To Naz de Bono, 50, health and fitness has never been just a job, it’s an innate, fire-in-the-belly passion. A passion for the physical body within herself, and that of helping others reach their best place of physical health.
After an early life feeling disaffected by sport, Naz turned to personal training as a way to understand both the strengths and limitations of her own body and mind, and how to work with those challenges to get the best out of herself every single time. For over 20 years, Naz has worked and studied alongside specialist trainers, nutritionists, and mindfulness experts to do the work and learn the lessons.
Cut to a few years ago where Naz had her own very lonely and confusing experience of Perimenopause and Menopause. Naz realised that she wanted to combine her knowledge with her own personal journey to drive the creation of Xali, and build a safe, supportive community for women to access.
Naz’s way of training – the XALI way – is not to challenge you to push beyond your limits, to drag you through the grades to the point of injury or exhaustion. Rather, she will align with your goals and expectations, supporting you every step of the way.
Where did the idea for Xali come from?
When I started going through menopause my whole world seemed upside down. Things that had usually worked for me no longer did. Even my own 14 day challenge programs, which always got me results in the past and left me feeling great, weren’t having the same impact anymore. There were so many fitness apps out there that may be great, but didn’t seem to be helping women like me. On any given day I didn’t know which woman I was going to wake up as. On top of that I suffer from Elhers Danlos Syndrome, which means I have had many injuries, tendon and ligament tears which my doctor confirmed were being exacerbated by menopause.
The more I researched, the more I realised there was nothing out there to address my ever changing emotions (hormone emotions!) So I set out to build a platform with (New Beach) that would serve you up a daily workout based on HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL!
Xali is founded on the realisation that our bodies need many things. We need to have variability in our training but in the right dosage. We need Strength, Cardio, Power, Recovery Pilates and Yoga. I wanted to write an algorithm for each level of woman with different sets of goals to give them a 6 week training program that focuses on ALL their needs for vitality, health longevity and happy movement.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’ve always been an early riser. Some of my best work is done in the morning before anyone else is awake. I used to jump out of bed, grab my coffee and a big glass of water and hit the gym. Since going through perimenopause, I have adapted my routine to suit me better and I take more time to set out my intentions. This has proved important with my new menopause body which is more prone to joint pain.
Before I even open my eyes, I take a few deep diaphragmatic breaths, whilst repeating this simple serenity ‘prayer’.
I then let the dog out, boil the kettle and turn the coffee machine for my double shot espresso. A very quick body brush to boost lymphatic if time allows, shower finishing with cold burst and then have 1 litre of warm water with a teaspoon of good quality sea salt. Check what my XALI tailored workout is as I drink my coffee. Workout – no matter where I am, I always make sure I have an area set up for me to do my morning session which makes it so much easier to do! Go for a walk and either listen to a podcast or music.
I then meet up with the team and take them through Wimhof breath work and visualisation every Monday to set us all up for the week. I built our team of women from love, and all of us are pretty spiritual, so I am free to expose all my ‘woo woo’ as we call it!
I spend time with each person in my team and we go through what needs to be done / addressed that day and then it’s all systems go updating the platform.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I love that you ask this as I know my best ideas happen when I am moving rather than static. Walking, cycling or doing an intuitive workout session. I always keep voice memos that I store for later as stopping and writing things down will interrupt my flow.
I use otter.ai to play back my recordings into Word documents. I work very closely with my husband, Leo, who has a genius and analytical mind. It has to be said, he winds me up because he questions everything and makes me look at every idea from all sides. This can make the process very lengthy but my attention to detail has improved so much. It can make things slightly annoying for 2 young girls, who feel we are constantly talking work at the dinner table.
When I begin to design workouts and programs for XALI, it can take months. My process begins with jotting down the workout basic outline on my iPhone or a scrap piece of paper. Once I have trialled it physically and passed the feel good factor, it gets written on to a massive A3 post it note and stuck on the wall of our home. Every single workout is colour coded. I think in colours. I learn in colour. It may make no sense to anyone else, but is how all my ideas come to life.
