Friday, 23 October 2015

Keep Going

Keep Going. 
Push your limits.

Keep Going.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Thank you!

Friniggi Sportswear will be closing its online store indefinitely. 

This was  a difficult decision to make, but one that had to be made nonetheless.

I have met the most incredible women from around the world whilst providing them with sportswear.
And I enjoyed this part the most.

I have not written off Islamic Sportswear for good, and may yet return to this game to serve the needs of sporting sisters everywhere.

My "mission" with friniggi Sportswear for Muslim women was to contribute to the development of Muslim women sports. I will continue this mission in another way, another platform.

Watch this space as evolves into its new phase.

Thank you for your support over the years, and I hope you will continue the journey with me into our new project.

Peace, love and light

Thursday, 21 August 2014

15 min Desk workout

Many of us are fortunate to have jobs given the downturn experienced in different economies recently. But, it can mean hours at a desk or a computer which is really not good for health. More than trying to fit in 30 mins of exercise a day, many sedentary people would reap far more health benefits (other than weight loss) by simply avoiding sitting too long.

If you can spare 15 minutes, preferably your lunch hour, this desk workout from trains major muscle groups, and stretches hip flexors and other muscles that tighten from being desk bound for an entire day.

Imagine how good it'll feel once you're done, endorphins boosting your mood, oxygen revitalising your energy levels for the rest of the day. Totally worth it in more ways than one!

What you'll need:
1. A sturdy chair without wheels
2. A sturdy wall
3. Athletic shoes (or barefoot works too)
4. Small towel to wipe off sweat
5. Anti-perspirant to apply afterwards
6. Water to stay hydrated before and after

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Getting back to exercise - after Ramadan

Barbell squat, one of my favourites.
Currently lifting 10kg in my outdoor 'gym'.

Working out during the fast proved difficult for me. For all those fitness and fasting articles all over the web this Ramadan, they didn't help me much. This is why:

  • A week into it, and I got caught up in iftar prep and extra ibadah.
  • Our fasting being in winter this year (Souther Hemisphere) the days were really short. And no matter the extra night hours winter provides, darkness is darkness. This stimulates our body into winding down and sleep mode. 
  • Night workouts were out of the question. A good night's sleep is a top health activity for me. 
  • I couldn't muster the energy for anything after iftar.
  • I found I lost a few kilos giving me a false sense of being way ahead of my exercise routine. 
  • Weight loss is not one of my exercise goals
  • Maintaining my current weight, gaining strength, getting healthy are my exercise goals. So I took the fasting as a break, not wanting to push my body too far on its health equilibrium
Okay so it was a long break. Getting back into it was tricky. Mind and body had to be re-disciplined all over again it seemed. However I trusted that after the first session was over, muscle memory would kick in, and it would take over from there. This was how I got into the routine after almost a month of  no fitness routines whatsoever:

  • First session was Friday. A quick, but intense, half hour workout.
  •  Deciding to ease into it, I took a break on Saturday, just performing simple stretches.
  • Second session was today. I did a normal full hour workout. Not only did I finish it just as easily as pre-Ramadan days, but I managed to do the more advanced moves! That is the advantage of breaks, giving your body time to recover, so you can do more later.
  • My exercise routines consist of short intense workouts, and then I hit the weights. And not the teeny tiny dumbbells, but the heavy ones. On the barbell. I'm not a cardio fan. All that getting out of breath stuff does not appeal to me. That's why strength training really appeals to me in all forms, pilates, stretching, weights.
  • Next session is tomorrow!
Don't expect too much from yourself. Each day is different. You respond differently to the same routine. If it doesn't go the way you plan today, try tomorrow or the next day. Don't push too hard! 
Challenge yourself without straining your body.

Top tip: Your mind is the biggest obstacle. Don't listen to it when it lists all the reasons why not to get up and go.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Ramadan in Botswana

Ramadan in Botswana

If this is the first time you've heard of Botswana, I don't blame you. While it's a fairly large country geographically, it is a small nation with a population of only 3 million people. Shaped like Texas, and just as hot in the summer.

 A landlocked country with the world's only inland delta, the Okavango Delta, Botswana is located in Southern Africa next to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia . The Okavango Delta is a popular tourist attraction with wildlife and game, and where you will find the only lions in the world who frolic in the water. Cats usually hate getting their paws wet.

This year, Ramadan falls in the winter months.
Freezing cold nights, but fairly mild sunny winter days, make for relatively easy fasting compared to the seventeen hour days of Northern Europe in the summertime. Not too hot, nor too cold, this year we feel truly blessed to be fasting in July.

Muslims are a significant minority from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds, with a dominant Indian-Malay cultural norms and traditions.

My own family has mixed cultural backgrounds and food being the flavour of a nation, iftaar at my folks' place is a cultural table spread.

Samoosas, dates and chiken tikka for an Indian-Malay flavour. Crab and butternut cooked in coconut milk, siopao (pronounced Shoo-pow) and chicken noodle soup Filipino style.

Samoosas sizzle on the stove

Crab, butternut cooked in coconut milk

Dates to break one's fast the Sunnah way.

Siopao, a chinese influence in Filipino food is a small round steamed bun with a filling  of choice.
These had a sweet red bean paste.

