The Benefits of Exercise from Ramadan Health Guide

Ramadan Health Guide by Hanif of Criterion Fit

The Concise Oxford Dictionary says exercise to be: 

Activity requiring physical effort, done especially as training or to sustain or improve health.

With this definition we see that exercise can be many things, things we enjoy and things we have never even related to improving our health. 

Exercising regularly can help reduce stress and anxiety, aiding better sleep and releasing endorphins in the brain which is believed to increase happy moods. We can also reduce body weight and overall fat percentage, increase stamina, reduce overall blood pressure, gain a better body posture through strengthened muscles, increase muscle size and strength and the list goes on. 

I highly recommend to the men I work with regarding weight management that they engage in activity they enjoy and better yet, love to do. This will increase their chances of sticking at it when it gets hard or time doesn’t seem to be on their side. Make a list of activities you have done in your life that were physical and you enjoyed even if you must think back to primary or secondary school. This is a matter of your health, the biggest blessing to us all after being guided to Islam.

This was an excerpt from “Ramdan Health Guide,”  authored by myself Abu Hafs Hanif of To download this helpful guide book [CLICK HERE].

3 count: Getting back into fitness training after Lockdown 3.0

Are you ready to start training post-lockdown 3.0?

Today is the day before gyms reopen throughout Britain and it’s an exciting time for those that dare get back into their fitness training. Gyms in all corners of the country have had time to prepare from a health and safety point of view as they prepared during the previous lockdowns. Getting your trainers back on to resume your fitness regime will be a different experience for many men since some of us have lost loved family members and friends in the recent past. Whatever angle you are approaching fitness from in 2021 take your time and acknowledge every achievement you make.

Throughout my young adult life, I’d always keep a gym membership, I lost my desire for team sports in secondary school due to my preoccupation with the life of entertainment and earning a wage among other distractions. In those days I knew nothing about gym programmes or employing a personal trainer. My go-to was the dumbbell curls, 10 – 15 minutes on the stationary bike and then 10 minutes in the sauna. This fitness routine was infrequent but it was written that I’d live that time out.

I’m sure that from you reading this article you have a desire to get back into a routine of training. Our goals are personal and more important now than they have ever been. I encourage you to work with a Gym Instructor and/or Personal Trainer so you can achieve clear goals that will enhance your quality of life. If you’re feeling deflated by a family loss or losing your job it’s important to keep moving by staying active. The tests of life don’t stop and the worst thing a man can do is get stuck in time, reminiscing about the past and not living in the present.

Take the time out of your day to train your body and your mind will follow. Exercise releases brain chemicals that bring about a good mood. With that good mood, you need to attack every difficult situation you experience and day-by-day (God willing) things will change for the better. It’s said “you need to spend money to make money” and in terms of your fitness, this holds true. You need to invest in your health and fitness if you want to maintain a healthy and fit body.

During lockdown 3.0 I’ve been training at home as most of the country have, kettlebells being the main weapon of choice. I know that my strength has reduced so I’ll be training in the gym like it was the first time. Whatever level of experience you have in fitness training it makes sense to write down your progress. Not every training session will be the same, you’ll have good days and bad, keeping a training journal along with your exercise programme/plan will help you to see your growth over time and keep you training long-term.

If you’re worried about the risk of becoming sick due to the Covid19 virus, speak to the manager of your gym and ask questions on what steps are being taken to avoid the spread of the virus in your gym. There is always a risk in life, the time we have in this world is known only to Allah azza wa jal. Tie your camel and trust in Allah azza wa jal since what is decreed will not miss you and what was decreed to miss you will never touch you.

I hope you feel motivated and ready to join or rejoin a gym in your area. Regular exercise increases our ease in achieving daily tasks and reduces the likelihood of many illnesses. If you need a gym programme to help you lose weight get in contact with me [Here] and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Also, check out our other platforms where we talk about fitness and nutrition, links in the top right-hand corner of this page.

Why You Should Join a Gym This April

Old gym interior with equipment

If you know anyone that regularly attends a gym you’ve probably noticed them as not being their usual self, maybe a bit withdrawn and emotional in ways you’re not used to seeing. The UK lockdown3.0 as some have called it has brought distress to many people and turned life on its head but nothing lasts forever in this life and so it’s important to look at any and every positive experience you find through these tough times and appreciate them. 

Regular exercise and balanced diets have been compromised for many men but as you may have learnt in the news, Gym’s will be allowed to reopen from the 12th April 2021. In this post, we will look at some of the benefits of joining a gym once they reopen and how you can get started with your fitness training to reach your health goals.

