Blog notes on “Healthy Fit Ramadan”

Delivered by Sister Reem Khan (Dreem Fitness).
By Aftarah Jahan

Fitness is not about looking a certain way. You have always been beautiful; now you are just deciding to be healthier, stronger, faster and fitter.

Alhamdulillah for everything that happens, it all happens for a reason, Qada wa Qadar. After the COVID-19, things changed, people changed, scenarios changed and for many, mentality towards their own self changed. So why not shift the paradigm of Health and Fitness to a more versatile adaptation of practice in our everyday life?

The topics covered today were:

– Health and wellness

– Self-care

– 5 domains of health

– Fitness in Islam

– Health as an Amanah

– Prophetic fitness

– Fitness in Ramadan

– Detox/ Self Care

– Don’t turn fasting into feasting.

– The Body Energy System

– Best Time to train in Ramadan.

– Nutritional Guidelines for Suhur and Iftar.

What does health and wellness entail?

Wellness is “leading us to Ihsan in all aspects of our lives!” It is basically self-care and five domains of health.

´ Self-care is an act of allowing yourself some “me-time” – take at least 30mins out of your day for the betterment of your health (think health domains!)

– What self-care isn’t: Zoning out in front of the TV or scrolling mindlessly through social media.

Self-care can include:

– Exercise

– Massage

– Reading Quran

– Coffee with a friend.

– Stop the guilt feeling- we as women/mothers often forget to focus on our own selves whilst trying to fulfil the family’s expectation.

Using exercise for self-care is vital as it supplements you with more energy, it reduces anxiety and depression, improves self-esteem and cognitive function, it Improves sleep, mood and relaxation, and the release of endorphins helps to feel happy and less stressed.

5 Domains of health are:

– Physical

– Mental

– Emotional

– Social

– Spiritual

These are all inter-linked and if one element is affected, it affects a fraction of all domains.

Fitness in Islam

As Muslims, we must take care of our spiritual, emotional and physical health. Our bodies, the most complex of machines, are given to us as an amanah (trust) from Allah. We shouldn’t abuse or neglect our bodies, but strive for optimal health.

´ The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

´ “A strong believer is better than a weak believer” (Sahih Muslim)

´ He was referring to strength in character and faith, but also indicating that physical strength (optimum health and fitness) were desirable, provided Allah has given us the ways and means of attaining such strength.

Prophetic Fitness

The Prophet (SAW) said:

“Verily your body has a right over you” (Sahih Bukhari)

The Prophet (SAW) had incredible strength. He would climb up to the Cave of Hira multiple times even before revelation. He would wrestle amongst companions.

Fitness in Ramadan!

Do you think you can maintain your fitness in Ramadan? If your answer is ‘yes’ then you are absolutely correct.

Laziness and sluggishness DO NOT have to be symptoms of short-term abstaining from food! A poor diet lowers your energy levels and makes it difficult to concentrate on dhikr and reciting Quran throughout the day. Without exercise, you feel weak during long Taraweeh prayers!

Detox and self-care

• Ramadan is the perfect opportunity to get your physical health on track.

• Abstaining from food and drinks for 12 hours straight is a perfect natural detox for the body.

• Fasting allows potential for restored insulin sensitivity and nutrient partitioning.

• Your main metabolic fuel source for bodily function during fasting is body fat (basically you become a fat-burning machine!)

• Best time to train in Ramadan is after iftar / dinner.

Don’t Turn fasting into feasting

“The Test of the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, was food and it is your test until the Day of judgement. It used to be said “Whoever takes control of his stomach gets control of all good deeds”. Al Hassan Al Basri.

Overeating or under-eating is never a choice.

A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third for food, one third for drink and one third for air.” [Ibn Majah]

Nutritional Guidelines for Suhoor and Iftaar

Best For suhur, you need a good blend of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats (plus PLENTY OF WATER!) Eating a combination of wholegrain carbohydrates with lean protein and healthy fats for suhur will delay hunger pangs and provide longer sustenance.

Foods to avoid for Suhur:

– High sodium foods

– Sugar and deep-fried foods

– Highly caffeinated food or drinks

Best for Iftaar

At iftaar time, the key is rehydration so stick to the Sunnah: break your fast with dates and water.

Aim to keep dinner light, healthy and proportionate. Dinner should consist of protein-rich foods to counteract lean muscle loss, leafy green vegetables and half a serving of carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Enjoy your Ramadan 2021, In Sha Allah