Helping Others Learn From My Experience

In life, there comes a time when you reflect on your experiences. What you have encountered this year, how you have progressed, how you have grown, where things are going now, and perhaps how you want things to go for the coming year. I read a quote last night I thought I would share since the New Year is coming up – and many of you are setting new goals for 2013 and looking for a “fresh beginning.”

Our best intentions are often thwarted by external forces. Forces that we ourselves set in motion long ago. Decisions especially bad ones, create their own kind of momentum, and momentum can be hard to stop. Even when we vow to change, even when we sorrow and atone for our mistakes, the momentum of our past keeps carrying us down the wrong road. Momentum rules the world. – Andre Agassi

Due to something I was faced with, I have recently changed the momentum in my life. I’ve taken my experience for everything it could have possibly meant. I am changing the momentum – and hope I inspire some of you to do the same. Living with inspiration in my eyes is one of the fundamentals to living a fulfilled life.

Seeing as how I am a fitness professional – I have taken my experience of growth, and developed it into an informative article that can be useful for you when you not only evaluate your health and your fitness but also your life as a whole.

4 months ago I used to be a firm believer that you can sleep when you’re dead, and there simply wasn’t enough hours in the day. My days were relatively high-stress and involved always being on the move.

Being a Kinesiology major and a self-motivated learner, I was well educated on the benefits of sleep and told all my clients to make sure they got enough sleep… yet day in and day out I functioned on an average of 5 maybe 6 hours. This was the one piece of advice I used to give that I was not following myself. On top of inadequate rest, I used to function best under stress. P.s. Exercise is also a form of stress… (Though this kind of stress has so many benefits, and should only last 1 hour a day).

AK Fitness Half Marathon Training 1

AK Fitness Hamstring Stretch 2

I speak in past tense because 4 months ago I experienced a major sports injury during my half marathon after which I was greatly demobilized.  I went from running 20Km to being laid out in a hospital. Hospital entailed a surgery in which a metal rod and 2 screws were inserted into my leg to help hold the broken femur together.

Upon returning home from the hospital after 1 week, I wasn’t able to do anything physically. I had undying support from family and friends, however now it was beginning to set in.  I used to work 12 hour days … and now I was to sit in my home doing nothing. Exercise, training, a.k.a my forms of therapy were taken away. I have learned new, non-physically stimulating ways of therapy, stress, management, creating mental balance.

Aside from personal growth – taking time for meditation, mindfulness, reading, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends. I took it upon myself to use some of this time to grow professionally. I indulged in more science-based, health, and fitness education. Also – I started this blog. It enables me to motivate, inspire, educate people on how to possibly improve the quality of your life by providing you with latest fitness research, easy healthy eating ideas that you can apply to your busy lives, new exercise ideas that will allow you to revive and enjoy exercising.

Mainly because almost every person I encounter talks to me about their fitness, diet, losing weight, gaining muscle,  looking good – I have molded my learning experience to one that can hopefully benefit you all. Whether you are motivated towards shedding some extra pounds, getting rid of your diabetes or high blood pressure, increasing your muscle strength and size, performing better in daily life, or you just want to look and feel good, there are 2 principles I want to shed some light on in your life – Sleep, rest and minimizing Stress. Doing these 3 things will help everyone be mentally and in turn physically fitter.

Yes, we are all individuals and your body may not function the same as your best friend however, the frame-work and maintenance both your bodies needs is pretty hard wired.

We each experience and express stress in our own ways. Some people eat, some people smoke, some people don’t eat, some don’t exercise, and many more. Practising the art of de-stressing and getting enough sleep is at the base of the pyramid of a healthy life.

Keeping in line with the fact that this is a health and fitness blog, here is an example to help you understand how sleep has a direct impact on how your body funtions.
Ever notice you are increasingly hungry after a late-night out? Or after a night of tossing and turning? This is simply due to the fact that your body hasn’t got a chance to shut-down and replenish, detoxify, restore. Your body is now in a stressed environment. Stress = an increase in cortisol levels. An increase in cortisol has many side effects.
1) Cortisol breaks down muscle tissue (for energy). Muscle tissue = our fat-burning furnace.
2) Muscle tissue isn’t a very viable source of energy… so while our body is breaking it down… we need to sustain ourselves… so
We start craving foods, 2 types of foods:
a) Typically foods that will give us energy. What is the fastest energy source for our bodies? Sugar pie, honey bunch. Scones, muffins, cookies, anyone? Oh wait… you might say – I don’t crave sweet foods ever. Remember – foods don’t have to be sweet to provide sugar into our blood stream. Carbohydrates —-> breakdown into —–> Glucose (a.k.a. Sugar). Monitor your portion levels – this is another reason I advise people to pack their lunches. You will most likely have prepared this the night before, hence you will eat what you have and not be tempted to participate in the mid-day office starbucks run or walk-into the cafeteria craving everything in site.
b) Moving on – No sleep, no hormone regulation = discombobulated Serotonin. Serotonin = happy hormones. Notice after a late night you “need” a good hearty meal? You crave high-fat foods. = comfort food. Why? High-fat and high carbohydrate meals have a temporary mood-elevating effect on us. (Anti-depressants are SSRI’s AKA Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Meaning they keep Serotonin in your system). Side note – Many overweight people turn to food for comfort… because it does have a comfort effect on our body’s system. This instant gratification is too often the choice… over perhaps another mood-elevating activity that is less desirable… exercise. Exercise stimulates endorphins. Endorphins resemble opiates… hence provide an analgesic feeling. P.s. Eating spicy foods also stimulates a small amount of endorphins!
5) Lastly, another reason we want to maximize our sleep and minimize the cortisol is because sleep restriction decreases insulin sensitivity. Insulin clears the sugar from our blood. When sleep is minimal there is a higher level of residual sugar needed before the insulin kicks in. Those with diabetes need insulin to be working at it’s best. Meaning as soon as you eat you need the insulin to clear your blood sugar.The list of side effects is lengthy.
In my situation, the problem 4 months ago was not weight-gain or cravings I did notice at times I had a hard time increasing my muscle strength.
Fuelling your body with nutritious, whole, unprocessed, fresh foods will decrease undesirable weight gain. Adequate nutrition and supplementation is the basis behind this blog. Continue to stay tuned weekly for new updates and information that is useful to YOU.
I say you are what you eat, eating dead, packaged, processed, fatty foods needs to be completely minimized if you want to look and feel your best.
Nelson Mandela says: “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”
Exercise to sweat & challenge your capabilities. Eat to live. Sleep to recover. Steer your life momentum.
This is all from experience. Not only do I preach it, but I do practice it. I hope you can all find a little inspiration from this. Whether it is fitness related or not.
– Asma


Filed under AK Fitness Misc., Stress & Stress Management

3 responses to “Helping Others Learn From My Experience

  1. Leena shah

    Hi Asma very informative blog and very true . Now I realize how it applies to my life . Looking forward to your next posting

  2. Nikaila M

    Great post Asma!!! Now I don’t feel like such an oldie for making sure I get my 8 hours of sleep 🙂

  3. mom and dad

    Asma :
    We are so proud of yr courage and positivity with what u have gone thro’ . we played a small role in providing you comfort and wish could have
    taken your pain and discomfort. Keep strong always.
    We are a TEAM !

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