Farid #EmpowerME

I am Farid and I #EmpowerME

posted by FitnessFirst Team August 16, 2017 2 Comments

Son inspired the father who now inspires the son! – Fitness First Testimonial

By profession, I am a Property Manager and a DJ at the Spartan Race. But the most pivotal role I play is that of a father. As a father to a young son, I hate being the one to tell him that I am ‘Too Tired’ to play with him. Then Fitness First approached me to join and represent the Couch-to-Sprint movement. After training for one month for the Spartan race, I have already lost 16 Kgs. Now I am never too tired to play with my son.  I am an example of how the Son inspired the father who now inspires the son!

With that in mind, the Spartan Race team approached Fitness First Middle East with the idea. As a catalyst and an integral part of healthy living within the community, Fitness First took it on board.

Couch to Sprint became a reality.

They chose a candidate. And with the support of Spartan Race Arabia and Fitness First Middle East, it was time to put it to the test.

The aim is to move from the living room couch to the Spartan Race Arabia

The Candidate (and the blog author)

Weight: 130 kg

Height: 176 cm

Classified: Obese

My name is Farid, I have been the DJ for Spartan Race Middle East from the outset.

As you can see from my stats, I am unhealthy. I always found it funny that the only person not exerting any sort of physical activity at the races is the big fat DJ. But the truth is, it was depressing. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every moment of being able to DJ and in some way contribute to the success of the event. But many times I’d feel left out. I was not part of the “game”.

I’d watch these amazing people head towards the start line. They all had the exact same expression on their faces. They all looked like they were about to enter into a battle convinced they are going to overcome. They were all challenging one person, themselves. It was personal and it was about to go down!!

And they all looked happy, I never sensed an ounce of fear or hesitation.

But that wasn’t even the best part, you should see their faces crossing the finish line! They have conquered something deep within themselves, it is hard to touch upon. It’s like they have crushed all the self doubt they were carrying.

Mud faced, sweat and blood. Soaked, bruised and dehydrated. They had been through a long, demanding and vigorous test. Yet no one seemed like they were walking, everyone was floating.

They started happy and finished defiant, ecstatic and overjoyedContent with who they are.

That is what I am looking for by taking on this challenge. Of course that mental state comes with the physical and that is what this blog is about. My physical journey to reach that mental state.

I’d love for you to join me on that ride.

Today I was tired and did not want to go. I just wanted the couch and youtube. I convinced myself to go and take it easy. Walking into @fitnessfirstme Uptown Mirdif I got a wave of energy but was still thinking i'll tell @dinis_fitness_crossfit_coach if we can slow it down a notch today. Boy was I wrong. It was the most grueling session I had with him. He kept pushing my buttons. I froze at one point. My legs stopped functioning and I could hear Dinis in my ear – "TWO MORE!!" At that moment it felt like this is my limit, I can't push no more. But it felt soooo good afterwards. I don't want that to be my limit. It is not my limit, I will push harder!! @spartanarabia – but did you die though? 😂 . . . . . . . #spartanrace #spartanarabia #spartanracehatta #spartanraceproteam #fitnessfirstme #fitnessfirstdubai #fitnessfirstuptownmirdif #legendswillrise #couchtosprint #tunnelvision #pushpushpush #ihatesquats #buckfurpees #mirdif #uptownmirdif

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The Blog

There will be a lot of health and fitness inspired posts. There will also be a lot hellos and goodbyes. Hello to apples, goodbye to pizza. Nice to meet you grilled salmon to ciao big juicy cheese dripping burger.

With the support and guidance of Spartan Race and Fitness First. I will offer all the useful information and tools handed out to me.

There will be a lot of blood, sweat and tears along the way which I would also like to share with you. But it will all be fun and entertaining.

I want you to join in, this is a call to action. I want you to share whatever success story you feel needs telling. Whether in the comments section or even if you have your own blog, share this with us. Or send in a write up of something you recently achieved and we can include it in a section of the blog,

Being the DJ and training for Spartan Race Arabia, I have decided to put together 30 minute mix. I'll do this on a regular basis, once a week or so. The inspiration for it will come from within the gym. Whether group classes at @fitnessfirstme or a specific workout I tried. Or by watching someone grinding at the gym. Each mix will have different tempos and energy levels based on whatever inspiration I picked up during the week. They will range from high intensity for cardio to reggaeton based for Zumba to deep house for your warm up. I'll throw in a couple of down tempo sounds for yoga and recovery. So here is the first one. Inspired by the dreaded BURPEE!!! @spartanarabia https://www.mixcloud.com/SpartanMusic/ . . . . . . . . #spartanrace #spartanhatta #spartantraining #spartanarabia #spartanbahrain #couchtosprint #fitnessfirstme #fitnessfirstdubai #fitnessfirstuptownmirdif #legendswillrise #workoutmix #spartandj #burpees #buckfurpees #workoutplaylist #couchtosprint #spartanproteam #dubaifitness #dubaifitnesstrainer

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I’ll see you all at the finish line! 

Farid Abou Rjeily
Property Manager
Source: Couch To Sprint Blog
Follow Farid’s Journey on his blog and @couchtosprint

1 Month! It's time for a before after post. Timeframe: Day 1 ➖Month 1 Weight: 129.4 kg➖117.6 kg Fat Mass: 54.6 kg ➖44.2 kg BMI: 40.8 ➖37.2 So down 12 kg. Everything seems to be going as planned. Numbers look good. I'm very happy about that. Extremely happy!! Still over though, but who's counting anyway? I AM! Lol. Big up to @spartanarabia @fitnessfirstme for all the support. Can't forget the man with the master plan @dinis_fitness_crossfit_coach. Thanks buddy! Still a long way to go but we'll get there. Everyone around me has been extremely supportive. Love and kisses to my backbone @pixi2000 who has given me all the time and space to go ahead with this. I'm talking like i've just crossed the Spartan Race finish line!! 🏁 Enough. Back to work. Oh, if you swipe left, I tried to flex on you 💪🏻. Just practicing. AROO! . . . . . . . . #spartanrace #spartanarabia #spartanhatta #spartantraining #fitnessfirstme #fitnessfirstdubai #fitnessfirstuptownmirdif #empowerme #couchtosprint #legendswillrise #dontquitstayfit #mirdif #dubai #beforeandafter #progress #noquittingnow #longroadahead

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Run goals
Fitness & Training

Guide to Reach your Health and Wellness Goals

posted by FitnessFirst Team April 10, 2017 4 Comments
How many times did you say it to yourself..

“this is it, this time I’m really gonna do it!”?

For many times we keep saying to ourselves and to our friends and family that this is the time that we are actually going to achieve or start doing something for our health and fitness, start working out, gain this amount of muscle, drop this amount of fat, run every day in the morning, etc, etc, etc..

but in reality we only do it for a couple of weeks, if we actually even start it, and then it starts fading out.


I’m pretty sure that most of us have heard about goals and the importance to set them, but do we actually do it? We can easily say we want to run a marathon in 6 months, but what is the breakdown and the actions that will take us there? Where do I have to be in 3 months in order to achieve that? What about in a month? What about next week? What do I have to start doing tomorrow? There’re many ways to set your goals but the one that has been more effective for me over the past years is the SMART structure, that each letter represents a specific word that will help you set your goal. Let’s see below how it works:

On the acronym A some people use the Attainable, I preferably like to use Action plan instead, because it gives you the idea of what you need to do in order to achieve that. So now that we know what SMART goals are, let’s use the marathon example to see how it works:

It’s very common that you first select the time based and then you go to the realistic one, it can get confusing if you think that your goal is realistic but then the timeline that you put into it might not be enough, so I always recommend to get the deadline first and then realize if it is realistic or not. But this is just the beginning, this is the part where everybody can get but then the motivational side starts breaking down, “well, in reality it’s only in 6 months down the line, why do I have to start now? I can only start next week, actually I’m pretty busy with work at this point”, or even worse, “a Marathon is too much for me, what was I thinking?”

This is when you need an action plan and baby steps to get there..

fitness outdoors

You know you’ll be training 5 times a week, but where do you have to be in 1 month? Nothing better than breaking down your big goal into small goals that will help you, and for that you can always use a timeline draw, from a point “A” to “B”, starting from the future until today, let’s see below how it works.

