Sci-MX fitness challenge: Sport360 writers take on eight-week training programme

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Our fitness challenges will be taking part over the course of the next eight weeks.

Sport360° duo Alex Rea and Dan Owen are not only colleagues, but training partners. They’ve now teamed up with Sci-MX Nutrition to embark on an eight-week fitness challenge, working alongside industry

experts to achieve two very different goals. Track their progress each week and see everything from training to nutrition and the lifestyle changes they will be making in search of success.

Dan Owen – @myproplife

When it comes to training, my regime has been pretty regular – lift heavy, lift often, avoid cardio.

I have been a five-day-a-week man when it comes to the gym – training bodyparts on separate days with a mix of heavy compound exercises and some lighter accessory work.

And to be fair, it worked. I’m strong. But on the flip side, slow, and have zero cardio.

All this became abundantly clear when, earlier this year, I returned to playing rugby after a twelvemonth hiatus. As a prop, my jobs are pretty simple – scrummage well, lift in the lineout, and work around the field hitting rucks and carrying a little in attack, and plenty of defensive involvement. It’s tough work, and even tougher when you’re fatigued.

When I joined Dubai Eagles in March I found myself able to scrummage pretty well with the strength built on a year of powerlifting and strongman-style training – but lacking in the ability to sustain the power and continue at a decent level for the duration of a game.

At 35, I am not getting any younger and want to be able to maximise my playing days – if I could get a couple of seasons playing at the top level in the UAE I’d be a happy man.

The key for me in the next eight weeks is firstly to greatly improve the cardio capacity, and my overall explosiveness – I have strength, we need to add speed of movement to that.

With an increase in cardio training, there is a risk I could lose a few pounds. Previously I would have been terrified at this thought but I’m now comfortable with that as long as the strength stays in tact – bulk is important in my position but if I can become a better athlete, a few pounds is neither here nor there.

This is an opportunity to get in the sort of pre-season shape I have wanted to for years – now it’s time to get it done.

Alex Rea @AlexReaFitness

Training has almost exclusively been a route to two main and rudimentary goals for me – to be strong and to look good.

Indeed, among the many who take up an athletic endeavour, the formative thoughts pointed to a very narrow-minded ambition but it is within the last 12 months training has begun to evolve.

Entering the final phase of my 20s, the ego has taken a back seat with learning and development the driving forces.

Now, the obvious problem is that there are a plethora of preachers, influencers and voices across the internet so plotting the right course is predictably difficult, especially when you’re balancing the pressures of a professional lifestyle.

As a result, the structure to training has been routine and pretty rigid, five days a week, minimal cardio aside from 11-a-side football with gym sessions mirroring Mr Owen in the form of training individual bodyparts on separate days.

Compound lifts form the fulcrum of training with accessory work complimenting but my approaches to both have been relatively counterproductive.

The more bodybuilding-focused movements are relatively short on tempo and rep-range while the lack of structure to deadlifts, bench press and squats has resulted in far too much ‘ego-lifting’.

Naturally, that’s led to severe injuries with a torn hamstring dogging much of 2018 and if there are three pillars of development I’m looking for during this eight-week challenge, it’s injury prevention, nutritional guidance and structure.

From a technique perspective, my lifts and movements are sound, but diet is typically poor, an offshoot of limited knowledge and simply not knowing what fuel my body requires to remain lean.

For me, this challenge is more about the process than it is the end result. Learning more about training and nutrition is crucial mentally, coming down to a low body-fat percentage while retaining muscle is the physical goal – I hope the combination of the two amounts to a more rounded version of myself.

Meet The Coaches

Aaron Agnew – @aaronagnew_dubaifitness

AaronAgnew

Sci-MX athlete Aaron Agnew is a WBFF pro body builder, a CSCS strength coach, and Dubai-based PT. The Canadian, also plays ice hockey, and is a lifetime-natural athlete. He will be working with Alex for the eight-week period

The key principles will be:

Tempo: Keeping reps high and rest periods low will mean the intensity of weight sessions is pushed to the max. Alex already has a strong physique so one of the keys will be keeping lean muscle mass while dieting and this will certainly help that.

Shocking the system: The way Alex’s program is laid out will mean he can train every body part twice per week, this will enable us to attack muscles from different angles and in different methods in order to get the lean, defined look we want.

Diet: The eight weeks will be about getting lean and allowing Alex’s muscle mass to really show through. This will be done through a strict diet that will see the calories drop as we progress. There will be lots of protein, lots of vegetables and salad, and relatively low carbs.

John Britton

John Britton
Sci-MX athlete John Britton is Head Coach/Manager at F45 Training Motor City – a high intensity functional training facility that is aimed at anyone looking to get in shape, move better, and improve their overall
condition. Like Aaron, he too is Canadian, and a hockey player and is a national-level weightlifter. He will be working with Dan on his goals.

