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Lisa Hancox | Ironman 70.3 Dubai | Fitness First ME Blog
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Fitness First Inspiration – Lisa Hancox ‘My 10th Ironman 70.3 Race!’

posted by FitnessFirst Team February 11, 2018 0 comments

Training

Having raced in Ironman 70.3 Thailand in November 2017, my training during December was a little lighter; January comprised of a few random training blocks as I had the opportunity to attend both the Faris Al Sultan Tri Training Camp as well as a training camp with my coach and Pro Athlete, Pedro Gomes. Both camps were held at the Barr Al Jissah Shangri La Resort in Muscat, Oman.  It was a great opportunity to train in the hills and swim against the current in the lazy river which is both great for training, are challenging and fun (and I would do it all again!).

This threw the schedule off, and I did not feel I had done a consistent, solid training block for the weeks leading to the Ironman 70.3 Dubai race. I also had 2 consecutive work trips to Jordan to train the team.

Honestly, in the week leading into Ironman 70.3 Dubai I felt like a bit of a zombie and had no idea where my fitness was for the race. I was intrigued to see where I would be racing in the new age group though (maybe this is the one advantage of getting older?).

The Evening Before the Race

The evening before the race, after the bike was racked, I felt like there was something missing – I guess this is since these crazy races become a little more routine it does not seem as complex as it did before.

I didn’t find anything missing and went to race morning comfortable – was happy with where my bike was racked (opposite Ironman 70.3 Dubai winner, Alistair Brownlee) close to the bike exit.

Race Day

I put the nutrition and Garmin (bike computer) on the bike, checked the blue and red transition bags were still in place and got my bike shoes to place on the bike – with the rubber bands as practised in Pedro’s Transition Clinic!

Once all set, I went back to the car and got my wetsuit on ready to race; had my breakfast #2 which consisted of Argi+, Fast Break & High5 gel – yum!  A quick jog down the road got me both warmed up a bit and down to the swim start – with a couple of stops for social chats on the way wishing all a great race.

At the swim start, I tried to position myself as much as possible in the correct position according to my ability.  Once I got started I passed many people on the way out of the marina – so far so good for the race. Then we got out to the open water and the waves were rolling and choppy – as Pedro said, there has never been so much elevation in the swim of an Ironman race – I had no idea where the boys were so was just following other’s arms and legs. This lack of direction takes confidence, even if with less power/speed but I was comfortable – even though I was a bit disorientated!

I was able to follow the feet and see a few orange buoys on my right so knew I was headed vaguely in the right direction!  There seemed a bit of a current so I headed back towards the orange buoys whilst still following the people ahead of me. As I finally hit the beach there were a few waves to ride in a little, I aim to get as shallow as I can whilst still swimming before I try to stand as it is hard work to run through water (although riding the waves I got a cramp in my left calf!).

Lisa Hancox | Ironman 70.3 Dubai | Fitness First ME BlogRun up the beach – there are lots of Fitness First colleagues cheering so I figured I had best keep running even if a bit dizzy from being rolled around in the water. So T1 went smoothly; got the Blue Bag, emptied, decided it was warm enough to have no socks on the bike – a debate I was still having with myself until that moment (cold feet vs time to put socks on?). The decision was made because it wasn’t so cold and it is slow to put socks on when wet, then they need to be changed after the bike anyway since the socks are wet by the end of the bike from the ocean water still dripping off you, and you can’t run with wet socks (dramas of Triathlon racing). So this left only the race belt and helmet to deal with and to re-pack the bag.

Lisa Hancox | Ironman 70.3 Dubai | Fitness First ME Blog

Got on the bike and got shoes on easily – felt the power and was riding.

At this stage in a race, many male athletes pass me fast as I am out of the water quite early but don’t have the same bike power as them. It was nice to see some friends come past me and so far everyone seemed happy with the race.

I kept my power where it should be and it felt surprisingly comfortable. I was concentrating on making sure I consume the nutrition I had planned which consisted of High5 gels and PowerBar Powergel shots.

At approximately 30 kms a large pack seemed to form around me. I tried to not get engulfed and not get slowed down too much. I kept average power but somehow lost rhythm.  A couple of male athletes went past and then stopped pedaling – I might have let them know I wasn’t very happy about that!  The rest of the 90 kms was just about staying away from the other athletes, out of the draft and maintaining my watts!

Into the dismount line I see Kate, an Ironman referee, informing all athletes to dismount, surprisingly quieter and more mellow than normal – I had a little giggle to myself. I racked the bike and ran to the Red Bag.  Helmet off, socks on, shoes on, grab the gels and get out of there!

Lisa Hancox | Ironman 70.3 Dubai | Fitness First ME Blog

Planning an easy start to the run I was happy to be this far through the race and so far felt comfortable.  I was not too aware of many other female athletes in front at this stage other than the usual suspects with whom I no longer share an age group, but hadn’t really concentrated on this long enough to check either. I was happy racing my race as per my race plan. I saw a camera and found myself being playful bouncing around.

My quads soon gave me a nudge that they weren’t very happy but we had a chat and they went quiet…for now.

In my head I broke the run into 6 x 3.5 km phases so I knew where I was in the run as 21 kms is a daunting distance to a non-runner (a.k.a baby elephant)!

The run was 7 kms out and back, and then 3.5 kms back out the same way and then back down to the finish line.  I ran from aid station to aid station to get cold Coke and water for the sugar and caffeine to take me to the next supply, as well as some cold sponges to cool me a little. For the first 14 kms I really enjoyed seeing friends, colleagues and fellow athletes, unfortunately I wasn’t so sociable towards the end.

In the 5th section of 3.5 kms, the cramps in the quads came back but I was running following a tall man in yellow so focused on keeping up with him.

The support on the run was the best I have know it in Dubai – lots of cheers from supporters to motivate the athletes on the run, although by the final 3.5 kms the legs didn’t want to play anymore and I could only think about one foot in front of the other to keep moving forward to the finish line. I was slightly worried that if I stopped they would not start working again. Luckily, 3 kms isn’t too long and soon I was on the red carpet and at the finish line.

I was very happy to be there and the friends who saw me finish took a picture of my happiness!

Lisa Hancox | Ironman 70.3 Dubai | Fitness First ME BlogAlways great to be in the athlete’s village to chat with others and see how their race went, discuss what went well, what didn’t go so well and what’s the plan for the next race.

One of the other athletes I spoke with was my coach, Pedro.  He checked the results online and told me that I was 1st in my age group.  Then we discussed if I would/should take the slot for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in South Africa on 1st September 2018.  He recommended that it would be a good lead into the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii which I qualified for in Thailand.  Now the training starts for these 2 races later in the year!

I was happy to receive 1st place for my (new) age group.

Lisa Hancox | Ironman 70.3 Dubai | Fitness First ME Blog

So now to make the plan to have fun at my #11 Ironman 70.3 Race in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 25th February!

Lisa Hancox
National Aquatics Manager
Fitness First Middle East & North Africa

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Testimonials

Dalal Hamad Bourisli – Fat to Fit

posted by FitnessFirst Team January 22, 2018 0 comments

My name is Dalal Hamad Bourisli and I’m 34 years of age!

I started my journey when I was 19 years old weighing 89kilos- #chubby I was! I remember I was teased for my weight but cared less because in my head I was fine. And if there is something out there for me to wear (keep in mind I never cared how it looked on me) then I was more then fine. Plus “there are larger people then me” is what I constantly told myself.

My story started when I was out with my cousin strolling in the mall. Picture this, I was an overweight girl who wore glasses with bad acne and braces. As I was standing in a chocolate shop I was body shamed in public! I ignored it and pretended I didn’t hear anything, took my chocolate box and brushed it off. You would think that this incident was the one that changed my life, but nope!

As days went by I was invited to a close school friends’ birthday party. After everyone had left, I stayed behind because the birthday girl and I were the biggest of the crowd (even though I thought I wasn’t overweight and only she was). Her and I  never ate in public or in front of anyone to avoid people’s judgments and looks. There are times when people feel like they can speak their minds very loudly- and this was one of them. Her mother walked in on us stuffing our faces and asked if we enjoyed the birthday party! Following this she asked us to stand up beside each other for comparison. It didn’t hit me until she said  “if you lose weight I’ll buy you a car.” And right there the ‘fat alert alarm’ rang in my head – this was my reality check. Girl, you’re big and you need to do something about it! You’re too young to look like you’re in you 30s .

That evening when I went home I remember writing in my diary a plan to lose weight, what to eat, and the kind of workouts I was going to do.

I started off running on a path behind my grandparents house. At first I thought I was going to die! Body aches which led to a high fever and vomiting at times when I would overdo it . But I was determined to lose that weight.

My first goal was to lose weight and that too as much as I could (keep in mind that I’m against surgeries of any kind). Within weeks I began running without chest pain or feeling like I was going to throw up. However, I still did not feel confident enough to go to the gym where all the girls seemed to be hot and skinny.

So I made another plan, cardio at 3pm, strength training at 5pm, finished with yoga which was introduced to me by a friend I used to meditate with. I went running for an hour every day at 3pm, then at 5pm used my own body weight for strength training. Within months my uncle and family started to notice the changes, and so I felt confident to go to a gym.

Since I was new to the area I didn’t know were to go so I asked my sister. Back then there was a salon that gave classes in their basement- these were like gyms that I could afford as a student. Then my dad gifted me my first treadmill and my uncle gifted me an elliptical trainer which I loved more then anything in the world at that time because it gave me the figure I always dreamed of! At least that’s what I thought.

Then one day my mother asked what I wanted for my birthday and I said a membership to the gym! Thanks to my mom’s support, she gifted me a yearly membership to any gym I was interested in. I have been to many different gyms, but I chose to join Fitness First for my growing passion for muscles.

I remember the first year I joined people came to me and asked me why was I there! They would say, “You’re super skinny you don’t need it!”

At that time this was true, I didn’t really need it; I weighed 47 kilos and had no figure at all. Then one day one of the Fitness First staff told me to try BodyPump since it helps to build muscle. But at the time I felt that muscles were ugly and masculine. But since she requested it, I attended BodyPump and loved it to the point I got a certificate as BodyPump instructor from Les Mills! I was introduced to muscles in my body I never knew I had!

This year my goal is to do the Spartan Race, get certified in Yoga Balance , RPM , Core-Active and many more!  This year is all about getting my foundation.

I still get a lot of people asking me why I come to the gym, and my simple answer is “It’s a lifestyle. I don’t come here to lose weight but because of how I feel after I workout. The happy feeling (endorphins) is what I’m addicted to!”

In addition to this, my body looks great and I feel regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory skills. Now my dream is to one day in the future, somewhere in the world, own my own gym with a healthy canteen with only organic food! Baby steps!

These are my keys for a successful fitness journey: Have the will power and determination, and push you self to see your limits!

Follow my journey on #lalafitnessdiary💋

Best of luck on your journey! – Dalal Bourisli Xoxo

Fitness First Blog - Testimonial
Testimonials

Swaleh Balala – Motivation From Within

posted by Fitness First Middle East December 11, 2017 1 Comment

Fitness First Swim Instructor, Swaleh Balala, shares his fitness motivation by finding the superhero within.

“Motivation comes from all forms and angles, and sometimes a coach or a training partner does not mean much if you don’t have that self motivation.

I came up with this type of self motivation, its called ‘The Superhero Within’.

Throughout your life, you always have these slumps and distractions that mess up with your training because you can never really give 100% if your mindset isn’t right.

Fitness First Blog - TestimonialTo overcome this kind of mental constraints, I decided that to segregate between my normal life and my training life I would have two different personas.

When I am living out my days I am faced with emotional and mental challenges but when I change out of my everyday clothes I leave behind all of that- I leave Balala in those clothes. Then I put on my training suit and this brings out the superhero (superman) within, it’s like I put on my superhero suit and no superhero rests until the day is saved. Surperheroes would always give 100% to make sure that the goal is met.

So for me by giving it all in my workout, that is me saving the day.”

Fitness First Blog - Testimonial

Member of the Month - Fitness First Middle East
Testimonials

Member of the Month – 360 Mall Kuwait, Safa Abdulwahab

posted by Fitness First Middle East December 5, 2017 0 comments

The member of the month at 360 Mall Club in Kuwait, Ms. Safa Abdulwahab, shares her journey into the fitness world and how a close to death situation made her turn her life around.

“I’ve always been an overweight person, emotional eater and bullied. The moment I decided to take the first step to a healthy lifestyle was the night I stopped breathing while sleeping.

