Jeri Villareal: The Hijabi Iron Woman

Jeri Villareal is a modest and committed triathlete from St. Louis, Missouri. Working in the Information Technology Service Lead, this incredible 41 year-old mother is also an urban farmer. Her races usually include three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines which are swimming, cycling and running or better known as triathlon.

Nashata team regularly received Jeri’s pictures on Instagram account, @nashatadotcom wearing Hooda Sports Hijab while competing in her triathlon events. After following her account @modestlytri.ing for some time we knew that she is one of the amazing sportswomen that could inspire people to live with passion. Let’s follow our interview to learn more about Jeri’s incredible journey.

N: Nashata
J: Jeri

“I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years.”

N: Do you remember your first triathlon? Tell us how you became a triathlete.
J: My very first triathlon was a small local race. It consisted of a 300 yard pool swim, 20 mile bike and 4 mile run. My swim was somewhat slow but steady but I got on my bike and was able to pass a couple of people. Unfortunately, I missed the turn off and ended riding an additional 4 miles. I was so upset but ended up continuing on to the run and finish last. I learned to always review the course before the race. There is nothing worse than getting lost during a competition.

N: What inspires you to become a triathlete?
J: I first started running. Running was something that I never thought I would be any good at. However, I used it as a way to ward off depression that developed for me in the short days of the winter months. Running outside made me happy and in the cool months, my hijab was comfortable. It was a great fit. I found that the more I ran, the better I became and I progressed from running in my neighbourhood, to running a 5K then 10K and half marathons. One day a friend of my family asked me if I had ever considered triathlon. I told her I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years. However she told me that if she could compete at age 60, surely I could compete. I took up the challenge and learned to ride a bike and worked on my swim stroke. 7 months later, I competed in my first triathlon.

N: Where do you usually train?
J: I train at my local gym and also I created a workout room in my basement so there is no excuse for missing my training. I have a treadmill, a bike trainer, rowing machine, resistance bands and weights.

N: Did you have a coach when you first participate in your first triathlon event?
J: At the time of my first event. I did not have a coach. However, I did get a coach soon afterwards.

N: How different is it to train by yourself and with a coach for the event?
J: It is so helpful to train with a coach because they can see the small things that you do that could cause injury or they can make changes to your form so that you are more effective. Also they can give you specific exercises or workout to help improve your particular limitation to help your reach your personal goals quickly.

N: Which is the hardest part of triathlon?
J: For me, it’s open water swim. Especially in a lake. It make me a bit anxious when all I see is darkness in the water. I learned to overcome that fear by swimming in the pool with my eyes closed and only open my eyes when taking a breath. That exercise helps me relax once I get into the murky waters of a lake.

N: How do you tackled getting out of a wetsuit quickly? Is it an issue for a hijabis triathlete?
J: While many triathlons have “wetsuit strippers”, kind volunteers that will assist you in getting out of your wetsuit quickly. I avoid their help with the wetsuit. Their good intentions could result in uncovering more than of your body than you would want. I use a two-piece wetsuit consisting of pants with bibs and then a wetsuit top that goes over that. When I was exiting the water, I can unzip and remove the top without concern of revealing anything and I take the bib straps off of my shoulders. By the time I get to transition, I just have to roll down the pants and slip them over my feet. To me, the two-piece wetsuit is not only easy to get in and out of, it also is less constricting over your chest which can be helpful for those that feel chest constriction with traditional wetsuits.

“The hijab that has truly given me so much freedom in my life.”

N: As a Muslim triathlete who wears a hijab, have you ever experienced bitter moments where people would be prejudice about your religion? Do share your story with us.
J: The triathlon community is a very kind one in general. However I think a very well-meaning woman made a comment that she has seen me at several triathlons and she always “felt sorry for me” because I seems so uncomfortable. I didn’t even know how to respond. The last thing I expected was anyone to pity me for the chose that I made as a Muslim woman to wear hijab. The hijab that has truly given me so much freedom in my life. The comment sat with me for a long time and it really did affect me. I feel sorry for her that she didn’t understand the beauty of hijab.

“A quick conversation upfront can keep you from having a frustrating conversation with race officials on race day.”

N: What is your advice to the other Muslim women who are participating in triathlon event?
J: Speak to the race director to ensure that they are aware that will be competing fully covered. There are sometimes rules about how much of your body you can cover. A quick conversation upfront can keep you from having a frustrating conversation with race officials on race day. You do not need to ask “permission” to practice your religion. This conversation is simply to educate those that may not understand why they can’t write your race number on your leg or your arm. Or why you must cover your legs and arms during the swim when wetsuits are not allowed.

N: When is your upcoming event?
A: I just finished Ironman Cartagena 70.3 on December 3rd. That was my last event of the year. In 2018, I look forward to the local St. Louis Triathlon Olympic distance occurring in May. Later in the summer there is Ironman Steelhead 70.3 and Ironman Brazil 70.3

N: How is your diet like today? Was it different with what you usually have before being a triathlete?
J: Today I follow a fairly paleo diet. I enjoy eating lots of vegetables, some low-sugar fruits, meats and healthy fats but only consume ancient and sprouted grains sparingly me. Sweets are my weakness and I avoid sugar while training for a race. I usually tighten my diet 8 weeks from race day. Before becoming a triathlete I ate so much sugar. It was in everything and I didn’t even realize it. I was always a lover of green leafy vegetables though.

