All About Zahara

A few years ago, I was encouraged to qualify as a level 2 fitness instructor and then a personal trainer. I went on to qualify as a kettlebell, spin, reformer Pilates, and Purestretch instructor. I realised how ‘well’ my physical and mental health made me feel and I wanted to pass on this knowledge to fellow colleagues, students and people in my position.
All About Zahara

Hi! My name is Zahara. I’ve been a member of the Tone & Sculpt community since the beginning and I feel fortunate to have found a fitness family that I can call, well…family!

I met the founder, Krissy Cela, through the beauty of Instagram and just like the community she has created, she is humble, real and a whole lot of fun! Being a part of Tone & Sculpt is nothing less than a rollercoaster of excitement and we look forward to taking you all on the ride with us! I’ll be honest, when Leanne, (fellow, wonderful blogger at Tone & Sculpt) and Krissy asked me to introduce myself to you all, I felt quite anxious as Imposter Syndrome and that niggling feeling of low self-esteem crept in. However, I then realised that is exactly why I love this community of women so much and why I can’t wait to see it grow: to support and empower every woman to thrive physically and mentally!

I graduated from university with a degree in English Literature over 10 years ago (scary thought). I then went on and did my postgraduate certificate in education and spent the next 8 years working in secondary schools building a very successful career in teaching where I eventually became an Associate Senior Leader. I felt like I had made it. I was a homeowner, married and on a very respectable income: many would say I was living a millennial dream! But I wasn’t sure if I was happy. There was something missing and I couldn’t quite figure out what. Life felt like a constant chase: every day, week and month was about aiming for the next best thing, never really feeling content with what I had. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being ambitious and I think it’s safe to say I’m still chasing and aiming high, but the problem sets in when you see happiness as a destination and not an ongoing, present feeling. A few years into my career is when I rediscovered the gym. I say ‘rediscovered’ as I’d always used the gym since the age of 16. I’d tried many diets and weight loss journeys – it was a constant in my life. However, it wasn’t until a particular spin class, about 5 years ago that I actually felt elated by my visit to the gym. As per usual, I’d had a rather stressful day at work and feeling like a zombie, I dragged myself to the class. I’m not sure what it was and I can’t say it really matters ‘what’ it was, but the class made me feel amazing. I didn’t ‘forget’ about work per se, but my level of stress and the negative impact that ‘work stress’ usually had on my day to day wellbeing lessened a little. I came away feeling happy.

That feeling of ‘happy’ made it easier to go into work the next day and gave me something to look forward to the following evening. Over a short period of time, I then discovered the barbells, cable machines, squats, deadlifts and hip thrusts through an awesome PT at the gym. Soon enough, I felt energised on a daily basis; I was training consistently; I was learning so much about my body; I was picking up new skills, terminology and more importantly, I felt like I was a part of something safe, secure and fun! That something was the fitness world and it made me feel genuinely happy, confident and secure about myself. I even started to enjoy my job more. I felt mindful, awake, interested.

A few years ago, I was encouraged to qualify as a level 2 fitness instructor and then a personal trainer. I went on to qualify as a kettlebell, spin, reformer Pilates, and Purestretch instructor. I realised how ‘well’ my physical and mental health made me feel and I wanted to pass on this knowledge to fellow colleagues, students and people in my position. Fellow millennials who may have felt the way I felt, chasing and bumbling along but not knowing what or what for. I did a great deal of research and learning, I qualified as a mindfulness and resilience practitioner and went on to specialise in workplace wellbeing – and I absolutely love it!

Now, working with individuals, companies and schools, I always emphasise the start of my journey – that the feelings of happiness and fulfilment come from doing something for yourself. Nothing can be more personal or fulfilling than caring about the body that you’re in and the phrase, ‘your body is a temple’ can’t be closer to the truth. In order to feel content, happy, refreshed, empowered, strong and confident (the list is endless), we must start with the self. We must move, care about and get to know our bodies both physically and mentally. That journey and process of discovery is the way to thrive and ultimately that is how I discovered the gorgeous Krissy Cela and the wonderful Tone & Sculpt community. Social media can be many things, but when you find pages or accounts that truly empower and seek to make women feel good about themselves, you begin to understand the sincerity and purpose of the term, ‘community’. Tone and Sculpt has helped me continue to feel confident about myself; it has and always is helping me learn, discover meet and network with a wonderful community of strong women. Unfortunately, the world we live in has always tried to put women on the back burner and I love that Tone and Sculpt is doing wonders in putting women at the forefront of what has historically been a male drive industry.

Of course, we know women support men and vice versa and of course, that is how it should be; however, I am sure we all know a woman who has felt intimidated and almost frightened by the fitness environment. Within the Tone & Sculpt Community (myself included), several women have commented that sometimes, this is because certain areas of the gym are male dominated. We want to create a space and environment where the word dominated doesn’t exist, rather the word empowered does. No matter who you are, or where you are, if you are working out, we want you to feel strong, empowered and happy.

I have remained consistent with the Tone & Sculpt app and community because it keeps me focused, motivated and driven. Since having my baby boy earlier this year, I started to feel a little lost and in many ways that underlying feeling of doubt began to creep in when I stepped back into the gym a couple of months after having him. You may think this is crazy, given my qualifications and experiences, but a fitness and health journey is very personal and can make you feel very vulnerable. On top of that, training in pregnancy comes with a great deal of judgement and I was determined to be consistent with exercise for the sake of my health and the health of my unborn child. There are many myths surrounding exercise in pregnancy and I hope to challenge those through the Tone and Sculpt platform - this platform is doing wonders in breaking boundaries and crashing through ceilings for women! It was Krissy and the Tone & Sculpt community that helped evade feelings of doubt as I built myself back up (quite literally!)I also became very mindful of how different and unique every pregnancy journey is; there is a way to keep fit physically, mentally and emotionally for all women and my aim here is to support the creation of a platform that fully supports all women, judgement free, to be and do the best for no one else, but themselves.

Earlier I said taking care of our bodies is the most fulfilling thing we can do; I soon realised motherhood is pretty high up on the agenda too! However, working through the phases in the app, at home and at the gym meant I could work and take care of baby whilst taking care of myself. No matter who you are or what walk of life you’re in, if you feel happy, confident and empowered, everything around you will too.

I now love helping people manage their wellness, health and balance and hope they can achieve a desirable feeling of happiness and content. Tone & Sculpt’s motto, doing this for you, couldn’t be more apt as we spend our lives running, chasing, pleasing and usually doing things for others; we now need to do something for ourselves and the Tone & Sculpt app and community can help women everywhere in every walking life – just like it helped me!

I look forward to getting to know you, sharing all the useful and helpful information that I possibly can with you and learning about your journeys too! Let me know how you discovered the Tone & Sculpt community and please share everything it is doing for you – I would love to hear from you!

All About Zahara
Zahara Chowdhury

Zahara Chowdhury is an author at Tone & Sculpt

Written on
Nov 04, 2021