“The women during the time of the Prophet (saw) didn’t have group exercise classes”

The women during the time of the prophet lived in a different time than we do. They kneaded their own bread, carried water from wells, even walked outside their houses in secluded areas to relieve themselves. Today our bathrooms are 30 feet away, sometimes closer. Our breads are bought from stores which we drive to and our water flows from the faucet with just a turn of a handle.

I think it’s safe to say that the women during the time of the prophet lived very active lifestyles. Our need to exercise is a necessary “evil” as a result on our own doing. As a result of our attempt to become “more civilized” we have created lives based on convenience. These lives has caused is to use more brain power and less muscle power. It is this physical inactivity that has resulted in us holding on the fat that would and should otherwise be burned off with daily activity.

So in the fit Muslimah lifestyle plan, we are taking into account where we are today, what lifestyles are like today and how we can use this to our advantage to increase our health and fitness for the purpose of not just looking and feel good but to ultimately serve Allah (swt) and honor his gift of health and body which we has given us.

Our body is a gift from Allah (swt). Our health is a gift from Allah533659_10151604409358662_1055185550_n (swt). It Is our duty to thank him and show gratefulness to him by caring for It. Indeed on the Day of Judgment we will be held accountable for everything including our body. What will we say when Allah (swt) asked us how we cared from the very tool he gave us to worship him. We will only be able to tell the truth. That we did not keep It strong so we could not do all the Ibada that he made available to us.

We will only be able to say that we did not have the energy to get up for salat in the middle of the night because we robbed our bodies of energy by filling it with junk and processed foods. We will only be able to say that we could not remember the Quran or the dua not because we were plagued by old age, but rather because our mind was fogged by the junk that clogged our system.

It is essential that as Muslims we take our Islam seriously. Not just the fact that we pray and wear hijab. Surely Allah does not simply look at our appearance of being Muslim, but rather is a judge of all our actions.

 

Mubarakah Ibrahim is a certified personal trainer, nutrition coach and women’s weight loss expert.  She is the CEO of Fit Muslimah and founder of www.fitmuslimah.com  and creator of The 30 Minute Fat Burn for Busy Women Program.  She has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show “30 Something in America” and honored by President Barack Obama for her contribution to women’s health in America. She is an author, speaker, mom and wife living in New Haven, CT.

Ladies Fitness Extravaganza

Get ready for a day of exciting sports and fitness activities. The Ladies Fitness Extravaganza held at Eden Girls School in Coventry on 21st February, is a unique event created to fund emergency aid to refugees arriving in Greece.

Ladies fitness extravaganzaWomen and girls from Coventry and surrounding areas will have an opportunity to experience a fitness bootcamp, try out zumba, yoga and tabata, play dodgeball and other games. A brilliant way to drive out the winter blues. Healthy refreshments and food will be available throughout the day. Attendees will also receive a free T-shirt and goodie bag.

The event will help Penny Appeal provide support to those fleeing horrible conditions who are in desperate need of help. Refugees arriving in Europe are determined to escape conflict and build brighter futures for their families. Penny Appeal teams are working on the ground in Greece to distribute vital aid direct to refugees arriving by boat.

By attending this day of fitness and sport, not only will you have a lot of fun and go home feeling energised and refreshed, but you will also help aid workers to continue to provide the hot meals, shelter, clothes and hygiene items that refugees desperately need.

For more information or to register for the event, please contact Alycia at malta.amc@gmail.com or phone 07476934749.

Keeping Fit Without Compromising Modesty

AM Active by Greg Goodale_93-EditIt seems that hardly any of us are as fit as we should be, these days. Islam encourages a healthy approach to all aspects of life spiritual, mental and physical so it’s entirely permissible for women to exercise; the problem is that many Muslim women feel uncomfortable exercising in public. Western sportswear is often quite revealing, and some sporting activities can feel like a threat to modesty.

Not so long ago, I went to a gym and saw a woman trying to work out in a full Sawar Kamez. While I could sympathize, and knew exactly why she was doing it–she wanted to get fit, without compromising her religion–I could also see how dangerous what she was doing was. What if some of the loose fabric caught in the mechanisms of the machines she was using? She could have had a terrible accident. It got me to thinking about how Muslim ladies could stay healthy without worrying about either exposing themselves, or injuring themselves.

