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What does 365 days of eating look like?

22 Aug

american-average-food-consumption

Everything may seem all peachy when you are quickly glancing at this chart. You see the fruits, the vegetables, some meats, dairy…what’s the problem here?

Some disturbingly real facts for you – 

  • 32.8% of American adults are obese (Not just overweight, but obese – Yes, there is a difference.)
  • 25.8% of American children are obese (that’s 1 in 4 and 1 too many)
  • 13% increase since 2010
  • $147 billion spent annually to treat obesity

Yikes!! No wonder why we’re the most obese nation in the world. You know the saying of “you are what you eat?” Well, the U.S. is definitely a walking example of that.

The amount of fast food and processed foods consumed by an individual is alarming. We’re looking at 29 pounds of french fries, 53 gallons of soda (about 1 gallon/week), 24 pounds of ice cream, 23 pounds of pizza! Seriously? What’s wrong with this picture here?

What’s important here is that we need to re-program our brain and our attitude when it comes to health and wellness. It is not a “crash diet” or a “diet fad,” it is a new way of thinking, a new way to live your life. Eat to live, not live to eat.

The goal is to significantly cut down (eventually eliminate) the processed foods with high sugar and fat content that serve no nutritional value whatsoever, and increase intake of lean proteins, fruits, veggies, whole grains and nuts. Never forget your body’s BFF – H2O. The human body is made up of anywhere from 50-70% water, so it only makes sense to keep it hydrated with water.

I promise you your body and quality of life will improve if you start making changes today. Start somewhere, even if it means starting small. Let’s say you are a soda drinker who consumes 2-3 cans of it every day. Start with cutting down to 1 a day for the first week, then every other day the next week, then 1 a week. Within a month, you’re soda free! Your body will be free of that 53 gallons of waste for the year. If not now, then when?

Remember getting in shape and losing weight is 80% diet 20% exercise. It goes beyond the 1 hour you put in at the gym, it’s also the other 23 hours that count. U1st!

 

 

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BEWARE! Beach Bummie Tummie

6 Jul

Ahhh the beach.  The sound of the waves crashing, the sand between your toes, the warmth on your skin…sounds almost perfect right?  Well it could be! Or it could turn into a calorie packed inactive weekend from hell!

I’m not gonna lie I’m not a beach guy,  but I make my way there a few times in the summer. Every time I go, I’m seeing 2 complete opposite groups of people with 2 different types of behavior – so different it’s like they are 2 separate species. You’ve got the active peeps playing Frisbee and drinking smoothies, then you got the other ones chomping on the largest bucket of fries I’ve ever seen at 9 in the morning.  Okay…what’s really going on here?

Here are my two cents to the Do’s & Don’ts for going to the beach.

What you should do:

Plan ahead: Between the traffic, food supply and kids, you’ll drive yourself up the wall if you don’t got a game plan.
Pack the world’s most awesome cooler: water bottles (I prefer lemon/cucumer with mine), fresh fruits, whole wheat wraps and sandwiches, tuna salad, chicken salad. You’re aiming for lean protein here. Veggie/pita chips are good when you want something to munch on.

Sunblock: I’ve heard that Delaware holds the #2 spot in skin cancer. If you still don’t have the common sense of packing and applying sunscreen when you’re out in the sun,  you really need to get with it. Don’t be part of the statistic!  Many people think if you put Sunblock on you won’t get tan but that is most definitely a myth.

Keep active: Don’t be stationary and lay out there for the whole day (sounds boring already). Especially if you have kids, you gotta keep them active. Throw a frisbee, toss a football, play a game of corn hole, swing for some badminton,  or boogie your way through the waves.

What you shouldn’t do:

Let the concession stands lure you in: I’m talking about the boardwalk fries,  chicken fingers,  deep fried oreos, foot long ice cream & the list goes on. You’re spending more money and packing on the fat! Plus, is that what going to the beach is really about? Eating food that’s bad for you?

Be stationary: Get up and get moving!  Do you want to be that guy that has that horrible tan line because he fell asleep for hours on the beach?  Get off Facebook and IG and spend some time with real scenery and real people, like the ones that came with you?

