I would never have thought that I could have got to where I am today, as an entrepreneur in the fitness industry transforming my passion as a fitness instructor and trainer of trainers.
For years, I lived an unhealthy lifestyle and although I was privileged to have a wonderful family and a good life, it was far from ideal, a lesson I learned later and one which changed my world.
I was born in Singapore in 1983. My mother was from Tibet and my father was a Saudi with roots in Hadramout, the southern region of Yemen. My family was lovely, a mix of different cultures in one household, and my parents were well-educated, cultured and always keen for me and my five brothers to learn more about the world.
We moved back to Saudi to live in Alkhobar when I was very young, and I had struggled at first with the different environment and society. But my family was supportive, which made things easier.
My family was always entrepreneurial, and after graduating from high school in Alkhobar I knew I wanted to follow that path to pursue a degree in business management with exposure to the western world and knowledge.
For a long time, my lifestyle was very unhealthy, and I was overweight. My all-time highest weight was 291 pounds when I was just 18 years old. A year later my father died after suffering from ill-health; he was overweight and lived an unhealthy lifestyle too. Losing my father was very painful but it was also a wake-up call, and I realized I had to make a change in my life.
And so, my fitness journey began although it was very frustrating, and I struggled for six years to reach my ideal weight. It was certainly no fun constantly looking for healthy ways to lose weight and maintain the lifestyle I wanted, until I discovered spinning.
In 2000, I attended my first spinning class, and after 10 minutes I vowed I would never try it again. It was one of the most difficult fitness sessions I had ever taken part in, but to my surprise I was still intrigued and signed up for a master ride with inspirational instructor Spinning MI. I found a true connection of the mind and body and it changed my life.
For years, I kept pushing harder to achieve my goal weight, and along the way I became determined to do more.
I decided to become a qualified trainer which would allow me to share my newfound passion for spinning and fitness with the women of my community and country.
Many women understand the need to keep fit but they often lack the tools, so I made it my mission to help them get moving and find their inner strength to achieve a healthy lifestyle for themselves.
That resilience was something I learned from my mother. She came from a very different background to the open society we have today, but she rode the wave and was accepting to all.
I ran my first spinning class in Alkhobar in 2006 and I was terrified. I had never taught before and while there are the technical and physical aspects to spinning, I have always felt it to be more of a mental discipline. However, after the first few minutes, I got the flow going and realized that people were connecting, that they understood, and that a lot of them were going through struggles just like me: And we connected.
It was then that I knew I was going to make a new life out of this, and that I wanted to help women find that connection and feel their power and strengths and go deeper.
That realization jump-started me down a beautiful path and I am proud to say that in the years since taking that first step on my spinning bike, I have helped not only myself to reach goals but also many other people to achieve theirs.
I found that my sense of giving and humbleness was derived from my father. I grew up seeing how grounded he was, how he never turned away anyone in need, and always wanted to help. Those were among the best traits I learned from him.
I knew I was going to continue my path supporting women and doing what I could to make a difference, because I had a bigger purpose to achieve.
At the time, I was working for one of the leading food distribution companies in the Middle East where I rose to be executive director. But I wanted to be involved more with my passion.
In 2012, I established TIMA, the first Saudi-Arab brand for fitness and sport apparel and opened my first spinning and fitness studio in June of 2015, the same year that I left my job to focus on what I loved.
I have been a speaker at many local and global forums, advocating for women to seek help, get fit, and put themselves first while providing them with the necessary tools to make a change in their lives.
I have also mentored many young entrepreneurs involved in starting up fitness and sports businesses and I have a passion for outdoor adventures. Cycling and spinning does not just have to take place indoors. It is fun exploring the outdoors and I love seeing female cycling groups pop up everywhere.
I find that striving to achieve higher goals is important in keeping a good balance in life, for doing better and growing. I do it to push my own limits while hoping to inspire people and bring about a profound change in how we perceive fitness and healthy lifestyles in my country. It is not too hard to achieve if the mind is set to it.