It was a huge wake up call. I was 25 years old then and I was 118 KG. I did my sleeve gastric surgery back in 2012, I lost most of my weight, plus I lost most of my body muscle, it left me with a skinny body and extra skin. I looked pale and I had depression.

My therapist advised me to workout and focus on my diet, and I really did.

Joining Fitness First changed my whole life. Having an amazing Personal Trainer like Rhea made me realize that workouts can be a very fun time too. I love the way Rhea encouraged me from the time I knew that the struggle is so real, she didn’t give up and I too didn’t give up because I know that in my journey to fitness I have someone to lean on.

Member of the Month - Fitness First Middle EastI gained weight which I know is a part of the process – muscle gain and lost body fat as well. Remember that the number on the scale doesn’t matter because I matter.

I love the way how my whole body is changing, I see how I changed size of my clothes. I embraced myself the way who I am and what I am in a more positive way and I will always be proud of my achievement.

And now, my husband joined Fitness First because we encourage each other to live a healthier lifestyle that soon will be passed on to our kids. Informed life choices about how life is beautiful when you are healthy and happy. More power to all.”

TRICLUB

CHARLOTTE STEBBING – AN INSPIRATION

posted by FitnessFirst Team November 6, 2017 0 comments

Full disclosure here, I work in the fitness industry and have done for my entire career. Most people think that everyone who works in the industry has some kind of healthy superpower and that everything fitness related comes easy… I’m here to tell you that’s not always the case. Most of us are just like our members and regular gym goers. We face similar struggles with time and motivation so please be reassured we do not all jump out of bed every morning with our surfboard abs and make videos for social media or fitness models on shoot.

Now please don’t get me wrong, we absolutely believe in what we do and we practice what we preach, especially at Fitness First Middle East.

So when I was first approached to join in with a Triathlon, I had visions of how hard it could be and how complicated I thought it would be considering I’d never trained for this kind of event before. The good news is the initial concerns I had, became curiosities and eventually, I realized there was no need to be so overwhelmed with this type of event.

I’ve always been an average jogger, I hadn’t ridden a bike properly since I was a kid and swimming was more of a weekend dip in the pool to cool down in the Dubai heat. So the thought of swimming 1.9km, cycling 90km and running 21km back to back seemed like a BIG challenge. I accepted the challenge and decided to take the training 1 day at a time. I had 6 months to prepare for the DIT back in 2015. Everyone thought I was crazy to be doing the 70.3 as my first triathlon goal, but I was all in. I broke down the training and started with some runs, rides and swims at my own pace and each week I just tried to go a little further and a little longer – and that’s it! There is no big secret how to train for your first triathlon. The key for me was to not over complicate it or overthink it, do what I was capable of week on week and gradually I was improving. 


To build my confidence in the water and in a triathlon setting, I signed up to some shorter distance races in Dubai. I remember my first triathlon vividly. I was living in Abu Dhabi at the time so I drove up the day before and stayed with some friends who were also doing the race but as a relay team. I woke up in the morning, after some broken sleep due to being a combination of nervous and excited about the race. My biggest anxiety was about the swim, I knew that if I could complete the swim I would be fine for the ride and the run. My nerves had me on edge, I could barely speak I was so nervous (very unlike me!). We arrived at the beach, registered and bike racked ready to start the race and I just went for it. I told myself I’d made the choice to accept the challenge and I had been training for it, turning up and doing it was the easy bit! 

And I was so right, I loved every second of it. There was nothing to be nervous about, there were hundreds of people there doing the same thing, cheering and encouraging each other. The experience was hugely satisfying and It spurred me on for the rest of the training. As I prepared for the longer distance I began to find my rhythm. I had a great support system at fitness first which held me accountable and gave me people to train with. I learned a lot about myself in this process as well as training for something new. It changed up my usual style of training which was great for my body and my results. I have since completed triathlons individually and as part of a relay team, it’s worth it!

I would recommend a triathlon to anyone, no matter how short or long the distance or if you’re in a team or individual. It is a fun and enjoyable experience which will stretch you to new realms of results. Check out the sessions available to you and get started. Getting started is the hardest part… Once you start you will love it!

Charlotte Stebbing
National Fitness Programming Manager

TRICLUB

GARETH JONES – AN INSPIRATION

posted by FitnessFirst Team November 6, 2017 0 comments

My journey towards Triathlons started in 2015 when I bought a road bike so I could join the growing masses at Al Qudra cycle route. I was injured playing football the summer before and I nearly broke my foot so it was time to hang up the boots and turn to something else. The bug of cycling hit fast and I mean very fast. I went out twice a week and simply loved it. From the freedom of being outside and the time to gather my thoughts I was hooked and saw some rapid weight loss also.

I was then convinced to sign up for the Dubai International Triathlon in November 2015 as part of a relay team so this became my goal. The distance was 90k and it was thrilling to compete and be part of a triathlon team! 

Just seeing everyone competing on the day, the nerves, the fun, the personal stretch gave me a boost and whilst I loved competing I knew my next goal would to be to sign up for all 3 and compete as an individual at some point.

So, in the summer of 2016, I set a goal of competing in my first Triathlon which would be October 2016 and I worked hard all summer swimming, cycling and running to get ready. I took tips, I listened to triathletes and I watched others and began to think I could possibly do this. I even signed up for IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai in January 2017 as the major goal!

My first distance was a Sprint which is 750m swim, 20k cycle and 5k run and I think my time, in the end, was 1 hour 40 minutes. Despite being ill the week before I achieved and completed it and just loved it and this spurred me on.

Over the next 6 months, I competed in 7 Triathlons including IRONMAN 70.3  and I finished this in 6 hours 1 minute. I was hooked. I was inspired. The adrenalin never felt so good.

My tip would be “You never know until you have tried.” Like me,  you could find a new sport, new friends and new goals to aim for. Give it a go and you’ll never look back.

