Rhona chats with celebrity personal trainer Sana Shirvani about her journey in the fitness industry. Sana shares her experience working long hours and taking on clients’ stress, as well as the pressure she faced from her conservative father to pursue a traditional career. 

Sana candidly shares the mental health challenges she faced after her cousin’s suicide and her own battles with depression and addiction.


In This Episode

00:00:05 – Stress and negative energy

00:06:55 – Becoming a personal trainer

00:32:35 – Women’s fitness

00:38:40 – Eating and body image

00:50:25 – Ozempic

00:53:05 – Mental health challenges

01:02:00 – Gender, dating and relationship dynamics

01:07:10 – Sexual harassment

01:13:15 – Scaling and growth


About Sana Shirvani

Sana Shirvani is a London-based personal trainer with a background in strength and conditioning who supports busy people to take control of their health, fitness and wellness.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: One point in life I was doing like 10 to 12 sessions a day, every day, seven days a week. And I [00:00:05] was literally like pushing myself into the ground. It was it was almost [00:00:10] a way of me coping, but also like coping with what I was going through at the time. But [00:00:15] it was also this connection that I had with every single client of mine. And I literally, [00:00:20] I can’t say yes to one client and no to another if I’m saying yes to a client. I had [00:00:25] to see every other client that day. And you’ve got to think it’s probably similar to actually maybe not [00:00:30] in dentistry because they’ve got their mouth wide open and can’t speak much, but but they take on a lot [00:00:35] of stress. You do, you do. Yeah. And I think that every hour you’re taking on somebody’s energy [00:00:40] and it’s mostly something like negative or something they’re going through in their life and you’re taking on this energy [00:00:45] and you need to give energy back to them, and no one’s giving you energy. Imagine [00:00:50] if you do that every single day, like mentally, you’re completely at a loss.

[VOICE]: This [00:01:00] is mind movers. [00:01:05] Moving the conversation forward on mental health and optimisation [00:01:10] for dental professionals. Your hosts Rhona [00:01:15] Eskander and Payman Langroudi. Hello [00:01:20] everyone!

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Welcome to Mind Movies, where we explore the journeys and insights of remarkable [00:01:25] individuals shaping their fields. Today we’re joined by Sana Shivani, a renowned personal [00:01:30] trainer whose work extends beyond the gym into empowering individuals with the tools that they need for mental [00:01:35] and physical wellness. Sana was actually my personal trainer. We met during lockdown. I saw [00:01:40] her walking down Warwick No near Warwick Avenue in Little Venice, and I’d also seen her at events. Okay, [00:01:45] you’d already seen each other at events and I was absolutely blown away by the work [00:01:50] she was doing. One of the things that attracted me to Sana is actually her work around mental health online. [00:01:55] She was someone that I followed before I had my own following. I had about 200 followers. She had about 10,000 [00:02:00] and this was all the way in 2015. Sana was a trailblazer [00:02:05] in the fitness space and she was somebody that I idolised. I wanted to have her body, [00:02:10] I wanted to have her face and I thought she was pretty incredible. Sana’s journey is one of inspiration, [00:02:15] resilience and dedication, touching the lives from Hollywood to everyday fitness enthusiasts. [00:02:20] Welcome, Sana. Thank you. An intro. Wow. Thank you. Oh [00:02:25] so lovely to be here. Yeah, it’s amazing to be here. And I feel like you were trying to tell everyone [00:02:30] why and how we met. Which Payman likes to know.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: So you can you can tell the world how we met. Okay, so actually, [00:02:35] we were at a, um. It was a party. It was the jewellers, wasn’t it? Jewellers? [00:02:40] Yes. No. Nima and that lot go to his parties, you know, like bougie [00:02:45] Iranian vibes, I don’t know. Yeah. Okay, so they had a massive party. I met Rona Naeem, a [00:02:50] couple of other guys at the party, and then lockdown happened, like, what, a week after [00:02:55] that? And then I saw her running with her boyfriend down the road near my house, and I was like, [00:03:00] very nice. So I saw that and then she got in contact with me basically. But yeah, we met out and [00:03:05] we just clicked from the first moment I actually thought you were Iranian. Yeah, everyone thinks I’m Iranian. I’ll take it to [00:03:10] the eyebrows. Um, no. Sana was amazing because she changed my [00:03:15] life. When it comes to fitness, I was very much about just burn calories and trying to lose weight. So [00:03:20] I started my journey into really, like, building muscle, doing training for like, [00:03:25] mindfulness and wellbeing and also like not over exercising and over doing [00:03:30] things bodies. And we spent a lot of time together because I was going to her house during lockdown and doing sessions, etc. you know, when [00:03:35] we were allowed to do all of that stuff.

Payman Langroudi: Am I right that you’ve had loads of trainers?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I’ve had a few [00:03:40] trainers, not loads actually. I’m actually, you know, I have real issues breaking up with my professional [00:03:45] people. Like I honestly like I can’t break better watch out. You know like honestly I can’t [00:03:50] break out, I can’t I found it really hard to break up with my therapist. And now that I have Ella, I’m like, [00:03:55] why did I stick to my therapist for so you know, when you suddenly are like, you just think it’s the way it is. [00:04:00] I’m sure people feel that about dentists. Like they go to dentists and they’re like, I’m just used to going to this person and they find someone they really love. [00:04:05] And they’re like, why the hell didn’t I break up with the other person much earlier, you know? So I had that with Sana a bit [00:04:10] like I had okay, personal trainers, but I think there was something to be said also about being [00:04:15] trained by a female, because I had a judgement against female trainers, only because I felt like they didn’t push [00:04:20] their clients as hard as male trainers. It was really weird, like I said, like I felt like being battered, you [00:04:25] know? But actually, there’s something to be said for someone that understands the female body and hormones, etc. [00:04:30] and also listening to your needs. So that was it. But Sana, I want you to [00:04:35] start from the beginning. I always get all of our, um, guests to come start from the beginning. And I want you to talk about your [00:04:40] early experiences, because just like me and Payman, you’re from a background, you’re Iranian, [00:04:45] I’m Middle Eastern, you know, we are used to growing up with being told that we should be [00:04:50] professionals. We know that your sister Zahra is well known as Zahra, the hygienist on [00:04:55] Instagram. Everyone knows. Yeah, everyone knows that Instagram likes favourites.

Payman Langroudi: One of my favourites. Oh, there we go.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Sorry. [00:05:00] Um, yeah. So we know that she works in dentistry. So [00:05:05] how did you basically, like, break the mould, you know, within your family? Tell us a bit about your [00:05:10] background, how you got into fitness okay, so I’m not going to lie, it was really, really hard. Like my dad is [00:05:15] a pretty conservative Iranian and he wanted me to either be a dentist, a doctor or a [00:05:20] lawyer. So it was one of the three and I just did. I didn’t have really any interest in [00:05:25] like sciences, English in school. I also didn’t have any interest in interests in PE, which [00:05:30] is really crazy because now I obviously love training, I love fitness, but I kid [00:05:35] you not, I was on my period every single day of the year for a whole year and to get out of PE classes, [00:05:40] I just I didn’t want to do it and I felt almost like a bit ashamed of my body. I didn’t want [00:05:45] to put my body in like gym care and yeah, sort of be out there, which is I think [00:05:50] that also comes from certain ways of speech when you’re growing up [00:05:55] and, you know, like parents being like, oh, don’t eat that. That’s really bad for you, or, um, only [00:06:00] providing, let’s say, bread and cheese, um, for breakfast and not having like, a varied diet growing [00:06:05] up. Um, but I think that’s when I was in [00:06:10] school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I went to university, I studied business management. The only [00:06:15] thing I was actually quite good at in school was business management. I took. Accounting, economics, and those are the subjects. I was [00:06:20] really good at that pull with that. Business management. Yes. Ish. Um, but [00:06:25] he always, always, and even to this day still says to me, take a conversion course into, [00:06:30] um, law. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Um, but I went to university, [00:06:35] and when I went to uni, I was that’s when I really started having, like, body issues, because when I was [00:06:40] in London, my parents were quite protective. When I was younger, I wasn’t allowed to sort [00:06:45] of like, go out and, you know, I wasn’t allowed to go to sleepovers with my friends or anything like [00:06:50] that. So I wasn’t really exposed to, like, the social side of the world that much. I went [00:06:55] to school, I came back, I lived a pretty chilled life. Um, when I went to uni, I was more exposed [00:07:00] to everything, and that’s when I started becoming hyper aware of my body. And I went to [00:07:05] uni in Cambridge and back in 2010, there was no [00:07:10] person of colour in sight in Cambridge like now. It’s a beautiful city, it’s multicultural. [00:07:15] Back then everyone was a skinny blonde girl and white, you know, [00:07:20] type. Yeah. Skinny white, blue [00:07:25] eyes. Um, and no offence to anyone who’s like skinny white blue eyes, [00:07:30] but I just felt like I was different and there was nobody that looked like me.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: There was nobody [00:07:35] that was like I was a little bit soft around the edges, and I wasn’t as toned and long and lean [00:07:40] as them. And I didn’t have long legs, and I just felt super insecure about my body. So [00:07:45] I started to go to the gym when I was in uni. Granted, I was still that person who would like go onto [00:07:50] the treadmill, do like a 20 minute run and be like, okay, I’ve done the gym. But then I started realising [00:07:55] that actually fuelling your body in the correct way is the way that you’re meant to sort of think [00:08:00] of training, exercise, nutrition and wellness as a whole. So I started just taking [00:08:05] up these like mini nutrition courses just on my own. In my spare time, I wasn’t really [00:08:10] interested in going out as much with like the uni law, and instead all I wanted to do was [00:08:15] learn about nutrition and learn about training. And that’s when I started going into like strength training and [00:08:20] understanding the benefits of strength training. So this is during uni, whilst this is during uni. Yeah. While I was [00:08:25] studying, then in my third year of uni, I started suffering with my own mental health quite a bit [00:08:30] and that’s when I realised actually this is a bit of a release for me.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: You know, going to the gym, having that [00:08:35] one hour to myself, being able to really just like do what I want to do, I know I’m doing something good for myself [00:08:40] was a bit of a release for me mentally. I also wouldn’t think about all my worries and [00:08:45] things like that when I’m, you know, in the gym training, so I started. At [00:08:50] that point, probably overtraining, you know, because you get like most people get into those cycles [00:08:55] where they’re like, I’m doing something so good for my mind and my body, and [00:09:00] you do it every single day, twice a day, sometimes if you have to, which obviously is very unhealthy. [00:09:05] Um, so I got the body that I sort of wanted or thought I wanted, and [00:09:10] I was still wasn’t happy. It wasn’t bringing me any sort of joy or fulfilment. [00:09:15] And after university, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, job [00:09:20] wise, career wise. I didn’t really have a major interest in anything. I enjoyed business, it’s [00:09:25] such a broad subject. And so I got a sales [00:09:30] job in okay. Is it Moorgate in the city? Yeah. Yeah, I’m so bad with the city. Um, [00:09:35] so I got a job in Moorgate and I didn’t last more than I think it was like seven weeks. [00:09:40] And I was like, your dad freaking out? Yeah, he.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I came home one day and I was like, I’m just not going [00:09:45] back. It’s not for me. The central line. I can’t deal with it. I can’t deal with, like, the city workers, [00:09:50] anything like the office. Everyone’s just shouting and it’s so male dominated and I just [00:09:55] really hated it. So I just quit. I started working for my dad, so my dad works in property. My [00:10:00] dad thought that I was going to, like, work for him forever. And, you know, take the name [00:10:05] of the business and continue the continue the business as I get older. Um, but again, [00:10:10] I thought I was quite good at it because I dealt with like the lettings side of things. And I would like meet with [00:10:15] people. I would show them around houses, do all the contracts. It was a very [00:10:20] like it was a people skill that I had. I was really [00:10:25] good at speaking with people and getting them to whatever it was that I [00:10:30] was selling, getting them to sort of buy into that. And I enjoyed working with [00:10:35] people. I didn’t enjoy doing the office stuff. I didn’t enjoy sitting, writing, the contracts or anything like that, so [00:10:40] I was pretty good at it. But again, I would finish the working day and I would want nothing more but to go to [00:10:45] the gym and I would sit there in my breaks research and training methods, researching nutrition, and [00:10:50] it was all I cared about.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: So after about two and a half years of working for my dad, [00:10:55] I said to my dad, I’m going part time. I was like, why? Why are you going part time? Have you got another [00:11:00] job? What are you doing? Are you going to study law? And I’m like, uh, no, I’m just going to go and work at [00:11:05] this studio and I’m just going to do front of house. So you’re a dosser. You have no like, [00:11:10] I want the Iranian accent. I can do it. You know, I don’t Payman. That’s okay. [00:11:15] Go for it. Yeah, but to be fair, like, my dad’s [00:11:20] been here since he was, like, 13 years old. He’s been here for a very long time, and. But his [00:11:25] mentality is still very, very Iranian. So he was he was really not happy. But [00:11:30] by that age, I was like, this is what I want to do. And I can’t live a life where I’m not fulfilled every single [00:11:35] day. So I took that part time job and I started to slowly wean off my [00:11:40] dad and the work I was doing with him. We actually, like, fell out for a short period of time because [00:11:45] I obviously left the business and he never, ever took my work seriously, [00:11:50] actually, all the way up until I got my, like my deal with Under Armour [00:11:55] in 2017.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And even then, he didn’t take it seriously. What were you working for other people [00:12:00] though, at this point? No, I was just doing front of house work, so I was literally [00:12:05] doing front of house work just to get my foot into the industry. And I was I was getting paid like £10 [00:12:10] an hour or something, and it was the most boring job. It was very small studio. It was a studio called Ten Health [00:12:15] and Fitness, but it was one of the smallest studios and it was predominantly [00:12:20] Pilates physio work. And I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it because I found it quite [00:12:25] boring. I wanted that side of the job where I’m like talking to people, interacting with people, and instead I got the computer [00:12:30] stuff, which I absolutely hate. Um, but anyway, so I [00:12:35] then started making that transition. I was now full time at ten. Health and fitness. And I [00:12:40] decided after I got my qualifications that I was going to get a mentor in the business. I got a mentor. [00:12:45] Who was it? Tyrone Barnard. He’s my patient. Oh. Is he. Yeah. Yeah. [00:12:50] He’s from. Well, yeah, he’s from Chelsea. Yeah. So, um, be the fittest [00:12:55] on Instagram. I think he still is. So I asked him to mentor me. Um, and I knew [00:13:00] I wasn’t. Did you just approach him? Because I think, like, that’s an important point because people often ask, how [00:13:05] do people, like, get what they want? And I think, like Payman, you probably remember when I first [00:13:10] met you, I had no problem.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And just going out there and asking people so I’d find people that were inspiring [00:13:15] and be like, I’m just going to take a punt. Can you help me? Can you give me advice? And I’ll never forget you drove [00:13:20] me back all the way from Raphael’s practice in wherever it was, Hertfordshire. And [00:13:25] I just basically grilled him and I was a nobody. And Payman loved all the like, Dental geeks that were, like, [00:13:30] amazing at, like, stuff. And I was like, listen, I’m not one of those, but like, help me on this path. [00:13:35] And I think it’s a really important point to make. Like, if you don’t ask, you don’t get I think even [00:13:40] if you think you’re nobody compared to these like, people that you consider very [00:13:45] inspirational or aspirational, just ask. Yeah, I totally agree. If you don’t like [00:13:50] if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Yeah. And so I did just directly ask him. But we did [00:13:55] have a couple of mutual friends. So I knew of him. We didn’t really know each other personally. I knew a little bit of his [00:14:00] story and, um, we just got on. So I literally had that mindset. I was like, what is the [00:14:05] worst that’s going to happen? He’s going to say, no, I’m back to like where I currently am.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Yeah. Um, he [00:14:10] was really, really kind. He took me on and mentored me for like a whole year. He also gave me my first [00:14:15] ever client, so he gave me my first ever client. He was taking a cut and I was earning. Did you have a [00:14:20] PC qualification at this point? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I did it all. Sort of like as I was working with my dad. [00:14:25] Yeah. So I remember oh my God. Now when I think about it, I’m like, I was such a shit [00:14:30] PC, but when you’re so young and you just feel like, you know, I [00:14:35] like I had that thing in my head. If I get a mentor who has done what I want to do, [00:14:40] has a successful business, can teach me the ropes, can teach me like the principles [00:14:45] that are really important, then maybe I can be where he is sort of at, you know, [00:14:50] you’ve got you you kind of want proof of, of the business like working from proof [00:14:55] of concept. Yeah. Proof of concept. So anyway, um, I had my first client from him. I remember [00:15:00] I would drive every single day from Saint John’s Wood to Ealing to do this one PT session with [00:15:05] this lady used to get a ticket every single time, because I always parked my car in the wrong place, so I’d make like no [00:15:10] money.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: But I did that solidly for like six months with that, [00:15:15] with that one lady. And then I was like, right, I’m going to start putting. Out there that I [00:15:20] am taking on clients and if they want, they can get in touch with me. And people just started [00:15:25] getting in touch with me. I think it was just where I was getting advice and education from, [00:15:30] like the people in my industry who had already done it. They could see that I was somebody who was hungry to learn. [00:15:35] I learnt a lot around strength training specifically for women and why it’s [00:15:40] so important, and that was literally one of the main factors that really drove [00:15:45] me in my business, because when I started learning about all these stats about women in menopause, women, [00:15:50] when even they even when women reached the age of 27 as young as 27, [00:15:55] you are so much more prone to osteoporosis as a female than you are as a male. As soon as you hit menopause, [00:16:00] 30% bigger drop than a male with all your muscle, your bone density. [00:16:05] When you hear that your grandmothers just had a random thought, that’s because her knees, her ankles, [00:16:10] her core can’t support her, she hasn’t got stability. And all of those things [00:16:15] really, really drove me to learn as much as I could about the human body, [00:16:20] about strength training females and then being able to sort of apply it.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And I think [00:16:25] where people started realising that I was talking some sort of sense is [00:16:30] because I was putting this education out there on my platform. Back then, there wasn’t that many like fitness influencers, [00:16:35] and I was, um, but this is also like the era where people were really concerned [00:16:40] because obviously when I found your profile. Yeah, to be honest, like, I had disordered eating, as you know, [00:16:45] and like body dysmorphia. So I wanted to be as skinny as you like. That’s why I followed you. [00:16:50] Wasn’t because, like, I was like, wow, this girl is like. And you even said that was a really unhealthy weight where [00:16:55] you were at that point and you said it was unsustainable. So like, was there not an [00:17:00] element at that time because conversations, I mean, I have to still educate Payman all the time on this. [00:17:05] And it was there not there. Was there not an element of like conversations around the fact that actually [00:17:10] this size of body is not necessarily sustainable nor healthy. But were you educated [00:17:15] enough at that point? See, at that time, no, because the majority of the fitness industry, [00:17:20] which was quite small at that time online, were all like that, like they all went [00:17:25] down that road of, um, like she was she was eating between [00:17:30] 2016 to 2018. That’s when like the fitness industry really started. Like, are [00:17:35] you.

Payman Langroudi: Saying that there was almost the fashion was to be super skinny and now the fashion is to be a.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Bit more? No, [00:17:40] I think that I think at that time people started becoming more engaged with [00:17:45] training as they did, that it’s so natural. If you’ve never trained before and you [00:17:50] become obsessed with it, for you to go overboard and over train and under eat because you’re seeing these results, [00:17:55] you’re feeling great. But eventually there will be a catch. You’ll either get injured, something will happen with your [00:18:00] hormones. Something will happen with your body because it is so unsustainable. But at the time, [00:18:05] the whole of the fitness industry, the way I knew it back then, was almost like that. [00:18:10] Like there wasn’t that many people in the industry. I think unfortunately, we’ve taken a couple of steps back [00:18:15] like, this is my $0.02 into it. Like I grew up in 90s, 2000. I told you I went to university. [00:18:20] I was completely like comfortable. My parents always told me to lose weight because again, [00:18:25] they’re like, they were of that ilk that like the skinny you are, you look like better not blaming them. That was what they grew [00:18:30] up with. Then I went to university, got like scouted to do modelling quite a lot, and then [00:18:35] the girls that I lived with, which were white boarding school [00:18:40] eating disorders were like part of life, were like, oh, you better lose some weight. You’ve got a casting, oh, [00:18:45] your legs are too big for this. Or like, oh. So all of a sudden I was like, oh my God, you know, like I need to [00:18:50] lose weight. And I really wanted to fit in. I wanted to be part of the crowd. I wanted to feel like I belonged. So [00:18:55] I went into like, under-eating overexercising. Exercising for me was just [00:19:00] like walking on a treadmill or a cross trainer. Yeah, to burn as many calories. Exactly. And that was kind of the vibe. [00:19:05] And then I go out and I was really like my ribs were protruding, my arms were.

