The Fitness Icon on a Roll
The entrepreneur and fitness icon, Maya Nassar, has never failed to impress with her stunning physique and excellent strategies to help others lose about as much weight as she once did before she made it this far. Start Living Right is Nassar’s free mobile application, which guides users through their fitness journey with everything from diet plans, tips and tricks, to a broad range of health facts and encouragement from the growing community. The award-winning model has also recently had a baby! Nassar talks to us about how she got back in shape after pregnancy, and gives us a bit of advice on how to implement a healthier lifestyle.
Tell us what you do and how you got started?
I’m a fitness entrepreneur. Beginning my fitness journey was never planned. I used to be overweight, self-conscious and insecure and this is what caused me to wake up one day and turn my life around. After losing 20 kilograms of fat, I discovered a passion of health and fitness. I then became certified in personal training and sports nutrition. I started competing internationally in fitness modelling competitions and have won nine trophies in the last four years. Today, I own my own gym and online brand called Start Living Right. I was also the host of Get Fit on MTV Lebanon for the last two and a half years.
What do you love the most about your career?
I love being able to help other people change their lives the way I changed mine through fitness. My mobile application is the first fitness app in Lebanon and is endorsed by the Lebanese Minster of Sports. It’s totally free and has diet plans, exercise programs and a wealth of information. I also have my own website of the same name which has even more information. I have received amazing feedback from people around the world saying I changed their lives or helped them reach their goals. My gym has two branches across Lebanon, and I get to help people in person reach their fitness goals. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing that I changed someone’s life.
You recently won another competition in England after having a baby. Tell us more about that?
I set a new goal to compete one more time in less than a year after giving birth to my son. I had a big fear that I would never get my body back and wanted to prove to myself and others that mums can get back in shape after having children. It took four months of sweat and hard work, but I lost all my pregnancy weight and stepped on stage less than a year after giving birth. I won three trophies, including first place for the category Bikini Beach Body, where I competed in England against other top fitness models. I want to empower other mums and help them believe that they can fulfil their dreams with hard work and perseverance.
How do you deal with fatigue?
Being a mum means I experience lots of fatigue and don’t get to sleep whenever I like. I simply listen to my body and take power naps whenever I can. I also follow a healthy diet and try to sleep early most nights of the week.
Name one false trend you’re tired of correcting?
That lifting weights makes a woman bulky or masculine. Weightlifting is the best way to shape and tone a woman’s body and to burn fat at the same time. Women believe they will become masculine and that weightlifting is a male activity, but this is incorrect. Women who get extremely muscular take steroids.
What is one piece of gym equipment you always use?
I always use a weighted vest to make exercises harder and more challenging. It can be used for cardio or weightlifting.
What is one thing you would never eat?
I would never eat foie gras because it’s animal cruelty.
What ís your golden advice for rapid weight loss?
There is no such thing as rapid fat loss. Fat loss should be slow and gradual in order to be permanent. My golden advice is that there is no magic pill or a slimming machine that will help someone lose weight quickly or even in general. The only way to see a body transformation is by following a healthy diet and exercising for no less than two to three months. There is no substitute for hard work!
Favourite TV Show…
Healthy Hangout Spot
No spots. I like eating healthy meals my husband cooks.
Oatmeal cookies with no sugar.
I always wear gym gloves when lifting heavy weights.
Water or energy drinks?
Gym equipment or home aerobics?
Gym equipment .
Protein shakes or steroids? Why?
Protein shakes because they’re natural. Steroids are dangerous and harmful to the body. I am against using them.