Regarding Eating Cheese

Cheese platter

Regarding Eating Cheese

3819. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: “Some cheese was brought to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Tabuk, and he called for a knife, said, ‘Bismillah,’ and cut it.” (Hasan)

Sunan Abu Dawud – Volume 4 – English Translation by Nasiruddin al-Khattab – Published by Darussalam – First Edition 2008.

Eating Cheese: The Science

Cheese is a dairy product that takes many shapes, sizes, flavours and consistencies. Cheese is a good source of calcium, fat and protein. Calcium is essential for maintaining healthy bones, fat in cheese can help lower blood pressure and protein as all gym beasts will know will increase muscle mass with the right diet and training programme for you. Cheese is also beneficial to: 

  • Aid weight-loss
  • Prevent heart disease & osteoporosis
  • Strengthen teeth

Top-rated healthy Cheeses include:

  • Mozzarella
  • Blue cheese
  • Feta

Eating Cheese: Criterion Fit

Our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) would partake in eating cheese and as you’ve learnt from what we’ve said before, cheese has a number of benefits besides taste. Traces of cheese on pottery have been found dating back some 7000 plus years ago and from the point of our Prophet eating it, no doubt, there is benefit in eating it. Yes, quality over quantity is key with cheese. All the supermarkets and even your local corner shop sell cheese but this doesn’t make all cheese equal, the name is the same but the nutritional content can change. Pick up the softer cheeses rather than the cheap blocks with high amounts of salt and saturated fats which raise LDL levels in your blood, increasing your risk of heart disease. 

As the cost of living in the UK and around the world increases it makes perfect sense to invest in your health before your wealth. Just like Oil prices food portions are on our minds. A few morsels to keep your back straight may sound extreme to some but in reality, it’s a beautiful and easy way to live since automatically you’ll think less about your next meal, or am I alone on that?!

I appreciate you taking a read of this post and I hope you find a diet that helps you live a longer, stronger and happier life. Food is an essential blessing to our existence and just like cheese, there are many ways to attain a balanced lifestyle since we are all different and have varying needs. However, the best example is in following the way of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions. Check out the following links for more information. 

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/news-7200-year-old-cheese-ancient-food-chemistry

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthiest-cheese#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/cheese#:~:text=Cheese%20is%20a%20great%20source,of%20cardiovascular%20disease%20(CVD)

Foods That Will Benefit Your BJJ Training

If you’re a serious Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and/or MMA competitor that has his or her eye on the prize with goals of filling the Copper Box year after year, you need to eat to win which you’ll hear again and again. Yes, the hard work is in the hours of drilling and putting together your own unique play box but if you neglect your diet you neglect the engine that needs to be optimised for game day.

How’s it going? My name is Hanif and I’m a London based nutrition coach and gym instructor. I’m a student of personal training as well as Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and I really enjoy kettlebell training and running. I help adult men with real health issues get into better shape physically and in terms of mindset. Criterion Fit is our flag and we are always open to helping sportsmen and fitness enthusiasts achieve great things in their preferred world of physical activity and sport. In this post, we will talk about various foods and supplements that I’d recommend highly for the student of the gentle art.

BJJ Gi

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a modern adaptation of the traditional fighting style called Jiu-jitsu. BJJ as it is commonly abbreviated owes much of its popularity to the Gracie family, a family that also has descendants in the heart of London teaching today. As a sport or form of self-defence BJJ is undeniably potent once one has a basic grounding in the art. To subdue an attacker you’ll find no better way to handle yourself than with the skills of BJJ when it comes to being on the ground which is where most fights will end. For the competition fighter as we said, drilling and perfecting your techniques will be deciding factors aside from the power left in your tank.

Whatever you train Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for you need to make the following foods a part of your (non-vegan/vegetarian) diet. These foods are in no particular order and we always recommend you talk to a dietician or GP if you are unsure of the foods suggested due to allergies to these foods.

Sweet potato is high in fibre, slow energy releasing carbohydrate that will help you power through long training sessions. The orange colour will remind you of Carrots and just like carrots, Sweet Potato is rich in Beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is very good for eye health. Fighting at a top level will require sharp eyes ready to suss out the next planned move of your opponent and you’ll also need that enduring energy found in this low gi vegetable that is easy to prepare.