Point A (Today) _________________________________________________Point B (Marathon)

Being “A” today and “B” the Marathon day in 6 months, you start on the Marathon point and go backwards to understand which steps you’ll need to get there. You can start by selecting where do you have to be half way there:


Point A (Today) ___________________________|_____________________Point B (Marathon)

3 Months – Run 21KM

By setting up this structure it will start giving you the idea what the steps are, so now its time to break that one into smaller ones:

Point A (Today) _1______2_______3__________4_________5______6____Point B (Marathon)

Now you have your big goal, in SMART goals, with an action plan and a breakdown of smaller goals that you can track your progress and keep you motivated throughout the process, as I mentioned before, if the goal is too big or too far away from today, it’ easy to get demotivated, but more important than that, you have to celebrate and reward yourself by the time you achieve those accomplishments, after all, they are great accomplishments that are taking you to the big picture. We apply the same in real life, we just don’t think about it, take babies as example, we know that eventually they will run, but we also know that before that they will walk, and before they will try to stand up, but never before they crawl, so we know the “baby steps” are there, and how much do they practice? Daily, we just don’t realize that but we’re always keen to celebrate, take pictures and videos and share with our families and friends. Do the same with your small baby steps for your wellness goals.


Regardless of what is your wellness goal at this point, either exercising, start eating healthier, having a more active lifestyle, always ensure you know exactly what you’re chasing, have an action plan for it and you know where you have to be in short period of time, if necessary print out a piece of paper or even write it down on a sticker, put it on your desk, on your fridge or even or your mobile phone wallpaper, but make sure you see it everyday.

Andre Fox-Martins
Fitness Manager

eat healthy as a couple
Health & Nutrition

كيفية تناول الطعام الصحي كزوجين

posted by FitnessFirst Team March 22, 2017 0 comments

يسهل على الفرد نسبياً اتباع نظام غذائي صحي عندما لا يكون مرتبطاً، حيث يساعدنا وجود نسبة أقل من الضغط و”المشاكل” التي نضطر إلى حلها على التركيز على نوعية العناصر الغذائية وعلى الكميات والحصص التي نتناولها في كل وجبة. وتبدأ المشكلة عند الدخول في علاقة جديدة حيث تعترض المشاكل طريقنا وتؤثر بالسلب على قدرتنا على التركيز على نظامنا الغذائي

كم هو عدد الأشخاص من معارفك الذين اكتسبوا وزناً عند التعارف أو الزواج؟ أظن أن الإجابة ستكون معظمهم. لنر سوياً ما يحدث بالفعل ونعطيك بعض النصائح عن كيفية تجنب اكتساب الوزن

يبدأ الأمر برمته بعد اتخاذ القرار بالزواج، تبدأ التجهيزات، فيجد الشريكان نفسيهما في استعجال دائم وضغط وقلق وحرص على الانتهاء من كافة التجهيزات، وهو ما ينعكس على عاداتهما في تناول الطعام، سواء في شكل تناول كميات زائدة أم في الصوم عنه، مما يضر بهم أيضاً. بعد ذلك، تبدأ حياتهما سوياً كأزواج وتتغير جميع عاداتهما وأنظمتهما الغذائية التي اعتادا عليها قبل ذلك تماماً. فبحسب بعض المتخصصين، يميل الرجال إلى تناول كميات تزيد عن احتياجاتهم الفعلية من الطعام في الوجبات الرئيسية بينما تميل النساء إلى تناول أطعمة تحتوي على سعرات حرارية كثيرة مثل الآيس كريم والشوكولاتة في غير الوجبات الرئيسية، وهو ما يؤثر على كليهما بشكل سلبي


ذلك هو السبب الرئيسي وراء زيادة الوزن لدى المتزوجين في ظل افتقار الجانبين إلى السيطرة لتجنب تلك الزيادة. فغالباً ما تُخزن الدهون لدى الرجل في منطقة البطن أما المرأة فيزيد تخزين الدهون لديها في منطقة الفخذين والمؤخرة. ويمكن لهذه الزيادة في الوزن التأثير على الجمال والثقة بالنفس، فضلاً عن أنها تتسبب في الإصابة بالأمراض البدنية المرتبطة بالسمنة مثل ارتفاع ضغط الدم وداء السكري من النوع 2 على سبيل المثال لا الحصر

وإذا كنت على دراية بكل ذلك فيجب عليك البدء في ترتيب أولويات شريكة حياتك من أجل “تأسيس” نظام غذائي صحي يناسبكما كمتزوجين، ومكافحة العادات السيئة التي أدخلتموها على علاقتكما والتي يمكنها التسبب في مشاكل لبعضكما البعض. وإليك بعض النصائح لمساعدتكما

اجتمعا سوياً واكتشفا قائمة بالأطعمة الصحية والتي تناسب ذوقكما

أعدا قائمة أطعمة للأسبوع. إذ من شأن تلك القائمة مساعدتكما في الحفاظ على نظام غذائي محدد فضلاً عن التحكم في زيادة الوزن

اذهبا إلى متجر البقالة سوياً لكن دون معدة خاوية. فتناول الطعام قبل التسوق يحد من فرصة شراء الأطعمة غير اللازمة والغنية بالسعرات الحرارية والفقيرة بالعناصر الغذائية

حاولا الحصول على مزيدٍ من الأطعمة الطبيعية الخالية من المبيدات أو الإضافات الكيميائية

تجنبا شراء الوجبات الخفيفة المعلبة والبسكويت المحشو والحلوى

انظرا إلى ملصق المنتج واطلعا على القيمة الغذائية ومكونات المنتج وتاريخ انتهاء الصلاحية. وكلما قلت الدهون المشبعة والإضافات الكيمائية والملونات والسكريات والصوديوم في المنتج كلما كان هذا المنتج صحياً أكثر

تجنّبا جميع العصائر والمشروبات الغازية؛ فالأغذية والمشروبات الغنية بالسكريات التي تتناولها في نظامك الغذائي لن تعود عليك بالصحة كما أنها ستزيد بشكل هائل من عدد السعرات التي تتناولها يومياً

تجنّبا شراء الأغذية الجاهزة، وأعطيا الأولوية للمكونات المنفصلة عن بعضها وقوما بالتجهيزات في المنزل، وبالتالي سيمكنك ذلك من معرفة ما تتناوله بالضبط فضلاً عن ضمان نظافة ما حضرته من طعام

إذا كنت في المنزل أثناء عطلة نهاية الأسبوع وترغب في تناول نوع مختلف من الأطعمة، فاختر شيئاً صحياً وعملياً في الوقت ذاته. فعلى سبيل المثال: بدلاً من ان تطلب البيتزا أو الوجبات السريعة، اصنع أنت البيتزا في المنزل باستخدام مكونات ذات سعرات حرارية منخفضة قد تكون لديك في المطبخ

ساعدا بعضكما في تحضير الوجبات التي ستتناولانها في العمل. فبدلاً من تناول الطعام من الكافتيريا المتواجدة بمكان عملك أو الآلة، أعدّا بعض الساندويتشات الصحية في الصباح أو حتى في الليلة السابقة. وهناك العديد من التوليفات الممكنة التي من المؤكد أنكما ستجدانها متنوعة ويمكن أن تُناسب ذوقكما. وإليكما بعض الاقتراحات: البيض، والجبن الأبيض، وجبن الريكوتا، والجبن القريش، وصدور الديك الرومي، ولحم الخنزير الخالي من الدهون، وقطع الدجاج، وشرائح اللحم، والخضروات النيئة، والخضروات بوجه عام

Healthy Diet

وأخيراً وليس آخراً، يمكنكما تجربة زيادة حرق السعرات الحرارية من خلال السير بشكل يومي في الحديقة أو ممارسة إحدى الرياضات التي يستمتع بها كليكما أو التدرُّب في صالة الألعاب الرياضية معاً؛ فذلك سيُشكل فارقاً ضخماً في تحقيق التوازن في السعرات الحرارية ويمنحكما مزيداً من الطاقة والسعادة فضلاً عن أنه يقوي الروابط فيما بينكما ويجعلكما أكثر صحة ونشاطاً

أندريه فيريرا
مدير لياقة بدنية
فيتنيس فيرست البحيرات دبي

eat healthy as a couple
Health & Nutrition

How to eat healthy as a couple? 10 Tips from the Expert

posted by FitnessFirst Team March 9, 2017 0 comments

Eating healthy as a single is relatively easy. Less stress and less “problems” to look at, allows you to focus on the quality of the nutrients and on the amounts and portions in every meal. The struggle begins when you start a relationship and other problems get in the way and start reducing your capacity to focus on your diet.

How many people do you know that when they started dating or when they got married, noticed a weight increase? I believe the answer will be the majority. Lets see what actually happens and give you some tips on how to dribble the weight gain.

It all starts in dating, usually couples favorite ride is the movie theater, with right to popcorn, soda and chocolate. Dinners with pastas, pizzas, wine and other tasty foods, become the perfect tour. After they decide to get married and live together, preparations for marriage begin. It is such a rush, stress, concern for everything to work out, that this anxiety ends up being discounted in food, either in excess or in fasting, which is also a mistake. After this point they start living as a couple and all the habits and diet they were used to before changes completely.

