Yes I get it, life is hectic, life is busy so we try to do the best that we can to make things easier. We build habits and routines to make life easier, however some of this habits can actually do more harm than good. Below are some of the most common habits that I am sure we’ve all engaged in at some point or the other and it’s about time we stopped doing them.

1) If you have ever travelled with a toddler then you know the pain of looking for a toilet in the middle of nowhere when they need to go or the moment you start driving off is the moment they need the loo..urgently!! And because of this, what do we do? we tell them to go toilet before leaving the house, before they have the urge to go urinate. We need to STOP doing this! Our bladder has two modes, storage and empty. When the bladder is full, it lets us know that “hey empty me” and that’s when we get the urge to pee. However, if we go and urinate, just in case before its full, we are actually affecting the bladder’s capacity to fill up and function as it should hence leading to a bladder dysfunction. So, no more just in case peeing! if we have to find the toilet in the middle of nowhere then we will just have to do that for the sake of our bladders 😃😃😃

2) What do many of us do when we need to go pee in a public toilet? we hover to pee. Another thing we need to stop! During the bladder’s release stage i.e peeing, the pelvic floor muscles need to fully relax in order for the urine to flow properly. However, if you do this while hovering or in a squat position, the pelvic floor muscles won’t be able to fully relax because they are postural stabilizers and this could lead to things like prolapse due to straining. So make sure you sit down.

3) Don’t stop and start mid stream, this affects the peeing process because as mentioned before, the pelvic floor muscles NEED to stay relaxed. Starting and stopping could cause the bladder to not fully empty, which again, affects its function.

4) This is common amongst us mums, if we are up in the night with the baby, we tend to go toilet just in case just so we don’t have to wake up again when baby sleeps. Again, this just in case peeing affects bladder function. Wait until you have the urge to go pee.

5) Don’t strain! this is why you should ONLY go when you get the urge to urinate. If you go before the urge, you may be forced to strain to get the bladder to empty and this again can cause problems such as prolapse as well as bladder dysfunctions

Our body knows what it needs, it gives us cues and clues so lets listen to those.

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Your Healthy is NOT my Healthy…

I have written before about the biases, the confusion, the Keto vs Carnivore diet wars that exist in the current health and fitness industry. Heck, it’ll put you off the health and fitness journey that you have been wanting to start for so long for good because you’re going be bombarded with so much contradicting information that will literally make your teeth ache…yes, seriously. It’s happened me!

Here is what you need to know, while yes, it’s not as simple as it sounds, it’s pretty much all that it’s about…CALORIE BALANCE!

You want to lose weight, burn more than you consume i.e eat = Calorie Deficit

You want to gain weight, burn less than you consume i.e eat = Calorie Surplus

You want to maintain your weight, burn the same amount as you consume = Calorie Maintenance

Therefore, to achieve your goals its absolutely crucial to eat according to those goals. Someones “healthy” peanut butter shakes, loaded with about 800 kcal of very little protein may not be the healthy option for you if your goal is to lose weight. My 4 egg, 3 tomatoes, 1 bell pepper breakfast is perfectly healthy for me but that doesn’t mean it’d be healthy for you.

We get bombarded with so many of the so called “healthy meals” ideas and just because it has the word “healthy” on it, we are all over it. Those healthy meals are often the most calorie loaded meals and they may not even leave you satiated. Why opt for an 800 kcal Keto shake that you may not even enjoy if you can have a grilled chicken burger with a delicious bean salad on the side for the same amount of calories?? which one will leave you fuller for longer? yup, go with the one that will leave you fuller for longer.

Whether its Keto, Intermittent fasting, Atkins…or any other diets out there, the only reason they will work for someone is because it allows them to go on a calorie deficit/surplus and that works for them but it may NOT work for you. Find what works for YOU.

Questions to ask yourself:

What are my goals? What kinds of food do I enjoy? what does my body like to eat? what is healthy for me? how do I enjoy these foods while sticking to the calorie target that I need for my goals? what strategies can I put into place that’d help me get to my goals?

Answering these questions will help you put an action plan together and give you an excellent start towards your journey.

Let’s stop consuming every healthy shake, every healthy snack, every healthy meal advertised just because someone says its “healthy”. Yes, it may very well be healthy but is it healthy for YOU?