N: Describe the training process for a triathlon. How did you prepare–both mentally and physically?
J: Training for a triathlon means training for 3 sports. Additionally, as an athlete over 40 years old, it is vital to incorporate recovery into my schedule. I have 2-3 weekly swim workouts, 2-3 run workouts and 2-3 bike workouts. One of the workout will be either a speed or strength building workout like hill training or interval speed work. Also one of the workout will be endurance-based like a long run (5+ miles), a long bike (20+ miles) or a straight swim (2,000+ yards). I also do yoga twice per week for recovery and weight training twice per week.
During a heavy training load, 10 hours or more a week, I tend to get deep tissue massages. I also have tried alternative recovery techniques to combat inflammation such as cryotherapy and relaxing in an infrared sauna.

“I wear my Nashata Hooda Sports hijab while biking and running. It is thin and lightweight while keeping me dry.”

N: What do you wear for your triathlon event? Do you prepare specific sports gear for each of the activities?
J: I wear what is called a triathlon kit, which is a one-piece outfit with short-sleeves and shorts. The bottom of this kit includes a thin, waterproof pad for additional comfort on the bike. Under the kit, I have leg coolers and Nashata arm coolers. Each piece is designed for air-flow and a cooling effect. These extra pieces also provide coverage for modesty as well. Outside of the water, I put on a skirt for additional modesty while biking and running.
In the water, I wear polarized, prescription goggles. My vision is poor and these goggles are a lifesaver. While they come in clear and smoke lenses, the smoke lenses are my choice because they keep the sun and glare out my eyes when swimming.
I have bike shoes that have cleats on the bottom to connect my feet to my special bicycle pedals. This allows me to apply for force at a faster rate without fear that my feet will fly off of the pedals. My bike helmet is an extremely lightweight, aerodynamic helmet which is designed for speed and performance.
I wear my Nashata Hooda Sports hijab while biking and running. It is thin and lightweight while keeping me dry. The airflow is perfect for me on the bike because I am usually still wet from the swim.

N: We’ve seen you wearing Hooda Sports Hijab in your Instagram posts. Tell us your favourite Nashata wear.
A: Just one? Honestly, I love all of the options that Nashata provides! However I think Hooda is my favorite because of its practicality. It is also lightweight, quick-drying and provides wonderful airflow. These are all things that are vital to making a triathlete comfortable.

“In Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina, you can practice bike skills such as climbing and descending on the bike.”

N: Where would you suggest new triathletes to go for a practice in The United States? Tell us the nicest spots you’ve ever been to.
A: There are so many options for practicing and building your skills in many areas of the United States. In Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina, you can practice bike skills such as climbing and descending on the bike. This is usually a skill that is built with a lot of practice. The locations have long inclines for triathletes to build their climbing endurance. In Florida, there is an immersive swimming technique class for triathletes that can get them ready for open water swim by practicing certain techniques in the pool. Areas like southern Texas, Florida and California are great locations for triathletes in the rest of the country to practice in the very late or early season due to their mild winters. When it’s snowing in December in Missouri, I can swim outdoors in Orlando, Florida.

“I tried to leave every Colombian I met with a good impression of Muslims, Islam and Muslim women in sports.”

N: Have you ever participated a triathlon in a different country? What was it like?
A: December 3rd, I travelled to Cartagena, Colombia to compete in a Half Ironman. The experience was absolutely amazing. Arriving in the country I immediately noticed that people were very curious about me. They took photos of me and requested that I be in photos with them. The children that watched the race were very fascinated with me and called out to me specifically to cheer me on and told me that they loved me and referred to me as “Aunty”. As a Muslim woman competing in hijab in a foreign and predominantly Christian country, I know I am an ambassador for all Muslims whether I want to be or not. It is an honour that I take very seriously and I tried to leave every Colombian I met with a good impression of Muslims, Islam and Muslim women in sports.

N: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about triathlon?
J: The challenge of triathlon is so great. I enjoy that fact that there are so many facets to the race. You can have an excellent swim and a difficult bike and turn everything around while running. There are people that are good at all three sports or some that find they excel in one particular sport over the other two. Regardless of your level of skill you will never participate in a triathlon and not hear a perfect stranger cheer for you and say encouraging words. When triathletes see someone struggling, that is they cheer for them the loudest. This sport is kind.

N: What is your advice to the new triathletes?
J: Remember that you don’t have to be better than anyone on the course, just be the best version of yourself. Be better than yesterday and keep moving forward.

N: What do you wish for in the future?
J: I would like to work on improving my swim and run times and work on my climbing skills. I believe I can be a better version of myself and look forward to seeing her very soon.

N: We wish you the best of luck in life! Thank you so much for agreeing to do the interview with us. We gained a lot of information from your wonderful experiences.
J: Thank you so much!

Sometimes we are too busy competing with other people that we overlook what’s truly important, to be the best version of ourselves. Be better than yesterday and keep moving forward. Thank you Jeri for the wonderful reminder!

A Guide to Hooda Sports Hijab

Are you having trouble with your hijab flipping out of your way when you’re doing extreme sports like kickboxing, playing volleyball, basketball, cycling or just simply running? Isn’t it irritating and slightly cringey when your hijab flips thus exposing your aurah when you do the killer jump to slamdunk that basketball? Well say no more because Hooda Hijab is the solution for you!
However, we have been receiving many questions about Hooda Hijabs from our customers.

” Why are there so many types of Hooda Hijabs here? Which one should I buy? What are the differences between Hooda Ellipse, Hooda Sports and Hooda Racerback? Can this be used for swimming? “

Therefore, on this episode of our blog content we are portraying the differences of these three versatile Hooda Hijabs which are Hooda Ellipse, Hooda Sports and Hooda Racerback Hijab to help you choose which one suits you best.


Nura Arabi modelling the Hooda Ellipse sports hijab.


The Hooda Sports in elegant black.


The Racerback limited edition in hot pink.

Types and Use of Hooda Ellipse, Hooda Hijab and Hooda Racerback. (Please click on the image to zoom in.)

Do take note on the remarks to avoid confusion.

