Monday, 31 March 2014

Working out with a newbie and a fitness pro

I have mentioned this before on the gym people who put in the effort are the ones that impress and motivate me the most. They do not have to be extremely fit but they are the ones who are trying and they are the ones who are consistent...
This post is about why you should give working out with others a chance (newbie & fitness pro)
When I planned my workouts with Taiyiba I focused only on her exercise. I do my own training separately. All I expected or hoped from our sessions was to make Taiyiba regular in her workouts and get her to become fit nothing more but soon I realized these sessions were helping me to revisit some very important lessons I had learned during my own Weight loss journey.
Once eating healthy and regular exercising became a part of my life I have not had a problem with that at all my problem has been with changing my attitude about how I feel or how overwhelmed I get with trying to reach a goal which keeps moving ahead..

Focus on overall progress:
Every time she makes an improvement I get over excited...she measures her progress only in inches or weight but I feel happy when she works out all 6/5 days as planned or when she increases the time she could be on the step machine without stopping or when she increased her repetition..all these things are her progressing for me and when I tell her this it reminds me what I need to focus on. Even now there are days when I get frustrated about my inches. I feel like I am not improving enough because I haven't still lost all the fat on my legs,when I tell Taiyiba inches or weight is not the only sign of progress I also repeat it to myself and that reminder is very important for me.

Small steps and slow down: 
I always tell Taiyiba to make small manageable changes, changes that you can maintain for life...I know it's difficult. When I started I always gave myself only a few months to lose all the weight gained my entire life..I never succeed because I could not stick to my plan ever...extreme dieting or extreme workouts are not feasible and I make it a point to tell this to her because it's easy to get carried away(starving..or working out too much, no rest days) and go down the wrong path...again every time i tell her this i remind myself to slow down...I am always running trying to improve in so many aspects in my own fitness journey sometimes it's overwhelming.

I am now a morning person :)
The other nice thing was suddenly I became a morning person. Usually I train with Taiyiba in the evenings so I need to get my workouts done early in the morning suddenly I can hear my alarm in the morning...what realised was if I have a fixed plan and i know exactly what I am going to do and if I have no choice of doing my workout anytime later I have no problem waking up, even on weekends I have started getting up earlier just to  finish my own training before we workout..

I think I have become more productive
She has two kids, she works full time and she trains as planned only thinking about this makes me want to work harder :)
Moving on to working out with a fitness pro
From newbie to a a fitness pro - my favorite trainer Michelle
Off course I have learned new exercises and she tells me about healthy food blogs and books but the main thing about working out with a professional who enjoys fitness is that their enthusiasm is contagious.

Fitness is more fun:
I seriously have not come across anybody who would be so enthusiastic about working out. She has conducted classes with equal energy when I am the only one in class, she never complains to continue with an outdoor workout even if the weather changes suddenly...working out with her has made me enjoy my workouts a lot more. It's more like playtime 

Trying new things:
She introduced me to the outdoor gym ( this place makes me so happy), she is responsible for my hill sprints...they hurt but we don't stop...I am slow but I don't stop...we climb stairs and do other exercises in between our runs..I think my confidence has gone up along with my stamina,sometimes during our run she suddenly increases the pace and I find myself running at a much faster speed than usual :)

Working hard:
When I look at Michelle I feel like working harder, her first class starts early in the morning and she has clients till later in the evening being so busy she still makes time for the running club, she joins in races just to give us company. Again looking at her makes me want to waste less time and work harder.

This is what working out with people in the gym has done to me, I have not only learned new exercises but I have changed as a person, I have become more confident, I constantly remind myself what was really important in my weight loss journey and I have become more hardworking....
Have you ever worked out with others how has it helped you?

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Birthday Fun

I spent my birthday evening playing around at an outdoor gym close to home..I feel like a kid hanging on bars and jumping around. I don't have many snaps but this is what my day looked like yesterday
New look - trying T's specs

I love just hanging 

Hope you all have a great day :)
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Saturday, 22 March 2014

Another fitness journey – Taiyiba

At this point in life I knew I couldn't become a PT immediately because I have some milestones I want to reach and I need to get my PT certification done for which I currently lack the resources but  I also knew I was very keen on being a part of somebody else’s fitness journey. Sometime towards the end of last year I finally decided I needed to find a way of doing this so I sat down with Michelle (read about her here) and told her what I was keen on doing. Michelle very sweetly introduced me to one of her clients. That’s how I met Taiyiba.
Taiyiba trains with Michelle two days a week, she does one day of Michelle's RPM class and she trains the remaining 3 days with me – that’s 6 days a week from 13th of January 2014. She has been doing great, I am extremely proud and happy to be a part of her journey so I thought it would wonderful to share her journey with all of you…

Here’s Taiyiba for all of you J

Have you tired losing weight before? How is it different this time?
Yes many times, I have been a yoyo dieter since the age of 16. I feel more focused  this time and I have company at workouts 

What keeps you motivated?
Health reasons and I have always wanted to be slim so now when the pounds are shredding it motivates a little. Working out with someone and talking about my food with someone keeps me motivated. This is the first time I have someone I can discuss and plan my foods with and exercise with so I feel motivated a little more.