Eating bananas after a BJJ training session will provide and help restore your bodily glucose needs which is the main source of energy for our bodies. After a heavy training session, you may also experience cramping of muscles which can be alleviated by eating a banana which contains 361mg of Potassium per 100g.

If you’re looking for more sources of carbohydrates and want to keep your calorie count low you could consider switching from rice to couscous. Couscous outdoes rice in that 100g of couscous contains 112 calories whereas standard white rice contains 130 calories per 100g. Another benefit of couscous is that it contains selenium, a mineral that works as an antioxidant, repairing cell damage and reducing inflammation to help you recover from your training sessions and come back stronger

Almonds are seeds of the almond tree and these days you can find them in their raw state, roasted, ground into milk, oil butter and paste. The multitude of ways you can find almonds should be a sign of how nutritious these seeds are. A source of fat, protein and fibre as well as micronutrients, almonds are helpful to men in particular since they improve bone strength, useful for any BJJ competitor.

Milk is a food and drink and one that a BJJ competitor should never look down upon. Yes, Milk is good for your bone, preventing osteoporosis and it is helpful in managing your weight. You can drink milk/chocolate milk after a training session for rehydration and to avoid muscle soreness.

Further Reading:

Here’s how to get a great workout outdoors

Road Running.

Spring is fully in session and those frosty mornings with beaming sunlight are here again. With the new life emerging comes a renewed desire to get healthy and engage in exercise for many of us. If you’ve been in hibernation for the last 6 or so months it’s time to dust off your trainers and get ready to sweat!

My name is Hanif of CriterionFit.com where we help men transform themselves physically and mentally with the help of exercise and diet (nutrition). I’m a student of Fitness, Nutrition and Islamic Knowledge. I also enjoy running, cycling and Martial Arts. As a man I see the positive change regular physical activity can have on people, building and shaping men into leaders. In this post I will tell you how you can get a workout outdoors, a workout to have you sweating and feeling that bit better than when you started.

Step 1: Trainers

Yes, I already said it, dust off your trainers because it’s time to get the blood racing – you may even want to join a race by the end of your session. Running is one of the cheapest ways to increase your physical activity and health. Working your circulatory system helps blood flow more efficiently and your respiratory system also benefits – increasing lung capacity. It’s never too late to start running and if you have to start by walking and jogging for short bursts then do that. 

Step 2: Suspension Training

The local park should have some secure yet low lying branches from which you can attach a suspension training rig. Using your own bodyweight you can get a serious sweat on before you get your black coffee! If you don’t have the money for a suspension training set-up then you could look for a park with an outdoor gym with calisthenic bars to work with. Our muscles need to work just like our heart and lungs. This form of strength training can really get you cut up and shredded – not just for the bodybuilders – as we age muscle wastes away making us weaker. To avoid wasting away muscle it’s important to regularly exercise by bodyweight our a set of Kettlebells [Click Here – Online Kettlebell Training].

Step 3: Circuit Training

Now if you’re looking for a short but high-intensity level of training 2 – 3 times a week here is what you need. A circuit that includes upper and lower body exercise, as well as core strength and cardiovascular work will give you what the above two steps will give you in less time. You have to really be ready to sweat buckets for this style of training because when done well it will be intense.

You should now have an idea of how you can get active, fit and strong outdoors without spending much to achieve your goals. The weather in the UK is getting easier upon us as it usually does at this time of year so take this opportunity to get healthy and put the excuses in the basement never to be opened again. I hope your Spring and Summer bring much good, feel free to drop me a message and get in touch, share this post and follow us on our social media accounts.

Life-Changing with Trainers & a Kettlebell

Trainers by Nike – Pegasus 39

The times we live in are tough and as the reality of the current economic squeeze on family finances becomes more evident, more measures need to be taken to cut costs for many families. As Husbands, fathers and sons of the household, it is usually up to us to bring the bag home and so we start to cut out the unnecessary subscriptions and unneeded purchases. But, should your fitness be on that list to get the cut? Are there other options to consider instead of a gym membership? In this post, I’d like to talk to you about how you can maintain your fitness while we chart these recurring and turbulent times with the help of a pair of trainers and a kettlebell.