According to some specialists men have a tendency to consume more food than they really need in the main meals and woman have a tendency to the consumption of foods high in calories like ice-creams and chocolates out of the main meals which will affect each other negatively.

That is the main cause of weight gain in couples when there is no control from both sides to avoid it. The man tends to store the fat in the belly and the women more in the thighs and butt. This excess of weight can impair confidence and self-esteem, as well as cause obesity-related physical illnesses such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, just to mention a few.

Knowing all this you should start prioritizing your other half to “build” a healthier diet as a couple and fight the bad habits that both of you brought to the relationship and that can cause problems for each other.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Get together and find out a list of foods that are healthy and that can suit both tastes
  • Make a shopping list for the week. This will help you keeping track of the diet and will control the excess
  • Go to the grocery store together but not when you’re hungry. Eating before shopping reduces the chance of buying unnecessary foods rich in calories and poor in nutrients
  • Try to get more natural foods without pesticides or chemical additives
  • Avoid buying packet snacks, stuffed biscuits and candy
  • Read product labels, see the nutritional value, product ingredients and expiration date. The less saturated fat, chemical additives, colorings, sugars and sodium, the healthier the product is
  • Avoid all the sodas and juices. Rich in sugars, they will not bring any health benefits to your diet and they will extremely increase the calories in your daily count
  • Avoid buying ready-to-eat foods, give preference to separate ingredients and prepare to cook at home, so you know exactly what you are consuming and also ensuring proper hygiene during food preparation
  • If you are both at home on the weekend and feel like eating something different, choose a healthy and practical option. For example: instead of ordering pizza or fast food, make a home-made pizza with low-calorie ingredients that you might have in your kitchen
  • Help each other preparing the “work meals”. Instead of eating in the cafeteria of the work place or the vending machine, make some healthy sandwiches in the morning or even the night before. There are so many possible combinations that I’m sure you can find several that can suit both tastes. Suggestions: eggs, white cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese, turkey breast, lean turkey, shredded chicken, sliced meat, raw vegetables and nut butters.

Healthy Diet

Last but not least try to increase the number of calories burned. A daily walk in the park, practice of a sport that you both enjoy or a gym training together will make a huge difference in your calorie balance and bring you more energy and happiness, making the bond between you both stronger and healthier!

André Ferreira
Fitness Manager
Fitness First, The Lakes Dubai

Fitness & Training

Relationship Goals: 5 Ways of Sharing Fitness

posted by FitnessFirst Team February 17, 2017 1 Comment

We all know the fact that relationships are hard. Cohabitating, being patient and kind, and putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own aren’t always easy to do and can come with their share of stress.

Fitness has countless health benefits, but one thing you may not realize is its ability to bring you closer as a couple and make life together better.

Relationship Goals

My wife and I started our joint fitness journey after we started dating. We have fun running, training, sweating together, engaging in our mutual #fitfam community, and watching our bodies enjoy the rewards of hard work and commitment.

Here are a few rules and ways that sharing fitness with your partner can improve your relationship:

1. Join a Fitness First Club – you’ll surely spend more quality time together

You really need a place to train, the key is to join a gym that is convenient to where you live or work (so lucky that I work in Fitness First Platinum Club in Golden Mile and it’s near to my wife’s work too) so that you never have an excuse to miss any of your sessions and it has the all the amenities you need. For my wife and I, our favorite moments together are spent in sneakers, whether sweating it out at the gym or running on the road. Good thing that downstairs from Fitness First Platinum in Golden Mile there’s an awesome running track!

2. Get a training partner – you’ll be a happier partner

This is when you’re expecting that I will recommend you getting a personal trainer, for my wife she’s lucky she has me! If you’re not as lucky as my wife, then I would recommend that you partner up with a personal trainer, especially here in Fitness First we have highly qualified trainers, it would really be ideal if you have one alongside on achieving your fitness goals. Learn from the experts and do your due diligence.When you’re working out, the body triggers cells to release endorphins or happy hormones, the magic little hormones that block the transmission of pain signals and produce a euphoric feeling. That gives you that post-workout glow? You’re not imagining it. Right? Plus, people who stick to a fitness plan feel the pride that comes with accomplishing goals. This confidence can boost your relationship by contributing to of course a greater sense of mutual well-being, not just keeping you stronger but also keeping the relationship on fire.
train together

3. Join group classes – you’ll make like-minded friends and share a sense of community

Lots of couples, especially those who work in different careers, have two sets of friends that don’t have a ton in common. Yet couples who build fitness into their lives often find that they build a shared friend base, which can be really fun and rewarding. Try joining some group classes at Fitness First, hitting the same after-work boot camp, circuit classes, Body Pump, 6D or FIT 4:15 class a few days per week as a duo. For sure you’ll have fun!

4. Follow a clean diet- you’ll appreciate each other’s bodies more

A fit body is awesome, but there’s actually nothing more attractive than knowing your partner has dedicated themselves diligently to a fitness routine all week. It makes you feel proud of each other and reminds you of all the great attributes that made you fall in love in the first place. To ensure that you’ll benefit from all of your couple training, your diet needs to be on point, clean and balanced. You should also ensure that you consume enough water so that your body is hydrated especially during your workouts.

5. Get some rest – you’re chemistry will improve 

Be sure to get enough rest so that your body could recuperate from all the awesome training that you did during the week. Because if you don’t, it may result to not-so-enjoyable consequences, like diminished strength, irritability or what not. But you know what? There will be no doubt that the fruits of your labor will be evident. Not only will you both feel better about yourselves (which is half the battle) but your chemistry will surely be turned up a notch as your bodies continue to change. Plus, your shared increase in happy hormones or endorphins will help in keeping you happier as a couple!

Couples that SWEAT and TRAIN together, stay SWEET and FIT forever!

Red Bantilo, RN, CPT
Platinum Personal Trainer

For more health and fitness tips download our FREE fitness e-book with tips on how to reach your goals, nutrition and wellness advice, fitness and training information, tips on tracking progress and a weight-loss and lean muscle building FREE fitness program!

Our Team

Rome was not built in a day

posted by FitnessFirst Team February 11, 2017 0 comments

An inspiring story and testimonial by one of our head office employees who surprised his team by completing the 42 km Dubai Marathon 2017!

I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work and time in to it

Michael Phelps

First of all, I would like to thank God for putting me among such a group of amazing people where I receive endless motivation, inspiration and most importantly the push to go further at all times.

About a year and a half ago, when I used to reach Fitness First Burjuman club early morning by 6:00 am to learn swimming, it was the above quote I read at first before dipping in to the warm pool water and yes it’s 100 percent true because myself who never knew how to float in water now is capable of doing freestyle swimming in sea and that is my first achievement in fitness.

Also thanks to Lisa Hancox’s swimming classes at Fitness First Al Manzil which pushed me and gave me the passion to learn swimming. It was Mr. Syed Adnan who pushed me to attend the swimming classes and never thought that the push and motivation would make him come and support me at the 1 km swimming race held at Sheraton Beach Resort at Dubai Marina on 8th Oct 2016. It gives me immense pleasure and pride when management takes the time to come to us to appreciate our achievements.

To add Mr. Susheel Agal has never held himself back from urging and pushing his team to participate in fitness activities. Since he was very well aware about my back pain, he always advised me to go further in swimming.

I need to take this opportunity to thank all swimming Instructors in the Fitness First Swimming Academy, who have helped me and taught me how to swim especially Mr. Dinesh Rodrigo, Mr. Sunil, Mr. Nikko and Mr. AJ for taking me to Roy’s Beach to help me swim and gain confidence in the sea and is still being continued whenever we have time to go there.

I used to run for about 15 to 18 km a year ago and my last run was 18 km. But due to lower back pain, I had to mainly focus on swimming.

I registered for the Dubai Marathon on 24th December 2016 and planned my activities and set my targets to be achieved on a weekly basis. I had to balance work as well so I decided to make long runs on weekends and short runs during week days. Waking up at early morning at 5 am was not a big thing as I was already used to but I needed to make sure of going to bed early as well.

I targeted to hit 15 km in the first week, 25 km in the second week, 35 km in the 3rd week, indeed, I hit 12 km in the first week, 23 km in the second week and 29 km in the 3rd week and allowed time to rest and recover for the fourth week to be ready to run. I had to decrease my weight and increase consumption of more protein food as well.

It was a really good experience running the full Marathon as it tests your consistency and reaching your goal. It is all about your focused mind throughout. For me it was a meditation on my body posture and my pace and safety throughout until 36 to 39 km when my ankle muscles starting paining and I tended to slow down and even walk and also took little stretches. Having calculated this beforehand during my practice I had stocked some plasters to use if required and there were plenty of water stations at every 2 km which helped me from being dehydrated.

