The latest member of the Red Bull family is 20-year-old Adel ‘Big Bird’ Anouche, the UAE’s rising star in the world of eSports. For the first in a series of exclusive articles with Sport360 the Street Fighter player talks about how keeping fit benefits his gaming.
As an eSports player it’s beneficial to stay fit and healthy because a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. When you’re out there playing in these big tournaments you’re going to have a long day of playing video games so you need to be in the right place mentally to ensure you can endure the whole day. Basically every eSports game you play, especially competitive games, can give you mental exhaustion as there’s so much riding on the outcome.
I do some form of exercise every day as it releases endorphins, which make me feel good and I find I’m able to concentrate for longer. I do cardio activity usually twenty minutes a day and maybe some weight lifting too. When I don’t exercise I find myself getting tired a lot quicker and I need more sleep because I’ve got less energy.
eSports has evolved so much over the past ten years; it’s a big business now. Video gamers used to be seen as fat and lazy people who needed a hobby but back then competitive gaming wasn’t that popular. People didn’t play in tournaments for hundreds of thousands of dollars and there wasn’t a load of travelling involved. It was more just people playing in their bedroom against friends or maybe online, but it wasn’t a job.
I actually do wrist exercises as well because there’s a lot of strain on them from holding the controller for so many hours a day. I’d say even when I’m playing with friends we don’t play for less than three or four hours at a time, so that’s a lot of fast, repetitive, movements in your fingers and hands to have to get used to. Plus there’s a whole season throughout the year so it’s a lot of game time. We play in major tournaments to gain points to qualify for the final tournament in December, which has a prize fund of $250,000. Only 32 players get to the finals, it’s a serious game we’re in now so it’s great that brands like Red Bull are getting behind it and taking it seriously.
When Afro-Fit queen Gbemi Giwa – also known as Dubai Fit Foodie – partnered up with DCA girl Ewa Golan for a 30-day dance-fit challenge during Ramadan, women all over the UAE were able to get a taste of a fitness treat that was infused with a strong body positive message.
From Latin to African, the all-female classes offer myriad dance styles to keep things fresh and allow girls to experiment with different types of movements.
The Afro-Fit classes are led by Gbemi, whereas Ewa’s classes are themed after a mainstream pop artist such as Beyonce or Britney Spears, where she teaches the choreography to one of their songs.
Gbemi’s powerful, infectious energy and Ewa’s subtle sensual grace adds a nice contrast to the hour-long class, which focuses on mastering techniques and nailing the choreography that gets you burning calories and eliminates the drudgery associated with a regular exercise routine.
“Afro-Fit, as the name suggests, is a fitness routine inspired by African dance and is an extreme form of cardio. It involves high-energy movements that focus on lean muscle development, flexibility and coordination,” Gbemi explained.
#ClassVibes LOVE you girls! So blessed to be able to create a space where we can all let loose and just have fun! So many cool dance things are happening in the coming months! First up, @moto_dancers_afrobeats are hosting their annual AFRO Workshops/ Battle and deets are up in my stories for early bird tickets! Check out @moto_dancers_afrobeats for all updates! #AfricaToTheWorld . . . . . . . . . #Dubaifitfoodie #dancelife #dubaidance #afrobeat #kpakujemu #justdance#mydubai #nigerian #chopdaily #shakushaku #NWE #instafit #dancecardio #afrobeat #NigerianDance # #noexcuses #fitnessmodel #NWE #fitnessmotivation #dedication #niggazwithenjaillement #dubaifitness#afroworkout #afrodance #pilolo #mydubai @chopdaily #oneafrica @niggazwithenjaillement @afrobea @w.a.h.a.l.a_
“My classes are very special because it’s a space I have created to just leave everything at the door and move without judgment. The whole point of Afro-Fit is to get comfortable with your body and just get it to move. It engages all your muscles, so you leave class feeling sore but completely recharged and renewed,” she further added.
While Gbemi is all about free movement, Ewa’s classes are all about getting in touch with your feminine side and swaying to the beats of songs that gives you the extra boost of confidence.
“My classes are super fun and a safe space where you can be yourself and explore your body through movements. It’s all about feeling good and free by literally shaking off all the stress. I out a lot of thought in selecting the songs and I make sure that the songs carry an empowering message for the girls. I really believe that the songs we listen to have an impact on how we think and therefore, I want my classes to help make the women feel beautiful and inspired in class.”
The Ramadan dance fit challenge was supposed to be a one-off event, but after the response it garnered and its massive popularity, the dancing divas decided to extend their partnership and create more monthly dance-fitness programs.