Payman Langroudi: Like thin, was heroin chic [00:19:10] and all that. Correct.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And then obviously I got the validation. But then I also got to a point where people like, she looks really ill, because obviously, [00:19:15] like my top half is pretty skinny. So it looked really unwell, you know. Anyway, then [00:19:20] what happened was I like I said, I came to London, I worked and I started putting [00:19:25] on the weight. And the thing is, I put on a lot of weight, and the reason why I put on a lot of weight is because my body wasn’t used to food, [00:19:30] but I couldn’t work without food. So I take a bite of something and suddenly five kilos, [00:19:35] I mean, you know, and I was like binging, restricting, binging, restricting. And so like, I went through [00:19:40] like a period of, like real self-loathing. Then Sana obviously educated me. I think we were lucky [00:19:45] because also like a bunch of influencers came out that were like, muscle is sexy, [00:19:50] tone is sexy. You can have like, you can be like curvy but toned, you know? I mean, that’s another [00:19:55] thing. Narrative started changing now. And I think the biggest thing is, is as Mpic, which I’ve [00:20:00] told Sana about and I think like people now are taking these [00:20:05] injections to restrict their appetite. And they’re already thin. They’re already [00:20:10] thin. It’s but it’s quite worrying because I have a friend of mine who’s a GP and she [00:20:15] said there has been an increase in the amount of people in.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: In the A&E waiting room because [00:20:20] of the zenpix because people are sorry. I find this so, so crazy. [00:20:25] The reason why I find it crazy is because, look, I think it’s great that there’s something like ozempic [00:20:30] on the market for the people who need it. Um, feel about it, right? Yeah. [00:20:35] Of course. Yeah. For your general population, if you are going on a zembic to lose weight, you [00:20:40] will lose weight, right? However, the majority of that will come from your muscle. Do [00:20:45] you know how unhealthy that is for your body? Then you are firstly, when you take your [00:20:50] calories so low, which is what happens when you’re on a ozempic, your metabolism starts to really slow [00:20:55] down. And that’s why after when you come off it, as soon as you eat anything, you will [00:21:00] put on weight. You will put on weight because your metabolism has massively slowed down. So now your set point [00:21:05] is so low, your maintenance calories just to maintain your body is so low. So you’ve got to be [00:21:10] able to take that back up to its normal like maintenance to be able to [00:21:15] not put on weight. And that’s not even my problem with it. The problem is that there’s so many bad things that happen [00:21:20] internally just in terms of like your muscles.

Payman Langroudi: And that Joe Rogan clip.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Tell [00:21:25] me, tell me, tell me where.

Payman Langroudi: Well, the guy was saying that they didn’t have to do these tests for [00:21:30] the FDA clearance or whatever, but he realised people are losing weight, but they’re becoming fatter, like [00:21:35] their their fat to like muscle.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Muscle. Yes. Muscle fat percentage. Yeah. So [00:21:40] like any weight that they have will be fat rather than muscle. Yeah. And that’s really. [00:21:45]

Payman Langroudi: You know the, the job itself of being a personal [00:21:50] trainer. She look Ronan’s just made it clear there’s a massive mental element to that. So like [00:21:55] what do you call them. Clients. Yeah. Client comes in. You’ve got to unpick the [00:22:00] whole mental side. And you know they’re essentially they’re there for their physical side. Right. [00:22:05] But the mental side is really important right. As she’s just shown. But then also I’m quite interested. [00:22:10] We were talking to Artur about this. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Oh yeah Sonia introduced me to Artur. Oh, really?

Payman Langroudi: Really. Yeah. [00:22:15] So how much of your value add is your knowledge and how much of your [00:22:20] value add is your delivery? Yeah, because it’s a massive thing dentistry as well. Right. You know, you can be the best [00:22:25] dentist but not have the best chance.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Right. Can I just interject there, Sonia. Like, listen, Payman [00:22:30] always jokes. He’s like, Rona doesn’t hang out with normal people. She doesn’t know normal people. Like, [00:22:35] I pick the special ones.

Payman Langroudi: I don’t say it as a compliment.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I know, he says it’s a really bad thing. You know, I like I [00:22:40] know that, I know, but I’m just saying to you, you’ve got it all wrong. It’s because I like I naturally gravitate [00:22:45] to people that I know are the best at what they do. And in terms of like, I’m not talking about [00:22:50] just the skill they provide, but the heart that they do it with. And like, that’s why I said to you, the same with Ella. [00:22:55] Sonia is special. And once I when I started like raving about her, she suddenly had [00:23:00] like a billion dentists. She still laughs about this because she literally changed. Changed my life in lockdown. [00:23:05] Yeah. No. But like she literally started training so many dentists because they believed me and [00:23:10] they were seeing the results on my socials. But it’s because she has that compassion and understanding, [00:23:15] you know, and I sometimes got told by personal trainers I wasn’t being strict enough, I wasn’t working hard enough, [00:23:20] or I was like, she’d be like, you’re having a bad day. Let’s do something low intensity. Do [00:23:25] you know what I mean? Like, she has the special touch. The thing is, with personal training, it is something [00:23:30] it’s. You spend a lot of time with that person and you get to know them. And I think that there’s [00:23:35] a huge part of it that is completely a mental side of it, rather than a physical [00:23:40] side. And naturally, I’m quite a big empath, but I have become more and more empathetic [00:23:45] as the years have gone, gone by and it. It almost [00:23:50] works to my detriment sometimes because I’m in a situation where I literally can’t stop myself, [00:23:55] but feeling something that my client is feeling when they’re explaining something to me, and then I’m like, but am I doing [00:24:00] my job properly? Because actually I should be training them and I shouldn’t be sitting here like feeling with them. [00:24:05] But it is a huge part of my job. Personally, I think because of how vocal I’ve been around [00:24:10] mental health on my socials over the years, I think I attract a certain type of client. [00:24:15]

Payman Langroudi: Do you only train women?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: No, no. So even the men that I [00:24:20] train, I still think they fall within this bucket of people who are in touch with them. [00:24:25] Their own mental health may be struggling at the time and have, you know, [00:24:30] reached out to me in order to help their physical health, but then actually see such [00:24:35] an improvement in their mental health. I think, like, I’ve got this one client, he’s male. [00:24:40] He contacted me at a time where both his parents had passed away [00:24:45] within like a six month period, and it was also a time where my cousin [00:24:50] passed away as well. And then within we sort of met at that time together, [00:24:55] and he was in a really bad place, and I wasn’t in the greatest place either. And it [00:25:00] was more how we were mentally helping each other through that time that actually got [00:25:05] the results that he even got physically. He’s like, imagine if you [00:25:10] hate the gym and you decide to go to the gym.

Payman Langroudi: I do hate the gym.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I [00:25:15] say, um, but no, imagine you [00:25:20] really hate the gym. You decide to reach out to a personal trainer and go to the gym, and [00:25:25] you still hate the gym after two weeks, but you start noticing certain things in your head is a little bit clearer. You can [00:25:30] think through things a little bit better. You’ve just got this like spark in your mind that isn’t as negative as always. [00:25:35] Then you start to think, okay, well, this must be good for me, and you start doing it [00:25:40] more. Then your results actually become a by-product. And I do have a lot of clients that that is the way [00:25:45] around. You know, it’s first the mental change and the physical change is just a by-product and it just happens. [00:25:50] And it’s a long time. Like I was looking at photos of me from like ten years ago and [00:25:55] I was like, oh my God. Like, I’ve changed. I’m actually proud of myself. As in, like, I’ve got so [00:26:00] much more muscle tone and stuff. And I was like, but that took me ten years because now I don’t go into the gym [00:26:05] with any goal, just go to the gym. Do you see what I mean? Yeah, yeah. But I would say also [00:26:10] it takes its toll on the trainer as well because.

Payman Langroudi: Like a psychiatrist, [00:26:15] right. You take it on other people’s. Yeah. Stress.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: At one point in life I was doing like 10 [00:26:20] to 12 sessions a day, every day, seven days a week. And I was literally [00:26:25] like pushing myself into the ground. It was it was almost a way of me coping, but [00:26:30] also like coping with what I was going through at the time. But it was also this [00:26:35] connection that I had with every single client of mine. And I literally, I can’t say yes to one client and [00:26:40] no to another if I’m saying yes to a client. I had to see every other client that day. [00:26:45] And you’ve got to think it’s probably similar to actually maybe not in dentistry because they’ve got their mouth wide open [00:26:50] and can’t speak much, but but they take on a lot of stress. You do, you do. Yeah. [00:26:55] And I think that every hour you’re taking on somebody’s energy and it’s mostly something like [00:27:00] negative or something they’re going through in their life and you’re taking on this energy and you need to give energy [00:27:05] back to them. And no one’s giving you energy. Someone’s either draining your energy [00:27:10] and you’re draining it yourself by giving that energy back to them. But like, no. [00:27:15]

Payman Langroudi: That up day after day after day.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: No one’s filling up your cup. Yeah. So if imagine if you do that [00:27:20] every single day, like mentally you’re completely at a loss. Like I literally got [00:27:25] to the point where I could not get out of my bed to go to work. I literally could not move. [00:27:30] And I had this guilt in my head about not being able to train my clients or [00:27:35] see my clients. I had to start them being a bit honest with my clients when I got to that really negative place. But [00:27:40] it’s it’s a massive balancing act that I think new pets need to be really, really [00:27:45] wary of. Like now I’m so much better and I have boundaries and I have to protect my own mental [00:27:50] health to be able to help you with your physical and mental, you know?

