Sunday, 22 January 2017

What I’ve learned from running everyday for 365 days

  • It doesn’t get any easier. 5 miles is still 5 miles.
  • There’s no such thing as an easy run. There’s fast ones and slow ones, short ones and long ones. Sometimes the slow ones can be more difficult and require more concentration.
  • Every days counts so I don’t use collective nouns to think about the duration of my streak, to me each integer is hard earned and should be respected.
  • I’ve re-learned the 7 times table. What’s 7x37, anyone?
  • During the last 200 metres of my run each day I force myself to smile (which must look weird to passers-by). I remind myself that there will be a day when I won’t be able to do what I’m doing today and to be grateful for the feeling of accomplishment.
  • I like to have three pairs of trainers on rotation.
  • Very occasionally I’ll have a magical running day where despite diet, drinks or a hangover, I feel like I can run forever.
  • Much more frequently, in spite of great sleep and a sensible diet, my legs feel like tree trunks.
  • There’s always pain somewhere, but it’s very much self-inflicted so I try not to talk about it. It’s boring and no one is remotely sympathetic or interested.
  • I’ve stopped wearing a watch or heart rate monitor. I don’t want to know if I’m faster or slower.
  • Sooner the better works best. Leaving my run until later in the day just means that it’s always on my mind until I pull my trainers on.
  • I don’t make enough time for stretching.
  • Don’t start a running streak to lose weight. You won’t. Do it because you enjoy it.
  • I love running and I love food. Running every day means more of both which is mint, but if I wanted to lose weight I’d run less and eat less, but I wouldn’t be as happy.
  • The law of averages tells you that there’s going to come a day when you need a bathroom break mid-run. Deal with it and move on. Sacrifice your socks.
  • More often than not I run the same route at the same time and see the same people. There were two security guards I said hello to most mornings for about six months.
  • I get a glimpse of old age every day in the first 200 metres of my run.
  • My favourite time to run is 6.30am, its dark when I start and light when I finish.
  • Running towards a rising sun is superb.
  • There’s no ocean deep enough to drop dog walkers who let their dog run free off their leads in public spaces.
  • I always carry emergency money. I take a AED 100 note and a AED 5 note in a plastic wallet that came free with my London Underground Oyster card.
No. of days in my streak so far = 365
Total distance = 2,976 km
Average per run = 8.15 km


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Chasing my 3 hour dream - Fitness in Dubai and the 2012 ING New York Marathon

I’ve always loved running, not as much as I love football, but I love it all the same. Like football, I’ve never really been any good. I thought I was good at both when I was 10 years old, but since there was only 11 other kids in my class at my age, compared to them I was. Moving to comprehensive with 250 kids my age put me right in my place. I was OK; that was it. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, and I stopped trying to be good at football or running. I turned into a short, fat teenager supplementing my daily diet with at least two bars of chocolate and maybe a quarter pound of sweets.
 
At 17, in an attempt to shift a bit of weight I started to jog. That was 1995, and even back then the Great North Run was a massive event not only in my region, but was one of the biggest half marathons in the world, so I decided to run it later that year. On Sunday 17th September 1995 I completed the Great North Run in 1h 57m and placed 9,991st.
 
I swore I’d run the Great North Run every year until I died. (I haven’t run it since 2004.) Each year my time improved, 1h 49m in 1997, 1h 39m in 2000, and 1h 27m in 2002 (despite all the Guinness at university!). As much as I loved the event, my running holy grail has always been to run a marathon in less than 3 hours. As an impressionable youngster I was told, “You’re only a runner if you’ve run a marathon in less than 3 hours. Until then you’re just a jogger.” Total bullshit in my opinion, but it’s still always been my ultimate fitness ambition. (Since my dream to play football for Sunderland died in 1990.) Just thinking about running 26 miles 365 yards (or 42.195km) in less than 180 minutes scares me. That’s running at over 14kph or over 8.7mph for 3 hours solid. It’s madness!
 
I did attempt the London marathon in 2002. I was running pretty well at the time since I’d joined a running club and was doing the odd cross country race. However, it was just after 2h 30m at mile 18 in that race that I realised just what the marathon is all about. I’d been on target for around 3h 20m, but I got cramp everywhere, the last 8.2 miles were sheer agony. My pace dropped to 10 minutes per mile and I finished in 3h 48m. Never again I swore.
 
On a Tuesday night two years later, I was enjoying a curry and a few beers with friends when I got a phone call, “Paul, I’ve got a friend who’s injured and can’t do the London marathon on Sunday. Do you want his race number?”. “Err, OK,” I tentatively replied. Pint down, I sobered up pretty quickly.
Without the burden of months of marathon training I didn’t have high expectations, so I just tried to go out there and enjoy it. And I did, it was a great race. I loved it, even though the heavens opened after 13 miles and my feet had blisters on top of blisters. I finished in 3 hours 31 minutes. I’m looking at my 10k split times from the race now as I write this and I’m very pleased with the consistency, 48m 03s, 48m 27s, 50m 59s and 51m 30s. That’s 12.5kph dropping to 11.7kph. Never again I swore.
 
Fast forward to New Year’s Day 2012. Maybe it was the hangover, or an early mid-life crisis, but I thought about what I’ve always wanted to do and the 3 hour marathon was staring back at me. So, if I was going to try one last time to run a 3 hour marathon where would I want to run it? Easy, New York baby! And what do you know; the application process for the 2012 ING New York Marathon opened the following day. It’s like they prey on New Year’s resolutions. I submitted my application but knowing how difficult these big races are to get into so I didn’t think I had much chance, if I was a betting man I’d say the odds were maybe 8-1.
 
On Thursday 26th April I received an email, “Congratulations, you’re in!” Holy shit, I’m in. My wife didn’t know what to make of it either, “what do you mean, you’re in?” My head started swimming at the prospect of it, here it was, something I’ve always dreamed of doing. A huge opportunity to fulfil an ambition I’ve held for so long. Logistics, flights, hotels, the costs, charities, training schedules, booking time off work, running all that way. It took me more than a few days to make sense of it all.
 
And then it started. The training. But more than that, it’s the constant thinking about it. It never really leaves my mind, I’m always thinking about it. Every meal, every drink, every training session it’s there looming ahead in the future, each day a day closer to happening. I guess everyone who’s entered a race or event they’ve always wanted to do feels the same. It reminds me of an exam, just much more enjoyable.
 
For me the hardest thing about training for a marathon is all of the questions, each one like a science project that has to be experimented with and solved. Let’s start with kit from the bottom up;
  • Are these shoes too old or too new?
  • Are they tied tight enough or too tight?
  • Thin socks, thick socks, two pairs of sock or no socks?
  • Vaseline on my feet or not? (Really I’ll try anything to avoid blisters, but the real bastard about blisters is what works one week might not necessarily work the next week.)
  • Shorts, how short? Or leggings? Do you wear underwear under shorts? 
  • Hydration belt or not? If so what to take, keys, money (I usually keep emergency cash under the inner sole of my left shoe), energy gels, tissues, Vaseline?
  • Long sleeved or short sleeved top? One layer or two? How to cope with joggers nipple, shave and use plasters, Vaseline or a compression layer?
  • Will it be cold enough for hat or gloves (not a consideration here in Dubai!)?
  • Music or not? If so what earphones, and how can I make sure they won’t fall out when I sweat?
  • Visor, sunglasses, sweatbands? How can I keep my hair out of my face? 
  • Can I actually face going out in public wearing this much Lycra?
And all that is just kit. Then there’s this lot to fret over;
  • What should I have for breakfast and at what time?
  • Where can I get supplies on route, and at which stage do I want to take on these supplies? 
  • What’s the weather forecast?
Anyone who has trained for a long distance event will tell you that the backbone of their training was a long run ideally once a week. This is easy running at a pace slower than what you want to run the race you’re training for (between 30-90 seconds per mile slower). These runs increase your endurance and train your body to use fat as a fuel. This is essential for the marathon, since the amount of carb your body can store isn’t great enough to sustain that much continued running.
 
Since May, these long runs have been my stable diet of running. And let me tell you, just because you’re running slower, these are not easy. After running for more than an hour there’s a load of mental and logistical challenges you need to learn to deal with. For anyone who has visited Dubai between May and September, you’ll know that the conditions are far from ideal! The temperature doesn’t really drop below 30c, and that includes the middle of the night. Initially I tried to do all my running outside, and I did some great runs around, JLT, the Springs, Meadows and Marina, but with my sleep cycle I found it very difficult to be able to get up early enough to avoid being caught in the midday sun. Soon I was seeking out an alternative and the treadmill became the best option. I’m no huge fan of the treadmill, but I’ve learned to deal with it as best I can.
 
My wife’s iPad certainly helps; I rent a couple of movies in advance and hope they’ll help me through it. Watching Forrest Gump was a highlight, watching Alan Partridge got scary when I couldn’t stop giggling and thought I’d fall off the machine. There have been some poor ones too (Goal 2, American Psycho…). Like any runner, some days for whatever reason, you just can’t perform like you want to. Its best not to over think these ones, let it go and look forward to the next run.
 
Last week my nerves really started kicking in. I’d had a poor run and I started downsizing my dreams, but then I thought about it and questioned why? I’ve committed so much to this, my wife has been so supportive, I’ve already raised much more money than I thought I would, and I know all my friends are family are right behind me. I want to give this my best. Like a student preparing a revision timetable I assessed all the time I have until the race. I researched marathon training schedules online, and I’ve settled on one by Hal Higdon which I really like and he’s the authority for marathon schedules. (See the plan in full here: http://halhigdon.com/training/51142/Marathon-Advanced-2-Training-Program). Once I’d fixed on my plan I was totally invigorated. I entered each session into my calendar and started looking forward to each and every session. This past week I’ve followed my plan to the letter and I’m loving it. There’s times when I feel great and I want to run further or faster, but I trust the plan and I’m sticking to it. I think knowing I can further or faster makes me look forward to my next session even more.
 
I’m raising money for Motor Neuron Disease and Parkinson’s, two charities very close to my heart. Often during my long run I think about how lucky I am to be fit and healthy and move well and to be able to chase my dream. I think about my Aunty Maureen and my Granddad and how they suffered. And I think about how so many other people are suffering right now, not only those with the disease, but their loved ones too as they all battle the best they can with these incurable diseases. They need help, and I’d like to say everyone who supports me in every way I’m very humbled and grateful. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/paulhymers
 
So that’s where I’m at. I’ve got a 10 miler to run today and 20 miles tomorrow (with Gandhi to watch on the iPad) and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve got 49 days until race day; I can’t wait to get there.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Fitness First out to find the Fittest in Dubai with top prizes of AED 50,000!

Fitness First have announced their competition to find the fittest man and woman in Dubai, and with a cash prize of AED 50,000 (£8,700) I’m sure there will be lots of interest! The cash prize isn’t only for the winner, the top 15 men and women will each get a cash prize or at least AED 3,000 (£522).

The competition is open to members and non-members of Fitness First. Registration starts from 1st July in all UAE clubs. Qualifying starts from the first day of Ramadan for only two weeks (TBC but probably Friday 20th July to Friday 3rd August) in the following Fitness First clubs; Uptown Mirdiff (ladies only), Deira City Centre, Meadows and Mirdif City Centre. Registration is AED 100 (£17). The qualifying circuit is a mix of rowing, running, push ups, squats, sit ups and dumbbell jerks, see the picture to the right. Attempts of the circuit will be timed and judged by a Fitness First representative according to standards of movement (see link to video below).

The fastest 15 males and 15 females in the qualifying circuit will qualify for a final round that is scheduled to be held at the Mirdif City Centre mall. The Women’s final will take place on Thursday 9th August while the Men’s final will be held on Friday 10th August.

