Why I work out…..

April 8, 2018

“Actions Expresses Priorities” Gandhi

 

Let me share a quick , life changing experience I had during my college years:

Weight:195 lbs

Height:5’5

Activity level: Average, gym 3 times a week, weights only

While finishing up a doughnut, I had realized that i had 5 minutes left until class started. It was 2008, Kean University in Union, NJ, CAS building which had an amazing cafe in the middle floor.  I ordered an orange juice with my doughnut, only to realize it was a lot of sugar, but decided to go about anyways since i didn’t have enough cash and needed to eat a quick “dinner”.

While bustling up the stairs with my one book , I realized half way to the 4th floor, that I was breathing insanely hard. I stopped on the side of the small platform that connected the 2 stairs, held onto the wall, hung my head down to relax and breath. I was 21 years old then. What really bothered me at that moment was a few things such as how hard my heart was pumping, how little stuff I was carrying, what crap food I was eating and knowing it. I was in a good position in my life then, just had gotten married, which I do blame part of my weight gain to. Before my marriage, I was 150 Lbs. I know, it was a big gain in literally 5 months.

When I got to class late, I got into school mode with taking notes and trying to focus on what the teacher was trying to have us memorize, as how most classrooms unfortunately work in our beloved country (We shall talk more about this topic in a separate blog post). After 15 minutes of listening and note taking, I ended up catching myself from dozing off and passing out due to the insulin crash from my sugary dinner. I had then gotten mad at myself, mad for eating something that would affect how I function for class and the rest of my day, upset on how I have been wasting my time playing video games or taking more than one nap throughout the day, at coming to campus early only to eat junk food and do homework last-minute. Then what I did was something that pretty much helped me construct a responsible way of starting all things big in my life. I flipped to the back of my notebook, gazed at the crisp, white, bare college bound notebook paper, and looked at it hard, with my brain now turning the gears, focusing on what I need to do to become a better me, what goals would I come up with first. So what i wrote in big letters at the top was BECOMING HEALTHY, BEING BETTER EVERYDAY. This headline, to this day, has kept me going, through trial and error, through rain or shine, to straight up acts of stubbornness to get to my destination, this headline has been my rock in my life of staying fit and pursing a much better, healthier lifestyle for myself and family.

After that headline, all my ideas and thoughts about how to make myself better through a healthier lifestyle just came pouring out of my pen. I had filled the page up with the big and small things that should be done so that I could not only lose the weight, but surround myself with all things healthy, athletic and positive to keep me going. At first, everyone at home thought I was crazy to even attempt to make a dramatically change to my lifestyle, as if I was almost stopping things bad cold turkey. Some people have that mind-set, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean that i can’t try.

Here are some PROVEN, scientific reasons on why it is so good to work out:

Serotonin

Working up a sweat tells your body to increase production of a mood-boosting brain chemical called serotonin. People who are depressed often have low levels of serotonin. This, at least partially, explains why exercise lowers the risk of depression. The problem is when your serotonin level is low, you don’t feel like getting off the couch to exercise. Still, if you can force yourself to do it, it can lift your energy level and your spirits.

Millions of people take anti-depressant medications to raise their serotonin level but exercise is a natural serotonin booster. Interestingly, some studies show exercise is as effective as prescription antidepressants for easing depression. Aerobic exercise beats out resistance exercise for boosting serotonin. So, when you’re feeling down, get your blood pumping with a brisk bout of exercise.

Norepinephrine

When you exercise, especially a high-intensity workout, your adrenal glands, two small glands above your kidneys, as well as your brain ramp up production of norepinephrine, a substance that’s both a hormone and a brain chemical. When more norepinephrine flows into your bloodstream during exercise, you become more alert and focused. Norepinephrine also boosts memory retrieval, so you become better at retrieving information stored in your brain. This finding certainly makes a case for working out before a big exam or presentation at work, right?

Indeed, research supports the idea that exercise improves focus, attention, and the ability to concentrate. Immediately after a workout, your brain is better at accomplishing tasks and resisting distractions. How much more productive would you be at work if you did short bouts of exercise every hour or so?

If you’re easily distracted, exercise could be your ticket to getting more done. A study carried out at the University of Illinois found that exercise increases “cognitive control” in kids with ADHD. After only 20 minutes of exercise, the children were better able to focus and scored higher on tests.

BDNF

BDNF stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factor and it may be the most important chemical released during exercise since it fosters long-term brain health. BDNF acts as a growth factor and promotes the formation of new connections between nerve cells, or neurons. It also helps repair nerve cells that are damaged. BDNF is most active in regions of the brain involved in memory, particularly an area called the hippocampus. The good news is exercise increases brain production of BDNF by up to three times. You may not get an immediate boost in brain function from BDNF but it helps protect your brain against injury as it preserves cognitive function.