Did these tips help you? Join the fitshatzi community and receive content like this delivered directly to your inbox every week. Let me help you navigate through this world of health and fitness filled with misinformation by busting out myths and presenting you with just facts. The best part: It’s 100% free. Click here to sign up.

Navigating the murky waters of fitness….

“Don’t do cardio, it’s a waste of time, lift weights instead”

“Stop lifting weights, it’s going to make you look bulky, just get a treadmill to use at home”

“The treadmill Is useless, Walking is better”

“Walking is useless because it doesn’t raise your heart rate too much, do HIIT workouts, much shorter and more effective”

“Research shows too much HIIT will catabolise your muscles, lift weights instead”….


And the cycle continues!! This can be very confusing  and overwhelming especially for someone just starting out. 

I have learnt one thing  from my decades of experience in this field, from training different clients, from implementing different training techniques on them and on myself too is that, there is  NO one training style that is suitable for everyone.

Just as each style is unique, so is each person and therefore each one will get different results. 

There is however something out there for EVERYONE, something that you enjoy doing, something that you can adhere to  and  stick to. You just have to find it.  Now, I am not going to sugar coat things and say “oh only do what you like” because that’d be a lie. Sometimes  you may have to suck it up and do what you may not necessarily think is “fun” but it may be crucial to your goals’ success. However, you can choose the majority of your training style to be something you truly have fun with.  It may take a while for you to figure out but don’t worry, you will get there!!

Below are a few tips to help you started on this journey:

  1. Be READY and I mean not just physically ready but mentally ready because if you think your journey is going to be easy, well, it’s not.  I am not saying scare yourself out of working out, not at all, exercising is a necessity for everyone. However, most people fail before they even truly begin because they underestimate the amount of commitment and dedication that you need to put into it. So before you just on the fit train, have a little chat with your inner self to remain strong, committed and determined.
  2. Choose something that you ENJOY. As mentioned above, choosing a training style the you enjoy will make your workouts more fun. This will increase adherence and consistency which in turn will bring you results. So if you like dancing, dance away, if you enjoy lifting, lift, if you enjoy walking then walk daily, if you enjoy animal flow then do your thing! Whatever it maybe, do it and stick with it. We all know who we enjoy doing  so if you are confused with regards to where to start, start there. 
  3. While it’s important to choose something you enjoy, it may be equally important to add some aspects to your training that you may not enjoy very much. Your specific goals will guide you towards the most effective training style for you in order to achieve them. For example if you enjoy cardio but your goal is fat loss then Ideally you want to focus on resistance training. You see, while cardio may burn calories during the workout, resistance training burns calories even while not working out. Resistance training ( e.g. lifting weights) allows you to build lean mass ( muscles) , the more muscles you have, the more calories you burn (even when not working out), the more calories you burn, the higher the calorie deficit you can achieve, the higher the calorie deficit you achieve, the greater your fat loss. So while you may not necessarily enjoy lifting weights, it’d be a smart move to add it to your training program.
  4. Keep it SIMPLE. In fact, this could be one of the most crucial point to try and remember. which heart rate zone is better for results, how many kilos to lift, how many sets is best for fat loss, how many reps is best for hypertrophy, exercise tempo etc etc. While there are a lot of variables to think about and you will in the future, some being more important than others, you don’t need to worry about these when you are starting out. Unless you are a competitive athlete, which heart rate zone to stay at isn’t something you should focus on. You want to know what’s best for you? A heart rate that’ll make you feel like you killed your workout, a set and rep range that’ll allow you to put in 110% effort into your workouts and a weight that will keep you challenged. The longer you hang around, the more you’re going to learn about your body and what works best, the more you’re going to learn about fitness and the more you can fine tune these details to keep getting results. However, in the beginning, keep it SIMPLE!
  5. Regardless of the training technique/activity you end up choosing, stay CONSISTENT! Whether its weight lifting, cardio, yoga etc consistency is key towards achieving ANY health and fitness goals. Starting and stopping will only make your journey longer, will only demotivate you and make the whole process overwhelming. Trust the process, do the work, stay consistent, stay determined and you WILL see results. Oh, and have fun 🙂

While sailing through the murky waters of the fitness world may be confusing, rest assured, once your path is clear, with hard work, discipline and consistency, your goals are within your reach. Just, never give up. If you’d like some help kick starting your journey, feel free to contact me.

