Founder and CEO of Studio 55
Fatima Batook founded Studio55 in 2015. It’s a new concept, the first women-only Spinning and Fitness Studio in Saudi Arabia. Featuring a complete cross-training approach to fitness and well-being. The opening of her center wasn’t easy because of regulations in the country. Indeed, Saudi Arabia did have a number of women-only gyms but because the kingdom didn’t have a legal entity to issue a license for women-only sports centers, they were all labeled health or beauty centers. That mislabeling eventually led to their closure.
Regarding this situation and wanting to start her own fitness center, Fatima decided to open an unlicensed mini-gym on a squash court in her compound and began to offer Spinning classes to her former gymmates. The government paid attention to her and invited her to the Young Saudi Business Women of Eastern Province association in 2013. She said : “I told them I want to get a license for fitness clubs for any woman that wants to open a gym. They opened doors for me. We worked as a team with case studies of obesity rates for women”.
With her lobbying campaign she opened doors for many women in Saudi Arabia wanting to get an official license to open their gym and became an advocate for women empowerment. She said: “Women in Saudi need an outlet to vent and let go because they are super women—they are full-time mothers, full-time daughter, full-time sisters and full-time wives, plus they have jobs and many other cultural and social commitments”.