INTERVIEW: Power woman and Spartan Race athlete Ivana Kolaric on breaking new ground

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The ultimate feeling: As soon as she finishes one race, Kolaric begins training for the next.

Recently we have been reading a lot about women in different roles in society: a mom, wife, sister, teacher, doctor, lawyer, position of power and much more.

But Ivana Kolaric is different; she works in silence. According to men who compete alongside her she is known simply as “Power Woman”.

Recent results include second in the Oman Spartan Race Sprint Elite 5k and 10k in November; first in the Dubai Desert Warrior Challenge 10k and Ice Warrior Challenge in October; first in the Ajman Desert Warrior Challenge 5k and first in the Al Ain Wadi Adventure Race 10k, both in March; and first in the Spartan Race Open Sprint 5+k in Sharjah last November.

She also participated in the Spartan World Championship in Lake Tahoe, USA, in September. Kolaric doesn’t know what her limit is, she has no limits. The word doesn’t even exist in her dictionary.

She has easily overcome all barriers and obstacles in any races without failure. With such an amazing personality she can face anything, and success is guaranteed.

She doesn’t need to participate in survival TV shows, just give her a knife and she will find a way to survive, as she is prepared mentally and physically for any circumstances: tough courses, challenging obstacles, heat, dust, dirt, muscle cramps, even fear.

No limits: Kolaric (r) s comfortable training men or women.

No limits: Kolaric (r) s comfortable training men or women.

Recently she has been appointed as a Spartan Global Brand Ambassador. Once you meet her it wouldn’t be surprised if they asked her to train an army.

As a woman, she proved that being fit has nothing to do with having muscles. She is an excellent example of “Mix & Match”: elegance and sports wear. She glows in the dark.

Sport360° caught up with Kolaric and asked her to reveal the secrets of her quiet success.

How long have you been in Dubai?

I have been living and working in Dubai since 2015 as a personal trainer and a group fitness instructor. I have been very passionate about sports all my life.

When did you start your Spartan journey?

My journey as an obstacle course racer started in 2016. In 2017, I participated in nine races and so far I took five gold and four silver medals.

What do you feel after finishing the races?

That moment when I cross the finish line! Nothing can replace that feeling of joy, achievement and satisfaction of finishing the race. But soon you realise the finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race.

What is your current training goal?

I am in a process of qualifying to become a Spartan SGX Coach which would make me officially the first female Spartan Coach in the Middle East.

As one of the global Spartan brand ambassadors, what is your role?

I am proud to be one of the Global Spartan Brand Ambassadors and excited to share my passion and knowledge about training and obstacle course racing. I’m eager to engage and motivate people to join the Spartan community. Let’s work together on becoming fitter, healthier and happier.

Tell us more about your role as a personal trainer?

My role as personal trainer is not only to train people to get them fit, but also to educate and help them understand the meaning of fitness, movement, functional training, strength, power, stamina, endurance, healthy diet and much more.

I also try to discuss with them their nutrition plan as it is so much more than which foods to eat and which to avoid.

Moreover, people need to be aware of the condition and needs of their bodies, which is the first step toward a healthy lifestyle. They need to know how to exercise properly, which machines to use or workout to do, how important sleep is and when to take rest so their bodies can recover.

Do you see many Arabs participate in such challenges as Spartan, Dessert Warrior Challenge, Tough Mudder and much more?

You would be surprised to know that people (Arab and Non-Arab) in the United Arab Emirates are always looking for different and unique experiences to test their physical and mental limits and to break out of their comfort zone. I’ve encouraged my clients at all fitness levels to participate in such challenges.

There is nothing called failure in these races; it is a challenge to your own limitations, accordingly I always recommend for new obstacle racers to be trained to become more familiar with the obstacles such as the monkey bars and rope climbing.

As I always say fitness is not about being better than someone else, it’s about being better than you used to be.

Instagram: Ivko_fitness

Email: [email protected]

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Row yourself fit and join Monty Khwaja's classes throughout Dubai

Hiba Khan 20/12/2017
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Over the years, Rowing has risen through the ranks as a solid full body workout in a fitness-crazed world that is always on the hunt for new trends to latch on to.

Rowing fitness may have always been slightly off the beaten path, but the surge in its popularity is attributed to Frank Underwood from the hit Netflix series, ‘House of Cards’, who was often seen breaking out a sweat on his good ol’ rowing machine when he was not weaving an intricate web of political intrigue and lies, but I digress.