Hello, my name is Hanif and I run criterionfit.com, our goal is to get the men of London, the United Kingdom and the whole world to live active lifestyles and maintain a balance in diet. I’m a student of Personal Training, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Islamic knowledge that also likes running, family time and good food. Finding time to exercise can take the back seat for many men and as I approach 40 years of age I see just how important regular physical activity, stretching and eating healthy can improve one’s quality of life.

As I said upon opening this post, the times we are in are tough. The media talk about the rumblings of a recession, social media expectations to maintain the look of elitism and success can incite wicked behaviour and for young men especially the spring/summer heat can swell up paybacks. One of the best ways for the youth to avoid trouble is to stay active and engage in fitness training but this can cost money the youth can’t afford and for some men, the gym setting isn’t an option.

Health is one’s most important possessions. If you don’t look after it you can’t look after those you love and it’s as simple as that so I suggest you invest in just a couple of things. A pair of running trainers and a kettlebell. That’s the foundation of all you need to get a whole-body workout. Running and kettlebell training combined will increase your cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems’ strength and endurance.

I understand that many men wish to exercise but don’t get around to it because of time and money. Such a person needs to reflect upon the state they were created upon, the best of statures, but we let the chasing after wealth come before our true purpose all too often. At present we are in Ramadan and what a blessing it is. It’s an opportunity for the Muslim to be real with himself and make positive steps forward – myself included.

Kettlebells

Running and Kettlebell training as well as the other forms of exercise excite the happy hormones within the brain. The more regularly you work out the less stress you seem to have and the clearer your thinking becomes. Knowing the reality of mental ill-health I find it to be of utmost importance for men and their families to stay active and I know I fall short in this, may Allah ta’ala make it easy.

The cost of your equipment doesn’t matter and what the people say about you while you strive to benefit yourself is irrelevant. The time we have in this life is short and the consequences of our evil actions can be grave upon us until we repent, the life of the grave is long and we only have one life. So with that, I recommend a man to focus in on the important things and realise he is still living and able to give his body its due right.

For links to the ideal style of running shoe and kettlebells to invest in check out the following posts:

Saved by the Kettlebell

Pick your Kicks

Life isn’t easy for anyone. The good or bad we do will show on us so show your best face and let your striving reflect that. Thanks for reading and have a good healthy life.

Road to PT’ing: Passion Over Profit

The fitness and sporting worlds look very inviting, especially to the youth. No doubt, fitness and sport should have a place in all of our lives in some form or another but for the majority of people that take the pursuit of training, exercise and sport to be a career there will be very little acclaim to their name. In this post, I’d like to explain why personal training isn’t for you if you want to get to the bag and why you need to put a passion for helping people before getting to the bank.

I hope you’re well and thank you for taking the time to check into criterionfit.com. My name is Hanif and I’m a student of Personal Training, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Salafi Islam. I am getting ready for Ramadan like many Muslims around the world. If you will be fasting the month may Allah azza wa jal accept it from you and us all. At Criterion Fit we help men get into better shape and remedy common health issues through the prescription of exercise and we also offer nutritional/dietary coaching. If you’d like to know more hit our services button in the top menu.

I’ve almost always had an entrepreneurial spirit from buying and selling, flipping and today providing digital products and services that meet the needs of men in the fitness arena. Self-employment has given me the opportunity to set my own plan for the day, week, month and year. As a student of personal training, I see the reality of PT’ing more than ever, long hours with little return is the reality for many people in the industry but I believe Personal Training has real importance and as such Trainers need to show how valuable their time is in order to gain what they should. Of course, there are trainers that cut corners, undercut colleagues and make the industry look shady with no care for the principles they should stand by. This post is about why I like many men and women got into this field.

Quite simply, I enjoyed my time working with a personal trainer after years of living the gym zombie life. Aside from that, I found that my health issues including poor sleep were made to disappear within a short time and the sight of people working out to better themselves was motivating. I thought to myself this was the direction I’d like to take.

