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24 Practical and Easy Around the Clock Gems for a Fitter You in 2016

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By Emery Hassan

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Plan all your meals in advance … And don’t deviate from them

Plan your daily meals at a minimum from the night before. It’ll keep you in-check and it will make you aware when you deviate from your regimen. This will give you time to weigh out your options and make healthier, more nutritional decisions … rather than the quick fast food option. This will also allow you to strictly bring what you are allowing for yourself to your workplace, rather than leaving your options open for all the doughnuts in the break room … Hello? You still there?!

Drink lots of water … Ice cold water

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fit Muslim

The benefits of water are endless. It keeps you full longer. It helps you cut water weight. Constantly keep drinking water by your side. If you have trouble drinking enough … get a large bottle and draw ticmarks with the time you should have reached that mark by. The colder the water the more energy your body takes to warm it up … hence burning off a few more calories.

Cut your food into small pieces

healthy food portions

 

Cutting your food into pieces will deceive you into thinking you’re eating more. It will also help you eat slower and realize that you’re fuller, faster.

You’re bored … Not hungry

Know the fine line between being bored and hungry. If you’re watching a movie or surfing the web, you don’t have to be snacking on something. We constantly affiliate entertainment with snacks, even if we’re not hungry. It’ll be the same movie without the popcorn … I promise!

Track your results

There is no better motivator than your own results, so track them! The more you realize that your body is reacting to what you are doing … The more likely that you are to stick with it.

Take a vacation

vacation

This is huge. And my favorite tip. There is nothing more motivating than knowing that you have a couple months to get your body ready for a landmark hike. If you’re going with friends, start a competition! Knowing that you will be able to give in, and eat and drink as you please should be motivation enough to keep you content for a while.

Don’t buy in bulk

If you buy in bulk, you eat in bulk. Save yourself from walking pass the box of “meal bars” and debating on snacking on one, 10 times a day. You’re better off going out and buying one at a time. At least then you’ll know that you really needed it. In the long-run, it’ll save you $ and calories.

Keep it moving

The more your body moves, the more your body burns. It’s that simple. If you’re in an office job … get up and walk around every hour. If you’re snacking at home only bring one snack back to your couch at a time. Maybe you’ll think twice if you have to get up to grab another snack.

Find a partner

gym partners

A partner is huge (not literally), especially in the beginning. A good partner is one that will constantly check up on you, wake you up and drag you to the gym, compete with you and most importantly … remind you of your goals. Good partners are hard to come by … So once you find one keep chasing them (literally).

Step away from the sauce … And the dressing

With the squeeze of a sauce or a bottle of dressing, a meal can go from decent to disaster. The wrong dressing can increase the calorie and fat count of a meal multiple-fold. When ordering out, ask for the sauce or dressing on the side, so you can limit yourself … When you can, just stick to seasoning.

Timing is everything

There are certain times for certain foods. Be aware of the functions of the foods you intake. If a food is high in sugar or carbs, it’s good to eat in the morning, or pre-workout since you will be utilizing the energy. If it’s a high protein food, it’s good to eat it post-workout or when you need to stay fuller longer, like your last meal of the day.

Early to bed … Early to rise

The worse time to give-in on your regimen is before bed. Not only are you not utilizing the purpose of your food, but it’s likely to be just stored as fat. If you have issues with eating at night, force yourself to hit the sack early. It’ll benefit your body and you’ll wake up happy.

Muscle Up!

Hit the weights. The more muscle your body maintains the more your food intake is utilized to maintain that muscle. Don’t be afraid to step away from the treadmill and hit the weights every once in a while. Don’t worry, the gym rats on that side of the gym don’t bite.

Switch it up

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Just like everything else in life, workouts get old, too. Your body gets used to it and it becomes more of a standard motion, than a shock to the body. Stick to something that works until you start feeling a plateau coming on or once you start to lose excitement. Once that’s the case, shock your body a little and switch it up.

It’s a lifestyle change

A healthier you is a lifestyle change, not a temporary one. Do something that you feel you can stick with for a long period of time. If you feel that the diet or workout that you will be taking on will have an expiration date … then it’s probably not the right one for you.

Chill out yo

One of the greatest effects of stress is a slow metabolism. Even if you have to start by making your regular workout routine, your “anti-stress”, it’s something that needs to be done. Constantly affiliate your workout and results with happiness. Positive vibes…Negative fat.

Go shopping

Find an outfit you’d want to fit in; buy it and toss the receipt. Use outfits that you want to see yourself in as motivation. Even when it comes to workout gear … spend a little more on things that you’ll like wearing. Things that you want to see yourself in, in the near future.

Eat to live … Not to leisure

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This may be a tough one to swallow. Eating is not to be a habit or a hobby; it’s to fuel your body to function. You don’t put gas in a car that you aren’t using, and the same concept goes for your body and the food you intake.