Four Ways of Keep Fit without Compromising Modesty

1. Ask at your local gym if they have any ladies only sessions. Most will.  There’s a big market for all female exercise classes, whether swimming, aerobics, spin classes, or simply using the gym equipment. If your local gym doesn’t offer anything, why not get a group of friends together and suggest that they do? Most businesses are keen to attract new customers, so you could be helping them out too.

2. Try exercising outdoors. You don’t necessarily need to go to a gym to get fit; a good walk or a jog can be a brilliant way to get your heart beating and your muscles working. If you have kids, pushing a pram up a hill is almost as good a gym session!

AM Active by Greg Goodale_100-Edit3. Find some modest sportswear. I had great difficulty doing this, so I made my own! OK, so not everyone can just go out and produce their own line of active clothing; it was something that I’m passionate about, so I spent a lot of time working on the design and it’s finally now gone into production. Anah Maria Active currently offers tracksuits, hijabs and a sports coat, but we’ll soon be launching outdoor kit and swimwear. The trick is to deliver loose-fitting garments that are still comfortable to wear and don’t get in the way of your activities.

4. Try exercising at home. If you’re really uncomfortable exercising in front of others, you could try investing in some home exercise equipment. It’s nowhere near as expensive to buy an exercise bike as it used to be, and you can pick up a balance ball for as little as £10. Anything you can do is better than nothing, so why not just give it a try?

Imam Ali once said, “Better than abundance of wealth is the health of the body.” I agree with that completely. Sure, you can do a lot of things if you’ve got the cash to splash; but you can’t buy good health: that’s something that you have to do for yourself, and trust that Allah will help you.

Checkout the new modest active range from Anah Maria at Anahmaria.com.

RunFit 12 Week Challenge: Men vs. Women

AMRC Group photo

The Atlanta Muslim Running Club (AMRC) is a running club based in Atlanta in the US state of Georgia. It started with few runners getting together to encourage, inspire, and motivate Muslims in the Atlanta area to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

The club is open to both men and women and meets every Sunday morning for a group run. AMRC started with just a few people, but has rapidly grown to 200+ members since the inaugural run last August. Our group runs consists of 3-5 miles, with runners ranging from beginners walking to experts running all the way.

Running gets challenging during the winter season due to the cold mornings. To encourage runners to keep fit during the winter, we started a 12 week RunFit Challenge. To make it more interesting we divided our runners into two teams: men and women. The RunFit Challenge was designed to enable everyone, no matter their fitness level, to take part and complete the challenges. There were three challenges per week: a Social Media, Fitness and Running challenge.

AMRC Social Media ChallengeThe Social Media challenge was to encourage runners to discuss and share information about physical fitness on social media like Facebook. Some examples of a Social Media challenge include posting a picture of their running sneaker one week and then posting their goals another week.

The Fitness challenge consisted of exercises to strengthen the upper body, legs, knees, gluts, etc. which are all needed to keep oneself injury-free whilst running. Some examples of fitness challenges were completing 200 push-ups, planking for a total of 10 minutes for the week, and 3 sets of 20 lunges twice a week.

AMRC Group photo

The Running challenges consisted of running a few miles at the beginning of our RunFit Challenge to running 10 miles for the week with the goal of completing a non-stop 5k by the end of 12 weeks. We also gave bonus points for attending our weekly Sunday morning group run and participating running events such as a 5K or 10K.

The team with the highest points after 12 weeks would win the RunFit challenge with the bragging rights of being better than the other gender. Our 12 week RunFit challenge recently ended with the Women’s team beating the Men’s team. We had 58 members participating and now they are eager to start another challenge.

The 12 week RunFit challenge was competitive and fun at the same time. In the course of 12 weeks many have joined AMRC who never ran before and now they love to run and meetup for our weekly Sunday group run. They feel great after the run, feel more energetic, and many accomplished their long time goal of completing a race. We had members come out and join group run in mid-30 degree weather just so they can gain points for their team.

The AMRC goal is to get more Muslims into physical fitness so we can live better and healthier, inshallah. To find out more about AMRC or to find out how you could start a similar group in your area, please visit our Facebook page.

