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Siddiqu ‘The Personal Trainer’ talks health and wellness

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Please describe how you made a decision to work in the health field as a career choice?  

Many people in my family were suffering from health related disease and most of my family is overweight and out of shape. I was a track star at DePaul University and I didn’t want to go from that to being overweight and out of shape.  So I decided to be a personal trainer.

What are the three factors for the health professional which inspire service to the community?  

Seeing the obesity epidemic that has taken place in the U.S. and especially Chicago. [And] Knowing that over 300,000 people will die this year through preventable health related diseases and [that] just dedicating three hours a week could save someone’s life.

Describe your specialty and why you chose to focus on this area of health?

My specialty is making exercise fun. Exercise is not something that you are going to do if it’s boring. So I always change up the routine for my clients and add fun toys to keep them engaged. I try to have at least one new joke a week for my clients as well.

Three things people should give up in order to live a healthier life?

They should give up soda pop, sugar, and pork.

Stress has what effect on your health and what are ways to reduce stress?

Many people today are stress eaters. So when they are stressed, they make poor choices on what to eat and what not to eat. Also being stressed can cause one’s body to hold onto fat. Exercise is a great stress reliever. It helps to clear one’s mind and also allows a person to focus on something other than their stress.

Sleep plays what role in your health?

Sleep is one of the most important roles in any fitness program.  Sleep is the time where a person receives results from their fitness program.

What is seen as innocent but has an unhealthy impact on our lives?

Alcohol! I like to refer to it as liquid crack! People want a flat stomach, but it is virtually impossible to have the stomach you want while maintaining a lifestyle where you are drinking regularly.

Why is obesity a major concern for health professionals?

Obesity is behind almost every major disease (hypertension, heart attack, stroke, cancer, etc.) When a person is obese, there is an increased chance of dying from so many more things.

How does diet and exercise play a role in good health?

They are critical you can’t really get in good shape unless you are exercising and eating healthy. They go hand in hand.

What behavior changes do you suggest to most of your clients?

Find a friend or hire a personal trainer, but you need someone in your life to keep you accountable regarding your diet and exercise routine.

How does the environment of a client play a role in their health?

If you live with people, or you’re friends with people who are overweight and out of shape, either you are changing them or they are changing you.

How has technology helped your clients?

Well, I can track everything my clients eat online [with] Fitness Pal.  This ensures their honesty and allows me to immediately make recommendations.

What role does regular checks play to a healthy lifestyle and preventive health?

They play an important role, but not as important a role as exercising and eating healthy. There is no substitute for preventive medicine. That is exactly what healthy food is, preventive medicine.  You should still see a health professional on a regular basis.

Finish the sentences

I am committed to providing … information for even the laziest person to get in the best shape of their life.

I work to make a difference by… Not giving up on people even when they give up on themselves.

In order to remain healthy you must … surround yourself with healthy options and healthy people.

The best way to healthy lifestyle changes are … making the changes into a contest or game. Bet some money with a friend who can lose the most weight.

Annual checkup and visits … are mandatory for anyone who wants to stay alive a long time.

A great day for me at work results in … me doing a TV or radio interview and being able to be honest with people about what they need to do to improve their health.

School(s) attended?

Attended DePaul University — undergrad B.A.

Attended Loyola University — grad school M.S/M.B.A.

Hobbies?

I like volunteering at schools and working with young men in the inner city of Chicago. I like watching movies and documentaries.

Favorite vacation spots?

Jamaica

Favorite authors?

John C. Maxwell, Alex Haley and Brian Tracey

Favorite human beings?

Jesus, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X