You can see many people sometimes even stopping around 10 to 15 km, but resumed and reached their goal with determination. It puts your determination to test.

I would suggest everyone should try this, for those who have no running experience should begin with 10 km. It is all about pushing yourself forward and going further. And it also involves giving up your tasty recipes, skipping planned movies with your friends, losing the comfort sleep in the early morning etc.. Of course I did not start with 10 km in the beginning. I started with 1.5 K in the beginning with Mr. Syed Adnan and later watching the half Marathons participation by Mr. Susheel Agal, Mr. Syed Adnan, Mr. Sandeep did motivate me to go for full Marathon.

It is the pushing yourself further that takes you to 42 km. Yes, as the saying goes “ Rome was not built in a day”, it takes time, effort and patience to reach this potential and a good and well planned practice and getting good advice from trainers will help you do it as well.

Watch the race footage


Binoy N.B.
Fitness First Middle East Head Office

Goal Setting tips
Fitness & Training

حقق أهدافك باتباع خمس خطوات بسيطة

posted by FitnessFirst Team February 6, 2017 0 comments

حدد أهداف قابلة للتحقيق

أهداف شخصية تخصك وتتعلق بوضعك الحالي. فالكثير من الأشخاص يحاولون الركض قبل أن يتسنى لهم المشي، الأمر الذي يوهن من عزيمتهم اجعل لك رؤية وجدولاً زمنياً لتقسيم هدفك إلى أهداف يمكنك تحقيقها

ركز على أهدافك واسعى وراءها

على الرغم من أي مصاعب قد تواجهها، مثل الصفوف التي قد تفوتك أو الإصابة التي تتعرض إليها أو أوقات العمل المتأخرة، إلا أن انضباطك ورغبتك في تحقيق أهدافك سيحددان النتائج التي ستحققها، ولذلك فإن الإيمان بأهدافك مهم للغاية

راقب مستوى تطورك

لتتأكد من أنك تسير في الاتجاه الصحيح. أحصل على جهاز قياس معدل ضربات القلب ماي زون لمتابعة سعراتك الحرارية والاحتفاظ بمفكرة للتدريب لتسجيل التمارين التي تمارسها وقارن بين ما تسجله من نتائج حتى يتسنى لك الاطلاع على إنجازاتك. فإذا كنت تحصل على النقاط باتجاه تحقيق هدفك، فاعلم أنك تبلي بلاء حسناً، وإذا لم تحقق هذه النقاط، فعليك أن تعيد تقييم خطة تمرينك والتأكد من دقتها وصحتها

اعمل بجد

لا يمكنك تحقيق أي أمر ذي قيمة بسهولة، لذا اعمل بجد وابذل قصارى جهدك، وستحقق النتائج التي تتمناها. فحضورك للصفوف الصباحية قبل بدء يوم عملك أو الصفوف المسائية بعد انتهاء العمل سيصب في اتجاه تحقيق هدفك

كافئ نفسك وابدأ من جديد

كافئ نفسك عند إحراز أي تقدم، فهذه المكافآت ستكون بمثابة حافز لك وبوسعك عندئذٍ أن تحدد لنفسك أهدافاً أكبر، وبهذه الطريقة سيكون لديك دائماً هدفاً تسعى لتحقيقه وستحصل على التقدير الذي تستحقه عند تحقيق الهدف الذي تسعى إليه

نيكي هولاند
مدير لياقة

لمزيد من النصائح حول تحديد الأهداف قم بتحميل كتابنا الإلكتروني القابل للتنزيل مجاناً مع نصائح حول كيفية الوصول إلى أهدافك، والتغذية، وتقديم المشورة للعناية بالصحة واللياقة البدنية ومعلومات عن التدريب، ونصائح حول تتبع التقدم المحرز و برنامج تدريب مجانا حول فقدان الوزن و بناء العضلات

Reach your goals in 5 easy steps
Fitness & Training

Reach Your Goals in 5 Easy Steps

posted by FitnessFirst Team January 30, 2017 0 comments

1) Set Achievable targets

Set targets that are personal to you and your current situation. Many people try to run before they can walk, which causes de-motivation. Have a vision and a timeline to break down what you want to achieve.

2) Be focused and stay on track

Despite any barriers you face, such as missing a session, picking up an injury, work finishing late. Your discipline and desire will determine your results, so mindset and belief is important.

3) Monitor progress

You need to make sure you are heading in the right direction. Get a MYZONE heart rate monitor to track your calories and keep a training diary with your workout and weigh ins to give you feedback. If you are making steps towards your goal, then great. If not then re-evaluate your training and make sure it is specific.

4) Work Hard

Nothing worth having comes easy so put the hard work and effort in. The results will come. Early morning sessions before you start the day or late evening sessions after work…they all count!

5) Reward and re-set

Be sure to give yourself credit and reward yourself when you make progress. This will motivate you and you can set greater goals. That way you always have something to aim for and you know you will get recognition when you achieve what you set out to do.

Nicky Holland
Fitness Manager

For more goal setting tips download our FREE fitness e-book with tips on how to reach your goals, nutrition and wellness advice, fitness and training information, tips on tracking progress and a weight-loss and lean muscle building FREE fitness program!

Our Team

Let the race begin!

posted by FitnessFirst Team January 9, 2017 0 comments

Here it goes: nutrition – check, water bottles – check, swimming gear – check, race fuel – check, timing chip – check, bed time – check.  4am my alarm goes off and by 4:30am I’m driving to the beach…It’s dark, windy and unbelievably exciting. Any other circumstance would made me question my sanity but not on the race day! I get ready in T1, march nervously towards the swim start to stand shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of athletes from around the world that are about to battle the same distance across swim, bike and run disciplines to proudly wear the finisher T-shirt…

…before you put on the Finisher T-shirt, you’ve spent months preparing for the race, investing in your mental and physical health, made sacrifices around your work and personal lifestyle because you’ve made a choice. A choice that made you commit to yourself and your team, a choice that has victory at the end of the road and one, that only you can push through when the times get tough!

On January 27th 2017 we are going to witness 160 Fitness First staff changing into the ‘Finisher’ t-shirt & here is how: 2 years ago there were 3 Fitness First employees who signed up to race individually the half Ironman distance triathlon in Dubai…the following year we decided to invite some keen colleagues to join us which brought our numbers to a total of 60 at the Dubai International Triathlon….this year, 160 Fitness First staff, few of our members and key business partners are going to stand proudly at the IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai start line to use their strength, to face their fears and to live our brand. Over the years, we watched the passion grow within our teams which is now unstoppable with clubs supporting major sporting events, competing in international races and our presence across the field in the Middle East. That’s what counts. From the Executive Team to club teams, we live, breathe and just can’t get enough of our brand, what better place to be!

If you look at the team and individual split, not everyone is a pro but everyone is a hero! Some of us never thought a triathlon is something to get involved in, some have only learnt how to swim in the process, others never run more than 5 or 10km and some & for some, focus has always been weight training…. and yes,  there are also those that haven’t ridden a bike since they were kids! But, does it really matter and how do you involve such big numbers?  Simple, they all made a choice and they love what we do. Based on a simple shout out, in less than 2 weeks we exceeded our predicted numbers for participants and the interest kept going. With the support from Fitness First our teams are training hard and awaiting the arrival of their training kit. This amazing initiative would’ve not been possible if it wasn’t for our closest strategic partners contributing almost AED 100,000 in sponsorship, call this a team effort! We’ve created a huge buzz around the business successfully continuing to promote the sense of community through social media activations, never ending what’s app groups, high energy training sessions and have already been asked about the next event. No session is ever too late and no session is ever too early, participation strives! We support them, we help them but all the hard work, come from the individuals…all we did, is ignited the fire!

Key important component of success for any company are when staff is passionate about your product, about your brand, about your future. How powerful it is that 160 staff will be waving the Fitness First flag on the race day, a race that is recognised internationally in the age group and professional field …. The main part however comes way before the race day : it starts with commitments and a plan, then hours of training, strategy, aches and pains, learning the disciplines, early starts and late finished, nutrition changes and body transformations is what it takes to stand on that beach and wait for the whistle to blow.  It starts by not giving up. By then, you’ve earned it, you worked for it, and you are ready to face it. We are proud that our teams represent that.

For some of us, it is just another race, another t-shirt, another medal …. For others, it’s a challenge of a lifetime or a race they never dreamt of participating in. We are making it happen but our staff passion for fitness & movement made the recruitment easy! Truth to be told, you are never too old for the next medal…

Will the numbers grow year on year? Yes. Will we involve our members? Absolutely. Do we love what we do? No doubt.