Go cold turkey … Then reward yourself

To keep your sanity, it’s alright to reward yourself with a cheat meal every couple weeks. You deserve it. I’m not a believer in going overboard or cheating every week. Cheating every week doesn’t give your body enough time to lose the cravings. Try going long term cold turkey on that sweet tooth and see if that tooth is really as sweet as you thought it was.

Change your phone wallpaper

It’s human nature to be immediately motivated with an image or quote. In the world we live in, we look at our phones hundreds of time a day and so having that motivational quote or fitness picture will constantly remind you of your ultimate goal.

Pass the salt

You know that stubborn fat above the bottom two abs that you can never get to show? … Yeah, that’s all the extra salt you toss on your meals. Pass the salt and be conscious of your sodium intake and watch your lower abs hit the surface.

Know your facts

Know what you are looking at when you look at a product’s nutritional facts and ingredients. It’s not always just about the number of calories. The composition of protein, carbs, sugars is just as important and should have just as much of an impact on your decision as the calories. When looking at ingredients, the less it has the better and more natural the product is likely to be.

Set yourself up for success

Know yourself … know your eating habits and how you deal with temptations. With that in the back of your mind, refrain yourself from being in situations where you will give in. If you know you’re heading to your favorite pizza place with some friends … stuff your face with healthy eats before you leave. Or keep a “not so bad” cheat snack in your pocket to avoid the temptation.

All or Nothing … Or is it

Muslims working out

If you miss a workout, it doesn’t mean that you can cheat on your diet. And if you cheat on your diet, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work out. It’s always best to be all in, on your diet and health grind but if you slip and give in, it doesn’t mean that you have to be all out.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Abdullah

    January 4, 2016 at 9:44 AM

    Salaam alaykum, as an oriental medicine practitioner, I strongly advise against consuming extremely cold water. This works against digestive functions, depleting valuable energy, and can cause the body to overcompensate with more fat reserves

    • Avatar

      Zaid Omar

      April 4, 2016 at 4:44 AM

      Salam akhi. I read about this too and heard about it a lot. I ve even observed that a cold water from the fridge managed to solidify some of the oil spills from the packet of my briyani rice. I was shocked because the cold water is not at freezing temperature even.

      The thing is I have yet to read a formal or trustable medical proof on this fact.

  2. Avatar

    Learn Quran

    January 6, 2016 at 2:55 PM

    Such a motivated artical ! Appricated :)

  3. Avatar

    Haq

    January 7, 2016 at 10:25 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    I also advise against cold, cold water. Please see this article for some reasons. http://blog.freepeople.com/2014/10/cold-water-bad/
    Drinking the right temp water, perhaps room temp, will keep you from being dependent on cold drinks insha allah. :)

  4. Pingback: Abs Diet Fast Food | bbq - hambuger fast food

  5. Avatar

    Simeen

    January 11, 2016 at 3:15 AM

    Jazakallahu khayran!

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#Life

What Repentance Can Teach You About Success

When losing weight, one piece of advice you’ll hear often is the following – if you fall off your eating plan one day, pick yourself back up and think of the next day as a fresh start.

Annoying, isn’t it?

You’ll hear this advice from people who have “made it” – they’ve lost a lot of weight, their lives have changed, and they’ll tell you to stick through it, and you’ll be like, yeah, I have, I tried, and I keep failing. I keep trying, I can’t sustain the motivation, I have life factors, I have stuff going on that makes this difficult.

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And you’re right.

You don’t have millions of dollars, a dedicated personal trainer and chef, the free time and lack of commitments others do, the lack of sleep, the injuries, or personal life circumstances that advantage others, nor do they have those that disadvantage you.

That’s not the point.

When you make a mistake, if you run through the process of regret, repentance, and retrying to do the right thing, Allah (swt) is pleased with you. And if you keep failing, repenting, and trying again, and again, and again, until you die, Allah keeps forgiving you.

The process of both recognizing your weakness, of getting out of denial, and humbling yourself and not thinking yourself so high and mighty has its own sobering effect. Not only does it help you in dealing with that atom’s weight of arrogance you don’t want to meet Allah (swt) with on the Day of Judgment, it helps make you a better human being, a more compassionate one, a more empathetic one, when calling others away from mistakes.

I’m not perfect, and you’re not perfect. Perfection is only for Allah (swt). But we’re trying. And the process of recognizing your weakness and at least attempting to rectify it means that maybe you’ll sin a little less, maybe you’ll still not invent excuses for mistakes and you’ll teach others, “Hey man, I know this is a sin, I know this is wrong, I hope you can do better than me.” And maybe they do change, and you’re both better for it.

