Never seen a fitness drive of this scale, says US couple

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on November 18, 2018 | Last updated on November 18, 2018 at 08.25 pm
Never seen a fitness drive of this scale, says US couple
Chris Powell and Heidi Powell.


America's foremost fitness' first family Heidi and Chris Powell held a power-packed fitness class for the UAE residents over the weekend.

A purge in the global obesity epidemic is inevitable, said Chris Powell, an American personal trainer, reality show personality, and author. The fitness transformation expert from Phoenix, USA, said nation-wide fitness campaigns, such as the Dubai Fitness Challenge, are a step towards making fitness cool, especially among the younger generation.

America's foremost fitness' first family Heidi and Chris Powell held a power-packed fitness class for the UAE residents over the weekend at the JLT Fitness Village and the Kite Beach Fitness Village.

Increasing awareness

The classes were tailor-made for the entire family, as Powell family believes in keeping kids active, as much as the adults. The couple have four children. 

Speaking exclusively to Khaleej Times during their recent visit to the UAE, Chris said: "When it comes to the obesity epidemic, the numbers are staggering. Just like the smoking epidemic, consistent awareness campaigns resulted in a massive drop in the number of kids who were smoking."

He added: "If children are growing up aware of that it is cool to grow up strong, there will be a definite purge in obesity rates."

Quoting an example from their fitness event at JLT, Heidi said: "Last night, so many little kids showed up for our event. The whole front line was of small kids. This proves awareness is improving."

Making exercise interesting

The couple admitted that they've never seen a fitness challenge of this scale, where the entire city comes together and participates, spreading good health, positivity, and happiness.

On Friday, the couple conducted a fitness activity called Tabata. It is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, featuring exercises that last four minutes.

"Tabata is perfect for busy professionals who are strapped for time. If you're a mum or a working professional, Tabata separates the exercise time into minute blocks of time - where you get your workout in four minutes. You have 20 seconds of movement and 10 seconds rest. You get a killer workout in four minutes. If you apply four blocks of Tabata, in 16 minutes you have a wonderful workout," explained Heidi.

Incentivise exercise for kids

The couple advised parents to incentivise exercise or sports for children. "Kids like devices. In the US, kids playing the video game Fortnite is an epidemic. Our kids are hooked, it is almost like a black hole and they don't realise how time flies," said Heidi.

She added: "Instead of fighting it, the trick is to manage it better. Parents can allow screen time if they earn it. Give them 30 minutes of game time if they do one circuit. Or have family game time that involves physical play."

Nutrition is key

Speaking on the importance of nutrition in leading a healthier lifestyle, Chris said: "Diets works differently on different bodies. However, whatever the diet is, if the goal is not attainable, you are not going to keep the weight off. Instead of taking on so many things at once, make smaller commitments." 

He stressed the importance of making smaller commitments such as drinking more water every day or adding protein to every meal, etc, and said transformation is a life-long process.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for over ten years. For Khaleej Times, she covers NRI affairs, civil aviation, and immigration issues among other things. She completed her BA in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008 and is currently pursuing her MA in Leadership and Innovation in Contemporary Media at the American University in Dubai. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves food, and is mom to an over-enthusiastic Labrador retriever. Tweet at her @shootsprintrite.

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