Other than losing weight have you noticed any other changes in yourself?
Yes I feel more active and stronger. I also feel a little bit more confident and happier.

What's you usual food like?
I try to eat healthy even though I have a nibble here and there. Breakfast is normally porridge with fruit or yoghurt with fruit or eggs, lunch would be protein with salad or soup with crackers or some rice/pasta in moderation though. (Those second helpings have vanished).
Have you given up on anything completely?
Nope I eat everything just in proportion now. I have been told many times that giving up something completely (may it be food or doing anything else) would make u go back to it after sometime, so no I eat a bit of everything but my portions have definitely gone smaller

What's you exercise routine - how often do you exercise in a week?
I try to exercise 6 days a week but sometimes it's 5 days a week but a minimum of 4 days for sure thanks to you

Which exercise do you enjoy the most?
All floor exercises such as crunches of any sort leg raises, Russian twist etc (easy peasy ones)

What is your favorite healthy food option? 
Salmon with salad.

One advise you would like to give anybody who wants to start their journey of losing weight? 
Take it slow, find a buddy if u can't train alone like me training with Tanvee is fully recommended.

Before & After two months – weight loss of 17 pounds in 1.5 months

That was Taiyiba for all of you, I am hoping every few months/weeks I will be able to share an update on her journey with all of you, she on vacation now but once she is back we will be back to business J

Next post is all about how working out with Taiyiba & Michelle is a learning experience for me.

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Wednesday, 19 March 2014


A lot of people ask me what keeps me motivated to choose to workout instead of sitting around..
Few things that keep me going are:

  • I challenge myself every time (almost) I workout : For me every workout is like a mini competition. I set goals and I workout with all intension of achieving my goals. I don’t have big goals just small things like maybe adding another km to my run or just reducing my time, increasing my weights or even increasing repetition. This mini competition keeps me looking forward to my next challenge
  • I love to shop & dress up. I don’t like to shop for bigger sizes :  I give away all clothes that are big for me. I have made a promise to myself that I will not shop for a bigger size. If I stop working out or go back to my unhealthy eating habits I will go back to my old size and I will not be able to wear all the wonderful clothes I just started fitting into.
  • Strangers and people I don’t know have appreciated my dedication: Complete strangers from the gym and outside (working in shops in the same building) tell me they have noticed me going to the gym regularly and really appreciate my dedication. Now if I ever feel like missing my workout I think about these sweet things strangers have said to me....that’s all it takes.
  •  Being dedicated to my fitness journey is the one thing I am good at: I am not somebody who is very good in many things in life, somehow this fitness journey clicked for me and I have become a person who is very consistent with my fitness. I like this consistency, I like being the one of the most regular people in the gym...I like being in control of what I eat and I can say I am no to unhealthy food...somehow my persistence, consistency makes me feel like I am finally good at something and that’s a wonderful feeling to have. I don’t want to let that go
What keeps you going? I would love to hear your motivation too.. 

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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Talking makes it better

From the time I entered the gym I tried to remain invisible. I would choose the corner treadmill, I would always use my phone while entering and leaving the gym to avoid eye contact with anybody, when I started going for classes I would always stand at the back corner. I was really very good at going unnoticed.
I did not have the courage to talk to anybody but on the other hand I wanted to make friends with people who were on the same path as me and then there were those people who were so good at what they do I would end up staring at them J
I knew I couldn't keep hiding so I started with a smile and a measly hi...slowly that changed to asking people I saw regularly how their day was...from there things changed nicely for me. Suddenly I found new friends, mentors and people who motivate me to give my best all in one place – the gym. 

Here’s how making friends helped me
I learned new exercises
I am always looking for something new and when you meet new people you learn new stuff. When I started weight training I actually had people telling me their timing so I would get company if I feel awkward about entering the weight room...that was the sweetest thing ever.  Someday I want to be able to do pull ups and I shared this with a few people whom I have seen do pull ups they actually gave me a list of exercises I need to do so I can build up strength to do pull ups.

