Tell us why you chose to become a fitness trainer?
It was a calling! When I was working as an investment banker in New York, I visited the gym quite regularly and worked out with a personal trainer. Over time, the routines that I would suggest ended up being more advantageous, such that my trainer would appropriate them for her other clients — with just as effective results.
What makes you different from your competitors?
My key differentiator is that I am a certified personal, lifestyle and wellness coach. My work involves personal training and one-on-one counseling aimed at renewing the heart, mind, body and soul. My company, TWCo (The Wellness Company) isn’t run like a business. It’s a sorority of like-minded women and men, who through their commitment and discipline, are now physically and mentally empowered to take on the world.
How has the Pakistani fitness industry changed over the years?
It has changed in so many ways! You see a new gym popping up every day. People are more conscious of their diets and body structure. But in many ways, we are still stuck in regressive ideas of beauty. Women today — whether they’re on the catwalk or on the high-street — should look toned, positive and strong. It’s about structure, carriage and attitude.
As the pioneer of Zumba in Pakistan, what do you most like about it as a form of exercise?
Zumba is not an exercise but “dancer-cise!” It is the party girl of fitness. It is high-intensity aerobics and cardio pumped into one hot fusion of sweat and all-you-can-feel goodness.
How has doing what you do changed your life?
I can tell you that in one word: sisterhood. I have two blood brothers but my clients are my tribe of sisters. They are a crystal-clear echo of all my self-worth. I am deeply in gratitude for their generosity of praise, sheer love, enthusiasm and admiration. Being surrounded by them day-in and day-out (in spite of me kicking their butts into form) is a pleasure. That’s the power of coaching: once your clients get into shape, you slowly realise how much of a lasting friendship was being shaped all along.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by what CS Lewis calls The Four Kinds of Love: Charity, Kindness, Friendship and Eros. Wherever love is manifest, in all its forms, a life, a community, a world has been changed for the better.
An idea that changed your life?
Ideas are the currency of the future. I am always open to them and their value to change lives. The one I’m deliberating on these days is about stress — which gets a bad reputation. But, there is also a good stress. It is called ‘Eustress’ (like euphony) where the stress is positive and empowering. Bad stress is ‘Distress’ which needs to be fixed instantly. I like this distinction.
Any advice for aspiring female fitness trainers?
Get certified and get going.
Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, October 18th, 2015.