Leap of Faith: 4 Inspiring Women On Bridging Mental And Physical Health

BY Elaine Lloyd-Jones / Jan 8 2019 / 19:45 PM

We speak to four of the region’s most prolific shape-shifters, Lama Jouni, Nesa Rassouli, Salma Ismail and Ghida Arnaout about bringing the mental and physical together to empower a new you...

Leap of Faith: 4 Inspiring Women On Bridging Mental And Physical Health
Ziga Migelcic

Nesa Rassouli wears: Bodysuit, Dhs840, LNDR; shorts, Dhs664, Charli Cohen, both at Hautletic. Ghida Arnaout wears: Sports bra, Dhs169, Under Armour. Leggings, Dhs495, Alo Yoga at Hautletic. Salma Ismail wears: Jacket, Dhs660; sports bra, Dhs215, both Lululemon. Trousers, Dhs1,137, Sapopa at Hautletic. Lama Jouni wears: Top, Dhs210; shorts, Dhs200, both Lama Jouni x Puma

Lama Jouni

30, Lebanese, designer “I’m healthier now than I’ve ever been. I do Barry’s Bootcamp almost three times a week, then one day I do yoga, or something, to relax my muscles. I’m always on the move. I recently collaborated with Puma. In this, I achieved something I never thought I could. And with it, I want to tell every young person that it’s possible to achieve your dreams with hard work and determination. I’ve always felt that women are strong as I grew up around a lot of powerful women. I’m also glad that at this point in my life I have a strong body and strong mind complement each other. If I have a rough day, I release stress, anger and frustration through work outs. I need to have that. It’s important for women to have time for themselves, too, to stop looking at their watches, and just do their thing. If you don’t have fuel to push you through your day then you can’t give 100 per cent. I believe persistence and hard work are what’s important. I am my competition, I always have to challenge myself in terms of my body, my mind,my health and my work.”

Lama Jouni

Lama wears: Puma sports bra, her own. Trousers, Dhs340; sneakers, Dhs610, both
Lama Jouni x Puma

Nesa Rassouli

23, Iranian, instructor for Barry’s Bootcamp “When I started in fitness I was extremely timid, so I did my PT qualification and that sparked a fire inside me to build my career while trying to change people’s lives the way fitness changed mine. At Barry’s, I get to help people become fitter, happier, healthier, and I get the opportunity to help someone make a positive change. Having an active lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult. And I think that when you look good, you feel even better. A lot of women feel scared of pushing their limits in fitness, but from experience I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as not being able to do something. You can do anything in this world, it just comes down to how much effort you’re willing to give it. I teach cycling at Motion Cycling, I do Crossfit with my coach four to five times a week, and jump into Barry’s classes whenever I can. Honestly, I train so much that I need to eat up to six times a day to keep my energy levels up. Food is my fuel. Through fitness we are empowered as women because it makesus feel strong, it makes us feel invincible. There is nothing a man can do in the gym that I can’t. We can run, jump, swim, lift weights – you name it, we can do it.”

Nesa wears: Sports bra, Dhs247; leggings, Dhs366, both L’urv at The Hot Box Hit. Sneakers, Dhs610,
Lama Jouni x Puma

Salma Ismail

31, Egyptian, Co-founder of GetFitChick “I launched GetFitChick in 2016. It’s a training and nutrition program designed for women,by women. We provide sensible nutritional advice and guidance, and more importantly,we educate and support women to empower themselves and others through a culture that believes in encouragement, self-belief and community. Being able to connect with so many women and actually being able to help them is honestly a privilege. My aim is to help women evolve from the inside out. To inspire them to reach their full potential without any self doubt. The more confident you feel, the more likely you are to work on getting the results you’re looking for. When you feel comfortable, confident and beautiful in what you’re wearing, you will feel much more motivated to get up and get moving and push your personal boundaries.I train five to six times a week – I mix up my training between strength, HIIT and kickboxing. If I could change anything, it would be society telling women how to dress or what the ideal body shape is. Having rules as to what a woman should look like is crazy to me. There is no right or wrong, there is no ideal body shape. I don’t really believe in resolutions because it’s like I’m always putting a time-frame on something I want to achieve. I believe in short-term goals. Find what works for you and go for it”

Salma wears: Top, Dhs180, Fila at Namshi. Leggings, Dhs366, L’urv at The Hot Box Kit. Sneakers, Dhs399, New Balance at Namshi

Ghida Arnaout

32, Lebanese, adventurer “I started my blog MonkyseeMonkydo in 2012, and after a hip injury in 2013 left me in a wheelchair for three months, I shared even more. I suffered from anxiety and the only time I felt better is when I was outdoors. I want to inspire others to explore the world and get out of their comfort zones. I want people to find therapy in adventure and nature. I always feel stronger after I have climbed a route or have come back from a trekking trip – physically and mentally. Nothing empowers you more than challenging yourself. Our brains often tell us we can’t do something instead of motivating to us to do it. Overcoming those thoughts and pushing ourselves is what empowers our personality and confidence. I love getting messages from people I don’t know telling me how I inspired them. My partner and I own a company called Life Happens Outdoors where we curate adventure trips all over the world, we have around 11 trips planned for this year – ice climbing in Georgia, Kilimanjaro, the Incatrail in Machu Pichu. My advice is to listen to your body. One rule does not fit all. No matter what you do, people will judge you. Don’t listen. And always be kind.”

Ghida wears: Jacket, Dhs499, Nike. Shorts, Dhs230, Calvin Klein Performance. Sneakers, Dhs429, Nike, all at Namshi.

From the January 2019 issue of Harper's BAZAAR Arabia