Do you have to be good at what you love?

*click* *click*

*ffffsshhhhhhhh* *ffsshhhhhhhh*

*shhhhhhhhhhhh*

Silence……

Those are some of my favourite sounds. ( They’re all in my head, so y0u’ll have to guess what they are or make up sounds of your own)

I was once told that I had to focus on a few things so I be good at them. That may be true. But I don’t have to be great at all of them.

I pull out my camera and take a few amateur shots. I try my best to capture those beautiful moments. I then go out and start video recording. I’m no Alfred Hitchcock but I like it. I try and make things interesting and make story telling fun. I love story telling, it’s one of my favourite things ever. I love hearing great stories so I try and say great ones too so people may love them too. Key word is try! I’m not great at it YET but I love it. It’s makes me happy and I know for a fact that it makes a few happy as well.

I later get home and get on my bike and start riding. I reach a steep road. I start grinding, sweating, peddling inefficiently, start riding while standing just to push through the slightly steep road. And I make it.  Slow but surely made it. I feel like the kind of the road. As I ride back a few cyclists fly through that steep road. That was inspirational but nothing more

zteep

I reach home all tired and sweaty and achy. It was hard to walk . I then cooked a meal.  That’s not what my wife thinks though. She calls it heating. But I really think pasta and boiled potatoes are a form of art. I think its cooking too. So is a peanut butter sandwich. A good one at least.

I take a nap, wake up and then put on my running shoes and go running. I put on my headphones and I focus on the view around me. I finish and look at my time on my Garmin watch and it’s embarrassing to ever share. All the runs shared on social medias are fast!!

But I feel good, I have energy, can get more done and smile more.

Someone then told me, you have a good life. I like it. It then hit me. I’m not competing. I’m living. I’m not that great a runner, not that great a videographer, and not that great a cyclist. Adequate at best. And I love it. I don’t need to great at what I do. All is need is a sense of reward.

To some I’m a master at what I do. To some I’ll always be an amateur.

All that matters is my sense of reward and that I be a shining example at whatever I do.

Now do your crappy little doodles because it makes you happy.

Do your crappy videos and share them

Keep talking selfies that no one likes and share them on Instagram

Run like you’ve just learnt how to walk because Phoebe is awesome ( To some at least )

Let others think to themselves, ” Oh my God, that person is so bad that I’m sure I could do a better job at that, how about I try it.”

And you have become an inspiration.

Congratulations. Now smile while you strum to stairway to heaven while others cry ( cause the tune is just unbearable )

 

 

How to turn exercise into adventure

So the alarm goes off, it’s 5am ( in my case 3:30 ) . The ac is on, you have the covers on and the last thing you want to do is go and exercise. The last thing ever. You’d rather eat something than exercise. You’d actually rather wake up at 5 am  and stuff your face with whatever than getting dressed and going to exercise. It’s too stressful and I understand. I do. The brain doesn’t want you getting out of your bed. It doesn’t even want me getting out of my bed. Put the cover back on and hit the snooze button. 

That scenario I just mentioned is something 1000’s of us go through every single morning. And if it’s an evening workout. After work, and you’re already tired and don’t have the energy, you’d rather spend time with your family and friends or just Netflix and chill in your Pj’s while jumping through app to app until its past midnight, you’re braindead and congratulations you’re now a zombie until you decide to go to bed.

I’ve been through all of those phases. And boy were they something, but I’m now I’m at a very sweet spot and I want to share it with you.  It’s a place of comfort, stress, adventure and life. For now at least, you never know what life throws at you. I’m now also at a place also where I know nothing is permanent and may the odds be ever in your favour. But I’ll enjoy this while am at it. I’ve always had a pretty good relationship with exercise and fitness. I can easily say that I’ve been fitter but not necessarily healthier. I used to push my limits with exercise and was very aggressive and competitive. It was a stressful time. After becoming a father I was always pressed for time and never had the same amount of freedom that I had with sports, that put even more pressure on me. I was angry with myself and kind of let myself go a little bit. I did an ironman 70.3 recently that was a disaster. But I learnt a lot from that. 