See you all at the beach on January 27th 2017…. shoulder to shoulder let the race begin!

Kate Milewska
Group Central Operations and Customer Service Manager
Fitness First Middle East and North Africa


Fitness & Training

7 reasons Fitness First is more than a gym

posted by FitnessFirst Team August 22, 2016 0 comments

For many people, a visit to the gym means following the same routine: warm up, 40 minutes on the treadmill, some weights and then cool down, home. This routine will maintain your fitness, sure! But you may find yourself stuck in your own routine with less motivation in your workout, and perhaps most importantly, you may begin to lose the enjoyment that can be gained from working out.

What a lot of people don’t know is that your gym membership can be your best friend on the journey to a healthier life. With your Fitness First membership, you can experience the advantages of working alongside people who care about your success. A gym does not need to just be a gym, and here’s how we achieve that:

Freestyle Classes

We hold Freestyle Group Training sessions that challenge your body to move, increase everyday mobility. Each session is different which keeps things interesting, and focuses on different parts of the body and planes of motion. Everyone can get involved, and groups of 4-8 club members will enjoy the interactive 30 minute workout on the gym floor, which provides lots of time to get to know your fellow fitness fans.

Personal Training

If you feel like you need a bit more information about how to get fitter, increase your strength or lose some weight, we have accredited personal trainers who can help. They can design a custom program just for you, to assist you in reaching your goals.

Core Juice Bar

Once you’ve finished your workout, you don’t need to rush off – a protein smoothie is the perfect way to end a training session. There is so much variety to choose from, or you can even just make up your own! After a workout is one of the best times to get protein into the body so that the protein can be delivered to your muscles and repair any micro-tears, and of course it helps that the smoothies are delicious! 


Sometimes it feels like there is no obvious change to your body even though you’ve been working out hard. Using a tracking system allows you to keep note of your progress online, with a system that monitors your heart rate, burned calories, and time spent exercising. MYZONE then converts your workout into MYZONE Effort Points that can be exchanged for rewards.

Swim Academy

Did you know that we have a swim program? We operate all over Dubai, from Uptown Mirdif, to Burjuman to Emirates Living. Kids of all ages and abilities can learn how to swim confidently, develop their strokes or even join a competitive team. Adults & teens can also enjoy the water, with swimming based fitness classes.

Discounts and Privileges

What if your gym card didn’t just work in the gym? Well, your membership card provides you with discounts in multiple restaurants across the city, as well as leisurewear outlets such as Adidias, spas and salons, and loads more. Not only that, but you can collect Shukran points when you sign up, and when you purchase any additional services or products from Fitness First. Work hard and shop harder.

International Passport

Fitness First is an international brand, with gyms and facilities all over the world. We know how important a fitness regime is, and travelling can sometimes throw you off-track. But whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, you can rest in the knowledge that you will have access to a Fitness First club wherever you go. Just speak to a member of staff before you travel!

Never again does the gym need to be a monotonous exercise.  Everything you need to keep yourself on a focused and fun fitness journey is available with one card, so make the most of it! Join a new class and try something different, relax in the sauna, socialize in the members lounge, travel and maintain your fitness across the globe, while tracking your amazing progress online.

Our gyms offer more than just a gym. They offer a lifestyle. So start living it!


10 Steps to help you detox SUGAR from your body
Health & Nutrition

10 Steps to help you detox SUGAR from your body

posted by FitnessFirst Team April 4, 2016 0 comments

The truth is we are eating way more sugar than we need and there are a lot of hidden added sugars in our diets we are unaware of.

Our sweet tooth could be doing serious damage to our health, leading to weight gain, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and an increased risk for diabetes type 2 (insulin independent), high Triglyceride and cholesterol levels, depression, migraine, gout… just a few of the harmful effects for sugar.

According to the American Diet Association that daily intake of sugar should not be more than 7% of daily caloric intake, that’s equivalent to 6 teaspoons for woman and about 9 teaspoons for man.

Sugar in excess can be harmful and cost a lot of problems, such as craving, binge eating, weight gain and heart diseases. Eating too much sugar triggers a release of the hormone insulin which might give you a nice jolt of energy, but over time, the metabolism becomes inefficient and you begin to feel sluggish.

10 Steps to help you detox sugar from your body-fitness first

The idea is to limit our consumption of sugar and cut back on foods that are high in sugar low in nutrition and easy to overeat such as soft drinks, sweets and pastries. We should focus on foods that provide important nutrients along with the sugar they contain like yoghurt and fruits.

Steps to help you detox sugar from your body:

1. Don’t go cold turkey: Reduce the sugar added to your diet and make sure it’s done gradually to give your buds time to adjust. Substitute sugar with flavors to your hot and cold drinks, such as cinnamon and vanilla.

2. Know your sugars: there 3 different kinds of sugar that found naturally in food; glucose, “blood sugar”, the simplest sugar your body use for energy and found in grains, and starch. Galactose, a sugar in milk (and yogurt), fructose, a sugar found in honey and fruits.

3. Eat real food: indulge in complex carbohydrates, including fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains like brown rice and legumes.

4. Eliminate foods containing sugar: all sodas, fruit drinks that aren’t 100 percent juice, desserts, processed foods, candy and condiments.

5. Balance your carbs and protein intake, and add more protein to your food, to help you feel full for longer time to stabilize your blood sugar and prevent cravings.

6. Do not skip meals, it’s ideal to eat small frequent meals during the day to help your body balance your sugar levels, make sure you are having at least 5 meals a day.

7. Stick to low GI foods in your meals and snack options which include most fruits and vegetables.

8. Avoid low fat and diet foods which contain hidden sugars and avoid artificial sweeteners.

9. Read Food Labels: sugar, in its various forms, hides in many of the foods that we eat every day.

10. Make the pledge: don’t delay and start feeling your best!

Once you start cutting added sugars from your diet your energy levels will improve, you will lose weight, sleep better, your bad cholesterol will go down, your skin will improve, your sugar cravings and fatigue will diminish and you will feel better. The ultimate goal is to have a permanent lifestyle change.

Glycemic Index (GI)

According to American Diabetic association, the Glycemic index, or GI, measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose. Foods are ranked based on how they compare to a reference food — either glucose or white bread. A food with a high GI raises blood glucose more than a food with a medium or low GI.

Low GI Foods (55 or less) Medium GI (56-69) High GI (70 or more)
100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread Whole wheat, rye and pita bread White bread or bagel
Oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli Quick oats Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal
Pasta, converted rice, barley, bulgar Brown, wild or basmati rice, couscous Short grain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix
Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils Russet potato, pumpkin
Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots   Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers
Melons and pineapple  

10 Steps to help you detox SUGAR from your body
Food Labels:
Terms which indicate sugar has been added to the product in one form or another

Agave nectar
Agave syrup
Barley malt
Beet sugar
Brown rice syrup
Brown sugar
Buttered syrup
Cane sugar
Cane juice
Cane juice crystals
Carob syrup
Confectioner’s sugar
Corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup
Corn sugar
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup solids
Crystalized fructose
Date sugar
Diastatic malt
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice
Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose solids
Golden sugar
Golden syrup
Grape sugar
Grape juice concentrate
Invert sugar
Maple syrup
Raw sugar
Refiner’s syrup
Sorghum syrup
Turbinado sugar
Yellow sugar

Banin Shahine
Nutrition Manager
Fitness First Middle East

Race before the race - Behind the scenes of Ironman 70.3
Our Team

Race before the race – Behind the scenes of Ironman 70.3

posted by FitnessFirst Team March 28, 2016 0 comments

Whether you are an experienced athlete or a first timer, once you press the “Register” button on the IRONMAN website, your schedule, your energy, your world starts evolving around that exact date as you prepare for the race.

You train, you listen, you educate yourself, you push hard and learn new levels outside of your comfort zone. You count the days and make plans until the day where you drop off your machine at T1 & pack your bags for the next day stressing if you will get enough sleep and if the fuel plan you prepared is good enough….then you see the weather changing, the wind picking up and you wonder if your plan will become a reality. Before you turn up at 5am the next morning to complete the bike preparation and walk over to the swim start….someone’s already waiting for you…

Race before the race - Behind the scenes of Ironman 70.3

(Photography credits attributed to the owner)

That someone has also been preparing for months, formed plans and strategies & recruited the best people for the job to make sure, we are all ready for the race day. But our game is a race before the race. We must beat you to the start line, to the transition area, to the swim start and to the aid stations. We must be first on the ground with weeks of preparation, logistics and super team ready to make it happen!


