What does your daily diet look like?
I have five meals a day, each of which contains a high content of protein. I consume carbohydrates two or three times a day during breakfast and post workout, but I don’t go near them in competition seasons. I have lots of vegetables, nuts, and supplements. I like to change my diet every three months; and in-between each diet, I follow a detox system.
What does your training routine consist of?
Both the training schedule and intensity differ according to my goals and the upcoming events. I usually work out six times a week – three of those I practice hypertrophy routines for muscle gain. But generally, I like to split my body workout to three days: one for back and biceps; one for chest and triceps; and a day for shoulder exercises. I also do performance training thrice a week.
What inspired the idea of founding your own gym?
I used to work as a regional consultant with Microsoft, and that entailed travelling often. I noticed that gyms and fitness centres abroad are better-equipped than their counterparts in Egypt, and that inspired founding my own gym here. I started with ‘Balance Gym’ for men and now it has five branches, I then founded ‘Hers Gym,’ for women, and we expanded it to five branches. In addition, we raised capital and partnered with ‘Iginite Egypt’ in 2016 and we’ve opened three ‘Ignite’ performance facilities and ‘Hers Studios’.
What sets your gyms apart from your competitors?
I believe that being successful and standing out in the fitness business is not just about having the latest equipment; it’s more about appointing well-educated trainers who can help clients achieve their goals, and utilise all the surrounding tools effectively. Each brand has a well-defined direction and identity; for example, ‘Balance’ targets extreme bodybuilding, while ‘Hers’ is specialised for dancing and fitness training, and ‘Ignite’ is more focused on performance training programs.
What you can tell us about ‘Hers Studios’?
Lots of women prefer to exercise in mixed gyms because they believe that men can train them better, but this is not correct. Since no one understands a lady better than another lady, this is what ‘Hers Studios’ focuses on: hiring professional women trainers who are able to motivate and direct their clients to reach their ultimate goals. At ‘Hers Studios,’ we’re specialised in improving our trainee’s cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and endurance.
What challenges have you faced in your business?
Hiring is our biggest challenge. We overcome it by hiring people who meet our minimum requirements, and providing them with development training to meet our standards. We also face the problem of lack of awareness and education, and that’s where awareness events and marketing activations come in handy, like ‘Rise’,‘Balance Pro’, ‘Ignite Camps’ and ‘Ignite Runs’.
Do you use supplements?
Yes, I do. Especially before heading to a competition. I take amino acids, carbohydras, protein, and Carnetine. But in my daily diet, I take zinc, vitamin C and D, as well as magnesium. Occasionally, I take melatonin and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) for neuro support and better sleep quality.
Do you have a certain vision for bodybuilding in Egypt that you wish to implement?
I believe we have reached good ratings in bodybuilding now. All we still need to do is to work on spreading more awareness, and do our best to prevent the abuse of steroids; alongside supporting and educating talented people who are not financially able.
Tell us about your future plans and goals.
Our target is launching a total of 15 branches this year in Cairo. Next year, we will add five to them and open new brands like ‘Appetight’ for healthy food and beverages; alongside ‘The Solution,’ which offers classes in TRX and ViPR master training. In two years’ time, we plan to join ‘Expo’ to search for the right partner who will have the same spirit, and help us expand.
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