In celebration of Arab American Month, I bring to you a fellow Arab American from the USA now in Jordan, Mona Bitar, a mentor, fitness professional, a champion, and a friend. Mona Bitar (Mona B.) was born in Mississippi and now resides and thrives in the fitness industry in The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
When I moved from the ‘shores’ of California leaving corporate America behind to the ‘desert’ of Jordan, I came across another Arab-American named Mona B. and years later I am sharing one of my stories of an amazing Arab American who is an inspiration to me and our Arab community and is a friend thru fitness and in health.
Moving from the fairly predictable life in California in which you pretty much know what is going to happen the next day and the next, life in the USA for me was organized, functional, and my home since birth, a great country for me and my family. My daily routine started with the gym between the hours of 5:30-7am sometimes with my trainer and other times at the club, a fitness routine for years before I started my day in Corporate America with my tenure in the telecom and pharmaceutical industries. When I married and moved to Jordan, I knew I had to continue with my love of fitness and a space with good energy.
Life in Jordan offers many choices in fitness, from modern and functional gyms, fitness studios, personal training, yoga, and holistic health centers. Finding a well-qualified, professional in all levels, and truthful instructor was a challenge and took time but yet was not impossible. In 2010, I met Mona B., an instructor at my gym. I saw Mona’s name on the roster and told myself I need to know this other Mona B. in Jordan, not Muna but Mona (Muna is widely spelled and pronounced by most for Mona).
I started attending Mona B.'s classes at Fitness First, a gym in Amman, and soon realized I found the ‘one’; an instructor who challenged my fitness level, my focus, my discipline and my endurance. Her classes became the class you ‘don’t miss’. Her classes were always full, her motivation and energy was never faulted and Mona B. was the instructor that inspired most.
After a few years, Mona B. was offered a new opportunity and she moved to another competitive gym across the way, I followed, and then years later LIFT JO was born and I followed........
LIFT JO was a community where almost everybody knows your name and elevates your fitness level, Lift JO was my ROCK and my sanity in Jordan. Mona Bitar and Sandra Nuqul are the creators and owners. These 2 dynamic ladies changed the face of fitness with LIFT JO-- The first of its kind, curriculum based small group personal training concept.
In 2018, Mona B. won the “World Kettlebell —World Championship in Italy. Not only is Mona B. my trainer and friend, but she is an international athlete representing Jordan, a country that I am proud to share the many fine attributes, people, places , sights, sounds and more.
Fast forward to COVID 2020-2021, like the rest of the world, one of the first business to suffer and many folded were the gyms and boutique fitness spaces. Though, that did not stop Mona B. who took LIFT JO online, thrived and I followed.....
Lucky me to find an exercise community which brought out the best in me! I’m a real person with real issues and Mona and Sandra have been so helpful bringing ‘happiness and health; belonging and balance; ‘courage and confidence’ to my world and my journey continues with another Arab American living, thriving and calling Jordan home. I'm the other Mona