An interview with Maryam Rifaii: the fitness figure and diabetic beauty queen

Morad Rabi3 Main

Maryam has multiple reasons to keep fit, first and foremost she’s a diabetic – this factor alone makes her a very interesting candidate for our interview section.

Additionally, she’s smart (a soon to be dentist) beautiful, stylish and newly married to one of Cairo’s most sought after hairdressers – Rabie Mrad of the Beauty Lounge. As one-half of Cairo’s young and upcoming couples, we were keen to know all about Maryam’s workout.

How and when did you start training?

I started training when I was 16 years old, my motivation was twofold – primarily I understood that in order to have a healthy full life with a diabetic condition I would need to be fit, it is important to note that weight training is actually one of the best treatments for diabetes.

Secondly, like most teenagers I was aware of a gradual shift from the trend toward simply being slim toward being fit – I was dreamt about the perfect body with strong and beautiful muscles and so I decided to look fit.

With a husband at the forefront of the beauty of industry do you feel an increased pressure to look fit?

People are quick to assume that I am well groomed because my husband is surrounded by beautiful ladies at work, but this is not true. I am oblivious to the opinions of others, fortunately, I am confident in myself, and I know that my husband will love me in all shapes, especially if  I feel happy and comfortable inside my body. I am fit for myself and the benefits my body receives not for others.

Rabie Mourad

You clearly love fashion – do you stay in shape in so you can rock the styles you want?

It‘s clear in my photos and from my Instagram account that I adore fashion in fact I’m an addict. There is little doubt that being in shape provides more opportunities to wear a wider variety of clothes and styles.  Although the world is evolving to cater for and embrace all shape and sizes as of today fashion designers still work with slim girls to create styles, so sadly yes it’s somewhat obligatory to be in decent shape to rock all styles.

Do you pick your gym outfits with as much care as when you go out, or is the gym and place to put style to one side?

Rabie Mourad

Of course, I love fashion and that transcends every aspect of my life -I am well dressed everywhere, this is my personality – I strive to be stylish all time. In my opinion it’s important to choose your gym outfits carefully, because training is the way to be beautiful so everything related to the gym should be fashionable and classy.

What or who helps motivate you and create the consistent habits required for success?

My trainer Khaled Amin (@khaledamin295) always motivates me, when I am busy he insists that I try to set aside time to train, I am blessed for that as well as his excellent selection of body appropriate exercises that enable me to work on the areas most important to the female form and exercises that I enjoy it.

My mother is also a big motivation; she’s personal trainer and has instilled in us both the physical and mental rewards of being good shape.

As a diabetic, you probably have some nutrition principles that are unique to your condition? If yes, what are they?

As diabetic, I eat 5 times per day, I try to minimize fast carbohydrates and sweets, I replace them with slow carbohydrates such as brown rice and oats in the morning and sometimes fruits and I tend to prefer diet rich in proteins and vegetables.

Do you believe in using supplements? If yes, want are your top picks?

To be frank no! I am a strong believer in what’s natural is best, so I prefer whole foods with hard training

What are your favourite three exercises?

  • Squats
  • Pull-ups
  • Rowing

What are your favorite three workout tracks?

  • NO Lie-Sean Paul
  • Lady-Modjo
  • Shape of you-Ed Sheeran

What advice would you give to other diabetics with regard to working out?

Try to view Diabetes as a way of life instead of an illness. Every diabetic can live a normal life, training may help him to regulate the level of glucose in blood, and of course with a special diet you can minimize the quantity of treatment (insulin or tablets). Working out can help you to avoid a lot of negative effects of diabetes on your health so:


What would be your top three tips for any woman struggling to adopt a healthy lifestyle?

  1. believe in yourself and say: ‘I can do it ‘
  2. try to move more, and not only at gym, for example, don’t use elevators
  3. eat well, more vegetables, more proteins, and less carbohydrates





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Victoria Haig
10 years in the Health & Fitness Industry as a Personal Trainer and Nutritionist in Madrid, Beijing, and now Cairo. Since arriving to Egypt in late 2013 Victoria has continued her professional journey. As a specialist in fat loss, muscle gain and lifestyle coaching Victoria has personally helped countless people get into the best shape of their lives – her greatest asset is her ability to foster a loyal customer base with extremely high customer retention.