Payman Langroudi: But also, Otto was saying things [00:27:55] like, he has to know what’s going on in the news, what’s going on in business, because the, you know, he’s [00:28:00] a high net worth whatever CEO of a company says something about a board meeting. [00:28:05] Otto has to be able to answer that question. Yeah, yeah. And I never would have thought that.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Yeah, [00:28:10] but I think.

Payman Langroudi: That’s the value add he gives to those people.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: 100%. But I think it’s so interesting as well, [00:28:15] like your clientele is you’ve got to know your niche, your clients. Right. And when [00:28:20] I started building my 1 to 1 business, I got like my niche was the more higher [00:28:25] net worth, sort of like business owners or like, yeah, high net worth people that could afford [00:28:30] my services. And I had tough conversations with these people. But I [00:28:35] want to rewind a little bit before we get on to that, because Sonja was working for a very well known [00:28:40] gym company, um, where actually I think that you could say it was almost [00:28:45] like a cult. Yeah. I’m not going to mention who it is. And then, um, she met. A lot of big parts [00:28:50] that were out there, etc. but one of the reasons why Sana [00:28:55] actually quit, even though it made her meet a sort of bunch of clients, is because of their [00:29:00] ethics and values. So the real turning point was this company during Black [00:29:05] Lives Matter, had a lot of black personal trainers, but they didn’t do anything [00:29:10] on their social media to support their trainers, to make a statement, to do anything like that. And [00:29:15] then Sana felt very passionately about that. So all those trainers left during lockdown [00:29:20] for that reason.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And then Sana soon followed suit. And I think that’s really interesting, because [00:29:25] I think that it’s really hard to stand up for your own, like [00:29:30] values and ethics, especially in a corporate company that’s quite like successful. So do you want to tell us a bit about [00:29:35] that? Agreed. And also coming from I never thought I could make it in this industry because [00:29:40] when I first started in this industry, firstly no one looked like me. Secondly, I was like, [00:29:45] right, when you see like a name of a brand, sorry, like [00:29:50] a influencer of any type, like representing a brand, it’s always like Sarah Davis, [00:29:55] sorry. To your name, Sarah Davis, she’s on Dragons Den. Dead. Oh, that’s what I got. Yeah, but, [00:30:00] like, it’s such a white name. I was like, Sana Shivani, it’s never really going to be up in lights, [00:30:05] is it? Yeah. Like it’s just never. I just never saw it as. Because I’ve got a foreign name [00:30:10] and, you know, I’m just not going to get the jobs that everyone else gets. And building myself [00:30:15] to the point that I was when I was a part of this company was like, it’s quite a big step for me to to leave [00:30:20] and be like, okay, well, I don’t know what I’m going to do after this.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I’ve got my own client base, [00:30:25] but that was where I trained them. And I think for me, being [00:30:30] in a service based industry, you also have to service your employees to an [00:30:35] extent as well. And I think that in our industry, employees and personal [00:30:40] trainers give so much to the company, so much to their clients, and it was just the bare minimum, [00:30:45] you know, to be vocal about something that that obviously we all feel very strongly about. So [00:30:50] there was a group of us that decided to leave. I was one of them. Um, and you’d never been freelance [00:30:55] before, is it? Not? Like, I know, like within a gym, but as in, like just. Well, that was when I was, like, completely [00:31:00] freelance. I’m still freelance while I was working there, but I was obviously I had certain classes that I was teaching at [00:31:05] the time and things like that. So I had a regular income then. But then shortly after that, I got my job at Disney [00:31:10] and it sort of all worked out. What do you think this comes.

Payman Langroudi: From, this sort of idealistic things? I’ve seen that [00:31:15] in your sister as well. Very sort of fixed based, idealistic. Come [00:31:20] to your parents?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I think it comes from my parents.

Payman Langroudi: Let’s do it.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Yeah, yeah. Um, I [00:31:25] think that same thing we talked about this immigrant thing. Yeah. Like my dad.

Payman Langroudi: Everyone, [00:31:30] not every immigrant would do it, though.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: But I think it’s like, I don’t know, like, I think we have this, like, DNA to kind of, [00:31:35] like, really perform and do well.

Payman Langroudi: And that’s not what she’s done, though. She’s left her job. Yeah. [00:31:40] For a for a point of, you know, ethics. Yeah. I can see many immigrants keeping [00:31:45] their head down and considering it’s an immigrant thing.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Farnese’s son is not afraid as well. I mean, she’s [00:31:50] been very vocal about lots of political things. I just think I’m quite like I’m quite a straight [00:31:55] up person as well. Like, sometimes I get myself into trouble. My mom’s like, why are you saying things like so directly? [00:32:00] I cannot, I’m very bad at being diplomatic. And even when I’m like [00:32:05] vocal about like, things going on in the world and stuff, I’m like, have I said that really directly? Should I not, [00:32:10] you know, because I, I’m just a very direct person. I think it’s sometimes the best [00:32:15] way to be because you just otherwise I will constantly be trying [00:32:20] to please people and I’ll constantly be picking my views, my opinions under the carpet. If not, [00:32:25] um, but I do think it comes from my parents as well. My dad is a very, very strong character, very strong [00:32:30] character. He was a workaholic growing up, and I think I’ve also like got that trait from him as well. Yeah, [00:32:35] because you’re working with seven days a week. Um, but Sana, one of the major things I mean, we’ve talked [00:32:40] about, you know, your career trajectory, but I think one of the things that really shaped you is [00:32:45] what happened to your cousin.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And I think that also had a huge impact on your physical health, because that’s something [00:32:50] that you told me. Yeah. And I think, you know, it’s something that we have touched on before on my [00:32:55] movies. And, you know, I really appreciate that you’re going to talk about this, but can we talk about your cousin [00:33:00] and what had happened and how that shaped you? Yeah. So my cousin at the time was [00:33:05] 25 years old, male. He was a year younger than me at the time. So we were like [00:33:10] the closest cousins in age from the top. My sister’s older and, um, [00:33:15] it, I was at the [00:33:20] ear, nose and throat hospital, I think, in Charing Cross. And, um, I was [00:33:25] having an argument with my dad, and I was in the hospital waiting for something. I was on the phone to my dad, and I was [00:33:30] having an argument, and he said that my cousin’s name is Abbas. Um, [00:33:35] he said, well, Abbas is dead. I just didn’t believe him, but it didn’t even cross my mind that [00:33:40] this was a true statement. I was arguing with him about something, so I just put the phone down and that [00:33:45] was that.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And then I got in a taxi and I was like, hold on, did he just say Abbas [00:33:50] is dead? Like, surely not. So I took the taxi. I told him to go back [00:33:55] to the hospital. My mum was there, my sister was there, and then I just walked [00:34:00] in and I was like, what do you mean? Abbas is dead and. [00:34:05] Like I could just tell by their faces everything. It was true. And I [00:34:10] literally remember the moment I just dropped to the ground. And I was like, no, [00:34:15] no, like fucking. He like how, how like, how can he be dead? Um, [00:34:20] and then I started putting two and two together and I [00:34:25] rang his dad. And I remember I was outside speaking to his dad, [00:34:30] and, um, I was just like, I didn’t know what to say. I was just, like, crying. I [00:34:35] remember a stranger came up to me and gave me a hug, and it was just I remember the exact [00:34:40] moment. But basically he was really struggling with his mental health and he. Um. [00:34:45] It was the night of my birthday. He committed suicide, and. [00:34:50] Also within like my family, who are quite conservative. [00:34:55] That’s like such a like what?

Payman Langroudi: No taboo.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Taboo thing. Yeah. [00:35:00] Initially, my family didn’t want to tell the rest of the family, like they were like, we [00:35:05] can’t say it’s suicide. Like, what do you mean? Like, what do you mean you cannot say it’s suicide? [00:35:10] Um. So I had like a major effect on me. [00:35:15] My mental health. And that’s when I started working seven days a week. So I used [00:35:20] my work as a coping mechanism because I was around people and I thought, you know what? If I’m [00:35:25] around a client, I can’t break down. I can’t, you know, it’s a show [00:35:30] sort of thing. I used to also teach classes back then. So I’d go into like my class [00:35:35] and be like, right, it’s a 45 minute show and I’m just going to put on a show and give these people the best time of their lives for the next [00:35:40] hour. And that’s just like me not thinking about everything. I did that for like [00:35:45] a very long period, and I remember I could feel I was like internally breaking down, breaking down, breaking [00:35:50] down. Like, how much longer can I go on like this? And then I spoke to a friend who [00:35:55] was I didn’t really understand my own mental health then. I didn’t really understand what [00:36:00] was going on in my mind. I didn’t realise, like, why I’m having these conversations with myself. [00:36:05] Almost in my brain. I feel like there’s two voices. And then my friend said, like, you’ve [00:36:10] literally right now you are in a very depressed state and you have to treat your [00:36:15] depression as a real illness.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And she [00:36:20] said something to me and it’s always stuck with me. If you had, like, broken your knee, you [00:36:25] would not be able to go to work. You’d have to call work up and you’d have to say, look, I’ve got a broken leg and I cannot come [00:36:30] to work. You’ve got a broken head right now. Like, mentally you’re not okay, and you need to [00:36:35] call work and just tell them that you need some time off. I didn’t do that because I [00:36:40] didn’t want to. I wanted to, like, continue. And I was just like. But then I’ll be at home and I’ll be with my mind and [00:36:45] like all of these things. So I continued working. And at the time, this [00:36:50] is something that like, I’ve never really publicly said. F off. But I [00:36:55] used to be addicted to weed. And I know that, like, some people are like, oh [00:37:00] yeah, it’s fine. Like you smoked a spliff every now and then, like it’s okay. No, I was addicted. [00:37:05] Like only now. Over the past, like few years, I’ve been like, right, I have an addiction. [00:37:10] I was an addict, but I was smoking it every day for a good part of like 8 to 10 [00:37:15] years, every single night. It was a way of me [00:37:20] numbing my brain, numbing my body, being able to sleep, [00:37:25] being able to sort of like that last portion of the day when you get home [00:37:30] and you get into bed and you’re like, everything goes through your mind.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I would numb that portion, [00:37:35] so I’d wake up and I’d go again. I was literally on autopilot. But that’s what they define as an [00:37:40] addiction, right? Like it’s a an escapism. Gabor Maté was talking about [00:37:45] someone from the Rolling Stones or some kind of famous band, and people [00:37:50] couldn’t understand why this person was a heroin addict. And Gabor Maté said that when [00:37:55] he heard an interview, they said to escape the reality of their mind, and that is sometimes [00:38:00] so deep for someone, and we don’t understand that. I also think weed is a really interesting thing [00:38:05] because I’ve never tried, as you know, any drugs or anything like that. But weed [00:38:10] for me is really interesting because one of the reasons I was really deterred from even trying it is because I actually [00:38:15] saw people’s minds completely go from weed, like from over excessive [00:38:20] smoking, like they became hyper paranoid, didn’t do anything with their life. I’m talking about ten years plus. [00:38:25] That really scared me to be honest, you know, and I really saw the impact of that. So it’s quite interesting because they’re talking [00:38:30] about legalising it in so many places.

