Read the inspiring story of this international level powerlifter, who has gone from not knowing anything about powerlifting to competing on international platforms and winning!
This super coach is aware that the right mindset can get you the perfect balance to live your best life ever.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your fitness story in your words.
My name is Fatema Dhoondia and I work as a freelance lifestyle fitness coach. I am also a competitive powerlifting athlete who has represented India at the Asian and Powerlifting World Cup held at Chelyabinsk and Moscow respectively in 2019. I have four world records to my name and 7 strong woman titles both national and international. Also, I am ranked No: 1 among females at the Indian National WPC records.
Apart from this, I am a single mother to a 9yr old son.
I started my fitness journey in 2016 during some difficult times in my personal life in a quest to save and change things in my life. Eventually things did not turn out well and we parted ways which led me into a state of depression. I enrolled in the gym with the purpose to gain weight as I had become underweight. Soon, being in the gym helped me heal and I found solace in the iron. I started with weight training and soon realized that it’s not about gaining or losing weight that matters, but how it moulds your personality and shapes your willpower that helps you overcome the battles within you that matters.
Lifting weights soon turned into my passion and I got myself professional certifications and started working part- time as a personal trainer. This soon changed to a full time job where changing people’s lives and helping them overcome their fears brought peace to me. Soon, people noticed my lifting skills and I decided to participate in a district powerlifting event. Winning that took me to state and then encouraged me to work hard and eventually make my own niche in the field of Powerlifting.
Anything you wish you knew when you started your journey?
When I started my journey, I did not know what exactly powerlifting was. I learnt it through a lot of trial and error. I wish I had got the right guidance right from the start which would have given me the direction to move forward.
Who are your mentors?
I felt blessed to be able to meet different people all throughout my journey. My first ever mentor was Mr Parvez Wadia, he was my personal trainer when I had joined the gym as a beginner and he encouraged me to lift weights and that got me inclined towards strength training.
My first powerlifting coach was Mrs Vinutha Raghunathan who helped me understand what powerlifting is all about. The most important mentor is my current coach Mr. Azmat who helped me unleash my hidden potential and made me work hard to set world records.
Anything you wish you had spent more time and energy on?
During my initial lifting career I used to only focus on the main lifts of powerlifting that involved squats, deadlifts and bench-press. But today I understand the importance of the accessory workouts that help to strengthen the body which ultimately improves your main lifts.
What do you see as your greatest strength? Weakness ?
My greatest strength is my mindset and willpower. I believe you lose only when you have already given up in your mind. Until then you still hold a fair chance to win and overcome anything in life.
My weakness lies in one of those emotional phases of life when life flashes back at me and I feel that I haven’t reached where I should. But, I guess these are the kind of weaknesses that help you appreciate what you have and make you work more harder to where you aspire to be.
What was your goal when you started? Is it different now?
I started with a blank page and my aim was to reach the international platform and compete with the best. Today, after setting world records I aim to make an ALL TIME WORLD RECORD one day (this is the record you set among all the federations in the world). I know it will take time but I have my eyes set on my goal.
What is your personal fitness philosophy?
I believe in holistic fitness. Fitness of body, mind and soul. I believe fitness routines should be included as part of one’s lifestyle. It should be sustainable, help you to lead a disciplined life yet let you enjoy moments that would re-feed your soul.
Best advice you give to anyone who is just starting out?
When you first start your fitness journey, start with an open mind. Do not be stuck at the numbers on the weighing scale as they don’t justify your existence and potential. Focus on improving everyday in terms of your nutrition, strength , stamina and endurance. Measure your progress beyond the weighing scale.Lastly, Fall in love with the journey, it will help in finding yourself .
What would a day in your life look like?
Well, I don’t have a 9-5 job, my day starts from the time I wake up to the time I finally sleep at night. Each day starts early in the morning at 5 am. I have my first client training by 6.30 am so I make sure I prepare my meals to carry and organize my gym bag for my workouts too.
I train my clients from morning and then head to the gym mid – morning for my own workouts. Post my lunch I head back to my sessions until night. I also do online coaching so before I sleep, its client follow ups and action plans for improvements.
What workouts do you enjoy?
Being a strength athlete, I love strength training. A typical SBD ( squat-bench-deadlift) levels up my mood. It not only gets me to be better as an athlete but also helps me to train my mind and boost my confidence.
What has been your personal experience with fitness and nutrition?
At the initial phase when I had just begun as an amateur, I would get scared of consuming carbohydrates but as I learnt and progressed with time, it taught me how carbohydrates actually help in building good strength and muscles when planned in the right way for nutrition. I have also learnt the importance of sticking to the basics and levelling up the variation game only when needed.
A quote that would describe you the best?
“Mindset is what separates the best from the rest”.