On special request of one of my two readers, I thought I’d share a little bit about my routine and how I incorporate gym into my day (considering how extra I’m being with gym these days).

I started working out in October 2015 when I joined Fitness First (a purely impulsive decision). I was as clueless as I was on my first day of high school. People of all shapes and sizes, 40 different kinds of equipment for the same body parts, personal trainers, group classes (where to begin!?). Luckily, I got a free body analysis and two personal trainer sessions with my membership to kick start my fitness journey.

It’s been over 18 months and I think it’s safe to say that adopting a fitness routine is really not that difficult. I mentioned this before and it’s a good time to do it again – good health is 70% diet and 30% exercise.

I’ve already discussed how I trick myself into eating healthy here, which takes care of the 70%. But what about the remaining 30%?

With trial and error, I also came up with a straightforward routine (for gym days), which looks something like this and works very well for me:

5:30 am: Wake up
6:00 am: Off to gym
7:00 am: Warm-up
7:10 am – 8:15 am: Workout
8:15 am – 8:30 am: Stretch and mirror selfies
8:30 am – 9:00 am: Shower change yada yada
9:45 am: At work ready to kick ass 

9 pm: Home
11 pm: Read
Midnight: zzz

It’s not an easy lifestyle. You really need to want to become fit to be able to wake up for 5:30. I honestly don’t know how I do it, but I do. And all I can say is if you just somehow push yourself to do this too, you will reap the benefits all your life.

What I’m missing in my life because of this routine is time to watch shows and update my social media accounts but I don’t think that’s a big loss, is it.

Over the course of 18 months, I also learned a few important lessons about exercising that I thought would be good to share.

Alternate Days Make a Kick Ass Routine

Ideally, you should visit the gym at least 3 times a week on alternate days (I do both days on the weekend). If you don’t already love it by the end of the first week, the amount of money you paid for a membership should give you the remaining push.

Alternate days work best for people who push their limits every visit. You should feel physically tired and sore to deserve the next day off.

Morning workouts > Evening workouts

I like getting the most difficult things in the day out of my way first, which is why I’m a strong advocate of morning workouts. Even though exercising in the morning means waking up before the sun, longer warm-ups and cranky workouts, I think the biggest reason why I’m still exercising is because I’m at the gym before I get the chance to talk myself out of it.

Warmup-Work-Stretch Approach or Don’t Exercise (jk)

Warming up makes your workout infinitely more effective and productive. It prepares your heart for increased physical activity (so there’s no crazy rise and drop in blood pressure) and makes your muscles more flexible for the upcoming task. The best warm up for me is a 6-minute run at 7.5 kmph or a 6-minute cross trainer.

Once you’re a little sweaty, your body is ready for an hour long intensive workout. Not saying the workout will be easier because you warmed up, but it will definitely seem more realistic. From my last 18 months experience I’ve learned that exercising without proper warm-up is a) more difficult for you because your body is stiffer and b) less effective because you’re unable to push your limits enough because (again) your body is stiffer.

Stretching is THE most important part of gym day because it relaxes tense muscles and brings them back to normal position after you’ve pushed them beyond what they’re used to. One of my instructors did not stretch after her workouts when she was younger. Now one of her shoulder rests lower than the other and she can’t do anything about it. Another benefit of stretching is that it reduces the possibilities of muscle injuries and speeds up recovery from soreness. And finally, ending gym on a relaxing note leaves you fresher as opposed to tired and exhausted. So please stretch or be prepared for the doom of your #fitlife

Working out is awesome, seeing results is awesome-r but feeling happy for no reason is awesome-est (wow Siham vocab queen). Exercising does that to you.

I could keep talking about the importance of exercise but what’s most important is that you believe that your body deserves all the care you can give it. It’s the only body you have and if you’re exploiting it for your benefits, it’s your responsibility to make sure it gets everything it needs to keep you going.

Also some random motivation from my sister below. Look at it.

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I’m Siham - a 25-year-old Pakistani, born and raised in the UAE. Currently doing a boring desk job in Dubai - but my passion lies in reading, writing and motivating people.


  1. “It’s not an easy lifestyle.”
    No, it’s not, because I’ve tried it with you and can attest to that :p But you’re totally ready to face the day afterwards!

  2. It may not be easy but it’s definitely addictive. Once you get used to it there’s no other way you would want to live it…probably just want to keep making it better. I won’t say working out is the most important activity of the day…but I know I can’t stop working out any more. I just won’t feel human. Thanks for putting my thoughts into writing and doing it so well! 🤗

    • Siham Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to read this (multiple times hehe). Yes, I agree it’s not the most important but it is important in the sense that it gives us enough push to actually complete everything else that is important!

  3. Hi
    I really loved this post!! I can never get myself to exercise in the morning.plus the few days that I do, I end up eating more. So I just do it at night. Once all the eating is done!!

    • Siham Reply

      Hi Amina! Perhaps you should find a partner to do it with you. I owe a lot of my consistency to my sister who is my fitness partner now.

  4. Wait. You sleep for 5.5 hours a night? Howffff?
    I can’t do morning as i am unable to sleep early (10-11pm) but not getting enough sleep makes working or working out both monumentally undoable.

    5:30am is a dream. Literally. 🙁

    • Siham Reply

      Hahaha no no! I don’t sleep 5.5 hours a night. The days I don’t go to the gym, I sleep full 8 hours. So over the course of the week I do miss a few hours sleep, but that’s a tradeoff I chose to make.

      Sleeping early is difficult yes, but try reading a book instead of using your phone an hour before you want to sleep. Trust me you will sleep without realizing :p

      And 5:30 am is the BEST time to wake up. I can’t remember the last time I complained of not having enough time in a day because I finish the most difficult tasks before anyone even wakes up 🙂

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