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 🙂

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The “I DON’T HAVE TIME TO WORKOUT” Workout

Hello peeps! If you are new to my blog, thank you for checking it out. If you are a follower, thank you for following xx

OK so here’s the thing, truth be told, i understand not having time to workout..i really do. I mean, between running a full time training and nutrition business ( both in-person and online), managing a household and running around after my 4 kids all day ( 10 yrs, 4 yrs, 3 yrs and 9 month old), i need more hours in the day that’s for sure!! ( I have a baby sitting on my lap while typing up this blog and breaking up a fight between my 4 and 3 yr old..yuppp…#mumlife ha ha)

However, “I don’t have time to workout” can be all relative. It’s all down to how YOU define fitness. Does fitness mean spending 1-2 hrs in the gym, anything less than that is pointless? or is it just the concept of moving, staying active, being conscious about what you put in your body and just MOVE? If its the first definition then yes, you don’t have time and you’re going to put it off forever because lets face it, no one going to spend 2 hrs at the gym if they are stuck for time. Training will be at the bottom of their priority list. However, if you are like me and your definition is the latter then you have PLENTY of time. Really, you do.

You see, fitness is about integrating healthy habits into your lifestyle. It’s not about allocating a certain time block during the day where you lift heavy stuff and sweat ridiculously then getting on with your day with the least activity possible. If you are going to train hard for 2 hrs a day and do nothing for the rest of the day then i assure you, you’ve just wasted your time and effort.

Here’s the thing that most people don’t get, unless you are a bodybuilding competitor, an athlete or someone who needs some heavy training due to their job or goals, you do NOT need to train for 1-2 hrs to get results. You can get amazing results through shorter, efficiently designed workouts ( either home or gym, whatever works)..yes you will have to put in 110% effort but they will work just fine. If the choice is between not training at all because you don’t have “time” or working out for a few minutes a day, build healthy habits along the way and getting results, wouldn’t you rather choose the latter?

As a trainer who is juggling a lot as explained above, i hardly get time to train myself. So i sneak in my workouts in between client sessions, so when one leaves and before the next one arrives and that’s about 5-10 mins blocks maximum and i’d like to think i am still fit.

Let’s not use our lives and circumstances as an excuse and limitation towards achieving our health and fitness goals. Things will ALWAYS come up, that’s just life. You just have to find a way to work around them and set some priorities. If today you only have 5 mins then workout for 5 mins, if tomorrow you have 30 mins then workout for 30 mins. Don’t get it stuck in your head that to be fit and healthy you need all this free time in the day, no, none of us do. Not me, not those social media fit pros, no one. We ALL HAVE TO MAKE TIME, we don’t wait to get free time, No, we MAKE time even its little time, we still make it and so can you. Turn it from this “chore” that you have to do into “this is my lifestyle” and believe me, once you do that, you will always have time for it.

As the saying goes, “Your goals have to be stronger than your excuses”. If you have a goal, sit down and think hard about WHY you want to achieve that goal and that why is what’s going to push you into achieving it.

To start you off, here is a quick “I don’t have time” workout that will leave you dripping in sweat and it’ll show you that you truly don’t need a lot of time to get a good quality, intense workout in. Quick home workouts work just fine!

QUALITY over QUANTITY, every time!!!!!

Short workout, watch your form, keep your core engaged and give it 110% effort!

Do the below circuit for 5-15 mins none stop, depending on your time and fitness level. Minimal breaks, you want that heart rate up.

You can hold some water bottles or some light dumbbells to make it a little more challenging, if you like.

Jumping jacks 15-20 reps

High knees 15-20 reps

Suicide shuffle for 20-30 seconds

Till next time xx

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.

Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both usually right

I have been a fitness professional for a few years now, I have been blessed to have trained and consulted with hundreds of women from different walks of life, different backgrounds, different history, different fitness abilities, different ages. Each one unique, each one memorable and each one with big goals, big hopes and big dreams.

One thing I have always been able to instinctively do during that first meet is to be able to tell whether the person’s goals and dreams will blossom into something fruitful and beautiful and life changing or they’ll just die along the way. I have to admit, i have been proven wrong a couple of times but for the most part, my instincts were spot on.

