Fitness coach Asfandyar Ahmed talks to us about his fitness journey, the right way to start working out and the importance of a fitness coach
How and when did your path to fitness begin?
I started working out myself when I was 14. Being a big kid, my coach at Metafitnosis at the time put me on the right path which was the correct combination of training including strength & functional training. I worked with a coach initially and then I eventually started training after getting exposure in the field for 8 years.
Tell us about your gym Metafitnosis and the work you do there.
Metafitnosis was started 16 years ago by my coach who couldnâ€™t continue on because he had other plans. My mother who is the backbone of the business took over and has run it ever since. It is a concept never seen in Pakistan before, which is solely a personal training studio. Every client has a coach assigned to them that watches each and every movement of theirs with the utmost attention and detail.
What are some of the challenges of working in fitness in Pakistan?
To start off with, health and fitness does not get the importance it should get compared to how it is in other parts of the world. Whether it is the accessibility to good equipment or finding variety for nutrition. I would say, 50-70% of both things are imported goods which are heavily taxed and quite difficult for a lot of people to sustain over a long period of time.
What are some tips you can give to people who are starting on their fitness journey?
Most people when starting their fitness journey rush into everything at once. They want to start working out 6 times a week and start a super strict meal plan at once. That might work for some but for most is not sustainable. I would recommend first finding the right facility and coach to start you on the right path and then let yourself and your body ease into the routine. There is absolutely no harm in taking baby steps.
What sort of a diet plan do you recommend?
I am a strong believer in moderation. A lot of people want abs super fast or will starve themselves if they have a wedding or special occasion coming up. That might work for you for the time being only for a limited amount of time but will absolutely destroy your metabolism in the long run. Your diet needs to be a lifestyle. It needs to be something that you can sustain for the rest of your life. Of course it is completely okay to indulge in your favorite foods once a week but on regular days, your meals need to consist of protein, carbohydrates and fats in a balanced amount.
Any advice for the people that cannot find the right motivation?
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of people want to start living a better and fitter lifestyle and they do try to start off with it, but it is all implemented too quickly. Itâ€™s important to focus on training before nutrition. A lot of people would disagree but if we donâ€™t move enough and increase our activity, weâ€™re definitely not going to burn anything off. Whether it is starting to increase your activity at home by using the stairs more or running around and playing with your kids, you should definitely start off slow.
How many days per week do you recommend people workout?
If youâ€™re a beginner, I would recommend starting off 3 days a week for 30-45 minutes but it all depends on the endurance and physical capacity of an individual.
How important is it to have a Fitness Trainer?
People think that they can follow Instagram or YouTube pages and train themselves but that could also be a bit risky and result in severe injury. I think it is very important to hire a coach who knows what theyâ€™re doing so that they guide you through the process and help you achieve what you want. Definitely invest in an experienced and knowledgeable personal trainer, your body will thank you in the years to come.
Who are some of your inspirations/ fitness coaches that you look up to?
Thatâ€™s a tough one but to name a few would be Bret Contreras, Scott Abel, Steve Mac, Dr, Aaron Horschig & Nam Thomas.
What do you have to say to people that give up too quickly because they donâ€™t see results?
Patience is key. I think that would apply for almost everything. When it comes to your body you need to give yourself time. Suppose you put on 10 inches on your waist in a year, it took you a year to put those on so you definitely need to give yourself a similar amount of time to take it off in a healthy way as well. Regimentation & repetition is where the party is at!