• How to Hack Your Metabolism and Burn More Fat

    Metabolism has become a misunderstood catchphrase. While it’s true that your metabolism can impact your weight-loss goals, there’s more to it that needs to be addressed. In this article, you’ll discover the truth about metabolism and how you can hack it to burn more fat!

    If you were to ask people for some of the reasons why they can’t lose weight, some people would say it’s because they have a “slow metabolism.” They’d also tell you that increasing the “speed” of their metabolism would help them burn more calories and lose weight faster.

    But before I address these concerns, you need to know what metabolism is and how you can increase your metabolism so that you can burn more fat.

    What is Metabolism?

    Metabolism refers to the sum total of hundreds of biochemical reactions that are going on in your body. Put in simple terms, this means that metabolism is a collection of these diverse reactions.

    Based on this definition, any of the following scenarios can be referred as metabolic processes:

    • Your body converts food into energy
    • Your body releases hormones to regulate the body
    • You are moving your muscles to strengthen or tone your body

    In short, your metabolism is designed to keep you alive. So, it’s in the best interest of your metabolism to regulate the things that occur inside your body based on external information. Think of it as a thermostat: when it’s cold outside, the temperature rises inside your house and helps keep you warm. And your metabolism functions in a similar way.

    Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

    To hack your metabolism, you’ve got to first understand what your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is.

    RMR refers to the number of calories your body burns during a 24-hour period in order to maintain your vital functions such as breathing, circulating blood, growing and repairing cells. Around 70% of the energy your body expends goes towards this! Yep, keeping us alive is hard work!

    But, it’s important to note that the percentage of RMR can differ from person to person. Some people’s bodies use up more calories to perform these basic metabolic processes compared to other people.

    Here are some factors that impact your metabolic rate:

    Age: If you don’t continue to workout, you’ll lose muscles as you age. As your muscle mass decreases, your body fat percentage increases. This then decreases your metabolic rate.

    Body size and composition: The more lean body mass you have, the higher the metabolic rate. So a muscular, lean person who is 90kg has a higher metabolic rate than a soft 90kg obese person.

    Gender: By default, men have more muscle mass than women. Hence, men have a higher metabolic rate than women.

    Extreme dieting: When you cut down your calories drastically to lose weight, your metabolic rate goes down. From the evolutionary perspective, your body presumes that you are going through a famine and it tries to do the same metabolic activities with fewer calories in order to keep you alive. So cutting calories drastically decreases your metabolic rate.

    Increasing Your Metabolic Efficiency

    Although we just went over the different factors that affect one’s metabolic rate, we see the recurring idea that muscle mass plays an important role in all these factors. The higher muscle mass you have, the higher the metabolic rate.

    So, if you want to burn more body fat by hacking your metabolic rate, then you need to seriously consider building more muscle mass, regardless of your age, gender and body size.

    And here are the three most important things you need to consider if you want to build more muscle mass that you’re lean and healthy:

    1. Eat more protein: Proteins are building blocks of your body. They build and repair your muscle tissues. So, there’s no way you can increase your lean muscle mass without sufficient protein.
    2. Lift weights: Make sure that you lift weights or do body weight exercises at least 3 times a week. Strength training should always be part of your workout routine.
    3. Ditch your chair and move around: Incorporate a lot of daily activities to your routine. Sit less and move more. Try walking up the stairs instead of taking an elevator, going for walk when you’d rather sit and watch a show on Netflix, or playing your kids (if you’re a parent).

    Strengthening Your Body = A Leaner, Healthier Body

    The key takeaway then is that yes, your weight loss goals are impacted by your metabolism. But you have the power to change your metabolism and thereby, change your life.

    If you’d like to discover the strategies that will help you get the body that you’ve always wanted, then sign up for my Online Coaching Program. I’ll not only help you get a fabulous and healthy body, but I’ll also use the Quran and Sunnah, science, and psychology to help you transform your life. It’s not just about your body; it’s about you!

  • Why Health is NOT Wealth

    We often hear that “Health is wealth” without really reflecting on what this means. While money comes and goes, health is something that’s valuable and a lifelong investment. This article will show you how you can improve your health before it’s too late, inshaAllah.

    Like me, you’ve probably heard this statement countless of times in your life: “Health is wealth!”.

    But, I beg to differ.

    • From the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we know that health is the best thing you can have after imaan!
      The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once mounted the pulpit, then wept and said, “Ask Allah for forgiveness and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health.” (Related in Tirmidhi)
    • Health isn’t wealth because it’s much more valuable than anything else you’ll ever possess
    • Wealth can be earned once it’s lost, but you can hardly regain your health once you start to neglect it for long (e.g. cancer, diabetes and heart-related issues, etc.)

    So, are you taking care of your health as you should? Is your health helping you to live a productive life? Is your health helping you to leave a legacy when you leave this world?

    Most importantly your health could be a pillar in answering these questions on the Day of Judgment:

    It was narrated from Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said: The son of Adam will not be dismissed from before his Lord on the Day of Resurrection until he has been questioned about five things:

    1. his life and how he spent it,
    2. his youth and how he used it,
    3. his wealth and how he earned it, and
    4. how he disposed of it, and
    5. how he acted upon what he acquired of knowledge.”

    (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2422; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1969)

    Take a moment to really reflect on this hadith. The way you spend your life, youth, wealth and knowledge are linked to your overall health.

    To give you an example, one of my relatives was very wealthy. But he never cared about his health. He would always say, “we’re all going to die one day, so I’m going to enjoy food and life as long as I live.”

