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TOP Fitness



Hello TOP ladies

I hope you are all excited to take part in your first challenge together?

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I am really happy to support you all the way and have created this blog site for you to pop by and seek information, ask questions and share advice. Please feel free to respond to each other too.

I will post up some good links for training. I am especially keen to support the total beginners and I know together we can all encourage each other. Its really daunting doing something new, especially when we form (false) beliefs about what we are capable of. The most beneficial lesson of the 5K in my humble opinion is not so much physical as mental – it just smashes our self-perceptions, our self-imposed limitations and opens our world up to so many possibilites.

Anyways, there is plenty of time. But for those who are total beginners or not regular runners/walkers, 19 weeks will go by quickly. Its winter training so inevitably some days will be missed due to adverse weather, illness and the usual factors too…so its actually a good time to sit down and think about your plan…and just get started

You could frame the training you are doing now as not just physical but mental. Its the mental block that prevents you going out and doing the thing!! After all we ALL know what we should be doing, need to do, want to do…but what stops us?

Well…usually it’s just habit. The mind and body likes to stay in the comfort of the predictable. So the first couple of weeks…as we have ample time…can be devoted to just getting a good routine/habit sorted.

First things first…what am I going to wear!!! There a link at the bottom for that too. But its important …being comfortable makes the experience less stressful. Check your footwear too. If you are new to running/exercise, then go for a good, supportive running trainer. Talking of support….get yourself a good bra…FREYA, SHOCK ABSORBER, etc…lots of available brands…Bravisimmo is good for the well-endowed. This is important ladies…we all go south eventually, why accelarate the process!

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Which days could work for you?

Times? Are you a morning person? Experience has shown that the most successful strategies to keep a sustainable fitness regime is to exercise in the morning. As the day drags on the reasons not to can pile up and its easier to bail out. Obviously we are all different and have different work/life structures so do what works.

Route? Time to find the route you want…round the block…in the park? Make it the easiest most convienient for you. We are trying to lower the hurdles in our (mental) way so that our excuses are just not valid!

Start easy. THIS IS HUGELY IMPORTANT FOR BEGINNERS. The biggest and most common mistake is doing to much to soon. This is just a symptom of the society we live in: the pressure to perform/impress/ push yourself is high in your own mind and there is an absolute lack of understanding and value in just plain movement …even slow, low intensity. If you do not already walk daily in a purposeful way for at least 30 minutes and if you have a job/car/dining table/computer then  you probably sit a lot ..and that means your hips are most likely not ready to start running without some prep work. Your glutes are probably weak or not firing correctly (even regular runners have weak glutes if they dont take care).

So start walking. With awareness…face forward,tall spine, good posture, good back arm swing, long stride, open ankle, heel-toe action, relaxed belly…good breath awareness. Its a beautiful movement. This is your prep work! And will save you from risk of injuries and pain. Doing little and more often is a much better strategy for beginners.

WRT strengthening up muscles and joints, try and incorporate that twice a week…you can add it onto your jog/run/walk or go to a class or do it at home with you tube .

There are a lot of C25K plans to point you to….do your research and choose what fits with your lifestyle and what feels good for you. DO NOT FEEL COMPELLED to follow the plan prescriptively. It is just a guide. You are the expert on your body and mind so adjust as necessary. However, without a doubt the safest and most effective way to train is the walk/run method- basically interval training.

There is a vast amount of info out there so use it. Ask advice from trainers at your gym, friends who are fitties, you tube videos etc…but remember…you are unique…adjust to fit your body!!

Here are some good links to get you going :  (a good 12 week plan,4 days a week, includes a lot of walking too, which I rate) (9 week plan) (famous NHS plan) (couch to 10k 12 weekplan) (beginner and improver plans)


I really like these guys…The Run Experience…very clear and easy to get!

Think about your breathing mechanics..belly breaths, nose breathing, steps to breath ratio…this is a good video…this is often the most neglected and yet so crucial: ( Interesting article about challenges of finding suitable hijabs/clothes etc)


Many websites will advise and encourage high starch dietswhen training . Honestly, there is really no need to up the starch levels at a 5k/10k. Just unprocess your diet and focus on nutritional quality of food. You dont need to go low carb, but try and get most of your carbs from your vegetables,nuts, seeds, your dairy, your salads instead of refined starches. Even starchy veg are better than refined starch. I dont believe that everyone needs to go very low carb but we all do need to look carefully at the amount we eat.

I would advise this

  • Focus on Proteins first. Every meal should be based on a protein. Animal sources are more nutritious and bioavailable than plant. Try and have a protein based meal within 45mins of your training. Thats meat,eggs,fish.
  • Fibre: That is, VEGGIES! Whole food fibre. Cauli, Brocolli,Green beans, Green leaves, sprouts, carrots, bhindi,avocado,berries,nuts, chickpeas,kidney beans ,lentils, salads…
  • Starch should be your smallest portion of the plate ..rice/potato/bread/pasta etc
  • Do not touch seed oils. COOK WITH HEALTHY NATURAL FATS.
  • Avoid excessive snacking. When starting to exercise, its common to over-eat as it stimulates appetite and we also have a delusional idea that we “deserve that extra tiny biscuit” or we can “run it off”.Just eat 2 or 3 good meals a day if possible. Couple pieces of fruit a day are usually fine.
  • Do not restrict salt in this nutritious whole food diet. Salt restriction is one of the most bonkers medical advice ever. Salt your home-cooked food to taste. Your body will tell you when there is too much!
  • Avoid sugar.

Just focus on a whole food, low ultra-processed food diet. Protein bars, energy bombs and nonsense like that are just highly processed chemical crap. High energy drinks are not necessary. Drink water with a little pinch of salt…lemon too if you fancy.

Please leave a comment to start a conversation :)

5 Responses so far.

  1. afsha malik says:

    Name: Natalie
    Comment: I’ll just kick this convo off by saying WOW this is so useful! Thank you thank you thank you!

  2. afsha malik says:

    Name: Hana

    Comment: This looks great! I would really recommend people doing couch – 5k from the nhs, I never ran before and now I am doing 5k three times a week… if you follow the programme it gives you tips on running and also how to build up slowly-

    as Afsha says in her blog it’s the mental block sometimes to overcome… think about what you value that is making you take this action, commit to it in manageable steps, and bring that value to mind when it feels too hard to do x some tips form acceptance and commitment therapy that I find helpful

  3. afsha malik says:

    Name: Huda
    Comment: Great blog, full useful info !
    Definitely recommend excerise in the morning, great way to start the day, feeling energised!

  4. afsha malik says:

    Comment: Fantastic Blog Afsha.When I first started wearing hijab i was worried how I’d manage to keep running with what to wear.I would recommend the Under Armour half ziptach tops…long high necksand super thin. And something like this if you cover your hair, again super thin and comfy:

  5. afsha malik says:

    Name: Fozia
    Comment: …..