Uzair Shafique, a well-known social media health and fitness enthusiast was born in Norway and currently lives in a small town called Burnley, near Manchester, England. He’s the founder of the #teambeast fitness program, also popular for their t-shirt and other workout gear apparel. Proceeds from Shafique’s sales are donated to various charities around the world.
Get to know Uzair, down from 300 lbs to 201 lbs, and learn about his committed journey, journey to becoming his best self.
Tell me about yourself and the turning point that started your fitness journey?
For a long time, friends and family suggested that I limit my eating and implement portion control, but I didn’t listen. After a rough first year of college and just a bad time in my life overall, I stayed with my aunt for a while. During that time, I changed my major to business studies and she would ask me to tag along with her to the gym. I was encouraged to steadily go to the gym with no real training or experience. I started seeing results from 25 minute sessions which encouraged me to also change my eating habits.
It has taken around 2.5 years to get to the best place fitness-wise, but overall I’ve been at this for 3-4 years. Last year, I entered the Manchester run and was offered the opportunity to be the face of the run. They shared my fitness journey through a video montage.
I hear that when people go through physical transformations, they experience positive mental changes. Has this been your experience and can you elaborate on any specific changes?
It has been a bit of a mental game in that it has become addictive—the more results I see, the more I want to continue. Injuries have been setbacks to my progress, but I’ve switched from weight lifting goals to doing more cardio, playing sports, and doing distance runs – I’m currently on my fifth 10k run. Injuries can impact my mental game but also my physical abilities in terms of working out, so I do see the weight on the scale fluctuate.
I’ve definitely experienced mental changes, most notably in my confidence. Seeing my clothing sizes go down really does feel good. I’m also not as tempted by the sight of food. I’m mindful of committing to doing what I have to do to work it off rather than being fearful that this will be a downhill slope to my old ways or size.
My increased confidence has made me more talkative and social with others. There has definitely been an increase in overall happiness and life satisfaction. On social media, people tend to reach out for tips and follow my journey it makes me happy to be able to offer support and suggestions based on what I’ve done in my own experience.
Besides the obvious, what other physical changes have you noticed about yourself?
My stamina has increased. I can work out and play sports for longer. Check-ups with my physician show that I’m in good health.
Many people struggle to find time to fully commit to a workout routine. What advice can you give to encourage people to fully commit to such a lifestyle change?
There are always complaints about working hours, having kids, and other obstacles. Complaints will stop anything from ever happening. Find the positives, focus on what you can do, and make those changes. I suggest increasing the number of hours you sleep – ensuring it’s around 8 to 9 hours of sleep. Sacrifices and changes have to be made. Poor choices got you to the place where significant change needs to happen, so good choices have to be made. You can’t get results without making changes. Even when going to the gym isn’t an option, you can do the stairs, weights, and squats in your own home. You don’t need a gym membership or equipment. These kinds of complaints bother me.
How did you stay focused and motivated throughout your journey?
It was helpful to see and hear about other peoples’ transformations. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to make changes in my life when I see those who have less or don’t have opportunities to do so because of their own life circumstances. Knowing that I don’t want to go back to the way I was keeps me motivated to work out and watch what I eat.
Complaints will stop anything from ever happening.
What were some things you struggled with throughout your journey?
Food is a struggle. I eat every few hours. I don’t necessarily eat bad food, but my portions could be better. My goal now is to get shredded and transition to weight lifting after I fully recover from my injuries. My most recent injury was from playing soccer.
How did your diet and nutrition play a role in this transformation?
The main change I made was to start having breakfast—I used to skip breakfast and eat junk food. I changed that. Things I incorporate into my meals include oats, yogurt and fruit, eggs, tuna, whole grain pasta and rice—mainly incorporating better, healthier options throughout the day and into meals. I also substitute protein bars or protein shakes for the junk food. I love chocolate, so now I eat protein bars in lieu of that. My kryptonite is vegetables. I hate them, but I know I have to find ways to incorporate them into my diet.
How did you handle social situations that could negatively impact your progress–dining out, parties, family gatherings where your aunties insist that you haven’t eaten enough even though you’re full, etc.?
I enjoy going out and doing what others are doing, but I keep in mind that I have to work off what I eat. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t want to skip out on social situations because of that.
Although exercise routines must adapt to meet the progressions our bodies make, can you share what exercises have been your favorites (or possibly, least favorite but most effective)?
My least favorite exercise is weights. I have not been able to get into it. I know I have to do more chest work, squats, and core strengthening. I should build on that more. I just have to get into it. Some of the things I do most are the stair master, cross trainer, stepper, and the treadmill. I make sure to mix it up so I don’t get bored.
What would you say to anyone who is on the verge of starting their fitness journey but does not know where to begin?
If someone doesn’t know where to start—go to someone with experience. Reach out to someone at your local gym for tips, advice, and support. I’m open to people asking me. People have to be willing to make changes, sometimes they’re small changes that will start to pay off and the body will start to see effects of. No need to be too ambitious and jump right into unrealistic workouts that your body hasn’t built up to yet. HIT training was helpful for me; 25 minutes 4 sessions per week gave me that edge and push. It’s a brilliant tool.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers regarding your journey and lifestyle?
I want to say to people out there who want to make a change—you just have to go for it: work the mental game, focus on yourself and the positives, not on other people or naysayers. People will always say things about what you’re doing no matter what it is that you’re doing. Block out the negatives and do your own thing. Only you’re going to benefit from this, no one else. Focus on your life. I love the comments, followers, and support on social media. It’s inspirational and motivating.