The money to be made in personal training wasn’t the big deciding factor for me at all. With time I began to see that there was actually a lot of money being splashed around and the influencer generation on youtube, Instagram and Snapchat of 2017 onwards let it be known that they were getting that doe. But that’s not what a Personal Trainer should focus on. The average man or woman doesn’t look like The Rock or Kim Kardashian, they don’t aspire to live that lifestyle when they have a partner and a child on the way, they just want to move better and feel better because of the stress and strain of work-life behind a desk and cramped space standing on a tube train are all too much. The average PT is helping real-life issues and to do this you have to want to help people (a reality I still may not fully comprehend).

What you see in the media is the flashy pull-in lines, clickbait that sells. The media and social influencers pay to look that way (with money and time). They have been training for a long time and airbrushing, photoshop skills and a gang of make-up artists all thrown in give the unsuspecting viewer the belief that looking like this is just daily life – all for the bag! I’m trying to stress here that if you’re getting into Personal Training because you want to look good on IG then buy photoshop and take some pictures in Harrods, you can employ a PT to help you achieve that. If you want to be a Personal Trainer to help people get on IG then cool, if you want to help people transform from obese to beast cool and if you want to help older people maintain their independence in later life cool – that’s what PT’ing is about.

I like to help people, charities and so on. Being a man of service is noble and if I can get paid to help that is a win. The times we are in are changing rapidly and how we earn a wage has also changed but passion in the right place will get you noticed without having to strip for the camera. I hope you found this post interesting and worth your time. To all the Personal Trainers I hope your passion for the skill is renewed and to those future PTs like myself I hope you gain success in really changing lives for the better.

Daily Kettlebell Workout To Stress Less

Stressed at home or work? Take some time out for this Kettlebell session.

Stress is an occurrence in life we usually try to avoid but in reality, without a degree of pressure in our lives, we quickly become forgetful of what life is for. Stress at work or with your family getting you down? Try this Kettlebell session out and I’ll add a couple more tips to help you see things clearly and destress.

Thanks for taking the time to read another post from criterionfit.com! We help busy men, big men and small men with fitness goals and lifestyle changes to make. My name is Hanif and I started training in this field in 2017. I’ve had stressful periods in my life just as you have, but the way I try to deal with the pressure has changed much over time.

Here I’d like to offer you a simple workout that you can do which will take you under 30 minutes to complete. 3 kettlebell circuits, 1 round (2 rounds of each if you have more time). You’ll work Lower/ Upper / Cardiovascular / Core and the hope is that by the end of the session you’ll feel relaxed and ready to tackle any issues you have with clarity and focus. Less talk, more work let’s go!

Circuit numberExerciseRepsDurationOther info
1Deadlift 10Slow eccentric lowering, fast contraction.
Single KB Press10 both armsProgress to bilateral press
Burpee2 minute
Planks1 minute
2KB swing2 minutes
Standing Tricep Extension10 both armsno more than 8kg Kettlebell behind the head to start.
High Knees2 minutes
Crunches1 minute
3KB Goblet Squats10
Press Up2 minutesRest on knees to make it easier.
Mountain Climbers2 minutes
Heel Taps2 minutes

I hope you’ve enjoyed this session and if you beat the 30-minute clock nice work. The goal was to take the stress away for some time, focus on other things which help one regroup. As you’ll know there are many things one can do to destress but some may take more brainwork than others.

The first thing to remember is that Allah (subhanu wa ta’ala) is all aware and knowing of the stress you are going through so calling upon your lord for relief is a must. Prayer and supplication to Allah (ta’ala), lowering your gaze, avoiding haram, seeking knowledge, making wudu and seeking the counsel of those with true Islamic knowledge should all be in your mind.

The food you eat can reduce stress and give you a better feeling about yourself and your current situation. Foods such as fatty fish, dark chocolate, yoghurt and vegetables are all foods that will give you an uplifted feeling the more consistently you make them a part of your life. Drinking more water and less caffeine-filled drinks will help you to relax and promotes better blood flow around your body, calming your nerves so you can focus on your stressors.

