- Tell us about yourself?
I’m Nelly Attar. I was born and raised in Riyadh. I’ve spent 22 years of my life in Saudi. I currently work in sports. Previously, I used to work in the mental health domain. I completed my Bachelor’s & Master’s Degree in Psychology and then I worked in that field for 2-3 years before I decided to switch to sports full time. It’s now been over 5 years working in sports on a freelance basis, then it turned into a part time job. Before I knew it, sports took over my life from my hobbies to after work hours to my weekends, pretty much everything. Then I started feeling like my actual work was a distraction from my sports. That’s when I took on sports full time.
- What made you start Move?
A little over a year and a half ago, I was going to start delivering free boot camps under an initiative from the GSA (General Sports Authority) and I had just signed up with Nike to deliver free classes under the Nike Training Club. I was finding it difficult to find a place to deliver them as a lot of gyms were not happy to be delivering free boot camps that were open to the public.
At that time, my stepfather suggested I use his warehouses and offices as a place for me to start teaching my classes. I grabbed the opportunity and started teaching all my classes there. I started the free boot camps & Nike Training Camp within a few weeks. The momentum was great and students started asking I continue. I started teaching regularly and invited more trainers to join us, especially for unique dance classes. From there, Move was born and we eventually took over the building and expanded the studio. We are now a team of 15. Fast forward a year and a half later, we offer dance, dance fitness, fitness classes, annual adventure trips and a seasonal running club. We just aim to get people to move in any way that suits them. Not just women, but even their kids. We work currently with people in Saudi but would love to work across the Middle East and Beyond.
- How long have you been in business in Riyadh?
We’ve been in business now for a year and 8 months. We started in April 2017.
- Have you had formal training or are you self-taught?
I have had formal training. I got my first fitness certification in 2011 just after I finished my Master’sdegree. I had completed my degree and a few internships but was finding it hardto find a full time job in both Saudi Arabia and Lebanon where I was residingat the time. I decided to make use of my time to get certified in dance fitnessor fitness and develop my skills further as I love training & dancing. Idecided to become a freelance dance fitness instructor. I taught my first fewclasses in Lebanon. When I moved to Saudi, I started teaching in the hospitalwhere I worked at the time. I slowly expanded to Compounds & Embassies,different gyms. Week by week, the hours would increase exponentially. It wentup to 12-15 hours a week, and I decided it was time to start to make the shiftto full time. In the last phase of psychology and preparing for the shift, I dida lot of training – Dubai every weekend or Paris occasionally. I am nowcertified in dance fitness, cross fitness, personal trainer, group fitnessinstructor, spinning instructor, Nike Master Trainer, animal flow, holistichealth coaching. I may have missed a few courses. This is something I am verypassionate about. I feel like it’s a pleasure to go and attend these kinds of fitnesstraining, even if I don’t immediately teach those classes. It’s great to havethe knowledge and see different theories, different philosophies in trainingand understand how to work better with people in training.
- What does Move offer?
Move offers Dance (Choreography), Dance-Fitness, Fitness (Functional Training), Yoga, Pilates, Circuit Training. We will introduce Animal Flow soon. We focus on Body Weight Training but do use some equipment like Kettle Bells and Resistance Bands. Our aim is whatever our clients learn at Move, they should be able to do anywhere – home, while travelling etc. We also have a seasonal running club when the weather permits and an annual adventure club. This year, we organized a trip to Kilimanjaro and last year we travelled to Dubai.
- What makes Move unique?
It’s hard for me to answerthis as I am likely to be biased. What makes unique is the community that wehave, the people (trainers, staff members, clients). The energy that comes intothe studio is amazing and is really hard to describe. There is so much love andrespect and support for one another. It’s a really nurturing community ofpeople that come together. A lot of people share similar values – free of judgement, respect others, respect diversity – hence we reinforce these values.A lot of our clients ended up becoming trainers or collaborating with Move indifferent ways, some clients collaborate with each other on different projects.Beyond the studio, I feel the energy opens up different bonds and opportunitiesfor people. This really amazes me. Everyone who walks into Move has become anambassador for what we try to convey. Everyone is an ambassador for Move and arenow encouraging others to move for a better, happier life. You can move anywhere,anytime.
A lot of the classes we offer are unique to Saudi. We are one of the first few places to focus on Dance, we are one of the first gyms & studios to offer annual adventure trips and a seasonal running club. Where we feel there is a gap, we try to fill it up. The aim is to get people outdoors and active.
- What do you enjoy the most about your work?
The people I work with – the clients,the trainers, my staff. This is what I enjoy the most about my work. They inspire me. They teach me so much. I feel like I have grown a lot and learnt alot by becoming an entrepreneur. It’s a new field for me. The learningexperiences have been challenging yet very enriching. I also love being able tomove all the time, as this is what I do full time. It’s great to do what Ilove.
- What is the hardest part about your work?
I think having changed careers. Being a trainer and a psychologist is one thing, being an entrepreneur is entirely different. I learn everyday on the job and mainly through mistakes and trial and error.
Initially, the challenges used to consume me but now I’ve learned to embrace them as they are the source of growth and development.
Tell us about your goal of climbing MountEverest? What inspires you to take on the toughest peak in the world?
For me, one of the Goals of the Everest Challenge is to embark on one of the biggest physical and mental challenges of my life so far. The preparation leading up to Everest is what excites me the most –
I would also like to take the opportunity of inspiring the Arab Community to become physically active. One of the things I plan to do is to share my journey with others – training, nutrition, lifestyle and know how of extreme sports. I’m hoping the information I’ll be sharing will help pave the way for many to become more physically active and athletic.
I will be fund raising for a charity – to be announced soon.
My final objective is to learn lessons from this experience to apply to my daily life. Climbing a mountain teaches me a lot about running mybusiness, crazily enough. The
- Where can creative women go to network in Riyadh?
I would say WSB events. They really helped me to meet and connect with other like-minded people and meeting very inspiring people. I say studios & gyms are also a great place to meet people. I know a lot of friendships and partnerships have been built at Move. I would also encourage people to attend Embassy functions as they often have a networking agenda. I think Sports events are also great and there are a lot more Sports events taking place in the Kingdom now. Formula E just happened. Many different running events organized by the Government, Universities etc. I would also suggest checking out Saudi Design Week. I would encourage people to consider attending networking events, sporting events and entertainment events for
- Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?
Just do it. If you don’t try, you will never know.
Contact Information & Social Media
Tel: +966 53 111 5340