Food & Nutrition

How Operating Modified Me – Sharif Aboelnaga

Title: Sharif Aboelnaga
Age: 48
Hometown: Belleville, New Jersey
Occupation: Gross sales Supervisor

Begin Weight: 187 kilos
Finish Weight: 153 kilos
Time Operating: I’ve been operating persistently since January 2016 (5 years and eight months), though I’ve run sporadically on and off for years earlier than that.


I grew up loving sports activities—I wrestled, performed baseball, and performed soccer via highschool. I stayed energetic in faculty, however after graduating and beginning a job, I slowly started gaining weight. I spent the primary 6.5 years of my profession working within the subject on oil rigs, so I stayed considerably energetic. However as soon as I left the sphere for an office-based job, that modified. I additionally started smoking, which didn’t assist both.

I nonetheless ran the occasional 5K, and even ran a half marathon with my highschool pals. My work had taken me everywhere in the world, from Philadelphia—the place I went to school—to Louisiana, Colombia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Wyoming, Oklahoma—the place I met my spouse Heidi after a 5K race in 2011—Texas, and now the United Arab Emirates.

Heidi was not happy that I smoked—as a naturopathic physician, she knew the significance of dwelling a wholesome, balanced life. She satisfied me to get off the “Chevron Weight loss program,” as she referred to as it (gasoline station sandwiches, chips, and soda for lunch and dinner), and I started making a lot more healthy consuming selections. I had stop smoking, was consuming higher, and had reduce out all soda by the point we married in September 2013, however my weight had nonetheless hit its highest of 190 kilos. After shifting to Houston in late 2014, we had been blessed to have a stupendous daughter, Isabel, 9 months later.

However after an annual bodily in January 2016, I nonetheless acquired my regular dangerous outcomes: I used to be chubby by greater than 30 kilos, my ldl cholesterol was excessive, and I wanted to be in a lot better form. On the time, my daughter was about 6 months outdated, and I noticed I wanted to do one thing about my well being. I wished to develop outdated with Heidi and hang around with Isabel and see her develop and develop. I used to be 42 years outdated on the time, and I wished to ensure I’d be round when she was older. I knew I needed to make a change.

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Operating persistently was a New 12 months’s decision. For 10 years, I had advised myself I wanted to run extra persistently, however by no means actually managed to do it. This time, I used to be extra decided to remain dedicated to operating past three months into the brand new yr—so I actually started operating in January 2016. I had run beforehand, and I favored the simplicity of it, since all I wanted was a pair of sneakers. Once I first began operating, my lungs would burn, however I may really feel the progress as I stayed constant.

I started operating 5 or 6 days per week again then, and I had a couple of easy objectives: lose some weight and get my ldl cholesterol down. I started operating about 4 miles a day, then slowly constructed as much as 5 miles, after which to 6 miles. I had a Garmin watch, so I used Garmin Join to observe my development. I additionally used MyFitnessPal to observe my weight, and I used AllRecipes for wholesome meals planning.

As I used to be gaining traction, I made a decision on yet another aim: I had finished a couple of half marathons, however nothing longer. I had toyed with the thought earlier than, however I lastly determined I ought to attempt the marathon distance. So, if I used to be going to do a marathon, what higher race to run than New York Metropolis? I educated for and ran the marathon, and I used to be instantly hooked on the gap.

I run religiously six days per week. I do my long term of 14 to 24 miles on my first working day of the week (Monday within the U.S., however Sunday in Abu Dhabi the place I now stay), which knocks out the toughest run of the week first. I then do a couple of straightforward runs and some exercises to spherical out my operating week, that are often about 9 to 10 miles per day. I additionally persistently do a body weight resistance routine 4 days per week to maintain me wholesome and keep my power.

Since my first marathon in November 2016 the place I ran a time of 4:22, I’ve run instances of three:20 (January 2018), 3:16 (January 2019), 3:25 (April 2019), 3:08 (January 2020), 2:59 (January 2021), and I simply accomplished the 2021 Boston Marathon in 3:11 (October 2021). I’ve additionally dipped my toes into the world of ultramarathons, and ran my first 50K in November 2020.


Sharif’s Should-Have Operating Gear

ActInput Knee-Excessive Compression Socks: You received’t see me out operating with out them.

Hoka Clifton 7 Operating Footwear: I really like the cushioning of Hokas, and the Clifton 7’s actually work for me.

Brooks Sherpa Operating Shorts: They’re tremendous light-weight, and so they don’t chafe. I’ve about eight pairs of operating shorts, however these are my favourite—I at all times attempt new shorts however return to those.


These three suggestions helped make my operating journey a hit.

1. Make the time to run

Everyone seems to be at all times busy, and there are at all times excuses with work, household, youngsters, and so on. Once I first began my journey, I used to run at lunch at work, however discovered my deliberate runs had been at all times getting ruined as a result of a gathering went lengthy or different duties would come up. After a month or so, I started operating early within the morning in order that I may get my operating finished and nonetheless have time for my work and household. For me, it means getting up between 3:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. (typically at 2:30 a.m. for my actually lengthy runs or early conferences), nevertheless it works. I can depend on one hand the variety of instances I’ve missed a run in the previous couple of years.

2. Keep constant

I run six days per week like clockwork. My exercises don’t change a lot, however I’m nonetheless seeing nice leads to my operating efficiency. I’m struggling a bit operating in 90°F warmth and 80-percent humidity at 4 a.m. in Abu Dhabi, however I’m hoping it pays off for future races.

3. Prep, prep, prep

On the finish of the weekend, I prep salads for a part of the following weeks’ lunch. I prep a couple of breakfast shakes (oatmeal, protein powder, flax seed, hemp seed, cacao nibs, almond butter, iced espresso cubes, and half a frozen banana) for my breakfast throughout my exercise days. Each evening I get my subsequent day’s operating gear arrange so I don’t make a bunch of noise once I stand up.

In whole, I’ve misplaced about 35 kilos.

Operating has fully energized me. It helps me sleep higher and offers me a large increase of adrenaline. My ldl cholesterol is again to a wholesome vary, and I really feel nice. I’m the identical weight I used to be again once I graduated highschool, and possibly in as good condition now at 48 years outdated.

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