We have the Action Plan to get you Fit!

Criterion Fitness will Help you reach your Goal and Grow in Knowledge.

With weight-loss as your goal, it can be difficult to figure out what the best course of action is. You may have spent money on sportswear like many of us during the lockdown, you may have invested in some fitness equipment (spinning bike is the in-thing), maybe you’ve been breezing through health articles and eating rice cakes due to their low-calorie count. These are all good to do and will all aid you in weight-loss, with the correct plan of action.

Criterion Fitness and Nutrition help Youth and Men achieve health goals and get into better shape with online consultations and exercise programmes. If you’re like the many men working from home, aware of their need for regular exercise and a good diet but no solid direction or lacking motivation, read on and welcome to our website.

So, it’s well known that to lose weight the idea is to burn/use up more calories than you consume each day until you reach your goal weight. Calories are the measurement of energy with Carbohydrates and Protein containing 4Kcals per gram and Fats carrying 9Kcals per gram. The food we eat will have an impact upon your calorie count so its important to learn about the food groups and how to use the foods you love eating to fuel your weight-loss progress. We at Criterion Fit can help you do this, drop a message to [Hanif] here.

Cutting sugary treats and other foods with low nutritional value is a great step that will make weight-loss smoother in the long-run but aside from diet it also makes sense to exercise. You’d think that exercise burns off calories real fast but in reality, adapting your diet alone is likely to see you drop weight faster. That’s not me saying leave off exercise! Exercise is a key component of a weight-loss journey because it helps you sculpt your muscle, maintain and increase muscle, increase bone density, improve cardio output and efficiency, correct bodily imbalances and posture and so much more.

The combination of good eating habits, nutritious meals spaced throughout your day and exercise are keys to losing weight. You, like many men, may find exercise hard and rather cut some foods but I’d recommend you also engage in regular exercise which can be done at home especially during this Coronavirus. Criterion Fit design workout programmes that cater to your likes and lifestyle, all we ask for is a positive mindset and your determination to win. 

The road to weight-loss is fun and educational. Whether your single, married or married with children, we can help. The time to put into your health can be found! Having the best plan of action for your lifestyle is important since we have different lifestyles and commitments. Our 8-week weight-loss programme includes weekly analysis of your macronutrients (Carbs, Protein and Fats), regular consultations, will increase your knowledge and help you to stay on track. Coupled with a personal exercise programme you’ll find challenging and exciting, the end of 2020 is sure to be that bit better than its start. 

To get in-touch with us send a message to Hanif [Here] or use our social network in the top right of the menu above.

Stay Sharp and Stress Less: Keys to Cool

How you can control your stress.

Who doesn’t want to stay sharp as they age and throughout their life? To be able to see the target with a clear mind, have precision, ability and be able to think ahead, finishing in style? At the same time, which one of us guys doesn’t want a stress-free existence (where possible).

You can sharpen your mental and physical sword but ultimately our ability and allotted share of sharpness is limited to what Allah (our creator, the mighty and majestic) decrees for us. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to stay on our A-game; below are ways to help you see around corners and move like Neo is your younger cousin.

Exercise:

Working on your body through weight training regularly will help you maintain and better yet increase muscle size which is well known but did you know regular exercise will aid brain health and more? With added strength + speed, you become physically sharper and able to tackle the day, be it by running down a pick-pocket or carrying the shopping home to burn those extra calories. Cardiovascular work increases your heart strength and ability to take in oxygen, also helping your blood flow better. Your mind is also sharper through regular exercise and you’ll find your mood lifts, not only because of hormone change but also due to being in an environment where like-minded people come to put in that work after-work. After all the exercise you’ll be so tired that sleep will come easy, on a regular basis.

Exercise to stay focused – Any activity that requires a level of physical exertion is good (e.g. Running, Tennis, Cricket, Football, Cycling and Gym activity).

The food we eat can affect our stress levels.