If you are more of a visual learner, here’s a video about the types and use of the three Hooda Hijabs.
Nashata Hooda Sports Hijab : Types & Use

Hope this episode clears away the confusion and helps you to choose the best outfit for your daily activity. Stay healthy and keep active!

The Un-flippable + Zipper Pocket Sports Hijab For ?? Runners & ??Cyclists

Nashata Hooda Sports Hijab was designed to help ladies in hijab to keep their chest and hair covered at all times when they yoga, jump, back-bend, run and cycle.  Released in March 2016, the Hooda Sports Hijab would stay secure when the wind blows, when you bend forward or backwards or perform any movement in the gym.

Now, we have the Hooda Racerback, specially designed for runners and cyclists. It is simplified – to give you more freedom and boost your fitness potential. It also has a hidden small pocket in the front. Watch the video to find out.

Here are the 4 reasons why the Hooda Racerback is THE sports hijab for runners & cyclists.

1. Trimmed Shoulder
The hooda racerback is more neat on the shoulder, making it ideal and simplified for runners and cyclists who are looking for performance sports hijab.

Hooda Racerback Grey

Hooda Racerback Grey

2. Racerback Simplified Design
The design uses lesser fabric on the back. It is lighter and allows more breath-ability on the back.

Nashata Hooda Racerback for the Malaysia Women Marathon 2017

Nashata Hooda Racerback Grey and Limited Edition for the Malaysia Women Marathon 2017

3. Hidden Pocket with a Zip 
You can keep small items like your locker or car key in this pocket securely. It is nicely hidden in the front of the hijab so that you can easily access your items. Watch the video for more info

Zipper Pocket hidden in the inside part of the Sports Hijab

Hidden Zipper Pocket in the inside part of the Sports Hijab

What does a hijabi Marathon runner say about the Hooda Racerback?

What does a hijabi Marathon runner say about the Hooda Racerback?

4. More Size, More Options, Fits All Body Types
We have all sizes to suit ladies who are short, tall, petite and large. The hooda racerback suits all body types and the largest size available is 3XL.

Nashata Hooda Racerback Sizechart

Nashata Hooda Racerback Sizechart

With more freedom and lesser weight, you’d just go faster and further. Here’s how it looks like when you run in the Hooda Racerback.

More colors coming soon as the Hooda Racerback moves so fast that we are almost out of the first color in less than a month.

Oh ya, it is only RM89/SG30/USD25 and shipping is free within Malaysia and RM35/SG11 within South East Asia. We ship worldwide for reasonable flat rates.

So enjoy your run and cycle!

11 Young Egyptian Hijabi Olympians at Rio 2016

As of Day 9, Egypt has bagged 2 bronze medals at Rio 2016.

After 104 years participation at the Olympics, Egypt has its first women to win an Olympic medal. Sara Ahmed, a young and strong 18 years old won the bronze medal for 69 kg category after lifting combined weight of 255 kg.

The Arab Republic of Egypt is a modern Islamic country, with a population of 91.4 mil, 90% of which is Muslim. Their first participation in the Olympics was in 1912, and at Rio 2016, they sent 119 athletes to compete in 22 games. Thirty seven (37) of them are female of which eleven (11) are hijabi or competing in modest attires. These eleven ladies compete in wrestling, taekwondo, shooting, beach volleyball, archery, athletics and weightlifting.

Here are the 11 ladies :

1. Sara Ahmed, Weightlifting

Sara became the first Arab woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal. She won the third place for women’s 69 kg, recording a combined weight of 255 kg

Sara Ahmed won bronze medal at the Rio 2016

Sara Ahmed, at 18,  won bronze medal at the Rio 2016

2. Doaa Elghobashy, Beach Volleyball

Doaa and partner Nada are in a stereotype game, where participants usually compete in bikinis. They have gotten many heads turned to their sides despite being all-covered.

DOAA ELGHOBASHY

Doaa is only 19. Let’s hope we see her again in Tokyo 2020

3. Nada Meawad, Beach Volleyball

Nada and Doaa played three games in round one to give them exposure of the games. Nada is only 18. They played against the German, Italy and Canada teams at Rio 2016.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09: Nada Meawad (L) and Doaa Elghobashy of Egypt looks on during the Women's Beach Volleyball Preliminary Pool A match against Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Beach Volleyball Arena on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 09: Nada Meawad (L) and Doaa Elghobashy of Egypt looks on during the Women’s Beach Volleyball Preliminary Pool A match against Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Beach Volleyball Arena on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

4. Fatma El Sharnouby, Athletics

Fatma runs the 800 meters at Rio 2016. Her personal best time is 2:18.19 in April 2016. Young at 19, Fatma has a lot of room to learn from great athletes and runners at the Olympics.

Fatma while racing at the World Cross Country Meet, March 2015

Fatma while racing at the World Cross Country Meet, March 2015

5. Shimaa Hashad, Shooting

Shima is not new in the shooting scene. Rio 2016 is her third time partcipating at the Olympics, first in 2004. She competed for women’s 10m air rifle and ranked 27 out of 51 contestants.

Shimaa Hashad is ranked 27 at Rio 2016

Shimaa Hashad, 35,  is ranked 27 at Rio 2016

6. Hadir Mekhimar, Shooting

Young and new in the shooting scene, Hadir is ranked 47 at Rio 2016. She won the gold medal at the Summer Youth Olympics in China at age 16.

Hadir Mekhimar the young Olympian shooter

Hadir Mekhimar the young Olympian shooter

7. Hedaya Wahba, Taekwondo

Second time Olympian at Rio 2016, young Hedaya competes in Taekwondo women’s 57 kg. She qualified for the quarterfinals at the London 2012 for the same category.

