Maya Nassar: MTV Lebanon personality / 1st Lebanese endorsed bikini athlete

Interview by Rizwan Zulfiqar Bhutta

1: I would start with from where it all started for you, I guess you were a common woman at some time in life, what was the driving force, tell us about the moment that inspired you and made you become what you are today?

It was the moment I decided to start competing in fitness modeling competitions. This is what made me different from others and helped to get me the exposure I have today. I was one of the first from Lebanon to travel abroad to compete and what helped was when I approached the Lebanese minister of sports to ask for his endorsement. He wrote me an official letter endorsing me as an athlete and this is what made me receive media attention and start sharing my story publicly. I wanted to compete because I wanted to push to my limits both mentally and physically.

2:  How hard it was to reach to this point? It seems tough to start with and the transformation for others is just like magic but the one who carries it through goes through a lot to achieve the desired.

It was definitely tough! Training to compete is challenging and means you will barely have time for yourself or to go out and socialize. The way I succeeded was to think about my goal and how good I would feel once I reach it. Reaching a challenging goal is the most rewarding thing you can do. You become a different person once you set a difficult goal and reach it. The secret is to never stop setting goals. Once you reach one goal, its time to set another.

3:  Most common conception is that a tough woman or the one doing body building can lose the cuteness or the soft element of women in looks, this does not seem to be true in your case, how you manage the soft image of a women in normal life?

The truth is that natural bodybuilding will never make a woman lose her femininity. The women who are overly muscular or masculine all take drugs and anabolic steroids. A woman does not have enough testosterone to bulk up the way a man does. I always do photo shoots combining fashion with fitness to show that a woman can be fit and feminine at the same time.

4: Also please clear the minds of the people that the physically tough women, are equally sweet and kind,  (this is what I have observed from you),  I would like you to tell the people that a woman is always a woman, with dreams, desires, joys and sorrows. Being physically tough does not change the inner soul of a women.

Exactly! I believe being physically tough can help a woman reach more goals in her life. Reaching your fitness goals will help create inner discipline and dedication which will help her reach all other challenging goals in her life whether personal or professional.

5. In the end there are advantages for what you have achieved, fame is one of them, but what are the advantages for a woman to remain fit and healthy in your opinion?

There are so many advantages. It makes you healthier, happier, stronger, more confident and less stressed in general. Not forgetting to mention that I exercised all throughout my pregnancy which helped me have an easy pregnancy, delivery and a healthy baby. There are many health benefits for an unborn baby when a pregnant woman trains.

6. being an inspiration for others and making an impact on people’s life must be making you proud, now you have got the recognition, but when you started how much support you had, specially form the people around, family or friends

I am lucky to have a supportive network of friends and family. Luckily my husband, family and friends have supported me to the maximum and have even traveled to watch me live during my competitions.

7.what is an ideal age in your view for a girl or women to start working on her body fitness and shape? And when does it gets too late, or it never does?

I believe a girl should start as soon as she is young enough to walk. Children should be active and play sports and keep exercising all throughout their lives. Also, it is highly recommended for the elderly to exercise. There is no expiry date. Exercise prevents diseases and health problems, keeps you strong and in shape, promotes independence so you do not need to depend on other people and also helps you feel happier. Someone should always check with their doctor before doing any sports. I never encourage a woman to be a certain shape or have a thin body, Instead I promote being healthy, fit and strong at all ages.

8: what makes you feel happier your body transformation or the fame you have got because of it? mean are you happier that you achieved success and fame or the bigger thing is that you actually got a special healthy body?

I would say my body transformation makes me happier. This is because I was not happy with myself and discovering fitness helped me feel personal satisfaction. Reaching my fitness goals helped me to become happier with myself. I would never be happy to enjoy anything else, such as fame, if I am not happy with myself first and this is what my body transformation helped me achieve.

9: now where does your carrier stand today, and what do you aim for in near future as a professional?

Today I am a full time business owner and a mother. My goal in the future is to compete again this summer and to show other moms that it is not too late for you to get your body back and continue to reach your goals as mother. At the same time, I will be opening a second branch for my gym this summer and my long term goal is to franchise all around the Middle East.

10: in the end, I would need you to give a brief advise, a message for our readers, men and women both, as there are lots men too who can be inspired from what you have achieved, but specially for the women.

My advice is to form an emotional attachment to your goals and to then establish why this goal is important and meaningful for you. Write down a list of reasons why you want to reach this goal and what it will mean for you once you do. This will make you commit wholeheartedly and make it harder to quit if a goal is clearly defined and means something to you. Finally, if anyone needs any fitness advice including training plans and diet plans then they can download my free mobile app by searching for “startlivingright” in their smartphone store. My app has been ranked number one by the Apple store and is also endorsed by the Lebanese minister of sports.