My Fitness Journey: How My Dedication to a Fit Lifestyle Changed My Life

4 Months ago I decided to change my life.

In your 30’s I guess it’s a time where you really figure out who YOU are.  I realized somethings that were so simple yet so obvious: I’m the only one in charge of my life.  Tomorrow will NEVER come.  It’s not what I want, it’s what I do that defines me. Life is full of great satisfaction and great struggles, and I want to be able to handle them head on. I don’t ever want to be weak.  So one fine day (December 12th to be exact), I made those changes. The changes I wanted were not just on the outside, but also a lot to do with my inside.  The changes needed to be inside and out.

It began with regulating prayer as an essential part of my life, no ifsands or buts about it.  I craved that connection and wanted to be able to pour my heart out to him.  It’s addicting, it’s satisfying and made me feel stronger.  Body + Soul go hand in hand.  Next was the physical, I joined the gym.  When I joined I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it or how committed I would actually be.  I wanted to be honest with myself and not put too many expectations on my shoulders because I’ve joined the gym before and went for a month (not even).  I wanted to set realistic goals because, let’s face it, changes don’t happen in one day.

Honestly, it began with not how I looked but how I felt. 

What were my goals? I was always tired, and I hated it.  I felt like an old woman!!  I didn’t want to get skinnier or lose weight per say, but I wanted to get fit.  I wanted to have strength, to do the things I needed to do, throughout my day. I wanted to be able to put the groceries away without getting tired, I wanted to have energy to play with my kids without being “too tired” to do anything real with them.  I wanted to present the best side of myself to my family and to myself.  So I had my assessment done at the gym and could barely plank for 20 seconds, my heart rate was out of control and I could do 2 pushups I felt like rock bottom.

I decided to get a trainer the day of my assessment, though a lot of people advised against it.  It was expensive, but I’m glad I did it.  Firstly, it ensured I went to the gym at least 2 days a week and I learned how to workout properly without wasting anytime trying to figure it out.  Working out is a lot more complex than I thought it would be, there is so much involved and it’s very scientific.  I began to see results quicker than if I had initially worked out on my own.  I think if  I didn’t see results as quick I would have gotten demotivated.  I’m still learning, but 12 weeks of personal training with an awesome trainer really got me off to the right start.  I’m pumped and motivated.

How do I stay motivated?  I focus not on how hard it is, but how much I enjoy it.  The things that stress me out, I use that as motivation when I’m pushing the iron.

I absolutely love it.  I’m grateful for my body, for my health and for my life.  Most importantly, it makes me happy.  Not wanting to go back to where I was is the first thing on my motivation list.  Seeing results makes me want to push harder.  When I say results, it’s not just about toning my body but also in my abilities.  The human body is truly amazing.

I wake up at around 7:05 everyday, and I can be busy the entire day without getting tired till about 8.  I can hold up my toddler son up high and run up the stairs for poppy diapers with a smile on my face even if I have to do it more than once.

I almost feel like an energizer bunny. 🙂

Going to the gym also keeps me motivated because you see a lot of people with a great physic.  Having a gym partner also helps keep my motivation high.  It’s important to have someone to workout with, but I still enjoy working out on my own too.  My husband was initially supposed to start with me, but my partner ended up being my sister-in-law who was visiting one week from Jeddah.  Then I got my dad with me for a bit, and now I have my best friend who is a gym freak.  Sometimes I don’t feel like going, but getting there is the hard part on those days, I set days and I make sure I go.  Once I’m there I’m happy I came, and even happier after my workout is done.  There are no excuses!

A good friend of mine (mother of 3) wakes up at 5am to get to the gym while her kids are still sleeping to fit in her workout.  When something is that important in your life, you will make it happen.

I go to the gym 4 days a week, 3 days of strength training (2 days legs, 1 day upper body) + cardio and 1 day of yoga. After my first yoga session, I was in tears (secretly) it felt so good I can’t even explain how good it felt to get that tension out.  I love the way yoga makes me feel, takes the weight of the week off my shoulders.  I zone in and it helps me relax and find inner peace.  I love stretching out my muscles after the week’s strength training and love how it builds core strength. There is this old lady in my class who’s more flexible then any 20 year old I’ve seen.  She’s like a pretzel! Sometimes in downward dog, I watch her.  She gets me super motivated!  I want to be like that when I’m a grandmother.

Going to the gym also helped to add more goals to my list.  I now want to be able to jog outside during the good months in Canada and reduce my body fat percentage to 18% (P.S. I started at 26, and now am at 20.9% :)), I want to get a six pack, build feminine muscle mass and increase my flexibility (my body is so stiff!).

If you’re thinking about changing your life or joining the gym, don’t focus on losing weight, focus on feeling better as the first step.  The weight will come off believe me, but there is no magic 7 day diet or shake to drink that will drop the pounds.  You have to work hard for your health and body. When you feel good, you will look good and will see results quicker when you are happy and feel great every single day.

Don’t know where to start? Make a list of goals.  Then start super small with 1 change at a time.   Find happiness in what you’r doing and try not to focus on the results.  Appreciate and be grateful for every single step you take.

Follow my journey on snapchat: NiloHaq 

Blog post on my nutrition and food plan next week. 

I’d love to hear about your own journey and struggles, do comment below.  


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Nilo Haq
Tagged as one of the five women to have shaped the beauty industry in the Middle East, Nilo is a pro makeup artist with stints at MAC Cosmetics, Toni&Guy, & Alexander Zouari Paris. Nilo Haq is the founder of iGlow Studios, Snobby Face lashes and creator of the first ever Online Makeup Course made for South Asian women. Nilo is now based in Toronto and is a sought-after bridal makeup artist who runs makeup workshops across three continents.

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