Shoaib Khan and Asif Saleh – Lifting It Up!Written by Muslims Actually
Shoaib Khan and Asif Saleh are fitness entrepreneurs from Mississauga. As you see can see from this picture, they are “lifting it up!” with “Because I Lift”. Check out their website for their videos, their merchandise and great tips on how to “keep fit and keep lifting”!
Where were you both born and raised?
Shoaib: I was born and raised in Canada; Mississauga to be specific. But now I represent Malton which is a smaller suburb (let’s say) in Mississauga. It’s not a big area, but it makes up for it with the tight knit community we have in Malton.
Asif: Born and raised in Canada. Spent my whole life in Malton and plan on continuing to do so.
What did or are you studying?
Shoaib: I studied Environmental Politics at York. I’m not officially done yet but right now I am in the process of becoming a Police Officer. I am also a certified Can-Fit pro personal trainer.
Asif: I studied Kinesiology and Health Science for four years and then went on to Teacher’s College to get certified in teaching Physical Education and Chemistry.
How did because I lift come to be?
Shoaib: Fitness has become a passion in my life, so when Asif pitched the idea of a fitness brand to me I was immediately on board.
Asif: Shoaib and I would train a few of the Malton Mavericks players outside of our high school in preparation for Salaam Cup. The idea of starting a YouTube channel and website dedicated to lifting and fitness was floated around. It didn’t materialize until about January of 2015 when we first bought the domain name. The name came to me as I lay restless in the middle of the night angry that all the “cool” domain names were taken. On a fun note, some of the names we considered were: Barbells and Biceps, GymJim (my personal favourite), and Muscle Fitness.
Why is it important to educate people about being healthy?
Shoaib: It is extremely important to preach a health lifestyle. The reason being without taking care of your body it will not perform the way you want it to. From sports to just everyday living a healthy life style will benefit you in the long run. The number one thing I tell people who don’t take care of their body is, what’s going to happen in the future when your metabolism slows down.
Asif: I can confidently say the most pressing health epidemic we are facing today is obesity and related lifestyle diseases. Long gone are the days of TB and viral infections overwhelming the healthcare system; now it’s diabetes and cardiovascular disease at the forefront. Education is the magical key that will unlock people’s wanting to exercise and live healthy. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill. It will take disciplined principles of diet and exercise; principles that have to be learned before they are practiced.
There’s also the need to create an inclusive atmosphere surrounding exercise as many women in our community refuse to do so due to stigma. Everyone has a right to be healthy and engage in healthy behaviours without restraint.
ProTip: Exercising for just 10 minutes a day raises your risk of posting inspirational quotes by 60%.
You talk about lifting. What if someone has never lifted before?
Shoaib: Honestly the most difficult part is the startup. Once you start to see and notice results, the gym and working out in general is no longer a drag it actually becomes fun. Also this may be the cross fitter in me, but I like to make everything an internal competition. Every workout I do, the next time I do the same workout I need to beat that score, weight or time. Also buddying up is a great suggestion like asif said, but he’s the one who fixed my form lol
Asif: The best advice I can give is to buddy up with someone who has experience lifting. It doesn’t have to be Arnold or The Rock, but it should be someone who knows enough to get you started on basic lifts and proper form. There is too high an occurrence of injury and loss of interest in gym newbies; a problem that can easily be overcome by buddying up…sort of like how Shoaib taught me the ways a few year ago.
Is it true that women get bulky if they lift?
Shoaib: I would have to say yes and no. If you are lifting heavy weight with low reps than yes you might not achieve the slender look that is the goal for most women today. However if you have some guidance and do your research you will find lifting programs that can help you attain your goals. Typically if you do not want to gain size or become “bulky” than you should be lifting light weight with high reps. Of course there is nothing wrong with a woman with muscles.
Asif: There is absolutely no scientific evidence behind this claim. This myth has been one of the biggest barriers in getting women to engage in lifting. A woman would require an abnormal amount of testosterone to even come close to looking like a moderately bulked man. Our biologies are too different for that to happen. That’s why the only recorded cases of “bulky” women coming to mind are the USSR Olympians who had to be continuously drugged with synthetic testosterone.
Here’s what really happens when women start lifting:
- Increased fat burn
- Increase in self-confidence and self-esteem
- A reduced risk of osteoperosis (weak bones in old age)
- A reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- A more “toned” look with less flab — Newsflash: That “tone” is muscle!
What inspires you to keep going?
Shoaib: Seeing people around wearing our apparel is a big motivation. It is such a morale boost when I see someone representing Becauseilift. It makes me feel like we are making a difference and spreading awareness that you can have a big beard and lift J.
Asif: There’s two things that have truly served as inspiration for me. Time and time again I’ll have people tell me they learned something new from an article we wrote or they can’t wait for our next video to come out. That serves as an indicator for me that we’re going in the right direction and giving the people what they want. More importantly though for me, is the unflinching support of Shoaib. When I came onboard for this idea, I had no idea how to build the site or how to operate a business. Shoaib provided the kind of support and reassurance I have not seen from anyone else. Regardless of how crazy an idea might have been, he was always so confident it could work even if we didn’t know how.
Where do you see yourselves I’m 5-10 years?
Shoaib: Our goal is to one day open a BecauseILift gym which is tailored to all disciplines of fitness. Whether is powerlifting, crossfit or yoga; we want everyone to feel welcome at our gym. Right now that’s our goal, but we have a ways to go.
Asif: Ideally I would like to see Because I Lift take off and become a full time operating business. There’s an educational aspect as well as an under-developed entertainment focus that I believe are our key strengths. We’ve also tested the grounds with social justice issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis and mental health awareness and find we can help make a difference using Because I Lift as a medium.
What advice can you give for anyone looking to get healthy and fit?
Shoaib: The best advice you can give anyone is that this is a process. You will not attain your goals in one day. If you go into this journey with that mentality then you won’t get discouraged if you don’t get the results you want right away.
Asif: Just start. Don’t worry about fancy equipment or what brand of whey to drink. Start moving and make small healthy living changes to keep the internal motivation high. Every little thing you do in that first month, whether it’s a 10 minute jog or opting for veggies instead of chips, is a gold medal acheivement. And the great thing is, it’s contagious. We started off as two guys wanting to talk about how much they love to lift, and have now grown to inspire an entire community to join the gym and think differently about health.
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