The new manager of Anytime Fitness Club in Bedford is hoping to inspire others to make fitness part of their lives, after discovering a passion for exercise completely changed her own life.
Zaynah Musa had barely set foot in a gym before 2015 and her physical and mental health was suffering as her weight reached 24 stone.
“I know how daunting it can be to take that first step towards fitness,” Zaynah told the Bedford Independent.
“Mentally, going to the gym was a life-saver for me. It wasn’t just about the weight loss, it was making connections with people and the community that I found there.”
In her new role at Anytime Fitness at Riverside Bedford, Zaynah is looking forward to supporting the local community’s health and has some exciting plans for the club including charity events and collaborating with local businesses to boost their staff wellbeing and fitness.
Zaynah, who has previous managerial experience at gym provider Xercise4Less, will oversee the day-to-day running of the club, which has seen its members clock up thousands of visits since reopening in mid-April.
“I’m delighted to be able to start this role at a time where our personal health is more important than ever,” said Zaynah.
“The reopening of gyms in April was a real boost to everyone and it’s been great to meet our members over the past couple of weeks.
“We have a very welcoming and friendly spirit within the club and as part of my role, I’m really keen to more involved in the local community and help people enjoy the benefits of physical activity.”
Back in 2015, Zaynah was heading for a diabetes diagnosis. She knew that by addressing her weight she could reverse this, and became determined to invest time in herself.
Just six months after joining a gym, health and fitness had become such an integral part of her life that she realised it was the career for her. Zaynah signed up for a personal training and sports science degree at the University of Bedfordshire and brings those qualifications to her new role.
“I began eating better and the endorphins released from going to the gym stopped the desire for over-eating,” she said. “I didn’t see the results immediately, but I felt better straight away. That helped me continue to put in the effort and had a massive impact on my confidence.”
Over 13 months, Zaynah lost over 11-and-a-half stone and says, “I hope people find my story relatable and see that it’s never too late to start a fitness journey and achieve the results that you want.”
Zaynah’s plans for the gym include reaching out to the community to support local and international causes.
“This Wednesday (16 June) we are going to be providing free bottles of water and free gym day passes in order to raise some funds for MAP (Medical Aid Palestine) in tandem with helping the Sikh community here in Bedford celebrate their yearly ‘Chabeel Sewa’ day,” explained Zaynah.
“We’re planning a ‘spinathon’ challenge to generate some friendly rivalry among the Riverside Bedford businesses and will be offering free wellness and health assessment days for their staff members to get a fitness check.”
Anytime Fitness Bedford opened in early 2018 and is among the town’s many independently-owned businesses. Members have 24/7 access, group exercise classes and access to exclusive online content.