Focus mode & time for yourself

Our days are filled with task after task, going to the gym helps to declutter your mind and focus on your health rather than everyone and everything else. If you don’t like music bring your headphones and phone while you zone out and hit some PB’s. 

24 hrs to Suit your Lifestyle

Budget gyms often offer around the clock access which is great for self-conscious men with determination to reach their health and fitness goals. Maybe you work and couldn’t find the time to workout before, 24hr gyms are ideal for you. 

Community & Friendships

Life can be lonely, even when you live in a big city. Gym’s are great places to build friendships and learn about the diverse communities around you. Gyms are places for everyone so don’t exclude yourself due to fears of not fitting in.

Get into the Shape you Desire

To get into shape is the number one reason men go to the gym although there are untold numbers of reasons. Staying how to use your one cardio machine is unlikely to get you your results,if it was the way to gains you’d already be at your goal. Join a local gym and set a schedule for your attendance.

Expert Personal Trainers

Whats a gym without a PT? You’ll likely find well versed and experienced personal trainers in your local area that will know exactly how to help you make those lifestyle changes for a better you.

Specialised Equipment

As I said before, using your one cardio machine at home won’t cut it. Gym’s charge what they do because they have to recoup the money they spend on equipment and staff. All the equipment in the gym is at your disposal, make the most of it.

I’m sure there are many more benefits to joining a gym and come April 12th I hope you’ll be walking through your local gym doors. It’s important you have a gym programme to work to and you’ve also been shown how to use the exercise equipment by an Instructor or Personal Trainer to avoid injuries. Gym programmes are a bespoke offering you can get from us at CriterionFit, hit this link [HERE] to find out more.

BONUS Tips every new Gym goer should know:

  • You’ll achieve your goals faster if you get help sooner
  • Start light and increase weight as you gain experience
  • What you eat is as important as the training you do
  • Believe you can achieve your goals
  • Exercise benefits your mind and motivation
  • Training is hard and painful at times
  • You need a plan and support to get the full benefits
  • Training is life long and your goal won’t be achieved overnight

You’re FREE to eat whatever you want!

Eat what you want but…

Why do you eat what you eat? Is it because you’ve been raised by parents eating a specific food, do you eat as you do because it’s socially acceptable, is it because your money stretches that bit further than most and you have a taste for the takeaway food daily?

It’s important that you know what guides your food choices since that knowledge will give you a better handle on how to deal with urges and times you’re alone with trigger foods. The reality is if you want to lose weight, eating junk won’t overly help that goal. You have a choice! Yes, you have the choice to eat whatever you want, from the most expensive to the cheapest.

Do you want to be free or do you want to be balanced? Pick your road because if you want to be free and reach your set weight-loss goals you can, but it will take hard work and sweat. A balanced approach is you coming to a point of conquering your desires, learning about and trying new foods, drinking a lot of water (smoothies and juicing included) and adapting to your new lifestyle.

Your body needs exercise just like it needs food. Exercise keeps your motor running, eating the right foods keeps it moving for longer. You wouldn’t buy a Porche 911 and feed it palm oil and expect it to perform, likewise, you wouldn’t eat a box of Krispy Kreme in the morning and expect to be able to run a 10k race with no prior training.

The choice is, learn and adapt or remain unchanged. But your limbs will change whether by your choice or not. 

If you enjoyed this blog post, like it, share it and comment. If you’d like help to make positive changes in your life get in-touch today.

This ain’t working out: Tips to stick to the gym plan

Modern gym interior with equipment. Row of training exercise bikes wheel detail, backlight. Healthy lifestyle concept

So the plan is to hit the gym as soon as it opens on the 12th April (God willing). Its the same plan many men have but you’re different, you have a strategy or you will after reading this post to the end.

It can be daunting going to the gym at any time and especially while people are suffering from this virus but the reality is that when we look after our health our bodies will endure the tests, trials and illnesses of life better than one that doesn’t exercise or maintain a balanced diet. Many people won’t reach their fitness goals because of the atmosphere of their local gym or not wanting to be seen jogging through their local area. There are options in whatever case; you can workout at home and I really do believe home workouts are a great way to train for the average man with general health goals. If your plan is to be a 100m sprinter or bodybuilder then obviously you’ll need specialist equipment not found at home.

The struggle and striving to reach your goal needs to be your focus and not the end result of being such-and-such a weight, enjoy the journey to good health. Focus on the day you’re living, that lift and that run you are doing at that specific time. Focus on what your doing and the positive change your body is going through as you workout.

