MEET DANI JASAREVIC: FOUNDER OF FITGIRLS.NL
Dani Jasarevic is 32, mother to 3-year-old Megan, and entrepreneur behind creative platform Fitgirls.nl, which she started in 2014.
Can you tell us more about Fitgirls.nl? Fitgirls.nl is a platform where women come together to empower one another. We believe ‘Strong is Size Perfect’ and aims to inspire women to become the strongest version of themselves. It’s a place where women can share, inspire and inform. We do this through objective, no-nonsense, personal features as well through workshops and events.
What inspired you to start Fitgirls.nl? In 2012 I had a burnout. I was lacking in energy and unhappy at the time. In the same year, I gave birth to my daughter Megan. She has the serious and incurable disease known as cystic fibrosis. A healthy lifestyle is essential for her quality of life. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and become the best example I could be for my daughter. All around me I saw many women struggling to find a balance in lifestyle as well as with their own self-image. These days it’s not considered strange for a woman burn out before she’s thirty. Which is really not okay! Through my own experience and passion for a ‘healthy’ lifestyle, I want to help women bring out the best in themselves. Fitgirls.nl is run by a small and dedicated team, what makes you so powerful as a team? We share the same vision and know how we want our platform to grow. We are its figureheads; our own development is synched with the vision and growth of Fitgirls. In our team, we value sincerity and dare to show each other our vulnerable side. We endeavour to grow both individually and as a business. When you’re open to improvement and keep your goals in sight, you can’t help but grow as a team. Having such a mindset makes for a very powerful team! What’s it like to be able to inspire so many women? Every woman we’re able to inspire touches my heart. There is nothing greater than feeling valued for what you do. Every day, we receive messages from women telling us how our website has helped them find their inner strength. How amazing is that?! I’m very conscious of the fact that these women have taken the time to share their inspirational stories with us – which I hugely appreciate, as that’s exactly why I started Fitgirls in the first place.
What are your principles for a fit lifestyle? For me, it’s a combination of exercise, nutrition and relaxation. These three principles are at the heart of everything I do.
Last month you started the #letsgetreal campaign. Can you tell us more about this campaign and the mentality switch you hope to achieve through it? With this campaign, we want to show that everything you need to become the strongest version of yourself is already there, deep inside yourself. It’s all very well setting goals for ourselves, but if we don’t feel good on the inside, the goals themselves hold no value. In the campaign video, we challenge women to take off their ‘masks’ and show their real selves. As women, we’re often focused on what’s happening around us and tend to mirror our self-worth to an ideal picture. I want to highlight the fact that we all have struggles, but these should not determine our happiness. Once you are able to embrace both your insecurities and your inner strength, you’re free to become and enjoy who you really are.
What are your ambitions for the future of Fitgirls.nl? We hope to become a leading platform in the Netherlands. We’ll continue to focus on women, and perhaps in the future also on children. What we now do online, we plan to offer offline too – through events, workshops, reports and even more campaigns. It’s our aim to bring people, businesses and other organisations together to make them stronger. Where do you find the energy to achieve this? That remains a challenge. I stay true to the things I find important, no matter how busy I am. The right nutrition, exercise, rest and relaxation are essential to functioning properly. I also try to let life wash over me instead of trying to keep too much control over it. Which offers a great deal of headspace.
How do you find running your own business and how has your personality benefited you in this? I love being an entrepreneur. It keeps me sharp, allows me to grow, and challenges me to get the best out of myself. I see challenges as the learning processes of life so I’m not afraid of falling down once in a while. The best thing about working for myself is that I don’t need to fit into anybody’s ‘box’ – I create it how I see it and I wouldn’t change that for the world. It’s what gives me a feeling of freedom to shape my life exactly as I choose.
How does exercise aid you in your daily life? Through training, I strengthen my body and therefore my mindset. Which helps me to make better choices. It’s literally the foundation of a stable life.
How does nutrition play a role in your lifestyle? I’m very conscious of what I eat. I feel it’s important to feed rather than fill my body. Megan’s condition and my burnout have taught me to be extra aware of this. And knowledge is power; I keep myself informed by reading books on the subject.
What’s the worst health trend you’ve come across lately? IIFYM – If It Fits Your Macros. There are two interpretations of this: the first being that you can eat whatever matches your own macronutrients (proteins, carbs and fats), as well as a tasty treat that may contain less valuable nutrients – this I’m all for. But the other interpretation of IIFYM is that it’s okay to eat everything as long as it fits your macros, regardless of its nutritional value. Which could be anything from Mars bars to kebabs to Coca-Cola. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with indulging once in a while, but eating things just because they fit your macro profile and without knowing what nutrition it provides isn’t my opinion of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
This month’s FITSHE is all about the shakes. What’s your favourite smoothie or shake? I make a lot of smoothies – it’s such a quick way to up your daily nutrient intake and they’re so tasty too! There are many recipes I enjoy, but if I had to choose then it’s got to be a smoothie of raw cocoa nibs and powder, Greek yoghurt, FITSHE (banana-strawberry), blueberries, lime and coconut – Mmm!
What’s your advice for women who want to get the most out of their active lives? I don’t believe in one definition of a fit lifestyle – as this is different for everyone. For the most part, it’s about finding a way to become the strongest version of yourself. That’s the version of you that feels good and is at your best. Always stay true to the things you care about, no matter how busy you are. With this as your foundation, you will always keep hold of your best possible self.