When your best friend and you LOVE the song so much, you just can't stop dancing to it!! • Favourite summer song vibez with @danceralexandraklein to "Voglio ballare con te" from @babykmusic • With a little staycation thanks to @gbemigiwa ❤️ and @mediaonehotel🐒 🇦🇪 . . I'm teaching my last class tomorrow Sunday @7pm before travelling so don't miss it and let's dance 💃🏼 @fitandbeat 🇮🇹 Ho voglia di andare più forte Non ci basterà questa notte Voglio vedere le luci dell'alba cambiare colore Voglio ballare con te, soltanto con te Non chiedo la luna, ma un ballo con te Lasciamoci tutto alle spalle io e te Fino a che nasce il sole Spengo tutto per due ore Che mi scordo anche il mio nome Bevo birra col limone Senza ghiaccio per favore Andiamo non so dove Diplomiamoci in hangover Scottiamoci la pelle e poi cambiamoci colore Prendiamoci le stelle che il resto non ci serve Almeno fino a settembre . . . #italia #voglioballareconte #DCAgirl #mydubai #dancefitdxb #partnerincrime #italy🇮🇹 #girlsgonesporty #summer #weekend #girlswhorun #beatyesterday #weekendvibes #fitnessgirl #fitnesswomen #fitnessaddict #fitnesslover #dancedubai #workouttime #dance #workoutmotivation #dubaidance #fitspo #fitfluential #motivation #fitnessgoals #fitlife #fitfam #fitnessmotivation
“I found Gbemi through Instagram, I saw one of her dancing videos and instantly I knew I wanted to partner up with her. We met and instantly clicked, and did our 30-day dance-fit challenge, which was a major hit amongst women and from there on, we decided to launch monthly dance programmes,” said Ewa.
“We want to build a community of women through dancing, and help women lead a healthier life by helping them reach their fitness goals and provide an outlet for them to dance and relieve stress,” Ewa added.
The main ethos behind Ewa and Gbemi’s dance-fit programmes is to accept our bodies for what they are and aim to be healthy by dancing,
While fitness and health may often be used as a ploy to glorify and glamourise a certain body type, Gbemi and Ewa’s class comes as a breath of fresh air which encourages women to not just be more accepting of other body types, but first and foremost appreciate their own as well.
Sport360°’s Alex Rea has teamed up with the guys at Desert Barbell to embark on a six-week powerlifting challenge, working alongside industry experts ahead of his first ever competition – Powermeet 5.0. In week two, he visits DB co-founder and strength coach Patrik Hedvist to breakdown his technique for the three lifts: squat, bench and deadlift.
If there is one piece of advice appropriate for any form of weight training, and it should be inscribed on our hands as a permanent reminder, it’s that technique reigns over numbers.
Let me give you anecdotal evidence. When I first entered a weightlifting gym in my late teens, the prevailing thought and fear was not to be an utter embarrassment.
In a gym full of meatheads, the idea of lifting light weights had me believing I’d be laughed out of the place.
However, the apprehension was misdirected. Opting for 60kg on the flat barbell bench press seemed like the right thing to do, even though the result was a wobbling bar barely reaching halfway when out of the rack.
An old guy, comfortably in his 60’s, watched my strife once or twice from afar and then somewhat nobly stepped in.
“Forget the weight, focus on the form,” he explained. “Nobody will laugh at you for the weight you lift, but they certainly will for the way you lift.”
Short and sweet, but sound advice I’m sure you will agree. It’s remained with me from day one because constructive criticism should always be received with gratitude rather than a grumble.
It’s the only way of developing in a discipline which is hallmarked by improvement.
So when the switch from bodybuilding to this powerlifting challenge presented itself, the prominent thought was to work on clean technique because get that right and the numbers will take care of themselves.
When it comes to the three lifts, squat, bench and deadlift, from a powerlifting perspective at least, my form for the trio is rather primitive.
Being afforded the opportunity to pick the brains of Patrik with a three-hour video analysis session at Scandinavian Health & Performance was like meeting an oracle.
From markedly altering my genuinely dangerous back-up movement for deadlifts into a hip-hinge manoeuvre, to utilising leg drive and contraction through shifting my feet back on the bench, to then noticing the need to tuck my elbows and brace more for the squat, Patrik spotted and corrected every fault, big or small.
The comparison between the before and after, was laughable and in a sport like powerlifting, the need for a coach like Patrik isn’t just advised, it’s a necessity, no matter what level you’re at.
Armed with this knowledge, the idea going forward is to drill each movement over and over again. Filming will be a huge help and every lift will be videoed to ensure form remains consistent.
Incidentally, you’ll know you’re in a gym with powerlifters around because the floor will end up looking like a teenager’s bedroom. The mountain of gear just strewn all over the place, weightlifting shoes, belts and straps is practically a signature.
The program designed by Patrik (a 3-3-2 split for squat, bench and deadlift) gives my body an opportunity to properly learn each lift and quickly become more efficient.
Over the next few weeks the improvement will be obvious.
COACH CORNER WITH PATRIK HEDQVIST (@borjetheswede)
You have taken the decision to walk along the powerlifting road. The first piece of advice I can give, is let the progress take TIME. It´s about learning a specific skill, to master three complex movements. The body needs time to learn and adjust.
Secondly, and this may sound contradictory, train both all-round and specific. What I mean by this is to be as specific as possible with the actual lifting movements, but don’t be afraid to train a lot of assistance exercises. A great example is the shoulder complex, the primary portion of the body involved in bench press. When training bench press a beginner should aim to perfect the technique with a straight bar and competition form. However, it is important to strengthen the shoulders in all angles so; incline presses, different rows and cable work is a good way to uphold a good balance.
What can become a challenge is the enormous amount of programs that can be found online, and the easy access to see how the world’s elite athletes train. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great way to spread the sport, but one must remember that these individuals are elite lifters, often with many years of experience. Keep it simple and keep a good basic structure, start according to your actual lifting level, that’s the best advice.
When it comes to the actual lifting, the best advice is to have a good coach screen your technique so that you lift according to your own personal structure. Should you use a wide or a narrow stance? Sumo or conventional? The answer is always “it depends”.
How to choose the above will be discussed in the coming weeks.