On Personal Training and Fitness Myths
Taking a glimpse at Sonia Shirazi’s techniques at ‘Hers Gym’ makes us feel that gravity has little to no effect on the renowned personal trainer’s body. She gracefully moves so effortlessly as if she’s following an innate intuition. You’d think she has always been the sculpted fitness queen she is today, but her story will inspire anyone with body goals they think are unachievable. Shirazi tells us how she started, debunks myths, and gives us tips on maintaining a healthy body.
What first sparked your interest in athleticism?
I love being active. I’m always moving and looking for challenges. I remember looking at older people when I was younger and pondering why they have trouble doing what they could do when they were younger. I wanted to find a way to always feel young, energetic and healthy.
Were you always this fit and healthy?
I used to play sports when I was younger. My mum wanted me to pick up ballet or swimming, but I went with skating and tennis. However, I was still an overweight kid because of all the junk food I ate. Back then, awareness on fitness wasn’t as prevalent, so parents didn’t know how bad junk food was.
How did you start?
I wanted to work out as much as I could because I was so overweight! I started out by working at a kids’ gym as a sales representative, and that opportunity made me cross paths with someone who believed I could be a promising personal trainer. He has invested in me a lot and he has helped in every step I took regarding the fitness field – courses, workouts, group fitness classes and improved working environments with clients and colleagues. He is a fitness freak, and one of the most popular business men in the fitness field in Egypt. He is Mohamed Zayed. I owe him where I am now until this moment, I always get back to him when it comes to any fitness-related decision.
What would you say is your mission statement?
My mission is to help every woman to be healthy, attractive and a more confident person who loves herself. I want to help them all to reach their goals and fast because they deserve it.
Do you come across common myths gym goers believe?
Yes! The most popular myth is that if one works out, they get bulky. This is a common one among women, especially regarding weight lifting. Another myth is how some people believe if they stop working out, they end up gaining more weight than before.
How can we deal with fatigue?
Fatigue is normal. We have to learn to listen to our bodies. As humans, we all get tired at some point, so your body deserves to take some rest to be able to move and workout again. That’s why in sports schools and academies, they give special care to recovery and rest. Everything should be planned, be that through a workout program and/or a nutrition plan.
Walk us through your diet.
I tried a lot of diets. I tried diet myths and chemical diets, but I don’t regret it because I could feel how bad they really were for me. I have moved on to other healthy plans including vegan diets, vegetarian diets, atkins, keto, carb cycling and paleo diets.
How can slim women gain healthy weight?
Gaining weight is a journey akin to losing it. They should follow a planned workout and nutrition plan to reach their desired body shape. Here at ‘Hers Gym’, we work on muscle growth and muscle shaping.
For those who don’t have time to go to the gym, is there anything they can do at home?
If they are aiming to lose weight, they can definitely work out at home. They can do body weight workouts for 40 to 50 mins every day like squats, pushups, situps , jumping jacks and so on alongside a planned diet so as to reach their goals fast and with great results. But I want to recommend to those who will work out at home to make sure they are following proper techniques so they don’t injure themselves.
How does exercise change one’s life other than physically?
Exercise changes a lot about you. It gives you more confidence, more power, a stronger personality and greater endurance. I always tell people who suffer from depression that going to the gym will be their best friend. It will help you learn to love your body, listen to it and love yourself before loving those around you and learning to co-exist.
How do you control your cravings?
At the beginning of any diet, craving are so high. People usually crave sugar or carbs. But everyone should know that this only happens in the first week after diet change. For instance, if it’s sugar you’re craving, after eleven or so days you’ll notice that your body is quick to forget about such hankerings.
Can pregnant women exercise?
Yes, pregnant women can exercise, and it’s better for them to do so as they pass through different phases of hormonal changes. It also helps with depression that some women go through during pregnancy and post pregnancy. They’ll need to work out to stay healthy and in good shape, and for themselves and their babies not to feel depressed. Pregnant women should always ask their doctors first if they can work out and get medical permission to do so as there are different pregnancy cases that can occur.
Give our readers three golden tips!
First: Let exercise be your stress reliever.
Second: Cut down on dinner meals and Junk food.
Third: Drink hot lemon water in the early morning and at night.