Bullied for his weight, Essa is now a fit champ

Bullied for his weight, Essa is now a fit champ
As a victim of bullying, Essa took the decision to lead a healthier lifestyle

Dubai - Over the next two weeks, Essa Al Ansari will head to 17 schools to encourage students for the #Dubai30x30 challenge


Kelly Clarke

Published: Sun 22 Oct 2017, 8:41 PM

Last updated: Wed 25 Oct 2017, 9:38 AM

For most residents across the city, the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) is all about setting personal goals and smashing them. But Essa Al Ansari is on a different journey. As one of the faces of the 30-day challenge, his focus is on the youth. That's why he signed up.
"When I was younger, I was overweight. Being that child in school was very tough. I used to get bullied a lot by students I didn't know, even friends, just because I was big," he told Khaleej Times.
Yes, Ansari has increased his daily exercise by 30 minutes. That's what the challenge asked of him. From morning HIIT sessions before work, to taking advantage of one of the 88 pop up work outs being offered for free across the city. He's doing it all for the next 30 days.
But for him, the power of being active goes far beyond just physical wellbeing. It strengthens mental wellbeing too. That's why, he is using the challenge as a way of spreading that message to the younger generations.
"For me, the focus of this challenge is how I can help the youngsters. Yes, I'm increasing my normal daily physical activity output, but it's a journey of education too."
So far, Al Ansari has visited 15 schools to talk fitness with students. Over the next two weeks, he'll be heading to 17 more schools to get kids pumped up about the 30 minutes of exercise for 30 days initiative.
"I want kids to transition this 30 day challenge into a lifestyle once it is finished. 30 days is just the start. Right now they see it as just a challenge but it has to go beyond that if we want it to work in the long-term," he said.
Rather than simply forcing themselves to getting active for the sake of it, Al Ansari said since the challenge began, he has told students the same message.
"This challenge has so many benefits. Getting active is great for managing and reducing stress. It's important for overall health."
He adds his message goes far beyond just words. As a victim of bullying himself, it was his decision to lead a healthier lifestyle that saw his whole outlook change. "It rehabilitated me as a person. So I challenge others to see how just 30 minutes of any physical activity everyday can help change them. Start the journey.

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