Food:

The food you eat will give your engine the right combination of nutrients you need to power through your hectic day or it could be the reason why you fall asleep when there’s work to do and also the reason you feel stressed, agitated and sluggish. Food is stored energy, it’s a blessing from Allah (our Lord and Master) that we have so many varieties, textures, smells and appearances that go down so well. Eating too much and doing too little activity increases the chance of that food we love so much will cause our bodies harm now or in the future.

Stay sharp and stress-free by eating from smaller plates, increasing your vegetables and drinking water before your meal to fill you up that little bit earlier.

Have you ever had an appointment that you were anxious and eager over? Think back, did you eat everything in the house or was your appetite suppressed? If you take to eating a smaller quantity, over time, you will likely feel sharper and focused and with added exercise, this sharpness will only increase God willing.  Avoid processed foods (sweets, fried chips, burgers, and chicken) and select locally sourced, organic meat and vegetables, brown pasta, rice and bread that contain more fibre and drink water like you’ve just found life in the Sahara Desert.

Foods to de-stress: e.g. Avacado, Blueberries, Kale, Dark Chocolate at 70% and up and Salmon.

Additional ways to stay cool:

  • Better Sleep
  • Stretching
  • Prayer, Dhikr, Wudu, Reciting Qur’an, Seeking Knowledge
  • Build a positive Support Network (Family and Friends).
‘The Old Medicine’ – (8 Week Weight-loss Programme)

If you put your stress down to a poor diet and limited physical activity, you’re gaining weight and feeling unmotivated we can help you regain the positive attitude you know you have inside. We at Criterion Fitness and Nutrition will help you to feel great and look the part. Personal Gym Programmes, Weight-loss and Advice to control bad eating habits – we can help with these too. [Message us here for your FREE CONSULTATION].

The difference between Exercise and Physical Activity

Physical activity is a part of everyday life for most people and even with a severe disability it is still possible to engage in physical activity and exercise but what’s the difference between the two?

Exercise is a planned or freestyled series of physical movements, with or without added tension, to elicit the desired effect upon your body. This could be Cardiovascular exercise with the aim of increasing lung capacity or for weight loss or maybe weight-bearing exercises to increase muscle mass, speed and strength.

The NHS Live Well website defines physical activity as ‘movement of the body that uses energy.’ An example of this would be ironing a shirt, taking rubbish outside of your home or cooking food for your family. All of these examples require energy to be expended to complete the tasks, but is this enough to help us in the long run?

Some men believe they have little time for exercise which isn’t the reality for the vast majority of us. Finding the determination and a good programme to work with, at home or elsewhere is all that’s needed. A man may say I do a lot of physical activity through my work and this may be so but does that physical activity due to your occupation work your whole body, cancelling out any bodily imbalances?

Exercise can and should be a planned and controlled process that rectifies and improves your body. Coupled with a good diet (nutrition) you can maintain your health and potentially increase your life expectancy.

My name is Hanif, level 3 nutritional adviser and level 2 fitness instructor. I help men get fitter for the tasks of life and make the dietary choices that will give them energy and longevity. If you find it hard to pick out healthy foods when shopping or struggle to get the shopping home, we offer services such as our weight-loss programme (8 weeks minimum) and exercise programmes that fit your lifestyle and health goals.

Try this home workout circuit:

5 Push-ups

5 Crunches

5 Pull-up’s

30-second Planks

5 Burpees

30-second Static Squats

3 rounds, increase to 4 and 5 as you feel confident.

If you don’t have my Ramadan Health Guide (free to download), join our email list to get a copy.

What is a Balanced Lifestyle?

When you think of lifestyle many thoughts come to mind but the basic definition of lifestyle is ‘the way in which a person lives’ meaning what they do throughout their days, interactions and what they engage in.

These days companies do their best to make their products part of popular, trending lifestyles to ensure their business is no one-hit-wonder. Some people would go as far as to say they can even hijack a lifestyle if they can monopolise on the hearts and minds of the buying public, especially the youth.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is the “thing to do” but that has always been the foundation mankind was upon. But as time passes what was a healthy lifestyle can be turned on its’ head, smoking cigarettes being a prime example.

