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. 

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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!

 

Making the Healthier Choice

When people talk about ‘Clean Eating‘, we often imagine things like raw veggies & whole grains – or like what my friend often refers to as ‘Bird Food‘. I admit, when I first started out on my fitness journey, that was what I ate, almost everyday. Brown rice, rice crispies, oatmeals, salads, boring, boring, boring stuff (but there were some that taste really good though). And then I realize that it doesn’t have to be that way. Clean eating is actually another way of saying ‘To make healthier choices‘.

Let’s look at the food pyramid, we all know what it looks like. We’ve seen it before back during our primary school years, in the clinic and even now if you were to do a search search on Instagram. Just type #foodpyramid and you will be bombarded with hundreds of them – some even updated ones to give more details. But the basic idea is to have a large intake of the good stuffs and a small intake of the…..not so good stuffs.

Loma_Linda_University_Vegetarian_Food_Pyramid

The good stuffs are, of course, the vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains. The not so good ones are salt, sugar and oil. This seems easy enough to remember isn’t it? But what happens if you were to take your whole grain pasta and cook it in cheese sauce and topped it up with some fried bacon. Would that still be a healthier choice? What about eggs – they are often the subject of choice whenever there is a debate between healthy and not healthy. If you were to whisk some eggs with low fat milk and add chopped capsicums and spinach, pour it into a muffin tray and bake it, would it still be unhealthy? Same goes for fruits. Fruits are great! An apple a day, keeps the doctor away. But fruits also contains sugar (albeit it being natural sugar), too much intake is still not healthy. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Make healthier choices – what exactly does it mean?

Making the healthier choice is not just about what kind of food you eat, it’s also about the method of cooking and what you’re cooking it with. So if you like cheese, then go ahead, have your cheese. But be mindful of the portions that you take and also the method of cooking. I’m not saying totally avoid fried foods (I don’t believe in abstinence) just everything is moderation. Especially sugar. But that is a topic for another day. Until then, remember, moderation is key.