I recently had the absolute pleasure of getting to know Tasneem. Tasneem is small in stature, but big in personality. Her energy flows from her, and leaves one feeling uplifted, excited, and ready to take on life! She is extremely hard working and dedicated to quality and the people in her life. She is an absolute fireball, taking on life straight ahead, no backing down. She is also wise beyond her years, embracing both balance and learning from her mistakes. Let me take you on a journey with Tasneem…
Tasneem has been a part of many sports thoughout her life. Many, including basketball, rugby, rowing, running and trialathon, came into and went out of her life. In high school she took her first kickboxing class. She immediately knew this was the one. She really got into it in her 20s, and at first she struggled!! She had two left feet and no co-ordination. But she chose to keep getting her ass kicked, literally. She stuck with it, she worked hard and she learned.
Kickboxing completely changed her life!!! Through kickboxing, she met her coach and mentor, Holly. She started to build confidence, and to become more comfortable in a country that was so different from her own. She became less afraid to make mistakes, and evolved from her wallflower personality, blossoming into a complete fireball. She learned so much from her training and it pushed her to be better. The strength she eminates now is truly amazing.
With a minority background, it really stuck out to her in the gym that not many Indian women would lift weights, sweat, or try new things. She thinks it is a cultural boundary that these women feel that they should not make themselves look foolish in front of men. This has, for a long time, fuelled her desire to change this perception and to create a new space.
As a result of her own training , she has often been the target of such comments as ‘you look like man’. This really surprised her as she had thought that by now, in this day and age, that way of thinking would be long gone.
Fuelled by her desire to break cultural boundaries, the knowledge and experience of how much it has changed her own life, and the facts about how important strength is for women’s health, her passion for changing perceptions and realities for women has grown. She is now 100% focused on providing space for women in both kickboxing and power lifting.
She started her first business, Be Strong Fitness, at the age of 23 out of her car. She provided an all encompassing service in which she would come to women and provide training services and even babysitting while they sweated it out. Engrained with an extremely strong work ethic, she built up her client base one step at a time.
At 27, she now owns and runs Square 1 Fitness. Everyone is welcome. It is a safe place for anyone to venture into things they have never tried. It doesn’t matter if you have ever deadlifted or punched before, this is the place to be supported and to learn!!!
Believing that in a big group setting people get lost, Tasneem employs a more one on one approach. If the group is too big, she says it becomes difficult to ensure that each individual has the correct form and is picking up the technique. She is completely committed her structure that always includes a warmup at the beginning, stretching at the end, and allows time for breaking things down. She is completely committed to ensuring that each person truly learns.
Smaller groups allow her to get to know each person one on one. She loves to get to know the people she is training. They aren’t just clients to her, they are family. Her philosophy is that how they perform is related to their life, how things are going, and what is going on for them. She needs to feel connected to be an effective trainer and coach.
She feels that she learns more from her clients than they learn from her! She truly has created a family space. This doesn’t stop with her clients. She considers her staff to be friends.
She has embraced the challenges of owning a business like a true professional, and like someone far beyond her years. She is open and honest about what she has found challenging, and has embraced ways to learn and evolve. Attempting to learn how to re-introduce a healthy balance into her life, she has recently hired a business coach. She is so passionate about her business, the connection with her clients, and the quality of the training, that she is willing to invest in ensuring that her trainers and other staff are completely equipped, enabled and committed to providing top quality service. She wants to set them all up for success.
Her ability to reflect on where she is at the present moment, and to truly identify what she needs to change is so open and honest. She is truly committed to the success of her business and the lives of her clients and staff. She is wise beyond her years, and willing to do the work to implement the changes that need to be made.
She is on a path to continue to provide the amazing space that she has created, and to deliver top quality training in a one on one fashion. She is now creating some space to find herself again. She has started to take care of herself more again as she wants to continue to love her job far into the future. She has also started doing the things she loves again, such as rock climbing, swimming, and hiking. She completely believes in putting yourself out there and trying new things as she recently took a hall dance class with absolutely no experience, and had a blast!! She is committed to doing the things that, as she puts is, ‘make me me!!!’.
We could all learn from Tasneem’s work ethic, commitment to quality and to people, her enthusiasm, her passion, her energy, and her desire to learn and to be better!!!