Learning to love the struggle sounds like something for the athletes but if you get accustomed to looking at the journey day by day, with time, you’ll likely find a new passion in exercise that is benefiting to you and those around you.

That feeling of apprehension is the same for most people before they start/resume their fitness journey. Some gym’s have a ‘culture’ you don’t like so it’s important to join a gym you feel comfortable training in but remember why you’re working out!

A good way to reach your goals is to find a family member or friend that has the same goals as you. Working with them and encouraging one another is a fast way to secure consistency and also brings hearts together, building bonds hard to break.

Keeping a journal of the exercises you do, how hard or easy you found the session and your mood before and after your session are good tools you can use that will always be on call for you to read through on those hard days when you lack motivation.

Don’t give up on better health, fitness or exercise. Today, if you go online you wouldn’t find it hard to find stories of over-weight or obese men that have battled ill health and turned their lives around, it takes determination of self as well as assistance from others but the hard work is all you. You can do it!If you would like for Abu Hafs Hanif to help you reach your health and fitness goals [Message Me].

Staying Active on a Budget

Functional Training Equipment in a Gym

These times are tough for many people and the reality is things are only getting tougher. Whatever your financial state, you need to invest in your health and you don’t need to be a big spender to get fit. ‘I don’t have the right trainers’ and ‘I checked the weather and it’s gonna rain all week’ and, and, leave your excuses on your bedside chair (table if you got it like that).

When it comes to exercise you don’t need much to get going except a go-getting attitude and the desire to see the job through. I’m going to run down a few of the things you can do that won’t cost you much and will benefit you even more in your weight-loss journey.


Join a Gym with an Off-peak membership if you’re really squeezed for money. Hopefully you have a budget gym in your local area and budget gym doesn’t mean poor quality equipment or advice from the Personal Trainers. You’ll find weights machines and cardiovascular machines as well as free-weights for you to use. The experience of the Fitness Instructors and Personal Trainers are also worth enquiring about, to reduce the chance of injury and meet the goals you set for yourself rather than wasting 6 months+ trying to figure things out alone. For a tailored gym plan designed around your goals and lifestyle and commitments message me [Here].

Team Sports:

Sports from Football to Cricket or Rugby are social sports that give you a feeling of community and connection with your teammates. At the same time, you’ll be burning a lot of calories, strengthening muscles used in your desired sport and raising your mood at the same time. Joining a team is usually inexpensive but may be a seasonal thing and so to maintain your levels of exercise you will want to get involved in another sport alongside that which you do or jog on a regular basis and the likes of that.

Stair Climbing:

According to The University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center research, you burn 15 calories per 3 flights of stairs (average flight of stairs being 12 steps). If you live in a house, estate block or you work in a high-rise building; maybe you have a local tube station or large shopping centre with an escalator – you have access to stairs that you can burn some serious calories with – if you don’t mind going up-and-down for a good 20minutes. Just bring water and comfortable trainers and get ready to build your leg strength.

For a plan of exercise that you can do at home or your home environment [Click here]. Exercise is for everyone, not for the young or the rich but for any and everyone that wants to benefit themselves, to live long and look after the ‘Trust’ given to them from the day they were created.I can help you lose weight and get into the best shape of your life; start with our ‘8 Week Weight-loss Programme’ – The Old Medicine and learn about the food you need to be eating, what to avoid and get your hands on a Gym Programme designed around your lifestyle and personal goals – message me [Here].

Foods to Grow

Protein sources. Meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, nuts, greens oil beans and lentils Top view on dark stone table

It’s hard to spend 10 minutes on social media looking into fitness and not be hit from all sides with talk about weight-loss and the next greatest exercise to get you into the best shape of your life. It’s all good, such posts have their place as motivation to a degree but what about weight gain? Weight gain is the ugly little brother that takes up space or so it was thought. Gaining lean mass is the goal for most men that are underweight most of the time, pack on some size and all that good stuff, so here is a list of food you’ll want to consider adding to your next shopping list to get those pounds doubling and metabolic juices bubbling.

My name is Hanif and I’m a Fitness and Nutritional Coach here at CriterionFit. I help men with health fitness and nutritional wants and needs to achieve the goals they set themselves while having fun and gaining knowledge. It doesn’t matter where you’re from we can help you with your fitness goals. Physical activity and regular exercise should be a part of all of our lives so for inspiration and help get in touch with us [Here]…back to weight gain!!