For more details like Fitness First Middle East on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/fitnessfirstme

Standards of movement will be posted on a video here: http://www.youtube.com/DXBfitness

Good luck!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Fitness in Dubai's news update - May 2012

It’s only a couple of weeks since I was writing about so many new gyms and events going on in Dubai, yet now there’s even more! Even with temperatures soaring past 40 degrees, nothing can slow down the rate of expansion being witnessed by the fitness industry in Dubai.

JBR Hilton Tower Race, 18th May 2012
The Hilton Tower Race, in JBR is on Friday 18th May from 8am. Take on 35 floors, 925 stairs and 120 runners all to raise money for underprivileged children to get an education. All proceeds will go to Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian & Charity Foundation. For details go to: http://www.premiermarathons.com/event/Hilton_Dubai_Tower_Race_2012

Nike Running Club in JBR
Nike have been providing a free running club for a while with sessions in Dubai Festival City and Downtown on Tuesday and Friday nights respectively, but now they’ve added a Saturday morning session in JBR too. The fun starts at 7am, meeting at Al Fattan Towers (outside Frankie’s restaurant). Join their Facebook group for more: http://www.facebook.com/NikeRunningMiddleEast

Ignite Aquathlon, 11th May 2011
What’s set to be a great event is taking place on Friday 11th May at The Shack, Kite Surfer’s Beach, Umm Suqeim. There’s a race for juniors (200m swim and 800m run) at 6am and adults (400m swim and 2km run) at 7am. Register at: www.premiermarathons.com

InnerFight’s "Become Superhuman" seminar with Ben Greenfield, 11th & 12th May
The author of one of my favourite fitness blogs, Ben Greenfield (http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/) is coming to the Evolve Gym in Dubai to deliver a two day seminar entitled "Become Superhuman". It’s an interactive fitness, nutrition and lifestyle workshop discussing the seven crucial modules necessary for developing a superhuman body and mind: performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep and hormonal balance. Participants in the "Become Superhuman" workshop will be given all the systems and components necessary to maximize physical performance, body appearance and mental function. For more details contact: winning@innerfight.com

SHP Dubai have opened their gym in Swiss Tower, JLT
This gym focus on 1-to-1 sessions and small (4 or less) group sessions, and aim to offer a holistic approach that evaluates and addresses the key aspects of your health and performance. Their aim is to take care of all of your needs so that you can turn up and give it your best. No excuses. One of their membership packages even includes personal gym kit and a laundry service! I’ve always been jealous of footballers who turn up at training and have all their kit prepared and laid out for them, now you can enjoy that too! For more details go to: http://www.shpdubai.com/ or email ian@shpdubai.com



Stay healthy!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Dubai’s fitness explosion! Dubai fitness news update!

It seems to me that Dubai has an insatiable appetite for everything to do with fitness right now. New events, new gyms and group exercise classes are popping up everywhere. Maybe it’s all of the Friday brunches that guilt-trip everyone into making amends the other six days of the week. Who knows? Who cares! I think it’s fantastic! All of these new events, gyms and classes mean that there’s surely something close to you in Dubai, no matter where you live. No more excuses of not being bothered to get to the other end of town!

New events

This last month has seen the Open for the Reebok 2012 CrossFit Games (http://games.crossfit.com/) take place. For the past five weeks athletes from all over the UAE have been making their way to the CrossFit affiliates in Dubai (Reebok CrossFit LifeSpark http://crossfitlifespark.com/ and The Burn Room http://www.theburnroom.com/) to test themselves against the very best in the world and see how they fare. Though it’s too late to enter there’s nothing stopping you trying out these WODs to see how you stack up against over 60,000 other athletes of all ages and abilities.

On Friday 6th – Saturday 7th April 2012, Dubai Marina-based gym Core Direction (http://www.coredirection.com/) are hosting their inaugural Corefit Games at the Dubai International Marine Club. The heats take place on Friday 6th, followed by semis and finals the following day. Entry is AED 100 per person, and the prizes include flights and four nights’ accommodation in Thailand for two! Great prize! One sure to bring out the best in the region!

Reebok CrossFit LifeSpark http://crossfitlifespark.com/ (who are soon to move their box to JLT) are hosting a CrossFit Gymnastics certification course on Friday 20th – Saturday 21st April 2012. This is a gymnastics course open to everyone to develop your CrossFit-specific gymnastic skills. Sign up soon, this is sure to be very popular!

New gym

Fitness Zone JLT (http://fitnesszonedubai.com/) is a very comprehensive gym which also allows guests to pay-per-visit rather than signing up for a membership fee scheme.

Dubai-based blogs that are new to me:
http://coffeecakesandrunning.wordpress.com/

http://ingerindubai.com/ (though unless you speak Norwegian you’ll need to enable translator on Google)

http://www.wix.com/americanfitness/beastsquad#! – This site gives more information on a whole range of personal trainers in Dubai so you’ll be sure to find someone who suits your needs.

New group classes

The Circuit Factory (http://www.circuitfactory.ae/) have expanded out of Al Quoz and are now also running daily sessions from JBR (next to Barasti) and the Meadows.

Ignite Fitness (http://www.ignite-wellness.com/) have some Easter special offers for both of their locations, The Shack in Umm Suqeum and RIVA Beach Club on Palm Jumeriah.

Abu Dhabi

And this explosion isn’t just in Dubai, but it seems that Abu Dhabi is also catching on. Read this great article in The National for more details: http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/well-being/smaller-gyms-trim-the-high-cost-of-keeping-fit#full

If you’re reading this in Abu Dhabi and looking for some CrossFit style training, look no further than Stop The Clock Fitness: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/StopTheClock-Fitness/314785138564979

I hope this update encourages you all to get your trainers on and get involved. It’s happening now, don’t miss out!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Athlete’s Foot in UAE is now selling Vibram Five Fingers

The Athlete’s Foot in UAE is now selling Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs). They have stock in the following seven stores across the UAE; Ibn Battuta Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, DFC, Arabian Centre, Sharjah Mega Mall, Mushrif Mall Abu Dhabi. The models and price available are listed below.  