I am now very compassionate with my approach to exercise, I listen to my body very closely and try not to push too hard especially if its something my body isn’t familiar with. Any new kind of exercise or new work out regime I try, I do it very lightly until my body gets familiar with how it goes. I try not to get too sore if I ever workout. I’m now happier and I’m less stressful towards working out.

About the adventure part. I now see working out as an adventure and I can’t wait to wake up the next day to get out the door. I now look forward to different things in a workout. It’s not about how I’ll look or how I’ll feel only but it’s something bigger than me. I do it for many reasons but the main ones that help me make the most out of every workout are the following.

  • Community. Waking up to work out just for fun and to see new people is something that helps get me out the door. I really enjoy it now. I used to be a lone wolf when it came to working out and I still can be, but this is something that I realise also helps others get out their door.
  • Nature. As dull as nature in Bahrain can be, there’s always something to appreciate. I appreciate the silence when I step outside at 4-5am in the morning. The traffic lights are all peaceful, a few birds chirping ( just a few ) and the sunrise. I’ll take that any day over a 5k PB.
  • Grateful. I’m grateful for this body I have. Some people don’t have limbs. How lucky are we to have the opportunity to go out for a walk. A Swim. A bicycle ride. We clearly don’t appreciate it enough. I know I don’t. There was a program that I don’t know the name of, it’s a couple of years old; a man in his late 20s (I would say) was now wheelchair bound being barely able to stand on his own with motor neurone disease. He was being interviewed and he said that if he could have a wish – he would wish that he could wake up in the morning and have one more day of the use of his legs so that he could run one more time. He said it with a big smile on his face, it broke my heart. Exercise can really suck…but it’s sucking awesome
  • Community (again ). When I work out, now only do I feel good but I raise my energy levels and that is not good for me, but for my job, my family, my friends and my passions. Because I have more energy I can carry my daughter around a little longer  ( until she runs out of energy, that’s a BIG motivation for me ) , I can back home from work after 12 hours of work  with a little more juice left in me to smile and have a decent conversation with my wife. I can be more focused and effective at my job. I have the energy to fit in passions and hobbies into my day, such as reading, creating videos and writing this post for you. I’m not drained anymore, I slept well, eat well and exercise for fun. Now I can give you this back.
  • Looks and feels . Looking and feeling is all a byproduct of why I work out. Me feeling and looking better is not really helping anybody else if I’m selfish and abusive about my energy and looks. This just happens to be part of the package and I wish I knew this earlier. How I feel and look is not meaningful, if I don’t do anything meaningful with it.
  • Experience. Not many people I know experience the sunrise often, sure they have experienced it sometime in their life, probably by accident. Not many people I know experience the daily silence of a busy city like ours. Not many people experience what we call “Runners high”. I’m all about enriching experiences.

    I don’t have a strict exercise plan anymore. If I want to run, I run. If I want to swim, I swim.If I want to do some yoga, I do it. It’s that simple. Sure I’d like to do some epic super long adventures. The time will come. I trust the timings of my life. I don’t have to force it anymore.

Go now and start your adventure. It doesn’t have to hurt, it doesn’t have to be brutal, it doesn’t even have to start with sweat. It starts with a walk out the door, any kind of shoes and a few steps towards the light.

Remember change is hard in the beginning, messy in the middle but gorgeous at the end.

I hope I stay here till my end of time.

 

 

 

 

 

One of my biggest mistakes I’ve made

I walked in there like I didn’t belong.

I don’t deserve this.

I looked around and realised that this wasn’t my place to stay and nor should had it ever been.

When I was growing up I was always doing things a little different. Just a little. I’d spend more, I’d do want to do more, I’d think more ( more than I should have been thinking, or more than I was expected too ) . But I somehow broke pass the limits.  There are countless times that people doubted me and told me that I cannot do that but I did. One that’s at the top of my head right now is running my first half marathon. My family and friends told me that I’d never do it. They told me 3 hours if I was lucky. I did it in 1:45. That was my PB and I’ve never run a faster half. Funny.

