riyada in arabic means "training" or "discipline". It was used by the arabs in relation to horse taming. Sufis refer to their discipline as "riyadat an-nafs": disciplining the soul / training the ego. Today, the word riyada has come to mean "sports". There is an Arabic proverb that says: "The purpose of sports (riyada) is not to win cups, but to discipline the soul". This blog is here to help me discipline my soul and train my body.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Working out in Amman

Bism Allah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim.

i'll probably give a good introduction to this blog later. But now I thought about just mentioning my typical day in Jordan because this is to me the ideal plan, which I sadly cannot follow when living in Egypt. This of course is just a breakdown of the nutrition and exercise part of the day. Hanging out with friends and visiting relatives take place at night and between the things i mention, respectively.

Morning: (Somewhere between 8-9 a.m):
Breakfast consisting of large plate of labaneh*, zaatar**, tomotoes, olive oil, and eaten with toasted brown bread. There was no zaatar this morning so instead I had cheese mana'eesh*** for breakfast. This is the only part that is not as good as what I do in Egypt. I'll discuss my daily breakfast in some other post.

12: One scoop egg white protein powder (Egg Pro by Universal Nutrition). Today was the first time I try egg protein powder. I used to love eggs as a kid and then one day for some reason or another I stopped eating them and haven't eaten them in more than 10 years. I just dont like them. Hopefully now that I'm taking egg protein powder I'll eventually start eating eggs again. But then again, when I see the whole thing in front of me, with the yolk, I remember that eggs are a chicken's period... and then I don't feel like eating them anymore. (Well that's my theory of what eggs are at any rate).

2 or 3 p.m: Lunch

usually a traditional Middle Eastern stew with rice, minus any type of flesh. I'm kinda vegetarian. Well, I can't exactly call myself vegetarian when I eat fish, but I'd like to think I am. I mean, some people eat fish and call themselves vegetarian. Today for example, I had molokhia****. Other days I might have okra or something.

5 or 6 p.m: Another scoop of egg protein powder with milk.

7 or 8 p.m: I go workout at the gym. Today's workout was intense! But the gym was way too crowded for some reason. I guess that's a good thing, I'm glad to see so many Jordanians working out. One man was so huge, and looked just like a character from one of those Playstation fighting games. Don't remember which game or which character. Just a HUUUUGE russian character. Looked just like him. There was a good looking girl in tight black clothes (and too much skin showing on her back between the top and the pants), working out right next to me. Seeing her there, looking at me while working out, made me push really really hard. Harder than I've pushed myself in a while. I guess eye zina does have its benefits. That's no excuse tho:
They ask you concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and some benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit." (Q 2:219) . But really, I tried my best not to have my eyesight fall on her. Except a couple glances at the beginning. And then maybe another two later. Damn my eyes!! And to think just this morning I read the following story:


I happened to be walking down one of the lanes of our town behind Husayn ibn Mansur (says Musa of Bayda), when the shadow of some person standing on a roof fell across him. Lifting his head to see who it was, he found himself gazing at a very beautiful woman.

He turned sharp round. You shall see, he said to me, though you may wait long to see it, that the wrong my eyes have done will come home to roost someday.

On the day, long after, when he was gibbeted, I was there in the crowd, weeping; and he noticed me from the scaffold. Musa, he said, the man who raised his head to the thing you saw, the man who raised himself to what was forbidden him, has to be raised above the heads of the crowd now, even as you see. And he pointed to the gibbet.

- Schroeder, Eric. Muhammad's People. Pg 523


After the workout, I have a whey protein shake with milk and bananas in the gym. Then I go home and have me two large plates of greek salad. Well, almost greek salad. Let's see, it had:

lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green bell peppers, onions, fennel, and lots and lots of corn. Mmmmm, corn. And for the greek touch, fetta cheese, but sometimes it's ricotta cheese instead.

That, for me, is the ideal plan for eating. But sadly, the way I eat in Egypt is way off, and this will only last a week. This is also considered a "detoxing week". Simply because I'm not in Egypt. Don't get me started about the pollution and the horrible horrible state of their produce. How amazing it is to once again eat fruits and vegetables that actually have a smell, and look fresh and have nice bright colors.

Also before heading to the airport from Egypt I decided to get a book to read on the plane, and I FINALLY picked up Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources from my shelf. Shaykh Abu Bakr Siraj ad-Din (for that's Martin Lings' Muslim name), is an AMAAAAAZING writer. The way he writes, it's as if he lived with the Prophet and knew him intimately. So that's what I'm reading for now.

* Labaneh, aka Labneh: a Middle Eastern 'yoghurt cheese', that has a consistency between that of yoghurt and that of cheese. Recipe here.
** Zaatar: A mixture of thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds.
*** Mana'eesh / Manakeesh: traditional Middle Eastern baked bread, usually topped by either cheese or zaatar.
**** an Middle Eastern food, originally from Egypt and the Sudan that used to be referred to sometimes as Egyptian Spinach. But now for some reason, it has been given the name "Jew's Mallow".


Blogger Elizabeth said...

You don't really think looking at women is a crime deserving of hanging, do you?

It sounds like that woman in the gym liked the way you looked! You probably both benefited from the motivation!

I passed the time while jogging on the treadmill by surreptitiously looking at a great-looking guy on another treadmill. Usually jogging is boring!

April 21, 2006 at 5:16 AM

Blogger Silencer said...

no no its definitly not worth hanging. It was al-Hallaj who said that, and he got killed for political reasons (not for saying "I am the Truth").

anyway, haha as i said, it has its benefits, but that's no excuse when the sin is greater than the benefits. and that's how i see it.

also i havent been wearing my glasses for the past 3 weeks (doing an experiment which i'll mention later on the blog). one of the unexpected benefits is not caring anymore about the super hot women in my gym in egypt, simply because they look a little blurred. haha.

April 21, 2006 at 4:02 PM


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