Ever wanted to approach someone at the gym and know a bit more about their training, well we at Cairo Gyms have got you covered as Victoria Haig asks that guy at the gym those important questions.
If you’ve ever been to Golds Elite Katameya Heights you probably know Amr. A dedicated athlete with a weight loss success story, this guy is a beast in the gym. Lets hear from him how he became The First Fit Pharoah.
How and when did you start training?
I started working out at age 15, after a long battle with obesity and an unhealthy, starvation based diet that helped me lose 30 or so kilos of fat.
You have an impressive physique but this wasn’t always the case – you lost weight and transformed yourself. What would you say to someone that is overweight and looking to transform themselves?
Well…when I’m approached by someone who is overweight and wants a little advice, I end up talking for hours. So, there’s a lot to say J. The headlines are;“never give up”, “nothing is impossible” and “you truly can achieve anything you commit to” with proper processes, mad persistence and most importantly, boundless passion. Read a lot. Read frequently about nutrition, strength training, cardio, HIIT, cross-fit, supplementation, human anatomy. Listen to people’s advice. Research it before you try it. And don’t be afraid of failures, relapses and binge sessions. They will happen until you find your groove. Get up, brush it off and try something else. You’ll get to understand yourself; define your glitches, your drivers, your boundaries. We’re all very different. What works for me won’t necessarily work for you. And finally; when you’ve found it, that sweet spot where the magic happens – combination of the right nutrition, training, supplementation, and sleep – be prepared to make it permanent. This not only has to be your new lifestyle, you have to like it J Preferably love it. Your health and fitness must become one of the top 5 values in your life. Period.
What mistakes did you make when you started that you would like to help others avoid?
Quick fix diets that are very good at shedding weight quickly, but are rather unsustainable. Whether its Atkins, Ketosis, chemical diets, juicing…if you can’t pull it off for the rest of your life, then it’s pointless.
What or who helps motivate you and create the consistent habits required for success?
Kudos to my wife Rana…who’s a fitness addict like me J She’s one of the fittest women I know; very committed, very dedicated, reads a lot – a lot like me basically. I’ll be damned if my wife’s gonna have a 6 pack and I don’t! Plus, she is one of the best cooks I know – no joke. And everything is calorie counted, macro managed and delicious. Desserts included. Yummy.
Who are your favorite athletes?
Well, I admire a few bodybuilders who maintain amazing physiques year-round, with fabulous proportion and muscle vascularity. In 1st place, I’d definitely say; Tom Coleman. Amazing guy. Then there’s AJ Elisson. At age 41 the guy’s a legend.
What type of training routine do you follow, what is your training frequency and how far ahead do you plan?
I almost exclusively go for strength training and walk to burn off some extra calories. I don’t have a strict workout routine, nor do I plan further than a day ahead. The challenge is always trying to hit the muscle with something new, fast twitch vs slow twitch, different angles and grips, volume vs. concentration – and work on overall muscle balance and symmetry. Laying off frequent injuries also means changing routines on the spot. So, I’ve found it best to sort of wing it.
Do you believe in using supplements? If yes, want are your top picks?
Absolutely, yes. If we seek superhuman strength gains and physiques to match, then we need to optimize all our biological processes towards that goal. I don’t go without CLA, L Carnitine, Glutamine, BCAA, Whey, Arginine, B12, Omega 3 and Collagen. Then depending on whether I’m bulking or shredding; carb supplements like Vitargo or fat burners like SuperHD.
Do you follow some nutrition principles? If yes, what are they?
I log all my food and use an activity tracker – a Fitbit. Principles are quite simple. We are again, all different and react differently to different foods; macro ratios. Find out whether you’re an endomorph, an ectomorph or a mesomorph. That’ll determine your body’s sensitivity to carbs and sugars, which will largely define your macros. Then, depending on your goals, plan a calorie deficit, surplus or target maintenance levels.
It is very important to match your nutrition and training routines with each other, and with your goals. For example; when I wanted to grow my legs, I carb loaded starting the day before, slept well and train heavy the next morning.
Same as with training routines; change things up. Shock your system. Remember, your body’s trying to preserve the state that it’s in…whatever that state is.
Understand your body’s biological processes and use them to your advantage. Fasting cardio leverages off your catabolic state and is great for fat loss. But fasting strength training is on the other hand, counterproductive. Your muscles need glycogen to produce ATP, which means a complex carb source, a couple of hours before training. And they’ll generally need a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein, post-workout for recovery and lean muscle growth. Without these nutrients, your anabolic process hits a wall, and you may very well end up cannibalizing muscle tissue. You are basically catabolic sans food, and there’s nothing you can do to change that! So depending on your goals, work with your body not against it.
And finally, eat clean, eat frequently and don’t abstain from things you like that you “can’t” have. Find alternatives. Also, find out what foods upset your gut and digestive system, what blocks your detoxification pathways. This may in turn negatively affect your energy levels, libido, nutrient absorption, protein synthesis, immune system; the list goes on. These issues likely remain undetected for the entirety of people’s lives, because traditional medicine treats the symptoms and not the root cause. The root cause isn’t ever diagnosed because that level of pathology exists only in functional medicine, where practitioners use state of the art labs to detect hundreds of different kinds of viruses and bacteria that attack the body.
With functional medicine, I’ve discovered what I should and shouldn’t eat, what conditions I’m prone to and what supplementation I should take to work on resolving my issues. This is the evolution of fitness. Fitness 2.0 if you like.
What are your favorite three exercises?
Ooooh…this is a tough one. Like asking me what my favorite ice cream flavor is J I’d have to say bench press, single handed lat pull downs, and posterior deltoid flyes.
What are your favorite three workout tracks?
Ok. So, as I tend to sweat profusely during my workouts, I find that headphones/earphones bother me, distract me from my workout. I have to keep adjusting them, pushing them in or taking them off when my ears heat up (Beats). And, I decided long ago that I wouldn’t have a dependency on music that could affect the quality of my workout. I see guys that forget their headphones and drive back home to get them! That’s sick! I’d like to be able to workout anywhere, anytime, in total silence or complete chaos. Versatility is the name of the game J. However, I do generally prefer good house or trance.
What would be your top three tips for anyone struggling to adopt a healthy lifestyle?
Figure out why you want it. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to be healthy? Why do you want to look good in a bikini? Assess the importance of those answers within your life’s grand plan. Are you prepared to commit to health and fitness as one of the top 5 values of your life? Not as an interim means to an end? Not just for the beach or to impress someone you’re trying to date? Be honest with yourself. If you are, then hallelujah! Set an objective and seek professional help to attain it. If you aren’t, then don’t bother. You must fully embrace it, holistically.
At first, you’ll be dragging your feet to the gym to spend a couple of grueling hours following your trainer’s instructions, panting, sweating, cramping. You’ll no doubt get a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think, “Holy crap. Why am I even trying? Look at me”. But, that’s normal. We thrive on achievement and incentive. And achievement comes only with consistency. Stick to it, don’t give up, don’t let up! When you glance that overweight person in the mirror, tell him/her that you’re gonna kick his/her ass!!
And in a couple of weeks, perhaps even a week, you’ll start seeing changes. Muscle tone that wasn’t there. Your jeans are a bit loose around the waist. Bingo! You’ve hit the jackpot! Incentive. More of that, please, sir! Little baby steps, slow and easy and one day you’ll make that 1st before/after pic…and holy, mama! You’ll think back and try to remember that fat person in the photo…and it’ll seem like a past life.