My 30th birthday is just around the corner, so I decided to gift myself a professional fitness photoshoot. I feel like that day will change something inside me, something that has been changing within me for a long time. To a stranger, that photoshoot may just seem like a simple gift, but it means so much more to me. My name is Isma, and I am an in-home personal trainer. And this is my journey.
I discovered my passion for fitness in 2012 after I was diagnosed with thyroid disease. I had been gaining weight, and fast. Within a week I could no longer fit in my own jeans! I didn't even want to look at myself in the mirror.
After I received my diagnosis and as soon as I got my doctor's clearance to workout twice a week, I signed up for an unlimited gym membership. I started working out seven days a week, and soon after, I noticed I began to lose the weight I had gained through my thyroid disease. All of a sudden, I fell back in love with my body. I decided to move to New York City to become a personal trainer. After my experience gaining and losing weight myself, I wanted to acquire the expertise to help people achieve their own fitness goals. Moreover, I wanted to share the trials and tribulations of my own journey by sharing my experiences and giving people someone to relate to.
My plan is to be on the keto diet with intermittent fasting and some days of dry fasting, as well. I will be working out six days a week: weight training, swimming, hot yoga and a lot of stretching. Basically spending my day at the gym and at the end I'll do water loading and depletion, glycogen depletion workouts, and carbing up.
I will be posting every week to keep my community updated on my progress, how I'm feeling about my journey, and all of my successes and let-downs alike.
The question now is... can I really do this? Or is it all just a dream?Subscribe and receive a free workout ..Free workout 🏋️♀️ coming soon.
A little encouragement comments are well appreciated !!!!
Victoria's Secret is best known for what it has to offer women. However, a few days ago as I was strolling around the flagship store on Bond Street, I discovered that the store also has a lot to offer men as well. Just not exactly what you'd think.
My experience began like many other shopping excursions, casually browsing for a few practical items. The store was bustling with women who were relaxed but focused on their own purchases. The women in the store all displayed a quiet confidence in knowing what to do and how to do it. My browsing journey took me into another room where I noticed a man behaving quite awkwardly while being guided around by one of the many well-trained twenty-something shop assistants. My first thought was: "Good for him coming in here alone! I imagine it isn't the most comfortable experience for a man." It was clear he felt out of place. His discomfort was obvious by the way he was shuffling around and avoiding eye contact with any women nearby.
This otherwise unremarkable experience sent a spark through my mind. This man was professional and smartly dressed; perhaps he could have worked for one of the many private equity, hedge fund or banking firms in the nearby area. I imagined that he was confident in his own world of work, but in this female haven he was not. He was the only man in the room, and it showed.
This world - that of Victoria's Secret - was not created to make someone like him feel comfortable. In this environment—a store catering to women, filled by women and selling feminine merchandise—the familiar patriarchal dynamics of the world had completely shifted.
This was a world that can transform an otherwise confident professional into an introverted, self-conscious and indecisive man who needed the help of a twenty-something female to make one simple purchase.
I have seen this story play out with the gender roles reversed many times throughout my career in the corporate world. Today, the culture of many companies are built and sustained by men, for men. Traditional male characteristics are still encouraged, rewarded and expected from female professionals, especially if they expect to reach the executive suite. Being the only woman in the room is still an everyday reality for so many women in business; most men do not understand how corrosive this situation can be to a person's confidence.
I have often heard men say that they believe gender inequality is not an issue in their firm. They hire women and now even have some women on their teams. Well, on those terms this man should not have experienced any issue either. There is no sign at the door of Victoria's Secret barring men from entry. Men are allowed to freely enter and buy whatever they choose. No woman in there would tell them to leave or suggest that to get to the front of the queue they must behave in a certain way. So, what was the problem? Why did this man appear so uncomfortable? Why did he suddenly lack the confidence he seemed to have in the outside world?
It's all in the numbers. If that store catered towards the needs of men, or if there were simply more men in the store (either equivalent to or greater than the number of women), then it is likely that man would have felt a greater sense of belonging.
Just because women are allowed into the workplace now, does not mean their experiences are equivalent to those of their male peers. Women, as the minority, simply do not have the same sense of freedom to be their true authentic selves in many corporate environments, even today.
Just like that Victoria's Secret shop assistant guiding the lone man through an ostensibly unwelcoming environment, so, too, do women benefit from the guidance of sponsors, helping them navigate the male dominated corporate world.
Before a man talks about gender parity, perhaps he first needs to take a trip to a lingerie store and experience what it is like to be the only one in the room. Maybe if more men had experiences like this, they may begin to understand what it is to feel so out of place. Maybe they would join us in creating greater gender equality in the workplace.