As a Muslim man, leading a balanced and healthy lifestyle can be achieved through seeking knowledge of Allah (our mighty creator), our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his life and teachings as well as the religion of Islam itself.

Some core aspects go into leading a healthy lifestyle and they are:

Diet – Eating but not to the point of being overly full, drinking water, getting your macro and micronutrients in-check, staying away from processed foods (having minimal amounts of trans fats), chewing your food well before taking another bite.

Exercise and Activity – engaging in physical activity on a regular basis if your job does not require you to be very active, finding sports or activities you enjoy to do so you a constant upon them, taking rests away from exercise when fatigued. 

Community and Family – keeping good ties with family and friends, calling them to good and away from evil actions, giving time to the community and those less fortunate (e.g. volunteering or aiding an elderly person or homeless person/giving charity).

Seeking Knowledge – Knowledge of Islam as well as seeking knowledge revolving around the creation (beneficial knowledge i.e. not magic or evil).

Worship – Showing love, hope and fear to Allah (our Lord, creator and provider), using the exercise and food you eat as a tool to help you worship your creator in a better way (in-line with the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah).

Wealth – Not being concerned with amassing wealth but having contentment in what you have. And if you are given more than many others you use it well, aiding others to the point your wealth doesn’t have a hold over your giving hand.

These are my thoughts on a real balanced lifestyle, anything wrong is from myself and Shaytaan and anything correct is by the mercy of Allah. Lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle and by the mercy of Allah (glorified be he) paradise is yours and mine in this life and the next.

30 minute Home Workout: Only for the Brave

Home Gym

It’s hotter than ever to do your workouts at home. You don’t have eyes watching you or distractions and music blaring like in a gym. The occurrence of Covid-19 has changed aspects of our living but one thing that doesn’t have to change is your ability to go hard and achieve targets when it comes to your fitness training. I’ve written this circuit training session for the men that like to push their limits and recognise their need for growth and a maintained health/body.

To get the most out of this workout circuit you’ll need:

  • Pull Up bar
  • Resistance band
  • Dumbbells

Always begin your sessions with stretching and mobility work to prepare your muscles for the work you’ll do and to reduce your chances of injury. On to the session…

Circuit 1:

Push-Ups – 10 reps

Chin Ups – 10 reps (assisted with resistance band if needed)

Squats – 10 reps

Jumping Jacks – 2 minute

Planks – 1 minute

2-minute rest

Circuit 2:

Push-Ups – 10 reps

Dumbbell Curls – 10 reps

Forward Lunges – 10 reps (each leg)

Jog on the spot – 2 minutes

Planks – 1 minute

2-minute rest

Circuit 3:

Push-Ups – 10 reps

Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 10 reps

Static Squats – 30 seconds (3 reps)

Jumping Jacks – 2 minutes

Planks – 1 minute

2-minute rest

Cycle through the circuits twice or three times. If it becomes too easy for you, increase the reps, exercise duration or reduce your rest periods. This circuit, if done for 3 weeks or more will hopefully yield some noticeable changes in your body, physique, strength and cardio output. Using it with rest days in-between sessions is ideal.

As you can see the circuits are broken down as UB, UB, LB, CV, CORE*

Circuit training is a great way to introduce regular exercise into your time schedule and it can all be done at home. If this exercise routine was beneficial to you then share it with family and friends and hit comment. If you’d like a personally designed programme that incorporates this style of training then contact [Here].

*Upper Body, Upper Body, Lower Body, Cardiovascular, Core.

The picture I used in this article is not my own photography.

Split Training or Whole-body exercise?

So you’re in the gym working hard to a plan you found online then time stops around you, you look to your left then your right, the pin of the tricep extension machine drops and then it hits you…”I could save time by doing a whole-body session,’’ Yes!! You can save time and there may be more benefits to a whole body workout than you know, but is it for you?

