When I heard the news I was voted "Best Fitness Instructor In Canada" I had to take a moment and reflect. My thoughts were all over the place at first. I was feeling euphoric and a huge sense of pride. The person who began this journey had definitely proven to be someone that was a far off memory. It was like thinking of an old friend you went to elementary school with and you sit there wondering "what ever happened to........?" That's what it feels like! Most people see me now and they'd never believe I was the over weight non athletic kid who struggled with his weight. Know one would ever believe I was the one who was always chosen last when it came to participating in any sport. Know one would ever believe I was the one that skipped swimming lessons in gym class because I was so fat I didn't want to be seen in a bathing suit. Yes that was me. And to come from that place to being awarded the title of "Best Fitness Instructor in Canada" is by far the greatest accomplishment I have ever achieved. I have proven to myself and to many that anything is possible!
At the age of 15 I embarked on beginning the process of my transformation. I'll tell you now this road had a lot of bumps. I had no knowledge of what I needed to do to lose weight. I had no knowledge of how to eat right and what exercises to do. All I knew was I was tired of being made fun of in school and I was also fully aware that in high school the popular kids were the ones that were in shape and played sports. That was all the motivation I needed.
It was my fifteenth birthday and I asked my parents to get me a membership at the North York YMCA as a present. My father and mother both turned me down. They felt that was too much money to spend on a present that they felt would go to waste. So I did what any fifteen year old kid would do. I threw a tantrum. I slammed doors and kicked the walls and screamed till my father came into my room and wrote me a check for a year's membership at the Y. Let me tell you. It was the best tantrum I ever threw and the results were a future I never could have imagined.
So off I went. I tried squash, swam and ran the track. I was completely petrified of the weight room but I figured that would at least get me started. I took a course that they offered for the youth on how to use the equipment and that was my first introduction to resistance training.
So I dabbled a bit in the weights and even though my best friend who joined with me at the time quit I kept going. I was determined to make changes and for once was in an environment where I was in control of what I wanted to do without my gym teachers grading me and other kids teasing me.
That summer I was looking for a job and stumbled on a position as a receptionist at the Y. This latter lead to a position for programs for children. Then one summer I was stuck for hours as I was moving onward to university. Because of my history with the Y they hired me to work in their weight room. I was fortunate that the staff there was wonderful and trained me on how to use the machines correctly etc. As part of my job I had to monitor all the fitness classes. So I would spend countless hours watching each type of class being taught including low impact aerobics, strength training, stretching and others. Then one day an event took place that would completely propel me into a future I never planned. An instructor for an aerobic class didn't show up. Standing around with no other staff who could teach the class I stood there in complete terror as I was handed a cassette tape with music and told "You'll have to teach it!"
I walked into a room of already annoyed members and introduced myself. I looked at the faces that were further annoyed at the fact that they had no idea who I was and what kind of class they could expect. The room was completely packed and my heart was already hitting it's max range before I even started. So I threw the tape in and off I went to teach my first ever class.
Turns out the feedback was so great that the members wrote comments on how much they enjoyed it! And so I was graduated into the position of fitness leader and I had absolutely no training what so ever. The next thing I knew I became the regular teacher for this class.
Each summer I came home from university and continued to teach. My skills grew stronger and so did the ranges of classes I taught. There was abs class, muscle conditioning, step, spinning and kick boxing. All of this came so naturally to me and for the first time in my life I could do a physical activity and do it well. And what still amazes me to this day is I had never taken any official course in the beginning to become certified. I was and am completely self taught.
After completing my degree in physiotherapy I continued to teach and only this time I had knowledge as a physiotherapist that I could bring to my classes. That only made me a stronger instructor. I applied what I knew and the quality of the classes I taught made me a popular instructor and finally gave me true credit as someone who has sound background knowledge.
I decided to take my career to a higher level and was accepted to present at the Can Fit Pro Conference in 1999. In that session a recruiter from Australia happen to walk in and see my session. A year latter I was presenting in Sydney, Australia. This was followed with many other international opportunities. My career took off and with incredible excitement I was traveling all over the world!
My dreams continued to come true as I pursued the title of Reebok Master Trainer. In the fitness industry this title for me was like being Knighted by the Queen. The year I applied they cut the team down and was not looking to expand. I had just began my presenting portfolio and the suggestion I was given was to build my name and brand. And so I did. Most of my advising team thought I should just forget about it and move on. I refused to accept that idea. In my mind being part of this team was the only possibility and I refused to believe anything else. After a meeting with Reebok it was suggested I get myself on TV. Two days latter I received a call from two casting agents. It all just came to me. I didn't even have the time to worry about how I was going to get myself on TV.
My first appearance was for a live television show and I was invited to offer my expertise as a fitness expert. This lead to many television appearances including the "In Shape With Sharon Mann Show" which today still airs on Fit TV in the United States! This was beyond what I could have ever imagined.
Three years after that meeting and three interviews latter I got a call from Reebok. They were ready to expand and wanted to know if I'd be willing to go to Boston to Reebok's head office for training to become a Reebok Master Trainer! Of course I said "YES!." And so there I was in Boston and surrounded by mostly everyone I had ever looked up to in the fitness industry as my role model. Only this time they were one of my piers. This I took some digesting but very quickly I felt right at home with the team I would spend the next six years working with. What a dream come true!
I really believe that your passions can turn into a career. I really believe that anything you dream of can become a reality. I really believe that there isn't anything you can't do. I really believe that this Farhan will continue to evolve and grow each day. I really believe that God had this plan for me. I can't even imagine what my life would have been like if that instructor decided to show up.
Angel Miracles to ALL
Here' s a picture of me at 14 And now at the age of 39