Whether on the field or off of it, Coach Muhammad Sherif can’t seem to stop amazing us with his drive and determination. Banker by day and athlete by night, he founded “The Fitness Grind” at an astonishingly young age. Alongside his online nutrition business, which is internationally expanding, he is just getting started.
Tell us about yourself, what you do and how you got started?
My name is Muhammad Sherif, I’m a financial analyst by morning, a strength and conditioning coach by night, and a sports nutritionist by midnight. I’ve been in the sports for as long as I remember. I started at the age of 4 with karate. I later on became a professional karate player and the captain of the Egyptian National Team for youth. I,also, took second and third place in regional and international competitions. I was raised on playing sports and always had the feeling that this is what I want to pursue for the rest of my life. I started reading and investing so much of my time into researching health, sports and nutrition. I believe in the saying: “Readers are leaders”. I started at AUC in late 2009; it was around the time where crossfit was hyped and there were only few people in the market. People were still coming in terms with what functional fitness was. It all began when a friend of mine named Ahmed, asked me to help him lose weight. I was already a coach at a fitness facility by the age of 17 but I wasn’t yet certified. I told him that I only read about it and that I don’t have enough knowledge, he said that he trusts me and let’s just see how it goes. I coached him for a year and he lost 40-50 kilograms. There was no surgery whatsoever, just nutrition and workout. Once I saw the change in him, once I saw how his life was transforming, it immediately hit me that this is my thing. I believed that I am gifted and I was born to coach, just a little knowledge and I will be unstoppable.
What was the hardest part of your journey so far? How have you overcome it?
The hardest part was convincing my parents with my career choice. My father always wanted me to become a finance guy since day one. I always wanted to prove myself that I am capable of doing many things at the same time. I wanted to hold on to my finance job and take fitness courses. I accepted the challenge and graduated college with high honors, became a certified credit analyst from the most prominent banks in the industry; all while I was keeping up with my fitness career. It was all about time management. I didn’t sleep, I went the extra mile that most people don’t and I worked extremely hard to get to where I am today. This was mainly how I overcame it, it’s all about time management and priorities. I had my priorities straight and was very focused.
What motivates you?
What motivates me is unlocking my full potential; I need to see where I can go. I’m a self-driven person and completely convinced that not even the sky is the limit. I’m not here to consume other people’s oxygen; I’m here to make a difference. I believe that everyone has a specific message in life, if you know what you’re passionate about, you can make a career out of it. I’m convinced with the quote: “If you’re not making someone else’s life better then you’re wasting your time.” I’m here to leave a legacy and lead by example.
Would you consider yourself a risk taker?
Definitely not but I do believe in something called calculated risk. A lot of people such as Walt Disney and many more, have left their jobs and given up everything for the sake of perusing their dreams. Many of them succeeded but many more have failed because they didn’t have a plan. I believe in calculated risk, I believe in being aware of all the circumstances; have a plan A and a plan B. At some point you’ll have to take the leap of faith and jump, but you must be precise.
Do you think your mindset has been a key to your success?
Yes, I believe that mindset is the key to success. There are a lot of people in my industry, they might put in great effort and have incredible drive, but the thing that makes me different is that I’m pretty sure that no one has the same passion that I do. I believe in the quote: “No one is you and this is your power.” This is what keeps me going, it’s my mindset. As I previously mentioned, I’m self-driven and a self-competitor. I believe that mindset is the key to whatever you call success.
What would you say are the key elements to starting a successful business/leading a successful career path?
The most important element is knowledge; you have to understand every single thing that you are doing. You also have to realize that whatever you’re doing is impacting people, so always have conscience. You have to have very high business ethics, this will not only get you a successful business, it will also give you so much respect for yourself.
What/who inspires you?
I don’t have a specific role model but I have seen many good traits in several people, which contributed to my self-development process. I like collecting pieces from more than one place. However what inspires me is to be the best version of myself and impact as many people as possible in the best way possible.
How do you deal with a bad day at work?
I know quite well what makes me happy. When I’m feeling down, I either workout, run in an open area to vent and think alone; I usually go for the scientific approach that when I workout endorphins will get me through it. When I’m having a bad day, I need alone time.It just helps me think and reflect.
What do you do when you’re not working?
That’s a very tough question as I work 16-17 hours per day, so you can understand that I’m working most of the day. Whenever I’m free however, family always comes first.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who’s starting out in the field, what would it be?
Believing in what you do. You just need to understand that everything takes time, you don’t have to be in a rush, manage your expectations and consistency is the key. You have to have patience as well. Last but not least, you have to be the hardest person working in the room. If you put the effort, you will definitely get rewarded.
What›s your next big step?
I have two big steps; one of them is that I’m expanding my online business to more countries. I’m currently working with more than 8 countries. The other big things I can’t really talk about right now. It has been my dream for 10 years, I have been working on this project literally since I was 17. I promise that it will happen very soon and take my word: everyone will hear about it.