Female coach Fatima Garsi opens first women-only Muslim gym in Canada

Female coach Fatima Garsi opens first women-only Muslim gym in Canada
A female fitness coach has made history for opening one of Canada's few women-only Muslim gyms.
2 min read
08 March, 2021
Muslim women will have a fitness space that offers combat classes [sisterfitto/Instagram]

A female fitness coach in Canada has opened the first women's only gym in North America targeting Muslim women specifically, in a move that is being hailed for its inclusivity.

Fitness trainer Fatima Garsi has opened a new fitness centre in Scarborough, Ontario after five years of training Muslim women in temporary spaces.

Garsi offered boot camps and self defence classes for women in the Toronto area for years, using mosques and rented areas.

Acquiring space in the city was the next logical step for her growing practice, and it is one she is proud of.

Sister Fit is a gym geared towards women, and particularly Muslim women with a focus on small class sizes so that "everyone's needs can be met".

Women training in Sister Fit can choose from an array of combat sport, including boxing, Muay Thai, Krav Maga, pilates as well as classes Strength n' Flow.

"There's pressure on Muslim women to maintain a demure and soft image in general, so it feels great to express aggression with other women who want to have fun while learning an important skill," Garsi tells The Star.

"Learning these skills and prioritising health is actually a lost and forgotten aspect of our faith. Prophet Muhamad was an excellent fighter himself and recommended that all believers participate sports to develop coordination, connection to others and self-control."

Though most of the women who attend classes in Sister Fit who are Muslim, there is a small percentage who are not part of the Muslim faith.

"Sister Fit is a safe, inclusive space for women of all backgrounds, sizes and fitness levels," the organisation writes on its Instagram page.

"We provide a non-judgment environment that provides you with encouragement you need to fully express yourself and thrive!"

Classes went online due to Coronavirus restrictions however there are plans for the gym to reopen in the coming months.

"This is a great environment for me to go and get fit…one of the bonuses of Sister Fit is that I can bring my kids along if I don't have a babysitter," said one gym-goer Naheehah.

Ontario has a thriving Muslim community in the Ontario province, with some 55.2 percent of the country's Muslims making the province their home.

Toronto has the largest population of Muslim people of any city in Canada, according to the most recent census.

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