“Is it really worth it?”. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight and get into shape, then this is something that you’ve most likely asked yourself. In this article, I talk about three ways how transforming your body impacts your life positively. I use Islam and science to show you why you should invest in your body.
Every morning, I reflect on the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon my life. And undoubtedly, the biggest blessing of all is that He has gifted me with Islam.
Alhamdulillah, being a Muslim means that I have been given simple and clear divine instructions through the Quran and the Sunnah to lead an abundant life. I’m not left to my own devices so that I have to figure out what the “true purpose” of life is or how to lead a meaningful life because I already know through the Quran and Sunnah what a good life is and looks like.
On that note, the following hadith is one of my favourite hadiths because it lays down in a succinct manner what my priorities should be and how I can live as Prophet (SAW) said, “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.”– Shu’ab al-Imān 9575, Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani.
Well, what about you? When you think about how you can be successful, do you use these five factors to your benefit? Do your actions show that your biggest priority in this life is to prepare yourself for the Afterlife? And there can be nothing more important than entering the Highest Paradise, right? After all, the Prophet (SAW) said:
“In Paradise, there are a hundred levels, what is between every two levels is like what is between the heavens and the earth. Al Firdaus is the highest level, and from it, the four rivers of Paradise are made to flow forth. So when you ask Allah, ask Him for Al-Firdaus.” -Jami at-Tirmidhi 2531, Sahih (authentic).
If you want to achieve this goal, then you need to work on two things: health and wasting time. That’s why Prophet (SAW) said, “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.” – Sahih al-Bukhari 6412. So, if you really want to maximise your life, then you need to reflect on how you use these two blessings.
How Improving My Health Was a Game Changer
When I was overweight, sick and deprived of energy, I was leading a mediocre life. Though I was constantly trying to improve my life, my overweight body wasn’t very helpful in getting the results I wanted. Most importantly, I had very low-energy to be consistent with anything.
However, things started to change dramatically, when I finally learned to eat healthily. Healthy eating coupled with exercise and deep sleep helped me lose my excess weight. I was also stronger and energised.
And that newly-won energy in my life was a catalyst for a long list of achievements in my life, alhamdulillah! Now as nutrition and exercise coach, I see the same pattern in my clients too.
I’ve helped countless people in more than 30 countries around the world to achieve the best shape of their lives while improving their health and energy levels. Transforming their bodies inevitably transformed many aspects of their lives. Specifically, I’ve noticed three particular characteristics that emerge from my clients when they go through this body transformation:
#1. Increased Energy
This is perhaps the biggest win for most of my clients.
To level up your life so that you can achieve success in this world and the Aakhira, you first need to harness your energy levels.
The truth is, there’s no real way for you to manage your time wisely; you can, however, manage the tasks you complete during a given time. And managing your tasks invariably depends on your energy level. So, if you’re energised throughout the day and if you use this energy to your advantage, you’ll achieve the success that you’ve always dreamt of, bi’idnillah!
That being said, here are five practical tips to maintain an increased energy level throughout the day:
- Improve your khushu (focus) in your prayers. You should also increase the amount of dhikr you do throughout the day.
- Eat nutritious foods at every meal and make sure to include plenty of vegetables, protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. You are what you eat. So there is a lot of truth to this saying, as the food you eat has a humongous impact on your mind and body.
- Exercise intelligently at least 4-5 times a week. By intelligently, I mean really use this time to lift and sweat. And do it in the morning hours!
- Sleep at least 7 hours and include a short-nap during the afternoon. In particular, at 1-3 pm every day.
- Drink plenty of water. Hydration plays an incredibly important role in managing your energy level. So, drink at least eight glasses of water.
#2. Increased Confidence
Because I’m a fitness and nutrition coach, I love seeing my clients succeed in all areas of their life, especially mentally! That’s why I’ve read plenty of books on how to boost self-esteem. There are lots of theories how to do it, but what helped me most in my life was when I achieved the best shape of my life. I went from fat to fit! The experience I gained from my unbelievable body transformation made me believe that I can achieve anything I want in my life if I follow an already trodden and well-founded path, bi’idnillah!
I’ve noticed this pattern repeatedly in my clients too. Just a few days back, one of my clients, who lost around 20 kg of weight following my Lean & Healthy coaching Programme, wrote this to me:
“Also I was invited to speak at an investment forum (….), and I accepted – this is partly down to my new found confidence to get on stage and do this.
Thanks so much Rushdie, May ALLAH Bless everything you do brother. You are doing amazing work for the Muslim Ummah.”
As you probably know, anything worthwhile happens just out of your comfort zone. The boost in your self-confidence helps you to dare to step out outside of your comfort zone and try new things. Or more importantly, tackle your existing challenges in a different way. And that’s the first step towards an abundant life!
#3. Increased Engagement in Personal Development
Many people are passive spectators in their lives. They go to work every day, come home, sleep and repeat this routine for the rest of their lives. While this fixed routine helps them to live a decent life, it doesn’t really entice them to live an abundant one. One that’s rich, vibrant, and full of potential!
However, there are many other people who are very active in what they want in their lives. They aren’t spectators; instead, they make things happen. That’s because they dare to disrupt their routine to make it better and worthwhile. They’re poised to improve their lives, and they plan to make sure their tomorrows are better than their todays. They also work hard to make their todays better than their yesterdays. And yes, this shift in their mentality helps them improve in every area of their lives.
These are the people who constantly develop themselves so that they can be a better parent, spouse, employees, employer and most importantly a better slave of Allah subuhanawuta’la. So, these are the people who have an increased engagement in personal and spiritual development.
Most of my clients report to me how transforming their body helped them to increase their engagement in personal and spiritual development. Some of my clients even reported to me how their behaviour changed towards their children, and how less annoyed or angry they felt when talking to others.
This may sound very strange, but the truth is, when you start to implement a strategic system in order to achieve better health or to lose weight, you also end up transforming other areas of your life, knowingly or unknowingly.
Maximising the Mind-Body Connection and Achieve Your Goals
The first reason that you change other areas of your life is because of the mind-body connection. Your mind and body are interconnected: any positive (or negative) change in your body will be an improvement (or setback) in your mental state. So, as cliché, as it may sound, when you attempt to transform your body, you transform your mind and in that process transform your life forever!
The second reason is linked to this mind-body connection: any positive type of discipline or regiment that you incorporate into your life requires some willpower, a change of mindset, and, of course, positivity. So, when you start working out or eating healthily, you make this connection stronger because you’re working towards a goal.
So, anyone who tells you that your weight loss and fitness goals are superficial hasn’t truly learned or experienced how exercising and eating right can make you mentally fit, resilient, and positive! And yes, these are noble goals to have that you should keep working toward. Remember, great health isn’t a one-stop affair; it’s a lifestyle!