A trip into my twilight zone

–10:48 PM–

Uncertainty-pyramid

Uncertainty-pyramid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been 3 days since I made my last post which was not a happy one anyways. It’s confusing when what you know about yourself isn’t in alignment with what you feel like. I spent 5 weeks training but my numerical transcription on the scale was disappointing. I’m being taken over by a strong notion of throwing in the towel. The more I thought about it the last few days the more I realized that what I’m up against is way bigger than what I thought.

So many thoughts racing through my head but the long and the short of it is that I was trying to erase the last year with all its disappointment, waste of time and lack of money and get back to the me I used to know. I gave up a good paying job of a call center supervisor to finish up a life-sucking mandatory medical internship year before being licensed as a physician. It was really hard for me to make the sudden move of having a title even if it was in a freaking call center where I got to make decision and manage a team to porting blood  to patients from the in-house blood bank, measuring urinary output, changing dressings to some of the most disgusting wounds I’ve ever seen, vital signs recording and occasional oral and urinary catheterization whenever instructed to do so. Didn’t quite feel like a doctor nor a nurse, I was sort of doing middleman dirty work. You add a few elements to the picture, like lack of proper training from superiors partly because the crazy flow and partly because they simply don’t have to for it’s not something they’re rated upon not to mention the impatience of patients and sometimes lack of proper respect too. It was never easy for me keeping my cool when a few times I was called names because unhappy patients  had to take it on someone and that somebody happened to me for the sheer reason that I happened to be there at that particular instant. Dealing with superiors wasn’t all daisies too, I had to put up with endless duties, lack of proper doctor-to-doctor relation and sometimes insecurities too from people who are so happy they finished up their doomed internship year and are happy to make it up for themselves by making the life of other interns pure torture. Many times it was easy to get caught up in all this crap and forget about the bigger picture of becoming a physician, of course a monthly allowance from the hospital of 40$ helped add to the aggravation because now I was paying from my hard-earned savings that I kept aside from my previous job which is almost gone entirely now.

Despite that I finished the year 2 months ago I’m still tied to the place because I still need a few signatures before I’m finally set free but then again I won’t be free because I then have to apply for my mandatory military service.

You see I really don’t mind all this, I did what I had to do, I even made a few friendships that mattered to me, I didn’t really mind the steep downhill change in lifestyle that had to come with the package. What I’m not happy about is that this whole thing made subtle changes in me that accumulated over the days that slowly but steadily  made the me I knew remote from who I’m today. I find myself always exhausted, short-tempered, not welling to get into discussion even if it was to find a personal point of view. But it’s all so subtle that only me or the people who know me best would be able to identify for on the outside I’m still a talkative person who keeps a smile.

It kills me to admit it but it’s the truth and it became clear to me as daylight in the last couple of days. The strong urge to throw in the towel, the feeling that whatever I do, there will come another obligation or responsibility that would make all the hard work, sweat and willpower I invest into my body go down the drain just like what happened this past year, the feeling that despite I’m a free law-abiding citizen but many of the things I have to do to get by are purposeless, time-wasting things from my perspective.

I remember all the things I wanted to be as a kid, I remember all the lessons my parents gave me about honest hard work and I remember I lived by those lessons but I still haven’t found any materialization for what I believed in!

I don’t want to sound ungrateful and I apologize if I do, truth is God has been gracious to me all the way. He blessed me with a caring family, smarts and a capable body and that’s just the least of what God has granted me plus He’s always been patient with me when I sinned and when I still do. Ironically enough sometimes I feel like this is one of the reasons I’m not a regular prayer, I don’t have a face when it comes to talking to Him.

When all this hit me like broad day light I realized, or like to think that I did, that what I sat out for is way bigger than shift deleting what has been done in the last year, it’s bigger  than getting fit, losing fat or even quitting cigarettes it truly is a journey into self-realization, living by my own standards, bettering myself for me and the people around and above all finding a true meaning to what it feels like being God’s greatest creation on earth.