 

From D- to A+: One Running Girl’s Journey

This is a guest post by Kanza…small reflections on her big journey from mattress to marathon!

“I can’t run…you’re so committed and good at it and I can barely walk a kilometer without wanting to collapse…”

These were the words uttered by a friend when I asked her to consider joining me in a 5k race for fun awhile back. At the time we both chuckled and then the conversation moved on…but later that night I sat down and reflected on her words and suddenly the enormity of my own running journey hit me.

I am Kanza and I have run fifteen 10k races, have two 8.5mile race medals and am currently training for my very first half marathon in Birmingham this October in which I will be raising money for Islamic Relief’s #Running4Gaza campaign Inshallah. I also ran over 15km last night…for fun…and will soon be training with the Birchfield Harriers in Birmingham (the same team that Olympic gold medalist, Denise Lewis trained with).

But wait!! Before you decide to stop reading…let me tell you more about the real me….

I am also the same Kanza, the girl whose school report for PE, year on year, recorded an A- for effort but a D+ for physical skill. In a nutshell I was keen on sports and running but the teachers also knew I was completely and utterly rubbish! Yes I was that girl who wanted to be the committed cross country runner but couldn’t walk a kilometer without wanting to collapse. I was the kid that no one wanted on their team and would inevitably be the last person to be picked for a team simply because the reluctant team captain had no choice! I was the teen, with knock knees who would almost always end up falling over whilst trying to run because her knees were turned inward and would bash against each other and trip her up when attempting to run.

But now fast forward to 15 years later and here I am running for fun, playing sport for fun and somehow along the way I became good at it…at an age where sports people are often considered past their prime!

So how on earth did that happen?

The purpose of this post wasn’t to boast but to share my journey from my mattress to marathon. I hope that my journey encourages others. Many girls out there will probably identify to some extent with the second description of me, but very few will be able to imagine that they too can become the sporty version. But I promise you that Inshallah you can…and here’s just a few tips to get you started:

1. Move your mind

Nope that is not a typo…the biggest hurdle people think they have to overcome when wanting to start running is often considered to be the body but actually the real obstacle is your mind. The little voice that says “No not today it’s cold” or “Maybe I can run tomorrow” – (yes you know which voice I am talking about !) Well that voice needs to be silenced! The best way to do it is to make a firm intention to go out and do that run (even it if just 100 metres or just one lap round your back garden). Stick it in your diary as an appointment and make sure you keep it! Stick post-it notes on the mirror to remind you, alerts on your phone, put your running trainers somewhere visible, etc. All these (not so) subtle cues within your environment will set your mind in gear and prepare it for the physical challenge.

2. Accept you will find it really hard at first

The first time you attempt to run you will probably have grand visions of it feeling easy…but I will be honest with you…it won’t be…you will wobble, you will feel horribly out of breath very quickly, and you will wonder how on earth does a brother like Mo Farah make it look so darn easy? But hey, that’s ok! The first time I tried to run, I honestly barely managed a kilometer before I was sick in the park (classy I know!) But you know what? Even if you only manage 100 metres…that’s more than the person still lying on their mattress! And that my friend…is a small achievement to give you a boost! Which leads me nicely to my next tip…

3. Don’t give up

Yes those first few runs will be hard and you will wonder why on earth you’re putting yourself through it, but have patience and persevere – I promise it gets better! In my own personal experience it took 2 months of running twice a week (Saturday and Sunday) before I managed to see the benefits…my 100 metre runs became 5kms, I had more energy, felt healthier and weirdly, I felt strange if I didn’t go out for a run…we are creatures of habit…as long as we repeat the task a few times, our mind and body expect us to continue. Even if you only run once a week for a couple of hundred metres – keep it up – it is better than nothing!

4. Find a buddy

Running is always easier if you have someone to keep you company…that may be a friend who runs along with you or maybe the dulcet tones of Maher Zain on your ipod as you plod! If none of your friends want to run, then consider joining the park runs or the Great Run training runs in your local park (the latter have female only running groups too which cater for all running speeds). Both of these are free to join and it’s a great opportunity to make new friends and get fit!

