Getting the Ramadan Beach Bod

From the parched lands of the desert sun to the sleek chic streets of L.A., a new celeb trend, “Ramadaning,” has taken Hollywood by sandstorm. Despite roots steeped in uber complex, très ancient philosophy, this glamz, celeb crazy-craze has become accessible to just about every Tom, Dick and Rubina. The idea is simplicity itself. Consume zero calories and liquids from sunrise to sunset for one month. Sounds a little too good to be true, doesn’t it? That’s because simply cutting out the rama-nom-nom-noms won’t give you that epic Ramadan beach bod. The exercises too!

Similar to Yoga, Ramadaning is accompanied by a series of ancient, ritualized movements and stretches—nourishing both body and mind energies —known as “salahcersizing.” Each salahcersize set consists of standing, bending and kneeling movements that strengthen core muscles. A total of 5 sets are to be performed per day, at specific times, as laid out by the ancient Ramadan manuscripts. You can snag your very own salahcersizing schedule for free at just about any Ramadan wellness studio —no commitment necessary.

The studios, utterly devoid of images, are decorated with Arabic calligraphy instead. This is to specifically discourage salahcersizers from idolizing others and to instead foster a sense of pride in ones own body and appearance. Following tradition, it is furthermore customary to remove ones shoes. This enhances the ambiance making the entire experience almost religious.

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In order to squeeze out maximum gains from the exercises, both ankle and wrist weights can be used to increase resistance. Furthermore, increasing the speed at which you salahcersize also results in greater fat burning and overall faster gains.

Trendy as well as functional, salahcersizing can be performed just about anywhere!

Hashtag: winning!

However, it is often recommended one attend a class, usually held in a Ramadan wellness studio, and led by a trained salahcersizing instructor or “Imam.” While performing the stretches, the Imam engages in spiritual, ritualistic chanting which each individual must repeat silently to themselves. This focuses the minds sahasrara shakras allowing energistic tao to fuel muscle plasticity.

Although salahcersizing is fairly low maintenance in terms of equipment needed, specialized Nike Performance salahcersizing mats made out of perforated foam can be purchased for only $67.76. However more authentic, customized mats can also be purchased inside practically any Ramadaning wellness studio. Other available accessories include: salahcersizing alarm clocks, instructional CDs & DVDs for home workouts, sweet bling with different ancient Ramadan symbols, and authentic Ramadan art to hang in your home for good luck and maximum motivation.

Not salahcercizing but close enough.

In order to gain more info into this trendy new diet-workout combo, yours truly landed an interview with a Ramadaning guru whose family has been practicing this noble tradition for like a bajillion generations: Imam Ali Mubarak!

With his long, flowing, gandolfesque, white beard, and modest lilac-tinted Ramadan robes, Imam Mubarak personifies, visually, what we naturally assume to be a Ramadaning grand master.  Greeting him, I gently clasped my hands together as though in prayer, bowing forward, carefully vocalizing my practiced, “Namaste.” His aura filled the room and I sensed, between the two of us, a kindred spiritual bond. A faint smile— a ghost of a grin —slipped across his face; I took it as a clear yet subtle acknowledgement of my level IV Ramadaning mastery.

Imam Mubarak explained that the “dieting” portion of Ramadaning traditionally extends to restricting sexual relations (yes, even blowies), unnecessary aggression, deception and generally being a hater. When scrutinized further, however, the Imam capitulated and acknowledged that abstaining from these acts would not increase core muscle strength or decrease ones body fat percentage— hashtag: fail. Imam Mubarak further displayed the quaint, antiquated nature of his traditionalist approach when he admitted that salahcersizing or, “salah,” as he calls it, is not meant to be performed with added weights or excessive physical vigor.

While he acknowledged that physical health was important, he stressed instead a need to concentrate on the ritualized chanting and ancient scripture upon which it is based, to appease a deity he calls, “Allah.”

The Imam’s noble ancient ways seem pretty unlikely to get you those tanned, herculean marble abs. In a world where we collectively seem to be losing touch with our innate, spiritual essence, however, it heartens me to know that our modern-day practices are steeped in thousands of years of wisdom and philosophy. Not only have we preserved the treasures of the past, we have distilled them, combined them, and extracted their essence making them purely useful while tossing away the unnecessary.

So, this month why not sculpt your ideal bod and gain culture to boot? The secret power of Ramadaning is no longer the property of Middle Eastern gurus or Hollywood elites. You now have the power to break free and fast yourself sexy! But just remember, Ramadan isn’t purely about getting ripped. Let the spirituality of this ancient tradition enter your heart.


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  • About the autor
    Billal Ali

    Billal Ali is a Toronto based freelance journalist and satirist currently attending University of Toronto. He writes about South Asian culture, Islam and progressive social politics. You can follow him @iambillal.

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