It’s been a weird six months for fitness, with Covid-19 restrictions piling on top of the usual summer heat slump.
For many people, exercise has fallen to the bottom of the priority list. And as we all know, the longer we go without a visit to the gym, the harder it is to work up the motivation to get back there.
But worry not, help is at hand in the form of Simon Niazi, health club manager at Optimal Fitness, part of the Natural Elements Spa and Fitness centre at Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre. With more than 13 years of experience in the sports and leisure industry, Simon is a qualified personal trainer, lifeguard, group exercise instructor and nutritional advisor. As well as managing a team of 30 staff, he is used to motivating his personal training and group session clients. Here are his top tips:
Motivating yourself to get moving again is always hard, so try and make it more interesting by training with a friend. We all have that one mate who is a keen gym-goer, so arrange to start joining them for sessions or classes and it will give you accountability for showing up.
Set a goal
Having no target is like playing football with no net. What do you aim for? The goals can be as short or long term as you like. I’m a fan of breaking the long-term goal into bite-sized chunks as check points. it could be losing a few pounds, lifting a few more pounds or running a set distance a little faster.
Use an app
There are many apps available where you can track your workouts and your calories, If you have other people using the same app, this can create a bit of competitive spirit which in turn will help with your workouts.
Make it quick
If you’re short of time, I would recommend super-sets after a quick warm up. A super set is two exercises performed one after the other with no rest. Aim for 10 reps of each exercise: team press ups with pull ups, walking lunges with shoulder press, box jumps with ball slams and mountain climbers with plank. Repeat for three sets before a quick stretch.
Diet is key
If weight loss is your goal, you need to make a deficit (eat fewer calories than you burn) so track your food and exercise. There are apps such as MyFitnessPal that will guide you on how many calories you should be eating and how to keep track of them. Looking for a quick win? Reduce intake of fizzy drinks and alcohol.
Try something new
If you find traditional weight training boring, our gym has an exciting MMA and functional area as well as TRXs, sleds, punch bags, slam balls and VIPRs, not to mention a unique climbing frame to keep your training fun.
Dubai is a fantastic place to train outdoors, especially now that the weather is starting to cool down. To build up your running, head to the cushioned, purpose-built track at Kite Beach. If you prefer cycling, Al Qudra cycling track has different distances for beginners to advanced, or simply find a good podcast and go for a nice long walk.
Stay safe during Covid
The gym is one of the safest places to train because all social distancing measures, increased cleaning schedules and compulsory mask-wearing, have been set by the government. Our gym follows a vigorous sanitisation regime, with a maximum capacity set. We have clear markings for spacing and temperature checks on arrival. We’ll keep you safe.
Devinder Bains is journalist of 20 years, working as a writer and editor on some of the biggest national magazines, newspapers and online publications in the UK and the Middle East. She specialises in women’s empowerment, fashion, race, culture and travel, and as a qualified personal trainer and nutrition coach, she is an expert in health and fitness. She splits her time between freelance writing and running Fit Squad DXB – Dubai’s largest personal training and wellness company.