    When he got sick, his family spent all of his money on trying to cure him. However, everything they spent was in vain, and he died without leaving a cent for his family. So much so that his family had to even sell the house for his hospital expenses!

    May Allah (SWT) protect us from such a test. Ameen.

    So, don’t wait for an ideal time in your life to reclaim your health. Now’s the time to take care of your health as you would take care of your imaan. Take care of it, as you would take care of your family.

    If you don’t prioritise your health, you’ll inevitably end up prioritising your sickness. And that’s certainly not a pleasant thing to prioritise, right?

    Invest in your health, before you are required to invest in curing for your sickness. The first one is cheaper and better for you the than the second option. Being sick is costly and preventable.

    Regain Your Health The Right Way

    Well, are you ready to make a move that will change your life forever? Join Lean and Healthy’s 6-month Premium Online Coaching Program. This Program will help you

    • improve your health
    • lose weight
    • live an energetic and productive life
    • learn strategies that will remain with you for life

    And of course, all in the framework of simplicity, Islam, and research! Take advantage of the time you have to reserve your spot before the Program begins, inshaAllah.

  • 5 Scientifically Awesome Ways to Fight Your Winter Lethargy

    Hot chocolate over a book. The landscape covered with snow. These moments remind us of why winter is beautiful. But… gloomy skies and the cold weather can knock out even the most resolute and productive person. If you’re living in the northern hemisphere and are experiencing the typical lethargy that’s associated with this season, you know what I’m talking about. In this article, I discuss five scientifically awesome ways to kiss good-bye to winter lethargy.

    I just love winter. I love going for a walk in the woods while it’s covered by inches of snow. And I also find it easier to devote myself to reading and i’badah since I spend most of my time indoors.  These are also a few reasons why winter is one of my favourite seasons.

    But let’s be real.  Winter has its negative side too. The gloomy sky and cold weather can make it very difficult to be motivated and productive. Although it’s discouraged in the Deen, it’s very easy to find excuses to be lazy during this season.

    That’s why different scholars over time have repeatedly told us to take advantage of this season. Hassan Al-Basri (rahimahullah) used to say: “The best season to a believer is the winter; its nights are long for those who wish to pray and its days are short for those who wish to fast.” (There is a similar hadith, but many scholars differ about its authenticity)

    So, winter is the time for us Muslims to be more productive in our i’badah. The increased productivity in our i’badah will certainly motivate us to achieve more in our Dunya-related pursuits as well.

    To make this winter the most productive one for you, I’ve decided to share the 5 strategies I personally use to combat the winter lethargy. Believe me; they work like wonders, Alhamdulillah!

    #1. Optimise Your Vitamin D Intake

    If you’re living in the northern hemisphere, you know that sunny winter days are rare. And that’s what makes those days special. Have you ever noticed how being out on a sunny day changes your mood?

    This is because your body produces vitamin D when you are exposed to the sun.  Vitamin D is excellent in boosting your mood.

    I highly recommend you get your daily dose of vitamin D either by sunlight exposure or by taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement. Read more about this topic in my previous article.

    #2. Get Indoor Blue Light

    Getting enough blue light exposure is essential for fighting your winter lethargy. Studies have shown that blue light exposure improves alertness, elevates mood and even improves mental performance.

    Now getting this blue light is quite easy. All you need to do is to step outside your home/office and expose yourself to the sun. Sunlight is the primary source of blue lights.

    The fact that the sun is the primary source doesn’t make getting blue light in the winter easy for two reasons:

    1. Most winter days lack sunlight
    2. During the winter, a majority of people spend most of their time indoors

    To fix this and to fight winter lethargy, research shows that replacing your ordinary light bulbs with blue-enriched white light bulbs are a practical solution. Blue-enriched light bulbs are bulbs like LED and Fluorescent light bulbs.

    The participants in this study who were exposed to artificial blue lights demonstrated improvement in the following areas:

    • Increased alertness,
    • Better performance,
    • Positive mood, and
    • Ability to concentrate better.

    If you need a short-cut to get your blue light during the winter, go for this beautiful portable device: Philips goLITE BLU.

    Exposure to this device for 30 minutes first thing in the morning helps combat lethargy.

    #3. Engage in Physical Activities

    Yeah, you read that right. This one doesn’t need any investment smiley.

    Hundreds of research studies clearly show that physical activity improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negativity. Exercise can also improve your self-esteem, attitude and even your cognitive function.

    If you want to fight lethargy, go for a jog or the hit your gym for at least 30 minutes! Nothing beats exercise when it comes to boosting your mood and motivation.

    #4. Eat the Right Food

    You are what you eat! This means, the food you eat has an immense impact on your body and mind. Eat the types of whole foods I’ve described in my free course. Also avoid processed foods as much as possible. These two aspects will boost both your physical and mental health.

    Because it’s cold, it might be tempting to indulge in a warm pizza, a sugar-laden doughnut, and a super creamy coffee on a cold winter day. But the sugar in these foods increases lethargy and can negatively affect your mood (e.g. feeling guilt after eating what you shouldn’t have).

    Sugar, including the high fructose corn syrup in your soda or ketchup, has a harmful impact on your mood and brain functions.

    #5. Refresh Yourself by Going for A Walk

    Go for a walk. Whenever you feel tired and drowsy, just go for a short walk. Even a 10-minute walk in the cold weather can be refreshing.

    Use This Season to Your Advantage

    By following these tips, you can surely combat all the negatives associated with this season, bi’idnillah!