First tell us how to pronounce your name.
My name is Mubarakah it is pronounced exactly the way it’s
What language is your name.
My name is Arabic, it means “the blessed one”
Were given that name at birth?
Have you always been into fitness?
I have always had a love of fitness. I began running leisurely when I was about 13 years old. I would get up before school and run a few miles before I went to school. I started running as a way to stay fit and then I just fell in love with the feeling.
Have you ever been overweight?
Yes. As a teenager I always struggled with weight and self esteem issues related to body image. After I reached puberty I began to gain weight. After reading a magazine article about calories in vs calories out I started running to lose weight. That really began my fitness journey. I saw how exercise and running particularly could help me maintain my weight and how great I felt during and after I ran and I was hooked. I stayed pretty fit up until I had my first child and had complications during my pregnancy that ballooned my weight to almost 200lbs.
“Fitness is not a look, it is a state of being healthy and strong. . .
looking good is just a side effect.”
Were you really nearly 200lb?
YES! It’s my fat story. I think I am better trainer because I have a fat story. I know what it’s like to be overweight and struggle to lose it. Okay here is my fat story. When I was pregnant with my first child I had a condition known as “pelvic synthesis”. This is a condition in which the pelvic bone separates before the initiation of labor. This is not an uncommon problem that can occur as early as 2 or 3 days before birth. But when it happen to me I was only 6 months pregnant. The separation of my pelvic bone caused me to be in a wheel chair for the entire last trimester of my pregnancy. This sudden debilitation had a dramatic effect on my weight. When I began my pregnancy I was 115lb on a 5ft 5in frame. When I gave birth I was 198lbs. At my six week postpartum appointment I was 186lbs. Yes 70lb over my normal weight. (Click here to see a picture of Mubarakah at 186lbs)
How did you lose the weight?
The day after my 6 week checkup and okay from the doctor I began planning my weight loss journey. I had to start very slowly because after not being able to walk for 3 months I had to get physical therapy and retrain my muscles to walk properly. That slow time allowed me to read every nutrition and exercise book I could get my hands on. I had 70lbs to lose and had to do it in a healthy way because I was breastfeeding and didn’t want to compromise my health or that of my baby. So I began by figuring out how many calories, carbohydrates, fat and proteins I needed to lose weight AND supply enough nutrients for healthy breast milk supply. I monitored my fluid intake and breast milk supply altering my diet when necessary and I began walking everyday..
How long did it take you to lose the weight?
It took me about 4 months to lose the weight. I was very dedicated. I walked everyday and ate foods simply for the nutrient they provided and not the taste. I learned so much from that experience.
What did you learn that you pull on now?
I learned the two most important lessons I’ll ever learn and pass on to others.
#1. Healthy food do not have to be taste-less. I ate foods that I hated simply because they had the right amount of protein and carbohydrates in them. Do to my lack of culinary skill I didn’t know how to make things I liked in a healthy way. I am so glad I can cook now!
#2 “Slow and steady wins the race“. When I started walking I couldn’t walk too far because of the physical limitation being in a wheelchair for 3 months created. So I began by walking 3 blocks to the local track, then turning around and going home. I don’t think I even entered the track until about 2 weeks after I started. But those short walks allowed me to build up slowly but surely until I was able to run again.
When did you decide to become a personal trainer?
Friends and Family obviously noticed my weight loss and asked me to help them. I started to help other people create weight loss programs that got results. One day a friend suggested that I become a personal trainer. Before she suggested it I didn’t even know what a personal trainer was. To make a long story short I looked into it and started getting certifications. I got several group fitness certifications first then became a certified personal trainer/ fitness counselor through the Internationally recognized Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. I currently hold 5 group fitness certifications and a Personal Training Certification.
How long have you been a Certified Personal Trainer?
I have been certified for 6 years.
There are so many exercise philosophies out there, what is your approach to fitness?
My approach to fitness is from a functional fitness standpoint.
What is functional fitness?
Functional fitness is when you exercise the body the way it moves in real life. I deal with the body using integrated movements that use the body the way it designed and desires to move, as one unit. Although every client and program is different most programs have a common theme of multi-muscle movements.
I believe that fitness is not a look but a state of being. Fitness is a state of being healthy and strong. A state of enjoying life on your own terms and not limited by what you can not. . I am always expanding my knowledge and information about health and fitness through continuing education and fitness conventions.
Tell us a little more about yourself. You are very unique a Muslim Personal trainer. Were you born Muslim?
Yes. My parents both converted to Islam when they were young, but me and all my sisters and brother was born Muslim.
Does your religion require you to do you dress the way you do?
Yes. I cover because I am a Muslim and this is the required dress of a Muslim woman.
Did you always cover the way you do?
I have worn a hijab (head covering) since I was 7 years old. I have covered everything but my face and hands in public since I was about 11 years old?
Does your dress effect your ability to exercise?
Absolutely not! I run outdoors, lift weight and do everything everyone else does. I lead Outdoor Fitness Boot Camp and demonstrate every exercise I tell me client to do. My dress nor does my religion restrict my ability to be physically active. I just dress modestly as I do.
Why did you choose to be a fitness professional?
To me “fitness is not a look, it’s a state of being healthy and strong“. I love exercising. I know everyone doesn’t feel the same way but for me the feeling of my heart pounding and back sweating is better than a slice of cake. Pushing my self further and harder is a wonderful high.
What motivates you to stay fit?
I am motivated by a lot of different things. I have a strong genes for both diabetes and high blood pressure in my family. My mother is insulin dependent diabetic and my father died at the early age of 55 from a stroke induced by high blood pressure, I don’t want to develop those diseases. Staying fit to me is essential to maintain a healthy body and ward of the genetic tendency for disease.
I am also motivated by my clients. I feel obligated to proactive what I preach. I have to live a healthy and fitness lifestyle as an example
I am also motivated by my children. I didn’t grow up in a health conscious household so I had to learn things by trial and error. I want my children to have the benefit of knowing how to be fit and proactive with their health.
The Official Bio
BALANCE fitness functions on the philosophy of “whole fitness”: the belief that physical, mental and spiritual well being is intertwined, the strengthening of one, strengthens them all and the weakening of one, weakens them all.
Mubarakah Ibrahim is the owner and head trainer of BALANCE fitness Studio for women in New Haven, CT where she offers fitness education, personal training and group fitness classes for women.
Her innovative fitness studio functions on the philosophy of “whole fitness”, the belief that physical, mental and spiritual well being is intertwined, the strengthening of one, strengthens them all and the weakening of one, weakens them all. It is with the philosophy of “whole fitness” that Mubarakah (pronounced moo-ba-ra-ka) has worked with women and wellness related issues for the past nine years.
In her fitness career she has gained a reputation as a leader in innovative fitness for women. She has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show .: Thirty-Something in America, has had multiple appearances on ABC affiliate WTNH News Channel 8, CBS radio Affiliate WELI, and has been featured in both the Hartford Courant and Chicago Tribune Newspapers.
Her fitness education was earned through the internationally recognized Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) as a Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor. She also holds several other certifications, including pre/post natal certification, Group Resistance Training, and both beginner and advanced Mat Science Instructor certifications.
Mubarakah lectures, promotes and conducts workshops on alternative health, fitness and healthy living throughout the United States. She is a national speaker and both a published freelance writer and poet. She lives with her husband and 4 children in New Haven, CT.