Gareth Jones 
Head of Operations – Mixed UAE and Outer Territories

Testimonials

انا عائشة ومعاً #نقوى_سوا

posted by FitnessFirst Team October 26, 2017 0 comments

اسمي عائشة وأنا بالفعل واحدة من بين كثيرات ممنْ تفخرن بأن فيتنس فيرست الشرق الأوسط يمكِّنهن لكي تصبح الواحدة منهن عضوةً نشطةً، ومدرِّبةً، وأمًا، وقدوةً لبعض السيدات المترددات على فيتنس فيرست واللاتي ترغبن في إحداث تحول في أجسادهن

تبدأ قصتي منذ خمس سنوات مضت، عندما انضممت إلى نادي فيتنس فيرست كعضوة فيه بعد إنجابي لطفلي الثاني، وكنت أعتقد أن هذه الخطوة ستكون بداية جيدة لاستعادة شكلي السابق بدلاً من اتباع حميات غذائية قاسية. عندما كنت طفلة، لم أحقق أي نجاح قط في أي نوع من أنواع الرياضة، ودائمًا ما كنت أفتقر إلى عنصر التنسيق وروح اللياقة البدنية

 “أنا عائشة و معاً “نقوى_سوا

ونظرًا لأنني أعمل محاسبة بدوام كامل في مركز دبي المالي العالمي، لم تسنح لي الفرصة لأتمرَّن سوى في وقت استراحة الغداء، ولكي أكون صادقة معكم، كان الهدف الرئيسي في البداية هو أن أشغل أوقات استراحة الغداء وأستثمر وقت الفراغ الذي أكون فيه بعيدة عن طفليّ. وحتى ذلك الحين، لم أكن آخذ الأمر على محمل الجد، إذ أنني كنت أهتم أكثر بالهرولة إلى العمل وعدم إرهاق نفسي في التمرين لكي أبدو في هندامي بقدرٍ يتيح لي العودة إلى جو العمل في هيئة ملائمة. ولكن مع الاقتراب أكثر من مدربي فيتنس فيرست وبناء علاقات قوية مع فيتنس فيرست كمجتمع وليس كمكان للتمرَّن، أصبح التعود على ممارسة التمارين مهيمنًا على روتيني اليومي. فضلاً عن ذلك، دائمًا ما يدفعني التقدير والاستحقاق الذي أناله من مدربي فيتنس فيرست على التقدم الذي أحرزه في قوتي البدنية، إلى مواصلة التقدم، ما يساعدني على تحقيق المزيد من اللياقة والقوة البدنية يوميًا

بعد عام من الالتزام والتفاني في التمرين، قام المدربون بفيتنس فيرست بتمكيني لأصبح أنا نفسي مدربةً، وهو ما كان مردوه حينها أنني وجدت بداخلي شغف تام للتمارين الجماعية. ولكي أكون صادقة معكم، لم تكن عملية التحسن أمرًا سهلاً كما يبدو، ولا سيما أنني لم أحصل على أي دراسات أساسية في مجال التدريب ولم أكن رياضية في طفولتي. والحين، أتوجه بالشكر لمدربي فيتنس فيرست الذين قدموا لي ما يكفي من الأدوات والتوجيهات التعليمية بشأن ما يتطلبه الأمر لأصبح مدربةً جيدة، وأفكر في التمارين الجماعية من منظور آخر؛ وهو منظور العضو الذي يقابله تصور المدرب

وبعد عام من ذلك الحين، لم أستطع أن أبدأ يومي بسعادة بدون الذهاب في الصباح الباكر إلى فيتنس فيرست، تمامًا كما هو الحال مع فنجان القهوة الصباحي. لقد تغيرت أولوياتي، فلن أهدر وقتي مرةً أخرى في السهرات المتأخرة أو في تخصيص وقتًا أطول للنوم كان يمكن استثماره في التمرين. وحتى خلال شهر رمضان المبارك، وبعد أن قمت بتجميد عضويتي كما اعتدت على مدار السنوات الأربع الأخيرة، لا زلت أذكر أنني في اليوم الثاني من رمضان وجدت أنه  لا شيء يجعلني أخجل من  تغيير رأيي والعودة إلى ساحة الجيم للتدريب قبل الإفطار

أنا رياضية في الصباح، ومُحاسبة أثناء اليوم، وأم في آخر النهار، وطالبة تدرس اللياقة البدنية ليلاً. وأنا عضوة أصبحت مُدرِّبة. أنا عائشة و معاَ “نقوى_سوا

عائشة ياقوت
عضوة بفيتنس فيرست/مُدرِّسة مستقلة

#EmpowerME

Testimonials

I am Subhankar and I #empowerme

posted by FitnessFirst Team October 24, 2017 0 comments

I am Subhankar Ghosh, I am 52 years old and a VVIP member of Fitness First, Dalma Mall since 2014. I came to Abu Dhabi in 2010. I came from a quite stressful work-life background at Chennai, India. After coming to Abu Dhabi life was better, with less anxiety and comparatively tranquil. I could spend more time with my family. After 2 years of this, I gained 2 Kg in weight (66 to 69 Kg). Prior to this I had a stable weight of 66 Kg since at least 12 years. I was doing free-hand exercise and a few Yogasanas daily. Also in 2013 my Doctor asked me to be ready to start life-long pills to reduce my blood pressure.

It was then I understood that it was time to hit the gym. I did a few months at nearby gym but it was always over-crowded. As I was a frequent visitor to Dalma Mall, I observed this Fitness First gym come up new there. In June 2014, I joined the gym. The advantage was that this gym was on my way back home from the office. I took the fabulous trainers’ help there to chalk out my personal exercise regime. Two of the trainers really turned me into a new man.

I am Subhankar and I #empowerme – Fitness First Testimonials

The initial going was very tough as I had weak muscles due to continuous sitting in front of the computer. The trainer Gilbert was calibrating my strength & endurance and checking my limits. Every day of the week, I was sore all over and every part of me ached. Added to this were my personal problems with my knee joints and ankles. So, my trainer equally had a tough time. But luckily one thing I had inbuilt is determination. The exercise plan was made up for cardio, back, calfs & abs, chest, legs, cardio, cardio again, stretch, plyometric and full body circuit in that order. This is the same regimen pattern that I still follow which gives me good returns.

My food intake also had to be changed a lot. I started noting and measuring each and everything I put in my mouth. We found that I was eating about 3000 KCal daily. Initially we reduced the target to 2700, then 2500, then 2200, then 1800, then 1500, then finally 1150. My requirement was being cross-checked by the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Then a carb cycle started but that was too tough for me. Nowadays I try to stay within 1500 KCal daily. I have made a chart of all that I eat and pasted the calculated protein/carb/fat & KCals on the refrigerator.