Carbonated drinks: Bad news bears. Everyone wants to look good in their swim suit they work so hard to squeeze in. Don’t let bloating and gas caused by carbonated drinks ruin it! It has no nutritional value,  it’s processed, it has full of sugar you don’t need (Diet ones are still a no no), and it doesn’t make you look sexy. Period. Choose water or 100% juice/smoothie instead.

Arguing: #aintnobodygottimeforthat you’re here to relax. Keep the negativity out, no excuses!

Who’s winning? You or YOUR FAT?

22 Apr

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Now I know what you’re thinking, this is kind of a rude and insensitive question to ask Falaq! I know I know, but let’s be honest here. Sometimes the hard questions are the best ones! The questions that are easier to ignore than to answer. Truth be told, that’s how most people end up gaining excessive weight – by avoiding the truth!

How long are you willing to wait before you face reality? How much are you willing to put your health and well being in danger, before taking action?

There are some days we win – We workout, we eat our fruits and veggies, we bravely turn down that piece of brownie. But then there are days we lose (our fat wins) – We’re “too beat” to exercise, we trade water for soda, we devour ice cream like a sad chic on the couch watching Bridget Jone’s Diary.

My point is, let’s all be brave and face the hard questions! If you only deal with the easy ones, you will never reach the next level. There will be times where your fat wins, but that’s okay. Use it as your motivation and know that success will taste even sweeter!

So what do you say? Let’s vow to WIN every day!!

Say Deuces to Snow – Fling into Spring Workouts!

31 Mar

Picking up take-out, cozying up in front of the fire place with a beverage, heavy sweaters…Is this starting to sound familiar?

I think we can all agree that the chilling winds, never-ending snowfall and bitter cold temperatures deterred us from our workout this winter? Don’t worry, take a deep breath, hold your head high and put a smile on your face. It’s never too late to change just as the seasons do, your body is ready as soon as your mind is.

Spring is the time associated with cleaning, but that’s not limited to just your house, garage, car…etc. It’s also the perfect time to clean….well, YOU! Clean out your bad habits, skipping workouts, eating that extra slice of pizza you know you shouldn’t and stop making excuses NOW. No more “Starting next month, starting this week” the best time is just now! You’re not missing out anything by delaying any longer. Take the time to devote to a better quality of life by combining proper nutrition and exercise on a daily basis and before you know it you will be feeling and looking better than you ever have.

A great way to start your exercise regiment is body-weight exercises (full body movements that focus on weight loss, cardio, and strength.) I did some digging online and found some great workouts and/or warm-ups before you hit the gym or go on a run. All can be done in the  comfort of your own home. (Thank you to all those that contributed to the workouts.) Remember always to stretch for a few minutes before and after  for better range of motion, fitness results and prevent potential injuries.

Wake up! & make it happen

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Cardio/Strength Workout-post diagram

cardio-strength

30-minute full body express workout

Abs of Steel (One of my favorites)

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Snowed In + Cabin Fever = Couch Potato Syndrome

22 Jan

CouchPotatoSnowed in?!?! Me too! Given how frequently we are experiencing this so called “Polar Vortex”, it is easy to fall into the trap of sitting on the couch, and packing the pounds on. If you don’t have a gym membership, or lead an active lifestyle, chances are you’re susceptible to winter weight gain. This is in direct correlation to the lack of exercise + poor dieting. The good news is – You can still have a hot body when the weather is not!

Here are some of my favorite exercises you can do right in the comfort of your own home. Make sure you stretch prior to performing any type of exercise. Stretching helps loosen your muscles up, and prepare your body for more strenuous activities.

1. Jump rope – 2 to 3 min for 5 sets
2. Jumping jacks – 6 sets of 30 with 10 sec rest between sets
3. Plank holds – 1 set includes a 30-second hold, 40 sec, 50 sec, then 60 sec and rest 60 seconds, 3 sets (How to do a plank)
4. High knees – 1 min on then 1 min off, alternate from marching to running
5. Stairs or Step-ups – Use chair for step-ups alternating legs, 10 up and 10 down, 3 sets
6. Walking Lunges – In longest hallway or from room to room, 3 sets of 20 lunges
7. Dancing – Pick your favorite playlist or turn on the radio and jam out!
8. Cleaning – Vacuuming, Sweeping, Mopping, Laundry, 2 hours worth of housework can burn up to 500 calories!
9. Yoga – Can find tutorial videos on YouTube or OnDemand, sessions are usually 60 minutes
10. Water Bottle Weights – Fill water in half gallon/gallon container and perform arm curls & shoulder press. 3 sets of 15 each.