Dopamine

Dopamine is the “motivation” and “reward” brain chemical. On a given day, if you feel motivated and ready to tackle the day’s list of projects after a workout, you can thank dopamine.  It’s dopamine that gives us the motivation to achieve something of value or that makes us feel rewarded.

Without enough dopamine, you probably wouldn’t feel like putting forth the effort to do the things you need to do and that make you feel good. People who are depressed typically have a low dopamine level. The fact that exercise boosts the release of dopamine and serotonin partially explains why exercise is a natural mood lifter antidepressant.

Endorphins

Endorphins are the ultimate “feel good” chemicals. You’ve heard people talk about “runner’s high,” the feeling of bliss and oneness with the world that comes after running a while. Endorphins are the likely reason why, although some researchers believe other brain chemicals, like serotonin and dopamine, play a role too. Plus, endorphins help to relieve pain.

Once you start pumping out endorphins, exercise no longer feels as hard. Finally, endorphins help to calm fear and anxiety, thereby making you feel more tranquil and at peace with yourself. No wonder studies show exercise helps to boost self-esteem and sense of well-being!

 

Citation:

https://cathe.com/5-brain-boosting-chemicals-released-during-exercise/

 

Thanks again folks for taking the time out of your day to read this, it really means a lot. I’ll attach some photos or videos of me over the years, hopefully you guys can see a change because all I see is a chubby chubster with always room for improvements:

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Feb 8th, 2016

May 3rd, 2017

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Jan 1st, 2009

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Feb 21st, 2009

 

 

 

My current weight for the last week is 167 lbs. I have changed my cardio regiment to speed rope, 50-100 jumps after every set followed by a 30 second cool down before going again. All my workouts would be 4 sets of 12-15 reps each with always going up in weight. With this method I haven’t been as crazy strong as what i was used to, this morning i was also thinking it may be that I have been doing fasted workouts with my speed rope as well. In the morning I would wake up nice and early, down my pre workout, take my BCAA’s with me to drink during my workout so I won’t get fatigued. This way i save time, instead of waking up  earlier, making a pre workout meal, then waiting an hour before getting to the gym. I would love to actually do that, but when your raising a baby, your plans are never solid. Most nights i get less than 6 hours of sleep, just because i need to help the wifey with the baby, God bless my wife, she’s a soldier and she’s the one raising the baby, so whatever help she needs, i try my best to help her. 

My diet so far has been ok during the day, it is the night time cravings that get me real bad. I would look for chips, sweets or just have another big meal, since at work I barely eat during the dinner shift, usually maybe a small snack which leads to a huge craving/appetite when i get home to relax. I have Cassein Protein in the closet, maybe I should make some type of ice cream with it, sprinkle some whole wheat Chex cereal and just down a water. bottle before hand, that might be able to do the trick. 

Here’s a typical meal I would eat 2 times a day usually;100% whole wheat bread, sweet potato fries,Kale salad with blue berries,walnuts, carrots and sun flower seeds, Halal Wagyu Angus Beef.
NOW……..Ramadan starts Thursday or Friday so I would have to figure out what to cook ahead of time for basically my 2 meals a day, the second meal would probably be followed by a post workout shake or something. Each meal would have to be designed to have fiber, fats and protein to hold me over for some time. I would only do little carbs, most likely half a whole wheat pita or 4 ounces of Sweet potatoes, followed by maybe 3-4 steamed broccolis and a white meat. Hopefully i can get some time to get some Halal Turkey from Paterson, make some Turkey Meat balls so that it can be enough for my meals. I have read somewhere too that not everyone can eat 5-6 small meals a day, thus they opt for 3-4 larger meals a day and maybe a snack here and there. Ramadan will be an amazing opportunity to test out how my body reacts. I know for a fact that during Keto,5 years ago, i had cut down a lot of weight. But now, since I have to causally take some carbs out, if i start with fasting and adjust the carbohydrates and making them at a smaller amount, maybe after Ramadan then the body can react to switching to Keto for maybe 4-5 weeks without taking a big hit. Of course i would have my refeed days filled with abut load of carbs and protein, which most people don’t understand when it comes to ketosis. 

Being a father has been amazing, it has opened my eyes to what really is more important in life to me and what matters the most. Time with my family is important, time is something no one can get back. Growing up my parents were able to have some time for us to go on vacation and trips, but towards my middle school and high school career, they were nowhere to be found, always working. Which i now understand completely, money makes the world turn, but the sacrifices that are made should never be up against spending time with your kids. I have realized that spending time with your kids equals raising them, every moment you have with them is a moment to teach them about life, a moment to mold them into being a better person than yourself. I have a different outlook than my parents now on how to raise my kid. I think most children, when they have their own families, know what to do and not to do, thanks to their parents and their style of parenting. Ever since I have become a father, I put  my family first on everything, as it should be with every parent. But unfortunately others see it as a negative because it doesn’t benefit them and their agenda. Try and stay away from negative people, even if they are in your own family, stay peaceful, patient and do not react, take some time to chill and then revisit the problem with a positive outlook without trying to seek revenge. Only then will you be able to stop and smell the roses. 