You see, when you speak to someone, when you ask them about their day, their life, their goals, their determination, their drive…they usually reveal a lot more than they’d like between the lines and the more people you meet, the more experience you have, the better you get at reading between the lines.

Their mental attitude and self belief in their abilities and what they’re capable of is what paves the way towards achieving those goals. A lot of times we stand in our own way of achieving our dreams by not giving ourselves the chance to even go for it or even try hard enough. We stop before we even try, before we even truly put any substantial work in.

“I work, I don’t have time to exercise”

“I am a mum, i don’t have time”

“I am too old to start a business”

“I have no self control or will power or self discipline to stick to working out”

If these thoughts are already in your head before you even begin your journey, how are you expecting to get through that journey? You don’t have time? You have 10 mins ..we all have 10 mins. Give me 10 mins of your time and let me prove to you that you have time to break a sweat!

You see ladies and gents, whatever it is that you think about yourself, whoever it is that you think you are, however strong you think you are, however much will power you think you have, however much time you think you have in a day…is exactly who you will be, is exactly how strong you will be, is exactly how much will power you will have, is exactly how much time you will have in a day. The success you’ll have in achieving whatever goals you have in life is all down to YOU and you ALONE. It’s a direct reflection of how much work you are going to put into achieving that goal, it’s a reflection of your own self belief in your abilities, it’s a reflection of your determination and will power.

If you think you don’t have those things then you don’t. However, if you think you do then you absofreakinglutely do!

Stop standing in the way of your own goals and dreams. Someone one once said ( i don’t remember who!) that “the rich man and the poor man have the same 24 hrs in the day”. How you spend those 24 hrs is down to you.

Till next time xx

Yusra

How to NOT diet in 10 steps

“I need to lose weight, i am going on a diet from Monday”

“OMG! I have a wedding coming up, i need to lose weight, i am going on a diet tomorrow”

“Summer is here, gotta fit into that bikini, no more rice or bread for me. I will stick to that cabbage soup”

At some point in our lives we have all heard the above phrases, heck, we may have even said them ourselves! Monday never really came or even if it did, it didn’t stick around for long, that cabbage soup?..well it tasted good for a few days but then came out all the cakes, pizza and the oh so delicious ice cream..all in one sitting. And that wedding? well that wedding came and went and so did the kilos.

Before i proceed, let me explain what i mean by DIET as it’s meaning could be confusing.

DIET = “a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons “.

Now, i am not talking about being on a diet for medical reasons, that’s not what we are discussing today. I am referring to restricting food, foods that you love just to drop that number on the scale.

So here is the thing… diets DO NOT WORK! sure, they may work for a day or two, or a week, heck even for a month but they don’t work long term. Why? well, i won’t get into the technicalities but in short.. well…we have brains, because…psychology. Your brain will LITERALLY fight you to stop dieting. Have you ever told yourself you are going on a diet and at that moment is when you want to consume everything you are not suppose to? that muffin suddenly smells even better than before, that doubly rich chocolate cake somehow looks richer than usual and that cookie? well that cookie is screaming your name.

The story usually goes like this:

Yusra wants to lose weight -> Yusra decides to go on a restrictive diet -> Yusra is happy she lost 3 kilos in one week because she stopped all carbs -> Yusra is thinking this diet is AMAZING -> Yusra misses her usual food -> mhh maybe this diet isn’t so great, she is bored -> Yusra has enough and binge eats everything that comes her way -> Yusra regains the 3 kilos and then some -> Yusra gets frustrated and says THIS diet doesn’t work and attempts to look for another 😕

so what happened there?

Well Yusra stopped eating “Carbs” and in one week she lost 3 kilos, hmm..she didn’t lose fat kilos, all she lost is water weight. You see, for every gram of Carb you consume, you retain 3g of water, so when you stop all carbs, you also stop storing water..this is what’s known as “water weight”. So she is happy she lost 3 kilos and carries on with the diet, but now she starts to get weak, moody, frustrated, misses her usual meals. Of course she is weak, carbs are our MAIN fuel source (yes yes, the Keto team may want to debate here but facts are facts!) and when you stop Carbs fully, where are you getting the energy from? you don’t. Now, Yusra is tired, frustrated and decides to say “Screw this diet, i am done” and starts consuming everything that’s unhealthy coming her way. Diet is over and hops onto another diet and sadly, the cycle continues.

