My Morning Routine: Aly Mazhar, CEO and founder of BeFit
Aly Mazhar, CEO and founder of BeFit: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Aly Mazhar, CEO and founder of BeFit (LinkedIn). Edited excerpts from our conversation:
My name is Aly Mazhar and I introduce myself as an athlete — I’m someone who is passionate about sports and found the inspiration to become an entrepreneur. I launched BeFit in 2013 to add value to the community, to the people around me, and even with the ideas I have for my business. Now, I’m very passionate about entrepreneurship and turning ideas into reality.
BeFit had to innovate throughout the pandemic: When covid-19 first hit, we relied largely on online services, but we have since bounced with some new ideas for our clients and our community. I think we're lucky to be working in an industry where people like to get together — it's all about human interaction and the community.
We’re working on improving access to proper fitness facilities for all Egyptians and changing the general mindset on the importance of sports and fitness in daily life. We recently opened the first gym in Shebein El Koum’s City Club, with plans to open two more branches in Kafr El Sheikh and Banha in 2021 and later on expand into more governorates in 2022.
My day-to-day job is split up between running the business and coaching: My main responsibility is making sure that our company is achieving growth for our employees, while adding value to the community and the society around us. In terms of running the business, I synchronize all the backend support functions together, including the tech, financial, marketing, and operations departments, along with business development and the growth of the organization as a whole.
I usually wake up around 6-6:30am. I have two hours for myself in the morning to set my daily tasks and what I want to achieve throughout the day. I have my breakfast and coffee and then I head to the gym to train at around 8:30-9am. I'll be done and showered by 10:30-11am to head to the office. In the evenings, I either coach or take the evening off. Whenever I have the chance in the middle, I read Enterprise.
It doesn't matter whether you incorporate your workout in your morning routine or later in the day. Working out is best whenever it is best for you. Some people have energy in the morning, some have energy in the evening, and some have energy around midday. From a purely fitness perspective, it doesn't really matter when you work out — just that you get some exercise in your day. I personally try to get my workout in early because my days are in flux a lot of the time, so I could struggle to train at any other point in the day.
I used to play football professionally but an injury meant I couldn’t continue playing. I majored in finance and shifted to investment banking for a while, but I didn’t feel passionate about my job. But even after I switched back to the sporting world, my financial background has come in handy in almost everything I do.
The external factors that could change the sports industry in Egypt definitely have to do with the macroeconomics, political environment, government policies and infrastructure, which all can provide good support for the industry. The more we develop sports facilities, the more we foster sports entrepreneurs into our equation, the more we can grow our businesses and add value to the consumers. Internally, bringing more people into the industry to develop themselves and their set of capabilities, can help the industry as a whole achieve much more, much faster.
When I’m not working or training, I either watch or play football. Sometimes I just hang out with my friends in a very cozy environment; I'm not big on social events or going out. I usually like to watch movies or shows that take me away from reality and the business world. I recently watched The Good Doctor and really recommend it. The podcasts I listen to are mainly focused on health and fitness — I don’t have any specific favorites, but I’m always open to discovering new ones about technology and sports, new ways of rehabilitation, or new technology and fitness.
The best advice I’ve ever received is to plan out my goals and split them up by timespan. So if you have a bigger picture that you want to achieve in 2-3 years, split that up into smaller stepping stones of what you want to achieve every year, and then every quarter, every month, and every week and make sure that it all adds up towards the end goal. Very often I see very clever people who have great skills getting too worked up in the details. The result is often either demotivation or burnout because they feel like they’ve worked so much, but didn't achieve what they had in mind.
I personally define success by achieving the goals that matter. I don't think there's a general definition of success, as every person has a unique set of goals. Once you define those and achieve them, you've achieved your own definition of success.