Meet Saman Munir – she’s a proud mom of three, influencer, entrepreneur and hijabi Muslim woman. But, there’s so much more to this kick-ass mama Read our interview and find out more about our Women’s Best Athlete!
Name: Saman Munir
Location: Mississauga, Canada
Height: 5’4″/ 165 cm
Birthday: 30th May 1980
Can you share more about yourself and what you are doing?
I am a fitness Influencer, Personal Trainer, first female, Muslim, Under Armour representative, recipient of American Influencer Award for International Fitness Influencer of the Year 2021, and a proud mom of three living her best life and hoping to inspire others to live theirs through my passion of fitness. We only live once so why not challenge ourselves and be the best versions of ourselves that we can be!
When did your journey start? Was there a certain event or situation after which you found your passion for fitness and decided this was your path?
My journey on social media began very successfully in 2010 with @makeuphijabs, however, I quickly realized that as much as I love makeup and fashion, I wanted to use my platform on social media in a more meaningful way that would have a stronger and more beneficial impact on my followers while also following my passion of fitness. This led to the beginning of my fitness journey in 2017 when I created my Instagram account sfm_fitness.
I was 37 when I decided to join the gym after my third child. I was always aware of the importance of and enjoyed working out. However, I never had a positive mindset towards a healthy lifestyle. Initially, my goal and idea of fitness was solely for weight loss and achieving a particular body type and weight. I soon realized this was not the proper mindset to have and that altering my mindset to achieving a healthy lifestyle vs achieving a simple number on a scale would yield me far more benefits in my life mentally, emotionally, and physically. Once my concept of what fitness meant to me, changed I was able to not only be stronger and leaner physically but healthier in every aspect of my life.
Tell us more about the ways in which you are part of changing the narrative of Muslim women and Hijabi women in fitness?
In the initial stages of my fitness journey, it was uncommon and honestly unheard of to see Muslim women represented in the field of fitness, let alone a hijabi Muslim woman. I am thankful that through my hard work, dedication and passion I was able to create a platform for myself, where women like me, who were not just “underrepresented” but not represented at all, were able to be seen and recognized as a force to be reckoned with in the fitness world. I think when other hijabi Muslim women see my videos they’re able to visualize themselves and realize that contrary to common misconceptions, our hijab is not a “hindrance” for us in any aspect of our life, including fitness.
I’ve been blessed with a platform where women can feel confident, ask questions, engage and get motivated to express their own fitness journeys. However, my platform is not directed towards Muslim women alone. I believe in empowering women, period. Muslim or non-Muslim we can all recognize the important role and affect fitness has in our lives. I enjoy and appreciate when my non-Muslim followers reach out to me with questions and I am glad to be given the opportunity to clear any misconceptions they may have about me as a Muslim and as a Muslim hijabi athlete. However, my purpose on this platform is to give a voice and face to Muslim women who are underrepresented in fitness and encourage them to join me in living our best lives together.
It’s safe to say seeing a woman in Hijab boxing is not that common and these stereotypes are being challenged with your content. How has your presence and content been received in the Muslim community and your community in general?
Initially when I began my fitness journey, it definitely was not common to see that representation of Muslim female athletes in the boxing and fitness world. However, I am glad to see that statistic is positively changing and more women are breaking that stereotype. I don’t believe my presence and content is something that surprises the Muslim community since there are tons of talented women in various fields within our community. In fact, my content is more surprising to my followers outside of the Muslim community. Many times, I’m the first Muslim woman they’ve come across who is working out and lifting. They are always shocked and amazed to see that, since a lot of people have not seen that firsthand and had prior misconceptions in regards to Muslim female athletes. I enjoy these kinds of interactions the most because I’m able to break those stereotypes through simply doing what I love and enjoy.
How has fitness changed your life?
Fitness has and will continue to have a huge impact on my life. We live in a society where we constantly compare ourselves to others. True fitness doesn’t compare you to others, instead it should encourage you to thinking that the biggest competition you have is yourself. Any progress, whether small or big, and any step forward is a triumph. Sure, there will be times when I look at another person’s body or performance and want what they have. The grass will always appear greener on the other side. However the key is, reminding yourself of your triumphs, small or big, and recognizing that each person is at their own stage and level of fitness according to their body and what works for them.
Tell us more about how often you work out a week and what type of workouts you do?
I workout 5-6 times a week. I love bodyweight training with weight training. I also do boxing/kickboxing 2-3 times a week.
You’re a mother of three children. What is your advice for mothers who are trying to balance career, fitness and family?
Being a full-time working mother can lead to feelings of guilt and stress because of divided attention between work and family. The key is to focus on a plan, get organized, and find the right balance between profession and parenthood.
Do you follow a specific diet? Do you have a favorite treat meal?
I don’t follow any diet. I just eat a balanced meal. I love sushi!
How does your diet and workout schedule change during fasting on the month of Ramadan?
I usually workout early morning after dropping my kids off to school. During Ramadan I workout an hour before breaking my fast (sunset). My diet during Ramadan is pretty clean. Pre-dawn meal is greek yoghurt with lots of fruits. After breaking my fast I drink protein shake and try to eat as clean as possible.
Fun question: what’s your dream place to visit?
Mecca, the holiest city in Islam. I never been to Mecca. I would love to visit one day.
What Women’s Best supplements and nutrition products do you use? When and why?
I use BCAA, Fit Pro Whey Protein, Smart protein bars and the Different Energy drinks. I take my BCAA while working out. I love having my protein bars after my workout. I take my Whey Protein with fruits as a snack. I have a Different Energy drink each day.
Lastly, you decided to collab with Women’s Best. Why did you choose to be part of the community?
I am so proud to be part of the Women’s Best community. I love how Women’s Best celebrates diversity and accepts everyone regardless of their race/background/religion.