Maya Nassar typically starts her day by going to the gym, where she lifts weights five times a week and cardio two to three days a week. Nassar, a Lebanese fitness model, bodybuilder, and nutritionist, who eats a daily diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, wholegrain carbs, protein and healthy fats, hasn’t always been this way.

But after a life-changing experience a few years back, Nassar today, with her more than 120,00 Facebook followers, has created a brand from her immensely popular health and training website Start Living Right .

It's no secret that chasing after the perfect body is a major concern for many in Lebanon, a country which has become notorious for being a plastic surgery hub, but for Nassar, what started as an issue of body image quickly turned into a rigorous lifestyle.

"I have no background in fitness and had always lived a very unhealthy lifestyle,” she told StepFeed. "After feeling very fed up and insecure, I decided it was time to change for the better.”

Today, Nassar’s body, rippling with taut muscles, is sculpted to dizzying perfection.

A few years before becoming an award-winning fitness model, however, Nassar’s self-esteem suffered due to her weight gain, and since then she’s never looked back. The process, while invigorating, was filled with challenges, she said.

"It was difficult not being able to eat whatever I wanted, but I realized that my goals are so much more important."

As Nassar was working to turning her life and diet around, her friends and family were at first wary of the efforts she was making. When her strict regimen of “grilled fish and veggies” paid off and she started to shed weight, her entourage was quick to cut back on the jabs.

“People quickly realized that fitness became a part of who I am,” she said. “When I started competing, people were also very supportive. My husband, family and friends travel abroad to watch me compete and I receive a lot of positive feedback on social media as well.”

Her introduction to competitive bodybuilding was, as most things are, by chance when a friend in London, who was also a personal trainer, confided that he was planning to compete as a fitness model.

“He was the one who first told me about a bodybuilding federation.”

In 2013, Nassar entered her first fitness modelling competition, calling it “a great experience” despite not having won any trophies. But her first encounter with the competition felt like a victory – not against the other models competing, but against herself. Fueled by a tenacious streak, Nassar came back a year later to take first prize, and again in April 2015 to win three additional trophies, including the People’s Choice Award.

Her accomplishments, which scored her a sponsorship deal from major sports retailer Decathlon, were officially endorsed by the Lebanese government’s Ministry of Youth and Sports.

While documenting her travels in 2013 on her Facebook account, many friends, family members, and fans turned to her for nutrition and training advice. Soon enough, the daily postings on her Facebook account turned to a website Start Living Right, which quickly became a locally recognized dieting and training brand.

"My website was a great success and I constantly received emails from people telling me that I had changed their lives,” she said. Recently, Nassar launched a “Start Living Right” mobile application that has already had 1,000 downloads on iOS and Android.

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Still, Nassar remains certain that if it weren’t for her persistence and genuine passion for fitness, she wouldn’t have made it this far.

"When someone is mentally prepared to work hard, it makes giving up much harder to do when things get difficult,” she said.

She hoped her fans could be inspired by her success story and take on a healthier lifestyle.

But fans shouldn’t hope to see results overnight: "Consistency is key."