes
  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Fruit yogurt cup (add in some fresh fruits or nuts for a boost – can be kept in the office pantry)
  • Trail mix
  • Vegetable sticks with a little packet of dip (lowfat salad dressing packets found in salad bars work as easy-to-pack dip)
  • Broccoli or cauliflower bites
  • Half of a turkey or tuna sandwich on whole-wheat bread
  • Yogurt and granola
  • Leftover chicken or turkey slices (great to eat cold)
  • Healthy fiber-rich or grain cereal (great to eat dry from a baggie)
  • Box of raisins or other dried fruit
  • Half a large whole wheat bagel with light cream cheese
  • Apples, bananas, strawberries (any fruit works, these are naturally portable)
  • Mixed berries (these freeze well in plastic bags)
  • Whole-wheat crackers and low-fat string cheese
  • Grapes in a baggie
  • Fruit smoothie in a thermos
  • Tuna and cottage cheese in mini-containers
  • Avocado with tuna and chickpeas
  • Banana with cinnamon and peanut butter wrap
  • Garlic baked sweet potato

The trick here is to think ahead and be prepared. Do your grocery shopping on the weekend so you can get your fresh fruits and vegetables ready for the week. Eventually you will notice that you’re replacing some unhealthy stuffs with healthier ones. Similar with prep meals, these can be done the night before so all you have to do the next morning is grab-and-go!

Until then, enjoys!