Payman Langroudi: Is misuse of anything. A misuse of exercise can damage [00:38:35] you, but.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: When you’re addicted, it’s misuse, right. And I, I got to the point where I [00:38:40] was scared that I’d literally lose my whole business. I was like, I am smoking so much that if [00:38:45] I put one block in the wrong place, I could. Everything could collapse [00:38:50] and I could lose everything. And it was I actually, um, had to take myself. [00:38:55] I didn’t tell anyone. I got an Airbnb. Um, and I took myself away to, like, the countryside [00:39:00] with no access to weed and no access to anything. And that’s [00:39:05] how I started coming off it, as well as a lot of therapy and all of that. But that’s how I started, because I couldn’t [00:39:10] do it in my own environment because I associated my environment with smoking.

Payman Langroudi: Was your cousin [00:39:15] suicide? What started? Yeah.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Um, it didn’t start it. [00:39:20] No. Exacerbated. Exacerbated it massively.

Payman Langroudi: And you know how anytime anyone [00:39:25] passes away, guilt seems to just come into even whichever way anyone passes away, [00:39:30] the question of should have spent more time with them or whatever. Yeah, but when it’s suicide, that becomes [00:39:35] particularly poignant. Did you have guilt?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Massively. Um, the Christmas [00:39:40] that I go to my cousin’s house every Christmas, we do Christmas at his house. That Christmas, before he [00:39:45] passed away, which was 15 days before he passed away. I didn’t go to Essex. He lives in Essex. [00:39:50] I couldn’t make it. And for [00:39:55] years I literally, like, had this massive guilt. I was like, I didn’t make it. Maybe [00:40:00] if I went because I actually, like, also go through my own mental health, maybe I would have seen something. [00:40:05] Maybe I would have like noticed something. And only when [00:40:10] I went through a lot of therapy and Rhona helped me a lot, [00:40:15] kind of working through all of the grief and the emotions, the guilt. Only [00:40:20] then I was like, I knew, like only now I can say, I know that regardless [00:40:25] of anything that was in his head, you know, like, and I’m not saying every single suicide case [00:40:30] is like this because I don’t think it is, but I know for a fact that [00:40:35] that was not a decision in a split second that was thought through. [00:40:40] There was conversations. We took him to the GP for depression. He was a doctor. [00:40:45] Yeah. He was four months away from finishing his PhD. He was younger [00:40:50] than me. He was 25. He had a brand new Audi sitting in the driveway. Hadn’t even insured it. Beautiful [00:40:55] girlfriend, beautiful girl.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: He’s half Ray and half English like. Stunning blue eyes. [00:41:00] Gorgeous, gorgeous boy. And no, like the life of the party, no one would have ever, ever known. [00:41:05] But they say, you know, like sometimes, like the loudest in the room. You [00:41:10] bring the most. Like I sent Payman this video. I’m sure you’ve seen it about those two men at a football game. [00:41:15] And they’re like in their like 50s. 60s. Yeah. And you see the one that’s like really happy and exciting, the [00:41:20] one that’s a little bit like grumpy. And in the end, it’s the one that seems the happiest. And that’s [00:41:25] why it’s like, you know, you never know what people are going through. Absolutely. You know you never know. And it’s like be kind [00:41:30] like I like that’s like the motto that I think is so, so, so important 100% [00:41:35] because you know, like, again, this is this wasn’t my cousin’s situation, [00:41:40] but let’s say if there was somebody and someone was like, they were on their way home and [00:41:45] they got spoken to in a certain way, or somebody said something that really got to them, like [00:41:50] they could then go and make decisions like that. And that’s why I really live by that as well. You’ve really got to be kind [00:41:55] because you just don’t know what people are going through.

Payman Langroudi: So I know, look, this is going to sound ridiculous, but in a way, [00:42:00] what good came of it did you do you now treasure people more?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I [00:42:05] think you do a lot of mental health work, especially for male suicide. Yes. Yeah. [00:42:10] So I work with, um, a few charities. I still want to do so much more though. I work [00:42:15] with a few charities, um, for around mental health. And I specifically want to go into helping [00:42:20] children in schools because I don’t think there’s the support or the resources. And I think that [00:42:25] it depends like what kind of family you come from. You might not be open to speaking about your problems [00:42:30] and your issues with your parents, and I think there needs to be a bit more support around that. I [00:42:35] also just like want to raise more awareness. And, you know, I try and raise awareness with charities. I [00:42:40] try and go on, um, like charitable events and things like that. But I think [00:42:45] the good that came from it is I became like I was already an empathetic person, but I [00:42:50] really became a lot more compassionate towards people. I really, really understood that [00:42:55] everyone is fucking fighting a battle of some sort.

Payman Langroudi: We’ve all got some [00:43:00] sort of mental illness.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. But do you really think that. Yeah. Honestly. Because, [00:43:05] you know, it’s so funny, like I really stepped into the whole idea of like, vulnerability being [00:43:10] a superpower. Did you see my post today? No. Have you seen it? No. So I was quite nervous about [00:43:15] posting it because it was like these like Instagram is a highlight reel of your life [00:43:20] and I’m just going to show you my like, non-glamorous behind the scenes. And there’s basically like five photos [00:43:25] of like things that I’ve been struggling with and people have, like, responded in a way that I didn’t [00:43:30] imagine and like, even like, like really cool, like people that I didn’t like, [00:43:35] you know, like people that like archetypally like, have a perfect life. And they were like, thank you so much. Like, [00:43:40] this makes you, like, even better of a human being because I’m there, like, showing, like really uncool, [00:43:45] unsexy, unglamorous parts of me that affect my mental health.

Payman Langroudi: Like [00:43:50] what? What did.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: You do? So I talked about like the fact that, like, for example, I, [00:43:55] you know, I lost my hair last year because of stress. And I show the kind of like bald patches [00:44:00] and how I think about it all the time. I showed the fact that I suddenly, like, developed [00:44:05] like acne last year as well because of the chronic fatigue that I often showed [00:44:10] a photo of, like me, like having a mental breakdown because I feel like I haven’t done enough, I haven’t achieved enough, showed [00:44:15] a photo of my body and was like, you know, I have body image anxiety [00:44:20] because people always tell me that, like, my body is flawed and like I just opened up and it was people [00:44:25] were like, this is so relatable. And I think the fact is, is that we just don’t have enough of these open [00:44:30] conversations, recognising that we all have our things that really, truly [00:44:35] affect us in different ways. Like, I’m not even there yet, but I think I imagine as well, like even like as [00:44:40] a father and a husband, as a wife and as a mother. Like there’s a whole other realm layer [00:44:45] to like your mental health, you know what I mean?

Payman Langroudi: Your body image issues have really surprised [00:44:50] the hell out of me now.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Like, they know they have breakdowns. They have breakdowns too.

Payman Langroudi: It’s really [00:44:55] made me realise, like it’s made me see the world in a whole different way. The fact that you’ve got body image issues. Yeah, it [00:45:00] really has. And then also, you know, the conversations we were having about, uh, um, [00:45:05] talking to your younger self. Yeah. So I took a wrong turn on my [00:45:10] on my lime bike, and I ended up right outside the first school that we [00:45:15] went to when we came from revolution in Iran, we ran away from Iran, came to Phillips [00:45:20] and off Gloucester Road. Yeah. And, um, I saw this school and I just [00:45:25] went up the stairs, really, and I, and I, and I had a little conversation with little five year old. [00:45:30] Oh, my son and I never thought I had any sort of mental problem [00:45:35] with it. Yeah, but but it really helped me, you know, like, you know, like everything’s going to be okay because [00:45:40] I was like, you know, in a new country, new school, new language, new everything. Yeah. I love that interesting portrait. [00:45:45]