Men’s models and prices: 
KSO – AED 569
KSO Trek – AED 799
Bikila – AED 669
KomodoSport – AED 699 (available in two colours)
TrekSport – AED 649

Women’s models and prices:
Classic Paillette – AED 549 (available in two colours)
Jaya LR – AED 649 (available in two colours)
Jaya – AED 549
KSO Trek – AED 799
Bikila – AED 649
Speed – AED 599
KomodoSport – AED 699
TrekSport – AED 649

Kid’s model and price:
KSO – AED 349 (available in various colours)

This is just the start for The Athlete’s Foot and Vibram. They’re expecting an order of 8,000 pairs of VFFs in the first week of February 2012 which will include the full range from Vibram, not just those models listed above. They also plan to push stock of VFFs out to their other stores in the GCC, in Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

For anyone reading in Lebanon, a full range of VFFs are already available from Aleysa in Kaslik Tower Building, Ground Floor, Jounieh. Call +961 9 636 852 for more information. Tell them I sent you.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Fitness in Dubai checks out Platform 3 Fitness, Dubai Marina

I love group training sessions, I love the motivation, competition and camaraderie that they can provide. But having a session completely tailored to your goals, your specifications, where your form is watched for every rep and the gaze of the trainer is focused on only you, like the eye of Mordor, provides a different focus and arguably better results. Obviously we’re all different, perhaps some people prefer the slight anonymity of group training sessions, and to some the idea of group exercise and its competitive nature is a very real nightmare. It’s all down to your personal preferences, horses for courses as they say. Yes, there’s the added expense with personal training, but then you’d pay more for a bespoke suit over one off the shelf. Bespoke by its very nature is more expensive. You need to weigh up the cost versus the benefit for your goals and decide what’s important to you. How much are you willing to pay, both in effort and cash to achieve your goals?
Which brings me on to Platform 3 Fitness (www.p3dubai.com) in Dubai Marina, opposite Da Shi Dai & The Noodle Room in JBR. I can’t bring myself to call Platform 3 a gym, it’s so much more than any usual gym that there should be a new world to describe it. It’s an incredible space filled with all the best toys that everyone must look at and want to try out. And it’s so cool! It’s a cross between a nightclub, an activity centre, a boxing club and a gym. It features a competition-boxing ring, climbing wall, house sports therapy room, live DJ set, sauna and juice bar. It’s an uber-gym. I couldn’t wait to get started.
Core to the training sessions at Platform 3 are what they believe to be the three components of fitness:  
  • Personal training
  • Sports therapy
  • Nutrition
They offer a holistic approach incorporating these three components and work on an individual appointment basis, with pricing schedules based on attendance rather than time. Sessions don’t come cheap (prices vary from AED 300 for a single session up to AED 12,500 for 50 classes). However, without the commitment of an annual membership, a bespoke programme is tailored precisely to your needs.
Founder of Platform 3 Fitness, Omar Al-Duri (and top 5 finalist in the 2011 Shape Magazine Personal Trainer of the Year) showed me round and my session started with an attack on the climbing wall as a warm up. I’ve never climbed before but I was totally shocked at how difficult it was. Not only was I absolutely rubbish, but within minutes my forearms were screaming and I had a complete sweat on. Note to self: must work on grip strength.
Next Omar had a tasty circuit lined up for me, incorporating all big compound moves to get the maximum results and using lots of toys like the ViPR, kettlebells and a gravity machine (think pull-ups on an inclined platform on rails). After three rounds, the first being 2 mins per station, the second 1 min per station and finally 30 seconds per station I was completely spent. As I lay on the floor too tired to get up, I realised the mix of new exercises and new equipment had not only made the time fly past, but I’d been totally engaged throughout, rather than going through the motions of my usual routine. More importantly, I’d had a great time!
Platform 3 Fitness: Park Island Dubai Marina, Telephone: 04 435 8083 www.p3dubai.com

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in The National newspaper, Viva, Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Fitness in Dubai reports on the UAE Fitness Challenge II

Today’s Men’s Fitness and Shape Magazine UAE Fitness Challenge (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.323912610953896.85076.142113665800459&type=1#!/events/190453464376856/) was a tremendous success. OK, I lost the title I won back in June, but that didn’t dampen my day in the slightest. I finished third in the individual men’s event and I’m over the moon with that.

This time the event was outdoors, on the lawn before the beach at Le Royal Meridien Hotel in Dubai Marina. The format was different too. Only on Tuesday were the exercises revealed; plyo box jumps, hand release push ups, kettlebell swings and a 100m run, but it wasn’t until moments before the first heat that competitors were informed of what the workout would actually entail, such as length of time, or number of reps etc. Gathered in the sun we were told that the format for the individual event was a 12 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of the following:
  • 10 plyo box jumps with full extension (24 inches for men, 20 for women)
  • 15 hand release push ups
  • 20 kettlebell swings (16kg for men, 8kg for women)
  • 100m run.
For the team event, every member of the team had to work the four exercises listed above, but would switch exercises only when one of the team had completed the 100m run. Each rep completed by each team member would be added together to give a total rep count score for the team.
In my head I was worried about the kettlebell swings, but quietly confident... until I watched the first heat. Oh my God, it was destroying very good athletes, and 12 minutes at such a high intensity seemed an eternity!

I was in the second heat, and right away I struggled with the box jumps, which seemed really high and I couldn’t get a rhythm. The push ups started OK, but the 20 kettlebell swings did the real damage. In was near the back on the first round but tried to make up ground on the run. I nearly caught the guy next to me (individual men’s winner, Justin, who is on my left in this pic), but when the exercises started he stormed ahead of me again. And so it continued. I remember hearing there was 5 minutes to go and I was devastated. I was already on my last legs. For those 5 minutes every rep was excruciating. I could hear people cheering me on put the words sounded like a different language, I was lost in a world of pain.

