Our Fitness Kickstart series crosses paths with fitness sensation Nana Al Haleq this season of Ramadan and Raya Aidilfitri, who recommends fasting-friendly workout hacks and a win-win approach to feasting on the goodies.

For an industry rooted in the slogan ‘No pain, no gain’, Nana Al Haleq has the ability to make fitness look effortless, dispensing cheer and smiles even when tackling the most challenging of drills. It is precisely this disposition that keeps her Instagram followers of upward 191,000 followers, hooked and inspired on their own fitness journeys. As she demonstrated her HIIT routine crafted for effective sculpting through Ramadan, the TV host and fitness celebrity soldiered on with a big smile, alternating between side planks, squats, sit ups and leg lifts, ensuring her form was tip top, all throughout. Nana has been dabbling in fitness for 7 years now and is a go-to guide of knowledge for health and fitness tips, videos, and advice. The month of Ramadan may spell a dry season for most fitness endeavours, but for Nana, it is not an excuse to slack. Besides revealing her workout hacks, Nana also discloses her Raya guilty pleasures and how she indulges from a healthful approach. 

1. Hi Nana! Social media is rife with fitness influencers, but you’ve carved a name for yourself. What sets you apart?

I have a responsibility to not just inspire but also educate and encourage people not to just look good, but to also think about health from a wider perspective. Healthy within, on the inside and inside, eating healthy food, really understanding what their body needs, essential nutrients, and the importance of body confidence.

See also: 4 Healthy Habits To Pick Up, As Suggested By Inspiring Individuals

2. Your Instagram followers are growing by the day: how was it like to independently build your fitness career?

You hustle every single day. I feel that in order to build your own career, in your own name and as your own brand, you need to always think of what else can be delivered. It’s not just about the post’s creativity, the message, your video edits or pretty photos, it’s also engaging better with your followers and fans. Posting is 1 thing but making sure that people get what you are trying to convey and share, that’s more important than the likes.

3. What are your Raya specialty dishes?

Mum loves to cook and I have such a big family. On the first day of Raya, I will be receiving about 100 guests, so it has become a tradition to help my mum cook soto and her very famous laksa Johor and also handmade fish curry puffs. To make it healthier, we serve plain water, fruits, and enjoy her signature dishes.

See also: Simple Food Done Well: Danielle Graham On The Joys Of Home Cooking

4. We’ve only got 5 minutes to squeeze in a confidence-boosting workout for the season of new baju. What do you recommend?

Let’s got with HIIT – total body. For you ladies eyeing the kebaya, let’s do a bit of booty, abs and fat-burning exercises, simple and quick one even at home.

5. What’s your trick to balancing out Raya indulgences?

I usually start my day with veggie smoothie in the morning, not just during Raya but every day. It helps me detox all the unnecessary toxins from my body especially when you are feasting nonstop. Grab broccoli, asparagus, baby spinach, throw them in a blender with chia seeds, flax seeds, some ginger and carrot, blend it and drink up all 500ml of it.

See also: 6 Easy Keto Recipes Perfect For Beginners

6. Finally, what’s a message you want to convey about body confidence?

Regardless of your sizes, whether you are curvy, whether you are slightly heavier, whether you are skinny, slender, the most important thing is that you are happy and healthy. Numbers are not everything. I used to wear size 0, I’m size 8 now. I feel healthier, I look better, I feel a lot younger than I was in my 20s, I’m no longer comparing as a 33-year-old now. So, your clothes size is not all.

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