Wednesday, January 19, 2011

JUST DO IT! (....I think Nike might be onto something)

So it’s a new year! We’ve all decided that we are going to start working out and start eating healthier. This year is going to be a good one. This summer I will be the leanest, meanest, most ripped I’ve ever been in my life - even more than when I used to be a high school athlete who trained hard every single.  Why? Because I’ve made a RESOLUTION. No more playing games and joking around.

Oh, but wait. First I have to make a training plan. Ehh, but how can I start training if I’m not even eating properly? It’s just going to make my stomach hurt and I’m never going to see results with this horrible diet. So, I also first need to make a nutrition plan. Actually, you know what? I’ll first let one week of classes pass by so I can get used to the new semester.  God knows I don’t want to overdo it all at once; baby steps right? Hmm, I just thought about it, but I have an evening class every day. So, I’ll train in the morning. BUT! There’s no way that I’ll wake up on time, so first I need to get into the habit of sleeping properly. Once I’m used to waking up early, I’ll train right after Fajr. You know, now that I think about it, I can’t workout with this crick in my neck. I’ll wait for that to heal before I start working out, too.

Subhan’Allah it’s February now! And by the mercy of Allah all these conditions have been met. NOW I can start training. So, I was reading online, looking for the best workout plan, and I found about four that are really good. But I can’t pick one because they all have some good things about them. Hmm, I should create my own plan and save myself the headache.

Yes! It’s only March and I’m done creating my own workout plan! Now time to put it to the test! Ahh!!!! I have to study for midterms!!!! Okay, I promise myself that after midterms I’ll start working out every day! Oh no, but I can’t because my cousins are visiting for Spring Break. Well, after they are gone it’ll be all dedication! No social life, just training! Then when they all see me in the summer, I’m going to be a no fat machine!

So Spring Break is over, but I ate too much junk food with my cousins and we stayed up late every night. I need to realign my life first before I dive into this whole workout thing.

Crap! It’s summer time! Everyone is going to know that everything I said about getting ripped was a lie! I have no results to show! But it’s okay. Alhamdulillah, I’m going overseas this summer, so no one will have to see me in my sorry state.

Hmm. Does this sound familiar? ALL OF IT!?!?! If not, then Masha’Allah, you are blessed. But if you are like most people including myself, THINKING about working out is one of our greatest hobbies. We think and think and think. We plan and plan and plan. We do all the research in the world. We spend all the time making sure everything in our lives is perfectly ready to handle the training. We spend so much time reading about and watching videos about the success of others . We are so determined. We are so driven. We are so passionate. We think about it so much that we look into the mirror and without having worked out a single day, we believe we already start seeing results. We start telling others that we feel so much better. That we’ve gotten so much stronger or faster. But in reality, all we’ve done is planned and thought we were training. What we’ve done is made excuses. What we’ve done is cut our own legs from under ourselves.

Here’s the truth:  You are never going to find the perfect workout plan. The average human being does not need a special training plan to see results- movement in itself is enough. If one becomes a pro-athlete, then one needs to start worrying about tailoring your training to make it personalized. But the average person can do any decent training plan and see results IF they actually do it and if they stick with it.

Your lifestyle will never be perfect so stop saying that I’ll wait until my eating habits are good, or until my sleeping habits are good. There will always be something you can improve.

No more, I’ll start slow by first getting used to my course load then I’ll start training. Why? One hour of working out a day is going to destroy your studying? If you have cousins over, one hour of working out is too much time away from them? Okay maybe an hour is too much. You can’t do 20 push ups (on your knees if you have to)? You can’t do 20 burpees? You can’t do 10 minutes of running?  You can’t do a 8 minute Tabata workout? You can’t crank out 10 pull-ups, 20 push ups, and 50 squats?

The problem is not that you need the perfect training plan. Because all there is to know about working out is easy to learn. The problem comes when you decide you haven’t learned enough and so you sacrifice your workout so you can do more “research”. And of course that research will prompt more questions leading to more research and thinking and planning.

For those people who know me well, when asked about training advice, I usually point out the best exercises and the best routines and the best style of training for specific goals. But I intentionally am not giving any training advice now. Why? Because you all already know what to do. You might even know better than I do. Now the only thing left is to do it.

Go! Do it! Right now get out of your chair and do as many push ups as you can. Go! Now! Why are you reading this still if you haven’t done the push ups? Do them! I just finished doing mine. And you know what? It feels good! It’s humbling though. Now I just realized that I cannot do as many as I imagined I could. But at least I did them. Now I have a starting point. Now you have a starting point. Tomorrow let’s beat that number. And then next day beat that number. Very soon, those of us who did 5 push ups will do 40. Those of us who ran a 13-minute mile will run 5- minute miles. Those of us who power cleaned 50 pounds will clean 250 pounds. Insha’Allah

All it takes is the mentality that NOW I’m going to do it. There is no tomorrow! There is no “tired”. There is no too much homework! Too much homework to fit in a 10 minute workout? C’mon please! We spend more time browsing Facebook.

Sure it’s going to be hard in the beginning. But no one said it was going to be easy. Nothing worth having comes easy. What’s easy is eating until you have diabetes---- then it’s all-hard from there. But being able to run when you are 65 is hard. But it’s worth working for.

Start now! Stop making excuses! It’s already the New Year! We all already know WHAT to do. Now we have to do it. We all have a goal in our minds. Now it’s time to achieve that goal. Let’s collectively tell ourselves that we will start. Because once we start, the habit is easy to build. It’s just that the beginning step is the hardest. So why not start now? I don’t care if it’s 3:00am and you are reading this! Do as many push ups as you can! Now!! No push ups? Fine do squats! Now! The point is to get started NOW because there is no tomorrow.

If you’re reading this and haven’t already done push ups or squats, then I’m sorry to tell you that this year is going to be just like the last year for you. And you’re going to stay in your out of shape condition. You are going to continue making resolutions and telling your friends about them. But you will never show them results. In fact you’re simply going to get worse. The gut is going to grow. The spare tires are going to be joined by more. Joint pain will not be too far behind. That is IF you haven’t started yet. So start now!!! The pain is worth it! You know it is. You wouldn’t have made the resolution otherwise!

We all want a secret pill, a secret formula, some special shortcut; but the only secret formula that is battle tested and proven to work is the one we don't want to hear: HARD WORK.

Let’s get off of our lazy glutes and start busting them. A whole new you is a little elbow grease away!

By now I’m expecting you all to have finished 200 push ups……………………… (Sarcasm)

Insha’Allah, make dua’a that our path easy for us to follow so that we may reap the rewards of living healthier lives. And Insha’Allah we use our health to serve Islam and our Lord to the best of our abilities. Allah helps those who help themselves. So let’s get started.  Click here for some motivation.

Enjoy and Asalamu’Alaikum.

Ashkaar Qazi
University of South Florida
Project Downtown Tampa President
Muslim Youth For Truth Contributor


  1. This is AMAZING! jazakaAllah for thoughts exactly subhanAllah...we always tend to get distracted by the small things, when in reality we should be focusing on our ultimate goal. :)

  2. Dude, tough but true...thanks for writing...hopefully I'll get off my butt this year lol

  3. The video in the end rocked! Thanks for the motivation...I'm gonna go out there and take this getting fit thing seriously next time...