Have you ever joined a video call with your camera and mic switched off?
If you have, you’re not alone. In fact, you’d be in very good company, especially in one of Husna Ahamed’s fitness classes where cameras and mics are off as standard.
“It’s about creating a safe space where women can exercise without barriers. The pandemic has changed things and I offer all my classes online. Women who have never exercised before are taking part, losing weight and getting fitter”.
Husna’s classes started out as workouts for Muslim women. Now all women get involved and some bring their children with them.
Husna’s journey started a long way from the gym. She worked as a Finance Manager at an Academy and studied for her degree in Business Studies at London South Bank University. She recalled how she was working all day, studying in the evenings and raising three children:
“My lifestyle took a toll on my health and I began to put on weight. I ended up in the obese category”.
That was when things had to change and Husna took the plunge, left her job of ten years and launched her ownfitness classes business.
“I wanted to look after myself, run my own business and be around my kids to watch them grow and develop. That was when I decided to become a Personal Trainer”.
All was going well and then, a year ago, the pandemic struck. Everything had to go online.
At first, the new way of working seemed a threat. It was no longer possible to meet new people face to face, get to know them and share personal fitness recommendations. These included free wellness checks, BMI measurements, meal plans and lifestyle advice. It’s possible to chat over video call, but could it really work? Husna has proved it can.
She reflected on what has happened and described how the world has changed.
“Many people have become ill or lost their lives and the pandemic itself has become a taboo subject. It’s taught us that we cannot take things for granted and must value people. Schools and gyms are closed, and routines have been lost. That’s where online classes have come in”.
Consultations take place by video call and people can book intofitness classes at the last minute which is really a bonus. Interestingly women are now joining Husna’s classes from all over the UK, rather than where she lives. Maybe people will also take part from other parts of the world?
Fortunately for her participants, Husna has been offering free access to her Fitclub and online fitness classes since the start of the pandemic.
“There were a lot of technical difficulties at the start but we managed to work things out together. I used to feel that I was just talking to a screen so I asked a few people to put their videos on so I could relate to other people in a better way. Now we just leave them off”.
With fitness under her belt, Husna is now broadening her services by offering English language teaching for women from local Bangladeshi and Afghan communities. As a result, she is now studying for a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification so that she can teach online.
With three daughters, three grandchildren and excitingfitness classes to run, Husna thanks God for her success. A devout Muslim, who prays five times a day, she is also developing her spiritual side having passed an Alimiya course with a focus on holistic wellbeing.
Husna recently appeared in a The Daily Mail article 100 incredible women on International Women’s Day.
Andrew Cleminson tells the story of how James introduced us to Husna Ahamed.
You can listen to his podcast below: