Ramadan in UAE: Fitness power couple share tips to stay fit, healthy during holy month

Fitness enthusiasts can also train with MrandMrsMuscle, Mike and Vivienne, at a wellness event in Dubai on February 25


Husain Rizvi

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Published: Thu 22 Feb 2024, 7:30 PM

Last updated: Mon 26 Feb 2024, 9:49 AM

MrandMrsMuscle, founded in 2016 by husband and wife Micheal and Vivienne Addo, originated from their careers as professional personal trainers in the UK.

Over the years, their dedication to fitness and their innovative approach to training have garnered them a significant following both in the UAE and worldwide, solidifying their status as fitness influencers.

Since establishing themselves in the UAE fitness scene in 2019, their brand has experienced exponential growth, amassing over 3 million followers across various social media platforms.

Building on their success, they have expanded their brand by creating the HIIT by MrandMrsMuscle Fitness App and launching a blog, further extending their reach and providing their audience with valuable fitness resources and guidance.

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Fitness enthusiasts in the country can join the fitness powercouple at Dubai's annual health and wellness festival Active on the Beach this Sunday, February 25. "We will be leading a very fun and very energetic Power HIIT Bootcamp Session at the beach festival at the iconic Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah," Vivienne tells City Times ahead of the event. "This will be our first Bootcamp session in over 4 years since the Pandemic. So, we are very excited!"

"People can expect their entire body to be worked and muscles that they never knew existed to feel it. For those, who are not able to do any plyometric exercises or high intensity we will also be providing modified movements for each and every exercise," she added.

Furthermore, the couple shares insights on their fitness journeys, workout philosophies, and tips to stay fit and healthy during Ramadan 2024. Excerpts from the interview:

Tell us about your fitness journeys; personal anecdotes and milestones that you hold closest to your hearts.

Vivienne: Growing up I was always very active and into sports. From the age of 11, my father encouraged my sisters and I to go for short morning runs at the local park before school started. I was on the basketball team, competed in school and county athletics (100m, 200m and Long Jump) and did Kung-Fu a two times a week.

This all felt very normal to me as it was a part of my regular routine and it naturally lead to me studying physical education at GCSE and A-level before completing my University Degree in Sports Science.

However, shortly after university everything changed. I didn’t end up with a career in my field and eventually stopped exercising and doing sport related activities. After a few years of working a retail job and out of the active routine I once lived by I started to gain weight quickly, became unfit to a level where jogging after the bus was challenging and developed back and knee pain. It was at this point that I became concerned as I was only in my early 20s and knew that I shouldn’t have felt this way. I started to use my days off work to go jogging, I changed my diet and sleeping routine and as I slowly started to feel myself again I signed up for a 10K Cancer Research Charity Run and in the following year which was 2014 a London 1/2 Marathon - I credit this moment as being the journey back into fitness for me because in the same year I went on to qualify as a AQA Level 3 Personal Trainer.

Mike: My fitness journey is similar and very much connected to Vivienne’s. We first met each other in 2001 during our first year of secondary school. It had only been a few months into the school year and Viv had already been crowned as the fastest girl in our year group. At the same time I was known among mutual friends to be a very fast sprinter and this lead to Viv and I having a race in the school yard - our first ever interaction with each other.

Throughout my school years I served on the school football team, played at a local level for Alexandra Palace Football Club and did 100m sprinting during the athletics season but as soon as early adulthood kicked in and the talk of careers became a priority my active lifestyle completely disappeared. It wasn’t until 2014 when Viv became a personal trainer and was actively going for regular runs that out of both inspiration and fear of missing out I began to follow in her footsteps, prioritise moving my body and later trained to become a personal trainer alongside her.

How do you connect with your audiences? What challenges are the most common in the UAE fitness industry?

Mike: We have a very global audience that expands to over 3 million people across all of our social platforms and a reach in excess of 5 million people a month. We never prepared for or dreamed of how far our videos and exercise programs would reach but at the same time we quickly began to realise that being global had its challenges. One of the biggest challenges to overcome was the language barrier. After English, the top 5 languages spoken by our audience are Spanish, Dutch, Hindi, German and Arabic. Very quickly this shaped the way we connected, taught and communicated with our audience. Our video production became more visual than auditory and we focused heavily on accessibility more than trend or virality.

