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The Sassiest Mama: Maryam Fattahi Salaam

Family LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life - Post Category - That MamaThat Mama

Maryam is one of our Sassiest Mamas 2016…

If you’re a fan of the barre then chances are you’ll have pulsed, squeezed and tucked at Physique 57, one of the city’s most talked about workout classes. Brought to Dubai by Iranian-American Maryam Fattahi Salaam – who just happens to be an Attorney too – AND a mama of 3 boys (Ali aged 8, Rashid aged 5 and Saif aged 3 months), Physique 57 has become somewhat of a Dubai institution and a must for all those in the fitness know. Maryam loves a fallen chocolate souffle cake – and with her passion for health, fitness and Physique 57 – she can definitely have her cake and eat it!


Tell us about your business/businesses and why you started them.

Physique 57 is a barre-based workout with intervals of cardio, strength training, stretching and recovery. Our interval sets use your body’s own weight as resistance, and arms, thighs, seat and abs get sculpted to form long, lean muscles. No matter what kind of shape you’re in, whether you loathe exercise, or work out seven days a week, our workouts will change your body and your life.

My love for Physique 57 started in New York shortly after the birth of my first son. My husband and I moved back to Dubai, where we were both raised, in 2010. Expecting our second son, I didn’t want pregnancy to get in the way of my workout routine so I kept trying a variety of methods. I noticed a void in the market when I couldn’t’ find a method that satisfied my fitness craving the way Physique 57 had. What started as a purely selfish desire to have Physique 57 in my hometown grew into a commitment to bring a luxury brand that delivered all that it promised, and delivered, to thousands of women in the Middle East. Our company tagline is “Sculpting bodies. Changing lives.” and to be a part of clients’ daily experiences of achieving that is beyond gratifying.

What kind of cake would you order for your birthday?

A fallen chocolate soufflé cake.

If we handed you a concert ticket, who would you wish it was for?

Justin Timberlake.


What colour do you wear the most?


When did you last cry?

I last cried on July 22 when I gave birth to my youngest son, Saif.

Where do you get your hair done?

Jet Set.


What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?

My family and Physique 57.

As a child what did you dream of being when you ‘grew up’?!

Paediatrician. I’ve always loved children.

If you had 3 wishes what would they be?

  • World peace.
  • Human immunity to all illnesses.
  • Long and happy lives for my three boys.

What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?

Being a Sassy Mama means compassion, strength, listening, learning and unconditional love. Like most moms, I struggle with time management, and find it impossible to be available for everyone at the same time. At the end of the day, the health and happiness of my children and loved ones is my priority and everything else just seems to fall into place.


Guilty pleasure?

Tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa.

Tell us about a typical day?

I’m usually up at 5:45 a.m. to catch up on the news and emails, and enjoy a little me-time while everyone in the house is still asleep. Breakfast is the one meal my husband and our boys have together, and we cherish those bright and early thirty minutes. I’m out the door by 7:30am for drop-off first, and then work at Physique 57. Mornings are for meetings and a Physique 57 class. I’m a huge advocate of taking care of yourself so you can stay on top of your game. Lunch is on the go, usually a salad from Waitrose. I’ll start returning calls and cleaning up my inbox before I head out in the afternoon. Things get real around 4pm with my boys’ homework and activities. I’m lucky to have a job where I am satisfied on a personal level, yet enjoy the flexibility that allows me to play an active role in the day-to-day lives of my children. Flexible means I’m busy most of the time, and happiest as a result. Having said that, you never fully shut off from work as an entrepreneur. Once the little ones are asleep by 8pm, my husband and I unwind with a home cooked dinner and our favourite TV shows. I catch up on the day’s news and more work-related emails before calling it a night. I fall asleep knowing I have a clean slate for the next day.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?

Personal: Take care of yourself to be the best caregiver. I am a better mum and wife when I workout regularly and follow the 70/30 rule (eat healthy 70% of the time so I can indulge the remaining 30%). I start every morning with a glass of homemade green juice and take three to four Physique 57 classes a week. Aside from what it does for my body, I love what it does for my mind as nothing else makes me feel as empowered and centred. As long as you make healthy choices and are sensible about working out, you can sort of have it all!

Career: Love what you do. Find what it is that you’re deeply passionate about, put in the work and stay motivated by a sense of purpose.

What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, or something fellow mamas should know about?

XVA Art Hotel. An unpretentious, soulful and art-infused boutique hotel in the heart of Al Fahidi (formerly known as Bastakiya).


If you were on an island and could bring only 3 things (family not included) what would they be?

Sunscreen, my iPhone and coconut water.

Describe your style?

Timeless chic with an edge.


How do you juggle work and family?

Being a mum, businesswoman and taking care of myself is a constant juggling act. To be honest, I don’t believe I will ever strike that perfect balance. I just try to devote my fair share of quality time to whatever it is I’m doing. My own mother taught me that leading a busy, active lifestyle is the key to happiness. I am now a firm believer.


A huge thank you to Monica Chindalia for the beautiful pictures of Maryam and her family.
To book a photoshoot visit facebook/monicachindaliaphotography

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