Hedaya Wahba, 23 is a taekwondo practitioner

Hedaya Wahba, 23 is a taekwondo practitioner

8. Seham El Sawalhy, Taekwondo

Second time Olympian at Rio 2016, Seham, 25 years old, competed in the 67 kg category at London 2012. This year she competes for the same category.

10 AUG 2012 - LONDON, GBR - Seham el-Sawalhy (EGY) (right) of Egypt battles with Elin Johansson of Sweden during their women's -67kg category preliminary round Taekwondo contest at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Excel in London, Great Britain (PHOTO (C) 2012 NIGEL FARROW)

10 AUG 2012 – LONDON, GBR – Seham el-Sawalhy (EGY) (right) of Egypt battles with Elin Johansson of Sweden during their women’s -67kg category preliminary round Taekwondo contest at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Excel in London, Great Britain
(PHOTO (C) 2012 NIGEL FARROW)

 

9. Shaimaa Haridy, Weightlifting

Shaimaa competes in the Women’s over 75 kg category. In the past, she has won gold medals at the Arab Weightlifting Championships 2015 and 17th Mediterranean Games in 2013, when she lifted 110 kg and 135 kg in snatch and clean & jerk categories respectively.

Young and Strong Shaimaa

Young and Strong Shaimaa

10. Noura Mohamed, Fencing

Noura competes in women’s individual foil at the Olympics for the first time.

Noura Mohamed on the left

Noura Mohamed, 18, on the left lost to Tunisian fencer at Rio 2016

11. Reem Mansour, Archery

Reem is 22 and she competes in the women’s individual archery category for the first time at the Olympics.

Reem lost at round of 64 of the event

Reem lost at round of 64 of the event

Egypt has a good line up of many young promising female athletes participating at  Rio 2016 of which will gain tremendous experience and invaluable insights of doing better for future Olympics.

 

Pictures and Info Source:

  • Wiki
  • http://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/scalefit_970_noupscale/57acc28c1700002c00d1e367.jpeg
  • https://www.tvnz.co.nz/content/dam/images/news/2016/08/08/Rio%20Olympics%20Beach%20Vo_Webf.jpg.hashed.d3c323db.desktop.story.inline.jpg
  • http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/nada-meawad-and-doaa-elghobashy-of-egypt-looks-on-during-the-womens-picture-id587602138?k=6&m=587602138&s=594×594&w=0&h=tF4U3MHoTxPMd3mYfGFDDHebh8gFFrFiFJNc5oua9uo=
  • https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–eatANuAx–/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/sqybtxjrqbxyiug4im5j.jpg
  • http://english.ahram.org.eg/Media/News/2016/8/6/2016-636061094976655931-665.jpg
  • http://english.ahram.org.eg/Media/News/2016/8/6/2016-636061095256604176-660.jpg
  • http://gdb.rferl.org/A6C507D0-6A6D-4BEA-8DCC-04C14B971C9F_w610_r0_s.jpg
  • http://english.ahram.org.eg/Media/News/2016/8/10/2016-636064588892776477-277.jpg
  • http://www.hindustantimes.com/rf/image_size_800x600/HT/p2/2016/08/06/Pictures/2016-round-olympics-archery-women-ranking-individual_e89ce3cc-5b45-11e6-92e9-543a978214ab.jpg

Undeterred Competitive Spirit of Saudi Female Athletes

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia started sending female athlete to the Olympics in 2012. Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shaherkani were the first two Saudi citizens to compete at London 2012. Wojdan competed in Judo while Sarah, the 800 meters. Saudi doubled the number of female participants to four at Rio 2016. Wojdan does not compete in 2016, but Sarah and three new faces represent the ladies of the Saudi.

Sarah Attar, MARATHON athletics

Saudi Arabia's Sarah Attar competes in the women's 800m heats at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 8, 2012 in London. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/GettyImages)

Saudi Arabia’s Sarah Attar competes in the women’s 800m heats at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 8, 2012 in London. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/GettyImages)

Sarah, 24 made her first appearance at the Olympic London 2012 where she competed for 800 meters without meeting Olympic time. At Rio 2016, she will compete for the marathon despite 26 minutes slower than qualifying Olympic time. Her personal best time was 3:11:27 at the Chicago Marathon in 2015. She holds dual citizenship, the United States of America and Saudi Arabia.

Kariman Abuljadayel, 100 m athletics

Kariman, 22 is ranked 23 at Rio 2016 for the 100 meters and is the first Saudi woman to compete in the 100 meters. She clocked 14.61s at Rio 2016.

KARIMAN ABULJADAYEL

KARIMAN ABULJADAYEL at the Qualifying Heats 100 meters Rio 2016

Lubna Al-Omair, Fencing

Being the first is not always easy. Lubna’s match lasted 1 minute and 44 seconds. May she has more matches in the future, so that she could sharpen competitive skills.

Lubna - the exquisite fencer

Lubna – the exquisite fencer

Joud Fahmy, Judo (withdraw due to injury)

Joud, 26, did not compete due to injuries. She was determined to represent her country at the Olympics and started to train for the Rio 2016 at Santa Monica when she was 22 in 2012.

Joud_Fahmy Judo

Joud Fahmy Judo

These amazing ladies find different ways to train for the Olympics. Their determination to compete and represent their country is evident despite challenges faced at many fronts.

 

Source & Picture credits:

  • Wikipedia
  • http://i.huffpost.com/gen/2549892/images/o-SARAH-ATTAR-facebook.jpg
  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/olympics/2016/08/12/105580636-Kariman-Abuljadayel-SPORT-xlarge_trans++rbV8E1vvGHaBNJhAQrBCaeU-5NBdMS2kWAh6ufw2hAE.jpg
  • http://sports.yahoo.com/news/column-saudi-butterfly-crushed-olympic-debut-rio-062557043–spt.html
  • http://saudigazette.com.sa/sports/rio-olympics-2016/saudi-fencer-in-rio/
  • http://smdp.com/olympic-athletes-with-santa-monica-ties-convene-in-rio-for-2016-games/156552

Words from The Pacer!

