Young Muslim fitness graduate strengthens local community
Nineteen year-old Campbelltown local Manar Mirakohr is empowering Muslim women in her community by leading personal training sessions for women only groups.
"As a Muslim woman, I want to integrate fitness into my community to help Muslim women feel comfortable working out," she said.
"I want to break down the myths about fitness I see embedded in the Muslim community and teach women not to be afraid of weights or getting down and dirty when it comes to fitness."
"I’ve seen the misconceptions many of us are taught to believe, like ‘lifting weights will make you bulky."
"I can deadlift 110kg and squat 95kg, yet I don’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger."
Weights are not the problem - misinformation is.
"Not all, but many Muslim women wear the hijab, which makes us stick out. The gym isn’t a place you want to be constantly stared at, so women-only sessions are super popular with Muslim women because they can literally and figuratively let their hair down."
The only daughter in a family of three older brothers, Manar was driven to complete her Diploma of Fitness from TAFE NSW - South Western Sydney Institute (SWSi) Macquarie Fields College thanks to a healthy dose of sibling rivalry.
Manar lifting her dreams, one at a time.
"The highest qualification my older brothers have is a Certificate IV, so I wanted to outdo them. I don’t think many people believed I could finish my course, so that really pushed me to graduate."
Her main motivator was her supportive mother, whom she credits for her success, "she encouraged me through the tough times, my proudest moment was completing the course and telling her that I’d finished."