These are just a few great ways you can stay active and fit during the winter season. Remember that a better quality of life starts with a better quality YOU. Email me at u1sthw.falaq@gmail.com for more exercises. Stay warm everybody!

Year in review: Have you been Naughty or Nice?

31 Dec

naughtyorniceAs 2013 comes to an end, I’m thinking of all the good and bad things that happened in my life this year. All the accomplishments, big or small that deserve to be celebrated; All the mistakes, big or small, that I can learn from and improve on for 2014. When it comes to health and fitness, it is also important to reflect on what you’ve done right and what you can continue to work on. Remember, no one is perfect, not any personal trainers (myself included), health gurus, or anybody. The point is to congratulate yourself on the things that are worth praising and take accountability for things that need improvement, so you can/will celebrate later!

Here are my top “naughty” and “nice” health and fitness items for 2013: 

Things I can pat myself on the back for:

  • No more late-night desserts –  I must admit, I have a sweet tooth, sometimes the chocolate chip cookies are simply calling my name! But I’ve swapped them out with fresh fruit or yogurt. It’s hard still, but it definitely pays off! Six-pack, here I come! Stay away from high calorie/fat items before going to sleep.
  • Changing up my cardio routine – I’ve always valued the importance of cardio and practiced it. However, the treadmill and elliptical were getting a little stale. I switched it up by running outside when the weather permits. I’m telling you, running outside is a whole different ball game than your regular old treadmill – The scenery is great and the variation in terrain keeps my run challenging and interesting. I also took a turbo kick class – I was a skeptic at first, but the high-intensity cardio + strength training kicked my butt, literally. Whenever you feel bored, just switch it up! It will keep you motivated and focused in your training.

What I slipped on (naughty):

  • Working though an injury  I’ve been experiencing a shoulder injury for the past couple of months. As much as I told myself to be patient, I continued to work through my injury. This not only slowed down my recovery process, but also increased the pain of the injury. When you have an injury, the first thing you should do is go see a professional (doctor, physical therapist), then  give it a rest for a while. When you feel ready, start with lower impact exercises for the injured area and slowly build up to where you were. Be patient. You will lose some strength, but overtime you will build it back up. Don’t let a little impatience impede your recovery process, or worse, damage the injury even more.
  • Lack of post-workout stretches We all know that stretching is essential when it comes to exercise. But when do you stretch? Before or after the workout? The answer is both. I am pretty diligent on stretching prior to the workout, but not nearly enough after I’m done. I guess my mentality is that when I’m finished with my workout, I’m exhausted and just want to go home! But did you know that right after a workout, your muscles are more open to movement  and it is actually one of the best times for some deep stretches? Yes, I’m talking about the ones that usually feel uncomfortable. Take advantage of your muscle being  more flexible and get a couple of deep stretches in – This will not only prevent workout injuries, but also enhance fitness results!

This is my health & wellness “nice” and “naughty” list for 2013…What’s on yours?

I hope you take some time to reflect on the accomplishments and setbacks for this year and learn from them for a better and healthier 2014!

Deskercise! Squeeze in cardio, abs & more AT YOUR CUBE!

17 Nov

One of the most common reasons I hear people say is “I don’t have time to work out.” “I work a full day, I just can’t fit the gym into my schedule.” Well, what if I told you that you could fit exercise into your work day? Instead of hanging out too long by the coffee machine or gossiping too deeply with your colleagues, take the time to better your health…right at your desk!

I found a great article that demonstrates a variety of desk exercise on cardio, legs & butt, shoulders & arms, chest, back & neck, and everyone’s problem area – Core. (Courtesy of Emily Milam)

Fit these great “deskercises” into your routine! If you already are active outside of work, then great! If not, this is a good start into keeping an active and healthy life.

CARDIO

The Twinkle Toe:  Stand in front of a small trashcan and lift up those legs to tap the toes on its edge, alternating feet, in soccer-drill fashion.