It’s quite intimidating for me when I put it that way, but this is how I see things now. And it’s even more intimidating when my logic tells me over and over again that no uphill swing to my life will happen any soon and that I should be grateful that no tragic life incidents happened to me. It’s true and I’m grateful but the power I’m able to generate from such feeling just isn’t enough to awaken the giant within me.

I always give up to the saying that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. I believe in it and I have always embraced it but  sometimes you truly realize that saying things is something and doing them is a total different story.

I’m not in the best shape of my life, not physically nor physiologically. I’m trying to get myself out of this hole and I pay in sweat but then again I find myself out of fuel when I need it the most.

American-Beauty-–-Lester-Burnham. Photo credit: bleed-art.com

Truth is if there is anything I am grateful for the most, it’s that I decided to start this blog and put what I think and feel into words. It’s like a good seed that I planted and would really love to see grow and prosper. Many times I’m freaked out from the fact that I’m sharing  this with the world. I feel naked and wonder what if I’m not good enough not just for you but actually for me?! But I always calm myself knowing that fear was always associated with anything worth having or doing. It’s just life! And after all “I’m just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose”, quoting Lester from American Beauty movie.

I’m gonna keep going on just as long as the sun keeps shining bringing in a new day, I’ll be making some modifications to what I do and the way I post to this blog which I’ll be letting you in the know of once I accurately identify them by writing on a piece of paper but for now I think I’m comfortable enough into letting you know that Springnation isn’t just about some inspiring, number determined physical transformation story. It’s my life in words and it happens as I make it!

Peace.

Ahmed Seif

Closing of week V

–3:10AM–

Great day to you’ll.

I’m still struggling keeping up with daily posts. Hopefully this will be over after Ramadan when I finally get back to my normal routine. Having said that, this is a backlog post about yesterday. I skipped day 6 because I took it as passive rest and it was much-needed.

So what makes today special is that once again I managed to make a new personal record following Zuzana’s ZWOW #25. Today I managed to go through the whole chore in 16 minutes and 10 seconds! I am thrilled about it. I can feel that I’m getting stronger. My form is way much more better. I’m not the sweaty kind of person but man oh man my sweat glands go crazy after this kind of workout. I took a picture with my phone right after. Upon looking at it I laughed my ass off, reminded me of George Costanza from Seinfeld. For George it was the spicy chicken for me it’s working out with Zuzana 🙂

Still curious how I looked like? OK here it is;

I’m just trying to comprehend what I did to myself after following Zuzka Light’s ZWOW #25!

My nutrition was ok, no sugary stuff which is what matters the most along with lots of veggies. Of course I’m anxious as always when it comes to the last day of the week and I guess you know why; measurement day is coming up next!

me and witness my physical transformation as I make it!

 

 

 

Day 5 week V

–2:33 AM–

Great day to you all,

If I were to pick a name for today I think I would go for suicidal day because for me it truly was. It was one of the best days when it came to nutrition.  I got to evenly space my meals with 3 hrs windows in between.

I made a mango smoothie too! was totally delicious. I love it when I try to get creative and yes this was quite creative for someone who struggles to flip an omelet on a frying pan!

Back to being suicidal I went through my 20 minutes Pilates abs right before Iftar. Midnight I was jumping and squatting with Zuzana’s ZWOW #25 and I managed to break my previous time at a clean 18 minutes and a half! I deserve a pat on the back 🙂

I was sweating like crazy. I am beginning to like it when my eyes hurt from the sweat! I know that at this point I’m melting the fat like a boss!

Took a shower and didn’t feel sleepy so I hop on my bike for 18 km outdoors. I was terrified because I got chased by a stray dog the other time but I decided going out was better than sitting on my butt. I just prayed for God I’d get back home in one piece and I did 🙂

Outdoor bike ride tracked by Runtastic iPhone app

So yeah it was quite the day for me. Only two days to go before measurement day and I’m anticipating already! Time just flies by! I still remember my first bike ride after I decided that I would make a transformation when I was on vacation few weeks ago! Feels like yesterday!

me and witness my transformation as I make it!