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Yeah. Uh, but. [00:45:50] So, Sana, I want to, um, also move on. So now we all know that you are a celebrity trainer. So the amazing [00:45:55] thing was, Payman that you asked, like, what is it about you? But she was. She’s one of those people that people [00:46:00] started talking about her in the industry. So she was getting approached, you know, I mean, it’s like you didn’t put that much effort, but [00:46:05] people were like, do you want to go and be the personal trainer on Disney? You know what I mean? Like things like, did land in your lap [00:46:10] a little bit because of the hard work and because of the reputation that you had. So there she was on the [00:46:15] set of Little Mermaid. Can you imagine with like the likes of Javier Bardem, Hayley like [00:46:20] the whole lot, travelling with them, filming the whole of, like, The Little Mermaid, you know? Incredible. So [00:46:25] do you want to tell us a little bit about that? Yeah. So, um, yeah. Like [00:46:30] Rowena mentioned, I got approached for that job. Um, it was off a recommendation. They were actually, I think, looking for [00:46:35] a female strength trainer because the main, um, costs. She was quite young when she first started [00:46:40] the job. So it all happened really quickly. I got approached, I thought it was one [00:46:45] of these, like, spam emails that come through your Instagram.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Um, and then I went over [00:46:50] to the to Pinewood, had an interview with the producer, and it sort of really [00:46:55] happened overnight. I got an email that night like it was a Friday night, 5:00, [00:47:00] I got that email. And then by the time it was the Monday, I was like signing my contract. But [00:47:05] like that job specifically, I was in charge of eight cast members. [00:47:10] They weren’t all full time. Um, so you had sort of like the mermaid Prince. Um, and then you’ve got everyone [00:47:15] else who’s, um, around that it was a really big job. It was meant to be a nine month [00:47:20] job, ended up being a two year job because of Covid. So Covid happened on the first day of opening [00:47:25] production. But then we were quite lucky that after [00:47:30] the first sort of like Covid lockdown, production companies were one of the first to be able to open [00:47:35] back up. We were getting tested every day. It was like working at Disney, coming back home, seeing my [00:47:40] clients. It was just a mad, mad period of time. But I found the job [00:47:45] quite intense actually, and a lot of people think they’re always like, oh, tell us all about Disney and like, [00:47:50] tell us about, you know, training all of these stars.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And I think, um, it’s a lot more glamorised [00:47:55] than it is to put it quite like you hated it. I remember I had a really tough time. [00:48:00] I was solely in charge of the training, the nutrition, [00:48:05] and I had sort of like someone who was above me, [00:48:10] sort of like playing to the power trips of the way things work. And [00:48:15] I started to feel really uncomfortable in the position that I was within. I had [00:48:20] someone who was older, male, had a bit more power than me, constantly around me. And [00:48:25] um, the long and short of it is that it was a big harassment case and [00:48:30] sexual assault case, and I’ve also never spoken about this publicly [00:48:35] again. Now I can, because everything has been sort of dealt with and I’ve [00:48:40] worked through it and I’ve come to a place of like acceptance with it. But it had such [00:48:45] a huge impact on my confidence on just me as a person. I [00:48:50] became like a shell of myself there. Like when I look back now at my time there, it [00:48:55] I can’t, I don’t even recognise the person that was there. I yeah, [00:49:00] I found it really difficult. Basically the production, um, the production guys asked me to write [00:49:05] out a document of evidence and things, and it was like a 26 page document that [00:49:10] my best friend helped me with.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: It was all writing like it had links to like a Dropbox for any [00:49:15] imagery. So there was a lot, a lot there. I handed that in on the Friday, and [00:49:20] um, on the Saturday I got a call from the production team saying [00:49:25] that, oh my God, we can’t believe you were kind of like going through all of this. And we can’t believe you’ve not said [00:49:30] anything until now. And we’re really, really sorry. And we’re going to fire him straight away. Now [00:49:35] looking back at the situation, firing him without telling him what he’s done, [00:49:40] without telling any other department. What he’s done was just a way to sweep it under the carpet [00:49:45] and shut me up, and the effect that it had on me. I was having physical panic [00:49:50] attacks on set. The nurse who was on set had to take me into like an ambulance to get [00:49:55] my ECG done and everything. They put me on antidepressants, the doctor on [00:50:00] Disney, um, the doctor on set, he gave me Xanax. [00:50:05] He gave me all of these drugs because I literally couldn’t go to work without being in, [00:50:10] like, such a high state of anxiety and panic.

Payman Langroudi: Want to talk about what was actually [00:50:15] happening.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: So it was, um, sexual harassment [00:50:20] and. Well, Payman means was it like messages? Was he trying it on set? [00:50:25] Was it okay? So it was verbal in person as well as messages as well as pictures [00:50:30] as well as situations of making me feel really, really uncomfortable, like [00:50:35] just a very small example. So we don’t get into everything. I was single [00:50:40] for like four years at the time. He knew I was single for four years, and he would say to me things [00:50:45] like, oh, so you’re single, so how do you like sort yourself out? Do you just like [00:50:50] have somebody you call or do you sit inappropriate sexual questions like made me feel [00:50:55] very uncomfortable in that position. But I also didn’t know what to do. I was like, this is my [00:51:00] first film job. This is somebody of higher power than me, who also has [00:51:05] a relationship with the people higher than him as well. Like I don’t have that relationship with those people. I [00:51:10] am the only female on set like in my department. I didn’t know how to deal with it [00:51:15] even when I. The only reason I went to production in the end was because I [00:51:20] had a panic attack. The nurse saw me and the nurse said, you have to go to HR. And then [00:51:25] even when I went to HR, I could tell HR didn’t believe me when I was just verbally [00:51:30] explaining everything. That’s why they asked me for all this evidence. And I had a panic attack in the room and the [00:51:35] lady didn’t know what to do. She was like, do you want to put your head out the window? And I was like, hyperventilating. [00:51:40] It was just a really tricky situation. And off the back of that, [00:51:45] what happened was I felt like I was never meant to be in that job. I felt like I. She [00:51:50] felt it was your fault. Yeah. I felt like it was a crazy thing.

Payman Langroudi: Is, on the outside, anyone would think [00:51:55] that’s the pinnacle of your career. Disney movie set. You know, famous people. [00:52:00] Yeah. But actually on the inside, that was one of the hardest moments of your life.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: The hardest.

Payman Langroudi: What do [00:52:05] you think was going through his head? Do you think he understood?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I think.

Payman Langroudi: It was inadvertent, like he thought [00:52:10] he was having a go, like.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I’m not entirely sure. Um. [00:52:15] Like it makes my skin crawl. Thinking about it now. Yeah, but [00:52:20] I think. I don’t think I’m the first person that he’s had that behaviour [00:52:25] with, because he has said stories in front of me about his other colleagues, and [00:52:30] that makes me worry for the future people that he also works with, [00:52:35] even if he doesn’t think he’s like fully putting himself onto somebody, I think. Comments. [00:52:40] I think just making people feel uncomfortable and make using your power as a way [00:52:45] to silence them is not appropriate. Um. And [00:52:50] that’s why I was like, after the whole situation, I was so annoyed that the production team didn’t [00:52:55] tell anybody. He’ll get hired again, I think. This I think this poses [00:53:00] a very important question. And I think it’s, you know, important to get like a male perspective. [00:53:05] The MeToo movement has completely changed the narrative [00:53:10] around a lot of things, and it has posed historical questions. So what I mean by that [00:53:15] is, is that until really the Harvey Weinstein thing came along, there were so many [00:53:20] women that came forward and said, this has happened. But then obviously we [00:53:25] now have people that said, well, hang on a second, look, let’s look at Russell Brand. Right? Like people [00:53:30] are like, I thought it was okay then. And now I can speak up and say it wasn’t okay, [00:53:35] you know? And then there’s all this stuff about people questioning women, you know, for their judgement, [00:53:40] etc. and I think it’s a really like we’re living in an interesting [00:53:45] time because there are so many disbelievers.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And what I mean by [00:53:50] that is, is that there are a lot of people would say the women are lying, and there’s a lot of people that don’t also [00:53:55] allow for space for the woman to be correct or incorrect. So do you know [00:54:00] what I mean by that? You know, for example, if you know, like if a male [00:54:05] has done something wrong, absolutely, he should be held accountable. But there might be the one [00:54:10] case where a woman is trying it. Do you see what I mean? For financial [00:54:15] reasons, let’s just say, or something like that. But I think it’s an interesting time because [00:54:20] we are not allowing any room for anything. And like you said, we’ve [00:54:25] got extreme cases where Disney should have dealt with it but didn’t want any drama. But [00:54:30] people just don’t want to look into stuff. And I think we don’t like we don’t. We’re not [00:54:35] like getting any further like closer to like solving these issues. Okay. So I’ve actually got a question for you [00:54:40] as a male, because I did like when I was going through that initially [00:54:45] I was just telling my best friend she was like, Sana, this is sexual harassment. I didn’t know it was sexual harassment. [00:54:50] I didn’t know it was a thing. Do you? Where do you draw the line [00:54:55] of? Falcon playfully with your colleague. Exactly. [00:55:00] Or sexual harassment? Yeah. What do you think? You have a lot of females.

Payman Langroudi: Difficult to know, isn’t it? That’s [00:55:05] what I’m saying, that I wonder whether this guy knew or not.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Do you think you [00:55:10] would know?

Payman Langroudi: Like, was it a power play or do you think.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: He would know, though, as you have a lot of young females here, do you think, [00:55:15] you know, like.

Payman Langroudi: I hope so, I hope so, but, you know, I don’t know because [00:55:20] I wasn’t there.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I think like in your.

Payman Langroudi: Situation, I wasn’t there.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Photos of themselves. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Is [00:55:25] that what happened? Yeah.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Like I think then then he knows clearly. I mean, I saw this [00:55:30] the other day and I just pulled it up to read it out because I think it’s it’s quite. Telling [00:55:35] get harassed. It’s only banter. Wary of strange men. Uptight, [00:55:40] wary of familiar men. Paranoid. Friendly with guys. A slut. Trusting of guys. [00:55:45] Stupid. Report a liar. Don’t report part of the problem. Dress up asking [00:55:50] for it. Dress down ugly and lazy. When is it not our fault? That’s quite obviously [00:55:55] like yeah, and I’d love to know what you hear when you hear that.

Payman Langroudi: We’ve [00:56:00] had this this debate.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Many.

Payman Langroudi: Times. Yeah. Insomuch as I just think it’s [00:56:05] right now. It’s the best time ever to be a woman. Yeah. Women are more empowered, [00:56:10] more, more financially empowered, got more going on, [00:56:15] more rights, more everything than they’ve ever had before. And yet, if you read [00:56:20] the narrative, the narrative. Maybe it’s because women are now finally empowered [00:56:25] that they can finally say these things. Yeah. At the same time, at the same time, I [00:56:30] only figured out, I mean, it took me 48 years to figure out that it [00:56:35] was. My daughter had to tell me that all women every day feel threatened. Yeah, [00:56:40] I didn’t know that. I did not know that. Every day there’s a as [00:56:45] as as she’s walking down a road on her own. She constantly has to look around. [00:56:50] How old? 14. 13. So I mean, the. That [00:56:55] certainly isn’t the case for a man. Yeah. That doesn’t every day I don’t feel threatened. Yeah. [00:57:00] So what I’m saying is the conversation needs to be had. People need to [00:57:05] say these things because I didn’t know this until I was 48. So people need to hear these things at the [00:57:10] same time. Right here, right now is the best time in history to be a woman.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: What [00:57:15] do you hear when you hear that? When I hear that passage specifically. [00:57:20] Regardless. Like we’re never going to get it right [00:57:25] or always be blamed to an extent. Do you know what you know? And I really do think [00:57:30] that you could.