Now with my workout routine, this will be challenging. Last year, i just ate whatever and workout out maybe 3 times a week or less. This time, i would like to hit up the gym 4 times a week, probably during the night, right after work, then followed by keeping up with the baby and then taking a nap for an hour or two before waking up to eat again. Then I would be able to sleep for 6-7 hours before work, followed by an hour nap after the lunch shift. Everything always looks easy on paper compared to actually doing it. 

Here are some photos of our recent trip to the Zoo, Even though Lailah is too small to probably remember, at least we got photos with her so she can see later on in life,also Madina had a blast with everything:


Keto day 14

December 30, 2015

I got down to 159.9 lbs, it’s a god number but not satisfying, I’d rather get o 159.5 or bellow to count it asa win for me and my coach. I had a good weekend, worked so much that sometimes I forget to ea, thus having hand protein bars or protein chips on the side to help me get through a crazy diner/lunch shift without going catabolic. It’s always better though to eat real food when available, maybe I should prep my foods in the beginning of my shifts so that once t gets busy I can scarf them down quickly.  

 
Dropped my eggs, lost protein, so mad. 
  
This is how I look when I wake up in the morning to do a fasted workout and fasted cardio. 

   
   

So far my legs have been on point after the loweback injury, pulled muscle. I train my quads just as hard as you hamstrings,just to keep them equally aesthetic and proportionate. The problem I will always have is the lower a fat, I can definitely tell its shrinking, but the one thing every person lacks in body transformation is patience, that’s what I’m working towards. 
Here’s a link to a small leg session on what I did yesterday at LifeTime fitness:Quick leg session!!!!

Day 20 cutting diet

May 22, 2013

So I’m on day 20 of the cutting diet,lost about 6 lbs. I will be flying out to Istanbul,Turkey on the 28th if this month. Then from there I will go straight to Kabul,Afghanistan. It will be after 5 years,this time I will be prepared with my 64g iPhone 5 and 64g iPad mini. Sometimes I close my eyes and I’m telling everyone that I meet that Afghanistan went by so fast,45 days was a blur & now it’s Ramadan again. This Ramadan will be the best,can’t wait to start and be at peace with myself while fulfilling my duties. I will start Ramadan in Afghanistan,I stars I believe July 8th this year,we will be landing back home on the 14th. InshaAllah we will complete Ramadan together.

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I also shipped to Afghanistan my supplements from Bodybuilding.com, of course I’ll be training there while eating 6 times a day,walking miles to and from the gym & all the food is natural,healthy & organic.

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Day 2 cutting diet

May 2, 2013

Got a good leg workout in with a friend of mine. He hasn’t lifted before so it was good to show him the ropes. He said he definitely feels it today so that means training him worked. I just got my 15 lbs NASM book to study, it talks about training,muscles,dieting and foods. It’ll help me pass the qualification exam and have me be certified as a personal trainer. What I really want to learn is how to make a diet,what factors go into it,what’s needed to calculate it. I know everyone’s different & there’s a lot to learn but in the one month in Kabul will give me plenty of time to read,learn and prepare.

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Day 1 cutting diet

May 1, 2013

So today is day one of the cutting diet. It’s not a diet where all of a sudden I limit my calories and carbs,if I did that then my body would not appreciate that and most likely I would lose muscle.
Here are some shots to start with,also I am at 10% body fat:

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Here is how much calories I burned today:

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Also yes I got a new polar FT80 watch because my old one finally died completely. We had a good run but this design is more bad ass.

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So far the only things that were changed in my diet were how much almond butter I can have, the Karbolyn amount & olive oil amount. We will see how this week goes,also I am doing 30 min cardio either before my breakfast or right after my workout.

Day 61 on gaining diet

April 3, 2013

Today I’d like to talk about stress while dieting. Dieting does play a a role in our Dailey lives and can cause some type of stress triggered by an event or person. Speaking from experience, eating “small” meals through out the day will help with weight loss or weight gain, but the perception that your still hungry while cutting or “I want to try something else but can’t” thought while gaining can cause a reaction in the brain if we choose it to. During my 16 week cutting phase I limited myself to almost every finger food within my grasp. Working at a restaurant has proven at times to be extremely difficult to diet clean and yet I have been successful. If you don’t time yourself after each meal then your body will tell you when it’s hungry while you aren’t stressed or busy; but when your hungry that’s when chemicals in the body start to take a toll. It’s extremely important to eat within every 2-3 hours of your last meal to stop your body from going into a catabolic state. learn about Catabolic state here.

An example of when we should eat is with someone who’s diabetic. If the diabetic person does not eat every three hours then they become grumpy first, then angry and very tired as if they are about to crash. I base this on my grandmother and my father, my father is prediabetic so usually we are on top of him on eating all the time.

My tea in the mornings:

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My wife’s breakfast I make:

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