The key principles will be:

Conditioning: We are going to be working on those things that really make you breathe heavily. This will be working on maintaining output over a period of time, and being able to maintain power.

Power: We have a strong base to work from so we are going to be adding in some explosive movements to work on power. Eight weeks is a short time in terms of strength building but there will be elements of week-on-week progression.

Get leaner: With the goals being based around sport we are not necessarily looking to lose weight – but doing so is not a problem. With added conditioning and a diet of eating good, natural foods there is the opportunity to get a touch leaner.

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Fitbit Versa now available across UAE

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Fitbit Versa: The latest fitness smartwatch

Fitbit has announced their latest fitness tracker, the Versa, is now available in the UAE.

The newest offering of the popular smartwatch has a redesigned dashboard delivering motivational messages, tips and tricks along with support to help users stay on track of their goals.

Other new health and fitness features include personalised workouts with Fitbit Coach, round-the-clock heart-rate tracking, over 15 exercise modes and an automatic SmartTrack swim, which works in water.

Now the lightest metal smartwatch in the Fitbit range, the Versa also boasts over four days battery life and cross-platform compatibility.

“We’re thrilled for consumers around the world to experience Versa, a beautifully designed smartwatch for all with advanced health and fitness features, access to our large global social network and smart features people find most useful at an approachable price”, said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “We believe Versa is a smartwatch that will have mass appeal, attracting new audiences and helping us capture a previously untapped segment of users in this growing wearables category”.

In terms of non-fitness related connectivity Android users can create and send up to five custom pre-populated quick replies of 60 characters or less to text and messenger apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Another new feature for woman allows females to track their menstrual cycle and symptoms giving a more complete picture of overall health and fitness in one place.

Top of the range: Various colour options

Top of the range: Various colour options

“The new features of the Versa will provide consumers with a lifestyle companion that caters to fitness needs and overall well-being support,” said Vincent Lamoureux, Director of New Markets of Fitbit. “It is designed to focus on fitness in addition to aspects relating to health, which will help consumers lead a holistic, healthful lifestyle. This is why we believe the Versa is the smartwatch for all.”

Versa also has smart features including the app, calendar, call and text smartphone notifications and access to Fitbit’s App Gallery.

Compatible across Android, iOS and Windows devices, it’s available at major online retailers for AED 899 in black with a black aluminum case, grey with a silver aluminum case, or peach with a rose gold aluminum case. Accessories range from AED 85 to AED 495. A Fitbit Versa Special Edition is available for AED 999 in a lavender woven band with rose gold aluminum case or charcoal woven band with graphite aluminum case, each with an extra black classic band.

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Have you got what it takes to be a Ninja Warrior in the UAE?

Dan Owen 17/05/2018
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Individuals and teams can take part in the Ninja Nationals

We have all seen the TV show, now people across Dubai will be able to find out if they are a true Ninja Warrior.

A worldwide phenomenon, these fiendishly tricky assault courses have mesmerised millions on television and sparked something of a craze within the fitness industry.

Now Dubai will have its own course, and a league system for individuals and teams to take part in.

The Ninja National Summer Series is the brainchild of JustPlay and will feature the biggest ninja course in the region at more than 50m, with ten taxing obstacles along the way. With two courses running alongside each other – competitors will be able to take part in head-to-head racing.

The Ninja Nationals Ramadan league will kick-off on May 21, with the Ninja National Summer League starting the following week on May 29.

Registration will be needed ahead of the events, with early bird packages still available.

Entrance fees will include: Nine timed runs on the Ninja competition course, head to head against a competitor, up to five hours of practice time on the course, (to be booked in advance), officially recorded times for submission to the Ninja Championship, running September 2018.

The all-new course will be at Dubai Sports World at Dubai Trade Centre, with beginners and children, able to take on the Dojo Training course, located alongside the competition course.

Competitors will get the chance to take on some of the obstacles that have been made famous on TV including; angled steps, jungle swings, floating doors, sea of swings, floating bridges, the warped wall, and spider wall.

For those wanting to have some fun on the course, but have the pressure of competing, there will be a ninja academy – for people to sharpen their skills.

Here, students will work through a 10-week programme, building core competencies in agility, strength, speed and stamina. The courses are led by qualified personal trainers, delivering fundamentals of movement and fitness, combined with technical instruction on overcoming ninja obstacles.

Academy students train and practice based initially on age, and then progress based on ability.

What: Ninja Warriror

Where: Dubai Sports World at the World Trade Centre, and JustPlay in Al Quoz

When: Ramadan league from May 21

Contact: http://justplay.ae/nationals/  or

http://justplay.ae/ninja-academy/

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