Peace.

Ahmed Seif

Day 4 Week V

–4:27 AM–

Great day to you’ll.

I once read that a rule of thumb one must always remember is to “Do something everyday that you don’t want to do”. I know it’s not the most uplifting thing you might read about but bear with me and really look into it. Truth is the things that really matter and which we know for certain that they will ensure a better tomorrow for us, God willing, are mostly the things we tend to procrastinate, why? Well instant gratification always sounds more appealing don’t you think?

Well today I did something that I didn’t want to do! I decided not only to follow my ritual of Pilates-based abs right before Iftar, the first meal of a Ramadan fasting day, but I threw in a 30 minutes outdoor run right before Iftar. And it was a total monster. I was literally gasping for air and I was thirsty like crazy but luckily it was only 5 minutes until Maghreb prayer was called for declaring the break of a day’s lent.

As I went home I incidentally looked at the mirror in my room before I change and look what I noticed;

Sweaty Tee all over me except for a middle dry heart-shaped part 🙂

I couldn’t have intended to distribute sweat in such way if I wanted to! I actually laughed out loud about it, I guess I was high on endorphins right after such amazing workout 🙂

Anyways took a shower and enjoyed my Iftar with my parents and the rest of the family. I also attended a religious preach after Eisha prayer. I was never a regular on such settings and I don’t think I’ll ever be but I find it of profound significance to recharge your spirituality every once in a while specially in the Holy month of Ramadan.

That pretty much was my day. I enjoyed every bit of bit apart of the flat tire I had as I was getting ready to go home which was like the cherry that against all odds didn’t add up for a great day :l

me and witness my physical transformation as I make it!

Peace.

Ahmed Seif

Day 3 Week V

–3:47 AM–

Great day to you’ll.

I’m finding difficulty trying to fit everything I need to do in 24 hrs but this is always how I feel when I am energized and ready to rock and roll. I feel better now that I have been able to continue posting almost on daily basis about my fitness activities, diet and my reflections on the whole thing. Truth of a matter I knew I would pour everything I have into this but I’m extra thrilled whenever I’m sharing what I have done with you. It always draws a smile on my face whenever I think that my words might just have the power to get someone out there off their butts and do something about whatever they’re not happy about and it draws even a bigger smile when I visualize myself reading this 20 years from now 🙂

I have absolutely no clue where I’d be, what would I do who I’d be with but I know this much; those posts are not just a journal for me, it’s my personality, what I stand for and my passion articulated into words as accurately as I could come up with in the little time I spend updating my Springnation; my virtual home of positivity!

Right so the 3rd day was an active rest day for me. Didn’t go to the gym, no Zuzana’smonkey business at home, I just enjoyed a couple of tug of war rounds against my cousins and brother along with the handkerchief game. By the time we were done, we were literally dripping sweat which wasn’t helped by the high humidity in the air!

Chin ups. Photo credit: http://2.bp.blogspot.com

 

I didn’t stop there but then you know me better! I hanged onto a bar and decided to seal the deal with a couple of sets of chin ups. You might think that I love doing chin ups on the contrary; chin ups is among the exercises I hate the most and that’s what makes it so effective 🙂 I’m kidding! The truth is chin ups are the squats of upper body and if you’re following my blog then you’d know that I consider squats to be king of all exercises!

 

That’s pretty much it for the 3rd day. My nutrition is as good as it could be in Ramadan apart from the fact that I ate two mangoes. I need to go easy on mangoes but then again who doesn’t like’em 🙂

my blog and witness my physical transformation as I make it!

Peace.

Ahmed Seif

Day 2 Week V

–5:18 PM–

Great day to you’ll.

