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By Norb Garrett
How many female professional snowboarders from Iran do you know? Well, now you know one.
Meet Med Tabar, 37, who after having her snowboarding career cut short due to injury, turned her love for physical training into a career that started in Dubai and brought her to San Clemente three years ago.
When the COVID-19 lockdowns resulted in the loss of jobs at local gyms and training facilities, she quickly realized it was time to take control and start her own business.
“I remember it was March 16 when I lost all my jobs working at area gyms and fitness centers,” recalls Tabar, who lives with her fiancé, Kurt Olsen. “I had like seven W-2s in my hands and lost them all.”
Tabar and Olsen met while they both taught snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain the year after she moved to America following an eight-year wait for her green card.
As the pandemic sent the nation and world behind walls, Tabar saw a need become an opportunity.
“I believe that fitness is critical for your immune system,” said Tabar, who has a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certification for personal training. “Sixty-four percent of your body’s immunity comes from exercise, so I kept my training going through COVID and thought I could help other people as well.”
With all of the area gyms closed, Tabar built a workout area in the small patio next to her Pier Bowl apartment. Surrounded by flowers and sunshine, she slowly built up her clientele through private training sessions—everyone from moms with their daughters seeking an escape from being locked in, to triathletes and marathoners.
She also started leading impromptu workout sessions at Calafia State Beach and quickly found an audience coming every Saturday morning. As the pandemic stretched on, her client list grew.
“I learned that I love working for myself,” said Tabar, whose family immigrated from Iran to the San Diego area. “I find it very rewarding to see the results with my clients, whether the goal is weight loss or training for a marathon. No one’s training or exercise is the same.”
Her newfound independence has her thinking about the future, one she hopes will one day include her own studio in town. She’s also launched her own product line—Babes by Med—which is a stylized resistance band she sells for $20.
Until then, she’s going to continue enjoying everything San Clemente has to offer, including her new passion, surfing.
“I just love this town,” she said. “Everyone’s positive, everyone’s happy. I feel the California culture here.”
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