How I do it: Nana Al Haleq

What Malaysian fitness guru and Under Armour global brand ambassador Nana Al Haleq does for killer glutes and great skin

By Andrea Tim | Published: 7 Aug 2017

HIDI: Nana Al Haleq
Photo: Under Armour

Who I am and what I do
I'm Nana Al Haleq, a fitness model, trainer, motivator, fitness TV host and Under Armour global brand ambassador. My job is to motivate people to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

I start my day at 5.30am or 6am, depending on work. I have my morning shower, and do my morning prayers and then get ready – I spend some time applying skincare. What I use for the day depends on what my skin needs at the moment.

Because of my job, I often wear sports attire. I love Under Armour's clothes, especially the Threadborne and CoolSwitch sleeveless tops. For bottoms, I like long tights as they make my legs look longer. My favourites are the Heat Gear, Favorite Printed Leggings and the Mirror Leggings, all from Under Armour. But I do wear sweat pants once in a while. And a girl like me can't have too many training shoes – so I have many!

Photo: Under Armour


In the morning
I wash my face with Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser or Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser with a facial sponge. Then I apply Kiehl's Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence, Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, Lé Mia 24k Gold Serum, and Clarins White Plus Brightening Emulsion Day SPF 20. I'm also currently using La Mer The Eye Concentrate. To give my complexion a little glow, I use Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturiser and a hint of blush from either M.A.C or Nars.

After workouts
I wipe my face with Simple Oil Balancing Cleansing Wipes followed by the Clarins White Plus brightening skincare range.

Before bed
I cleanse with similar steps as in the morning and alter my skincare depending on what I'm up to the next day. If I have a photoshoot, La Mer has my go-to moisturiser and serum – or whenever my skin needs extra love. Otherwise, I use the same Kiehl's products as in the morning, but in place of the Clarins emulsion, I use Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate.

I also use a sheet mask three to four times a week. My current favourites are the Dr.G Wrinkle Snail Sheet Mask, Dr.G Whitening Vita Sheet Mask and Elusyf Cell Activa Phyto Mask.


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In the mornings
Coffee is the highlight of my mornings. I also have a vegetable smoothie to detox – that's my way of maintaining good skin. For breakfast, I have salad with either smoked salmon or eggs.

During the day
I eat based on calories and macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein). Home-cooked food is the best, as it allows me to keep track of what I eat. An example of a typical meal would be 700g of white meat fish, 300g of brown rice, three table spoons of virgin coconut oil and as much green vegetables as I want throughout the day. If I want something fancy, I add steaks, salmon, cod or other fish to my diet (I keep my red meat intake to a maximum of twice a week). I have fruits too, of course, but I keep the amount small – berries, persimmons, apples are my favourites. I'm not much of a snacker, but if I must, I munch on almonds or mixed nuts.

Cheat meal
I sometimes crave things like Vietnamese beef noodle soup, ayam penyet, or a delicious tuna burger from Ojo Cafe. If I'm craving for something sweet, I have Berries Pavlova from Alexis Bistro, a cupcake from Bisou or macarons from Ladurée!

I schedule programmes for myself to recycle for three to four weeks. In a day, I work out for a maximum of 1.5 hours, not counting warm-ups and cool-downs, and for every three or four workout days, I have one rest day.

I always lift weights, dividing my routine to glute and quads, upper body, hamstring and glute, and upper body. I find lifting weights very soothing – it's almost like therapy to me. I hardly do cardio, except for a few weeks leading up to competition dates, as my routines are mostly giant sets with minimal rest in between. My post workout meals usually consist of fish, vegetables and carbs.

Rock climbing is also something I enjoy, especially when I actually do it outdoors, taking in the sights and sounds of nature.

I start work at 7.30am in the morning. In a day, I typically conduct three to four group training sessions. From 10.30am onwards, I do a few group training sessions at Pro Physique Studio in Plaza Damansara. My free time is between 4pm to 7pm – that's when I train. A non-typical day would involve shoots and client meetings.

My greatest joys would be being able to continuously inspire, motivate and encourage people to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. Seeing my clients happy about their own progress makes me happy.

My biggest challenge is not having enough time in a day to do everything and still get enough rest! Having long hours of sleep is a luxury to me; it's hard to come by as I work on the weekends too.

I usually finish work at 10.30pm and will be back home by 11.30pm after a quick dinner of fish and lots of vegetables at the studio. I take a shower before heading to bed, but if I have any more work to do, I only go to bed at around 2am. I generally get very little sleep – roughly five hours a day. I know it's not healthy, so think I may need an assistant in near future.

Photo: Under Armour


The best lesson I've ever learned on the job
Believe in yourself, so that you can make your vision a reality. Don't let negative comments or trolls get to you (it's a waste of time!), but turn them into something positive. Finally, always be thankful and humble.

How I overcome professional setbacks
I don't look at setbacks as failures. I pick up the pieces and rebuild from there. Everything can be turned into something good if we have faith and patience.

My secret to productivity
I usually have at least four or five big things to do in a day, and it can make for a challenging schedule, but I just go for it! Completing some items on your task list is better than nothing.

The best career advice anyone has ever given me
Always plan and strategise ahead. Always ask questions, and get second or third opinions from others – the more you learn, the more you improve. Give 100% to projects you pursue and don't rely on others to carry your weight.

My advice to those aspiring to do what I do
Be consistent, be patient, have faith, be disciplined and committed. Always be open to different opinions. Take your clients (be it individuals or brands) seriously.


My perfect holiday: Getting a tan at a private beach with an amazing view. I'm also looking forward to my caravan tour around Europe with my husband and a few professional rock climbers. That plan is on hold for now due to my hectic schedule.

My perfect cheat day: Sharing savoury meals and desserts with friends over a good movie or conversation!

My perfect night out: Catching up with my mates over drinks.

Follow Nana Al Haleq on Facebook and Instagram.


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