The Athlete Who Never Backed Down: Juliana Johari

A woman who devotes herself to keep an active lifestyle.
A woman who believes and perseveres when life was tough. A woman who has spent three decades of her life educating the younger generations. A loving mother like no other, who cooks, cleans, and all other things (I’m sure you can relate to this fellow moms!). A woman who runs in marathons, joins muai thai, kickboxing, yoga and swimming. A woman who never backed down and constantly challenges her limits.

A tribute to our very first customer, Juliana Johari.




NURD: What age were you when you first started sports?

JULIANA: I was 12 years old when I first started sports. I was quite small and puny, hence I was chosen as Centre in the school netball team. We trained every day after school including Saturdays for tournaments and friendlies. Training was bru…tal… It was very tiring but I enjoyed every minute of it. Even though I was in and out a lot, I was fortunate that I could juggle training and school well. Somehow sports gave me focus in life.


NURD: What made you rekindle your love for sports?

JULIANA: I chose a career in teaching and started when I was 20. Back then, I was as teacher in charge of sports (co-curricular activities) and of course, netball was there. Well I guess that was when it rekindled. That time around I also decided to get a certification in teaching technical skills in netball by the Sports Council so that I could train as well as referee matches.


NURD: Who inspired you to be an athlete? Why?

JULIANA: I took a break when I gave birth to my firstborn child. Well it was a reallyyy long break, up til my third. As I was busy taking care of others, I neglected my well-being and ballooned from size S to XXXL. All in 17 years..

Waking up was painful. My feet was sore, I even had to grab the sides while climbing up the stairs. I was panting all the time. Most of all, I was very frustrated when I couldn’t fit in my clothes anymore. It was a horrible experience.

So.. who inspires me and why? My family and myself.

I did not want to be overweight and wear XXXL ANYMORE. I want to live healthy and not be a burden for my family. I want to live longer to witness their success. Though, I don’t consider myself as an athlete, I do see myself as someone who enjoys sweating and challenging pain.


NURD: What is your perspective on Sports Hijab?

JULIANA: Sports Hijab should allow you to move freely without you worrying it being unfold. For me, Sports Hijab should be easy to wear, gives coverage, sweat wicking and of course fashionable. For me, it should be light and very comfortable that it makes you forget that you are actually wearing one!



I love the quote Challenge Your Limit. My limit is pain. I have scoliosis and achilles tendonitis. The doctor said I can’t run anymore otherwise I will end up in the wheelchair.. but that didn’t stopped me from doing sports. I am very happy that you empower spirits like us.

– Juliana Johari


NURD: What is the factor in winning? Why?

JULIANA: The factor in winning to me is having a strong mind-set combined with being aware of your present and learn from your past experiences. You have to experience losing, failure and disappointments in order to be a better, stronger person. At the end of the day is not about how many times you fall down. It’s about how fast you get back up again for each time you fall. I stick to my constant mantra of “You got this. Stop whining. Get up and get moving”. I believe in competing with your own self and not with others. I mean, you are your own competition. For me, everyone is unique and everyone has their own strengths.


NURD: How does being an athlete make you a better person?

JULIANA: The turnabout came when I went through a life changing experience….in 2011. I realized that if I didn’t stay healthy, what would happen with my kids? Both my parents had diabetes and hypertension and if I was not careful, I could inherit those too.

I called one of the female gyms nearby and immediately paid for a 1 year membership.
(Yuppp. Full payment)

I tried spending time at the gym for the first three months (forcing myself of course. Ehem, paid full!) But umm.. I got bored with the traditional workout using the treadmill and etc but I was fortunate to stumble upon some friendly trainers who invited me to join group classes. Bear in mind that I was 80KG back then. Every movement was a struggle!

I continued with other classes using weights, dancing (I like the most because I can dance to my favourite songs). I was at the gym after work for at least 2 hours every darn day. I also tried yoga and oh boy, that was my love at first sight. I was HOOKED!

Fast forward to 2018.. I had run countless races, swam many distances, three years in muay thai and now a newbie to boxing. I’ve done yoga for over seven years and I even took certification as a Personal Trainer. #selfpat

To sum up, I’m lighter, fitter and more discipline than I was before. I’m 49 this year and I never felt better!


NURD: What is the one thing you always do after a good performance?

JULIANA: Haha. I scrub my body clean in the shower! Then I’d patch Koyok (a traditional Japanese plaster medicine) and sleep. I’d go to physiotherapy the following day, if needed.





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