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A while back, we shared with you the before and after pictures of Mahmoud El Kotoury, one of our most extreme transformations at Cairo Runners! Today we’re sharing our one-on-one interview with the hope to continue inspiring you to go after the changes you need to make to get fit, happy, and healthy! #RunningChangedMyLife


1.     What inspired you to start working out?
The revolution. I was into student activism at the time and changing my country and people for the better, and I found myself in my place but in a very bad and critical situation. How come I want to change the world and I am incapable of changing myself?


2.     How did you start?
 This is a tricky question, actually I never stopped trying , at least for the past 10 years. I always try, and fail, but never stopped trying. Until the last trial that was three years ago, I was 255Kg morbidly obese, and at the age of 22 when I started. I was afraid of doing any kind of sport because I had some physical and medical concerns. My back used to be an obstacle for me to walk for a few steps, so how was I supposed to start doing any kind of workout? So the first 25 Kilos I lost was only the result of a diet without any workout, until I found out about a “Biggest loser competition” at Golds Gym Mohandeseen, which I joined and it was for two month: the first two to lose most fats will win, and that was my real start. I decided not to see anyone, deleted my social life, and I only went to the gym and back home. I did nothing in this period to get myself focused only on the target “Win the competition and maybe it could put me on the right track” and actually that is what happened. I was one of the two winners of this competition and it was a very important step for me in my journey to lose all the weight I lost.


3.     Describe your regular workout routine.
I change my workout routine every now and then, because this is a key if you have a long journey like mine. I always change my diet plans and my workout routine but my workout varies between (Running and Gym), (Running and MMA) , (Triathlon and Gym) , ( Insanity and MMA) , I train 6 days/Week.


4.     What was the hardest part of working out and how did you get through it?
The start was very hard, specially the first day at the Gym, the first exercise my body literally froze and I was not able to even sit on the bench, and when I finished the day, I was not able to lift my hand to open my locker. Also one day I over trained and I nearly had a heart attack. Other than that, there are some hard parts in my workout when I learn a new things such as biking ,some swimming techniques , and some MMA Techniques.


5.     What's the most rewarding part of your running life?
 For me running represents a very big challenge, whenever I run, I remember the old me who was not capable of walking for a few steps :) It's very emotional :)


6.     Did you have a weight-loss goal?
Yes definitely , I want to be in the range of 20%fats, I want to reach 95Kg


7.     What’s the secret behind your weight-loss success and what keeps you going?
 Two things; I wrote a bucket a list of all the things I would have loved to do but my obesity made it impossible, and the second thing may be cliché but it always work for me (and I always watch this movie to see this specific part) is this quote for Rocky's Bolboa :

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!”


8.     What kinds of changes did you make to what and how you ate?
Back then all I thought about were Burgers and Pizzas. Now I am still a Burger person, I won't deny it, but I started searching for all places that serve healthy food, and I started learning how to cook because I want to cook delicious healthy food.


9.     What advice would you give to a beginner or someone just starting out?
I'd like him/her to state all the things he/she would do if they were fit. I'd let them write their own Bucket list and let them mark each item they achieve because this is what will keep them going


10.  What is your long term goal?
My long term goal is to be an Anti-Obese Activist, not only get rid and defeat my Obesity, but try and help out others in their battles and encourage them to fight against their own obesity.


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