For the first time since I started racing in triathlons just over a year ago, I had the pleasure to witness & be part of the team behind the scenes by joining RACE.ME & the IRONMAN team as one of the Team Leaders for the IM Dubai 70.3 race. Although I could only join the forces few days before the event where majority of the mega jobs were completed, the challenge, experience and team work that I experienced in that time was priceless. We are aware that it takes time and huge amount of work to pull such projects off but unless you are in the middle of organizing & coordinating 300+ volunteers for various Team Managers, setting up the aid stations where the athletes count on you to supply them with fuel and support, getting to site at 3 am and leaving almost 20 hours later holding tightly a “to do” list for the next day, it’s almost impossible to comprehend. I loved every moment of it for the people around me , for the precision in decision making, for the comradely around the base camp and for the challenge and learning’s that the whole experience brought me.

Your days are people intense filled with wins & setbacks, your hard work pays off or you turn up in the morning to find the site a bit less organized than you left it as you realize our close cousin “the 35 km/wind” decided to visit last night… But you race as hard as you can and you push as much as you can for when the athletes arrive , you are standing tall with a big smile, your white Team Leader shirt and a warm welcome wishing them a great day! What’s amazing about a local race is that all of your tri friends are there and they welcome you with hugs and thank you words knowing , that you made a difference to what’s about to come. The race kicks off, the tweets are flying, helicopters are up in the air, the pro athlete watch is on and we are on our stations, ready to shout the words of encouragement and continue with our secret operation behind the scenes.


Being in charge of some of the run course set up, it gave me a chance to really interact with everyone and I loved it. Everyone gives you a smile back and if energy lasts, even a high-5 or a cheeky joke. You run around the stations and they run around the course until the last person crosses the finish line….medals are issued, podium is waiting and the little army behind the scenes is on their way to clean up the tables, pick up the cones and reverse all the set up that made IRONMAN DUBAI 70.3 look and feel incredible. The evening brings congratulations which go both ways and then you know, we are all in this together…

From athletes to athletes.

#getinvolved #oneteam #newexperience

Kate Milewska
Group Central Operations and Customer Service Manager
Fitness First Middle East and North Africa

The one who took the extra Mile…




5 CORE exercises to build your engine - A Beginner's Guide!
Our Experts

5 CORE exercises to build your engine

posted by FitnessFirst Team March 14, 2016 0 comments

As athletes attend their training sessions they often neglect the core and stretch sessions…here’s why the core sessions are equally if not MORE important than a regular training session.  Core muscles are vital and they don’t always get worked enough with just regular training sessions.

Think of your core muscles – the chest, back, abs, and obliques – as the link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. No matter what your movement, the motions either start from your core, or is transferred through it.

Weak core muscles contribute to slouching. Good posture trims your silhouette and projects confidence. More importantly, it lessens wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe deeply.

No matter what movements you do or where the movement starts, your arms and legs all stem from the core, the strength in your limbs are intimately tied to the strength in your torso. Having a strong core sets a solid foundation for strength in the rest of the body the power is transferred upward and downward to adjoining parts of the body. For example when running, core strength allows the pelvis, hips, and lower back to work together more smoothly, with less rocking & thus, less excess energy expended.  A strongly built-up core will considerably increase the power, posture & speed.

Core strength for endurance athletes is especially important! Towards the end of long training sessions or races, when you are extremely fatigued, your form begins to suffer if the core has not been trained – it is a fantastic feeling when running to know the core engages and is enabling you to stay strong. Poor form not only slows you down, it also opens you up to potential injuries.

While it’s important to build a strong core, the program must be structured to involve all muscles, over training only abdominal muscles and neglecting muscles of the back and hip can set you up for injuries.

5 CORE exercises to build your engine:

You can use your body weight or the Bosu for a harder option.

1. V-Sit
5 CORE exercises to build your engine

2. Plank
5 CORE exercises to build your engine

3. Bicycle Abs
5 CORE exercises to build your engine

4. Mountain Climbers
5 CORE exercises to build your engine

5. Roll Outs
5 CORE exercises to build your engine

Your arms and legs are the wheels of your body (vehicle), without a strong core (engine) you will never go faster, hit your top speed and achieve your best performance!

Lisa Hancox
National Swimming and Programming Manager
Fitness First MENA

Fitness & Training

Couples Who Sweat Together, Stay Together !

posted by FitnessFirst Team February 29, 2016 0 comments

If you feel being in love is the best thing that happened to you then, nurture it with physical congruence to cherish it forever. Oh yes, turning your better half into your gym and workout partner can reap you more benefits than you could have ever imagined.

It is known that motivation plays an integral part of every lifestyle and there are so many times when it becomes just impossible to push yourself to that much needed workout. Well, working out together has it’s rewards;

  • It creates a shared goal,

  • It develops perseverance and keeps a check on lapses in behavior.

  • As a couple you increase your chances of sticking to your exercise regime and make sure you do not slip into fatigue easily.

  • It really helps strengthen the bond as you work towards a common objective and face challenges together with positive reinforcement.

Couples Who Sweat Together, Stay Together

A study, from the Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University, surveyed married couples who joined health clubs together and found that couples who worked out separately had a 43 percent gym dropout rate over the course of a year whereas the couples who went to the gym together, had only a 6.3 percent dropout rate.

Right from stretching the mat together, pulling out those bikes or lacing up together for a marathon run; matching paces grows on to competitive spirit, lift-to-success ecstasy and healthy resolutions. Not only does your relationship lead the way with a spark of confidence but you also tend to push each other in different ways. Words of encouragement from your partner do help you in pulling off that extra set of squats that would otherwise seem impossible to sail through. It doesn’t matter if your workout companion is your spouse, partner, friend, sibling or even offspring; what primarily is important is that workout partners can help you stay committed to fitness and have fun.

Couples Who Sweat Together, Stay Together

Appreciating and understanding fitness routines is yet another perk you enjoy for having your spouse as your workout buddy. The fact that you are able to commit to ‘guilt-free’ workouts speaks volumes about your relationship and tends to get carried forward to many other areas of your life. Plus the energy transcends to many other aspects as you are more energetic and feel the need to do more activities together.

A faith built through a workout buddy lasts forever. You always have a trustworthy partner right beside you who is forever raring to go. You always have someone to watch you over, to point out faults and save you in times of injury.  In short, you both grow strong together.

Couples Who Sweat Together, Stay Together

Exercise definitely is an excuse to stay together. It may not eliminate the need for buying gifts for each other but it definitely weighs your relationship in lustre than glistens more than gold!

Fitness & Training

So, What are our Members training for ?

posted by FitnessFirst Team February 8, 2016 4 Comments

We all need to ask ourselves this question…what am I training for? If you are just training for the sake of it then there is nothing to look forward to, nothing to achieve and no motivation to train. The first steps to reaching your goals is setting these goals so you can train for a reason. There are many reasons to train whether it’s related to health, fitness, participation in a race or simply looking and feeling good.

We asked some of our valued members, “What are you training for?” And the response was amazing! Many members responded with positive feedback and showed us how dedicated they are to their training and in their determination in achieving their goals. We are very proud of our members and their desire to lead healthy lifestyles and train for a reason and we are always there to help with our team of expert personal trainers, nutritionists and fitness team.

Here are a few life changing members testimonials for #IAMTRAININGFOR which are worth sharing to inspire others embrace a healthy lifestyle and go further in life and fitness.

Dr. Leila Soudah

#IAMTRAININGFOR to beat my cancer

I decided to start going to the gym as I decided to survive my breast cancer, I knew that operation, medication, diet alone is not enough to stay healthy as long as possible.

After I started the gym, I fell in love with it, I saw how much it start changing my life.

I saw how strong I became physically as well as mentally, I felt I am in control of my life.

I reached my weight that I was desiring since 13 years. I look much better at 57 years than I was in my thirties  My next goal is building 6 pack and I will do what ever it takes to reach that goal.

I am Training For Testimonial

Some serious training by Dr. Leilah


Dr. Leilah Soudah with our expert personal trainer Trevor Flowers who helped her in training and motivated her to reach her desired goals.

I am Training For Testimonial

Sheila Broderick

#IAMTRAININGFOR my further life

After my husband died last year I realized that my future life was in my hands and the first thing I decided was to get fitter. To relieve my sciatica , my pain consultant advised me to do some regular exercise. With the encouragement of my daughter and her family I decided to get some help from their Best Gym in Dubai : “Fitness First”.

Fortunately for me, you, Kamal, agreed to be my Personal Trainer. You have certainly worked me hard, but always with understanding and enthusiasm. Always conscious of my limitations at age 74, you have actively encouraged me to push myself a little more each session, and praised my efforts. It has been a memorable experience and after 6 sessions I cannot believe how well and active I feel. I will be for ever grateful to you for giving me the start to a more positive and active life. I would not hesitate to recommend you as a skilled, sensitive, encouraging, and charming Personal Trainer.