Just recently I was going through a massive financial crisis. A major one. I kept quite about it. I was there for a while. At first it was a huge burden but it then just kind of stayed there and blended into my life. I looked around and figured I wasn’t so bad. It could have been worse.

But with those crisis came other problems as well. It starts causing other issues especially when you have a family to take care of. It wasn’t very pleasant. I also got used to that. I then decided to push through that and work my way out of it.

I’m now in a place that’s even more comfortable. I’m happy to say that I dug myself out of that hole. Dug out quite deep actually and I’m out of it. But I’m not staying here. I’m not settling. I’m not going to lay low. I don’t want to ever feel that comfortable again. Even though before I was miserably comfortable, this time its quite different. Still not staying.

When I was half way out the hole and going places and I never thought I’d be. At least not this soon. I told a friend how I feel scared that something bad may happen, cause things are actually going quite good. And I feel like any minute now it’s all going to go collapse because it shouldn’t be this way.

They told me you were in a rough patch and it happens. This is where you should be, all what I went through was the road to where I am now. I was still scared.

But I’m going to continue paving the way. No one is going to tell me how I should be doing and what is good enough. There is no good enough, there’s always room for improvement. I’m content with what I have but will strive for better.

The biggest mistake I made was I put pre conditions for my happiness and goals.
There are no conditions. There’s always room for more.

No conditions applied anymore.

The real health question you should be asking!

I get questions like where do you get your protein?

How do you get enough calcium on a plant based diet?

What do you eat? Can you even eat anything?

All those questions are good and all ( and frankly quite old and boring ) but there is a more important question that matters more than protein. And that’s FIBER.

Without enough fiber in out diets we are missing out on some  essential benefits that are key to a healthy living.  Here are some facts for you.

  • Brain. Adding 7g daily can cut stroke by 7%
  • Heart. Heart disease risk drops by 9%  for each 7g consumed daily, thanks to fiber’s cholesterol-lowering powers.
  • Waistline. People who simply increased their daily fiber intake to 30g or more lost nearly as much weight as those on a more complicated diet plan that included restricting calories. *Restricting calories has always been a no-no for me.
  • Kidneys. Getting more than 21g of fiber daily stands to lower risk of kidney stones by 22%
  • Lungs. Dietary fiber soothes systemic inflammation and may slash risk of inflammatory diseases like COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways, this is called airflow obstruction.)
  • Gut. Eating more fiber can balance levels of healthy bacteria, helping aid digestion.
  • Blood sugar.  Fiber slows the body’s absorption of glucose, controlling blood sugar spikes and decreasing diabetes risk.

SO all of this good information but what now?!
What foods are high in fiber? Tell me now….

Well for starters the  majority of whole foods are fiber rich and oh so good for you.

Fruits such as dates, raisins, apples, oranges and figs are among the highest fruits in fiber. Then you have vegetables such artichokes, green peas, broccoli, sweet potato, regular potato and carrots.

Then you have legumes, nuts and seeds such as spilt peans, black beans, lima beans, almonds and pecans as great fiber rich foods.

Then you have grains such as brown rice/pasta, barley, oatmeal, whole grain organic cereals etc.

Basically any whole food you eat will have a great amount of fiber, I just wanted to point out a few examples to get you started on a fibrous adventures. As I’m typing this I’m sipping on an avocado, blueberry, cacao smoothie. Fiber in a bottle.

Where do you get your fiber?

fiber 2

How to beat midday fatigue

I write this after experiencing an all time low energy while working. I had to get to the bottom of this.

First, here are a list of the basics.