Pacers on the go!

Pacers on the go!

It was such a great honour when I was given the opportunity to be one of the pacers for 21km Men’s Health Women’s Health Night Run, for the second time, with improved timing : 2 hours 20 minutes.

My first time being a pacer was in May’16 at 21 km Men’s Health Women’s Health Night Run in Penang for timing 2 hours 30 minutes. And the next is a…surprise!

We can't wait to pace!

We can’t wait to pace!

Are you ready guys?!

Are you ready guys?!

It was raining heavily a few hours before the run, and we were worried and had questions in our minds, “Will there be lightning during the run?” “Will the event run smoothly?” But, yes! I love to run in rain.
When the race was about to start, the rain almost stopped but drizzling. I was quite nervous because my timing for pacing improved to 2 hr 20 mins, and it was raining, the road was wet and may be slippery, this and that..…
I was glad to meet other pacers for my timing and they were very friendly and kept supporting each other. As the race start, everything went smoothly until one of our balloons …popped!,..yes. It was.. at kilometers 2 (yup, as early as that,..am not sure why). Fortunately, we have another one since we were given two balloons. We kept inspiring people around us to keep up with our pace

“Keep running, keep moving guys”
“You can do it!”
“We almost there!”

We tried to maintain the pace, 6.25 – 6.30 min per kilometer. I was enjoying my run with the songs I downloaded a week before the race, and I played them on the loud speaker, and yes! Everyone seemed to enjoy them too. Yayy!

At the kilometers 14, my other pacers started to leave me behind. They ran even faster than the pace we were assigned to. Perhaps they were so used to run faster until they forgot our pace. And I kept running alone, entertained by the songs played on loud speaker. Fortunately, there were still a lot of people following me.I felt relieved –  Hoyeahh! Women power here!

With Amie Pacer 2:40 #nashatarunners

With Amie Pacer 2:40 #nashatarunners

Things got worse when I felt I needed to go to toilet so badly at kilometers 16. Unfortunately, there was no portable toilet, no petrol station, no mosque. It was just a long, straight road ahead. It was a tough run, running with full bladder, but I had no choice but to continue running. I prayed to Allah, to help me finished the race on time, and to finished strong with this full bladder! At least for this time! Please!.… I kept on running.

Hijabi Pacers

Hijabi Pacers who choose to move a little more, to inspire a lot

I passed by the boards with marked “5km to go” then “3km to go” and finally I arrived at the finishing line with timing 2:20:40. Yayyy! I felt like I was on top of the world. It felt like I just crossed the finish line on a red carpet. Lots and lots of people cheered for me, “Good job Nasuha! Good job!”

I feel like a star that night. Alhamdulillah for that night!

 

Top 10 Inspirational Yoginis in Hijab

Do you need to be flexible to yoga? Do you need to be superfit or super lean to perform headstand and all those difficult-looking poses? The answer to all is NO. We are featuring yoginis in hijab across the globe and their lovely journey in yoga. With a common love in yoga, these 10 inspiring ladies from different ages and backgrounds share why they embark into yoga,  where they get their training from, their routines and their personal views on how yoga has benefited them.

For newbies and those who wanted to try yoga, you can learn from these strong and beautiful ladies. Just follow their instagram and nashatadotcom’s instagram for tips and updates.

YOGA IN HIJAB

Brunei ] [ Indonesia ] [ Malaysia ] [ Singapore ] [ United Arab Emirates ] [ USA ]

  • UAE : Nura Arabi
  • Brunei: YogaWithAmani
  • Indonesia : Lola Shariff
  • Indonesia : ErziYoga
  • Malaysia : Najwa
  • Malaysia : Nadia
  • Malaysia : Rita Rahayu
  • Singapore : Nura
  • Singapore : Farah
  • USA : Yasmin Essa

BRUNEI

Amani A. Muntassir, 30 @yogawithamani

~ Yoga is for everyone for all ages and different body types. You just have to start somewhere

Amani is a full time Biology teacher and part time yoga instructor in Brunei. She started yoga back in 2006 during her university days, where she set up a yoga club. Yoga is her way to release stress and she finds yoga to be different than other sports.  To her yoga eliminates all sense of competitiveness and comparing with others, while she focuses on herself, my own practice.

After completing 200 hour yoga training at Ubud Bali in December 2014, Amani teaches yoga. She is also a prenatal yoga teacher. Despite her busy schedule as a teacher, Amani teaches yoga three times a week at the studio. Other than teaching, she enjoys performing the yin style yoga and sometimes vinyasa or stronger yoga routines. Now, she joins her favourite international teachers online as ways to improve her routine.

AMANI IN FAVOURITE POSE : HEADSTAND

Amani in Favourite Pose : HeadStand

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INDONESIA

Lola Shariff, 39 @lolashariff

~ Yoga makes Lola happy and strong, and most of all to her, it is a never ending journey.

A self taught yogini initially, Lola started yoga when she had lower back pain in 2014. She joined yoga classes a year later and found improvements in her practice since, especially alignments. Lola works as a freelance subtitler, and she balances her time by attending classes twice a week at least, except weekends. She enjoys hatha, iyengar, power yoga, sometimes swing yoga and ashtanga. She practices backbends and handstands frequently at home.

LOLA IN FAVOURITE POSE : HANDSTAND

LolaShariff in Favourite Pose : HeadStand

Erzi, 31 @erziyoga

~ Yoga enfolded via Technology

A mother residing in Jakarta started yoga 3 and a half years ago when her sister took her to join a private yoga class. Since then, Erzi and friends have private yoga classes at sister’s house.