A rowing machine provides a challenging simulation of the sport that can have you burning tons of calories in a single session and does not require any training or coaching per se.

Indoor rowing  it may help replicate the physical benefits of outdoor rowing, but it still lacks the therapeutic and social side of the sport that can only be achieved in the open air.

Sport360° reached out to Monty Khwaja, 49-year old Dubai-based Pakistani professional rower who is also credited with introducing the sport to the UAE in 1999.

He said, “Rowing is unique sport that can be enjoyed by children from the age of 10 and upwards. Both men and women can take part in this exercise, and even a whole family can row and get fit together.”

“Rowing is one of the few non-weight bearing sports that exercises all the major muscle groups, including quads, biceps, triceps, glutes and abdominal muscles. Rowing improves cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. It is a sport that develops strong core balance as well as physical strength and overall fitness. The only pre-requisite is that you have enough mobility to get in and out of the boat.”

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Good exercise: Monty’s rowing school can help burn a lot of calories in a single session.

He currently runs three rowing clubs that are located in The Palm, Dubai Marina, and Dubai Creek, where he inculcates his passion for rowing in other people.

Monty started rowing as a child at the prestigious Karachi Rowing Club, and has made a niche for himself in the global rowing community with countless regattas and medals under his belt.

“Rowing is everything to me! It has taken me all over the world!  These days I especially love teaching and coaching people. It’s great when I see my passion for rowing passed on to others,” said Monty.

Monty’s teaching method is to get people into the water as soon as possible and get them to familiarize with the movements as soon as possible, so they can get the fantastic feel of rowing with a team that he guarantees will have everyone hooked straightaway.

Rowing not only have great fitness benefits, but the sights and sounds of the open waters is said to have a positive impact on one’s mood and also enhance social skills.

Despite the raging popularity of rowing and all the health benefits associated with it, the sport often flies under the radar on a competitive level and does not the garner the same media attention as all the other mainstream sports.

“While there are world and international championships going on every year, but the only exposure the sport gets is during the Olympics, and even that is quite limited,” he said.

As a sport, rowing has often been considered an elitist game, merely because rowing, much like many other sports, is quite an expensive activity and its inclusion in private school curriculums only managed to reinforce the misunderstanding.

However, the sport is as common as it is elite and there are plenty of clubs that offer lessons on a very reasonable price.

Monty’s rowing school provides single lessons and also have packages that are budget-friendly, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned rower, the club caters to all levels.

What: Monty’s Rowing & Paddle Sports

Where: The Palm, Dubai Marina, Dubai Creek

Contact: 050 738 0910; Email: [email protected]

Verdict: Killer workout and a great way to enjoy Dubai’s picturesque surroundings

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Seven top health and fitness tips in the lead up to Christmas

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With some expats returning home for the festive period, it’s easy to lose focus and slip out of your training schedule.

Fitness routines are usually set aside during the second half of December, but why fall into this trap when you can spend a small part of the day doing something that will make you feel mentally sharper.

December is a great time to get a step ahead of the competition and keep yourself in good physical condition.

Here’s our top tips to help you have a healthier end to the year.

EATING AFTER A NIGHT OUT

Cook your own food before leaving the house and try not to indulge on pizza or burgers at the end of a night out.

If you feel hungry then go for a light option that is easy to digest (ex: piece of toast or a banana).

PUT TOGETHER A FOOD PLAN

Enjoy your food but cut down on the bad stuff that will make you feel sluggish.

To save you feasting on large amounts of chocolate and crisps at various Christmas parties around the city, put together a simple food plan to keep you focused.

SHORT AND SHARP EXERCISE

If you can’t get to a gym then try to include a 45 minute walk to keep the brain and heart healthy. There is no excuse for not spending a small part of your day doing some form of exercise.

BUY VITAMINS

With the weather changing, it’s easy to pick up the flu or a cold.

Purchase some vitamins from the shop as they will ensure your body is getting sufficient nutrients.

Pharmaton is the best brand and will help your body function optimally.

DRINK LOTS OF WATER

Hydration is essential and can prevent fluid loss and a drop in your body’s performance.

Start and finish your day by drinking 500ml of water and you’ll feel more energetic.

STAY ACTIVE

If you have days off over December don’t sit around the house all day and be unproductive.

There are plenty of nice walks around Dubai and Abu Dhabi so bring a friend and get out and explore.

TAKE UP A NEW ACTIVITY

If you’re bored of doing the same old thing, then try to take up a new activity during December to help keep your mind active and your body moving.

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