Each workout is designed with music. By creating a playlist for each one I know that I can perform and film the workout with the right emotion and tempo for the particular XALI woman I am creating for, hence it is a true tailor-made emotional platform for women.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Whimhof! But not rigidly. When I first tried, I didn’t like it so much. It felt very male in its energy. Then I met an incredible human being on one of my retreats that I go on regularly to reset myself. He brought a softness, emotion and surrender so that it became much more about breath work, followed by a surrender to the ice. Rather than the fight I had always felt before. I have never liked the cold. I am Egyptian and love to bask in the sun and feel the heat of it on my skin, but when I felt the benefits in my body and joint pain I decided to bring it into my self-care regime. Although now it’s winter, I focus on the breath work and not so much the cold!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Remembering my WHY. There’s not much in the way of resources for women going through perimenopause and menopause and I want to create a solution for this. Like any entrepreneur, identify a problem and find / make a solution.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Trust your intuition. That voice inside is your wisdom. Don’t try to be like everyone else, fit the mould. Be you, because everyone else is taken. Stay curious about everything. Always listen before speaking, I know that your words have a big impact so choose them carefully. Love yourself, as hard as that may seem, you cannot love anyone else until you love YOU. Find and connect with people who make you laugh, who make you feel good about yourself, who inspire you, challenge you but do not wish to compete with you. When you find your people, your tribe, that’s when your visions and dreams come true. Be kind, always.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Hardly anyone agrees with my own unique way of working on things. It has been said over and over that I work too hard and need to step away from it. While this may be true, I feel it is my tunnel vision when I am working on any project close to my heart (including XALI) I cannot think or work on anything else. I am in the zone so no, I don’t multitask when I am in flow because I am fully present. And I feel that is what people deserve when they ask something of me.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
IRT which has changed my life. It is unlike any other spiritual work I have found, because it is instantaneous and effortless. IRT bridges science and spirituality.
The reason I love Maureen Edwardson’s work is because it is a formula of questions that activates a part of you that knows your authentic self. Think of IRT, as a defrag and anti-viral program, for your human supercomputer (yes that is what we all are!). Once we allow the part of us that knows who we are, there are no boundaries. Then you can achieve all that you want. Why wouldn’t I share this secret with you?
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Realising I needed to step into a place of leadership without expecting to be out front shouting CHARGE!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Launched an online fitness app during COVID, when every gym, personal trainer and Influencer went on line. I no longer think of this as a failure but as an expanded opportunity to launch a more complete service to women of the world.
If there is one thing that COVID has taught us, it is we need to be more in touch with our emotional side. This was the birth of XALI.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Two things I think someone needs to invent or develop. Firstly a range of shirts or tops that’s designed for women’s shapes to still be figure hugging in a flattering fashion, but that doesn’t get makeup stains all over it when you take it off. I think so much women’s fashion is designed to look great but you take off a jumper or t-shirt and it drags along your face, taking with it, half your makeup and then it’s ruined. Another thing I think should be invented is a fabric that doesn’t show the white deodorant marks on black tops. There are deodorants out there that supposedly don’t show up on black fabrics but I am yet to find one that actually works. So let’s flip that concept and create a fabric where the deodorant doesn’t stain the material. Working in the fitness industry, these are real world annoyances that someone needs to solve!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A facial. Because it makes me feel good and I love the beautiful Parker at Aesthetica, Byron who does it!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Otter.ai. I listen to so many podcasts, I keep a journal on my iPhone voice recorder – all kinds of ideas, to play back my recordings into Word documents. I also record all conversations I have with my mentor.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Your Magical Evolutionary Code Unleashed – The Science of Inner Resonance by Maureen Edwardson. This book automatically activates your subconscious with the science of who you are. Dr. Bruce Lipton said “Maureen’s pioneering work is vital to our Evolution”.
What is your favorite quote?
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m Possible”
- Trust your intuition!
- Taking time for yourself and prioritising your needs is not selfish, it’s empowering!
- Always remember your WHY and understand it’s ok to do things differently to everyone else – that’s what makes you YOU and what will likely create your success.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.