31 October, 2023

The benefits of exercising are limitless. It’s a surefire way to become stronger more energetic and prevent illnesses like breast cancer. However, those who struggle with their weight may be discouraged from taking part because of the insecurity that can arise.

Mo Abdin is a running influencer and personal trainer who has taken part in marathons, founded running classes and pushed himself to his physical limits. However, he had to overcome a lifelong insecurity over his weight before finding his dream career.

Breast Cancer UK sat down with Mo to discuss how running changed his life and could change yours too.

“Growing up overweight and feeling insecure about my weight were my biggest obstacles for a long time.”

“It stopped me from going to the gym or participating in sporting events. I come from a family of overweight people and I couldn’t imagine an outcome for myself. I internalised these things as a child and believed that my genetics meant I was destined to live an unhealthy life.

“But in time I came to a realisation that changed my life. The realisation was that being overweight wasn’t the reason that I shouldn’t participate in sports, it was the reason I absolutely had to. I used this as an early motivation to take the necessary steps to become a healthier individual. Exercise has become a part of my daily routine. Although the intensity varies from day to day, making movement a part of my everyday life is non-negotiable.”

“The younger version of myself would be astonished and proud of the person I’ve become today.”

“The best way to describe my journey would be a roller coaster. I’ve had ups, downs, spins, lefts, rights, and all of the above. The progress you make on your journey is never linear and in time you learn to be accepting of this. I used to love going to the gym (and I still do) but when the closure of gyms during lockdown meant that I needed to find a way to stay active. I initially began practicing calisthenics in outdoor parks, but then COVID-19 forced the closure of these parks, leaving me with no choice but to start running one foot in front of the other.”

“Before lockdown, I actually worked for the running brand Asics as a sales associate in one of their stores. I used to converse with runners regularly, and advise them on the best trainers for everything from 5k’s to marathons. Despite the enthusiasm in my sales pitch, not a single one of those distances appealed to me. In truth, I found running purposeless. I came from a football background, so running for without chasing a ball made zero sense to me. Ironically, I hold the complete opposite beliefs today and gain a great sense of purpose from running. Life has a funny sense of humour sometimes!

“Today, I am a personal trainer and fitness content creator. I help people through online coaching as well as leading in-person activations to get people into running. In addition to this, I also lead running clubs across London to help those looking to get into the sport. Improve their running, or achieve their personal bests. Running is for everyone. If I can convince people to move, I have accomplished my goal.

“I think that outside voices can have a huge effect on whether people start or even enjoy working out.

“This can range from conversations with family members to passing comments from teachers and friends. I would highly advise people to take up movement. It doesn’t have to be running exactly, but something that has no end.

“Admittedly, some of my motivations for becoming more active were because of an insecurity over my appearance, but those motivations quickly changed. Once I started running, it became obvious that the benefits far exceeded anything superficial. Running is an activity that elevates your heart rate and strengthens your muscles. In the long-term, this helps can help to prevent your chances of developing all kinds of diseases, including cancer and heart conditions.

“The advice that I would give to anyone who takes up running is to prioritise heath over appearance. The more you look into the lifestyle it takes to achieve some of the Instagram physiques the more you realise that health is not their number one goal.

“When you decide to run to become healthier, happier and prevent illness, you’ll get the most out of it. And if you stick at it, the physical transformation will come on it’s own.

If you were inspired by Mo’s story and would like to find out more about improving your health through running, check out his Instagram page.

Start your breast cancer prevention journey today by taking our prevention quiz.

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