Yoga is a not a high impact activity and is an enjoyable journey. Despite gentle movement on a mat, yoga can make one sweat and build one’s energy, explains Erzi. To Erzi, yoga teaches her to breathe well and stay calm and relaxed in any conditions. Even though she has been learning yoga for more than 3 years, she still attends yoga classes at a studio and private yoga class once a week with her sister.

ERZI LOVES MEDITATION

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She starts her practice with meditation, minus chanting. To her, meditation connects her breathing with mind and that helps her improve her routines. She would then stretch her neck, arms, sides of my body, spine and continue to Sun Salutation A for 8-10 rounds before continuing to my peak pose of the day.

She advises other sisters to learn yoga online like Youtube, if there is no studio closeby. She shares that some of the well-known yoga teachers online has some beginner tips about how to get onto your mat while others have classes for beginners to intermediate level. She also finds instagram as a good channel to learn yoga.

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MALAYSIA

Najwa / Wawa, 31 @najwa.bulat

~ Learn from a qualified and professional instructors 

Najwa started yoga 17 years ago at a tender age of 14. She started yoga to improve asthmatic condition. Now, a Fitness & Yoga Instructor, Najwa finds yoga important to keep her improve body strength, maintain a lean body and to keep healthy & flexible. Most of all, the breathing techniques help cure her asthmatic problem.

Being a qualified Hatha Yoga Tutor from Slimhealth Aerobic & Dance Studio and a fitness instructor, Najwa’s routine is colorful. She urges beginners to learn from a qualified and professional instructor to reap the benefits of yoga so that you can get a lean, curvy and fit body.

NAJWA KEEPS A COLORFUL ROUTINE

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Here’s Najwa’s colorful routines that combines yoga with other types of workout:

1) Hatha Yoga
2) Body Weight Training
3) High Intensity Workout
4) Weight Training
5) Cardio Workout (Boxing+Aerobic+ Dance)

Nadiah Mohaizi, 36 @nadie_omgoing

~ You will be fascinated by what your body can do, and it comes a reminder to care for her body – a gift from Allah 

An engineer by profession, and certified yoga instructor, Nadiah started yoga to loose pregnancy weight. Yoga fits the need as she wanted something she could practice at home. She also finds yoga as a good weight training exercise as you’d need to do planks, lunges, inversion, and arm balances which are important for women to increase stamina and metabolism. To Nadia, yoga is not about the asanas (poses), but the journey into achieving them and to remain calm through proper breathing in maintaining poses. Keeping calm is important in her hectic daily life. Till today, she is fascinated by what her body can do and it serves as a reminder for her to care for her body – a gift from Allah.

NADIAH IN FAVOURITE POSE : forearm stand

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Like Erzi and Amani, Nadiah also uses technology to learn yoga at beginning stage. After which, she attended  Atilia freeyogafit class at KLCC. She took teacher training at MAYI to be a certified yoga instructor and now she practices Ashtanga at Mysoreroom KL in Binjai 8. She trains every other day for 10 minutes and suggests newbies to practice safe and find a good teacher to help with alignment and postures.

Rita Rahayu Omar, 41 @ritarahayuomar

~ Yoga is not a destination…it is a journey that enriches you every step of the way.

RITA feels happy when she is upside down

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A mother of 4, a lactation consultant and an serial entrepreneur, Rita started yoga in 2011 when she was living abroad as an expat wife. At that time she had just lost her baby, and despite having support from husband and children she felt rather lost and depressed. She read a lot about yoga and was intrigued by it further after hearing friends talk about it. Soon, she hired a personal yoga instructor who came 5 days a week.

Rita emphasizes the importance of breathing techniques; the techniques that help achieve relaxation, mental clarity and eliminates stress , fatigues, depression and anxiety. She felt better and healthier after a few sessions and after 3 months into yoga, she was pregnant again and she continued to do yoga throughout her pregnancy. Her 4th baby is a peaceful, happy, yoga baby. He’s always wanting to practice yoga with Rita whenever he sees the mat!

Despite her busy schedule running her businesses Bebe Sachi and The KembaRA, Rita yoga at least once a day either in the morning or everning. She likes inversion poses because of its many health benefits. Among others it helps supply blood to brain, build your core strength and balance to our body.

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SINGAPORE

Nura Ahmad, 25 @yogawithnura

~ a fitness goal that became a self-growth and self-discovery journey

Nura started learning yoga at a young age of 17. She wanted to improve athletic performance and saw progressive results in stamina running long distance despite having asthma. She survived colon cancer and irritable bowel syndrome in 2012.

NURA ACTIVE IN YOGA @ 6 MONTHS of PREGNANcy

Currently 6 months pregnant with her first baby, Nura finds pranayama (breathing techniques) and a quiet 15 minutes mindfulness shapes her to be better version of herself, discovering  weakness and grounding herself from pride.  She dedicates 3-4 times weekly of prenatal, hatha and restorative yoga while committing herself to do house chores. A committed fitness entrepreneur at @fitness4muslimah and a certified yoga trainer (Ashtanga & Hatha), Kids Yoga teacher and Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga teacher, she advises other sisters to just show up on the mat, no matter how you feel that day.

Nura loves all yoga poses and always balance her flows with standing poses for concentration and balance, twists poses for internal detoxification and help keep irritable bowel syndrome at bay, hip openers, backbends aka heart openers which helps her a lot in strengthening interpersonal relationship with students and loved ones. She loves arm balances such as crow, eight angle and headstands for core and grow her upper body strength after spending almost half of her years building endurance in lower torso for athletic performance in school.

Farah Lyna, 31 @farah.yuj

~ Yoga is non-competitive, so there is no need to feel pressured or exert yourself in a pose.

