When we think of fitness our minds picture bulky muscles and rich, glamorous celebs. We think it requires a special breed of people or something extraordinary which we don’t have. When it comes to fitness, we think that we are not fit to be fit. Actually, fitness is not just about growing muscles, it is overall well-being. As I always say, “A fit body is a vessel that can accommodate mental and spiritual success.” Indeed, a healthy body is a sign of a healthier consciousness and mental strength both of which build the ideal Muslim/Muslimah. Nevertheless, Ramadan is the time to get started on this journey and make the changes needed.
So what’s your Ramadan Resolution? Building a better version of yourself?
Fitness includes the areas of physical well-being as well as mental and spiritual well-being. Physical well-being can be achieved by knowledge of the following:
- Proper nutrition,
- Performance of regular proper exercise,
- Sleep and rest.
Let me tell you this, fitness is 50% in the kitchen and 40% with exercise – and somewhere in between is the rest and sleep. I have seen a countless number of people who slave away at the gym but ignore eating habits and can be classified as nocturnal. If you are skipping on sleep then you better restructure your weekly schedule!
My golden rule of fitness is: slim is not necessarily always healthy. YOUR GOAL IS TO BE STRONG. And in the process of being strong, you will lose unwanted body fat, tone your muscles and be in the best shape of your life. So don’t always focus on the number on the weight machine rather stand in front of the mirror and evaluate your aesthetic needs. Keeping this in mind, remember that muscle weighs more than fat. As you start working out you will lose fat but gain muscle and in the end perhaps weigh the same or more than when you started. Your goal is to look great, feel great and have a great healthy lifestyle.
NUTRITION – YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
So what does our body actually need and how much of it is required? Your body basically needs two types of nutrients namely Macronutrients and Micronutrients. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Here’s a simple chart that puts it all together.
Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts.
|Protein||Carbohydrates||Fats / Lipids|
|What is it?||Proteins are the building blocks of your body. Everything is made of protein, the lack of which leads to disease, growth failure, muscle loss and all kinds of metabolic illnesses||Carbohydrates – basically your energy source – provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity.||Fats/Lipids are high-density energy source needed to dissolve some vitamins, needed during body repair and overall organ function.|
|Where is it found?||Protein comes from animal products and a few from vegetables.||Carbohydrates are found in a wide array of both healthy foods such as brown rice, flour,noodles,daal,vegies||Mostly Animal and vegetable products.|
|How much do you need?||.6 grams per pound
Example : if you weigh 160 pounds then your protein need is 96 grams of protein
|Keep this equal to or less than your protein intake. Never eat more carbs than protein.||Minimum amount of animal fat.|
|Tips:||Focus on getting your protein from meats and fish and eggs.||The healthiest sources of carbohydrates are unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. Stay away from processed foods.||Focus on getting fats from natural sources such as beef, fish fats, butter, nuts|
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that are essential to our health, development, and growth.
|70% of your body is water. Switch all your drinks for plain water. No more soft drinks and sugary fruit juices.||Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be broken down into sugar molecules and instead it passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.|
|Eat more raw vegetables, oatmeal, isabgul, chia seeds.|
COUNT YOUR CALS
Over the past few decades, weight loss has been a multibillion-dollar industry advocating ridiculous diets which never really make it easy for a busy lifestyle like you and me. Instead of expensive pills and potions and herbal tea’s I demand knowledge and understanding of natural and healthy lifestyles! The latest popular instruction is to eat small but frequent meals throughout the day. This is the new fashion that wants you to believe that eating small meals throughout the day is the key to weight loss. Do you have time to make 6 meals and carry around your food bag? Research has proven this wrong and has been called out by researchers, who say it does not boost metabolism or encourage weight loss. In fact, the research – presented today at the Society for Endocrinology annual BES conference – suggests counting calories is all that really matters when it comes to losing weight. But don’t be scared as this isn’t risky business at all. Thanks to the worldwide wide web, nutrition information is at your fingertips. Count the calories of all your foods by measuring your portions. In my house, I have a small food scale and weigh up each meal so I know exactly how much I eat (a matter of a few seconds), and then look up the calorie content.
How many calories do you really need?
Take your weight in pounds and multiply by 10. That is, the amount of calories you need to maintain your current body weight. To lose weight eat 300-500 calories less than that. The trick is to eat more protein and fiber to keep you feeling full.
IT’S NOT A DIET BUT THE LIFESTYLE THAT MATTERS
Living healthy, clean and fit isn’t a short-term diet plan. Rather it is a lifestyle. It is how you choose to live your life. you will not achieve this if you aren’t serious. It takes dedication to reach your fitness goals. Do not feel demotivated, rather think of it as a new milestone, a new goal. Greatness isn’t achieved halfheartedly. The ideal Muslim is strong in all dimensions: physical strength, mental strength and spiritual strength. As I have learned from my greatest mentor, be a better version of yourself.
About the Author
Marina WonderMama Farook is a nature loving hippie, she believes in creating sisterhood through health and spreading knowledge. Her hobbies include eating, lifting heavy objects, reading and craving donuts all day. Alhamdulillah, Allah gave her the opportunity to help people through her passion for nutrition and holistic healing. Follow her on Instagram.