Ask Sara Lodhi what is her favourite exercise regimen and she will answer without missing a beat– outdoor running. ‘Hands down, it is my favourite exercise.
‘I find running the most enjoyable as it helps me clear my mind,' says the UAE resident.
To her, breathing fresh air, looking at beautiful views and ‘absorbing life as I run outdoors is the best therapy'.
Excerpts from an interview:
What are the best things about running vis-à-vis your fitness goals?
Running helps me stay fit physically and mentally as well.
When did you start working out regularly?
I have been working out for over three and half years. Working out is a part of my lifestyle now and I feel incomplete on rest days. This is the highest goal of fitness, where it becomes a part of life.
Which is better – working out alone or in a group or with a friend?
To be honest, I enjoy all three. There are days where I want to workout and run on my own; other days I need the company of runners. I have social run days and then my own solo work to make sure I am applying all that I have learnt... putting into practice all the things that I have picked up.
How long have you been practicing your chosen fitness program?
This is my second year of outdoor running.
How many hours do you work out on average a week?
I work out on average about 7-8 hours a week. On most days I workout 1.5 hours. I do try and take one rest day per week.
How do you keep yourself motivated to go exercising everyday?
I must say this has now become a part of my lifestyle. I feel it is essential for not just my physical but mental wellbeing as well. Post exercise, I feel like my best version, a happy person. My cup is full so I can pour into others'. Sometimes I do lack motivation, but on those days I try to be consistent and try not to miss my regular regimen. That said, I believe it is okay and beneficial to take breaks when you need it. Overtraining has negative effects so I listen to my body; if it needs a break I give it a break.
What is your diet on an average day?
I have done my macros diligently and calculated calories to reach my goals. But once I have arrived at my happy place, I eat well as a runner needs fuel. The best part is I can eat it all and burn it all. I try to be mindful and eat clean, but also give in to my cravings and enjoy life.
What 3 tips can you offer people to stick to an exercise plan.
Find an activity that you love and is enjoyable.
Consistency will get you results, a lot of people expect results fast and give up too soon. There is only one magic ingredient and that is consistency. Be patient and consistent, and you will see the results
Keep things simple, do not overcomplicate and do not get lost trying to find quick-fix solutions, and such
programs. Go for changes that are sustainable over long term and that you can incorporate into your lifestyle for a positive change.
What are the major changes you have noticed in your mental and physical well being since taking up running?
I am definitely a happier and more positive person. My cup is full and I can spread the positivity around.
Do you switch exercise plans/sports during the summer?
For July and August this year I moved to indoor running. It was too hot to keep up with outdoor running but still I managed to get long runs in by waking up at 3 am and getting run in before the sun is out.