“I believe every woman is a powerhouse of talent and strength. And I sincerely wish women take their fitness as a priority, as physical fitness has a ripple effect on emotional and mental strength.”
Coming from an army background Zareen has always been inclined towards fitness. Back in her school days she used to be a 100m sprinter and has always been inspired by her parents as they have always been into some or the other activity related to physical health.
Zareen had been an educator for 10 years until she gave birth to her second child by Caesarean section at the age of 37 and realized that she will not be able to do justice to the job of teaching with two kids. This is when she decided to dedicate the next few years to something she is wholeheartedly passionate about. From then on she started getting an organic following on board and ever since has been the first shot of motivation every morning for countless people.
According to her there is no fitness formula to be followed by an individual. In layman’s terms fitness means being a certain weight or once you become thin you become fit. Whereas that is not the case, fitness is wholistic. It is not just having a certain muscle mass, running speed, a certain flexibility or a back bend. A human body can do all three so why not be the best version of what you have been offered? A person can have the best of muscle mass but if he is not flexible enough to even bend to tie his shoelaces he simply can’t be termed fit. This means that doing only cardio, only yoga or only weight lifting is not going to help the lifestyle.
The supermom has been very consistent throughout the years making sure to dedicate an hour five days a week for a workout or a long run; she is very passionate about long distance running too. Being an educator and coming from an army background her lifestyle has been very disciplined and therefore, rising before the sun daily has been one part of her regimen.
The trainer’s message to beginners has always been about starting somewhere and taking one day at a time. It is always a good idea to start with something you enjoy doing; it could be anything. You will automatically figure out what suits you and what doesn’t, with the consistency you maintain over the next 5-6 months. Never do only cardio or only weight lifting. You must choose a combination of everything. For example, an individual can never do yoga every day for one hour all through life.
Zareen clearly debunked the myth that C-sectioned women cannot make a pack of abs or cannot do pull ups. She herself got her pack back in a matter of five months after she had delivered. She follows no fancy diet; ghar ka khana is what she relies on. Advocating real nutritional food and not supplements - when she has had a very long distance run a protein shake is taken - for example, most days the protein powder she has is homemade out of nuts, seeds or soya chunks. A huge take-away from her is to spend thousands on what you take in the form of your diet rather than the products on the counter for skin care or hair care.
A typical lunch or dinner plate for Zareen Siddique looks like 70% of the plate has protein, about 10% of some veggies and then the rest is roti or chawal. “A ‘diet’ in layman’s language again means cutting short on calories. But people do not realize the amount of goodness they are cutting down on a certain food group completely. The diet that one follows may not be beneficial for the other - this is because every individual’s body is different and every diet is scientifically backed. The only goal should be watching what you eat consciously while make every calorie count by nourishing your body and making you leaner. Now you cannot be measuring your calorie intake all the time but you can visually understand it by going by portions. Cheat days are important, you can always order your favorite dessert or a meal from your favorite restaurant but eating the right portions is more important. If you overeat on a cheat day it causes permanent damage to your system.” advises Zareen.
Indian diet should not be bad mouthed. It should instead be redesigned to have better portions of proteins in our meals with sensible addition of high fiber carbs.
“Today vegans are cursing people consuming dairy, vegetarians are cursing people having meat, and so on. Whereas we have no right to label a certain diet of a person “bad"; maybe that works for him/her but makes no difference on you but that clearly does not label it bad.”
“I always say watch that first kilo pile on - be conscious. I have a lot of people saying I don’t know how I have gained 10 kilos over the past six months, what do I do? And my mind always goes to what were you doing when the first kilo came on?” says Zareen.
“Mental health is a byproduct of physical health. Training physically is not only for your cosmetic look, it plays a crucial role in controlling your hormones, gives rational clarity, clarity of thought, etc. Sometimes during your fitness journey you lose confidence which could be because of lack of self-worth. In this case looking at a picture of your best version and a pep talk to yourself on how far you’ve come always helps because you don’t want to lose the hard work you have put in for months in a matter of days. Making short and achievable goals for 2-3 months and developing and adapting to moderation is the key.” are some great pointers by Zareen.
Zareen’s qualifications include:
- NASM Certified Personal Trainer
- Master Trainer Functional Fitness – Functional Training Institute, Australia
- Diet Consultant – (480 hours) Diploma in Dietetics, Health and Nutrition, VLCC
- Sports Nutrition – NASM Certified
- Certified Yoga Teacher – (200 hours) World Peace Yoga School, Rishikesh
- In 2020 she made it to the list of top 400 influencers in the world.
Zareen provides online nutrition and exercise consultancy to clients from across the world.
You can find her by the name ‘FITWITHZAREEN’ on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and You tube.
Sakshi Holkar, is a management student at the Pune University specializing BBA in Hospitality and Facilities Management.
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