I finished up completing five full laps along with the box jumps, push ups and 16 of the 20 kettlebell swings. I thought six full rounds would be a good score, and I gave it my best. I couldn’t have done anymore. 

I slumped in the shade for an hour trying to get my breath back. I was absolutely knackered, and missed out on watching some of the other heats which was a shame. I’ve got ot say I thought the atmosphere was electric. Everyone screaming words of encouragement and pushing each other to give everything they had. I loved it.

The finale was the top three men, women and teams to do a one off race to decide the winner. The challenge was a 50m bear crawl, then 50m of five frog jumps and three burpees in sequence to the finish line. I was shocked I was in the top three men and really wasn’t in any condition to take part, but I gave it my best. I was third of the three men.

Also, I must take my hat off to the women competing today. Rock hard. I can't be sure, but I think in the men's category, only the winner completed six full rounds, but all three of the top women did (I think). And the Glory Girls team(http://www.glorygirlfitness.com/) done incredibly well to place second in the team event. Amazing performances!

The whole event was excellent. It was a privilege to take part in it. Huge congratulations to Cliff and his team at Core Direction (http://www.coredirection.com/) for pulling it off. Also huge congratulations to everyone at CrossFit LifeSpark (http://crossfitlifesparkdubai.com/) who absolutely smashed it today. Candice Howe, owner and trainer, was victorious in the women’s event, and the team including Ben, also owner and trainer, won the team event. What a great advertisement for CrossFit they all are!


Roll on the 2012 event, I’ve got a title to regain!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

UAE Fitness Challenge II, Friday 9th December 2011

Due to the success of the first Men’s Fitness & Shape Magazine Middle East Fitness Challenge back in June, they’ve decided to do it all again. The next instalment is taking place on Friday 9th December 2011. After my very surprising victory, I’m out to defend my crown. I’m learning there’s pressure that comes with winning.

LATEST (4/12/11): The challenge will be a AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) format of the following 4 exercises;
- plyo box jumps
- hand release push ups (i.e. thighs and chest flat to the floor)
- kettlebell swings
- 100m run

The top two in each category will then face off in a secret challenge!

Come along and join in the fun!

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in The National newspaper, Viva, Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Fitness in Dubai tackles Ice Warrior II in Ski Dubai

Ice Warrior II was awesome! Such good fun! I’m really chuffed I finished 7th and maybe would have done better if I’d been braver from the start.

Everyone started in groups of five. One instructed where to go and kitted up with helmets and chipped timers we were off. First a run though the Mall, the car park and then up what seemed like hundreds of flights of stairs. The five of us were all still together and I decided to stick in the middle of the group so that I could see what was coming. Big mistake. Huge! After the stairs, we were sent down a slide in rubber rings. Since only one person could go down the slide at once, this gave those at the front a huge time advantage over those at the back.

My memory of all of the obstacles starts to blur after that, but it certainly included; crawling up a toboggan slide, jumping over ice walls, getting sprayed with cold water, pulling a rubber ring up a hill with rope, crawling between huge rubber balls, running up the steepest section of Ski Dubai, a balance beam, shovelling snow into a bin, running down stairs and then back up (millions of them) and sledging down the slope. I’m knackered just thinking about it all!

It flew past and so quickly and I was back in the warmth after 21m 56s. The atmosphere was fantastic, everyone laughing and joking, sharing their stories and encouraging each other on. It’s certainly an event that I’d recommend and I’m already looking forward to taking part in Ice Warrior III.

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in The National newspaper, Viva, Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Fitness in Dubai powered by Body Control

I first come across Body Control (http://www.bodycontrol.fr/) after the Fitness Challenge in June. There was a band included in my prize and I was very keen to find out more.
Acupuncture comes from traditional Chinese medicine and works through the manipulation of energy channels known as meridians. The needles used in acupuncture address imbalances in your energy flow. Body Control bands are made from silicone, and have two holograms on the inside. These holograms from 8ight (http://www.8ight.com/) store a frequency which when in contact with a meridian point do the same thing.

OK, I know what you’re thinking. But stick with me, the proof is in the pudding. There’s a whole range test that sow the impact of these bands, on your strength, balance, flexibility and susceptibility to radiation from mobile phones. These tests are difficult to explain, so thankfully there’s a video here for you to watch.

http://www.mydubaimycity.com/en/videofull/1092/Body-Control--Wristbands-to-Increase-Strength--Flexibility--Balance

If you’re still sceptical, try out the tests for yourself in any stockist of Body Control bands, which in Dubai include Stadium, Sun and Sand Active Sports and Studio R. The bands cost AED 175.

As for me, I’ve never taken mine off since June and on days when I’m really pushing myself in the gym I’ll wear two bands. Every little helps, right.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Dubai Fitness Challenges - The FAAStest in UAE and Ice Warrior II Challenge at Ski Dubai

I'll be brief until I get some more information, but now that it's officially winter here in Dubai it seems that there's great races and challenges springing up all over the place. Here's some sketchy details of a couple that have tickled my fancy.

The FAAStest in the UAE by Puma

Puma have launched a Jamaican-inspired new range of trainers, which claim to cut the frills and focus on speed. There's three breeds which make up the Puma Faas Collection, the 500 for the long distance runner, the 300 for the all-round runner and the 250 for the workout runner. Here's a link to the Puma store so you can take a look.

http://www.shop.puma.co.uk/sport/collections/faas-lab-running/53900,en,sc.html

To promote these new shoes, Puma are looking for the FAAStest in the UAE by holding a range of events all over the country. I've got no idea what's involved, but these events are happening at these times and places:
  • Friday 28th October 2011, between 3pm-7pm in JBR car park
  • Sunday 30th October 2011, between 11am-3pm in Dubai Media City quadrangle
  • Wednesday 2nd November 2011, between 11am-3pm in Dubai Internet City food court
  • Saturday 5th November 2011, between 3pm-7pm in Safa Park
As soon as I find out anything more I'll update this post.