The result of all this was that I reduced to 60.8 Kg and then am staying at 61 Kg ever since 2014. I feel fitter than I was at 22 years of age. I can now jump higher than I ever imagined. Incidentally 62 Kg was my dream weight since last 15 years and only here I could achieve it. So, this is the best gift for me on coming to Abu Dhabi. I have my heartiest well wishes for Fitness First Dalma Mall (it feels like home, once I am inside), to my trainers Gilbert & Liam. Liam also helped me with specialist advice when I had frozen shoulder one year back. With the prescribed rubber band, I came out of it in 5 months.

One thing which I can say is that it is never late to start. I started at 49 years.

I am Subhankar and I #empowerme

#EmpowerME

Testimonials

I am Aisha and I #empowerme

posted by FitnessFirst Team October 24, 2017 0 comments

My name is Aisha and yes I am one of the many that are proud to be empowered by Fitness First Middle East to become the active member, coach, mother and role model for some of the Fitness First ladies that wish to have a body transformation.

The story goes back to 5 years ago when I joined Fitness First as a member after I had my second child, thinking it was a good start to get back in shape rather than just following strict diets. As a child, I was never a success in any kind of sports and I always lacked the coordination and the spirit of fitness.

I am Aisha and I #empowerme – Fitness First Testimonials

Working as a full time accountant in the DIFC, I only had a chance to train during the lunch break, and to be honest, the main goal started as keeping my lunch breaks busy and investing the free time that I was away from my two kids. Yet, I was not taking it very serious as I was more concerned to run back to the office, and not exhausting myself to look tidy enough to fit back in my business attire. Yet, getting closer to the Fitness First coaches and establishing strong ties with Fitness First as a community not just a place to work-out, the exercise addiction has dominated my daily routine. In addition, having progress in my strength recognized & validated by Fitness First coaches has always kept me moving forward, to improve in becoming fitter and stronger by day.

After a year of commitment and dedication, I was empowered by Fitness First master trainers to become a trainer myself, which back then all I had was a passion for group exercise. To be honest, the process of improvement was not as easy as it sounds, especially having no background studies in coaching & never being an athlete as a child. Yet, thanks to Fitness First coaches that has provided me with enough tools and educational guidelines of what it takes to become a good coach and think about group exercise from the other side of the stage, a member perspective vs a coach perception.

A year later, I cannot manage to start my day happily without the early morning visit to Fitness First, just like the morning cup of coffee. My priorities have changed, I would rather not waste my time in late evenings or getting extra time of sleep that can be rather invested in exercise. Even during Ramadan, after I froze my membership as I used to for the past four years, Ramadan day 2 I still thought it is nothing to be ashamed of to change your mind, and was back in the gym floor to train before Iftar.

I am an athlete in the morning, an accountant during the day, a mother in the evening and a fitness student by night. I am a member who became a coach. I am Aisha and I #empowerme.

Aisha Yaqout
Fitness First Member / Freelance Instructor

#EmpowerME

Noor Nasser
Testimonials

I am Noor and I #EmpowerME

posted by FitnessFirst Team October 5, 2017 0 comments

I joined Fitness First in 2014, thinking “who am I kidding?  I will join this gym just like I did with every gym I joined before, attend one month and then leave!”

I am Noor and I #EmpowerME – Fitness First Testimonials

Yes that is what I used to do, join a gym, leave it and look for something else.

I was overweight, frustrated and demotivated believing that this is how I am and will be for the rest of my life. But then I tried a class, had to pull up a lot of courage to force myself into the studio. I saw how beautiful and graceful the instructor was and told myself “I want to be as graceful as she is” and that was what inspired me. In fact, I was inspired by the Club General Manager herself, Ana, managing the gym, interacting with the members and attending to their needs as well as being the Group Exercise Instructor at the same time! That’s power and strength of personality!

Fitness First changed my beliefs about myself, I fell in love with fitness so much it became a lifestyle for me and I wanted to become a Group Exercise Instructor myself so I can inspire others and push my limits and become powerful.

Believe in yourself, unleash the power within and become an inspiration!

Noor Nasser
Fitness First Member and Zumba Instructor

Noor Nasser

#EmpowerME

Noor Nasser
Testimonials

أنا نور ومعاً #نقوى_سوا

posted by FitnessFirst Team October 5, 2017 0 comments

“انضميت إلى فيتنس فيرست فسنة ٢٠١٤ وكانت تدور في بالي هالافكار “انتي تضحكين على من؟ بتشتركين بالنادي وبتتركينه بعد شهر كالعادة

فعلا كانت هذه عادتي، اشترك ولا التزم وابحث عن نادي آخر

كنت اعاني من الوزن الزائد، محبطة وليس لدي دافع او حافز وقد استسلمت لفكرة “هذه انا وسأبقى هكذا لبقية حياتي”. ولكن قررت تجربة احدى الحصص الرياضية، وقد تطلب مني شجاعة لإجبار نفسي على دخول الاستوديو. وعندما رأيت كم كانت المدربة جميلة ورشيقة وكانت هذه بداية الالهام. بالفعل لقد الهمتني مديرة النادي حيث كانت تدير النادي، تهتم وتستمع للأعضاء بالإضافة لتدريب حصص جماعية، ذلك معنى ان تكون لديك قدرة وشخصية قوية

فيتنس فيرست غير فكرتي حول نفسي، احببت الرياضة كثيرا واصبحت اسلوب حياة بالنسبة لي وكان يجب ان اصبح مدربة بنفسي حتى الهم غيري واتحدى قدراتي واصبح اقوى

!آمن بنفسك، أطلق العنان لنفسك، واصبح مصدر الهام للغير

نور ناصر
عضوة ومدربة زومبا

 

Noor Nasser

triathlon-swim
TRICLUB

Who are Triathlons for? Is it for me?

posted by FitnessFirst Team September 18, 2017 0 comments

Triathlon is an endurance sport in which the athlete carries out swimming, cycling and running, in that order, and with the clock running during transitions between swim/bike and bike/run. It is an event won by completing the course with the fastest time. It is a great fun and accessible sport for all. It does attract social friendly types of people and fits in different lifestyles.

Why do triathlons?

You don’t need to be a hardcore super fit athlete to take part in triathlons. Many people use triathlon as a goal or a way to get motivated to do cardio, lose weight and also for its social factor to meet other like-minded individuals. Triathlon offers a great variety for training so you are not always doing the same thing and you’ll never get bored, it also offers event finishers a great sense of accomplishment and presents endless challenges! You can always work to go further and get faster.

Who can do a triathlon?