I am Training For Testimonial

Kris Barber

#IAMTRAININGFOR a new start in my 50’s

My name is Kris, I have had the pleasure of training with Kamal for the past 6 months and have to say am delighted with the results. Through his guidance and encouragement I have managed to lose 16kgs of fat and reduced my BMI from 30.8 to 26.8.

Previously I was always feeling tired and exhausted and I avoided exercise as much as possible. I hated going to the gym and on previous training sessions use to ache so much the next day I would not go back for weeks. Having Kamal training me has improved my fitness beyond belief, without the pain experienced before. Kamal understands not to push too hard in his training method and focus on core areas that need work rather than overall general workouts.

We started doing cardio and hi energy workouts to burn fat in the first few weeks and then Kamal decided to introduce weights into the sessions, concentrating on arms one day, legs the next and abs the next, building muscle, losing fat and making me feel 10 years younger!

I am Training For Testimonial

The results speak for themselves:

June 2014 Jan 2015
Weight 90.7 KG 80.1 KG
BMI 30.8 26.8
Body Fat mass 31.4 19.1
% Body Fat 34.7 26.8

Now he has me doing ‘clap push ups’,  2 minute planks and deadlifting 120kgs.

I honestly don’t believe my results would have been so impressive had it not been for Kamal’s dedication and perseverance.

So, What are YOU training for?

We would love to get your feedback in the comments below and help you on your fitness journey as well!

Freestyle training

After 10 amazing years…. What’s next?

posted by FitnessFirst Team January 12, 2016 0 comments

2006 saw the birth of Fitness First’s First Club in Middle East, Ibn Battuta Mall. This flagship club was the start of the Fitness First journey. The second club followed shortly after with Uptown Mirdiff. Fitness First took on its first Ladies Only club, opened the doors to Uptown Mirdiff Ladies Club, Safeer Mall Sharjah and Oasis Centre. Our exclusive ladies clubs took the Middle East to new heights, offering a facility where ladies can feel free to exercise with confidence and privacy, as well as the best classes, equipment and service.

Ladies Only Club

Zumba danced its way into our clubs in 2011, the Latin inspired, calorie burning dance party arrived and still parties hard today. Zumba encourages our members to “Ditch the Workout and Join the Party” in its contagious class full of energy… Check out our group exercise timetables to get your Zumba fix.

Zumba Launch

Ibn Batutta Mall hosted our Fitness First Ultimate X Training Challenge. The race against the clock to complete 12 exercises in sequence as fast as possible took the Middle East by storm.

X Fitness Challenge

In 2011, Fitness First introduced an exclusive class – TUFF – aka “The Ultimate Fitness Firster”… This was one of its’ kind. This group class has given our members the ultimate challenge which will change body shape fast. The best part is that TUFF lives on today and is ever changing and ever challenging… It’s impossible to get bored of this high intense interval training class, Have you tried it? Are you TUFF enough?


2012 saw Fitness First acquire and refurbish the Sports Hall in Meadows Community. All the hard work behind the scenes led to the official opening and operation of SPORTZONE in January 2013. Thus we are fast approaching our 3rd Anniversary! It’s led by our amazing Sports & Events Manager, Gary Melhuish & his team.


Innovation swung into our studios with Swing Yoga which allowed our members to take their yoga skills to another level. Swing Yoga enables us to do normally difficult yoga poses with ease and comfort. It helps us fine tune our bodies and optimize our health.

Swing Yoga

In 2013 our way of tracking fitness was revolutionized. Fitness First was the first health & fitness chain to introduce MYZONE into the Middle East. This unique fitness tool is still alive in our clubs today. MYZONE has helped our members to engage with their fitness journey in ways like no other. It helps them track progress & transform their results with live feedback features to optimize performance.

XFit landed in our Knowledge Village Club. Fitness first opened the doors to a new world of training for our everyday members. XFit was designed to integrate the very familiar “HITT” style of training with our members goals, without the intimidation of super elite athletes preparing for the Cross Fit Games. Our XFit Box is a welcoming environment for every type of member, and they are guaranteed to be challenged by the XFit Fundamentals, Group Sessions and open workouts. XFit is still growing within Fitness First with our evolving WODs, amazing coaches, a second XFit Studio open now in Uptown Mirdiff and a new box on the horizon.


Fitness First participated in the Dubai Fitness Championships under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, at Dubai Mall ice rink in both 2013 & 2014. The championships helped to raise awareness on the importance of health, exercise and promote fitness to citizens across the UAE all in line with the vision to “Make the world a fitter place”.

If you thought balancing nutrition with fitness was a challenge, think again. In 2014, we launched Nutrition by Fitness First, a 360 degree lifestyle solution that blends nutrition consultation with gourmet meal plans. It’s all about achieving optimum health through exercise and sound nutritional principles.

In 2015, Freestyle Group Training aka “FGT” hit our gym floor classes and activated our members to move “Freestyle”. This class brought our Fitness Philosophy to life by encouraging our members to move with purpose, reach their personal bests and achieve more than ever thought possible. If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for, check in your club for the latest time table. We have the choice of FGT Basic, Core, HIIT, Strength & Power.

Freestyle group training

2015 was the year of transformation. With Our Fitness Philosophy in mind– “We help you to go further in fitness and in life with the right balance of training, healthy eating and inspiration.” We launched The Change Project”, The 8 week weight loss transformation program. This program gives members the nutritional support to reach their health and fitness goals. What more do you need?!

Another burst of energy to our gym floor classes sees Fit 4:15. This is a fun, energetic HIIT Class which is guaranteed to give you maximum results working between a treadmill and dumbbell series workout.

In November 2015, we threw down the gauntlet to our members and set the mighty “MYZONE 25 million calories challenge”. This motivated our members to compete for those calories and win some prizes! Our members exceeded aimed higher than we ever imagined. “An incredible 85 million total calories burnt, 86618 hours of workouts throughout all clubs by our members” was achieved.

MYZONE Challenge

Fitness First finished the year of 2015 with a bang, seeing staff and members come together to compete in the Dubai International Triathlon. This proved not only that we are the Fittest Company in the Middle East, but that we are committed and enthusiastic about fitness; and lead from the front. We are in this fitness journey together with our members.


We also saw our newest clubs open, Business Bay, Golden Mile and our dedicated Male only Club in Ayla Hotel Al Ain.  The look and feel of these clubs is a snapshot of the future of ever evolving brand. Fitness first promises to inspire you to go further and keep bringing the latest innovation and best fitness experience.

BBD Vision Tower

After 10 amazing years…. What’s next? Watch this space! #FitnessFirstMETurnsTen

Charlotte Stebbing
Regional Fitness Manager
Fitness First Middle East

Our Experts

Bothered much about New Year’s resolutions?

posted by FitnessFirst Team January 5, 2016 0 comments

Oops…..you did it again! Yup, you made that New Year’s ‘resolution’ to hit your fitness target this year. Same one you made last year…..and the year before that. Or perhaps you’ve decided to call it quits in 2016. Heck, you are never going to reach that ‘target’ anyways. So why even bother?

I’ll tell you why bother! You continue to bother because you are bothered. And if that is not reason enough……read on.

You bother because it is something you’ve always wanted and no matter how much you try to bury it deep in the abyss of your mind, it keeps resurfacing.

You bother because you might not like what you see in the mirror and you know in your heart that if you just focused a little bit more, committed a little more time, tried a little bit harder…..if you just did……you would get there.

You bother because last night you saw your holiday pictures on Facebook and Instagram, and you compared them with the previous years and truth is you look way older than your sister. Who is 5 years older than you!

You bother because the doctor put the word ‘risk’ and ‘your health’ in the same sentence, and that gave you goose bumps…..and not the good kind. And you think of your loved ones who’ve mentioned to you about health risks in passing, and now you know, it’s time to make a change.

You bother because you have met amazing people and made wonderful friendships at the gym you train at. And even though you haven’t hit your target yet, you remember James or Sally who have you the same struggles as you. And the thought of sharing that coffee after a fun and spirited group class…..gives you hope for tomorrow.

Bothered much about New Year's resolutions-fitness friends

You bother because you met up with this trainer that is passionate about your progress. She knows your struggles and understands them because at one point she was very unhealthy and unfit too. And you know that for a fact because you’ve seen the pictures! So maybe you’ll try something different this time. Maybe you’ll train with a professional.

