Sunday, 22 February 2009

Weightlifting and Islam

There are quite a few men down the gym I go to who follow the religion of Islam, this made me interested in posting about weightlifting and Islam for the purpose of nutrition.

Those who know about Islam will understand that there are some restrictions on eating meat which is the main staple of any weightlifters diet whether it be chicken, turkey or beef.

Islam requires all land animals (fish and most sea life are exempt) to have a swift incision to the neck cutting the jugular veins and carotid arteries of both sides but leaving the spinal cord intact. This will let the animals body of blood. When killed Gods name must be pronounced over the meat. Islam also does not allow eating pork.

The problem with the fact that Islam does not allow pork to be eaten is that many food stuffs actually carry pork derivatives such a Gelatin even if they are not meat products. Did you know that even Whey protein powders cannot be taken unless certified as Halal if a person follows Islam?

So for a Muslim carrying out weightlifting it is harder for them to ensure they get the correct daily intake of proteins. To ensure the correct level of protein is taken a Muslim weightlifter requires to maintain a strict diet using Halal foods where ever possible and when not available fish and pulses need to be taken as an alternative.

I have a lot of respect for my Muslim brothers who train because they not only have a difficult time because of nutrition, there is also the issue of Ramadan where in the ninth month they fast from dawn until sunset every day, this includes not even drinking water.

If you follow Islam and you are weightlifting in any way I would be very interested in your diet so please do make a comment below.


Manning said...

With respect for disclosure: I'm a caucasion male, I know that doesn't fit many of the commonly assumed ethnic and/or cultural origins of must Muslims in America and Europe. I converted to Islam while I was in the army.

I'm not hardcore, but I do manage to lift or run three-to-five times a week. For me, the month of Ramadan is easy enough to push through by shceduling my workouts in the evening, finishing up in time to bathe and pray before breaking fast at sunset.

The issue of Halal foods is easy to work around by purchasing beef in bulk directly from the farmer, and supplementing additional protein with tofu, peanut butter, beans, fish, whey powder, etc. With supplements, even with basics like multivitamins, I've found that when calling companies to enquire about gelatin content and such, more people are familiar with the concept of Kosher than Halal. While not technically the same, Kosher products are free of pork products or byproducts, therefore protein powders or tablet gelatin that is Kosher is also sufficiently Halal.

Mugshot said...

Hi Manning,

Thank you for your comment, its great to hear from someone who follows Islam and can provide more input to the article.

Its great to hear that you can easily manage your training while not affecting your religion, especially during your holy month.

Thanks again,