If you are into fitness, you are sure to know Nana Al Haleq who is one of the prominent figures in the Malaysia’s fitness industry. In order to provide Malaysians inspiration on how to pursue a healthy lifestyle, we interviewed Nana and she shared with us how is it like to be her while showing us a few useful tips on fitness.
Hi Nana! Share more about yourself to our readers!
I’m a fitness model and motivator and a brand ambassador with Under Armour, Maxine’s, Be Fit and Australian Strength Performance Athlete.
I majored in Communication and Psychology with a Bachelor of Arts degree at Monash University. After working for a few years, I found my passion in fitness especially motivating others to get active and pursue a healthy lifestyle. I competed in my 1st ever bodybuilding show last year in the WBFF (World Beauty Fitness Fashion) Gold Coast Australia and placed #6. It felt great to represent as the only Asian competing on an international stage. Fitness aside, I’m such a girly girl obsessed with fashion and beauty not to mention unicorns, rainbows and anything magical!
How did you first discover your love for fitness?
Being active comes naturally to me because of my mum! When we were younger, she would play badminton with my siblings and I, and would introduce us to many other sporting activities. In high school I represented Selangor State in track and field events doing the 100m, 200m and 400m dash.
I only really discovered my love for fitness about 5 years ago – and it started mainly because I’m unashamedly vain and wanted to take care of myself to maintain my youth! ??? Understanding fitness is not just about the working out, but really learning more about nutrition, and the physical anatomy to achieve your best health.
What are your favourite types of exercise?
I love weights, yoga, and rock climbing. I’ve tried kickboxing in San Diego once and I love it too.
Share us some tips on how to build a toned body
- Incorporate resistance/strength/weight training into your routine and avoid doing slow paced long cardio. Cardio should be around 30-45min interval.
- Eat enough to fuel your body and pack on lean muscles. Eat small but frequent. Make sure you consume adequate protein, fiber, fats and carbs which your body needs. I would suggest 1500kcal a day for women and 1800kcal a day for men. Kcal intake varies depending on fitness goal, body type, body fat percentage as well as fitness routine.
- Eat based on macronutrients. Eating solely based on kcal only won’t be sufficient and accurate to pack on lean muscles. As a start, I would suggest 40% carbs, 30% proteins, 30% fats in your macro kcal division.
- Eat a lots of greens! Leafy ones! Fiber helps you detox xeno-estrogen in your body and it helps you get leaner faster!
- Drink a lot of water at least 2-3 liters a day.
- Good night’s sleep! At least 8 hours.
Do share with us some of your diet plan
Unfortunately for us women, keeping a lean body really means you have to watch the food intake. Keeping it healthy is the key, but if you really want to go way fit and lean, you gotta count the macros! There are apps to help with this, so it’s not that bad.
Personally, my daily kcal intake ranges from 1600kcal-2200kcal and the macro division changes depending on my current fitness goals. However, in general (when I don’t have any photo shoot or competition to attend) my macro division would be 35% carbs 35% protein, and 30% fats.
My go to protein source is fish! Deep sea barramundi, Kurau fish, red snapper, gold pomfret, and local mackerel is my fav! For veggies, I love spinach, local ulam, kale, broccoli, beetroot, baby fern…actually I love almost all veggies. I’m a rice lover and I would eat up to 300-400g of brown rice a day! Yummms! I hardly eat bread and noodles as it makes me bloat (based on this, I must be gluten intolerant). ?
Except for sports attire, what are your other wardrobe style
When i’m not at the gym, my style is ultra feminine. I love dresses, especially the ones that accentuate my hard earned curves; I tend to wear pants that make my legs look like a supermodel and tops that are comfortable yet stylish. Of course I love my super high heels, but that doesn’t mean I don’t mix it up with flats too.
Except for fitness, what are the other things you enjoy doing?
Travelling Chic is the best way to relax and learn about new cultures. Beach vacations are a huge must-have because I love sun bathing under a big fat umbrella. You can get supplements at any popular medical supplies store
It’s a bit of quirk but I like visiting pharmacies in different cities. I’m always interested to see what kind of products they stock and what supplements or various products they offer (check out EiyoNutrition.com here).
What is a typical day off for you?
Sleeeeeeeeep! I hardly get any weekends off let alone adequate sleep during weekdays. So when I have the chance, I would sleep and just curl my body in my favourite red ol’ blanky named bubu.
You are an inspiration to a lot people; do you have your own all-time inspiration person?
The first person who inspired me to pick up aesthetic fitness is Ana Delia De Iturrondo. I still love her! I also admire Jillian Michaels, Zuzka Light, and Kayla Itsines’ for their success in bringing fitness to everyone.
Fitness influencers and entrepreneurs who preach and know what they are talking about especially when it comes to nutrition, training techniques, explaining the science behind it and whatever related to fitness are all my role models because these individuals are the real deal and game changers of the industry.
The ones who are famous for mostly showing half naked body or wearing barely anything usually won’t capture my attention – I like those who share their knowledge and substance behind their banging bodies!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Still in good health (health is the ultimate wealth), showered with unconditional happiness filled with blessings and positivity, free from heartache and envy. I would have my own successful empire, travel the world to learn more and with the goal of inspiring others to make changes for the better. I’ll still be myself, humble and joyful – and always looking for ways to give back to the community.
Do give our readers some words of motivation in fitness
You are your own motivation. You can’t wait on anyone else to make the changes, it must come from you. If fitness could come easily with bottles, shakes, slimming pills, or simply visits centres, then everyone would have a great body by now. Food changes your physique. Not the amount of exercise you do!
All image credits belong to Nana Al Haleq