August the 9th is my birthday. 28 years ago at seven PM I was delivered into this world. My day started out with a smile when I saw this;

It was outstanding to see the thing I wanted to do long time ago is starting to materialize. I knew I wanted to write long time ago I even wrote in several forums before deciding that I wanted to initiate a blog. I was very active on Facebook but then ended up that it could be not very productive specially for an Egyptian considering that most of the posts are about political stuff mostly sarcastic.

I wouldn’t say that it really mattered but I wasn’t very happy that my birthday hasn’t been remembered by many. I wouldn’t say that I’m alone but I am a loner partly because of being in medical profession where sedentary life prevails but also because I’d rather hold on to a few people I could trust than being open to meaningless relations which is quite a trend those days with the fast paced life and all.

I was planning to take the day off but I woke up half an hour before Iftar and decided it would be great to go through my Pilates abs ritual. I ended up doing 20 star jumps as a bonus for my birthday 🙂

In the evening I followed Zuzana Light in her ZWOW #25. My time is way better than last time at 21 minutes. She did it in 13 minutes so I know I still have a long way to go.

Here is how I looked like right after;

Me covered in “Pearls of Resilience” aka sweat right after a vigorous workout!

At the age of 28 someone lie Arnold Schwarzenegger was defending his Mr Olympia title for a fifth time as far as I could remember while I’m still trying to get back to fit me. Not that I’m trying to compare my life to Arnie’s life which is miraculous from where I’m but what I’m trying to state is that I have made my choices and God knows I have my mistakes too but in the midst of it all I’m still finding a way to put a smile on my face and way of doing it is pursuing a dream I have and taking a leap of faith.

Well that’s pretty much it for today. My nutrition is in check, I ate a whole lot of fruits mostly cherries and blackberries. I love ’em 🙂

me and witness my transformation as I make it!

Peace.

Ahmed Seif

Day 1 Week V

–3:16 AM–

Great day to you’ll.

Feeling good after week IV measurement milestone. Despite the 0.3 kg increase in weight but my waist has trimmed down by full 3 cm. I’m feeling healthier and best of all, I haven’t smoked a single cigarette in 2 weeks or so. I don’t count the days! It’s a trap that some people fall into expecting something to magically happen after a certain period of time which is nothing but bull$hit so to speak!

I have gone through my Pilates abs ritual right before Iftar. I stick to the same routine and work on improving form and minimizing time. I still fall short of where I want to be but I’m just happy being able to pour my heart into my workout.

Midnight cardio is trending to become a personal favorite. On one side it helps me combat nicotine craving by taking my mind off it and reminding me that I could have better, cleaner use for my lungs than puffing filthy toxins away! on the other side it’s the best time to fit cardio right before El Fajr prayer declaring the start of new day’s lent.

I have done the usual 18 km but I got chased by a stray dog. It was scary, it really was but right after I worked my way ahead of him I was thrilled at the new-found power adrenaline could give you. It was like I was an Olympian all of a sudden!

GPS tracked midnight bike cruise

GPS tracked cycling using Runtastic iPhone app

Speaking of Olympics I was truly touched when I watched the 20-year-old Saudi Sarah Attar competing in the 800m women race. Despite finishing last and literally trailing the rest of seven contestants but it literally was “The last place that meant more than a medal”!

I felt honored seeing an Arab woman taking on the world with arms wide open while sticking to her virtues represented in the head cover she wore as she ran.

Don’t be tempted to think that Islam is represented only in head covers on total contrary the head cover is no more than a symbol but it was definitely a beautiful one!

Sarah Attar honored KSA & Arab women with her Olympics participation

I loved what the US runner Alice Schmidt said about her,”She carried the weight of Saudi Arabia’s women on her shoulders.” I don’t think it was a burden but rather a message and an inspiring one too!

Well that’s pretty much for today. me and witness my transformation as I make it!

Peace.

Ahmed Seif