Ramadan for a fitness instructor is no different to anyone else’s. There are no exceptions for Muslims who have an active career and seek out to maintain it throughout the year. This year was the first year I am fasting as a mother of a 15-month old and a fitness instructor combined. That sounds exhausting already!
Despite the fears I had about my ability to teach, train and take care of my family, Ramadan has turned out to be one of the most productive and inspiring times of my year. Prior to fitness, I worked in the media and had a desk job in Foreign News.
Motherhood dramatically changed me and forced me to answer some tough questions about my life. Was this what I really wanted?
The nagging voice I had inside of me turned into a fierce push to change careers. Six months in, I quit my job and decided to dedicate my life to my passion; fitness! Given balancing a career in fitness and motherhood is a juggling act on its own, I wondered how Ramadan would work out! I decided to take the month head on and make it sustainable. I cut dowhttps://shop.amaliah.com/wp/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=24919&type=image&TB_iframe=1n my teaching hours to three classes a week (from five to six), and I made some goals for myself. On my list of goals for the month was to develop an online health challenge group, to pass two training exams, cook and eat well, sleep for at least five hours a night and get my spiritual time with my Lord. That’s a mouthful in itself!
I knew that I needed to be brutally honest about what I would achieve in Ramadan.
That for me, working within my limitations. Aside from teaching Pilates to women and practicing myself, I had no time to spend hours at the gym. I also was not able to attend Islamic centres and communities in the evenings as I had a baby to attend to. I was not able to spend long hours in the evening connecting with loads of individuals online or at centres. The thought of what I couldn’t do drove me insane!
I then decided to focus on what was POSSIBLE.
The development of my online health challenge group was a way of focusing my energy and expertise in small chunks. What started as a friendly group turned out to be a transformative experience. I started offering free live online workouts to encourage women to stay active during the day. I then started posting recipes, hadeeth, and daily bite-sized challenges to keep these women STRONG. Despite the busy activity of this group, I still found time to study for exams, teach Pilates three times a week and get my daily run-around with my son.
When we start to focus on what we can do, as opposed to what seems too difficult, our lives have the potential to dramatically change.
By offering fitness advice and expertise in a small and manageable way, I developed a physical and mental strength I didn’t think I had. And once the wheels were set in motion, and my calendar was filled with small actions to stay active and help other women, I had to show up and commit to them.
The body is a tool and the mind is the engine behind it.
When we start to shift our thinking from what we can’t do i.e. workout in Ramadan to what we can do i.e. move for ten to fifteen minutes a day, we are already on the road to success. My advice would be to build in small pockets of time and have one (manageable) goal. Show up, and you will be on fire!
To join my Ramadan Health Challenge group, join me on Facebook!
Zahra Khimji is a Level 3 Pilates Instructor associated with Body Control Association, Europe’s largest network of Pilates instructors and is also a Les Mills UK Body Balance Instructor. She is currently training to be a Level 3 Personal Trainer and has a passion for helping women achieve greater wellbeing. You can reach her on Instagram or Facebook.