Aaliya Farooq: Kashmir's first woman gym trainer
The woman who fought with obesity and depression in her mid-20s is today the inspiration for many Kashmiri women for remaining fit, maintaining a healthy body weight and a positive attitude in life.
Aaliya Farooq, Kashmir’s first certified woman gym trainer, has broken stereotypes with her choice of career.
Aaliya lives in Khanyar, Srinagar, and runs a gymnasium with her husband Irfan Ahmad. She started her career as a gymnasium trainer in 2012 and has trained thousands of women.
Aaliya in a radio Studio for an interview
Aaliya was pushed to be a physical trainer after her husband realized that women coming to his gym were not comfortable with him as the trainer. This was despite separate floors for both in his gym.
Aaliya decided to get into her workout attire and did weight training. She enrolled for a fitness training course with the Jammu and Kashmir Body Building Association, affiliated with the Body Building Federation of India.
Aaliya says that she had battled oobesity and depression after the birth of her first child. “I was 22 when Irfan and I got married. I became obese after my first pregnancy. I hated to see myself and became depressed. My husband took me on a vacation to Delhi. We also met a doctor there for consultation regarding my weight gain and depression issues,” says Aaliya.
The doctor advised her to join a gym to lose weight.
Aaliya in her Gymnasium
“I did that, and Alhamdulillah I lost almost 28 kgs in four months and became tension free. But I had realized how miserable one feels when one is obese. I had suffered depression and did not want other women to suffer the same way. My husband’s gym needed a woman instructor. Hence I decided to become a gym trainer and help women stay active and healthy,” says Aaliya.
Aaliya’s efforts to help women paid off. The gym owned by the couple has become a popular haunt for all those seeking fitness and a healthy body.
Support of Husband
Aaliya says her endeavour to be a gym instructor would not have been possible without the support of her husband. “My husband supported me in every walk of my life. He is my real strength. My parents also supported me financially and also morally.”
Aaliya borrowed money from her father to set up the women’s gym. The response of the women was highly encouraging. “The women constantly motivated me. Inspired by them, I opened the Fitness Solution Gym. We got huge appreciation for our gym, and an impressive client base,” says Aaliya.
Aaliya has won many awards for being Kashmir’s first woman fitness trainer. She has also been nominated for a national award. Her message for the youth: Stay strong in all situations. Do not opt for any career randomly.
Women Must Be Fitness-Conscious
Aaliya feels sad that most women do not care for their personal fitness. “Covid has taught us the importance of maintaining a fit body with high immunity level. Exercise keeps us fit and protects us from many diseases,” she says.
Aaliya says she is happy to realise that she has helped many women overcome the issues related to poor health, obesity and depression .