Did these tips help you? Join the fitshatzi community and receive content like this delivered directly to your inbox every week. Let me help you navigate through this world of health and fitness filled with misinformation by busting out myths and presenting you with just facts. The best part: It’s 100% free. Click here to sign up.

How to stick to your goals during Ramadhan

Hello peeps!! So the holy month is around the corner and i know quite a few of us are wondering how we can carry on being fit and healthy if we can’t eat for at least 12 hours. In some places like the UK, we’ll be fasting for about 18 hours!

Here’s the thing, many of us fall off the wagon during Ramadhan because we turn this month to be all about food. We spend a good part of our day cooking various, delicious, calorie dense foods and a good part of our night eating those foods. Foods that we normally wouldn’t consume much any other time of the year. However, because we don’t eat all day we feel like we “deserve” to indulge and over indulge once we break our fast. Like its our “responsibility” to eat and eat. The thing that we tend to forget is…calories still count!!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying don’t eat kachoris and bhajia’s and all that yummy stuff. Eat them but eat them in moderation. If you want to stick to your fat loss goals then you HAVE to still pay attention to your calories in especially during this month because your calories out are at a minimum as you can’t really train as hard during this month as you would in other months and our NEAT( Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) usually drops quite a bit due to the lack of energy during the day. We need to stop over-thinking about food just because we are fasting. Food is food, it is what its always been, Ramadhan or not. The only difference is you’re having it much later in the day, THAT IS ALL.

This is how most of us think (me included):

“I haven’t eaten all day! (Yusra scoffs down one Kachori), yup i haven’t eaten all day (she scoffs down 4 more)”…

2 mins later:

“oohhhhhh look, Samosas!! its okay i haven’t eaten all day (Yusra has 3 samosas”)

2 mins later

“Oh yummmmm…kaimati!!! its fine, i haven’t eaten all day anyway so its fine “Yusra scoffs down 5-6 kaimatis)

And that’s how the evening continues and before you know it, Yusra has consumed all her calorie budget for the day in ONE sitting!! and then we sit down feeling stuffed and bloated and regret why we ate so much and are now feeling too lazy to do anything. Too lazy to even get up let alone squeeze in a 10-15 min workout. You are probably laughing right now because i know you know what i am talking about 🙂

So, I am going to give you some tips that will help you stick to those goals or at least maintain your current progress and not let it go down the drain for those 4 weeks.

  1. STOP over thinking about food, food is food and just because you haven’t eaten all day it doesn’t mean you get a pass at eating anything and everything that’s in front of you. Moderation is still key!
  2. You want to focus on consuming nutritious meals. These will keep you satiated for longer. They’re also less likely to bloat you.
  3. Stick to the foods you usually eat as opposed to stuffing yourself with fried and sugar loaded foods just because its Ramadhan. This will help you keep track of your calorie consumption and make sticking to your calorie budget easier
  4. Water, water, water. From the moment you break your fast to the moment you go to bed. Make sure you consume enough water so you don’t feel dehydrated the next day.
  5. Eat slowly. Most of the times we tend to eat very quickly and before we know it, we are bloated and can’t move. Eat slowly especially during Iftar. Allow your brain to register when you are full so you don’t over eat.
  6. Keep your Suhoor nutrient dense especially fiber. Fiber will potentially reduce hunger whilst you are fasting. My go to Suhoor is usually wholegrain rolled oats.
  7. Whilst Ramadhan is not the time to be hitting PR’s, you should aim to workout at least 15-20 mins 3 or so times a week. If you want to maintain your gains then you have to train at maintenance at least. What i tend to do is plan my workout time depending on the type of the workout i am planning to do on that particular day. If i am doing HIIT (high intensity internal training) then i will do this half an hour before i break my fast, this way i can eat as soon as i finish working out. However, if i am lifting then i workout a couple of hours after eating as i need energy to lift properly.
  8. Ramadhan is a month of worship and that is what it should be spent on. However, you find that most of us spend the majority of it either cooking or eating. Over-eating almost always leads a super lazy evening and minimal activity and you really do want to avoid this.

May Allah accept all our fasts 🙂

Did these tips help you? Join the fitshatzi community and receive content like this delivered directly to your inbox every week. Let me help you navigate through this world of health and fitness filled with misinformation by busting out myths and presenting you with just facts. The best part: It’s 100% free. Click here to sign up.