There was a time when being a ‘freak’ meant sitting in a corner all by yourself during break time, but these days the label has been reclaimed into something awesome. Take Fitness freaks for example. They have taken over the world and now all of us want to be one. Kind of like these two women.
Nida Shahbazker and Zainab Muhammad of IMPACT – a newly opened fitness facility in Karachi – are two women inspiring women all over the city to take personal fitness more seriously. And it isn’t that hard for them to do so – their bodies can be defined succinctly by another popular millennial term: #goals.
Now, with so many training institutes and studios opening up in the metropolitan, what pushed these ladies to plan IMPACT?
Let’s find out.
How and who came up with the idea of The Impact Way?
Nida: Impact was born as a culmination of Zainab and my joint passion for fitness and a lifelong friendship! At the time we were both working at different fitness facilities with dreams of working on our own. When structure had a free floor it was like a sign to start off and work on our own brand.
Zainab: This was our dream. It helped that we are school friends and share the same passion.
Tell us about your professional training?
Nida: I have been working out since the age of 13; struggling first with my own weight and then doing it for the love of working out. Along came studio x where I fell in love with group classes and trained under Jeanette Farooq. She became my fitness mentor and years later I started teaching at studio X. I have taught HIIT, kickboxing, pilates, body pump, yogalates, pilabox.
Jeannette taught me to believe in myself and follow my passion and I’m forever grateful to her! Currently I’m studying for the ACE (American Council of Exercise) exam.
Zainab: My fitness journey began in my teens, with Jane Fonda as my role model. I used to run in parks, watch Cindy Crawford videos, and the works. I recently took my CPR training from London and am completing my formal training in many genres along the way.
Don’t you ever feel like ‘this is too much’? It must get physically exhausting.
Nida: Never! Quite the contrary. When life gets too much work keeps me sane! When what you do is what you love it’s a wonderful feeling! Truth be told I miss teaching, my clients, and my partner when I’m away for vacations!! Impact is the passion of my life now.
Transforming people and making them find a better version of themselves, leading them to believe in themselves is truly rewarding. Plus I am blessed with a wonderful super supportive family and an amazing husband who all push me to follow my heart.
Zainab: I have never felt that. The studio is my other home, a place I love (releasing endorphins does build a special bond), and when you love your work with all your heart and soul then it’s never too much!
How do you know you’re now good enough to train other people?
Nida: After being in this field, both as a client and a teacher, I feel I understand people from the clients’ perspective as well. Plus having gone through the process of life: having kids and dealing with issues we women generally deal with, I can help understand restrictions of a varied clientele.
More than that, having worked with Jeanette [the fitness pioneer of Pakistan], I feel I’ve gained a lot of understanding of the science behind fitness. I also keep myself very up to date with fitness research.
Zainab: I’ve been teaching for nearly five years it’s been a long beautiful journey. Like I said, when you love what you do that makes you good enough to grow and prosper further. My clients see results in their fitness, our work is all about results, and results speak for themselves.
Are you ever afraid that you’ll become a bit too muscular or ‘un-lady-like’ as some people say?
Nida: No, no, and no!! This is a common misconception! As women we cannot have a man’s muscles!! When we lift heavy we get beautiful lean muscle and cuts; we never bulk up!
Zainab: A fit, muscular, strong, powerful woman will never be unladylike. If anything, she will be beautiful, disciplined, mindful, and someone who respects herself and her body. Lifting heavy never makes you bulky. We don’t have the hormones as men that create the bulk. On the contrary, it will sculpt you and make you leaner like nothing else!
*Makeup by Ayesha Fahd, Clothes by Tena Durrani, and photography by Umair Qazi.
**This post is published in partnership with IMPACT.