Split routines v.s. Whole-body routines

Many of us men follow the lizard into the hole by thinking the only way we are going to reach our fitness goal is by doing what the bodybuilders do. Are you really trying to be a bodybuilder while you work in a supermarket?  Bodybuilding is an extreme way of life that your nutrition needs to match. If your goal is to lean out and still be able to enjoy a takeaway meal from time to time, you need to reevaluate what you want out of the gym plan you’re using.

There are time benefits to working one or two body parts per sitting because you’ll be able to get out of the gym sooner than you would if working your whole body each day (less time on the gym floor), but by split-training, you will have to enter the gym more often overall. Additionally, you would give those body parts rest for a good few days before you’re back to working those body parts but with a whole-body gym plan, you could have even more rest time totally.

e.g. Man (A*) does Splits and Man (B*) does Whole-body.

A* – Legs and Abs, Biceps and Triceps, Chest and Shoulders, Back and Traps.

B* – All the above but lower weight and intensity.

Intensity can be measured in a number of ways but the easiest is to do a talk test. Can you hold a conversation while exercising? If you can then the intensity you are working at is too easy for you. The intensity during split days will usually be higher than you’d find with Man (B*) no doubt. However, his lower volume and intensity compared to (A*) doesn’t mean he won’t see results because his consistency over time and the bodily changes due to his whole body routine should garner similar if not better results (see video below – sorry about the music). Body fat loss can be greatly increased as Jim Stoppani states because of the bodies ability to continue metabolism as the body stays in a heightened state due to the regular and continued whole-body exercise.

Enjoy your exercise

The key thing I believe is to enjoy the time you take in exercise because it is a lifelong thing. You may have goals you want to reach now but there is a benefit in enjoying the trees as you travel on your journey. Whether you pick one gym plan over another doesn’t overly matter as long as you stick to the plan – you’ll see results. Exercise benefits the mind as well as your body so if you feel that gym beastin’ isn’t your thing and you’d rather reach your ideal weight by riding your bike then do it! Your goals are your own and sometimes a short consultation with a fitness instructor is all you need to discover your ideal exercise pursuit.

Ibn Qayyum (rahimullah) in his book detailing the medicine of the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave advice to not be excessive in your exercise. Scholars of our time have also spoken on this, recommending the seeking of knowledge not to spend much time in exercise. This is important to know for us all since our role in this world is to worship our creator. Taking too much time away from the remembrance of Allah (the Mighty and Majestic) can and will have ill effects on us and our relationships. However, if you have an illness, weight issue or something that can be remedied through exercise it would be in your best interest to engage in exercise that promotes your ability to worship our creator.

You now know some benefits on both sides of split plans and whole-body exercise. You must have a clear vision for what you want to achieve by going to the gym be it weight gain, loss, maintenance, cardiovascular endurance and/or muscle growth. Once you know what you want to achieve, prepare with a plan that suits your needs, with a fitness instructor consultation. This is the fastest way to reach your goals in a way you can sustain and build upon your goals. If that didn’t convince you, go ahead and try out different plans but as I said, with regards to weight-loss in particular, all the plans work as long as you stick to the plan (i.e. you exercise regularly and also have a good nutritional diet).

If you’re in need of advice to help you become the better you, the best you’ve ever been or you need Nutritional advice to suit your Gym Plan [Email Us] to arrange a short and free consultation.

Do you want to look younger? Here’s Your Checklist

Hour glass

Looking younger, feeling younger and moving like your still a youth isn’t an easy task as we start to get older. Getting married is a great achievement and with that responsibility of nurturing a family (with another child on the way), it’s easy for us to let the trials of life cause us to let slip the way we look, how we eat and so on.

Looking younger than you are isn’t for the realm of women and neither is feeling it. If we look after our bodies this achievement is almost always guaranteed by Allah ta ala’s leave. Having a healthy lifestyle should be as important to you as it is to a PHD Doctor because the way you live will set the standard for your family and affects your community.