The Stair Master: Want to avoid elevator small talk in favor of elevating the heart rate? Take the stairs! Accelerate on the straight-aways and take two at a time every other flight for a real leg burn.

The Slog, Then Jog:  Pop up from your chair, and jog in place. Willing to huff and puff a little more? Pick up those knees! Continue for one minute, return to spreadsheets, and repeat.

The Celebratory Split Squat Jumps: With feet hip-width apart, step the left leg back two feet and balance on the ball of the foot. Next, lower into a lunge, and then accelerate upwards in an explosion of celebration. While in the air, switch feet so that the left foot is planted firmly in front and the right leg is now behind. Repeat 10-12 times on each side.

The Cubicle Wanderer: Walking during work is totally underrated. Take a stroll down the hall to catch up with coworkers or welcome a new employee. Or, instead of dialing extensions and sending lazy emails to the manager two doors down, put in some face time.

LEGS AND BUTT

The Wall (Street) Sit: Wall sits are great for building strength and endurance. Standing with your back against the wall, bend the knees and slide your back down the wall until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Sit and hold for 30-60 seconds (or up to 12 hours, the world record!), while browsing the Wall Street Journal (or Buzzfeed). For some extra burn, try crossing the right ankle over the left knee, hold for 15 seconds, then switch!

The Patient Printer: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, press up onto the tippy toes, pause at the top, then lower back down. Repeat for three sets of 12-15 reps, or until the printing, faxing, or scanning is done. Ready to level up? Try raising only one leg at a time.

The Silent Seat Squeeze: Believe it or not, some deskercises can be kept under wraps, and this isometric glutes exercise is one of them. To start toning, simply squeeze the buttocks, hold for 5-10 seconds, and release. Repeat until the agenda wraps up or the glutes tire. The results will be uplifting in more ways than one.

The Seated Leg Raiser: While seated, straighten one or both legs and hold in place for five or more seconds. Then lower the leg(s) back to the ground without letting the feet touch the floor. Repeat (alternating legs if raising them separately) for 15 reps.

The Last Man Standing: Long periods of sitting are linked to increased risk for diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, whereas standing significantly increases your daily caloric expenditure. Stand whenever you can, and consider roping in other coworkers to have standing meetings too! A lot of companies now offer standing desks to employees!

The Desk Squat:  Start standing with feet together (and the desk chair pushed out of the way). Bend the knees slightly so the thighs are almost parallel to the ground, as if sitting in a chair. As you bend, raise the arms straight up or towards the computer screen. Keep the knees together and aligned. Hold for 15 seconds and release. Repeat for 4-6 reps.

The Lunch Break Hammy: Strengthen the hamstrings with this standing leg curl. Stand behind your chair and hold onto it for support. Gently kick one foot back, aiming the heel for the top of your thigh. Lower the foot back down and repeat exercise with the other leg. Do 10 reps, take a bite of your lunchtime sandwich, and then do 10 more.

The Grim Reamer: Scope out the office for a ream of paper, or a sealed package of printing paper. While seated, place the stack in between the knees and press legs inward, engaging the inner thighs. Continue squeezing the paper ream in place for 30-60 seconds while sorting through the morning’s flood of emails. (Now that’s multitasking!)

SHOULDERS AND ARMS

1The Cubicle Dip: Triceps dips can be donealmost anywhere, including a cubicle. Using a sturdy desk or a non-rolling chair, sit at the very edge and place hands on either side of the body while gripping the chair’s edge. With the feet planted on the floor a step or two away from the desk or chair, straighten up the arms to lift up the body. Next, bend the arms to reach a 90-degree angle so that your body dips down, hold, and re-straighten while keeping the body raised above the chair. Complete 8-10 reps.

The Namaste: Whether you’re praying for a project extension or for more defined arms, this move has you covered. Seated upright with feet flat on the floor, bring the palms together in front of the chest and push both hands together powerfully until you feel the arm muscles contract. Hold the prayer hands pushed together for 20 seconds. Release and repeat the sequence until you feel a little more zen.