Are you in search of fitness, motivation, a challenge and/or the social benefits of a sport? Then triathlon is for you and you can absolutely train for and participate in triathlons.

Can I really finish a triathlon?

As long as you pick a triathlon that’s suited realistically to your abilities, you put in the training, surround yourself with like-minded individuals and you want it bad enough, then you will finish it. The fact that you’re reading this means you’re interested in endurance and fitness and the chances are very high that you could finish a triathlon.

Do I need to be strong in any of the three disciplines?

You don’t really need to be a strong swimmer, cyclist or runner. Starting to practice all three disciplines will make it possible for you to do triathlon no matter what level you start at and no matter what weaknesses you have. The swim, bike or run can be a challenge for some, but encountering challenges and overcoming them is what triathlon is all about. You may not be the best swimmer, cyclist or runner, but when you finish your weakest discipline, the game is still ON!

Talal Almoallem
Certified Ironman Coach
ASCA Level 3 Swim Coach

Jon Norris
TRICLUB

JON NORRIS – AN INSPIRATION

posted by FitnessFirst Team September 17, 2017 0 comments

My first half iron distance triathlon was my second triathlon ever. I had only ever attempted a sprint in the French mountains a few months before.  A friend teased that I should come and do a real triathlon in Dubai, she was a veteran at 70.3 distances and has a strong understanding of the sport and required endurance. Me…..I was naive and keen to impress.

Jon Norris

“What the hell am I doing” was my only thought as I looked around and saw no one and nothing but sand. My wheels were spinning at 16kmh or at least that’s what Garmin said even though my heart was pounding and legs were screaming. The wind was blowing a gale, I felt like I was back on the piste in a blizzard only now sand for snow. Above, the sun glared down with a strength unknown to any man. I seriously contemplated manufacturing a puncture, wishing an injury upon myself or even better being swallowed up by the nearest sand dune and waking up to realise it had all been a bad dream. Alas……I still had over 40km to go.

I finally finished the worst conditions race possible with a time of just sub 7 hrs. More importantly than leaving with just a medal I left with an urge to continue in this great sport and improve myself both mentally and physically for the next race.

Triathlon is an interesting sport

Triathlon is an interesting sport, a discipline that calls to a select few and becomes a way of life. No matter how you found the sport once there you are addicted. Endless hours in the pool, months running wherever you can find the time and moments on the bike that feel like you have been sitting there for days; not to mention all this whilst juggling your family, work, friends, kids school, piano or ballet classes. Food? That becomes a whole new way of life and understanding. If you are not a qualified nutritionist before entering triathlon you soon will be.

John Norris

After a year of continually spinning my wheels, running around the same courses and swimming the same lengths in the same pool with no gains I finally understood the benefits of smart training. Luckily I was swept up into the Fitness First Dubai Ironman effort and enrolled in the Masters Swim classes. I have always considered myself a competent swimmer although it would take a little persuasion to enter the pool however working directly with a qualified coach, Talal Almoallem (@talal_almoallem) and training on regular days within a group has improved my technique and efficiency in the water that I am now happy to say has shaved almost 10 minutes off my 1.9km swim time. Completing the Dubai Ironman 70.3 in 2017 was a huge goal for me and I owe my PB time to training with Talal and the team at Fitness First.

John Norris

Being taught the benefits of swimming sets and the strategy behind them has made me re-evaluate my other disciplines in the sport. With continual support and advice from the Fitness First team I am confident to say that my swimming and biking have both taken large improved steps towards further successes. Alongside the varied classes on offer and the one to one gym instruction my core and overall fitness has jumped enormously which is beginning to be seen in my day to day running programs. With continued guidance from the experts in their fields and the best equipment available in the UAE I have really found new purpose in my gym visits.

Whatever the reasons to get fit there is added benefit throughout your life from living a healthier lifestyle. My journey has just begun and already I am so thankful to the Masters Swim class for helping me get both my feet on the ground to a more productive training schedule where I can see actual results. I have more energy in my day, my days are longer, I am more focused and I now actually look forward to getting in the pool or on the bike. I still struggle some days with the thought of having to do a 10km run, particularly in the summer heat here but what can I say…..my gyms aircon is almost as cool as the staff!

Jon Norris

Jon Norris
Triathlete

I AM MARTIN AND I #EMPOWERME
Testimonials

I am Martin and I #EmpowerME

posted by FitnessFirst Team September 9, 2017 1 Comment

I used to be in generally fit shape when I was younger in my school days when I used to play for our rugby team and regularly visit the gym. I wasn’t much disciplined in the gym but I put the hours in. In university, I tore my inner-meniscus tendon in my right knee and things spiraled from there. Due to a slow recovery in an unhealthy environment (student life in Manchester is a big party), I quickly piled on 10 kilos over the next 6 months. Most of my friends and family were shocked and couldn’t believe I had gotten so big so fast. For me I didn’t really feel like I was putting on too much weight it was a gradual realization and when I had it was depressing and I mostly gave up on getting back into shape.

I am Martin and I #EmpowerME – Fitness First Testimonial

Before diet and working out

Over the next few years of jogging on and off and yo-yo diets, I had steadily peaked at about 110 kg. It was early in 2015 when I was suffering from chest pain when I knew something was very wrong. The doctor confirmed I had been suffering from hyper tension and high blood pressure and I either changed my lifestyle immediately or started heart medication.

Old picture from our wedding day

I had married at this point and my wife really encouraged me and supported me in sorting out a proper diet and I started going to the gym every morning before work. Progress at first was slow but when I joined Fitness First and started training, I started losing weight pretty quickly after that and my body really started changing. I started sleeping better and breathing more easily and I monitored my body fat and muscle content. The fat was going down and muscle up. I had lost about 10 kg in the first year and the morning gym routines had changed from being health motivated to a full blown habit which I still abide by.

After diet and working out

I still have a long way to go another 8 kg to be at my goal weight but my blood pressure is back to normal and I have a baby girl now who I have plenty of energy to run around and play with. I sleep like a baby and I need to start my day at my local gym- Fitness First Mirdif City Centre. I recommend visiting the gym in the morning since you start the day with a positive note so no matter what happens you have done something positive for yourself and that sense of well being translates into every aspect of your life. I hope others don’t wait for a medical reason to take that positive step to a healthier lifestyle, once you catch the fitness bug there’s no going back!