The reality of this life is that when people think of weight gain they automatically picture an obese person that is lazy and unattractive. This is a mistake in many ways and a person shouldn’t be judged by their appearance when you have no idea what lead them to be in the current state they are in, that’s a side issue. So, weight gain can be a struggle for many men, in the sense of being underweight. They consume and consume meal after meal but don’t find a way to put on that extra few pounds. I believe I was an Ectomorph growing up, a skinny guy that could eat whatever I wanted and wake up the next day as if I hadn’t eaten a whole Large Dominos Pizza and Garlic Bread to myself.

Not everyone with low weight for height will automatically have an eating disorder, some men just have fast metabolisms and don’t eat the right foods in sufficient quantities to gain weight. The foundation you must set for yourself is to eat in a calorie surplus which means to consume more calories than you expend or use up during your day and night. This will ideally be done by you consuming high-quality sources of Protein, Carbs and Fats rather than Junk food and sweet treats. Here you’ll find some essential foods to add to your shopping list but please check for allergies before you make changes to your diet, I’m no doctor and you could be negatively affected by some or all of these foods if you are allergic so research before you try anything out.

Carbohydrates such as Oats, Brown Rice, Brown Pasta and Sweet Potato are great sources of energy to fuel your day and exercise sessions. These carbs also hold fibre which helps normal bowel movement, helps to control blood sugar levels and lowers Cholesterol. It is also advisable to eat vegetables and fruit throughout the day due to their vitamin and mineral content.

Fats including Avacado, Flaxseed and Olive Oil, Nuts and Seeds all contain beneficial monounsaturated fats that raise HDL and lower LDL cholesterol. Fat isn’t to be avoided, they are essential to a balanced diet and healthy body however it’s best to avoid Trans Fats which are an unhealthy form of fat found in many foods to preserve and increase the shelf life of food.

Choose a healthy eating lifestyle comparison between junk food and fruits

Protein, the building block for muscle gain which is what you’ve been waiting for. Some sources of Protein you’ll want to look into if on a non-vegetarian diet are:

Lean Beef
Chicken Breast
Salmon (Fish)
Protein Powder

When we exercise during a weight training session we breakdown muscle fibres for them to repair, grow, get stronger and so on. To assist this anabolism (growth) of muscle our bodies need proteins after training and regularly to maintain that muscle. Carbohydrates also have effects upon muscle growth so it’s important to eat with a balanced diet, for more on this and to learn how to calculate your macros to put size on in the kitchen leave us a message [Here].

A key point to remember if you are under your ideal weight is that you must consistently eat calories up and above your BMR (Basil Metabolic Rate) which is the minimum amount of calories you need to sustain your bodily functions. Buying Protein Powder and then jumping on the Treadmill for 35 minutes is not the way to gaining size for most of us anyway.

If you could do with a single consultation with Criterion Fit to help you get your diet in check or you need an exercise programme that will bring about the goals and gains you’re after, get in contact with Hanif by leaving a message [Here].

Weight gain for an underweight man can be a difficult issue to deal with and deserves as much respect as is given to people that are overweight. The best thing anyone can do in any given situation is to seek out the people of knowledge in the said field if you don’t already know the answers. Be it a Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach or Nutritionist, the answers and best method for you to reach your goal is out there so get to work and live your best life.

Road to PT’ing: Heads Up and Respect the Kettlebell

A One Piece Gym, the Kettlebell is Well Worth Investing in.

One of the courses I was really looking forward to this year was the Kettlebell Trainer course which has been called off due to the Nationwide Lockdown, for now anyway. Gyms and ‘non-essential’ businesses have been closed for months and so our eating habits and levels of physical activity have been taking beatings from all angles. In preparation for the Kettlebell Trainer course I’ve been training at home with my own Kettlebells and I’d really like to share with you my thoughts and reasons why you should train with these weights.

Kettlebells have strong links to the Russian Nation and their Strength Training Athletes but today you won’t find an illegally open gym without a large array of kettlebells. They are made up of the handle, horns and bell and can be constructed from cast iron or other materials (including plastic), various colours, sizes and weights.

Why they are so popular is for various reasons including but not limited to:

  • Easy transportability
  • Trains muscles from angles differently to traditional weights
  • Very beneficial as a cardiovascular workout
  • Time efficient training

At this time where gyms are closed (and many may permanently close) it makes sense to train at home to maintain your physical health. For Men that were thinking of getting more active due to their increased inactivity due to lockdown, I suggest that if you buy one piece of equipment to aid your health and fitness goals, get a kettlebell or set of kettlebells if possible.

Kettlebells don’t come cheap (for good quality and durability) but are well worth the investment since they really are the one-piece gym. It may be very hard to find a shop selling them at the moment though because all the gym beasts have been onto the idea since early 2020 when the first lockdown hit. But for strength training in a confined place such as your bedroom or living room, it makes sense to get a set of kettlebells.