You bother because aside from targets, you realize that you’ve actually grown to love working out. Music playing in your ears, sweat dripping down your brow, the feel of metal in your hand, muscles burning with every repetition, your heart racing to the tempo, adrenaline rushing in your veins yup, it hurts, and yes you’ll do it all over again tomorrow.

Okay….I could sit here and pretend to know your reasons for wanting to get fit, or your struggles for wanting to quit. I don’t. All I know is that we all have struggles in life and in fitness. Even for those who seem to have “achieved” their body targets; if they were to speak honestly they would admit that it is a constant battle every single day. It is painful, it requires sacrifice, it needs consistency and in most cases progress takes time. So hey…….if you ask me, I’d say ditch the resolution and just go with it. Perhaps with that pressure gone…………!

Betty Ndolo
Personal Trainer 
Fitness First, Abu-Dhabi Mall

Eating healthy when on the road
Health & Nutrition

Eating healthy, when on the road!

posted by FitnessFirst Team December 28, 2015 0 comments

Remember the last time you raised a toast, ‘One for the road’! Well, if habits make a man then groom yourself into travel-experience enhancing hacks that will not toss your toned body and hard-earned fitness through the window.

Staying healthy and keeping diet on the track while on the go can be difficult but, read on as Fitness First brings you tips to stay fit while traveling.

Plan ahead in time

A little bit of homework goes a long way to help you plan your schedule and food. You do come across fast food joints a plenty when discovering a new country but they offer limited choices. Opt for a grocery store instead that offers whole and healthy foods like fruits, nuts and salads. A supermarket with a salad bar may not offer you a brownie but will sure earn you brownie points. Home-made snacks like nutty bars, energy bites etc; let you have access to food at all times. So, there’s no skipping meals there!Binge on tasty and heart healthy foods:

Binge on tasty and heart healthy foods

Avoid giving in to temptations. Maximize clean eating like meat, vegetables, nuts and fruits and consciously junk empty calories like processed grains, carbs and aerated, sugary drinks.

Eat less, eat more

That precisely means you should be eating small quantity at frequent intervals. In this way, the body never stores fat for later consumption. It is also easy to burn calories taken in by regular meals rather than loading in one single sitting. Eating too much at one go can also make you sluggish and sleepy, beating the purpose of your vacation.

Raise protein intake

When in need of energy for a long hike, a long drive, or a day at the beach, stoke your body with high-quality, lean protein found in any animal and dairy product. Eating the right amount of complete protein for your weight and activity level stabilizes blood sugar (preventing energy lags), enhances concentration, and keeps you lean and strong.

Keep sipping on water

Yes, water is essential and a life saver! Our body needs water for virtually all of its functions. Drinking plenty of water will flush the body of toxins, keeps the skin fresh, and reduces the appetite. It will also keep you hydrated and aids in avoiding travel lag, symptoms of overexposure to the heat or sun, and junk-food cravings. Believe it or not, many of the unhealthy cravings we experience on the road can be satisfied with a refreshing drink of pure water.

Get picky about choosing restaurants

Select places with a full menu. Not only does that allow you to customize a healthy meal but also take in cooking requests like trimming off visible fat from meat and poultry.

And while we are still at the restaurant, it might just help to keep the following in mind:

  • Select steamed or fresh vegetables and broiled or baked meat instead of fried foods. Roasted or poached fish and meat are also preferable to fried food.
  • Watch your salt intake and use the salt shaker on your table sparingly.
  • Choose the lunch portion, when possible. Lunch portions are usually half the size of dinner portions, but most are still enough to fill up the average diner.
  • Look for pasta dishes with tomato-based sauces, which are generally lower in fat and calories than cream-based sauces. This applies to soups, as well.
  • Drink water or unsweetened tea with your meal, and avoid soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Most restaurants offer bottled water.
  • Skip dessert. Eating a single slice of chocolate cake after your meal can negate all the healthy choices you made when ordering your dinner. If you really need dessert, ask if the restaurant serves a fresh fruit bowl.

So while you sift through the ‘Lonely Planet’ to lay your sight on the next destination-to-be; remember these simple tips and never forget, ‘Moderation is the key’!

Happy vacationing!

8 Tips to make a fresh start for the New Year
Health & Nutrition

IF NOT NOW WHEN? 8 Tips to make a fresh start for the New Year

posted by FitnessFirst Team December 21, 2015 2 Comments

With the New Year approaching, comes the opportunity for a fresh start. Make sure your main goal is switching to a healthier lifestyle and maintain/achieving a healthy weight.

1. Find your motivation

What’s your motivation? Losing weight? Looking better in clothes? Feeling more energetic? Or simply improving your health? Get clear about what you really want and why you want to change, and use it to inspire you.

2. Set a S.M.A.R.T. Goal

S: Specific. Make your goal is specific. It should be exactly what you want
M: Measurable. You can measure your progress, so you can track yourself
A: Attainable. Set small goals you can achieve in a short time
R: Realistic. Do not set impossible goals
T: Timely. Set a time to achieve your goal

3. Start changing gradually

Your first small step toward wellness can be a giant leap for your self-confidence. Don’t make the mistake of turning your life into an existence you no longer recognize as your own. Any unwise habits you have probably took years to form. Your best chance to change them is to take it slowly. Drastic changes make you lose your self-control on food. Make sure your changes are gradual so you can get used to them and you can preserve in the long term.

4. Fill up on vegetables

Vegetables are not only high in vitamins, minerals, and fibers but also fill you up with fewer calories. Make sure you are adding veggies to your daily meals. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, or start your meal with salad, this helps you not to overeat from the main dish.

8 Tips to make a fresh start for the New Year


5. Rate your plate on every meal

Make sure your plate on every meal is equivalent to my plate. Divide your plate into four quarters:

  • ¼ for fruits (choose whole fruits)
  • ¼ for vegetables (choose a variety)
  • ¼ for protein (choose animal lean protein, or plant based protein)
  • ¼ for carbohydrate (make sure most of your daily carbohydrates are whole)

6. Enjoy your food but eat less, so how you can do it?

  • Use a smaller plate, bowl or glass and choose smaller portions. Use a smaller serving spoon.
  • Take a small portion of your favorite foods that may be high in calories or salt and enjoy each bite.
  • Take your time to enjoy your food, your brain needs at least 20 minutes to realize that you are full
  • Stop eating when you are satisfied, not full

7. Not skipping your meals especially breakfast

Skipping meals, does not help you in weight loss strategy, it sets your goal back. Skipping meals put your body in starvation mode (your body thinks that you are starving and starts to store fat), and also skipping meals leads to binging on your next meal. And keep in mind your body is like a car (if you do not put fuel in it, it will not move), same if you do not put nutrition in your body it will not burn calories.

8. Physical activity

Add exercise to your daily bases make sure you are exercising at least 150 minutes per week (moderate intensity exercise). Remember healthy nutrition will not make you lose weight without physical activity, and physical activity will not make you fit without healthy nutrition.

8 Tips to make a fresh start for the New YearIf you find or you think it is difficult to start alone, you can ask for help from our experts, or simply ask for support from your family or friends. Remember that good health is a result of your overall eating pattern.

Every next meal is a new opportunity to nourish your body!

Banin Shahine
Nutrition Manager
Fitness First Middle East


TUFF facts that most members would not know

posted by FitnessFirst Team October 5, 2015 0 comments

The fact that we can share this with the members and encourage others to understand our exclusive Middle East signature product more means we potentially give them the awareness and knowledge as an active member or member wanting to know more about TUFF itself.

The true essence behind TUFF

At a glance it’s a physically TUFF class, excuse the pun! However the real reason why this class has become such a psychological class, a workout where you simply need to switch up another gear, dig deep and find the courage even before the class starts will tell you why members feel this is the most challenging class out of them all. The true essence behind TUFF is our bodies become the machines, we do all the physical effort which requires squatting, bending, pushing, pulling, twisting, lunging and locomotive movement patterns known as the 7 primal movements. These are movements that we use in day to day life and everyone who is able and injury free should be able to execute them. In addition the EFFORT factor is timed, short intervals and even shorter recovery periods and then a cross mix of weight training using barbells and integrated body movements that are predominately functional.

TUFF facts that most members would not know

Progression vs Regression

The name FUNCTIONAL training and HIIT (High intensity training) have been the big buzz words on the market for some time now and TUFF has been creating that same good feel factor for the past 4 years. Due to the short intervals spurts and the combination of using compound weight training movements, TUFF needed to accommodate more regression vs progression options if the product was going to accommodate all members. As a TUFF coach you are taught to engage and interact with members when it comes to workload and technique safety, we do this by setting the movement on stage first, before we assist on the floor and rove the studio helping coach technique safety. At this stage there is only 1 other class that offers the following formula of progression and regression, which is Yoga.

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