5. Chart your progress

Nowadays we all tend to have smart phones…and the great thing is you can use them to help you become fit. There are plenty of running apps (MapMyRun, Nike+Running, Strava etc) you can download to log your progress. Or simply keep a note in your diary of your running achievement…how far you ran, where you ran, how you felt etc. If you are trying to lose weight then make a note of your weight and body size before you start running and chart your monthly progress…charting your progress will be a key step to keeping you motivated and to keep you going.

If like me you’re at a D- in sport…remember it doesn’t have to be that way foreveryou can change it! So there we have it…my first five tips to get you off your mattress and running a marathon (well maybe at least a few metres anyhow!) Practice makes perfect Inshallah! 

Feel free to leave comments about your progress – I would love to know how you all get on! If there are any particular running queries or theories you want to chat about – drop me a message and Inshallah I can try and blog about it for you!

But for now I pray everyone out there has a safe and beautiful running journey of their own – Ameen

Wasalaam

Kanza

Author’s Background

Away from running, in her day job Kanza is a Public Health Specialty Registrar and in her spare time is the Head of Sports and Well-being for the Living Islam Festival 2016. Her #Running4Gaza fundraising page is here: https://birminghamhalfmarathon2015.everydayhero.com/uk/kanza

Making changes

Glad I’m not the only one…

I’m not a health-fanatic, but exercise plays a much bigger part in my life now. That fact that is plays any part is a big deal. I was that kid that would use every excuse in the book to get out of PE and avoided all sports like the plague. It got even worse after high school.

I worked long hours while studying, and ate a lot of crap. I didn’t cook. I heated ready-made (cheap) food. The only exercise I got was carrying books to and from the bus stop.

I travelled Europe and graduated at the heaviest I’ve ever been (somewhere over 80kg here, probably closer to 85kg).

Then all this happened. I felt like my body was falling apart from stress and not being looked after.

I was scared.

So I made small changes. I set myself small goals, and I talked about them on here. My world didn’t change over night, but I started seeing results.

Slowly but surely, my lifestyle changed.
And I started respecting myself again.

There were goals in my life beyond my career!

I started setting my goals higher. I got out, and tried new things…

Running… And Dragonboating… And bootcamp!

Now I’m having personal training sessions, and really enjoying pushing myself in ways I haven’t before.

It sucks that it took something so scary to trigger this kind of behaviour, but I’m glad something did. Here’s to another two years of improvement, progress, and prevention.

Great post: http://peonut.com/2014/03/06/two-years-ago/

5k Training Plan

This Training Plan provided by Cancer Relief’s Race for Life seems like a good place to start: http://raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org/training/5k-training-plans I’m going to give it a go, inshallah.

Top tips for everyone

  • Wear comfy shoes and make sure your feet are well supported.
  • Look the part while training with our range of merchandise.
  • It’s also a good idea to wear a sports bra.
  • If you’re a beginner, increase the time you exercise for gradually.
  • Train with friends and help motivate each other.
  • Whether you walk, run or dance, go at a conversational pace.
  • Remember to warm up and cool down before and after any exercise.
  • It’s important to stay hydrated before, during and after exercise.

With spring around the corner, why not think about walking some or all of the way to work? If the full distance is a bit much, try getting off your bus or train a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way. You could join a running club or even form a walk-to-work group and get your colleagues involved.

And, while we’re there, it looks like I haven’t underestimated the appeal of muddy races: many of their Pretty Muddy races are already full! Subhanullah!

First Steps

I’m not sure that I can really call it training, but at least it was a start (at least I hope it is, and I don’t just relapse into lethargy again after this). My other half had things to do in the house and the kids were playing in the garden, so I decided to set off for a walk – a brisk walk if I could manage to. I really want to start running and I’m thinking of doing the Couch to 5k programme, but that will have to wait for another day. Today I just wanted to get out and walk, which is what I did. And it felt good, my heart pumping hard, my lungs filling up. It was lovely walking amongst the trees, listening to the bird song and smelling the new blossom – and nice to get away from the kids for a little while. Now that I’m home, I can feel it was good exercise – I am still recovering, sweaty, in need of a shower. Yes, I think it was a good start.