Maybe in trying and failing again and again, what you end up doing is coming a little bit closer to success, and that process of trying and failing is the teacher you needed to get you out of your weakness and to then help others do likewise. Maybe that learning process serves you in succeeding elsewhere down the road in other treacherous turns and trials of life.

Whether it’s in losing weight, fixing broken relationships, pulling away from a heavy nafs addiction (eg pornography), don’t ever put yourself mentally in a position where “you’ve lost” and “you may as well give up” because “there’s no hope for me”. Don’t identify yourself by your failures.

So then, what is the point?

The point isn’t that you hit your goal perfectly. The point is that give your best, even with the little that you have, and that is good enough for you and for all of us. Ask Allah (swt) to help you better yourself, and in these 10 Days of Dhul-Hijjah, increase in your du’a, cry to Him for help, in whatever area of life it is you’re trying to improve.

And whatever you fail at, don’t fall off for weeks on end. Acknowledge your mistake, own it completely and take full responsibility. Try to figure out where you went wrong in your process, get help from others if you need to. Forgive yourself, and don’t resign yourself to an identity based on your mistakes.

Never get tired of failing, getting knocked down, and picking yourself back up and trying to do and be better again.

It’s always a brand new day tomorrow.

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 19: My Mercy Encompasses All Things

Now that we have learnt about when the angels surround us, let’s now talk about how Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy encompasses all things.

We say بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ  (bismillah Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem) a lot, right? It means ‘in the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.’ 

We say it when we pray, before we eat, and we’re encouraged to say it before we begin any new task. But do we really understand what rahma (mercy) means? 

Question: What do you think rahma means?

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Do you know that the word rahma comes from the root word, رحم (rahim), which means womb? 

Question: Who can tell me what a womb is?

That’s right. A baby is usually in their mommy’s womb for 40 weeks. The baby gets all the nourishment it requires; the temperature in the womb is perfect, the nutrients are always administered, it is safe and warm. All the baby has to do is grow, and alhamdulillah all its needs are being met. 

Question: How do you think the womb relates to Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy?

Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy is constantly surrounding us like a safety net. That doesn’t mean that we’ll never experience any pain, but Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is constantly showing us mercy with every breath we take. Even blinking is a mercy from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that we don’t even have to think about. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even has more mercy for us than a mother has for her own child! 

One day the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was walking with a group of his companions, and they passed by a woman who was frantically looking for her child. She would take any child to her breast and try to feed him/her. Then the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to the companions: “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?” We replied, “No, if she has the power not to throw it (in the fire).” The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then said, “Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is more merciful to His slaves than this lady to her son.”

And guess what? There’s even more mercy in the hereafter than we’re experiencing right now. 

Salman al-Farisi reported: The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Verily, on the day Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) created the heavens and earth, He created one hundred parts of mercy. Each part can fill what is between heaven and earth. He made one part of mercy for the earth, from it a mother has compassion for her child, animals and birds have compassion for each other. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect this mercy.” [Sahih Muslim]

99 parts of mercy on the Day of Judgment! That is one reason why it’s so important to have a good opinion of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)! Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even tells us in Surat Al-A’raaf:

وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ

“My mercy encompasses all things” (Surat Al-A’raaf; 156]

And you all, my dears, are all encompassed by Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy, alhamdulillah. 

 

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 18: When the Angels Surround Us

Now that we have learnt about Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and her sa’i, let’s now talk about when the angels surround us.

Do you know that every time we sit together and remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we are not alone in our meeting? We have very special visitors, and these visitors love to hear us praising Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)and thanking Him. 

Question: Who can tell me who these visitors are?

Yes! They are angels! Can anyone name some angels for me?

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We have Angel Jibril 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) who has delivered every message to every Prophet since the beginning of time. We also have our angels on our left and right who write down our deeds.

Question: Does anyone know the name of the angel that is in control of the weather? 

His name is Angel Mikai’l. 

There are so many gifts that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) grants us when we gather together and remember him. Four things happen every single time! I want you to pay close attention to this hadith, because I’m going to ask you what those four things are after I read it. 

Are you ready?

‏لا يقعد قوم يذكرون الله عز وجل إلا حفتهم الملائكة، وغشيتهم الرحمة ونزلت عليهم السكينة، وذكرهم الله فيمن عنده‏

The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “When a group of people assemble for the remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), the angels surround them (with their wings), (Allah’s) mercy envelops them, tranquility descends upon them, and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes a mention of them before those who are near Him.”

Question: Can you believe that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes mention of your name when you make mention of His? What do you think it means when “tranquility descends upon us?” Do you feel how calm your heart is? 

That is a gift from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and He tells us that our hearts find rest in His remembrance:

أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“…Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured” [Surah Ar-Ra’d; 28] 

 

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