Ice Warrior II Challenge at Ski Dubai

Again, I'm not sure what's involved, but I've been promised that it's going to be 18 gruelling obstacles on the snow in the -4c temperature of Ski Dubai. It's happening on Saturday 19th November 2011. Registration costs AED 250 and is limited to the first 100 applicants. The link to the facebook page for this event is below:
https://www.facebook.com/?sk=fl_10150636989095542#!/pages/Ice-Warrior-II/268651486500857

The link to register online is here:
http://www.premiermarathons.com/event/Ice_Warrior_II

I hope to see you there!

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in The National newspaper, Viva, Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The National photoshoot - Dubai's JBR beach

 
Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in The National newspaper, Viva, Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Monday, 10 October 2011

The National - Hit the ground running: barefeet runnning and its alternatives




http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/well-being/hit-the-ground-running-barefeet-runnning-and-its-alternatives?pageCount=0

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in The National newspaper, Viva, Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.
 

Friday, 7 October 2011

Viva, October 2011 - The best health tips ever

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in The National newspaper, Viva, Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Monday, 3 October 2011

New shoes – Sir Isaac S by Newton Running

In July, results of my Biomechanical Analysis at UPANDRUNNING Dubai indicated what I feared to admit, I’m a heel-striker. Click on this link http://barefootindubai.blogspot.com/2011/07/im-heel-striker.html to read and watch footage of the Biomechanical Analysis testing. One of the suggestions of the report provided to me was to try running shoes by Newton Running (http://www.newtonrunning.co.uk/) since these are shoes specifically designed for runners who want to develop a more natural style, be that either barefoot running or POSE technique.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Local Experts – Founder of Regime Fitness Dubai, Adam Fox-McGregor

Regime Fitness Dubai (http://regime.ae/) run an amazing 3 hour long drop-in circuit class in Dubai Marina, meaning you can turn up and train when it’s most convenient to you. Brilliant! A full-on strength and cardio workout, in Dubai Marina (next to the Yacht Club) and a free breakfast to boot. Not only that, but there’s a weekly running club too. Adam Fox-McGregor, founder and trainer, has kindly agreed to answer our questions.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Fitness in Dubai's weekly workouts - Men's Fitness, August 2011

After winning their UAE Fitness Challenge, Men's Fitness asked my if I'd share with their readers my weekly workouts. Here it is. For those in the UAE, it should be on sale today - see the cover image below. If you'd like more details of weights used etc, or if you have any questions, please make a comment or email me. I'd love to know what you think. Enjoy.

  

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Local Experts – Founder of The Circuit Factory, Phil Parkinson

This is the second in new series asking Dubai-based fitness experts some questions, which I hope will provide you with some tips, motivation and an insight into their methods and personalities.

The Circuit Factory (www.circuitfactory.ae) is a beast of a circuit class! Run in 24 Fitness Gym in Al Quoz, Dubai, it's taking Dubai by storm, so it’s brilliant that Phil, founder and trainer at The Circuit Factory has taken the time to answer our questions. For my review of the The Circuit Factory click here: http://barefootindubai.blogspot.com/2011/05/24-fitness-al-quoz-circuit-factory.html

Friday, 15 July 2011

Men's Fitness, July 2011


Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Biomechanical Analysis at UPANDRUNNING Dubai, Al Wasl Road

I’m a heel striker. I didn’t think I was, but the video evidence you can see below is conclusive. When wearing traditional running shoes my heel strikes the ground first. This explains a lot!

Long standing readers of this blog will know all about the problems I’ve had in the past 18 months when I set about trying to run barefoot. I did too much too soon and within two months I was on crutches. (To read more see here: http://barefootindubai.blogspot.com/2010/04/learning-hard-way.html) Since moving my feet back into trainers, and more importantly really starting to enjoy my running again, I’m starting to get an appetite for another marathon.

I’ve completed the London marathon twice, in 2002 and 2005, but I suffered terribly and was disappointed both times. Maybe now I’m older and wiser I can do better. With this in mind I decided it was time to really look carefully at how I run. In the past few years, as soon as I’ve started to up my mileage past the 30 miles a week mark I’ve suffered pain on the outside of my knees. This time I want to fully investigate any root problems before I increase my mileage, so I checked in for a Biomechanical Analysis at UPANDRUNNING Dubai with Graham Poynor-Woods (gpw@upandrunningdubai.com) a Orthotics Specialist and Biomechanics Coach.
 
Two video cameras, one from the side and one from behind, recorded my running; barefoot, with Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs), and finally in my Nike Pegasus. The next stage was a range of mobility tests, checking my intrinsic biomechanics looking for any imbalances and checking my pronation. This is how the foot rolls when you strike the floor, and overpronation is when the feet roll inward too much. This is where orthotics can be helpful since they can help repositioning the foot.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Dubai stockist of barefoot shoes Vibram Five Fingers

Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) are available in Dubai. The Society Shop in Festival City has stock of KSO, Sprint, Flow and Bikila VFFs. However, at AED 950 (£160 or $257) for the KSO or Sprint, and an eye-watering AED 1,100 (£180 or $300) for the Flow or Bikila, they are MUCH more expensive than you'd pay in either Europe or the US! Call them on +971 4 232 6550 to check availability in your size before you head down there.

In the barefoot community there’s lots of information about spotting fakes. To do this, check that the colours and styles you’re about to purchase to make sure they exist in the Vibram palate on their website. I certainly don’t condone fakes, but I can understand the demand since Vibrams are very expensive for what is just 3mm of moulded rubber and a fabric cover.

