Body over Mind this Ramadan

By: Tori Leckie

The holy month is here which means many Muslims, throughout the world, are fasting.  It’s a common misconception to cut back on all exercise during this time when in reality, whether fasting or not, it’s still important to keep healthy, maintain energy levels and to remain active. Continuing to exercise will help you to maintain mizan or balance which is achieved when the physical, mental and spiritual lives work in unison.

Here’s my advice to keep you on the right track when making food, exercise and wellness choices.

Exercise is Good!

Contrary to popular belief, if you are fasting exercise is in fact good for you; it is both energizing and revitalizing and can also help to distract you from thinking constantly about food and drink.

Furthermore, many people find they gain weight during Ramadan as once the fast is broken in the evening, food is consumed in abundance and then sleep overtakes you, causing your body to slow down.

To avoid weight gain and to keep up with your routine, follow these top tips:

  • Adjust your fitness goals – if fasting, you will have less energy so don’t commit to over ambitious fitness goals.  Strive instead, to maintain your current level of fitness
  • Yoga, pilates and swimming are great choices as they won’t lead to excessive sweating and dehydration
  • Reduce the intensity of your workouts – this will put less stress on your body and help you to remain consistent throughout the month
  • If you wish to weight-train, do so after breaking your fast and then consume a protein-shake immediately afterwards. This will encourage your body to lose fat and not muscle
  • Work out your work outs – adapt your exercise plans to fit in with your Ramadan schedule.  Plan to exercise when you have the most energy or a few hours before breaking your fast, when you know you can soon re-fuel
  • Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too far.  If you feel light-headed, stop whatever you are doing

Smart Choices for a Healthy Iftar

Iftars need not necessarily be associated with over-consumption, heartburn and indigestion. Instead, load up on these healthy options:

  • Dates and dried fruits are a fantastic choice when fasting; they are absorbed quickly and are high in carbs, therefore giving you energy, iron, to help combat anaemia, and vitamins B & D
  • Juices help correct water balance in the body and the sugars provide a quick shot of energy
  • Soup has similar benefits to juices although avoid rich, creamy options and choose clear soups, which are easy to digest.  Lentil soup is an all-time Ramadan favourite and is full of healthy ingredients
  • Yoghurt is known for its cleansing properties and also has great digestion benefits
  • Fuul takes pride on both Iftar and suhour tables and it’s easy to see why. It is inexpensive, high in protein filing and most importantly very energizing
  • Fruits and vegetables are fiber-rich and slow to digest so should not be forgotten. If you think you might not be getting enough, a comprehensive multi-vitamin is a good idea
  • Nuts need not be entirely avoided. The body needs fats and nuts have the unsaturated (healthy) fats.  Almonds and walnuts are the best options as they have the most positive effect on balancing blood cholesterol which is a big problem here in the UAE

Follow this advice and stay in shape.  An entire month of inactivity will only cause a great setback to your strength, fitness and endurance levels, not to mention the loss of motivation and commitment that is lost without consistency. Make this Ramadan the perfect opportunity to exercise discipline and self-restraint and to detox your body, kick a bad habit or shed a few pounds.

Have a great week!

Tori

Tori Leckie is a writer, a runner, a blogger and an adidas athlete. She travels alot, plays hard, works a little and makes every day a grand adventure. Heard of Tim Ferriss’s much acclaimed book, the 4-Hour Work Week?  Well, Tori is a living, breathing Dubai-based example of this.  She’s designed her own life to make every day a gift and is now helping the nabbesh community do same. Visit her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook (Fit chicks & fast women) and enjoy her winning words!

Stay F.I.T (Forever In Training)

By: Tori Leckie

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It’s the start of July … the humidity is rising like a phoenix from the flames and Ramadan is around the corner, which, for many of us, means one thing … time to escape to cooler climes and take a well-deserved holiday! But do you sometimes find yourself in a panic that all the hard work to keep in good shape will go out the window?  That lazy lunches with friends and family or being away from your regular gym buddies will leave you with excess kilos and a distinct lack of drive?

Well, worry not!

It is perfectly possible to stay F.I.T when on the move.  In fact, it can leave you feeling better than ever as the change in routine will kick-start your body and avoid the dreaded plateau. Just follow these top tips and you can stay in tip-top shape ready to hit the ground running (no pun intended!) on your return…

  • Plan Ahead

    If staying at a hotel, do some research and book somewhere with good gym facilities.  Many hotels also offer fitness classes, group runs and even TRX’s in the rooms. If your preferred choice has no fitness facilities, ask whether they can organise a free or discounted pass at a local gym.