Payman Langroudi: Write a similar thing for me.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I think, okay, listen, I agree [00:57:35] that obviously in the Western world we do have more rights. We have this debate over and over again. You heard it with the Sareeta [00:57:40] podcast. Like we go over and over and over again. Obviously, for a woman in Afghanistan [00:57:45] or Iran, life is a lot harder than a woman here.

Payman Langroudi: I hear you or a woman here five years ago, I hear you. But [00:57:50] ten years ago.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you. But also, I still think that we’ve got a long way to go. Like [00:57:55] we said, even though you don’t believe it. Gender pay gap. Gap is a thing. The orgasm gap is [00:58:00] a thing. Like we’ve had enough people. Orgasm gap I believe. So I don’t.

Payman Langroudi: Believe in the gender [00:58:05] pay gap. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I think it’s a thing. It’s a thing like go argue with okay, I think it is a thing. [00:58:10] It might be different from industry to industry, but it’s a thing. Yeah, but it’s still a thing. But but my point is, [00:58:15] is that I still feel Sana and I went for coffee before we met you, and I was about [00:58:20] to tell us, and I can tell you because we didn’t have time to do it. She was like, how do you feel about the next stage of your life? And I was like, [00:58:25] do you know what I was like? I have some like, weird, kind of like anxiety about getting older at the [00:58:30] moment. I was like, I’ve never. It was weird because when everyone told me I was going to get like ugly [00:58:35] and old in my 30s, I felt more better than ever. I told, like, I [00:58:40] even showed Ahmed a picture of me in my 20. He was like, you look, Moschino. Moschino in Arabic means like miskeen. Like, you [00:58:45] know, like poor little thing. I was like, I look better now. But then, like at this stage I just feel [00:58:50] like this anxiety.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And I went for dinner with a friend yesterday and he was like, oh, you know, we were [00:58:55] talking about like, marriage and kids and he’s quite a lot like younger and stuff. And he was like, you know, the thing is, like, [00:59:00] if you ever broke up with your partner, you would never get anyone as hot [00:59:05] or young as him. And I was just like, that’s such a mean thing to say. But [00:59:10] also at the same time, it’s the reality of being an older woman. That’s what I feel. Do [00:59:15] you see what I mean? Are you older than him? No, but I’m saying, okay, he’s 40. Right? But let’s say, like, things [00:59:20] go tits up, right? You never know. Like, hopefully not touch wood. Okay. But let’s say that I [00:59:25] think he could easily find a woman that’s, like, ten years younger. Sure. Of course. Right. He’s like a good looking [00:59:30] guy, works in the city, good job, etc.. He ticks the boxes. Yeah. Do you think I could find [00:59:35] someone decent now that I’m 37? I know that’s like. I’m sorry. I’m just being totally, like, vulnerable. I’m not [00:59:40] sure. I think you could.

Payman Langroudi: I think you could, but. 42. No. Huh?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: 42. No. [00:59:45] Si si si si si.

Payman Langroudi: I’m joking.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Do you think that I do you [00:59:50] think you could be eligible? Men would go for a woman that is like 37. Do you see what I mean? [00:59:55]

Payman Langroudi: Sure, sure. Some men like, uh, what they call cougars. Yeah, cougars.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Am I a cougar? To [01:00:00] be fair, though, I always say Amal Clooney met George when she was 38. [01:00:05]

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Yeah, I think you could. I do think that obviously [01:00:10] it is a lot easier for a man to find somebody decent [01:00:15] at that age than it is for a woman, just because, like, obviously, men want a young, pretty wife. [01:00:20]

Payman Langroudi: What do women want?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I think women want different things from a primal [01:00:25] point of view and from a like so. I always have this conversation with Ella. Actually, I [01:00:30] was really interested. You read Mating in Captivity, haven’t, you know? So that’s Esther I haven’t, [01:00:35] but she was we were talking about it that biologically, Lex Fridman talks about this in one of [01:00:40] his podcasts. Biologically, what women and men want from a reproduction point of view is different. [01:00:45] Obviously, men naturally will gravitate towards fertility, as in like from that hormonal like. I want [01:00:50] someone that can produce loads of children. Men will go for someone with a T shaped body because [01:00:55] it’s more about strength and that I want someone to give me. Babies are going to be big and strong. In [01:01:00] fact, I told you this stat before. Apparently the reason why Vikings are so big is because all of the Viking [01:01:05] men used to rape the big, broad women back in the day because they [01:01:10] wanted to produce big, strong men like as children’s offspring. So on a primal level. But as [01:01:15] we’ve grown and adapted and because our environments aren’t just about reproduction and survival, we [01:01:20] look for different things. So a woman would typically look for safety, security, financial [01:01:25] as well, like provision to some degree, some women not all. So there are all these different elements. And [01:01:30] then obviously a man will be looking for something different, you know. So I think it’s very different to.

Payman Langroudi: Both financially [01:01:35] independent women. That’s a new thing isn’t it, that financially [01:01:40] lots and lots of financially independent women have changed [01:01:45] that balance of power, if you like, where money was used as a as a as a tool. [01:01:50]

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I think there’s still a lot of women that aren’t like us.

Payman Langroudi: But I know many, [01:01:55] many financial independent women now.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Okay, I know a lot of financial independent women, but [01:02:00] even those financially independent women, I think they still want those same things in a guy that they did. [01:02:05] If they weren’t like the things that Rhona just mentioned, the security, the safety, the even [01:02:10] from a financial perspective, even if they are financially secure.

Payman Langroudi: How do you feel about being in a relationship [01:02:15] where you’re making loads more money than the man?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: You have dated guys where you’ve made more than [01:02:20] them. Yeah, I don’t mind it as such. As long as he is not like prancing [01:02:25] off me or doing absolutely nothing with his life. Like I find you.

Payman Langroudi: Find you, find. [01:02:30]

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Ambition, attraction really attractive. Really, really. I wouldn’t want to financially support, man. Just putting it out [01:02:35] there.

Payman Langroudi: I don’t mean support. I mean you could do. I don’t want to.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Support a man I support, not support like scrub [01:02:40] I don’t want I don’t see myself.

Payman Langroudi: Let’s say, let’s say you fall in love with a guy [01:02:45] who earns half what you’re earning. You earn a lot of money. Yeah. So someone who earns half what you’re earning because could be a guy working [01:02:50] in the city. Someone. Someone successful person. Yeah. So it could be fine.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: That’s fine. But [01:02:55] what I’m saying is that in a relationship where the woman earns more than the man, [01:03:00] are the dynamics different?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I think so, but I also have a friend of mine. She [01:03:05] shall not, shall not be named. She has exponential wealth, as in, like beyond [01:03:10] anyone that you know, like beyond on another level. And she always chooses men that [01:03:15] earn substantially less than her. Like substantially less. Yeah. Because I also think she enjoys [01:03:20] that money. Yeah. But also I think that she enjoys that to some degree because she can [01:03:25] control it. Do you see? I mean, it’s like every time she split up with a partner, it’s like, get out of my house. She’s good. [01:03:30] She can move on to the next. You see, I think in a way she’s using.

Payman Langroudi: Money as a tool.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I think [01:03:35] so, yeah. And I think that, like, you know, she’s the kind of person that would probably, like, end [01:03:40] up like giving, like contributing to her own engagement ring. Do you know what I [01:03:45] mean? That kind of thing. Because she can. But like, that’s a really rare case. Like I find that really [01:03:50] stressful. Then there’s other people, like I have another girlfriend. Her her [01:03:55] highest value is the way a man looks. So she is obsessed with like, an arm candy [01:04:00] guy. And I’m sitting there thinking, but he doesn’t have X, Y, and Z, which is important to me. So I think it’s extremely [01:04:05] personal. But I also think in London, like you said, there is an abundance of successful [01:04:10] women with a lot of money. I used to be part of this dating agency. Have you ever heard of it? Grey and [01:04:15] Farrah? No. Super interesting. So one of my friends, when I was at 30, she [01:04:20] ended up dating the guy from the owns Moneysupermarket.com. [01:04:25] Right. So this is an agency for very high end. Yeah, but their caveat is [01:04:30] they don’t want escort type girls and the woman has to be earning X amount. Do you understand? [01:04:35] Because the men don’t want to feel like. The men don’t want to feel like, yeah, it’s all about the money. [01:04:40] So I was like, cool. Like I decided to join. It wasn’t right for me because at the time [01:04:45] I was in a different stage of my life and I was like, I had to go for these, like, dates. So I’d been made to sit for like six [01:04:50] hours and Scott’s with someone that was like 15 years older than me. And I was like, not at that stage in my life. [01:04:55] But anyways, the point is, is that when you go on to the review, why did you why did you join it? [01:05:00]

Payman Langroudi: Because you were looking for a mate.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: And I was like, I really didn’t want to do like I wanted something that was super vetted. [01:05:05] So I basically did that and dry up. That’s. Yeah, exactly. Have you ever done Tinder? [01:05:10] No. Have you? Have I what? Tinder. Tinder? I went on it for one day and [01:05:15] actually never like matched with anybody. But the one person I saw on it is my now [01:05:20] boyfriend. Oh, really? Did you see him on it?

