Maya Nassar Maalouf : Fitness Sensation
Tell us about your journey as one of the pioneers as a fitness model. I used to be extremely overweight and unhealthy, and started my fitness journey by accident. After being fed up with being out of shape and feeling very insecure, I started going to the gym and changed my diet overnight. I ended up losing a lot of weight and even more than I had expected and became addicted to fitness and this new lifestyle. This inspired me to become certified in personal training and sports nutrition. After that, I launched a blog and mobile application called Start Living Right to help educate other people on how to achieve the same results as me. My online platform was very well received and my application became ranked as the number one fitness app competing with other international apps in Lebanon. My application was also endorsed by the Lebanese ministry of sports. After this, I started competing in international fitness modeling competitions in England and became the first female in history to be endorsed by an Arab government to represent my country in these competitions. To date, I have won nine trophies in total and plan to keep on competing. While achieving this, I received international media attention in magazines, newspapers, TV shows, etc. I was the TV host for Get Fit on MTV Lebanon and also am the fitness guru for Virgin Radio Stars in Lebanon. I launched the first and only holistic pregnancy program in the Middle East called X Y Pregnancy which empowers women to exercise and stay healthy during pregnancy. I've also since opened my own gym called Start Living Right named after my online platform and we now have two branches and will be opening the third one next year.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur? Any piece of advice for someone who is just starting. I love that you get to do what you are passionate about. They say if you love your work, then you will never work a day in your life. My advice is to take risks and never give up. Taking risks is one of the best things I ever did and I believe there is no such thing as failure. Becoming an entrepreneur has helped me turn my dreams into reality and help improve the lives of many people along the way. I would advise others to never give up and keep pursuing their dreams. It is also a good idea to have a role model or mentor. It really helps to learn from someone you look up to and ask them about their experiences. Having someone you look up to guide you along your journey can give you additional support and a real boost along the way.
Tell us more about Slrgym. My gym was named after my online platform and was a way of creating a physical location that will help change the lives of other people. My online platform had helped many people and I wanted to have a place where we could help them in person. Fitness changed my life for the better and I wanted to do the same for anyone else who was struggling to reach their goals. I believe it is a rewarding lifestyle and my goal was to help people lose weight the proper way. Unfortunately there are many fitness and diet scams that promise amazing results with little to no effort. At my gym, we promote hard work and results. We provide value in all of our services and are extremely honest with our approach. Next year, we will be opening a third branch of my gym and my goal is to franchise to as many locations as possible. Any upcoming projects that you are currently working on? At the moment, I will be opening a third branch of my gym next year. I'm very excited to keep growing my brand and changing the lives of as many people as possible. Also, my new website X Y Pregnancy is doing quite well and working to change the stereotype that pregnant women should not exercise. I'm currently pregnant with my fourth child and have plans to compete once again in my competitions after giving birth. In addition to that, I have recently added new e-books on my e-shop which are self-help books to help anyone learn how to reach their goals or feel motivated to stay on track. I am also a published author of a children's book which is currently in the bookshops and as of next year hopefully, I will have my second book published.
A piece of advice for all the Mothers who want to keep fit after pregnancy.
My advice is to take it slow and not expect immediate results. If it took 9 months to gain the weight, then it can take 9 months or a year to lose all the pregnancy weight. Enjoy your time with your new baby and exercise to feel strong, healthy and empowered. Finally. a new mom should follow a proper plan. My advice is always weight lifting and cardio to see the best results. She also needs to follow a well-balanced diet that is not too restrictive. Following a healthy diet is essential otherwise she will never get the results she is looking for, even if she does lots of exercise. The final step is consistency. Mothers need to keep up this lifestyle long enough to see results. Fat loss is extremely slow and gradual and it will take up to a year before we feel like ourselves again. She should always get medical clearance from her doctor to find out when it is safe for her to start exercising again.