Chicken noodle soup

From left to right (clockwise): Chicken tikka, vegetable soup, samoosas and Siopao
My sister (right) and I, having iftaar at my parent's home.
Winter days are mild, sunny weather prevails. But the temperature drops quickly at night to single digits.

The Ramadan timetable showing sehri and iftaar times in different regions of the country.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The truth about mind power

Me, on a boat in pretty Cape Town, South Africa recently. (And no I'm not really steering that boat - dummy wheel)

It is an old adage that dates back through the ages: The power of belief overcoming the impossible.

The human mind has a conscious part and a subconscious part, the latter being the subject of many books, research papers and articles in recent times.

The subconscious part remains a mystery as no one can tell you exactly how it functions.
It seems to be located in our brains, and yet is connected to other organs through our physiological networks of blood vessels, nerves and synapses, muscle tissue and bones. It is the subconscious mind that runs all the bodily systems and functions in the background. It is the operating system of our bodies, the WINDOWS software to our machine of a body. Breathing, digestion, immune system response and healing, growing are all from the operated by the subconscious.

It is also somehow connected to things outside of our bodies such as other people, objects, creatures, nature and unseen things. We know this through our ability to empathise with others, we feel the pain, joy, sadness, disappointment and excitement of others. Emotions that did not begin within us, but was communicated to us.

The seaside town of Fish Hoek beach in Southern Peninsula of Cape Town.
Yet no one knows the exact dynamics of how the subconscious mind functions. Do you know HOW to digest your food, how to break down a protein differently from a carbohydrate? Do you know HOW many times you need to pump your heart increasing beats per minute when the need for more oxygen arises, and decreasing it to a normal rate afterwards? Do you KNOW HOW to grow your hair or REPAIR your broken bones? Not consciously, no. And yet, you do this everyday, every hour, every second, without fail.

Think about that for a minute. That is how amazing YOU are.
Your subconscious is part of your brain, which is part of you. You are doing things, vital functions, everyday without even knowing (consciously) how it's done.

Bubbles on the beach

I believe our intelligence as human beings, along with our free will, is a great gift from Allah (swt).
We were not made vicegerents over the earth for no reason.

There is a great power to harness within your mind, for wealth, for health, for success.
You could apply it to anything in your life. You do not have to KNOW just how you are going to do it.

The important thing is that you CHOOSE to do it. DECIDE to do it.
Then do the best action that you can think of to achieve it. It works without fail.
It may not be a straight road to success. All journeys begin with a first step, and it is a critical first step to CHOOSE and to DECIDE to do something to improve your situation.

Fish Hoek beach under the autumn sun
Say you want to change something in your life, let's choose a fitness goal for example, because this is a fitness blog: Choose to lose weight, get fit and be as healthy as you can.

Because our minds are so powerful in dictating our actions, and thus the results in our life, I'd say begin with overcoming the mind, instead of trying to harness it's potential.

We are surrounded by facts and data, half-truths and information overload, most of which tell us we are on the downward spiral to failure. Most of which stimulate our senses with negativity, prompting our actions on a negative path. Overcome your mind when it tells you that losing weight is impossible because you are not disciplined enough to stick to a plan and therefore most likely to fail.
Overcome you mind when it tells you the "facts" of your body being too far gone in bad health to make it back to a more healthier functioning.

An industrial view of Table Mountain. The harbour is in the foreground, where international ships arrive with shipments and passengers. Some ships and even oil rigs come here for as long as six months to undergo repairs.
Overcome your mind by showing it through your own action, that it is wrong. Stimulate your senses through action and experience and direct your mind to the path you want to go. Your mind needs the experience of a different path to bring it out of its current path. That is the connection between mind and body,  the physical experience that teaches the mind.

You've heard it said before: the mind can be your greatest friend or your greatest enemy.
It can be your tool for success or your biggest obstacle.

I believe that in overcoming the mind as an obstacle first, you'll start to change the results you see in your life faster and more effectively than if you tried to harness its power first.

I hope you enjoyed my random photos of Cape Town.
View of Table Mountain (behind) and Signal Hill (front) from the boat.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Don't sit for too long!

We all know that sedentary lifestyles are a major health risk for lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, blood pressure illnesses, weight problems and diabetes to name a few.
Up to now we thought that we could combat this by exercising everyday for at least half an hour.

Now it appears that no amount of vigourous exercise can combat the health risks that sitting for too long impacts on your body. Read article here.

This fits right in with my health philosophy: stay close to a natural way of living as much as possible to reap both known and unknown benefits for your health and well-being. And moreover to avoid as much as possible both known and unknown risks to your health and well-being.

Our bodies were designed to move (hint: click to read article)
all the time. To get something, we move to reach it. To go somewhere, we move to get there.
It is in our very nature to move. And the more we do it, the better we feel. The better our bodies become, despite getting older. 

Before you panic about the risk your desk job is wreaking upon your health, remember it is the daily small movements as we go about our day that counts in this respect. You do not have to do squats every 15 mins, or hit the floor in a plank every half hour. What this discovery highlights, is that engaging in daily tasks which require us to get off our seats, actually is good for you. 

So the next time you are forced to park a block away, and then walk to your destination, or you have to get up and make your own coffee, or make copies in the next building, see it as a benefit to your health while you go about your daily tasks.