Fasting and exercise are two keys from the keys of keeping cool. Fasting focuses you on the remembrance of Allah (ta’ala) and recognition of the favours we have to the point we can choose not to eat and drink food. Exercise as you’ve just seen from this session is a good way of bringing on endorphins and dopamine chemicals that increase our happy moods. When you’re relaxed you see things differently so if you’re feeling stuck in a stressful situation try as many of the above modes of calm as possible. Take the time to reflect and approach the situations from a position of tranquillity.

Uplifting: Why Weight Training Is Important In Our Lives

Weight Training Is Healthy.

How many days do you have? I know like you know that the next hour isn’t guaranteed for any of us but while you’re breathing and have the luxury of limbs to help you strive in good deeds it’s important to take care of the body you’ve been given. I know the struggle of work/ family/ study life, picking up a quick meal that you find enjoyment in is no crime but as weeks turn into months and the exercise equipment you have gathers dust, time only moves faster and the strain you put upon your body also increases.

How’s it going? My name is Hanif of criterionfit.com. We help men in the UK and worldwide increase in energy, motivation and confidence with our fitness and nutritional coaching. Serving men of varying sizes, goals and issues is what we do so if you want to achieve something great for yourself and in honour of the trust you’ve been given by Allah azza wa jal our creator, get in touch (contact page is in the menu). In this post, I want to talk to you about weight training for longevity. 

When you think weight training, lifting, pushing weights or whatever trending hashtag defines this type of exercise at the moment, your automatic thought may be a bodybuilder with arms that don’t extend past 45 degrees, sweaty, string vest in the winter, juiced up and angry, can’t breathe well and couldn’t outrun a mobility scooter if his life depended on it. If I’m describing someone you know please tell him to read the signs, his life really may depend on a quick change.

Weight training looks uninviting for the majority of people but it really does have a place in all of our lives. Yes, some people go to extremes in every area of life and fitness training is no different but as we age our bodily muscle mass reaches a stage where it will only decrease and issues like osteoporosis, loss of bone density, clogged arteries and loss of balance can make life that bit more challenging.

Many of us have muscle imbalances due to many factors including carrying bags on our stronger side, playing sports, sitting in a particular way or our working environment. Strength training can help us correct these issues or at least make things easier upon ourselves. The UK health recommendation is to get a minimum of 150 minutes or so of exercise per week and you don’t need to be in a gym to do this. For us men, we care about strength, who wants to be weak? Yes, strength in deen is way more important than strength in the body but a heart with strength of emaan and strength of body has doubled up on goodness.

If you look at yourself or avoid looking at yourself due to unwanted or too little muscle mass, strength training is part cure for both sides of the spectrum. A solid handle on food will also be necessary to optimise your growth but without the suitable stimulus, you’ll achieve little and spend a lot. The training programme needs to be acted upon consistently and patiently. 

Finding time to pray is on point, seeking knowledge is on point, we find time to seek wealth and sleep, eat and all those things life throws at us unexpectedly but do we find time to give our bodies, our hearts, muscles and bones the time they need? I see health-conscious elderly people in my gym and it is great to see that exercise is a part of their daily lives. Some men want to be tanks and that’s fine in moderation, the average man just wants to be able to lift himself out of a chair upon reaching his older years. If I can say one thing that hits home for you I hope I’ve already said it because weight training burns calories, builds strength and size, helps you get better sleep and so much more including increasing your confidence. 

He’s a Monster – Gym Plan.

I hope this post hits home and you’ll get started on your training. If you’re onboard to exercise and need a plan check this 3 day split programme working all of your major muscles [He’s a Monster]. It’s ideal for the beginner lifter and takes out 3 hours of your week inshaAllah, give it a go and if you need something more specific get in touch with us for us to build you a custom exercise programme for the gym, park or home training. Thanks for rolling and talk soon inshaAllah.

Eating While Reclining

The example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not to recline while eating.