The Secret Handshake: Let’s make a deal. Sitting up and with feet flat on the floor, clasp hands together as if giving yourself a handshake (with one hand’s thumb pointing to the floor and the other pointing to the ceiling). Then pull! Resist the motion of both arms (you should definitely feel this in those biceps). Hold for 10 seconds or more, release, and repeat.

The Fist Pump:  Fist punch into the air like a champ (alternating arms, of course), and continue for 60 seconds or more — or until you realize the boss is right behind you.

The Knuckle Sandwich: Stand (if you can) and throw out a few jabs, hooks, and uppercuts in rapid succession (just watch out for computers and coworkers!). Continue for a minute or longer to blow off steam and tone the arms, chest, and core.

The Flapper: Standing with arms by your sides and palms facing behind, pulse the arms backward for 5 seconds. Release and repeat for 12-15 reps. For best results, make sure to keep the arms long and straight!

The Casual Lean: Waiting in the hall for a meeting to start? Perfect time to nonchalantly work out the upper arms! Casually lean against the nearest wall, supporting your body with the forearm only. Now lean into the wall until the upper arm almost touches it, and then push back out. Repeat for 15 reps or until the meeting gets underway.

The Lumberjack:  Stand and clasp the hands together, resting them on the right shoulder as if holding an axe. Gently swing the imaginary “axe” by straightening the elbows and moving the hands toward the left thigh. Next, bring the clasped hands to the left shoulder followed by a swing to right thigh. Repeat 15 times on each side, or until all office plants have been hacked down.

The Office Genie: Want to add a little magic to the workday? Raise the legs into a criss-cross applesauce position while seated in a chair. With your hands on the armrests, push upwards to raise the body off the seat and remain floating for 10-20 seconds. After granting a few wishes, release back down to the chair, rest for a minute, and repeat. Craving more magic? Try this balancing act while in a chair that spins.

The Stapler Curl: Trusty staplers are always guarded closely, especially thered ones. Seated or standing, take the stapler in one hand with the palm facing upwards. Starting at the thighs, bend the elbow and curl the arm up towards the chest, just like a regular dumbbell bicep curl. Pause momentarily and then lower the stapler back down. Continue for 12-15 reps, then switch. Don’t have a weighty stapler? Try using a filled water bottle or a heavy change purse (the vending machine can wait!).

CHEST, BACK AND NECK

The Pencil Pinch: Lose the pencil behind the ear. The really suave workers hold it in between their shoulder blades! Show off your traps by rolling back the shoulders until the shoulder blades are pinched together. Pretend you’re holding a pencil between the scapulas (or try it for real!). Hold for 5-10 seconds, release, and repeat for 12-15 reps.

The Shoulder Shrug:  Simply raise both shoulders up toward the ears, hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat for 15 reps. Feeling unstoppable? Try advancedshoulder shrugs while standing and holding a paper ream in each hand.

The Pinstripe Push-Up: This slightly modified wall push-up is more suitable for suits. Standing one to two feet from a sturdy wall (not a cubicle divider!), lean forward until palms are flush against the wall, with arms straight and parallel to the ground. Next, bend the elbows to bring the body towards the wall, hold for two seconds, then push back to the starting position. Complete 12-15 reps.

The Nape Shaper: For the first isometric neck strengthening trick, put your head in your hands as if exasperated by the workday (you may already be in this position), and press your palms into your forehead as if trying to push the head backward. Resist the motion by engaging the neck muscles. Next, clasp the hands behind the back of the head and try to push the head backward, resisting the motion with your hands. Hold each deskercise for 5 seconds, or until The Evolution of Ryan Gosling has finally loaded. Slowly release, rest, and repeat 5 times each.

CORE

The Desk Chair Swivel: Lucky enough to have a fun swivel chair? Use its twirl to your advantage with this oblique ab fix. Sitting upright and with the feet hovering over the floor, hold the edge of your desk with your fingers and thumb. Next, use the core to swivel the chair from side to side. Swish back and forth for 15 rounds.

The Posture Perfecter: Perfect posture is a must for long days at the desk. Practice safe desk ergonomics by adjusting the chair height to make sure the feet, hips, and arms are at 90-degree angles to the floor. Engage the core to keep the back straight throughout the day. No slouching allowed!

