Shazia Noor

Co-owner of Nur Fitness, North East

Sector: Health and Fitness

Shazia Noor returned to college to study Health and Fitness. During the course she realised she could help bring fitness into the BAME community. Today she is co-owner of Nur Fitness.

Where do you call home?

I come from the North East of England, home to beautiful woodlands, seaside and endless outdoor walking areas – my sanctuary and medicine for motivation. 

Tell us about your role? 

I am a co-owner of Nur Fitness. Nur Fitness empowers, educates and motivates women to be a stronger version of themselves. I teach fitness classes and mental health and empowerment programmes. 

Nur Fitness breaks down barriers to improve the mental and physical health of our communities. It is working on shattering the stigma attached to poor mental health, raising the awareness of dementia, cancer and diabetes. It also encourages women to lead healthy lives, get back into work and most importantly open up and talk. 

How did you get to where you are today?

I kind of fell into it. I was at a stage where I felt a little disappointed with myself in regard to a career. So, I decided to go back to college, as my kids were at school. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives and somehow ended up on the fitness course.

I thought I could use the first year to get back into a routine of studying again. However, during the course I realised fitness was a way I could help make a difference with the BAME community, as not a lot of women were accessing fitness due to cultural barriers. I felt maybe this could be a way I could help not only women to get fit, but also to improve their mental health.

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way?

It was really hard trying to juggle my job, young children and studying. I remember going for 48 hours with no sleep to try to fit it all in. It was also hard, as not many could see my vision and I felt like no one understood why I wanted to bring fitness to their lives.

I was also very shy and lacked confidence, which was very hard as most of my work involves me teaching groups and public speaking. This is something I still struggle with but have trained myself with the help and support of family and friends. 

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success?

I remember thinking if even five women come to my fitness class, this would make me happy. I never thought of opening a CIC, but then was approached by Middlesbrough Environment City to come on board to run a diabetes prevention programme. At that point I realised I had made the right choice, as this was the perfect opportunity for me to be able to use my own experiences, background and unique delivery to promote the positive messages I wanted to share.

After developing and delivering our first mental health programme, I remember the emotions that came from women when they were given an opportunity to finally speak out about their mental health without any shame and judgement. To see them change over the course of the programme and see them truly smile made me realise, this is what I was meant to do. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females?

We have two options in life, we can spend it with fear overwhelming us and not allowing ourselves to explore our dreams due to fear of failure. Or we can go out and give it a go. 

What you need to remember is that once you get up and follow your dream, you will hit your target, as you were brave enough to try.

If it fails it doesn’t matter, at least you can say I tried. If it is a success, then that’s a bonus, as you already achieved following your passion. 

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

I wish I hadn’t doubted myself so much. There were so many times I set myself up for failure before even starting. I was so bothered by what people would think if I failed and if I was no good. What if everyone hated my work? The list of my what if’s and doubts were endless.

I’m sad that I wasted that time when I could have potentially helped more women.

Also, I wish I had understood how important having genuine people around me is. People who have similar goals are so helpful in picking you up on days you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. They also give you honest feedback and much needed advice.

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path? 

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