  • Pack Smart

    If you’re constantly on the move, keep a bag partially packed.  If you have your training kit close to hand when doing a last-minute pack, you’ll be less likely to forget anything and more likely to make an effort on arrival when you unpack it at the other end!

  • Eat Smart

    Holidays often spell calorie-laden affairs with indulgent breakfasts, lavish lunches and extravagant dinners so think ahead and fill up on vegetables, salads and lean protein before your eyes lay sight of the naughty options. Throughout the day, keep some healthy snacks close to hand, such as almonds or dried fruit so when hunger pangs emerge, you need not resort to your nearest fast-food joint.  Lastly, stay well hydrated which will keep hunger at bay and help to combat fatigue and jet-lag.

  • Seek out training buddies

    If you find it easier to get motivated with a training buddy at your side, seek out potential training partners, be that a long lost friend, neighbor or family member and commit to making a join effort to workout together.

  • Mix it up

    Don’t worry about not maintaining the same type or intensity of exercise that you would at home.  Mixing it up is effective and keeps you motivated; a 15-minute room-based session with a resistance band or skipping rope, for example, will work both your upper and lower body, giving you maximum benefits in minimum time.  Alternatively, if in the gym, switch regularly between cardio and strength training to maximize the number of calories burnt.

  • Dare to Wear

    Wear quick drying workout gear whenever possible; it weighs little and can easily be washed and hung to dry in your room. Or of course, ignore this one and treat yourself to some new threads … you’re on holiday after all and besides, look good, feel good!

  • The early bird catches the worm

    For those who normally work out later on in the day, getting sidetracked with family commitments or evening entertainment can be all too easy. Opt instead for a training session first thing.  You’ll feel energized for the rest of the day and have built up a well-deserved appetite for a hearty breakfast.

  • Travel in Style

    En route to and from your destination, you can take various steps to minimize the disruption to your routine.  During a long flight, get up and walk around regularly, stay well hydrated and take along your own snacks.  Better still, when you check in on-line, opt for a healthy meal option to cut back on the usual preservative-filled airline food.

  • Just another day!

    Remember that despite being in another city / country and following a different routine, it shouldn’t be too hard to practice the same habits you would during at home … try for example to go to bed / get up at roughly the same time.

At the end of the day, it’s far easier to return from holiday without requiring too much work to return to your previous levels of fitness and wellbeing … and when returning to the office, your inbox will no doubt be demanding your full attention anyway leaving little opportunity to escape to the gym and get back with the programme.

Happy holidays!

Tori

Tori Leckie is a writer, a runner, a blogger and an adidas athlete. She travels alot, plays hard, works a little and makes every day a grand adventure. Heard of Tim Ferriss’s much acclaimed book, the 4-Hour Work Week?  Well, Tori is a living, breathing Dubai-based example of this.  She’s designed her own life to make every day a gift and is now helping the Nabbesh community do same. Visit her blog (www.fitchicksandfastwomen.com), ‘like’ her on Facebook (Fit chicks & fast women) and enjoy her winning words!

Finding Time

By: Tori Leckie

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We’ve all been guilty at times of complaining about being too pressed for time. Between work, rest and play, traffic jams on Sheikh Zayed Road and bottomless coffee at Costa, days fly by and we run out of hours. But I, for one, am becoming increasingly aware that everything I want to find time for gets a slot in my schedule.  I always find time to travel the world and run races, I always find time to embark on terrific adventures in all four corners, I always find time for my daily yoga fix and I always find time for the people I cherish.

It all comes down to priorities. Maximizing YOUR time is about focusing on the things that are important to YOU. Time is the most important non-renewable resource that each of us has so to not spend it wisely is to do our lives an injustice.

So today’s post … 12 top tips to maximize the hours in your day.

  1. Identify how you spend your time

    Identify any areas where time is being wasted. What counts is not the amount of time that you put in overall, but the amount of time that you spend working on worthwhile tasks.

  2. Set goals

    By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you will know exactly where to concentrate your efforts. Working towards set goals is also a great motivator.