UPDATE 4th AUGUST 2011: Vibram Five Fingers are available from Adventure HQ located in Dubai’s Times Square shopping centre with prices starting at AED 515. Finally, thank God someone has seen the sense to stock these at a reasonable price, well done Adventure HQ. Huge thanks to Jason for the tip off! https://www.facebook.com/AdventureHQme?sk=wall#!/AdventureHQme?sk=info

LATEST UPDATE 19th JANUARY 2012: Vibram Five Fingers are available from The Athlete's Foot in seven locations across the UAE, see here for more info: http://barefootindubai.blogspot.com/2012/01/athletes-foot-in-uae-is-now-selling.html

http://paulhymers.com/?p=399

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Local Experts – Candice Howe, the fittest woman in Asia and co-owner of CrossFit LifeSpark Dubai

This is the first of a new section where I will ask Dubai-based fitness experts some questions, which I hope will provide you with some tips, motivation and an insight into their methods and personalities.

I’m over the moon that Candice Howe, winner of the Reebok 2011 CrossFit Asia Regionals, and co-owner and trainer at CrossFit LifeSpark (http://crossfitlifesparkdubai.com) has taken some time out of her manic schedule to answer a few questions.

FiD: What does your weekly training regime look like?
CH: CrossFit (http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/what-crossfit.html) training is constantly varied, so I do something different every week. I train 5-6 times per week for about 60 to 90minutes. Each session includes a strength piece – usually a power or Olympic lift, and then the WOD (workout of the day) which will generally be between 5 and 20 minutes in length and a couplet or triplet (2 or 3 movements) to be completed at high intensity. Today for example, I will warm up then work up to 3x100kg deadlift, followed by deadlift maximum repetitions at 85kg. My WOD is 2 couplets with 5 mins rest in between: 9-6-3 (9 reps, then 6 reps then 3 reps) power clean at 40kg and 15-12-9 push ups. Then the 5 min rest, followed by 9-6-3 power snatch at 30kg and 15-12-9 box jumps on to a 24 inch box. Finally I will accumulate 2 minutes in a handstand before a cool down and stretch.

Shape magazine, July 2011

Monday, 4 July 2011

VO2 Max Testing at UPANDRUNNING, Al Wasl Road, Dubai

VO2 max measures the ability to transport and use oxygen, and is accepted as the single best measure of cardiovascular fitness and maximal aerobic power. It is measured either in absolute rate in litres of oxygen per minute (l/min), or more commonly as a relative rate in millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute (ml/kg/min). An average score for males and females would be 45 ml/kg/min and 38 ml/kg/min respectively. Scores among super-human runners, cyclists and cross-country skiers exceed 85 ml/kg/min for men and 70 ml/kg/min for women. My score was recorded as 59 ml/kg/min.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Winning the UAE Fitness Challenge 2011

Ecstatic is not a word I use often, but it’s the only one that comes close to summing up how I feel today. Yesterday I competed against the UAEs fittest and won. The contest was the UAE Fitness Challenge hosted by Men’s Fitness and Shape Middle East. These magazines organised the event pitting professional fitness instructors against amateurs like myself. The feats were a classic beep test (starting at level 8), running timed 20m lengths, followed by rounds of press-ups, squats and burpees, in which contestants were challenged to do as many repetitions of each exercise as they could in two minutes. Technique was closely monitored with each contestant being assigned a judge, and if you want to try bettering my scores yourselves at home, my results were as follows:

Beep test: level 13 round 10
Press-ups: 77
Squats: 122
Burpees: 38

Here's the video, brilliantly shot by my Beautiful wife. Huge thanks to her for putting up with me. To everyone who cheered me on and those involved in organising and running the event, thank you!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Fitness in Dubai – Time for a name change

I’ve decided to rebrand this blog as “Fitness in Dubai”. Recently while giving this site a little redesign, I started asking myself what this blog is really all about, and does it benefit anyone other than me? Here are some questions I was asked for an upcoming feature in Shape Magazine:

Q: Why did you start your blog?
A: Every runner suffers from injuries. I thought I'd stumbled across a way to reduce the chances of getting injured, and I wanted to share this information. When I talked about barefoot running and my Vibram five fingers (VFFs) everyone asked the same questions, so it seemed logical to log my answers and experiences in blog format.

Q: What made you choose to write about barefoot running?
A: It seemed like a revelation to me. I desperately wanted barefoot running to change me into the runner I've always wanted to be. In the end I'm delighted I started the blog so that it can act as a cautionary tale for anyone who wants to try running barefoot and they can (hopefully!) learn from the stupid mistake I made of doing too much too soon.


Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Men’s Fitness & Shape Magazine Middle East Fitness Challenge 2011

I’ve signed up to take part in the Men’s Fitness & Shape Magazine Middle East Fitness Challenge which is being held at 3pm Saturday 25th June in the Westin, Dubai. There are four events:
  • bleep test starting at level 8 (12kph)
  • max push ups in 2 mins
  • max bodyweight squats in 2 mins
  • max burpees in 2 mins
Participants can enter as a team of four, each person doing only one activity, or go for the lot on your own, which is what I’m doing. Fingers crossed there’s be a breather or else I’ll be screwed.

Friday, 20 May 2011

24 Fitness Al Quoz & The Circuit Factory, Dubai

I love gyms. When I walk into a gym for the first time I feel the same as when I was ten years old and I walked into a toy store, all I see is things to play with. (I’m the same when I see football goalposts, I always visualise curling a shot into the top corner.) Once inside, I then start to notice what’s missing, and start thinking about the session I’m about to do and how I can adapt the toys available to achieve my goals.

24 Fitness in Al Quoz, Dubai is different. Nothing is missing; actually there are more toys in there than I would have dreamed of in my perfect gym, such as punchbags, speed balls, climbing ropes and a 20m two-lane sprinting track. Plus, it has a great mix of new machines and good old fashioned big heavy shit. I could go on, but basically there’s everything that anyone who is serious about their fitness could possibly wish for. It’s an incredible space. Gym heaven. If Rocky were to visit Dubai, he’d train at 24 Fitness.