From running to yoga, Farah, now a yoga teacher, started attending yoga classes 9 years ago and only looked into yoga seriously in 2013. Yoga became a regular practice when her scoliosis started to cause numbness on left leg.She received training from Tirisula Yoga in Singapore.

Farah starts her morning training with some pranayama (yoga breathing exercises), followed by a few rounds Sun Salutations and simple stretches like forward folds, backbends, twists and a headstand. She tries to do  Ashtanga practice at least once a week.

To Farah, everyone has a unique body type and it’s important to work within own physical limits. Farah echos other yoginis reminders that with regular practice & patience, our body will get used to the routines. Yoga is a journey of self-discovery.

SELF DISCOVERY THROUGH YOGA

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Nura Arabi @_iChallenger

~ You won’t understand the gain that is waiting for you until you try it and judge from experience.

Nura Arabi, like other sisters in fitness found love in yoga. Nura is a physical education and health teacher and she teaches swimming and Zumba and she writes about  fitness. She started yoga in 2015 and practices twice a week since. She started learning yoga at a Yoga center, after which she learn via youtube videos at time of convenience.

To Nura, yoga is a good way to get deep into herself as it teaches patience, body awareness and improves muscular and mental strength.

Nura Arabi in Favourite Pose : Tripod Headstand

Nura Arabi in Favourite Pose : Tripod Headstand

USA

Yasmin Essa HC, AADP, 27 @ wellnesswithyasmin.com & @yasminessa

~ Yoga is an artistic form of expression
Yasmin started yoga when she was a senior in high school and has been into fitness since. She was the first female student trainer at Montclair State University, but it was after college her love for yoga grew. Yoga helps reduce pain she has on her back due to  idiopathic scoliosis.

After going to classes at studios over the years, Yasmin is now a self-taught yogini and a board certified Holistic Health Coach. She keeps her routine interesting combining different types of workout activities. She does a lot of strength training, some HIIT for cardio, and yoga for flexibility and lengthening all of which she shares on instagram

YASMIN GRADUATED FROM THE Institute for Integrative Nutrition

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Yasmin enjoys flowing from downward dog to plank to upward dog to child’s pose as it warms her body up for a more rigorous workout, or to stretch out.

She reminds newbies not to compare yourself with others and to focus on being most present in your own body, mind, and soul.

Chelsea, Wellness Blogger @ MuslimahHealthy.com

~ You can never  get bored with yoga

Chelsea started yoga in May, 2015 when she was traveling a lot and didn’t have access to a gym. She fell in love with it so much that decided to start a full-time practice. Chelsea finds there is always something to work towards whether it is more advanced poses, building strength/flexibility, or working on form and technique. A self taught and self-motivated person, Chelsea constantly progress and keeps pushing herself to get better and better in yoga.

She practices the Ashtanga yoga method, memorizes a sequence of poses and practices every day. Once she feels she has mastered a certain set of poses, she would move on add more into her routine until she eventually memorizes the entire Ashtanga sequence – around 40 poses. Like many of the other yoginis, Chelsea really love inversions and arm-balances because of the core and shoulder work she gets. Her favorites would have to be the forearm stand, handstand  and backbend.

She reminds other sisters not to be afraid about not being flexible enough or skinny enough and they are not important. Yoga is for absolutely everyone and it is a progression. Chelsea does many other types of workouts and finds yoga great workout. She actually needs to keep a sweat rag next to her mat during practice!

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What are you waiting for girls? Just get onto the mat and go through the beautiful journey of yoga. You can get a lot of help from these inspiring yogonis!

The Absolute Performance Top for Hijabi Athletes

Run swiftly and fast like a gazelle in Azza Toplectic. Toplectic is Nashata’s new product range that combines head covering and sportstop for athletes looking for seamless modest sporting experience.

Athletic Sports TopSeamless Modest Performance Wear 

AZZA is the first release for Toplectic range. It is simple, lightweight, long and loose cut. Suitable for athletes looking for performance in running, cycling and sporting activities that require jumping and rolling. The fabric is made of spandex and polyester and not suitable for swimming and wet activities.

Key features:

  • Hijab and Top combined
  • Long – You can wear your performance pants underneath without adding skirt to cover your thighs
  • Lightweight – We choose the lightest fabric for this top. We want you to get the best performance experience in toplectic. It weights less than 200 grams or 7 oz

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3 colors ; blue, black, grey

STYLE IT!

1. Event Shirt

Wear event shirts with only 2 layers; Toplectic in the inside and event shirt(assuming it is short sleeves or sleeveless) in the outside. You need not wear additional hijab.

Event Shirt on the Outside

2. You could simply put it on and run

Headgear is secure on the head, no additional inner required. Ample room to hold buns

Running in Azza

Running in Azza Toplectic

3. Let down the hijab and you get a cowl neck top

If you don’t want the hijab on, you can put it down and get a cowl neck top. Fancy huh?

Cowl neck

Cowl Neck Top

Options

There are 3 colors (black, blue and grey) and 5 sizes you could choose from S/M/L/XL/2XL. With only RM129/USD32, you get the absolute performance top for hijabi athletes. We offer early bird price of RM109 for purchases made by 1 July 2016. Purchase yours now at nashata.com.

 

Tips and Tricks for Dining Out

Eating out shouldn’t be considered as an excuse to sabotage your whole diet, especially if you eat out regularly. Eating out can still be a fun experience filled with delicious, but healthier, choices. Here are some tips and tricks for staying healthy at the restaurant:

 

Have the right mindset

Take some time to prepare before going out to eat. The first thing you want to do it’s create the right mindset. Don’t think of it as one big ‘cheat night.’ I like to allow myself a small treat every day, rather than dedicating a whole meal or day to binging. Surly you can enjoy yourself, but instead of choosing to most unhealthy meal you can think of, choose a balanced meal that is still healthy, but can also be considered a treat.

