Hello, I’m Nadera Amini, Founder of NAFS (Nutrition, Advice, Fitness & Self Care).
I think it’s important to understand the reasons behind why I believe in NAFS and how it came to fruition.
I have lived in England for over 20 years, though my journey began whilst I was a teenager
living in Germany, enjoying playing sports with girls from the BAME community.
Having four brothers, sports was a large part of our everyday activities. I had the privilege of learning and playing with them, outside in the park and on the streets during the summer holidays. Though I was lucky in this respect, I had always felt – and it had made me realise –
that girls I was also managing to play with, weren’t able to fulfil their potential to become great sportswomen. This led me to create our first ever Muslim girls’ club in our village and take part in competitions with other German clubs around the area.
By doing this, I learned about teamwork and empowering other girls and women to celebrate sporting activities with passion. I knew from this moment that this was something I wanted to continue to do.
I eventually moved to Bradford, an extremely diverse and multicultural city – just one example of the diversity we have in the UK – and I realised that we all have so much in common. Despite some cultural and socioeconomic barriers that can come alongside it, we can engage in a multitude of sports and enrichment programs that bring us all together.
I eventually moved over to Bradford, an extremely diverse and multicultural city – just one example of the diversity we have in the UK – and I realised that we all have so much in common. Despite some cultural and socioeconomic barriers that can come alongside it, we can engage in a multitude of sports and enrichment programs that bring us all together.
I always felt that the girls were not lucky enough to fulfil their potential to become a great sportswoman, so I created our first-ever Muslim girls club in a village and took part in competitions with other German clubs. That way I learned how to work in cohesion manner and empower other girls and women to celebrate sport activities with passion.
From here, I identified that young girls and mothers still required support, just like I had seen before, so I made it my mission to encourage them to enjoy sports such as netball, football and even Zumba, as well as general social activities to feel happy and get fit (without even realising it!)
I had identified and understood some of the struggles for mothers of being motivated, especially with my own five children. However, as a very driven individual, after giving birth I would go back to exercise as I knew how it made me feel. Of course, I can admit that there were times it was tough – I sometimes had to drag my little children along, change their nappies and feed them whilst going out to do it, but I knew it would benefit us all if I could, especially them seeing me doing it too. It was an extra challenge to care for my young family but I knew the importance of finding time for my well-being and how I could make it work.
I wanted to do more, so in order for me to take this passion to the next level, I had to learn. It was overwhelming to say the least as there are so many professional tools to complete – nobody was there to help or mentor me for this sports sector, but I knew it was what I wanted to do. So, after completing my motherly duties each day, I would use my free time to sit and research what was required and all the rules and regulations.
I regularly spent extra hours researching to ensure I knew what liabilities and regulations I had to follow and exactly what studies I had to undertake. One qualification led to another and more as I wanted to teach but with the right ability and keep developing my skills.
All my sessions were self-funded because money was not what this was for, it was my passion – I wanted to create a spiritual healing space and give back to the community. I purchased my own music system, some mats and dumbbells to start running Mum’s sessions in school and coffee mornings. I offered Zumba sessions with music from around the world and these mothers who were my peers, quickly became my students and service users – we united and started our health and well-being journey together.
I felt that the old adage was true; if I could do it, other women could do it too, so NAFS was created. It all began with this lovely group of mothers who rang each other to encourage and push each other and to say it was okay to even go in their pyjamas to exercise classes but not to find excuses to skip them – this is exactly where my passion lies.
From here, qualifying in Pilates, Yoga and Boxing were next and after that, I became a Fencing coach with British Fencing and Netball coach with England Netball. As my sporting knowledge grew, so did my love for overall well-being. Alongside fitness sessions, I began offering holistic and alternative classes to improve both mental state and soul with massages and naturopathic workshops.
Throughout this journey, I have come across people from many walks and ways of life. Domestic abuse, forced marriages, isolation, refugees, racism and hate crimes – it’s opened my eyes to a lot of issues and highlights the importance of the holistic approach NAFS offers. This is also why we include interfaith cohesion work to introduce Acceptance and Tolerance into our society.
Even today I see myself as a learner and not as a trainer because every person teaches me something different about life and I hope NAFS classes can do the same for those who use our services.
For those of you who may not know, NAFS translates from Arabic to mean ‘sould, ego, psyche and mind’ – all the things that we aim to help with here at NAFS. We are a volunteer-run group, where you can find support, advice and positive reinforcement in creating a more well-rounded, healthier lifestyle, to help you get back to finding ‘you’.
I am happy to have started this journey from scratch with a beautiful family and now I have grown my other family in the community who are a part of NAFS. Whether it’s healthy recipes, fitness classes, interfaith discussions or simply to meet new people, I, and my NAFS support team, welcome you with open arms and hope to see you very soon.
Love for all hatred for none.