The Fab Ab Squeeze: Another silent deskercise, this one can be covertly executed when walking down the hall or seated during a call. Simply take a deep breath and tighten the abdominal muscles, bringing them in towards the spine as you exhale. Stay squeezed for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat for 12-15 reps.

The “Crunch Time” Crunch: With both elbows on the thighs, try to curl the chest in towards the legs while resisting the movement with the arms. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and repeat times 10.

The “Weeee” Desk Chair Wheel: While seated in a chair with wheels, position yourself at arm’s length from a desk or table and grasp its edge with your hands. Next, engage the core, raise the feet slightly off the ground, and pull with your arms until the chair slowly rolls forward and your chest touches the desk’s edge. Then roll back by pushing away, with the feet still raised. Repeat 20 times, or until you burn holes into the carpet.

Outdoor October: 5 Delaware Parks for a Great Workout!

16 Oct
Courtesy of Flickr

Courtesy of Flickr

Bored of the gym workouts? Tired of seeing the same old machines and weights? Take advantage of the great outdoors while we still have the temperature and the daylight! I’m calling it Outdoor October. (Hint: Guess what my next twitter hashtag is?) October is one of my favorite months, it marks the start of Fall in my book and the outdoors look beautiful. Here are my top five picks of parks right here in your backyard (New Castle County, Delaware) that makes for well-rounded workouts!

Lums Pond State Park: Located in Bear, DE off of route 896, this is quickly becoming one of my favorite parks. There are 5 sections of this park, each has its own activities to enjoy. I also believe each zone has a pavilion area for BBQ and parties. This park has nature trails for hiking and horseback riding, basketball and volleyball courts. Then there are the water activities: Paddle boats, kayaks, canoe, sailboats for rent (by the hour or by the day) that make for a great upper and lower body workout. During kayaking last month, I was feeling the burn within the first 10 minutes! It is a great switch up to workout on the water vs. land. Something about not wanting to fall into water intensifies your workout instantly! Last but not least, a company called “Go Ape” does zip lining and obstacle courses right inside the park! 5 zip lines and multiple obstacle courses that take up a 2-3 fun and exhilarating hours, perfect for group activities!

Bellevue State Park: This is a true hidden treasure for workout enthusiasts. There is a unique dirt track a little over 3 miles (Great for you 5k runners or any walk/runners). Along the running path, there are workout stations about every quarter mile that challenges you for some push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, squats and more! Also there are great trails for you mountain bikers and cross-country runners. Bring the family and enjoy Bellevue State Park’s playgrounds or a round of Frisbee golf!

Glassgow Park: Located off on Rt. 40, this park is great for anyone that lives in the Bear/Glasglow/Newark area. The park is a little over 3 miles on a paved trail along with workout stations. However, this park has hidden challenges that I love: There are grassy hills in the center for some great uphill/downhill runs and drills. Glasglow is the perfect park for families, equipped with a huge playground, basketball courts and state-of-the-art Skate Park for all you X Gamers.

Brandywine Creek State Park: Calling all hikers, trail runners, horseback riders, mountain bikers and cross trainers!  Did you know that this park spans over 900 acres? Yes, and all the way in Pennsylvania. The park maintains 14 miles of trail for any outdoor exercises, with a great open field perfect for picnics, Frisbee and even kite-flying. When the temperature drops, I’ve heard this is the place for cross-country skiing and sledding, how fun! While you’re here, don’t forget to grab the camera to snap some pics of Delaware’s first two nature preserves-The Tulip Tree Woods and Freshwater Marsh.

Brandywine Zoo Park: Just like Delaware, this park is a small wonder. I also may be biased since I live within walking distance to this park. It is located along Lovering Avenue with multiple entrances (Trolley Square, Market Street & more) and is home to the Brandywine Zoo. The oval-shaped lap is close to 2.5 miles and crosses over the Brandywine River. The paved path is consists of small inclines and declines. Whether you run, jog or walk, you will take in the beautiful view of the trees while being paralleled to the river. Hear the sounds of river and even the animals!

So get dressed, get out and experience what Mother Nature has to offer for you and your family! For questions on outdoor workouts and about the parks mentioned in this post, contact me at u1sthw.falaq@gmail.com.