In this article we will look into various ways you can reverse the ageing process, maintain your manliness and sport the garb of youthfulness that bit longer than those men of your age group so let’s do this.

Get active

The healthy circulation of blood around your body aids good, healthy skin cells. Good blood flow carries oxygen and other nutrients to cells also removing waste and free radicals. Exercising regularly will help revitalise your skin and also helps reduce your stress levels that will sometimes show outwardly. 

Eating healthy fats

Maintaining healthy skin can be amplified by consuming healthy fats such as Fatty Fish, Avocados, Broccoli and Dark Chocolate.

Omega-3 fatty acids help your skin stay thick, supple and moisturized, reducing inflammation and help your skin stay less sensitive to the sun’s UV rays.

Avocados have amazing antioxidant abilities that protect against oxidative (free radical) damage. Vitamin E which is found in Avocado is responsible for this and research from PubMed Central found that combining vitamin E and C makes vitamin E that bit more effective.

Fasting

Research published in Medical News Today found that fasting can rejuvenate ageing human cells. The molecule Beta-hydroxybutyrate which is a ketone produced during fasting can delay vascular ageing (the tests were done on mice). 

Vitamins and Minerals

Essential nutrients because of the various roles they play in our bodies, vitamins and minerals need to be consumed for bone health, skin, hair health our immunity and more. Food and drink have varying amounts of vitamins and minerals so eating a well-balanced set of meals each day will help you ensure you’re getting what you need. 

Avoid eating fast food and alcohol

Takeaway meals taste great but should be eaten in moderation to avoid increased chances of coronary heart issues, type2 diabetes, depression, cancer, stroke, obesity and more.

Drinking alcohol has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease and digestive issues so alcohol should also be avoided.

Quit smoking

Smoke contains carbon monoxide which reduces blood flow and leaves your skin and lips looking dry. The ageing process is increased by smoking and has adverse effects on your body.

There’s so much we can do to look after our health and bodies which have been entrusted to us for a short time. As a Muslim you wouldn’t enter the Friday Prayer with dust in your hair, smelling like carrion. You also wouldn’t put yourself forward to marry a Muslimah without looking your best. Health and fitness is a part of self-care, if you don’t care for yourself who will you care for?!

If you’re inspired by this post to get healthy or you have a comment to share [Message Me Here].

Further reading:

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/exercise#1

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-foods-for-healthy-skin#2.-Avocados

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323039#A-drug-target-to-stop-aging,-chronic-disease

Carb Up!

For anyone that plans to exercise or train in a sport long-term, it’s important to know a bit about food and how you can increase your performance while still managing to get through the next work-day. We all know about Protein in term’s of its benefits for muscle growth but what about carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates (CHO) primarily supply energy to our bodies and are generally classed into two types, simple carbs (sugary) and complex carbs (starchy). The steady supply of energy we gain from carbs maintain our brain and central nervous system, and so, the glucose gained is very important to our functioning. In terms of our fitness, carbs have an important place also.

During intense exercise training (physical activity) such as Jiu-Jitsu and Football, your body can use up the glycogen stored in liver and muscle as these are primary sources of energy storage for exercise. Once this is used up your body starts using fat stores to produce more energy which is ideal for weight-loss.

The main aim after training is to replenish expended glycogen stores and optimise recovery which should be done within a short time of completing the session (ideally within 2 hours post-training) to avoid fatigue which could result in underperformance if you train regularly. If the stores are not adequately topped up you risk progressively depleting your glycogen stores which can affect other aspects of your life such as poor work performance, aching and soreness, headaches and irritability.

ACSM recommends ~ 1 g/kg body weight in the first two hours after exercise and high GI foods are better at this stage. In the 2-4 hour period post-training it’s recommended to consume close to 50g of carbohydrates from high or low GI foods.

Depending on what training I have planned for the day I’ll have a meal such as white rice, salmon, frozen vegetables and salad leaves. From a meal like this, I’ll get the fast action of the rice and the muscle repair capabilities of fish as well as some fibre from the veg and salad.

