Dubai Fitness Challenge: How to embrace fitness in your 9-5 life

Popular fitness trainer Kayla Itsines, who is set to make an appearance at Dubai Active, on fitness myths and working out on a clock

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Husain Rizvi

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Published: Thu 23 Nov 2023, 12:14 PM

Is your 9-5 hustle getting in the way of achieving that dream physique? In a city like Dubai, that's common. The bustling city tends to keep everyone busy, and juggling fitness with other commitments can be a real struggle. But there's a way out.

World-renowned fitness trainer Kayla Itsines, who is currently in the city for Dubai Active, has given a piece of her mind for those who want to implement fitness in their lives albeit busy routines.

Her first advice? "Move your body whenever it works for you," she said. "Don’t worry about the 'perfect' time to work out - the perfect time is whenever you can fit it in!"

Kayla, who hails from Australia, has been at the forefront of revolutionising the women's fitness sector since introducing her initial high-intensity program tailored for women and co-establishing the Sweat app in 2015.

Fuelled by her dedication to community and women's well-being, Kayla has successfully developed one of the most extensive online female fitness communities globally, impacting millions of women through her distinctive programs.

Known for her straightforward and motivating approach, Kayla is on a mission to empower women to experience the positive impact of exercise and equip them with the tools and confidence needed to transform their lives, both physically and mentally.

Kayla is set to make an appearance at the region's largest fitness and wellness exhibition, which is scheduled to run this weekend from November 24 to 26 at Dubai World Trade Centre. We caught up her to discuss what visitors can expect from her at the event, how women have embraced fitness, and implementing fitness in a busy life.

What are you looking forward to the most at Dubai Active, and what can visitors expect from your session at the event?

I’m most looking forward to meeting all of my Sweat Community members in person! I haven’t been to Dubai since 2019 and I couldn’t be more excited to be here again. Sweat has always championed the power of community and it’s such an amazing feeling when like-minded women come together in person for an experience like Dubai Active. On Sunday I’ll be running an OG Kayla Bootcamp and I can’t WAIT - it’s going to be epic.

My OG Kayla Bootcamp will be high in energy and intensity, so prepare to get sweaty and have a lot of fun. All of my bootcamps are bodyweight workouts with modifications available and you can take things at your own pace, so I’d love to see you there no matter your fitness level. Everyone is welcome!

Tell us about a fitness myth that you are strongly against.

People often believe that you need a huge amount of time, space or equipment to have a good workout and see results, but thousands of women, including the ones in my community, are living proof that you can lead an active lifestyle and achieve your goals even if all you’ve got is 20 minutes and a yoga mat. That’s why so many women still love my OG Kayla program - it’s a tough workout that can be completed in only 28 minutes.

People tend to believe 'losing weight' is of utmost importance in their fitness journeys. Is it true?

Losing weight is a goal for many people and it can be a powerful source of motivation when you want to see a change, but you need to have more than that driving you. Time and time again, I’ve seen people quickly lose motivation when they start to see physical change and their primary reason for working out isn’t so strong any more. This is why I want to empower women to focus on how working out makes you feel and how much it’s adding to your life, rather than just how you look.

Kayla will be hosting her iconic bootcamp session at Dubai Active this weekend
Kayla will be hosting her iconic bootcamp session at Dubai Active this weekend

It is truly impressive how women have embraced fitness and bodybuilding. As a trainer, how do you hope to inspire others wanting to start their fitness journey or become trainers?

I’ve been doing this for over 10 years now and it truly is the most rewarding and life changing job. I always say that even if you took away the success of Sweat, I would go back to being a personal trainer any day. Helping other people feel confident and strong and achieve their goals NEVER gets boring. If you’re at the start of your fitness journey, that is so exciting. You’ve got this. You can do anything you put your mind to, and I’ve got your back every step of the way.

Share some tips for people who want to start their fitness journey but are bound to a certain work routine. How can they implement fitness in their daily 9-5 life?

Juggling fitness with your other commitments can be a real struggle, so my first piece of advice is always to move your body whenever it works for you. Don’t worry about the “perfect” time to work out - the perfect time is whenever you can fit it in! When you’ve got a busy schedule, I also recommend putting your workouts in your calendar. Think of it like an appointment with yourself and treat it the same way you would treat a hair appointment or meeting! Finally, I truly believe that something is always better than nothing, especially now that I have two kids and a busy job. Sometimes, all you have time or energy for is a walk around the block or some stretches - just focus on moving your body however and whenever you can. You always feel so much better for it.

Kayla's top five exercises

1. Hip thrust

2. Romanian Dead Lift

3. Weighted leg raises

4. Chin ups

5. Box jumps


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