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Plan ahead

Choose your restaurant ahead of time. Most restaurants have their menus available online. Check it out and make your decision before you even get there. This way, you don’t have to look through the menu while you’re hungry and ready to eat. Not only telling yourself you will make a smart choice, but committing to a meal before you get to the restaurant will make you more likely to stick to that goal.

 

Don’t starve all day

Many people make the dire mistake of skipping meals before a night out to eat. They think they can make up for missed times. Skipping meals will only make you hungrier and more inclined to crave the fattier options. Think about it; you’re starving and you’ve been waiting for a good 30 minutes for your food to come out…would you be excited for a grilled chicken salad? Not so much. Eat like you normally would any other day. Try to plan it out so that your last meal is a light snack about 2-3 hours before going to the restaurant.

 

Control portions

Make sure to control your portions, especially if you decide to treat yourself with your meal. Here are a few tips for portion control at a restaurant:

  • Order from the kids menu if they have one
  • Split a meal with a friend
  • Turn an appetizer into a meal with a side salad
  • Ask the waiter/waitress for a to-go container so you can put half of your plate out of sight to take home
  • Ask the waiter/waitress not to bring bread to the table

 

Substitute

Make substitutions when necessary. If you’re going to treat yourself to a cheeseburger, you probably don’t need the fries on the side. Order a side of salad or veggies instead and order a vinaigrette dressing, or oil and vinegar, over creamy salad dressings.

 

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Dessert?

The most important question, should I have dessert? If are out to dinner for a special occasion, and you don’t do it often, I say go for it…only if you have room for it of course! If you ordered a healthy meal and were good with your portion sizes, a little piece of dessert on a special occasion is perfectly fine. Be sure to split it with at least one other person. On the other hand, if you tend to eat out often, and/or you decided to treat yourself with your main meal (maybe you ordered a cheese burger or a creamy pasta dish), then I would say skip the dessert for the night.

 

Remember that healthy eating is all about balance. Going out and treating yourself to a delicious dinner is fine,  just find your balance by choosing a meal that is well-balanced (meaning it contains protein, carbs and fats), watching your portion sizes, and substitute with healthier options when you need to.

 

Featured IMage Credit

Hijab Promotes Inner Beauty

Wearing the hijab comes with a heavy responsibility. Not only are we, as women and mothers, the role models for our children, but we represent our families, our communities and our religion. When people look at a Muslim woman the first thing they see is her scarf. Someone who knows nothing about Islam is likely to judge the entire religion based on the actions of that woman. Therefore, it is up to us to uphold the morals and values of Islam as best we can.

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As World Hijab Day is nearing, I thought it was a good time to reflect upon the hijab. I wanted to reflect not just on the importance of the hijab itself but how it has shaped my life, particularly in my field of work as a fitness trainer.

I’ve been wearing hijab for about one year now, alhamdulillah. Of course, the hijab changed me in so many more ways than just my choice of clothing. Hijab started off as something physical. It made me look different. It made me look Muslim. It hid my hair and body. It acted as a barrier between me and strange men.

But as time went on it started working a little more deeply. I began to notice that I was being respected. People were forced to look at my eyes and not my body. I felt proud of the courage I had to wear it regardless of what others thought. I became more aware of my actions and words. And most importantly, I felt a deeper connection to Allah (swt).

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While hijab was helping me in many ways, it was also hard. The hardest part about hijab for me was fitness. As a trainer I thought, “who will want to be my client if I can’t prove to them I have what it takes?” I thought proving I was a good trainer meant showing off my hard-earned muscle as a way to prove I was fit and able. I didn’t think people would take me seriously. But I trusted Allah (swt) and knew that if I had given something up for His sake, He would give me back something better.

As a trainer I had always said health and fitness was about more than just looks, but I never truly felt it. Putting on the hijab helped me to truly grasp the concept of inner health. Of course, I still wanted to look good and be happy with my body, but that became less of my aim and focus. I started feeling beautiful on the inside.

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I was eating better food; I was eating food for their nutrients and the benefit I could gain from them, rather than just eating for low calories. I developed a more well-rounded sense of health; a sense of health that enveloped full-body awareness. Awareness of the mind, body and spirit. Religion actually became a part of my health practices, and health became a means of worship and giving thanks to Allah for all that He blessed me with. And I think that this radiated off of me.

I realized that I was still getting clients. I realized that I now had the power to not only talk about full-body health, but to promote it through my own lifestyle.

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People may not be able to see my body, but is that a true indicator of a healthy person anyways? A healthy person is someone who works not only on their bodies but on their mind and soul as well. A healthy person is someone who balances between food they love and food that is nutritious. A healthy person is some who feeds their spirit. A healthy person is someone who recognizes the issues surrounding this world and lends a helping hand. A healthy person is someone who practices patience, gives their body a break when it needs one, and loves themselves through every step of their journey.

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As hijabis, we have that power to change the fundamental notions of society. We don’t have to live by the idea that beauty and looks are everything. We have the ability to force people to look at our hearts, personalities and intelligence. We have the ability to help other women who believe that their worth lies in their beauty alone. We can promote self-awareness and self-love. We have the choice to use health and fitness as a means of worship and showing gratitude, rather than using it to flaunt our bodies.

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As Muslim women, we have an obligation. An obligation to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah regardless of the barriers our society may put up. Hijab can evoke fear in some people, especially in Western cultures. But if we wear our hijab with confidence and dignity and portray as many characteristics as our beloved Prophet (saw) as we can, we can change that. We can stand up for women around the world and show that health is so much more than our external being. We are unique. We are beautiful. We don’t hide behind our hijab, rather, we use it to blossom.

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