  3. Keep a ‘to do’ list

    Ticking off jobs as you do them gives you a real sense of satisfaction and spurs you on to complete the rest — plus you’ll spend less time thinking about what you need to do.

  4. Prioritise

    Sort out your priorities and deal with the important things first … otherwise there’s too great a temptation to do the things that you want to do rather than the things that you need to do.

  5. Do it right first time

    Take the time to do things correctly or to the best of your ability first time round. The fewer mistakes you make, the less time you’ll waste going back and having to do it all over again.

  6. Stop procrastinating

    Procrastinating is especially easy if you’re surrounded by lots of distractions so try controlling your environment by removing most of those distractions.

  7. Get organised

    Being disorganized only wastes time. Declutter your living and working environment and put things that you don’t need well out of the way — or better still, get rid of them!

  8. Delegate

    Hand over any tasks that someone else can do — particularly if they can do them faster or just as well as you. This can be applied both at work and at home.

  9. Multi-task

    It is possible to get the most out of the time available by multi-tasking … just beware of overload and focus instead of combining your tasks well. I, for example, will listen to the audio books on my list whilst I am running.

  10. Learn to say ‘no’

    Learning to say ‘no’ can be one of the best things you can do to free up time. If asked to do something, ask yourself ‘Is this my responsibility?’ or ‘Am I the best person for the job?’ If the answer is ‘no’, then say no!

  11. Keep concentrating

    If you really need to get on with something, lock yourself away and switch off your phone until you’ve completed a particular task. The world will not end if you do not reply instantly to BB messages or FB invitations!

  12. Look after yourself

    Take time out to look after yourself. Nobody can be on the go all the time and by maintaining a healthy balance in your life, you can respond to problems and tasks in the best way possible.

Finally, bear in mind that you have exactly the same hours in the day as were given to Mother Teresa, Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein.

Perhaps Jim Rohn said it best when he said, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

I suggest opting for the former!

Have a great week.

Tori

Blogger’s Bio: Tori Leckie is a writer, a runner, a blogger and an adidas athlete. She travels alot, plays hard, works a little and makes every day a grand adventure. Heard of Tim Ferriss’s much acclaimed book, the 4-Hour Work Week?  Well, Tori is a living, breathing Dubai-based example of this.  She’s designed her own life to make every day a gift and is now helping the nabbesh community do same. Visit her blog (www.fitchicksandfastwomen.com), ‘like’ her on Facebook (Fit chicks & fast women) and enjoy her winning words!

Hear the music

By: Tori Leckie

Hello!

A few weeks ago, I listened to an interview on Dubai Eye with Loulou Khazen Baz, the queen behind the scene at nabbesh. ‘Brilliant,’ I thought, ‘what a genius concept.’ And so I wrote to her and told her so.  Fast-forward a few emails and here I am contributing to the nabbesh blog and hopefully adding to the already wonderful and thought-provoking content from Kathy Shalhoub.

Loulou asked me what my theme would be and the answer seemed to fall off my tongue.  ‘LIFE at play’ I said.  Finding that balance between work and play, pursuing and even identifying your passions, developing your career around what you love and an injection of daily fun and adventure won’t only make you a happier, more rounded individual, but will directly (and positively) impact your performance at work. It’s an approach I try to embrace day in, day out but one that many others struggle with.

I guess it all boils down to facing each and every day with passion and gusto.  It’s about identifying where your priorities lie and how you want to spend your days, your weeks, your months, your years.

For this first post, I’m taking the unusual approach (you’ll soon learn that I defy convention at all costs) of borrowing the words of someone else, those of child psychologist David L Weatherford.

You see, the words in this poem sum up what ‘LIFE at play’ is all about and when you read it, I hope you’ll find it in you to make small changes where change is necessary. Be bold and remember always that the only rules are those we set on ourselves!

SLOW DANCE

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,
’cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn’t a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.

Have a great week.

Tori

Blogger’s Bio: Tori Leckie is a writer, a runner, a blogger and an adidas athlete. She travels alot, plays hard, works a little and makes every day a grand adventure. Heard of Tim Ferriss’s much acclaimed book, the 4-Hour Work Week?  Well, Tori is a living, breathing Dubai-based example of this.  She’s designed her own life to make every day a gift and is now helping the nabbesh community do same. Visit her blog, ‘like’ her page on Facebook and enjoy her winning words!