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Selma Cook



Hameed SahraouiHameed Sahraoui was raised in the countryside in Essex, UK. Growing up in the country, he enjoyed the fields around his house, and used to ride bikes, make dens, and climb trees. He went to London in his late teens to become a free lance personal trainer. Now he works in a gym in an affluent area in the city. He has been working professionally in this field for ten years.


He has trained at a number of organizations that deal with training professionals for the health and fitness industry. Sahraoui comments, “Among other things, these places give you skills and knowledge of anatomy. When you have been trained you register with the Register of Exercise Professionals which is the governing body in the UK. I have a certificate from there.” Sahraoui has always been interested in fitness. “One of my uncles was an acrobat and joined the circus when he was fourteen. He became an inspiration to me and I was always into sport, karate, and athletics.”


Becoming a Fitness Trainer

Young people who would like to become a fitness trainer need to be passionate about being active and looking after their body. Sahraoui remarks, “They must know how the body works and this comes when you start your training with an accredited organization. During training, you will learn about the importance of nutrition and diet.” Sahraoui believes that in terms of people attaining their health and fitness goals, nutrition is 70 percent. He notes, “If you eat well and eat healthy food you will get closer to your goal whether it is to lose weight, put muscle mass, or get fit.”


Fitness Is Not Just the Body

If a person wants to get into the fitness field, he or she must realize that it is not just about the body; it is also the mind and the emotions. Sahraoui always emphasizes the mind-body balance. He believes, “Until someone’s ‘should’ becomes a ‘must’ they will not do what they need to do in order to achieve their goal. A person has to go to the gym and follow a nutrition plan to achieve his goal. It starts in the mind. That is where you get the leverage to move and attain the goal. If you think positively and are committed it will make doing what you have to do easier.”


Fitness Trainer and Counselor

A fitness trainer helps people turn their lives around. Much of their work involves a form of counseling. Sahraoui observes, “I have always been interested in counseling, and being a life coach. I have read a lot of books and attended seminars and classes about this. Clients often tell me that I should get into this more because they think I relate well with people.” Being a fitness trainer is about people’s minds and helping them to make the necessary adjustments to attain their goals and achieve their potential. A fitness trainer must have a caring heart and be able to empathize with others. Sahraoui notes, “If you do not have a caring heart people will not bother with you and will look for someone else who makes them feel good and more hopeful.”


Many Skills

Sahraoui uses yoga, a variety of breathing techniques, tai chi and others and mixes these techniques according to people’s needs. He is a yoga instructor, and a karate instructor among others, and uses any of these techniques to help people tone their body and get fit. Everyone needs to have a tailor-made program made just for them. “The beauty of being a personal trainer is that you have the knowledge and understanding to make personalized programs to suit people’s needs,” he says. The trainer looks at the client according to genetics, body type, capability, fitness status and so on. There are many aspects to look at. Taking all these things into consideration, the trainer then designs a routine and program for that person. “What works for one person will not necessarily work for someone else,” says Sahraoui.


Muslim Community and Fitness

esperanceSahraoui believes that the Muslim community in London is not really fit. He observes, “I mix with a lot of Asians and I see that their diet is not the best when it comes to reaching the goals most people have, like weight loss. Some of my clients are overweight or even obese. They eat a lot of starchy carbohydrates and oily foods.” He designs the training according to nutrition, de-stress and physical exercise. People often get pressure from family to over eat and this makes it difficult for them to lose weight and get fit. “…but like I say, until their ‘should’ becomes a ‘must’, they will not attain their goals. They have to be able to tell their family that they can not eat this type of food,” says Sahraoui. People have to know the effects of the food they eat on their body. They must be aware of the type of food they eat, when they eat it and how much they eat. It is better to eat little and often. Sahraoui notes, “Have a big breakfast, a sensible dinner and a light supper. But this often goes out the window because of our busy lifestyles. People take sugar or coffee to stimulate them and keep them going in the mornings when they are busy. Then when they get home they are hungry and they over eat. So the problem is having a huge calorie intake at the wrong time of day and the body stores the unused energy as fat.” People need to be educated on the affects of food.


A Model for Fitness

“I work mainly with business people and I have designed a model,” says Sahraoui. “This model is based on a triangle. The First point of the triangle is exercise and that has three branches: resistance, cardio and flexibility training. Next, is nutrition which includes metabolic typing, ‘eat more to weigh less’, and the effects of food and hydration. The last point is de-stress and it branches into areas like having more time to relax, and restoring the acid alkaline balance in the body. It also includes detoxing the body,” says Sahraoui. This is called the ‘END’ (E for exercise, N for nutrition and D for de-stress) model and it is designed to help people achieve optimum health and sustained body-fat loss.


One of Sahraoui’s goals is to take his health and fitness education to Morocco. His visits there have proved to him that there is a lot of misunderstanding about health and nutrition. “The people eat too much sugar and coffee. All their social encounters are based on consuming unhealthy food and drinks. I want to help them to become healthier and increase longevity, says Sahraoui.” With the extent of his determination and ability to work hard, it is very likely that he will achieve yet another goal.

(This article was first published on www.islamonline.net)

Muslims making
a Difference