NOT JUST FOR MEN

Pushing the odds and breaking taboos is Oman’s first female competitive weightlifter Fatima Al Farsi.
From an unhealthy lifestyle to Oman’s first female weightlifter, Fatima’s story started like many others but through hard work, following her passion and working towards her goal, jumping hurdles and breaking boundaries, proved to men and women of Oman and the world that nothing is truly impossible!
She said, “I actually started when my elder sister wanted to join the gym and needed a gym partner like about 8 years ago or so. I went along with her doing just 45 minuets of cardio with completely no knowledge of training whatsoever. I remember the very first gym I went to was the ladies Horizon branch in Athaiba.”
Fast forward to 2018, Fatima is not only remarkably fit and healthy but currently is Oman’s only female weightlifter. This breakthrough in her life changed her career goals and passion.
An impossibly strong woman (literally!), Fatima shares with us a peep into her everyday life.

Q: Weight lifting isn’t common in the GCC and it’s even more uncommon amongst women in the Middle East, what was it that guided you into this journey?

FatIma Al Farsi Female athlete, weightlifter Instagram: @fiifiee

FATIMA: The passion I have for gym, got me into trying new training routines. Ever since I started lifting weights, I got fascinated with the strength our body has. I love the challenge I have with myself to do better and go heavier the next time. Always something to look forward to the next training session.
as a woman, what were some of the challenges you faced WHILST TRAINING and how did you overcome them?
Training in a mixed gym. As not many local girls go to mix locations it was definitely a challenge for me. Sadly, no exclusive ladies only gym have heavy weights or rather challenging weights available as the Mix gyms, which is limiting ladies to only a certain amount of weights available for working out.
Hence, I started going to a mix gym over coming all the thoughts of injuring myself or what would people think of me, if am doing the workout right, Will I be able to ask for someone to spot me, and so many other thoughts. But since this is my GOAL, I had to go out there and at least try! Nothing in life comes easy when you sit on your comfort zone, we got to go out there and get it done, right?!

Growing up, did you always have a knack towards living a healthy lifestyle or working out?
Well, I never thought I would be going to a gym at the first place. I had the same image which all ladies probably have. Though I have been into sports, like Volleyball, GYM itself wasn’t something I thought I would be so passionate about. And dieting was the last thing on my mind.

What kind of workout routine do you follow?
I am currently training with Ahmed, my gym partner who actually has no mercy on me, goes till the last repetition plus one more! Ha-ha!
So basically, we are doing his routine, which consist of 2 muscle groups per day and ending our session with cardio or abs workout. We are going heavy at this time to pump the muscles then we will go on a cutting phase later which means more repetition and a stricter diet plan, Yaaay!!!

WHAT IS YOUR DIET REGIMENT LIKE?
I am currently on a KETO diet. Most people are against this diet due to no starchy carbs. But so far I like it! It uses FAT as fuel. It gives me good energy, massive drop on excess water weight, better moods, it eliminates my sugar cravings, Reduces bloating, decreases body fat and so many other benefits.

What would you to share with women across the country and the world about changing lifestyles and breaking taboo?
Getting into the gym and keeping it consistent is an achievement itself.
Whether it is being physically fit, or improving your overall physique. There is nothing wrong at all with lifting weights. And If you ask me, ladies will never bulk up or look like a man if they lift weights. They should not be afraid of this!
Training and looking physically fit brings out a whole new confidence and a much more active life style.

There is a certain stereotype when people think of female weightlifters (which aren’t always true), did you face any of these or get questioned about it?
Yes! I did. Like a lot! Some would ask me if I wanted to look like a man! And how do I make time for gym every day. Some even would say that I am crazy. Most of them talk about supplements and create all sort of stories.

For those leading busy lifestyles whether it is to do with being a stay at home parent or a working person, is there ways to motivate themselves to also follow a healthier and better lifestyle, how and why?
Well, there is always time for gym. No matter how busy a person is. They can make time. Saying they are busy is just an excuse, and you gain nothing making excuses!
That’s why I said earlier, it is an achievement itself if a person stays committed. This is actually the best investment a person can make. You can start off by training every other day, eating lesser portions then get into a diet, and a training routine. Set a goal each day and make it happen! Working out actually helps you get into a better mood, it’s a stress reliever, and definitely will boost your confidence.

Any advice for the youth of Oman, especially young girls and women who look up to you as an inspiration, but an idol that is breaking beige and working towards their passions and goals.
You would never regret working out, just do it right and be consistent.
Commit yourself, stick to a plan for at least 20 days and see the difference. You would gain confidence, you will feel different, you would be more active and your life will eventually get more organized where you would have time set for everything. And DO NOT be afraid to lift!

Titash Chakraborty