At a recent friend’s wedding

Martin Yarsley
Fitness First Member

I am Isabel and I #empowerme
Testimonials

I am Isabel and I #EmpowerME

posted by FitnessFirst Team September 9, 2017 0 comments

Choose your future, work hard on yourself – with passion and consistent action everything is possible!

I am Isabel and I#EmpowerME

My profession: I’m a Personal Trainer.  In 2015 I decided to change my life and become a Personal Trainer.

I have always been into fitness since I was a child. My background is in Shaolin Kung Fu and long distance running.

Here is where I come from. I love to challenge myself and others. It’s important to break boundaries and to go out of your comfort zone!

I am Isabel and I #EmpowerME

Last year I started with Triathlon training to get ready for the Ironman 70.3 in Dubai. It was a life changing experience and you should also join the movement!

I am Isabel and I #EmpowerME – Fitness First Testimonial

One of my long term goals is to qualify for the Ironman in Kailua-Kona in Hawaii, which is the hardest triathlons in the world.

What empowers me is to see my clients and members changing and achieving their fitness goals.

I always believe in hard work. It’s never easy and there is no short cut! Be true, passionate and consistent.

Then everything is possible!

Isabel Schuessler
Personal Trainer
Fitness First Middle East

#EmpowerME

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.

fitness-stretch-run-male

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.

cardio-machines

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

Our Team

Inspiratum Experientia – A truly inspired experience!

posted by FitnessFirst Team April 1, 2017 0 comments

Over The Top – Bear’s Boot Camp 2017

This year for Fitness First’s annual “pilgrimage”, there was some unfinished business for the troops. It was time to complete our Team Building activity in the mountains. Rewind 12 months to February 2016 when our very own National Sports and Events Manager, Gary Melhuish, aka Sergeant Major Bear Thrills attempted to lead over 100 troops split into 8 platoons when tragically we were stopped in our tracks when a soldier fell behind. A serious injury sustained in battle meant that the entire army was forced back to base, meaning we never even entered “Behind Enemy Lines”.

Bears Bootcamp 2017 - GaryM

Sergeant Major Bear Thrills was determined to get his troops “Over The Top” and my word did he deliver!

So, back to the present day, February 2017. Sergeant Major Bear Thrills was determined to get his troops “Over The Top” and my word did he deliver! “Bear’s Boot Camp” typically lasts a day and a half (although it feels a lot longer by the time you’re finished). However, in order to be confident of completing our mission, Gary started the event a little earlier… November 1st 2016! Using the tools we already have within our business, Gary created a challenge that was two fold. Firstly, to qualify for the event, every person had to achieve a set number of MYZONE Effort Points (MEPs). Secondly, each individual had to complete the Driathlon Challenge, that Gary himself created in 2015 as a means to engage staff and members in a rewarding, gym based triathlon.

Race to the top

Also, for the very first time, Bear’s Boot Camp was opened up to our Head of Departments. Typically, the event is targeted towards our Head Office based staff and Club General Managers, however, in order to engage a larger group of people, the decision was made to cast the net a little wider. In November 2016, the MEPs target was 1000, with the Super Sprint Driathlon distance needing to be complete. This involves rowing 1000 meters, cycling 5kms and running 1km in the gym, in the quickest possible time, with only 1 minute rest in-between each discipline. In December 2016, the MEPs target was increased to 1500, with the Sprint Driathlon distance of; 2000 meters row, 10kms cycle and 2kms run being completed by the troops.

Tired just reading? It gets better….

In January 2017, the final push, the final month of troops digging deep within themselves to find that last ounces of strength, that last piece of determination. The MEPs target was 2000 and the distance on the Driathlon was the Olympic! 3000 meters rowing, 15kms cycling and 3kms running. Each month troops dropped out, some not completing the required number of MEPs and some not completing the Driathlon Challenge quick enough. What did all this mean? It meant we had a crack squad of 60 people, split into 6 platoons to go “Over The Top” and complete our mission that was cut short this time last year!

And wow, did we smash it!!

The Race to the Top…

With each platoon setting off in 10 minute intervals, starting at 07:00 hours, the first 1.6kms was a straight race to the starting GPS marker. From here, the platoons would have to crack codes, answer questions, and go deep into the mountains to find hidden clues that would point them in the right direction to the finish line. They would have to navigate their way to 10 GPS markers in total, using their compass and GPS watches to help them around the mountains.

Race to the top

With each platoon setting off in 10 minute intervals, starting at 07:00 hours, the first 1.6kms was a straight race to the starting GPS marker.

There was blood, sweat and I’m pretty certain tears shed in this gruelling 10km mountainous race. A race that the 3rd platoon finished in the quickest time. An impressive 2 hours and 23 minutes. However, this wasn’t the end of their ordeal….

The Mini Olympics…

At 10:45 hours, as the final team crossed the finish line, we then took the troops to the Hatta Fort Hotel where the platoons were greeted by their “B team”, a further 6 troops whom had arrived at the hotel in the morning and competed in the “Mini Olympics”. This consisted of Archery, Volleyball and Tug of War!

In the afternoon, (after a fantastic BBQ lunch) the troops completed a mental challenge called “Whistle Blower” created once again by the Sergeant Major. Platoon 4 proved that they were switched on even after a heavy lunch, by cracking the code in 15 minutes 11 seconds, a time that impressed everyone! After 30 minutes, the challenge was brought to an end and the troops would now compete against each other for one last time.

whistler blower

Lunch time

Lunch time!

The Fitness Challenge…

Taking place in some beautiful scenery, Sergeant Major Bear Thrills had (once again) created something to truly finish the troops off! And in some style! Three lanes, two heats, and 17 troops in each platoon! The atmosphere was electrifying, and the competitive nature of all our employees shone through in spades. With tactical decisions made, splitting their platoon into a “B group” and “C group”, with one person designated as “A” (the cardio expert), it was time to compete.

Fitness Challenge

Sergeant Major Bear Thrills had (once again) created something to truly finish the troops off!

In descending repetitions, “B group” had to complete burpees and hand release press ups. In between these exercises, “C group” had to smash out some overhead shoulder presses and some Bulgarian bag step ups. The cardio expert “A” was tasked with rowing up to 1000 meters, cycling up to 2kms and then running up to 20 lengths of the 40 meter course.

All of this excitement made for an amazing spectacle, an extremely competitive environment, and a truly epic finale to quite possibly the best “Bear’s Boot Camp” to date. In the evening, it was off to the camp site, sit down to relax with dinner and share our stories around the camp fire. The perfect way to end such an event.

