Fiona Erdmann and Emmanuelle Bonham
This month is the perfect time to get in shape .
It's a time of year again when the whole of the city looks to commit to at least 30 minutes of activity every day for 30 days, yes, the Dubai Fitness Challenge is back for its third edition. For some, however, the quest for health and perfection isn't just about completing a month's exercise - it is a year-round affair.
Influencers and adidas PulseBoost ambassadors, British personal trainer Emmanuelle Bonham and German fitness model Fiona Erdmann, who are both based in Dubai, dedicate their lives to working out and subsequently looking good. So, on 30x30 Eve, we thought we'd find out what makes them tick for a bit of inspiration.
When did you decide fitness was going to play a major part in your life and go from a hobby to part of your career?
EB: I was always active as a child. I started gym training at 16 and it quickly became an integral part of my life, for health but also as a stress reliever. I had pretty much just left university when I decided I wanted to become a personal trainer and that I wanted to turn what I enjoyed most in life into a career.
FE: From when I was 10 years old, I did ballet, judo, athletics, badminton, tennis, dancing, kickboxing and horse riding. I won a lot of titles and competitions back in Germany, but there was a point when I was feeling, fit and healthy but not always 100% happy with my body. When I was 18, I started to do weight lifting and my body started to change completely. That was the start of my career as a fitness model.
What would your advice be to make that first step on one's fitness journey for the Dubai Fitness Challenge?
EB: If you are just starting out it's imperative to find something you like doing and take baby steps with it. Also set short- and long-term goals and keep yourself accountable.
FE: Start being active, even if it is just for 30 minutes as that is better than nothing. Same for using steps: use the steps instead of the elevator (if you do not have a meeting on the 21st floor). Small changes can make a big difference and the more you get used to these new changes you will be ready to think bigger and make bigger changes.
Do the different types of sports clothes affect your working out?
EB: adidas are a brand that support the local fitness culture. I wear PulseBoost HD every day. I have recently got back into running and I haven't felt any shin splints or pain that I might have felt in the past with other shoes. I think it's so important to have good shoes for fitness and running. In weightlifting if you have the wrong shoes it can completely throw your form off without you even realising, leading to potential complications and injuries in the future and with running you need great support. So, pick a shoe built for what you need.
FE: I was working as an influencer and did a photoshoot for adidas PulseBoost HD campaign and was one of the first lucky people that was able to try out the shoe before it was released. Since that day I decided to choose these shoes for running. It is very important to have the right shoes that are specifically designed to suit the surface of the ground.
What are your thoughts on Dubai's attitude to fitness overall?
EB: Dubai has a really great attitude to fitness. I love that challenges such as the Dubai Fitness Challenge are making it more accessible for people who don't want to go to the gym or can't afford to spend money on classes. It shows that anyone can be fit and healthy. It's such an easy place to live a lazy and sedentary lifestyle but challenges like these remind people that we were born to move, and you feel amazing even with just a little exercise every day. We could use more challenges like this that seek to include a wider variety of people and maybe have more free classes that incorporate different styles of training suited to everyone. I love that the weather most of the time means you can be active and outside, the sun makes me so happy and puts me in a great mood to exercise.
FE: I see Dubai as a very fit city. I have seen a lot of sporty and active people out here. Especially in the winter, a lot of people are doing outdoor activities like running, weight lifting, volleyball on the beach or outdoor and indoor classes at the gym. There are so many running and fitness communities and last but not least fitness events like Dubai 30x30 are perfect.
What do you think of the term 'influencer'? Was it always an ambition?
EB: I just show people how I live my life on social media, I don't think of myself as anything with a label or trying to be something for other people. If people want to follow me and engage with me and what I love doing, then that's awesome. I think we have a lot of influencers in our lives that we maybe don't realise and most of them are maybe not on social media.
FE: I think there is a big difference between influencers. Being an influencer is not an easy thing, and it cannot be generic. To become an influencer, it means we have the ability to influence fans/followers, to make a decision based on the trust you built with your audience. This trust comes through a long period of time where you continuously create content and share your experience in a specific field with your followers. You can only influence people when you become a credible source of information and a person that your audience look up to. For me, being an influencer has turned into a proper job. I have office timings, a shooting schedule and I am working on partnerships with big brands, creating engaging, entertaining and professional content. It's important to have skills to understand how to build a business as an influencer.
What do you believe is the biggest myth surrounding staying in shape you'd like to dispel once and for all?
EB: That it's hugely complicated to lose body fat. It's not. Broadly speaking, you need fewer calories ingested than you burn. You don't need lots of supplements or to do five classes back to back. You don't need lots of protein or to eat every three hours. Take it back to real, unprocessed, whole eating. Don't stress your body, enjoy life and prioritise your health.
FE: Abs are made in the kitchen! It is true that eating healthy is very important if you want to stay in shape, but the real results are only when you work hard and when you sweat. It is always a combination. Same for the myth that carbs are making you fat as there is a difference between good and bad carbs. Good carbs are important for building muscles. To work out and not eat carbs at all wouldn't make sense.