Fitness Advocate & Trainer, Vision Body Malaysia
Growing up in a household that revolved around sports, Ain was passionate about fitness from the start. Her father was a national athlete and a rugby player, and as a little girl, she’d follow him around while he did his training. Her mother was an athlete too (state runner), so she was born and raised to be an athlete. “I didn’t know that I would end up having a career in healthcare and fitness, but I do know that sportsmanship is in my blood. I’ve been a trainer since 2013, but started professionally since 2014,” she said.
As a trainer, Ain loves seeing the positive changes in her clients. “When they see results in themselves, it really makes my day,” she beamed, “They started being so unhealthy and that impacted greatly on their self-esteem. But their dedication and commitment to training and eating healthy really paid off eventually, and that motivates me to keep doing what I’m doing.”
As a Muslim athlete and fitness advocate, Ain mentioned that it was definitely challenging to replenish oneself during training during the fasting month. “But since it has already been a habit and cultural lifestyle for me, my body is used to it by now and it doesn’t bother me at all. You can say that I’ve already adapted to it. I still work out during Ramadan, but not at the same intensity as before.” Since everyone is different, her fitness advice during the fasting month is to just go for maintenance. Otherwise, it’s a perfect opportunity for weight loss. Her advice is to adjust your routine slightly by ensuring that your resting period is slightly longer than usual. She won’t exert herself longer than 45 minutes, and opts for lighter weights. “I go for 50 percent of my usual weights, in fact,” she added. When it comes to clothing, Ain gets a lot questions about finding appropriate and conservative workout attire. “I don’t feel restricted at all. The fitness industry is expanding, and it isn’t all that difficult to find long sleeves and pants. You just need to know where to look and just mix and match to suit your comfort level. As for the tudung, it’s already a lifestyle for me, so I have no complaints.”
At the moment, Ain is in the process of reducing her calorie intake to prepare herself for an upcoming running competition. “I need to be lighter so that I can run a little faster. I try to avoid fried, processed and junk food. Cheat days are limited to every other weekend, and I try to increase my carb intake for added endurance and energy. My go-to snack is sweet potato fries. Just add a dash of paprika, salt, black pepper, herbs of your choice and drizzle on some olive oil. Marinade it overnight, and bake it in a preheated oven at 220°C for 20 minutes. It’s healthy and filling and I like making it in batches. Highly recommended, so do give it a try!” she offered.
If you’re totally new to strength training, Ain suggests starting slow. “Some people expect to see drastic changes overnight, but you need lots of patience. It took me years to get to where I am today. So, small steps. If you feel uncomfortable working out alone, bring your friends! When you start seeing results over time, it can be motivation enough to keep you going. Being thin doesn’t necessarily translate to being healthier. I was bulimic at one point in my life. I binged and purged. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I felt huge even though I was actually really skinny. We need to change the way young girls view themselves. It’s more about how good you feel about yourself. So be true, and be kind to yourself,” she advised.
During times of physical and mental exhaustion, Ain thinks about the people who she has helped in her line of work. It helps keep her going and holds her accountable for the way she portrays herself to others. She experienced a terrible injury in the past. She was a national rower then, and was training continuously for eight hours straight every day under the merciless sun for as far as 32km. “It was so dehydrating and tiring,” she said, “I was also doing a form of strength training. I lost so much weight, and gave my body no time to recover. I started having back pains, and the doctor found that I had a bulging disk. I suffered from shooting pains all along the right side of my body and horrible headaches. I had to get auto-injections along my spine. It took me a whole year to recover – I was devastated. This was around 2014, the lowest point in my life. But the lesson I took away from it was to really understand and know my own body. You need to know when to give your body a break. You only have one body, so cherish it while you can. I was traumatised after that, but I have slowly but surely regained my confidence ever since. I now do what is comfortable for my own body, and have learnt to take pride in my progress, every step of the way.”