  1. Sleep 7-9 hours a day.
  2. Exercise daily ( even at low intensity, such as an easy jog ) .
  3. Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
  4. Drink at least 2.5-3 litres of water a day ( if you really can’t stomach water, coconut water will do the trick )
  5. Be enthusiastic about what you do ( Even if you aren’t. Just fake the excitement )

Now these are all the things you have to do everyday to never ever experience midday fatigue. BUT. But life happens and everything is not as ideal as it all should be.

The other day I had only 4 hours of sleep and exercised in the morning. Then for lunch at work I ate rice, lentils, tofu masala and salad. I ate a lot. After that as I was speaking to my students my eyes began to blink really fast. It was very intense. Some students thought that I was winking some code at them. I was falling asleep as I was talking, it was horrible.

Here’s what I should have done:

  • Ate just a little bit of food since I didn’t sleep well ( And most people barley get 5 hours of sleep )
  • Ate raw foods instead such as fruits and vegetables. Anything else is a compromise.
  • Taken a 10 minute nap. A power nap. Even if I don’t actually fall asleep.
  • Worse case scenario ( an unhealthy option ) is to have caffeine. This is a quick fix that is considered debt and you’ll have to pay it back so I almost never consider this option, but just had to put it out there.

Excuse me as I take a 10 min midday power nap.

 

Lessons from a 100 videos and a 100 blog posts

OK I made a video about this ( it’s in the making as we speak ). But I just had to write about it. I’m so psyched that I can’t think of anything else to write.

I recently wrote about me writing a 100 blog posts .  That was around a month ago. And here I am now with a 100 videos as well. I know that I don’t have as many videos as a lot of Youtubers. But that’s why its exciting. I’m a newbie and I’m loving it. ronald_mcdonald

The 100th video I made was the hardest edit I every had to do. It took me around 7-8 hours but I loved every minute of it. I had around 3 hours of footage and didn’t know how to turn it into a video.Eventually with a little brainstorming  I guess I can officially call myself a Youtuber. And that’s pretty cool. A 100 videos and 5,225  views ( As of when I type this ). I’m stoked. I know I said that a lot. But I want to take this opportunity and see if I can get stoked about the rest of my life as well. I want to bring the same kind of enthusiasm into other areas of my life.

Here’s what I bring to my video making and blogging table:

  1. Always trying new thing. I’m afraid of trying new things. New video styling editing, new taboo topics to talk about on the blog. But every time I do it, a breakthrough happens. Now I always try and run towards my fears so they back up a little.
  2. Being consistent .Whenever I do something for long enough and  for a long time while enjoying it, magic happens. So I try and be consistent in what ever I love and that’s good for me.
  3. I get out of my comfort zone. This is basically point 1 with a twist. My 100th video on Youtube I had to get up at 4am, drive to literally the other end of the island and follow some cyclists for 3 hours at 3okm/hour. Worth it but it was very uncomfortable.  I Get out there and do something that makes me ache. Something
  4. I get ideas from everywhere. Anything I see is an idea. Any person I talk to has something to offer. Something, anything. It’s all inspiration. It’s all good.I try and  read, watch and listen more.

Thank you all for taking time out of your precious life to look into mine.

YOU are what keeps me going.

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One of the main problems of religious people in today’s world

An 8 year old kid came up to me and told me that he doesn’t like  a certain person. I asked him “Why ?”  He told me that because she isn’t a muslim and she doesn’t wear appropriately and that he hates her as well.

An 8 year old. 2016. Already racist. Already discriminating.

A little over a year ago I taught at an institute that was pretty conservative. The majority of that institute were low income families who wanted to improve their English language.

A lot of these kids came from a very conservative background. Some of them would speak amongst themselves saying how English is not important because they are muslims and that it  didn’t matter.

And then we had this group of young and ambitious students who accepted all. They were the brightest in the class and had an open mind towards the world. They scored the highest in class and always had a better arguments towards logic.

A lot of “conservative” parents these days, teach their children all about Islam. With what hand to write/eat, what feet goes in a shoe first etc. All of those same kids don’t know the basic of manners such as ” thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me, may I, a smile to strangers, not belittling foreign workers such as the office boy, the janitor and the driver.