Here's a link with photos and a location map:
http://www.wix.com/techippo/24fitness

Other advantages include:
  • The price, at only AED 40 per session, or AED 450 a month it’s an absolute bargain.
  • Being able to purchase a protein shake for AED 10 for one scoop or AED 15 for two. (Some experts, such as Paul Chek, believe that you should consume a post workout meal before the sweat from your workout has dried to maximise the peak of your metabolic rate.)
  • Group sessions, professionals such as InnerFight and The Circuit Factory (more below) utilise the space for tremendous sessions.
  • It’s size; though there were lots of people training before work it didn’t feel crowded like other gyms can.
Only disadvantage:
  • It’s not within a two minute walk of my flat.

The Circuit Factory (http://www.facebook.com/#!/circuitfactory)

Dubai is full of companies running circuits (bootcamp) classes, and to be fair, they’re very similar in their structure. For me, what makes one stand out from another is the ability and enthusiasm of the instructors to include everyone, create a great atmosphere, and push people to achieve more that they thought possible. It’s in this regard that the lads running The Circuit Factory scored with aplomb.

They run three morning sessions daily, which start at 6.15am, 7.15am and 8.15am. The circuit consisted of 10 stations, with 1 minute hard work at each station and no rest between stations. After the first lap, there was breather while all of the exercises were changed, and then off we went again round the 10 stations for 10 minutes. (Though I didn’t have a watch on, some 60 second stations felt like a lot longer than others!) Again the stations were changed, and there was a third and final lap before I crumpled to the floor like a wet rag. I was knackered but happy in the knowledge that I’d been tested, pushed, and given 100%. What more can you ask for?

Watch this!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXZsYUdAhBE&feature=youtu.be

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Monday, 16 May 2011

How to lose weight and gain muscle - what a stag do in Amsterdam taught me

Last month I headed to Amsterdam for a stag do and met up with my best friends, lads I’ve known for over 20 years. I hadn’t seen most of them for over a year, but like always when we meet up, it was like I’d seen them only last week and nothing had changed. Well, I say nothing but actually appearance wise we all had. Lots more grey hairs kicking about, a couple of receding hairlines, a bit extra all paid for in the beer belly department. But far and away the biggest surprise was the groom-to-be. He’d transformed into a muscle bound beast, as this picture shows.
Obviously I had to find out what kind of training schedule he’d followed for this amazing transformation, so here is it for you all.
Add caption

Monday, 25 April 2011

Concept 10 10 in Dubai

Are you the type of person who finds it impossible to make time for exercise? Do you pray that when you do go to the gym there’ll be no one else there? Do you want big results but from spending the shortest amount of time possible in the gym? Are you prepared to pay a premium for one-to-one training?

If the answer to these is ‘yes’ then undoubtedly Concept 10 10 is for you.

Monday, 28 March 2011

CrossFit in Dubai with CrossFit LifeSpark

Finally, there's now an official CrossFit affiliate in Dubai with the launch of CrossFit LifeSpark with certified trainers, Candice and Ben.
http://crossfitlifesparkdubai.com/

I joined for the 6am class today, and as far as getting up that early and being pushed to the limit goes, it was superb. There were four of us who'd braved the early morning, and as with all CrossFit sessions, the atmosphere was one of mutual support. The WOD (workout of the day) was AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of 6 pull ups and 10 kettlebell swings. I was destroyed, but I loved the hard and fast approach of it.

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Concept 10 10 review, JLT, Dubai


Concept 10 10 is all about high-weight, high-intensity but with a slow, fluid controlled movement where each rep should last 10 seconds on the extension and 10 seconds on the retraction. The gym itself is divided into individual rooms each containing only 6 machines, back extension, leg press, lat pull down, chest press, ab crunch and neck extension performed in that order. It was very quiet, with no music and no one else in the room during my session but the trainer and I. I was instructed that each of the exercises would only be performed once, but to exhaustion. So, 6 machines, 1 set, with a target of 7-10 reps performed with a 10 out and 10 in cadence. Easy eh?

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Vibrams (VFF's) in Dubai - The Society Shop, Festival City

The Society Shop in Festival City stock VFF's but they have very limited stock (and they are much more expensive than you'd pay in either Europe or the US!). Call them on 04 232 6550 and they will take your name and number and call you back once new stock arrives. They tell me the list of people waiting for stock to arrive is very long.

I keep trying to find out from Vibram when they will have other Middle East stockists but annoyingly I don't get a response.

Please let me know if you see or hear of any other stockists in the Middle East.

UPDATE 19TH JAN 2012: Please see the links below, VFFs are available at 7 The Athlete's Foot stores across the UAE: 
http://barefootindubai.blogspot.com/2012/01/athletes-foot-in-uae-is-now-selling.html

http://paulhymers.com/?p=399


Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Monday, 21 February 2011

After the 2011 RAK Half Marathon

From the finish line direct to Barracuda, maybe not the best way to recover but it was certainly well earned.

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

The 2011 RAK Half Marathon Finish Line

What a great feeling!
I'm so delighted, as you can see! This was the first half marathon for, from left to right, Sarah, Steve and Harriet, and for us all to cross the line together made the occassion even more special. The conditions were tough, especailly as the heat started to have an enormous impact late in the race. The determination to finish shown by Sarah, Steve and Harriet was fabulous, a real inspiration and a reminder of how beautiful running can be.

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Before the 2011 RAK Half Marathon


Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

IO?IONI in Dubai

I first saw these funny rubber watches last summer, while watching the England cricket team, Andrew Strauss I believe was sporting one. Then in November, Tom my trainer from the PTX course (more about that below) was wearing one, next my wife got one. Finally I seen John Mensah (Sunderland footballer) wearing one. Anyhoo, I copied my wife.

The blarb behind these is that they offset positive ions in the environment with negative ions, and this can improve concentration, detoxification, sleep, relaxation, vitality and mood. For the sake of dhs100 I thought I’d give it a go.

For anyone based in Dubai, I bought mine from the Virgin store in Mall of the Emirates who had a great selection. However, as with many things here in Dubai, they are a lot cheaper in the UK.

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.