Payman Langroudi: But you [01:05:25] dated on it? No, you just saw him there.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: I saw him, and the reason why I was on Tinder was because [01:05:30] I hadn’t dated him 4 or 5 years. And then the clients that I was with abroad [01:05:35] were like, right, we’re just going to open up. I was in Barbados at the time. We’re just going to make you a Tinder. I was like, okay, whatever. [01:05:40] Um, and then saw him, but then saw Primrose Hill as his location and I was like, nah, [01:05:45] too close to home and swiped no. And then she met him organically. Met him that night in Barbados [01:05:50] randomly. And then I was like, oh, is your name Nick? And [01:05:55] he was like, yeah. I was like, oh my God. I swiped no to you on Tinder yesterday and [01:06:00] now he’s my boyfriend. But the point is, is when you go on the, um, the [01:06:05] story about Graham Farrow’s, when you go on the Google reviews, it’s properly [01:06:10] vexed women that are like, I pay so much. This is a joke. This [01:06:15] is like a joke, kind of like dating agencies and these are high net worth women. So I think it’s like [01:06:20] a really tricky spot for high net worth women for them to like, meet [01:06:25] men and typically do those high net worth men want to be with those kinds of women? [01:06:30] I don’t know, like the dates that I went on.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: They all wanted to pursue it further, but I was like, I [01:06:35] just wasn’t vibing it or wasn’t feeling it, but it’s just quite interesting. I think there’s two types of women. If [01:06:40] you are like, let’s say you’ve got so much money and you’re really high net worth, I think you either know [01:06:45] you have those expectations of like, okay, I know I am worth something and [01:06:50] I know that I’m going to find somebody who’s either a lot younger than me, hasn’t got a stable job, [01:06:55] and I will be supporting them to an extent, or I’m going to try and find somebody on my actual level, [01:07:00] and then they grow together that way. So I think it just depends on what you want in that [01:07:05] situation. Some women, I think, will really love having a younger partner and really like supporting them. I think [01:07:10] they’d love it. So, Sana, I want to, um, ask [01:07:15] you a little bit now. You’ve obviously gone through a massive change. Recently in your life where [01:07:20] you decided you had to make changes you’ve gone from seeing. I used to say to you, got to change something. These 10 to [01:07:25] 12 clients you’ve seen every day for seven days a week, it wasn’t conducive to your mental health.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: You experienced [01:07:30] a lot of like physical and mental pain. So tell us what you did to change it. And [01:07:35] about the new exciting thing that’s out. So yeah, I. I [01:07:40] found it really difficult to transition from being a full time pet to what I do now. [01:07:45] But basically recently I took on two coaches, so I have two coaches working for me. They [01:07:50] now train my clients for me in the gym. I’m no longer, um, based there at the gym. I [01:07:55] have an online business now as well. I just wanted to make. My [01:08:00] issue with my business was I have a super inaccessible business. I’m [01:08:05] a 1 to 1 PT, I charge high end rates. They are for a certain demographic of people and it’s just not [01:08:10] accessible for everybody. So I wanted to make a product that is more accessible both financially, geographically, [01:08:15] geographically and something that actually had a bit of value in it, you know? Um, [01:08:20] so I’ve been working for the past year on an app and we launched [01:08:25] literally last week. Thank you. So the app is basically training, [01:08:30] nutrition and education. So my whole concept with that app is to be able [01:08:35] to bridge the gap between 1 to 1 PT and the online world, because I find some of the online [01:08:40] world is super vague and it’s like, here’s your program, here’s your training session, go get on with it. [01:08:45]

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: They don’t really learn anything in that process. They’re constantly relying on you as a coach [01:08:50] and the 1 to 1. Like I said, it’s for a certain type of person to train 3 or 4 times a week and pay £100. [01:08:55] Plus, it’s not feasible for everybody. So, uh, my main point of [01:09:00] this app is to educate people. So we have it’s almost like a hub where [01:09:05] we talk through everything in terms of training, training terms, rest sets, [01:09:10] tempo, um, how you should be training, the intensity you’re training at. And then we’ve got the same for the, um, [01:09:15] nutrition side of things. A lot of education. We have a nutritionist and a gut health [01:09:20] specialist coming on board. We have a hit coach on there, Yasmin Garcia. [01:09:25] Um, and we have a mental health coach on there, Lauren White, who [01:09:30] you know as well. So I’m trying to sort of bridge the gap, like I said, between the 1 to [01:09:35] 1 coaching and the online world. Give the client as much support without the access [01:09:40] to me as a coach. So is there what’s it called? Is there 1.

Payman Langroudi: To 1 support on the app [01:09:45] as well, or is it on the app?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: It’s content on the on the app is just content. But what we do is we [01:09:50] listen to the feedback of the users. And if there’s any specific questions, we what was the process [01:09:55] of doing the app? Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Was it was it a difficult process?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Oh my god. So much more difficult than I thought. [01:10:00] Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: And expensive.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Expensive and I also so I had [01:10:05] I’ve got a friend in the industry who has a very successful app. Um, she [01:10:10] does incredibly well on it. And like, like we said earlier, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So [01:10:15] I literally just messaged her one day and I was like, babe, can we meet for dinner? I want to, I want to pick your brain about [01:10:20] your app and how you sort of like, did what you did. Because my problem with bringing something mass [01:10:25] to the market is I don’t totally agree with it being so vague and [01:10:30] like not one size fits all sort of thing. Yeah. Um, so I sort of like, picked her brain. [01:10:35] She was super, super helpful and not like, gatekeeping any of her tips and tricks. [01:10:40] So she kind of like told me who her contacts were, etc. helped me out a little bit. And, [01:10:45] um, the process was a lot of coding and understanding the backend of a [01:10:50] tech business. Um, so I write the programs myself. I [01:10:55] then have to put them into certain coded things on an Excel spreadsheet. I then [01:11:00] send that over to the tech team. They then input that on the back end of the app. I’m trying to sort of [01:11:05] learn that side of things myself a little bit more, because then I have more access to update things when [01:11:10] and how I want. But yeah, it was a super long process. I did not think, well done. Honestly, I’ve [01:11:15] never ever thought that it would take as long as it did. And content is the bane of my life. [01:11:20] Um, content, like people like say. And it’s like, you really enjoy it though. It’s like it’s such an investment. I was exhausted [01:11:25] yesterday. Exhausted. And I had my TikTok girl come. She’s been on the podcast and [01:11:30] she gets some really good advice. Yeah. Do you know I had one? Yeah. She’s [01:11:35] amazing. Yeah. And she takes the stress out like we filmed for three hours yesterday and it’s done for the [01:11:40] month.

Payman Langroudi: I’ve got to hand it to you, man. The amount of content you’re putting out. Yeah, but.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: But but [01:11:45] like, listen, I’m a different platforms, but like, Ellie does my TikTok, Chelsea Stewart [01:11:50] does my, um, my Instagram like the branding and like the way that, [01:11:55] like, you know, that they like she’s got a team and it’s an investment that costs me money, [01:12:00] Prav costs me money, all that stuff. And people don’t realise. They think, you [01:12:05] know, it falls out of the sky. They’re like, oh, she actually a busy dentist to be doing all of this. But I made a conscious decision. [01:12:10] Three clinical days. The rest is brand building. And the brand building is what keeps [01:12:15] the clinic going. Do you see what I mean? You know, but I think also it comes from you having a certain vision in your head, [01:12:20] like you’ve got a vision of what you’re going to achieve with, like your Instagram, your TikTok, your, you know, whatever it is. [01:12:25] And I have imposter syndrome. Like I literally call up Shivani and go, I’m shit, I’m not growing. You [01:12:30] got 100 K followers in six months. I’ve only grown by like five K followers. [01:12:35] Like why aren’t I growing? Is my content crap?

Payman Langroudi: And then to have the humility, to have the humility. Start [01:12:40] TikTok at zero when you are already at 90,000. Yeah, it’s [01:12:45] took a lot of people wouldn’t have had that humility. Yeah. And now you know, now, as you can see, it’s like I can see it’s kind of [01:12:50] it’s kind of working out. The fact that he started TikTok was a good idea. Yeah, that takes a degree of humility. [01:12:55]

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Totally. But yeah, but it’s patience and persistence. And I was just saying to you, like, obviously [01:13:00] Shauna was like, it’s amazing that Payman has got 10,000 subscribers, you know, for Dental [01:13:05] Leaders, it’s incredible. It’s incredible. But also, I said to him, I was like, I’m so happy about my movies. And he was [01:13:10] like, Brennan, we’ve only been doing this for like ten months or 11 months.

Payman Langroudi: Whatever it is, whether it’s getting fit, [01:13:15] whether it’s doing TikTok is turning up, isn’t it?

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: It’s a.

Payman Langroudi: Consistency.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Thing. [01:13:20] Exactly. And that and that’s the thing, you know, consistency will get you to places that motivation [01:13:25] can’t do. You see what I mean? And it’s just about showing up. Yeah. Sauna. Love you so much [01:13:30] guys. Please check out the app. I’m not just saying everyone always says the name.

Payman Langroudi: Of the app.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: So it’s the SSC app. [01:13:35] Yes, it’s SS coaching, SS coaching and for those as well, for those that can’t afford, [01:13:40] you know, personal training. As I said, sauna would have put her heart and soul into it. She [01:13:45] is amazing. She changed my life, my body. Um, and you know, [01:13:50] a lot of dentists would also advocate for her because about 100 dentists started training with her because of me. What [01:13:55] do you charge? What do you charge.

Payman Langroudi: For one, 1.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: To 1? Um, 1 to 1 is £150. And then my, my [01:14:00] two coaches are slightly less than that. They’re on around 140, which obviously I know is not [01:14:05] accessible for everybody. Right. Why are you thinking to join? No, no.

Payman Langroudi: But [01:14:10] I mean, you could charge twice as much and have half the number of people. [01:14:15] Is that is that how.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: She does have some how it works. You could and I like [01:14:20] there’s still a cap. Let’s say I charge £500 an hour and I’m working for five [01:14:25] hours a day. That is still a cap. I know, and it’s.

Payman Langroudi: Like being a dentist.

Rhona Eskander/Sana Shirvani: Yeah, [01:14:30] you’re you’re literally exchanging your time for money. Right. And how much does the app. So the app [01:14:35] is £29.99 a month. Oh cool. Amazing. So massive difference. Amazing. And thank [01:14:40] you. So thank you guys for having me. It was amazing. Yeah. Thank you. Take care soon okay. [01:14:45] Bye bye.

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