Bonus, for the fitness new blood. I’d also recommend a mat for stretching and to do your kettlebell workouts on, without denting any wooden flooring and also and abs roller because the core work also needs to be done. The kettlebell is a piece of equipment that will give you a full body workout when used safely and regularly.

If you’re convinced about the power of kettlebells and how they can fit into your life of training, give me a shout through any of my networks, to say hello or if you’d like me to design your next workout programme. Yes, I’m a Level 2 Fitness Instructor and Level 3 Nutritional Adviser. If weight-loss is your goal we’d really like to hear from you. Anyway, thanks for your time and stay healthy.

Fitness Made To Measure

Fresh healthy vegetables, water and measuring tape. Health, sport and diet concept

Most men care about their appearance which is important, especially our inner appearance when it comes to the state of the heart but I want you to think more about your aesthetic appearance for a moment. Home gym training is the order of the day for many of us in the UK as we battle through Lockdown. In this article, we will touch on why working out using your own programme is the way to go. 

My name is Hanif and I own Criterion Fitness and Nutrition, helping Men, Son’s, Fathers and Brothers get their fitness, nutrition and general health status where they want it. Using methods that work, I can help you get back to fit but let’s get into this gym plan topic.

Care for self is very important and shows our gratitude for the bodies we’ve been blessed with and from that care is a level of regular exercise and physical activity. What form of exercise we choose is subjective to each individual and as such it makes sense that if you are looking for a gym or home gym workout routine it’s better to have a programme designed specifically to your needs, goals and aspirations.

Just google ‘Men’s Home Exercise Routine’ and you’ll find an abundance of exercise ideas, plans and methods to choose from. But this abundance of content isn’t good for everyone, especially the beginner exerciser. If you’re a seasoned veteran of exercise you’ll be able to kick apart exercise routines you find online and integrate them into your programme to add variety whether you’re in the gym or at home but for the new lifter (no matter your age) it is best to have a tailor-made exercise routine.

Employing a Personal Trainer or Fitness Instructor to design your fitness routine is more than just a piece of paper or file on your mobile phone. An instructor will discuss with you what your goals for training are, how long it could take to reach your goal, how any health matters may affect your training and attaining your goals and the various methods you can employ to maintain your desired health and fitness status safely. Using exercise routines that you find here and there won’t (Allahu Alem) meet your individual needs since such a plan was designed as a general fitness guide and not tailored to you. A plan designed for you can easily be progressed to keep the challenge up.

hex dumbell in gym

In these times where gym training isn’t an option, all we can do is utilise the equipment at home. With limited equipment, a PT or Instructor can devise a plan that meets your needs and will help you in maintaining good health, inner and outer. Working from home has its time and exercise should also have its time in all of our lives.

If you need help to get your fitness status to where it needs to be, if you’re in need of a home gym plan that is unique to you and your goals, get in contact with me through any of my social links including Instagram, Twitter, eMail and more. After a free consultation I can design a bespoke fitness routine for you that also includes priority access to me for a further 12 weeks to help you to reach your goals. Click the image below to learn more.

Click here to learn about Bespoke Fitness Programmes

There’s No Medicine Like The Old Medicine

‘The Old Medicine’ – (8 Week Weight-loss Programme)

The way we live today is very different to how things once were, technology has increased efficiency but also increased distractions, this is the life we live. As a Man, Son, Husband and/or Father with health and fitness concerns the first thing you may call for is the laptop and google your way to solve your health issues. But online searching will come up with truth, falsehood and everything in between so what should you do?

My name is Hanif and I’m a Nutritional and Fitness Coach to men like yourself, trying to get your health where it needs to be and enjoy the life you have. I’ve been training in this industry since 2017 and stay on top of the changing fitness climate as best as I can through continuous education and research – so you don’t have to yourself.

I’d like to introduce you to my weight-loss programme ‘The Old Medicine’ which can help you to lose 8-16lbs in the next 2 months. Designed to educate and inspire you to take control of your weight and fitness levels this programme also includes a bespoke fitness programme that will challenge you and help you achieve your goals.

Learn about:

  • Macronutrients
  • Calories
  • Reading Food Labels
  • The Benefits of Regular Exercise
  • Steps To Manage Eating Out
  • Much More.

‘The Old Medicine’ has always been physical activity and good, clean and healthy food. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon the food you love and enjoy. The ways of the past still fit into our world of technological advancements and need to be a part of all of our lives if we really way to live long and happy lives. If you’d like more information on our 8 week programme please contact us [Here].