Many moons ago in my late teens and early twenties as a zealous da’ee, I worked with small local charity organisations raising money to run events at the mosque for the local community.
I would witness the Imam berating restaurant owners selling alcohol. However, when we needed money for the mosque the same restaurant owners would be the first people we ran to for donations.
In addition, the Imam and my fellow worshippers were poor and often relied on benefits, we would glorify poverty then face the harsh unpleasant reality of being broke.
Fast forward 12 years circa 2014 when charity work in the Muslim sector starting becoming very popular, I too jumped on the Bandwagon. Having worked with a number of charities over the course of a few years, I became sick of feeling like a glorified beggar.
It’s then that I decided I couldn’t help anyone with my ‘hand to mouth existence’, I needed to be able to stand on my own two feet. Not wanting to be the guy begging for donations I needed to put myself in a position where I could be the one giving the large donations with ease.
In the midst of a few tragedies that all hit at once, getting divorced, my uninsured house burning down, losing my job and £24,000 (my entire life savings) in a business partnership that went sour, yes when it rains it pours, I hit rock bottom.
It was one of them crossroads in your life where you decide to either sink or swim. My attitude was When you’ve hit Rock Bottom the only way is UP.
When you’ve hit Rock Bottom the only way is UP
I had just taken custody of my kids aged 7 and 4, with no one to look after them at home, I had to quit work.
As mentioned above my house had burnt down and I was living with my mum after splitting with the ex. After taking custody of the kids, I was told ‘Sorry! No room in the inn’. I begged and borrowed what I could and asked a builder friend, to make one room in my burnt out house habitable. We gathered scraps of left over carpet some old mattresses and that was our home.
We were all living out of one room with no running hot water or a kitchen. It was a make or break kind of situation. But I needed this to happen, I’d been conditioned to be soft like most of the population. Something was needed to teach me mental toughness and resilience. This was the perfect answer.
A lot of people would not suffer the level of anxiety, that can lead to more serious conditions, over minor things if they developed mental toughness and weren’t conditioned to be so soft. Every now and again when I start wallowing in my comfort and become mentally weak I have to remind myself of this time.
With two young kids to look after and no job, I needed to do something with my life and I needed to do it fast. Wanting to make an impact in the world with my talents led me down the path of entrepreneurship.
Having looked at all of my interests and passions,and spending some time on creating a Qur’an Course and testing the Islamic Education field, I decided there were already too many people serving that need.
However, there weren’t any experts who really understood the health needs of our community. The obstacles we faced as Busy Professional South Asian Dads. And So...
The Kaanfitness Journey Began
Other communities were being catered for by numerous experts. Ours wasn’t. And it was in the most dire need.
The health of the South Asian Community is a ticking time bomb
We are six times more likely to develop diabetes than other populations.
In one large-scale international study, published in the August 2011 edition of journal Nature Genetics, six separate genes were identified that make this group of people susceptible to type 2 diabetes mostly linked to lifestyle.
Our muscles don’t burn fat as efficiently as other populations
Jason Gill, who led the research at Glasgow University, commented "Our results suggest that the ability of south Asians' muscles to use fat as a fuel is lower than in Europeans. In other words, if a south Asian man and a European man were walking alongside each other at the same speed, the south Asian man's muscles would be burning less fat and this may contribute to a greater risk of developing diabetes."
Genetically we may not have been dealt a great hand but..
Our lifestyle, cultures and general ignorance of what good health entails further compounds this. What do most South Asians do for relaxation? Eat out, smoke shisha and play the occasional football once a week contrast that with other communities, rock climbing, running, hiking, mountain biking.
Yes, I know I’m generalising but I’m speaking of the most common traits prevalent amongst the majority of that population. When I go out jogging, running or hiking even in a densely desi populated area I rarely see a brown face. But go to a kebab shop, dessert place or shisha bar and it’s full of them.
Knowing that with my knowledge and experience I could change the outcome of our community from one where a disproportionate number in their early 30’s are being diagnosed with diabetes, suffering heart attacks and strokes in their 40’s and facing a future of medication, pain and suffering.
Or one filled with trips to the hospital with seemingly long anxious waits of bad news.
What's it going to be this time, an amputation? Will I go blind, have erectile dysfunction.
Or God Forbid the big C
To one where they and their future generations can live longer happier healthier lives, to spend quality pain free active years with their loved ones. And reach their full potential.
Add quality years to your life to spend with your loved ones, realise your purpose and reach your full potential by Optimizing Your Health
In summary, I’m trying to make a small dent in improving the health of our community, reducing obesity and curbing the health epidemic that is sweeping our community.
Not only will it transform the way you look, it will transform your life and the way you think and feel.
So if you asked me what I do, I’d tell you ‘I’m in the business of saving lives.’
My goal is to help at least a thousand Busy Professional Desi Dads, just like yourself, lose weight and take control of their health this year.
And there is no way I can do it without your help, so what I’m saying is, tell all your friends and family. Recommend my service to someone who could benefit from it. Send me their contact details. Or simply share my story on your social media channel
What will I do with the proceeds well in the words Zig Ziglar
'You can have anything you want as long you help others get what they want’- Zig Ziglar
Whilst others have dreams of buying yachts and helicopters mine are more humble.
Help a thousand Busy Professional South Asian lose weight and take control of their health each year, provide jobs and a lifeline to more people living in the third world, who otherwise would have lived in extreme poverty. Buy my mum, who has always struggled with rent, a house, open a school and an orphanage in a third world country and help out more charities that are dear to my heart. WaterAid, Cancer Research, Human Relief Foundation and others.