Dal Dhaliwal is the UK’s first Asian Female Health and Fitness Expert to launch a gym. She is also a TV & Radio Presenter, columnist, Life coach and Educator. Dal’s career spans over 16 years in the wellness Industry. Her passion is helping others lead a healthy, fitter and happier lifestyle.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dal at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Institute of Asian Business, Women in Business event. After her empowering story of becoming a business women, and her motivation and desire to support women with eating disorders and body image issues, I quickly realised through sharing Dal’s story she could be an inspiration to us all- Serena
I have held various posts in the health and fitness industry as well as worked outside in the community teaching classes. I have always been very driven and dedicated. Owning my own fitness business was always my ambition – although it wasn’t until 2010 that I decided to plan on making my business dream a reality. I wanted to help as many people as possible and establish myself as a leading health fitness expert in by city. I wanted to spread the word of wellbeing to all, and have full control of all the business decisions I made.
However opening a business at the beginning of a recession is not an easy task, even Dal acknowledges it was a risky decision. “Opening a business in 2011 – at peak of a recession was definitely a risky decision. But I am a risk taker! Once I make a decision there’s no changing my mind. In 2011 Dal opened Body Perfect Personal Training. But as daunting as opening a business during a recession sounds, Dal was facing another challenge: being a woman within the male dominated fitness industry. Despite now running an incredibly successfully gym, breaking into the fitness industry was not an easy feat. “Women are a minority within the fitness industry, in particular Asian Women. It can be difficult and challenging for a women to make an ‘impact’ or to be ‘heard’ in this industry. When I first joined the industry I found I was not taken seriously even by my own community – a career in the health and fitness is not considered to be a lucrative career or a suitable choice for an Asian female. It’s still viewed as a hobby and gyms are associated with a place where men lift weights. I had the challenge of breaking down a lot of cultural barriers”.
Here at Women & Enterprise we talk to and meet many amazing business women about their experience of setting up a business and two common themes always emerge. Firstly- the experience of loneliness, and the second-the amount of hours women dedicate to ensure their business is successful. Dal was no exception to any of these.
Suddenly finding herself alone rather than surrounded by clients, was definitely a challenge for Dal “When working in a health club I was surrounded by almost 4,000 members and when I launched the business I was on my own – that in itself was a big change and I found this a big challenge at first”. On top this Dal found herself working longer hours in order to develop her business. “The hours were challenging. I found myself working 7 days a week. Nearly every spare minute I had was spent on developing and growing the business.”
But with every negative aspect there are always positives and Dal has had the opportunity to experience many memorable moments through her gym. One of her favourites being her TV & radio work. “I have been able to present and produce my own Health and Fitness show/ series on TV and on the radio. Another memorable moment for me this year was to be nominated and be a finalist for Business Woman of 2015 at the British Indian Awards 2015 – a very proud and memorable moment.
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