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An interview with Shehnaz Hussain

An interview with Shehnaz Hussain

An inspiration to all of us here at Nothing Naughty, Shehnaz lives a very full life juggling her responsibilities as a doctor, NZ powerlifter, amateur chef extraordinaire, recipe book author, and blog writer for yours truly! We managed to sneak a few minutes of her time to glean some pearls of wisdom from this epic gal..

NN: First are a newly qualified junior doctor at Tauranga Hospital, author of a cookbook (and obviously a talented cook), a competitive powerlifter, researcher and blog writer, any other talents you want to tell us about?

S: Hahaha, thank you! That is such a great summary and introduction! You have listed about all of it and that's as far as it goes (for now) :)

The only other talent that is worth flexing is probably my ability to fall asleep within a few minutes in any environment i.e at a very loud concert (yes, its happened) on a hard wooden floor, or even at parties that go past midnight.


NN: What are your top time management tips? (Referring to how you manage to balance all of the above)

S: My two tips would be to never underestimate the power of a few minutes. Most days I have a hectic work schedule at the hospital, and may only have about ten minutes to train in the morning, but I still make the effort to go to the gym and just do even my warm up, because that is better than nothing.
The other tip would be to prioritize the basics; adequate sleep, good food and exercise! These are the things that provide us with energy to help us get through the tasks of the day!

NN: How did you get into powerlifting and what do you enjoy about it?

S: I used to do a bit of Track & Field, and enjoyed that. However on the side we used to do some strength and conditioning work and I fell in love with that way more than sprinting. I nervously asked the strength coach of my school's 1st XV to write me a strength programme and I would train in the corner with the 1stXV each morning before school. That's where it all started and I have been doing it for 6 years now and have been selected to represent NZ 3 times. 
I enjoy the empowerment that it gives me and it shifts the focus for me on what my body is capable of doing vs how it looks. I think that is a battle a lot of people, especially young females face in this day and age, especially with social media amplifying this. Powerlifting is not about how you look AT ALL, but rather how females can build strength to become a stronger, better version of themselves. It's a sport that has athletes of various shapes and sizes and all are celebrated! That's what I love about it!

NN: What motivates you to do all you do and train as hard as you do? Even on tough days what motivates you to keep going?

S: That's a great question! I don't tend to rely on motivation as it is fleeting, but rather discipline keeps me going. Everyday I get up at the same time each day (4.30am) just to train. I am a creature of habit and so if I have woken myself up that early to train, I almost always do it. On the tough days, I usually negotiate with myself that I at least have to complete the warm up and if I am still not feeling good I can go home, but usually getting myself there is the biggest hurdle and once I am there I usually complete it all.

NN: What inspired you to create your own cookbook? Any plans for further cookbooks in future?

S: I have always enjoyed creating recipes and cooking and the first lockdown gave me more time to do these things. I initially just wanted to write down all my favourite recipes for myself, whanau and friends, but then it was my parents that actually encouraged me to sell it. Food, cooking and giving back to my community are very central components to my culture and so this book is a perfect combination of all of those things! I also get inspired to cook when watching any cooking-centered films such as (my favourite) Ratatouille.
In terms of future cookbooks; it was a HUGE undertaking doing this one and so the next one will probably only happen in 10-20 years time (when I forget how much work it took to bring it to life)!

NN: What are some of your current goals? And any big goals for the future?

S: My current goals are to try and balance being a junior doctor with my powerlifting! I would also like to eventually become a sports and exercise specialist in the future. And of course write cookbook no.2 :)

NN: What is your favourite inspirational quote or saying?

S: 'Don't limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.'

NN: What are your favourite Nothing Naughty products and how do you use them?

S: The Pure Collagen and the Whey Protein Bars! I have the collagen in my coffee everyday as it helps to support my spine particularly, especially when I train and put a good amount of load and stress through it. The Protein Bars are great before training, after training, as a snack when I'm hungry at the hospital and generally any time of the day!

NN: Lastly, If you could invent a new flavour of Nothing Naughty Protein Bar what would it be?

S: Chocolate Coconut flavour! I love the combo of chocolate and coconut and I think that would be a huge hit!

For more inspo follow Shehnaz on Instagram @shehnazzy @shehnazzy_cooks

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