My name is Sal Nakhlawi (@salnakhlawi), and I’m from New York City. I’m the Founder of StrongHER Girls®. I’m also a sports and fitness model.
I attended Middlebury College, where I studied Neuroscience, African Studies, and Social Entrepreneurship, and Barnard College, Columbia University, where I studied Africana Studies and Psychology. I am a:
• USA Weightlifting (USAW) Level 2 Advanced Weightlifting Coach
• Certified Functional Strength Coach
• DV8 Kettlebell Teacher
• Certified in TRX Suspension Training
• Certified in Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED.
I am a firm believer in learning and growing every day as a Strength Coach. I dedicate my time to studying to better serve my clients worldwide. My methods are habit and evidence-based. I focus on achieving sustainable, long-term results with my clients while allowing them to live joyful, fulfilling lives.
Before my health and wellness journey began, I struggled with a lot of problems. I felt tired all the time, my joints ached, my confidence was at a zero, and none of my clothes fit me anymore.
I had tried everything on my own. I trained for hours in the gym and tried different ways of dieting—a new type of workout every week, and a different eating plan every time the old one stopped working. I would lose weight only to gain it back…over and over again.
I also attended a competitive Ivy League school, where I took on an intense course load. I was stressed all the time, barely slept, and found comfort in food. Nothing felt good, so I ate to feel better. Ten pounds turned into 20 pounds, which turned into 50 pounds. I felt tired, sluggish, and unhappy.
I realized I couldn’t lose weight and keep it off alone, so I hired a coach to hold myself accountable.
I wanted to have some support when it got challenging. It wasn’t until I started working with a coach by my side, who provided me with a sense of accountability, encouragement, and motivation, that realized how much I needed to get my sh*t together and finally lose the weight. This was key to helping me transform my body. And slowly but surely, I lost weight. One pound turned into 10 pounds, which eventually turned into 50 pounds.
The main way I watch my food intake, while still consuming foods I actually enjoy, is by tracking macronutrients (also commonly known as IIFYM, or “if it fits your macros”). My coach calculated my macros for me and held me accountable for tracking my macros accurately and hitting them as closely as I could on a regular basis. We checked in once a week via email, and via FaceTime when I needed more support.
Counting macros gives me the freedom to enjoy a style of eating that works for me and my body. This is an easy and sustainable way of eating for my lifestyle. I need my diet to fit my lifestyle—not the other way around.
When I started lifting weights, a lot of changes happened. As I began to regularly strength train, I started to value performance gains over appearance gains. I used to measure success by the amount of weight I lost. I cared about the scale. But with my increased physical strength also came increased mental endurance, power, resilience, and a boost in confidence. Lifting weights helped me fall in love with myself, with my body, and what my body can do, rather than its appearance or numbers on the scale.
I’ve lost 50-plus pounds. It took me a few to lose it, and I’ve kept it off for five years and counting.
Sal Nakhlawi is the Founder of The StrongHER Girls® Movement and Head Coach for StrongHER Girls® Online Coaching. As a recreational powerlifter, she sought a positive, nurturing community for her health and wellness practices. She had trouble finding one, so she created one.
StrongHER Girls®: The Movement is dedicated to teaching girls, women, and folx of marginalized identities how to empower themselves to be strong, from the inside-out. Sal looks forward to bringing StrongHER Girls®: The Movement nationwide and beyond!