Incorporate fitness to your lifestyle
Dxbuzz speaks to Dubai residents to find out their fitness goals, ranging from generally trying to stay active to viewing fitness as a lifestyle
Hekuran Ismaili, Albania
"A year ago, I started my fitness journey, and a lot has changed since then. I look better now, but that's only one side of my transformation. Fitness showed me the immense control I have over my life. I also wanted to change parts of me I considered negative and cultivate the positive aspects of my personality and character. Now I feel far more self-assured that I can develop the skills, habits, etc. to succeed. Sure, it takes time, but I learned from fitness that it all starts with us believing that we can do it and putting in the effort to make it happen.
My diet is very simple. I don't use refined sugar and drink less soda. I eat more homemade fresh food especially proteins and salads which I need for a workout. Fast food is not my favourite anymore.
I work out three to four times a week, for about one hour a day, mostly in the evenings after work. I don't do heavy weight lifting but only cardio exercises. I start with 2km run as a warm-up followed by four sets of 20 burpees, 20 squats, 20 lunges and 20 push-ups."
Elton Dias, Canada
My story from FAT to FIT started in 2012. I was 140 kgs and the butt of all jokes for the best part of my life. I decided that I had enough. I wanted to get out of my FAT SUIT and live life for my family. I have a little daughter and I didn't want her growing up with a "fatty daddy". When I started to hit the gym, the old eating/drinking habits left. I eat healthily, I watch my intake of food and liquids and most of all, I dropped 40 kgs in just eight months. It's been the best years of my life, both spiritually and physically. Having been brought up in Dubai, you tend to get lost with all the varieties of food all around you, and you don't realise the damage it's done to you until it's too late. I have one of the best trainers in the world. Without Him, this would never have been possible. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and LIVE LIFE!
Diana Castillo, Philippines
"My new lifestyle has given me the opportunity to face challenges that I never thought of overcoming. It's like a feeling of being reborn. It has given me strength and confidence in day to day life. I feel younger, stronger and it has helped me overcome my health issues. I joined a group of trekkers who are a group of good motivators, workout mates and amazing people who push me to overcome my fears. I became an active person in both fitness and social life.
As for my diet, I eat less rice and oily food. As far as possible, I prepare my food. Anything with fish is my favourite - from tuna salad to steamed fish with veggies on the side. To drink, I prefer lemon or kiwi juice or I make my own smoothies at home. As for exercises, I do circuit training (Mondays), leg workouts (Wednesdays), run and play Frisbee (Thursdays and Saturdays) and go hiking (mostly on Fridays)."
Hoda Al Assaad, Lebanon
"Given Dubai's hectic lifestyle my objectives became more realistic when I used to go to body pump classes (45 minutes) two to three times a week during lunchtime. However, this year, I do brisk walking for 40 minutes a day and use the stairs instead of elevators whenever I can. I swim twice a week, and do cardio and stretching workouts. I eat low-carb, low-sugar diets with white meat, fish, loads of veggies and two portions of fruit a day. I avoid fruit juices. My dessert is a large sugar-free peanut butter spoon a day. Once a week, cheat meal happens only after reaching my target weight. I genuinely believe that a healthy lifestyle is achievable as long as we put realistic targets such as losing 1.5-2 kgs a month and drinking up to two to three litres of water a day. I decided this year to stop excessive weight training, so I don't raise my cortisol level. So now I do high intensity, shorter exercises rather than long sessions, and noticed better results."
Tahira Mehmood, Pakistan
"Eating out often was a norm for me for many years due to the nature of my job, traffic on my way home and many other factors. I would crave sweet things and unnecessarily snack in between my work day very casually without thinking of how much salt and sugar my processed treats contained and how they were harming my body. Only recently I started eating healthier, home-cooked whole foods. After making some small but significant lifestyle changes, I began to realise that I felt less lethargic through the day. I start my mornings by going for a 30-minute walk, which gives me ample sun exposure, and I take the stairs whenever and where ever I can. I have completely cut out sugar from my morning coffee, and I can't look back again. My choice of food on the go would either be grilled chicken/fish or a Greek salad; bananas or sweet potatoes for a quick energy boost; and freshly squeezed lemon or organic coconut water to replenish my body's water needs. I don't consume fizzy drinks and bottled juices. I opt for lots of water instead."
Yasmin DI Mario, Italy
"Everyone always tells you how important exercise and a good diet are, and it is true. Since I'd started eating more clean and wholesome food and exercise almost every day, I feel that I am at my very best. I feel more energised and ready to start the day first thing in the morning. Having a good diet and working out for me is not just about being physically fit, it is also about my mental well-being. Exercise helps me with stress and anxiety. When you eat good food, you feel good, after all, you are what you eat. People might think that if you are devoted to leading a healthy lifestyle that you cannot have a social life. Well, I don't agree with that at all. I am probably more social now than I was ever before. Sure, I may not party every Thursday night, but my choice to take a Latin dance class at night with my friends or a Zumba class at the beach are both fun activities that get my body moving.
I follow a vegan diet, so I avoid animal products including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Instead, I eat lots of fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains. I also don't drink caffeine as it does nothing good for my body. My ultimate favourite food is avocado sushi. It is so simple and delicious. All you need is seaweed, avocado and rice! I also love potatoes of all kinds whether they are sweet, purple, red or just plain white ones. They are incredibly cheap, offer a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins, and are a big staple in my diet.
I practice Muay Thai and Yoga seriously, but I love attending the dance sessions with my friends on weekends too. Since starting Muay Thai, I feel a lot more confident. I can defend myself and look good while doing it. I just love the adrenaline rush every time I start my classes. Yoga, however, is the complete opposite for me. It helps me calm down and have control over mind and body."
- Compiled by Melissa Randhawa
Diana Castillo, Philippines