Moving out of the comfort zone
Amal Murad is a parkour coach and fitness instructor who inspires young people to pursue UAE's freestyle sports. We find out what makes this UAE national passionate about it.
Amal Murad, parkour coach and fitness instructor, is a 26-year-old Emirati who graduated in Multimedia Design from the American University of Sharjah. She spent almost four years in the corporate world as a graphic designer before deciding to quit her full-time job to pursue a career as a parkour coach and fitness instructor, that uses movement developed from military obstacle course training.
"Parkour is all about trusting yourself and your abilities to reach your goal," says Amal in an interview with dxbuzz. "Deciding to leave my job was a huge leap of faith into the unknown, but I feel this step is what pushed me to become a better coach," she adds.
What does she like the most about her job? Amal replies, "I'm able to help people overcome their fears and also encourage them to find their true potential, not only in the physical sense of sports but also through their mental state. With any sport comes risk, and sometimes you have to face your demons. I think this is both the best and worst part of pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. It is about being uncomfortable, and not everyone is going to like it."
Being a parkour instructor was Amal's career choice that started as a hobby and then became her passion/way of life. She explains about the UAE's freestyle sports, "It is still growing. I don't care much about the big stunts. Unfortunately, the media only cares about dangerous moves, which in my opinion isn't the only thing about these sports. It's about movement and expression in a given space. I feel like every girl who comes to my class at the gym (Gravity Calisthenics Gym) has opened up doors for other people to come to try it out. I can't stress enough about how I truly appreciate the girls who decided to give this sport a shot. They are the ones who are also showing other girls that anything is possible."
Amal uses different platforms to create awareness about this activity. "I use Instagram and YouTube as a platform to show girls the possibilities of the sport, but I also am working on collaborations with bigger entities to create a private and safe environment for women to try a new sport without the fear of being judged."
Amal continues to be an inspiration to the youth of the UAE. "Surprisingly, the youth are much open to trying this kind of sport than the older generation. I feel like there is a shift in our mindset especially with our exposure to new opportunities. You see young people pursuing so many different professions that are not considered conventional."
Passion and business apart, Amal's role model is her mother. "She is a hardworking entrepreneur who started her first business when she was only 20. She still runs several businesses to this very day. She showed me what hard work and sacrifice is needed to pursue your goals. I wouldn't be as determined as I am today if I wasn't raised the way I was," reveals Amal.
Elaborating on maintaining a work-life balance, Amal adds, "I feel like there is no such thing, to be honest. You have to understand that there will come times where you will need to give your attention to your job, and there are other times where you'll need to compromise and spend more time with family. It's a constant cycle that I feel women should not be judged. Besides, the reason why you're working so hard is to support your family and make them proud."