Eating Positions: The Sunnah

Chapter 6. Eating While Reclining

3262. It was narrated from Abu Juhaifah that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I do not eat while reclining.” (Sahih)

Sunan Ibn Majah – Volume 4 – English Translation by Nasiruddin al-Khattab – Published by Darussalam – First Edition 2007.

Eating Positions: The Science

The Greeks and Romans were known for their “opulent” lifestyles reclining to eat grapes may come to mind. In today’s fast-paced rat race you’ve likely seen the image of a busy office worker running out the door with a slice of toast in mouth flagging down a bus and Sunday afternoon footballers drawing for the half-time fruit and energy drinks.

The posture we hold while eating has an effect on how we digest food because our stomachs empty slower when we lay down as opposed to sitting up but the reason for this is still unknown to researchers and doctors.

Eating Positions: Criterion Fit

The example of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) comes before any other example and we follow his way. Laying down while eating slows digestion, may increase the chance of choking, leans towards arrogance and shows little gratitude for what one is eating and Allah azza wa jal knows best. Food before the blessing of good taste is for nourishing our bodies so we can worship our creator and work to provide for ourselves and our family. The manners we have with food tell much about our outlook on life so if you’ve been one to lean back while eating it’s time to prop yourself all the way up (the puns keep coming and not on purpose).

Habit Changing: How To Get Change Right

Eat this or that?

Growing up I had a real sweet tooth. I had a sock draw filled with sweets and there was hardly a day in which I wouldn’t buy a load of penny sweets on my journey back home. Most of us can recount our youthful days eating eggs and marshmallows with friends but some of us haven’t outgrown the sweet sugar fix just yet.

In this post, we will look at how you can change negative food habits and begin a healthy fitness lifestyle. My name is Hanif of CriterionFit.com. We help men with fitness goals and coach clients using exercise and trusted nutritional knowledge so they can realise the health and confidence they know to be within. Thank you for taking the time to learn from us and now, what you’ve come for.

Habit changing doesn’t come easy for anyone. Have you ever thought about the specific fruits and veg or snacks you eat, at what times you eat them and the quantities you knock them back in? Habits creep upon us day-by-day and in a subtle fashion so much so that when we look at ourselves with a true reflection we see how much we’ve changed. Habits grow upon us and the change can be noticeable physically in the form of weight gain/loss or internally in how our heart and bodies react to certain stimuli.

When making changes we will often start off so strong that we can’t maintain the momentum we set ourselves. It’s great to have enthusiasm for change but it’s important to build up the momentum over time because the small changes over a prolonged time will be easier upon you and become like second nature as the saying goes.

If one were to set the pace too fast and come to a halt due to the many obstacles that may arise we will remember our failures a lot easier than we remember our successes and this can put a block on us making further changes we know we need to make. There are three basic ways we can go about change as explained by Dr Stephen L. Kopecky (Professor of Medicine – Mayo Clinic) and they are: 

  • Epiphany
  • Change the environment
  • Take tiny steps

An epiphany would be a light bulb moment that gives you all the dedication, motivation and knowledge you need to get out of the gate. This sounds great but its hard to maintain as we’ve said. What would be easier and more sustainable would be to change aspects of your environment such as putting your running shoes by the door and bringing your alarm clock closer to bed so when it goes off you’re up and head out for a morning run before your family wake up. It could also mean working in a quiet office room at work rather than with the whole work team as they share biscuits and doughnuts. The third change is the easiest of them all and that would be to take small steps in your habit-changing plan, eating an extra portion of fruit each day and reducing the cups of fizzy drink for example.

Rewarding yourself with healthy food that you like is a great step because you feel satisfied and you do justice to your body which is a trust from Allah azza wa jal. The more you do this the more you change for the better, the more confident you’ll feel and you’ll increase in energy God willing.

Habits stay with us for life. You need to move past bad habits because you can’t break them, you just learn to avoid them. Untangle the knot one at a time and reward yourself regularly until you’ve found yourself to be a changed man.

I hope you’ve found benefit in this article and will share it with someone that really needs to read it. CriterionFit offer online nutrition coaching and kettlebell training sessions for men, we can help you increase your confidence and health so get in contact with us via email or our social media networks.