Fitness and Health: Learn to embrace the morning at Roxy Fitness

Hiba Khan 10/05/2017
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People often draw up inflated hyperboles to express their intense dislike for the early morning hours; unfortunately I am part of this very lot that is guilty of making such overstatements.

I remember attributing Tai Chi in helping me transform in to a morning person, but I say, not

being a thorny tempered, bleary-eyed zombie is one thing and charging into fitness activities early in the morning is another.

In all honesty, I always thought that nothing in this world could change my sentiments about early morning workouts.

So when I got to know about Roxy Fitness event, in my excitement and eagerness to accept the invitation it completely slipped my notice that it was scheduled to start at 06:45.

As much as I was groggy and bitter for hauling myself out of the snug cocoon of my blankets, never have I ever been happier for passing up on extra sleep.

We started off with a beachside yoga with Kathleen Swalling, who guided us through the sun salutations to warm us up for the paddle boarding session with Krissy later on. After an extremely relaxing yoga session by the beach, the entire group was just bursting with energy.

The ladies were divided into two groups; one that had seasoned paddle boarders and the others who were trying it out for the first time.

I on the other hand got to be the lone member of a very special group that had neither paddle boarded nor knew how to swim.

So while the advanced group did burpees on a paddle board and the other group focused on perfecting their balance and steering, I was all by myself with Kathleen learning how to survive in the ocean and paddle boarding from scratch.

However, under the vigilante eye and firm instructions of Kathleen, a fantastic yoga instructor and a tri-athlete, I tried getting the basics of paddle boarding down without knowing how to swim.

She was a constant source of comfort and confidence throughout the whole experience, and eventually I was able to stand on the paddle board and steer my way around.

She even coaxed me in to getting off the paddle board and diving right in to the water, to help ease my fear. As a precaution, I was instructed to stay as close to the shallow side of the beach as possible, but even then I was required to at least try to stand on the board and steer it around.

Kathleen pointed out that the sport requires the same techniques used in yoga that help maintain our balance and the key to becoming good at it was just to remain calm and breathe.

“You just need to breathe and stay calm, so the breathing exercises that you were doing in Yoga applies perfectly here in paddle boarding,” said Kathleen, as she guided me in to the water.

“Tuck your navel closer to the small of your back and keep the knees slightly bent at all times to help stay stable on the board,” she advised.

She also mentioned that it is important to always keep your eyes looking in front rather than down at the water.

Paddle boarding is a great upper body workout and is a real test of strength.

Moreover, like all sports and fitness activities, excelling at it is really all about one’s mental sharpness and focus.

This aspect became even clearer when I noticed that I was paddling better, when my mind was not racked by the constant fear
of falling over.  As my mind was just focused on staying balanced and paddling, I realized the only time I actually lost my balance was when I became aware of my surroundings.

I was neck-deep in the ocean as I tried to haul myself back on the board with Kathleen’s assistance, so unlike everyone else I reached the shore completely drenched, but I felt as energized as ever.

The yoga and paddle board seemed like a strange combination, but once we started doing these activities, it was clear as to how relevant and similar both of these activities are in essence.

Yoga is about relaxing and helps the mind concentrate better, while paddle boarding is mostly about staying focused and maintaining your balance as you surf the waves.

Before today I never thought I’d ever consider going for early morning fitness activities, but with the energy and the positivity I gained from today’s session, I am more than willing to reconsider.

WHAT: Roxy Fitness
WHERE: Various events throughout the year
VERDICT: The perfect way to stand your day

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Lifestyler: Can drinking more water make you lose weight?

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As a fitness education company that certifies people to become trainers, we are always teaching our students that our number one goal with our clients should be behavioural change.

We know that small behaviour changes and habits can have a huge impact over time. Most clients come wanting to lose body fat, so we explore what is the smallest change to someone’s habits that can be a big help in this regard.

There is a study that came out recently on the effect plain water consumption has on the amount of calories we consume. The outcome was very interesting. Here’s how the study went.

They looked at plain water consumption compared to how much people were eating. What they found was that for every one per cent increase in water consumption, there was a nine calorie decrease in the amount people were eating.

What that basically equates to, is drinking one extra cup of water – roughly 250 millilitres per day – would equate to around 60 calorie decrease in energy consumption.

Simply put, you end up eating less food. The next part of the study looked at whether participants continue to eat less if they keep drinking more water.

And there was an actual linear progression; if they drink eight ounces versus 16, versus 32, they eat less and less food over a period of time.