The challenges that we have faced during our growth like accessibility can also be echoed here in the UAE fitness industry. While there is no shortage of amazing fitness platforms/events that are community focused like the Dubai Active Show, Gov Games, The Dubai Muscle Show, Dubai Fitness Challenge or great places to exercise and workout like Crank, BARE, Reform athletica, Gymnation etc., the large amount of choice can be overwhelming for people to select from, especially when it is coupled with the vast amount of online information on how best to stay fit and healthy.

Take us through your workout philosophy and what is unique about your methods.

Vivienne: The MrandMrsMuscle way is to keep things simple by making workouts easy to follow and easy to stick to. Over the years through personal experience as well as research and listening to our community we have found that one of, if not the biggest challenge for most people is consistency. And if you are not consistent you cannot get the results you truly desire. So, consistency is at the heart of every workout we deliver and every program we create. This extends into how we time the workouts, the exercise sequence of each workout, the modifications used to keep our workouts accessible and even the beats per minute in the music we use alongside the workouts. Pieced together this allows us to help provide an experience that gives you the right amount of intensity to keep you motivated long enough to become consistent enough to transform and develop a lasting habit of enjoying the working out process.

There’s a whole lot of debate on online versus in-person training. What are your thoughts on it?

Mike: There is a huge benefit to both forms of training and in our opinion one is not superior to the other. In person training is great for those who can afford it, need the accountability and lack the space to train at home. In addition, it is great for individuals who have fitness goals that are time sensitive and need the personalised expertise of a trainer.

On the other hand online training has huge benefits. It is a fantastic option for those who are on time constraints or need the flexibility in their training routine, it is one of the best ways to build up your confidence when it comes to exercise and feeling confident in your body and it is also highly cost effective. There are downsides that exist to online training such as finding credible information, trainers/teachers with correct form and navigating through a huge heap of triggering and extremely misleading information.

The best way to navigate either option is to take the time to research and ask as many questions as you can before starting anything.

What is it like working out as a couple? How has it impacted your fitness journey? What are some of the advantages and potential challenges?

Vivienne: Mike and I have a fairly unique experience. We met at school aged 11, started dating at 15 and got married at 22. We have spent our entire adult lives growing up together so naturally we have similar tendencies in our behaviour and can almost predict what the other person is feeling or likely to feel like doing.

When it comes to working out together we both have a detailed understanding of the exercises we do and how it will affect our bodies differently so we tend to train around each other as opposed to do the exact same workouts at the same time. However, both being qualified trainers it is great having someone who can help identify errors or areas where we need help with.

On the flip side, outside of working out we have recently taken up golf together as an alternative form of exercise. That is really challenging because it is an individuals game that we play together and we are both hugely competitive!

What led to you guys creating the app?

Mike: As our workout library grew there was more and more demand for programming and how best to use our workouts to meet the needs of individual fitness goals. We spent little over a year testing and figuring out the best way to help as many as we could while also factoring in the challenge of language barrier and different goals.

This led us to creating a calendar based system and easy to follow visual tools in our workouts that allows for beginners to follow our pre-loaded programs and intermediate to advanced individuals to create their own programs using their favourite workouts from our huge digital library.

We have over 600+ professionally programmed workouts, weight loss programs, body toning plans, strength and mobility plans as well as plenty of easy to use meal plans.

Our app is also available on the App Store, Apple TV, Play Store, Android TV, Amazon Fire and Roku you can find out more on MrandMrsMuscle.com. Use the code: Khaleej30 to get 30 days free when you sign up on our website.

Fitness tips for Ramadan 2024

Mike: Our advice when it comes to working out during the Holy month of Ramadan is to always slow things down, stay hydrated with electrolytes and be sure to eat slow digesting foods like complex carbs which will give you longer periods of sustained energy.

When it comes to the exercise program you do we recommend having a de-load month and focus more on maintenance training/movement than anything drastic.

Picking the right time to workout for yourself and your goals is also very key. Here are suggested times to consider:

In the morning after Suhoor:

Great for someone that is more focused on cardio and low intensity. The pre-fast meal will give you enough energy for a steady state walk, cycle or short jog. What you should pay attention to is not doing anything too intensive or heavily sweat inducing as you run the risk of dehydration.

In the evening just before Iftar:

Great for someone who normally trains fasted or doesn’t need much fuel before their workouts. A de-load focused weight training session or mid intensity cardio is great for this time of day.

In the evening after your Iftar meal:

This is the time that is ideal for most people to workout and train as you have had the ability to fuel up and hydrate before working out and can also fit in a post workout meal.

What we recommend you pay attention to is not training to strenuously close to bedtime as this can disturb your sleep and overall recovery.

Don’t be afraid to take time away from your training routine and always listen to your body.


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