Run to the finish line

Inspiratum Experientia

Nothing builds a team’s morale and spirit like such an adventure and Gary Melhuish, our Sergeant Major Bear Thrills exceeds all expectations every year with these events!

Sam Jackson

Sergeant Major, we salute you!

Sam Jackson
Sports and Events Manager

Fitness & Training

Coach Alaa Unleashing herself with Fitness First

posted by FitnessFirst Team November 21, 2016 0 comments

While I am still recovering, both mentally and physically, from the 15 km desert hike so thought I’d share my experience.

First off all, please note that I decided to join the Caracal Challenge less than 4 weeks prior, hence was not well prepared for it.

The team did a great job organizing the event and briefing us. We had checkpoints every 2.5 km to recharge. The first half of the hike, 7.5 km, was great. All factors were in our favor; energy levels, sand depth, hills height, sunlight and wind.

The challenge kicked off right after. I was battling sand filled wind while trying to hike a sand dune. I felt that I was not making progress where I was actually putting all my effort to trek that hill. My shoes were filled with sand and did not help, I had to continue barefoot.coachalaa

My tiredness started to get to me and thought of giving up – but how could I in the middle of nowhere and after all the hard work. I thought I’ll just push myself to the next checkpoint at least.

Once I reached that checkpoint, it was a surprise to find out that it was actually the finish line 😩! Feelings of relief, gratitude, and achievement filled me. I was happy to be informed that I was amongst the first 5 to finish the challenge (Al Hamdulilah)

Bottom line and lessons learned:

Be sure to be well prepared both mentally and physically for any challenge you decide to take.

Success comes right after the point where you feel like giving up. Always give that one last push and you’ll make it.

I have to mention that training at Fitness First Midriff certainly helped me prepare as I decided to join last minute. Especially since they’re only a few minutes away from home, and helped me train given my busy schedule.

I love the fact that they have a big variety of equipment for different training types and levels. Both the XFit and regular gym. And always appreciate the positive and energetic staff!

Oh and let’s not forget the awesome healthy options offered at the core juice bar 😍

#UnleashYourself with your chance to WIN A TRIP FOR 2 TO AN AFRICAN SAFARI

unleash-yourself

Finally, I’d like to thank the Husaak Adventures and the Emirates Wildlife Society for all their efforts in pulling this great charitable event together.

Coach Alaa
Fitness First Brand Ambassadorcoachalaa3

cardio-machines
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! 

MYZONE

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!

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Fitness & Training

5 Tips to Help you Maintain your Fitness during Ramadan

posted by FitnessFirst Team June 2, 2016 1 Comment

Ramadan is 30 days of no food or water between sunrise and sunset. It is a time of reflection and introspection, focusing on inner strength and discipline.  As it is a period of fasting and physical self-denial, careful thought must be given to how one exercises during this time and what one eats.

If you have any health issues and during the year you work out to stay as healthy as possible, it may be that you need to take a break from exercise during this month. Diabetics, for example, should seek medical advice in regard to their exercise regime and what they should be doing during the fast.

According to experts there are two main issues which need particular consideration during Ramadan:

Aim to maintain and not to gain

This means that during the fast, you don’t have to aim to improve your fitness. Your goal must be simply to maintain how fit you are. It has been said that if you do no exercise at all during the month of Ramadan, you could go back to the state of fitness you were in 4 months ago.  Your diet during Ramadan is very important with a key point being for you to eat your normal number of calories.

Watch your hydration levels

Dehydration during Ramadan can be one of the biggest issues. As you are not drinking or eating throughout daylight hours, it is easy to become dehydrated. With summer temperature rising, you need to have an effective plan that will ensure you have enough fluids in a 24 hour period.

With these two issues in mind, there are a number of strategies you can employ that will ensure you maintain your fitness, stay hydrated and end the fast healthier than when you began.

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Here are five tips to help you maintain your fitness during Ramadan:

1. Change your routine

It goes without saying that our routine will change during Ramadan. You want to rise well before sunset so you can have an early morning meal. Also for your workout times, you may need to adjust your routine to Ramadan and plan when is the most comfortable time for you to train whether it is right before iftar, after iftar or before or after Suhoor.

2. Eat well-balanced meals

A well-balanced meal of protein, carbohydrates and good fats is most likely to sustain you throughout the 15 hours of fasting. Proteins such as eggs and fish or meat, you can include nuts such as almonds, carbohydrates such as sweet potato and fats such as avocados. If you are still hungry after that turn to fruit and cereal.

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3. Don’t overeat!

There’s no end to the amount of food to eat before sunrise, but don’t go overboard. If you do, you will, as many people do, gain weight during this month. Avoid the temptation o overeat during the evening meal and eat until you are reasonably full. Try not to have too much sugar. A rapid rise in your blood sugar level will lead to an excess of insulin being released into the blood. This gobbles up the glucose and a few hours later you may begin to feel weak, miserable and extra sluggish.

4. Drink water

Make sure you have enough water to drink before you begin your fast for the day. Don’t drink too much in one sitting. You want to try and spread the amount of water you are going to drink over the night. If you can take in 10 glasses of water (1.5 litres) from sunset to sunrise, you should maintain a normal level of hydration. You can work out your water needs as the fast progresses. With particularly hot days, you may need more fluid. In the evening don’t forget to re-hydrate yourself. Take water with you if you are going out and when you go to bed at night, keep a bottle of water next to your bed. When you wake up in the night, drink at least a glass or two.

5. Exercise to stay fit

While you don’t want to overdo exercise during Ramadan, you do want to do some that will result in you maintaining the fitness with which you entered the fast. It is recommended to exercise for a minimum of two times a week if not more. Any form of exercise is advisable from low intensity cardio sessions to light weights strength and conditioning and body weight exercises.

Conclusion

Ramadan is an opportunity for you to break bad habits and start good ones. When it comes to what to eat during the fast this year, try and select only what grows or breaths. If you can pick it off a tree, grow it in the ground, raise it on a farm or catch it in the sea, it’s good to eat. Avoid all packaged foods. If it’s in a box or in a packet, it’s inevitably going to be loaded with preservatives, excess salt and sugar. Those products are going to be far less healthy for you and are to be avoided. To maintain your fitness during Ramadan, you want to maintain a healthy diet and keep your calorie intake at the level you usually need.

Fitness First Team