We’re into the second week of September and already sports teams around the UAE are preparing for their opening matches of the season. It’s a dreaded time for some, and for others, it’s exciting to get back involved with a sports team after a long idle summer.
If you’re aiming to improve as a player over the next few weeks then break down the different areas of your game and your fitness before the season gets into the thick of it over the coming months.
There’s no worse feeling than being the player slumping at the back of the line during training runs or dropping balls during skill work. Make 2017 the year where you iron out those areas of your game that have previously been poor.
Every person will have different targets for the new season, but for us, here are three areas to help you get ahead of the chasing pack and have the perfect season.
Irrespective of your sport, it is important to maintain extra fitness work off the training ground. If you are back in the gym looking to build strength, for example, don’t start lifting heavy weights or you’ll increase the risk of injury.
The key for now is to build it up and do less but with intensity (this could be 8-12 repetitions of lighter weights). At this stage it is beneficial to do lighter weights as your muscles are adapting to new movements after a summer of under-use.
If you’re tired then take a day off and don’t feel guilty about it either. Rest is crucial for your muscles to recover.
This varies depending on the player but each season will bring different areas of your game that need improvement.
Whether its flexibility, speed, fitness, skill work or particular muscle groups, this is the perfect time to improve before the season gets too hectic.
If it’s flexibility you need to improve then try yoga once a week, if it’s something leg-related then include an additional leg exercise in your workout, if it’s speed then practice sprints, and if your objective is to improve upper body strength then consult a personal trainer for some advice.
This is the best time to get a head-start on teammates so use the next few weeks wisely and be honest with yourself on and off the training ground. You can’t expect to improve your weaknesses without hard work and consistent training!
If you’re looking to have a strong start to the season then begin with small changes to your diet. It’s a great feeling eating well and this will reflect in your positively around the work place and the training ground.
One small change to make is reducing the amount of sugar in your diet, whether it’s through fewer sugary drinks, chocolate, dairy products or sweets. There are other healthier foods equally as nice like fruit, dark chocolate, nuts and gluten free pasta or rice!
In addition, eat a lighter lunch as you’ll feel more productive in the work place and not hit that mid-afternoon lump that generally affects most people on a daily basis.
One thing to remember is that we all work hard so it’s important to enjoy your down-time with friends and family. Enjoy your few nights out, have your cheat meals, but if you are motivated enough to want to get a step ahead of your teammates then be willing to make some sacrifices in your daily life!
When New Zealand national Kate Broadbridge realised that there was a genuine lack of care or thought given to female fitness in Abu Dhabi, she decided to do something about it.
She ended up co-founding Home Fitness for Ladies in May and since then it has quickly become a onestop destination for all fitness and wellness needs of women.
“We were inspired to start this company because there was a lack of genuine care for women, fitness and health, in Abu Dhabi especially. So it was our passion to provide an amazing space for women here in Abu Dhabi,” said Kate.
The club is equipped with all the functional training equipment and is run by qualified personal trainers who provide bespoke fitness regimes to their clients.
Home Fitness maintains utmost cleanliness and privacy to help women feel safe and comfortable space for just women to take care of all their fitness and wellness needs.
She said, “It was our passion to provide an amazing space for women here in Abu Dhabi. “A place like a dream for them, somewhere that feels like home for them, they feel comfortable, it’s inviting, it’s nice and clean, smells nice, really like a dream for our clients.”
Home Fitness provides a wide range of fitness disciplines which includes BodyCombat, BodyPump, BodyBalance, HIIT workout, circuit class, and pump circuit.
The ladies can either choose to work out in a group or can have a private room all to themselves where they can either work out by themselves with the instructor or they can bring along their family and friends.
Home Fitness instructors also provide in-home training anywhere in Abu Dhabi, so women who find it hard to make their way to the club can have the instructors come to them with all the equipment they need to help them reach their fitness goals.
The philosophy of the club is to not just help women lead healthier and fitter lives, but to celebrate Arabic values and hospitality.
Kate said: “We really care a lot about the culture of the UAE and Islam – those are very, very important things for us. Most of our clients are local Emirati women, and we have a purpose-built prayer room for our clients and even the Adhan in our classes.
“No matter what’s happening in the club. All the music is off-videos, everything – we respect the Adhan. Everything we do, our clients are in our hearts before everything.”
The club also has a healthy cafe, where they only serve healthy food that is delicious at the same time, which enables them to instil the idea in their clients that healthy eating does not have to be boring or bland.
Home Fitness is also working actively to eradicate certain misconceptions about fitness and health, in order to make the women more health conscious and aware of the little things they can change to improve the quality of their life.
A lot of people try to look for shortcuts to get into shape, but working out is a long-term investment in yourself, which requires persistence and patience.
Kate further added: “One of the barriers to our job as trainers and health advocates is to help and change the mindset of the clients in a positive way.
Instead of just a quick fix, which what some ladies are looking for, we want to help them gain long term benefits. “We want them to understand that fitness goals cannot be achieved overnight, but it’s something that requires dedication and most importantly, time.”
With its ever-growing client base, Home Fitness is rapidly revolutionising the female fitness scene in Abu Dhabi. Kate has plenty of plans for expansion in the future and hopes to change lives of women all over UAE in the coming years.
WHAT: Home Fitness for Ladies
WHERE: Anywhere in Abu Dhabi
VERDICT: A female health kick that can shape around your life
Don’t let 2017 be the year when you’re looking back complaining about not achieving certain goals or mixing up your fitness routine.
To help, here are five ways to mix up your training programme to make a happier finish to the year.
There are plenty of excellent group fitness classes daily around Dubai and Abu Dhabi – with the chance to train either before work in the morning or the evening time.
All it takes is 50 minutes for a training session to make you feel mentally and physically sharp.
It may take a while to find a class that suits you, but if you go with friends, it’ll make it easier and more enjoyable.
The benefits of committing to a group class is that you’ll get pushed harder than an average training session on your own.
If you want to be committed to a class then book into 10 classes for a set fee and that will force you to go on a daily basis.
Although we’re not blessed with long stretches of sunlight in the evening, you can run any time of the day over here.
If you’re eyeing up the Dubai Marathon in January or any event across the calendar year, you should take advantage of the weather as it slowly cools down.
If you want to take it a bit more seriously, then invest in a sports watch or heart rate monitor which can be linked to many free apps on your IPhone (MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun).
Depending on where you are living around Dubai, there are many outdoor workout stations to train for free, ex: Skydive Dubai, Al Barsha Park, and the Marina.
You don’t need fancy equipment and having simple tools like pull-up bars, dip bars make it easier to put a tough workout together.
If you’re unsure of exercises you can do that require minimal equipment then google circuit workouts.
Yoga is incredible popular in the UAE, and this was seen during the Reebok Yoga Fest and Dubai Fitness Fest last year.
It has so many benefits, from reducing the risk to injury to increasing muscle strength and flexibility.
There are lots of yoga classes available and can act as a different form of training if you are doing cardio and other sports.
Being part of a sports club is the best way to keep fit and make friends. Spending one to two evenings a week with a team is a great method of socialising, keeping fit in a fun environment, and most importantly, taking your mind off the stressful demands of the working week.
Whether you’re in a new country or looking for a lifestyle change at home, being part of a team is one of the best ways to boost happiness and stay healthy.