Verge Meets: Lutalo Muhammad to talk Ramadan Running

This week saw the end of Ramadan and the Eid celebrations takes place so we caught up with Lutalo Muhammed to talk about his Ramadan experience being a professional athlete.

In partnership with Sports Direct, British Taekwondo athlete and breakthrough punditry star of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Lutalo Muhammad has recorded a new podcast called Fast Enough: Ramadan Running to help inspire Muslim communities achieve their fitness and sporting goals whilst fasting during Ramadan.

Released throughout Ramadan just before sunset to coincide with breaking the fast, the weekly episodes helped runners slow down and reflect, allowing them to explore the spiritual and physical elements of their run. Set to the steady tempo of 120bpm, the backing track encouraged runners to move mindfully and allow them to be at their personal best, rather than beat their personal best.

Each episode featured a different British Muslim guest star, including star founder of “Active Inclusion Network” Haroon Mota, journalist Fadumo Olow, rugby player Zainab Alema and actress Zoha Rahman. From exercise plans and wellness tips to mental preparation and finding balance, the podcast series covered a whole host of topics whilst ensuring listeners don’t miss a beat when it comes to navigating Ramadan safely.

The podcast is a continuation of last year’s award-winning campaign ‘Fast & Slow’ which was devised to help Muslims train safely during the holy month, after findings highlighted that a quarter of Muslims train less during Ramadan.

 

“Fasting definitely is a test of willpower. And there are times when it does feel really hard. But what keeps me going is just thinking of people around the world who don’t have any choice, but to be hungry or thirsty.”

 

How have you been able to keep mentally strong though fasting? 

Fasting definitely is a test of willpower. And there are times when it does feel really hard. But what keeps me going is just thinking of people around the world who don’t have any choice, but to be hungry or thirsty. And that, you know, it’s a blessing that I’m doing this by choice on the days that I do fast. So that’s one of the prominent forces that keeps me going and makes me feel a connection with other people.

 

How did the podcast come to fruition?

The podcast came into fruition, by Sports Direct, getting in touch and I just felt like it was an amazing idea. Not only because exercise and being safe while you’re fasting is important, but just because it opens up an entire community of billions of people around the world, to an audience that may not be familiar, or may have not heard much from that community before, so I jumped at the chance.

 

“Our guests are everything from Hollywood actresses to marathon runners, to rugby players, to journalists, it just shows and I think normalises what is perfectly normal to billions of people around the world.”

 

Describe the podcast and what type of advice can people expect? 

The podcast promotes healthy living, exercise, and of course, fasting during the month of Ramadan. But even more than that, I think it just breaks down barriers. The Muslim community is, you know, one of the largest communities on Earth. And I still think like, in the Western world, we still have certain perceptions and impressions of Islam and Muslims. And by this being, backed by, you know, a huge High Street store Sports Direct and our guests are everything from Hollywood actresses to marathon runners, to rugby players, to journalists, it just shows and I think normalises what is perfectly normal to billions of people around the world. And I hope that can you know, just break down barriers and get more people to connect and see that we’re all very similar. And we all want the same thing. So yeah, it’s it’s more than it’s more than sport. It’s very powerful and I love being a part of it.

 

Why is exercise important during Ramadan?

Exercise isn’t just important in Ramadan, it’s important all the time. And this podcast definitely highlights that. Every single guest gets in their exercise in some sort of way and even whilst they’re fasting, they still do some sort of exercise, so I think what we’re really trying to promote is that exercise and healthy living is a lifestyle. And no matter what background you come from, you should include exercise in your schedule. It’s essential guys.

 

Do you believe there’s a spiritual connection between exercising and faith?

I absolutely do believe there is a connection. And I feel like when athletes get in the zone, and they’re just able to block out all noise and just focus in on one thing, there is a sort of spirituality to that. And it does require a lot of training and a lot of repetition. A lot of visualisation to get into that zone. So, yes, I do believe there is a connection.

 

Other than fasting, what are the lifestyle changes do you make during Ramadan?

Ramadan is this a time for me to focus in more on the spiritual aspects of life. So I find myself doing more meditation, more thinking, more praying, and I feel like that helps me and I always feel better for the rest of the year after the month of Ramadan.

 

The podcast is available to listen on the following platforms: Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google Podcasts, Cast Box, Overcast and Podcast Addicts

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