Carb up with:

Sweet potato

Dates

Banana

Oats

Wholegrain Rice

Dark leafy green Vegetables

Give yourself the Best!

When it comes to clothes, car’s, houses and holidays we will refuse to be outdone but when it comes to our own health and the health of those under our care we lack the same desire for the best.

This could be due to us not having knowledge of food groups and what constitutes a balanced diet, maybe we just have a desire for unhealthy type foods and need coaching to change for the better; our aim should be to live long regardless and good food is the first stop on that journey.

Balanced nutrition isn’t the only thing that we should consider though. Increasing in exercise on a regular basis (e.g. 40 mins interval walking per day) reduces the chances of Coronary Heart Disease, increases bodily endorphins – the happy brain chemical and can also help burn body fat among a whole host of things.

What will make you give yourself the best?

What will it take before you give your body it’s due right?

Many of us don’t see the importance of maintaining our health until illness strikes us. The foundation should be to eat well because doctors only come in once the illness has hit us, similar to a Policeman coming to a person’s aid after the incident has happened. So I say to you, focus on what you eat, then, how much you eat.

​​The way one thinks about food is an important factor in changing eating behaviour. Many of us will have trigger foods and routines we get into when we feel bad about a situation or our own selves which lead us into a spiral of bad food and negative thought. This can be reduced and better yet stopped with coaching and patience.

So stay tuned to this blog for advice, hints and tips that will help you reach your health and nutrition goals.  Put your health first because you have a trust that you must take care of!

If you have weight issues you’d like to sort out with nutritional advice and a gym plan that works for you then get in touch and well get working. [Email Me Today]

3 foods that aid Weight gain

Foods for Weight Gain

Throughout the media and when in the real world the common thing you’ll notice is a fixation on weight-loss but gaining weight can also be a real issue to be tackled. In this article, we’ll look into weight gain and 5 foods you should consider eating to pack on the pounds. 

Thank you for your time, my name is Hanif of Criterion Fitness and Nutrition. I help men achieve their health and fitness goals. I encourage you to read past articles to gain the knowledge you need to hit your health goals and live a healthy and happy life.

So, we’ve talked previously about weight-loss and the foundation of weight-loss being a calorie deficit, that is to eat fewer calories than you expend. From that, you may have deduced that to gain weight you’ll need to be in a consistent calorie surplus.

Men generally have faster metabolisms than women meaning a man will burn through his calories at a faster rate than a woman. would, generally speaking. This is why it would be important to eat consistently and regularly if your goal is to gain weight. But most men don’t want to just gain any old weight but rather muscle. If you wanted to gain any old weight then you just need to eat junk food as a fast way to pack the pounds on. However, if you want muscle you’ll need to be that bit more restrictive and cautious about what you eat.

Here are 5 foods your next shopping list should include helping you grow and maintain your energy for the rest of the day, and they are:

  • Whole Milk

A refreshing glass of Milk will provide you with protein, calcium and fats, a healthy drink that will help you bulk up and support your muscle growth with the right training in place.

  • Avocado

A healthy fat, Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids that are good for your cardiovascular system. Bulk up with this healthy antioxidant-rich food ina sandwich with salmon. 

  • Sweet Potato

You’ll need a good amount of carbohydrates to power you through your training sessions. The average sweet potato has 40g of carb as well as vitamins and minerals. After a heavy training session, you’ll want a nice meal to replenish your glycogen stores, try a sweet potato with tinned mackerel. 

Not enough? Here are a few more healthy foods to consider eating in-line with your bulking goals.

  • Ground Beef
  • Chicken Breast
  • Salmon
  • Yoghurt
  • Cheese
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Banana
  • Berries
  • Corn
  • Green Peas
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Almonds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Kidney Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Olive oil

As I’ve previously said, it’s important to stay in a calorie surplus over a period of time that will see you increase your weight. Exercise will help you mould the extra weight you gain. If this article has helped you give it a like and leave a comment. Stay strong, live long and healthy.