Again, DIETS DO NOT WORK!! want to stick to those fat loss goals and NOT deprive yourself in the process? keep reading!

  1. STOP stressing about losing weight. When you stress about losing weight, when all you think about is losing weight, it becomes even harder to lose weight because your stress hormones fight against you and yes you guessed it, you start comfort eating and overeating, which is NOT what you want when trying to shed some fat.
  2. STOP weighing yourself every hour of the day. This does not help! Your weight can fluctuate 2-4 lbs within 24 hours! it’s down to so many other things than just body fat. So stop weighing yourself daily. Every 6-8 weeks is a good time to get an idea of how you’re doing but then again, the scale isn’t the best indicator to measure fat loss progress. The whole muscle mass vs fat weight scenario..a topic for another time.
  3. DON’T cut out food groups. You like rice? have your rice, you like bread? have your bread! what you do want to do is control your portion size. It’s about sticking to the foods you love but CONTROLLING how you COOK them and how you CONSUME them. Starchy carbs are best metabolized when paired with fiber (think veggies) and protein. So have your rice but have lots of veggies with it and some grilled protein, this will leave you fuller for longer and helps control the rice portion size.
  4. THINK QUANTITY!!!! High Calorie dense foods vs Low Calorie nutrient dense foods. The latter wins! when you are trying to lose fat, the last thing you want is to eat and still feel hungry afterwards. What you want to do is eat foods that are low in calories but very nutritious and filling! this way, you can eat as much of it as you want without going over your calorie limit and staying fuller for longer.
  5. Fruit juice vs fruits?..fruits! every time! juices have more sugar than their fruit counterparts. Think of it this way, a glass of orange juice is squeezed from 4-5 oranges..you wouldn’t sit down to eat 4-5 oranges in one sitting would you? also the fiber leaves you fuller.
  6. WATER! WATER! WATER! A lot of times we think we are hungry but in fact we are just thirsty. Dehydration is the culprit of so many things including mistaken hunger, tiredness, moodiness etc. Stay hydrated! You want to consume at least half an ounce or an ounce of water for each pound you weigh and some extra if you are very active. Example if you weigh 100 lbs, you want to consume between 50 oz – 100 oz of water daily depending on your activity levels.
  7. This is the most IMPORTANT one, ORGANISED EATING! know 24 hrs before what you are going to have for lunch, breakfast, dinner, snack the next day. When you know what you are going to consume, the chances of you grabbing whatever that’s in front of you when you are hungry is slim. It’s all about planning. Going out with friends for dinner? no problem, keep your breakfast healthy, lunch healthy, snack healthy and that little dinner indulgence won’t affect your journey one bit!!
  8. STOP buying junk! You feel for a chocolate cake, plan to go buy just the one piece and not the whole cake. When the things you are trying to limit aren’t in front of you, the likeliness Of you going out and getting them is slim. By the time you go out, you’d have changed your mind about eating it. Out of sight, out of mind!
  9. EAT SLOW!!! DON’t rush through your food. It takes our brain approximately 20 mins to register that we are full. So the slower you eat, the more time you give your brain to communicate with those satiety hormones in your gut telling it that “oi, i am full now, slow down”.
  10. EXERCISE! EXERCISE! EXERCISE!! when you exercise, you somehow automatically will want to eat healthier and also you will burn a lot more calories. This will help you get to that goal a lot faster! plus, exercising does all these other amazing things to you, both physically and mentally 🙂

Fat loss is simple, yes hard to follow but simple. It’s mostly all down to CALORIES IN Vs CALORIES OUT!

If you consume more than you burn = Weight GAIN

If you consume less than you burn = Weight LOSS

If you consume as much as you burn = Weight MAINTENANCE

You want to lose fat? organise your meals, plan them, learn how to balance what you’re consuming so as to stay within your calorie limit and please please STOP dieting and stop depriving yourselves of the foods you love. Work around them, know what to consume around those foods so as to stick to your calorie intake.

BALANCED NUTRITION + EXERCISE = RESULTS..

EVERY TIME!!!!

Till next time xx

Yusra

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.