Those same kids call a worker “Hindi”. In arabic meaning Indian. That’s one of the most common racist comments almost everyone says here. A story told told to me about someone attending a funeral of one of her friend’s family member. . After reaching the place, she realised it was their place of worship ( A Maatem, not sure what its called in English ).She flipped, and was almost not going to go in.

When she did, she gave everyone looks and looked down at them like she was better than them. I want you to bear in mind that this is the same religion, different sect.

We still have major racial issues to solve ourself amongst each other if even want to partly be accepted or even looked upon as civil by other cultures. If we keep killing and discriminating amongst ourselves how will anyone else even accept us?

Teach your children to love, not to hate. To accept but not to be influenced. To listen but not to be quick to judge. Let’s teach each other while we’re at it.

As Ricky Gervais pointed out: ” There have been nearly 3000 Gods so far but only yours actually exists.The others are silly made up nonsense. But not yours. Yours is real.”

We all mostly believe that our God is the only real God because we were brought up that way only. So if you think that your God is the one and only. Then you my friend are blessed. If you believe with all your heart that your religion makes the most sense and you’re on the right path ( just like I believe that ). Then please be a lighting example to others. Be light when there is darkness, shelter when there’s exposure, acceptance when there is unjust rejection. Be the shining example that people think “MY GOD, am I on the right here”

Let go of judgement, hate, racism and all of those ugly traits.
I don’t know of a religion that acquires any of the above.

I cry when angels deserve to die

She walked in to the office dressed in white. White scarf, wife blouse and a long white skirt. Her smile was like a vibration. The good vibrations.

Her pictures on social media were all very pure. Not beautiful. But pure. Real.

She’d always b the first to donate for a cause. The first to praise you and the last to leave the office. She kept a low profile at work. Her social media was the opposite. I respected that. Work is for work.

One fine day one of our employees had a quarrel with her. I was already on the angels side. I didn’t know what was wrong, but she couldn’t have been wrong. Not with that smile at least, or that outfit that made her look so pure.

I decided to get to know her. I wanted in on the light. Maybe then my life would be better. I started taking fruit breaks with her. She wasn’t found of fruit. She didn’t really eat much. Probably watching her figure. I loved our conversations. They were always so deep. She’d talk to me about her troubles, her likes and dislikes. She had a lot of dislikes. Then I thought how can someone so bright have so much to carry on her shoulder.

I’d feel bad after talking to her. For no particular reason though. As we got to know each other better, she became more comfortable with me. She’d tell me “here you are again” . I didn’t know how to take that really. So I just smiled and sat down with my fruit in my hand.  She lets me in on a secret on how she hates her job and wishes she could get out of it.

She basically did what she wanted at work and she got away with a lot I noticed. She had it good with the supervisor. The smiles, the mini cup cakes she’d bring. The hugs. I was getting in on it. But I didn’t think it was light anymore. She started describing me to me day by day. I was a horrible person. I felt bad.  I didn’t meet her standards. If she wouldn’t approve of me then who would?

I stopped talking to her for a while, I felt bad about myself. She was too good to be my acquaintance.

2 weeks go by and I feel slightly better about myself. I start seeing other colleagues annoyed at her. Then one evening, the employee that had a quarrel with her got fired. Her supervisor said she was inadequate and wasn’t meeting standards. Knowing the employee who got fired. She was relentless and was doing a lot more than “Angel” was.

I passed by her office on my way out and she gave me a smirk. One that had no sign of light but only I could see that. The veil did a good job of covering that though. A month later I was up for review and new employees were coming in. She had moved up in the company. She was an angel of death. He group of friends grew smaller on her social media. I would know.  Two had committed suicide. Two friends from the same circle. That was very odd. At least to me it was.

Leaving work, a month later. I heard someone fall and then silence.

I went running to see what had happened. The Angel was taken away from us.

I shed a tear. Then I smirked.