By: Donna Nadeem
After completing her bachelor’s degree in McMaster University’s psychology, neuroscience and behavior program in 2014, Amina Khan founded Amanah Fitness, a culturally-sensitive online female fitness community. In just three years, it has grown to become one of the largest global Muslim fitness education programs, helping over 50,000 women across the globe.
Amanah Fitness’ online workouts feature diverse female fitness instructors and are performed with no equipment so that individuals of all fitness levels can access them. For instance, Khan’s 30 day online fitness bootcamp, which is offered at $129 for lifetime access, gives users 22 unique equipment-free workouts and personal coaching from Khan.
“As an alumna of McMaster University, I am honoured to be using my degree to promote social change on a global scale. Our goal is to use the psychology of motivation to help women of all cultural backgrounds feel their best through healthy active lifestyles,” said Khan.
During her second year at McMaster, Khan hit her heaviest weight and felt that something had to change.
“At the peak of my frustration, I decided to try losing weight one last time. This time, through fitness. After years of failed dieting attempts and feeling intimidated at the gym, I found a small ladies-only gym,” said Khan.
With the support of inspiring female fitness instructors who helped her discover a love of exercise, she was able to lose 60 pounds. With a newfound passion for health and fitness, Khan sought to share her journey to inspire other women.
To meet the growing demand for our culturally-sensitive health and fitness classes, education and workshops, she founded Amanah Fitness.
Khan started by teaching fitness classes for female students in the David Braley Athletic Centre with the McMaster Muslim Students Association and continued to expand her fitness classes to other community centres and mosques, with a focus on cultural and religious barriers to fitness.
Her goal was to provide a space for women from diverse backgrounds to learn about their health. By popular demand, she also created an online workout bootcamp program that is now used by Muslim women across the globe.
As a Muslim woman who wears a headscarf, Khan had always struggled to find a fitness community.
“As someone who struggled with weight loss before becoming a fitness instructor, I know first-hand that Muslim women and women from diverse cultural backgrounds can feel neglected by the mainstream fitness industry,” she said. “When I was struggling with my weight, I never saw anyone in the fitness industry who looked or dressed like me. As an overweight Muslim woman wearing a headscarf, I felt excluded from the fitness industry.”
According to Khan, another challenge Muslim women face is maintaining health and fitness while fasting during Ramadan.
Amanah Fitness believed a collaborative approach needed to be taken. In particular, Khan worked with dieticians, doctors and medical professionals in Canada to launch a comprehensive online resource called Ramadan Reset.
to provide research-based resources for fasting nutrition and fitness.
Ramadan Reset has become a globally recognized resource to help Muslim individuals live a healthy active lifestyle while fasting.
Last August, Khan was named Fitness Professional of the Year at the World Fitness Expo, making her the first Muslim woman to be awarded the title.
In the future, Khan aspires to continue to expand Amanah Fitness’ audience internationally and release a second online workout program.