I moved from the back of the class to the front row
Moving from my usual hiding spot to the front of my classes has actually helped me push myself more. I add more resistance and if I don’t the instructor makes I keep challenging myself more every single time 

Going to the gym has become more fun
Now when I go to the gym I stop to talk with people. I can even call a few of them my friends. Sometimes we do burpees together...sometimes we exchange healthy’s so nice to find people who think like you 

My confidence has gone up
Now I don’t have any issues entering the weight room on my own because I usually know somebody who is training, I am OK with being the only one doing floor exercises. I use the skipping rope and the medicine ball; I play around with the TRX and all this because now I have friends whom I can share my experience and be open about my fitness journey. I feel like I am a part of something which is always great!!!
If you are one of those people who is hiding I hope this post encourages you to step out

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Monday, 10 March 2014

Weekly Special - breakfast & snacks

Baked Oatmeal with Banana, Nuts and Coconut
2 cups Oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 can reduced fat coconut milk (I used less of this)
1 egg
1/3 cup maple syrup (I used less of this)
2 bananas
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon baking powder
(remaining ingredients I added according to my taste)

  1. Preheat oven at 375 degree
  2. Take a baking dish and spray it with cooking oil
  3. Place a single layer of chopped banana in the baking dish
  4. Add a layer of mixed nuts or some other chopped fruit
  5. In a separate bowl mix oats, coconut, baking powder, cinnamon and a pinch of salt
  6. Add this mixture on top of the fruit layer
  7. In another bowl mix maple syrup,coconut milk, water, eggs and vanilla
  8. Pour this mixture into the baking dish
  9. Bake for 45 minutes  
(I tweaked a recipe I found here -

Banana Oatmeal Pancake
2 cups Oats flour
11/2 cups almond milk
2 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg

  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Heat a pan
  3. Pour batter on the hot pan
  4. Wait for both sides to become brown - done :)
(Depending on the consistency of the batter change the quantity of the ingredients, I am not sure where I found this recipe but there are lots of similar recipes online )
Very easy Protein Bars
2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup protein powder
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoon cacao nibs

  1. Mix oat flour, protein powder and cacao nibs
  2. Add almond butter, maple syrup if the mixture is too dry add a bit of almond milk
  3. Press into a pan and freeze this for 5-10 minutes
(I tweaked this recipe from here - )

My presentation skills are a bit poor but the taste makes each of these recipes worth trying
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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Modification Part 1 (Squats and Lunges)

Sometime back I wrote about changing exercises by adding a little jump. I like to keep changing my exercises. Here are a few more modifications I do for my squats and lunges

Can you think of any more modifications? I would love it if you share your modifications with me :)
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I would  like to point out I'm no fitness expert these are things I picked up along the way of my weight loss journey by surfing the internet and going for fitness classes.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Weekly special - recipes

Last week's special

Sweet potato spinach frittata 
(I really liked this for breakfast. I loved the sweet potato base. I think I will keep that as a base for all my future frittata)

4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
small sweet potato
ground cummin
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup grated cheese (I did not use 1/2 cup I just sprinkled some)
hot sauce
salt and pepper
olive oil

1. Chop the sweet potato into tiny pieces . Add olive oil to a pan and saute the sweet potato, ground cummin, salt for 15 - 18 minutes
2 .Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
3. Add onion and spinach.Cover the pan
4. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and hot sauce. P
5. Add eggs to the pan, top this with the cheese and then bake for 18- 20 minutes

(I found this recipe here - & now I am regularly on this site looking for new things to try)

Protein Balls
My spin instructor Nicky got these for one of our morning session-- they were really good I thought they were better than the protein bars I usually keep at home. No more store bought protein bars now I make my own

Ingredients (I made around 30 )

2 tablespoons chia seeds soaked in 1/4 cup of water until all water absorbed. 
2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil. 
1 cup of your fave nuts 
3 tablespoons shredded coconut 
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder 
3 scoops of protein powder 
3 tablespoons of cacao nibs 
10 dates 
5 dried figs 

1. Blend protein powder, cocoa powder, figs and dates till all blender together. 
2. Add nuts and cacao nibs and blend to a chopped up state you like!! 
3. Mix in coconut. 
4. Add soaked chia seeds and coconut oil and pulse blend till all mixed together 
5. Use desert spoon fulls and roll into balls

thank you Nicky :)

Ginger Carrot and Tomato Soup
Warm soup for dinner is my favorite, I look at what I have in my kitchen then go looking for a recipe that sounds interesting.

1 Onion
4 garlic cloves
1.5 tablespoons of minced ginger (I think I added more)
Carrots (I did not  measure this I just used all that I had)
1 can of tomato
2-3  teaspoon of soy sauce (I used less of this - around 1 teaspoon)
cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper

1. Chop all the vegetables
2. Saute Onions till they become soft, then add garlic and ginger. Cook for another minute or two
3. Add 3 cups of vegetable broth, carrots, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook till carrots become soft
4. Blend the soup and then continue cooking on low heat

(I found this recipe here )

I am already getting ready for my next week recipes. Hope all of you had a great weekend too.
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