A post shared by .body//HACK: (@bodyhackuae) on

What they found in the study was that if you take someone who was drinking a specific amount of fluid per day, and get them to add roughly two cups, that would equate to roughly 150 fewer calories consumed per day.

If you added in another eight ounces that would mean up to 250 calories less per day. That means you’re going to end up eating somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 calories less per week.

Now, if you know anything about diets, that’s kind of a cool deal because over time that can equate to significant weight loss, by simply having some more water.

In a way, drinking two or three additional cups of water a day is equivalent to a 30-minute brisk walk. Adding something as simple as water to a weight loss programme is easy. All you have to do is get your bottle of water and put it where you can see it.

That visual reminder throughout the day to have some more water can have huge benefits over a period of months and years.

What you’ll find is not only will you feel better and start losing weight, in a couple months you will have a new healthy habit that complements everything you’re trying to achieve.

Heba Abdel Gawad is a Neural Performance Specialist, Z-Health Master Trainer, the Creator of the NeuroPilates method, Personal Trainer and Instructor Trainer. She is the co-founder of body//HACK

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Find Inner Balance with Real Pilates’ Fascial Movement Foundation Course

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Align yourself: Having your fascial system functioning smoothly is critical.

The deeper we delve into the world of fitness, the more we seem to come across the word ‘fascia’, to the point where we can’t ignore it any longer.

Similarly, if you’re an exercise enthusiast, this is a great word to add to your vocabulary. But what is it, and why should we care about it?

Fascia is the connective tissue that weaves throughout all the organs, muscles and bones of the body. Think of it as mesh-like body suit lying directly beneath the skin that completely envelopes the body, giving another protective barrier between the skin and the deeper soft tissue.

Hundreds of health, pain, and even beauty issues we face daily stem from fascia, and it is a crucial element in maintaining health and optimal physical function. Why? Because, as you know, all functions and systems of the body support each other, and the fascia connects all of them.

In particular, it plays an important supportive role to the musculoskeletal system by enabling us to perform functional activities like going from sitting to standing and being able to walk, jump and run.

Blood, nerves, and muscles are enveloped and penetrated by fascia, allowing your muscles and organs to glide smoothly against each other.

Sign up: The course costs Dh3,670 including all materials.

Sign up: The course costs Dh3,670 including all materials.

When you have fascial adhesions and distortions, this can cause poor blood flow, weaker nerve impulses, limited flexibility and range of motion, and a host of other physical ailments.

Though incredibly important, fascia is still one of the least understood tissues of the body. Which is why Real Pilates is extremely excited to announce the Merrithew Fascial Movement Foundation Course at their stunning, new JLT branch.

The course offers a thorough understanding of what fascia is, what is does, how it moves and how to work with it across a range of varying modes.

Paul Thornley, STOTT Pilates Instructor Trainer, and Advanced Neuromuscular Therapist at Real Pilates says: “In a nutshell, it is a course designed to explore our body’s architecture, what it is made up of, and how we can influence this material to facilitate optimal movement.”

Like the musculoskeletal system, the fascial system changes in response to repeated stress and injury, and small variations in the fascia in one area of the body can ripple out and affect the body as a whole.

Any pain, tightness or discomfort you feel in the body usually boils down to distortions in the fascia, and some common conditions you may have heard of like Plantar Fasciitis, IT Band Syndrome, and frozen shoulder are all attributed to distortions in your fascia.

There is even more to learn about how the fascia relates to the nerves, blood and skin, so if you want to get smart about proper body function, injury prevention and healing, get educated about your fascia during this in-depth workshop.

The course is designed to drastically help students recognise movement flaws or restrictions, and how they can be more beneficial in managing the health and function of this connective tissue, and is most appropriate for fitness professionals, movement therapists, personal trainers, yoga trainers, yoga instructors, Pilates instructors and manual therapists looking for simple movement technique to enhance their therapeutic practices.

Paul adds: “Anybody who has a desire to move well, or instructs others in any movement method from therapeutic progress to a rehabilitative approach has a duty of care to understand what they are asking clients to achieve.”

WHAT: Real Pilates’ Fascial Movement Foundation Course
WHEN: May 25, from 13:00 to 17:30 pm; May 26 & May 27 from 10:30 to 17:30. There will be another course taking place later this year from October 19-21 as well
WHERE: Real Pilates at ONE JLT, Dubai
COST: Dh3,670 including all materials
CONTACT AND INFO: For more information, please call 04-4585399, visit www.real-pilates.com or use the Real Pilates free app to book your place. Alternatively, send an email to [email protected]. For any educational enquiry, please contact Bita on [email protected]

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