As a competitive long-distance runner, I’m always on the lookout for ways in which to gain that extra edge.
These days, there are no shortage of smartphone apps, fitness tracker devices, cardio monitors and watches which record data but often, it can be difficult to apply the vast amounts of information to your chosen sport or discipline.
In running, for instance, very few people mull over stats aside from distance completed and the time in which it took to complete the run. But, actually, your heart rate and breathing patterns are equally as important, especially when you are looking to increase your speed.
The fact that the market is awash with many data-driven sports products, perhaps, makes Vexatec’s wearable technology agility t-shirt that little bit more remarkable. In fact, the Swiss company market their work as the world’s first tracking and agility top.
Vexatec records your full range of body motion and the mechanics behind your performance, and in essence, makes it easier to complete multiple testing experiences.
Before its arrival, there was little evidence of any other product combining high-end microchips and state-of-the-art recording technology onto and within a single piece of clothing, with high-level data then syncing up seamlessly with your phone and other devices.
Having tested out the product during a 5km run on a treadmill at the Bab Al Qasr Hotel in Abu Dhabi as part of the product’s testing event, the Vexatec top and device was very comfortable to wear. The tracking tool clips right onto the front of a compression shirt, and importantly, there’s no strap so you don’t feel it whatsoever.
Although it records detailed information, it’s a relatively simple product in that the device has a 24-hour rechargeable battery life. It comes with several compression tees – with separate designs for both men and women – that you just alternate after wash.
Personally, I found it useful to see my heart rate level in graph form and where I was peaking in terms of beats per minute. Training at close to your highest threshold point (peak heart rate) helps pump more oxygen around the body and for runners, it’s very important to train at high intensity in order to improve pace.
While the specific pricing of the product will be revealed next year, you would expect budding athletes to be willing to give it a go.
Vexatec’s main goal is to optimise performance, with a great focus on the training aspect – helping to get people ready for competition. With highly efficient, real-time electrocardiography (ECG) signals, its 360-degree monitoring fully tracks your movement and posture. Indeed, it can tell whether you’re doing a plank or press-up – two very similar movements.
While the technology will launch officially in Europe in January 2018, a string of top sportsmen have already tried and tested it, including tennis star Tommy Haas and Formula One driver Pascal Wehrlein as well as German football legends Lothar Matthaus and Torsten Frings.
Plans are also afoot, though not yet finalised, to see the technology sold in the UAE and throughout the Middle East.
While the product can be used as a weight-loss tracker device, it is naturally tailored to high-level amateur and elite performers across a smattering of sports, as well as sports medicine departments.
There is still plenty of room though for Vexatec to develop its supplementary products and apps to help users digest information. The company also revealed their plans to bring the product and newer adaptations to the mass market in the near future.
Still, for a high-tech concept that was still in development 18 months ago, founder Salvatore Gandolfo and his team’s journey has already surpassed expectations.
The Dubai Muscle Show is in town this weekend with some of the fitness industry’s most celebrated names descending on the UAE.
Leading up to the event, two of the biggest – in name and stature – hit the picturesque sandy seafront of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel as three-time Mr. Olympia runner-up Kai Greene and four-time Mr. Olympia winner Jay Cutler created Dubai’s very-own ‘Muscle Beach’.
The pair will be making highly-anticipated appearances at this weekend’s Dubai Muscle Show on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 December at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
But despite a packed schedule ahead of the weekend, Greene and Cutler managed to squeeze in a session with the iron, overlooking the iconic Burj Al Arab.
“I’ve worked out on some of the best beaches in the world, but this one has some serious muscle,” said Greene, who won the Arnold Classic in 2016.
“Bodybuilders love a suntan, so there’s nothing quite like doing some weight sets on the beach – especially when you have a view of one of the world’s most iconic buildings.”
With more than 16.5 million social media followers between them, Greene has emerged as a breakout TV star thanks to his role as Funshine in season 2 of Netflix hit, Stranger Things.
The American was also involved in the filming of upcoming martial arts movie, Crazy Fist, due for release in 2018.
The winner of four Mr. Olympia titles, Cutler is a legendary IFBB professional bodybuilder who has built a lasting legacy on sacrifice, dedication and hard work – not to mention a reported net worth of $81million.
“We’re already super pumped about seeing our fans at the Dubai Muscle Show, so it’s been great having one last beach workout with Kai before the show,” added Cutler. “I mean, come on, how often do you get to pump iron in front of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah?”
The second annual Dubai Muscle Show takes place from 8-9 December at DWTC in Zabeel Halls 5 and 6.
A single-day Adult price is currently available for Dh75 online on the event website. Other packages include: Weekend Adult Pass at Dh100 online; VIP tickets for both days cost Dh500; general admission for the Reebok Les Mills Live event costs Dh299 with VIP tickets available for Dh479.
Tickets are available at: Virgin Megastore.
Valiant Clinic is located on Dubai’s City Walk, which is apt as the clinic’s mission is to be Dubai residents’ first port of call for their health needs rather than leaving the UAE to seek expert medical opinions back in their home countries.
The Jumeirah-based clinic has been open for a year and is the international arm of the world-renowned Houston Methodist Hospital in USA, which has a 90-year legacy in leading medicine and works closely with the Texas city’s myriad sports teams, like the reigning World Series champions Houston Astros, NFL’s Texans and MLS’ Dynamo.
Brought to Dubai by Meraas, Valiant’s aim is to reach out to as many clubs and federations as possible in the emirate and be a point of reference for all types of athletes, from jiu-jitsu to football or casual runners to serious triathletes.
In a bid to raise their profile, they are also keen to cover events and provide medical coverage at the plethora of sporting events held in the Emirates throughout the year, like the Spartan Race, Dubai Fitness Challenge and more.
“The aim of Valiant Clinic’s physiotherapy and sports medicine department is to be recognised not only in the UAE but all over the Gulf region and amongst tourists as a healthcare provider who provide well informed solutions to problems and not just temporary enhancements,” said physiotherapist specialist Faraz Sethi.
“There has been a growing trend in the UAE for athletes, both elite and recreational, to travel abroad to their home countries, namely the USA, UK, Germany or even Qatar, to seek expert medical opinions because they feel they don’t have that option here.
“We hope the sports medicine and physiotherapy department will grow over the next few years to a substantial size whereby we have a vast array of physiotherapy practitioners and sports medicine physicians from around the world to share their experiences with staff and colleagues as well as patients.”
Those experts are from far and wide, with all physicians western qualified. The orthopaedic department is run by South African and German staff, while experts from Britain make up the sports medicine and physiotherapy departments.
Sethi himself, from Gillingham, has been in the UAE for a number of years. He worked previously at the Canadian Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi and also had a stint at long-time Arabian Gulf League side, Bani Yas.
And links with athletes and clubs is something Sethi is looking to create, maintain and develop in his new role. “Since our establishment, we have developed relationships with gyms, strength and conditioning coaches/personal trainers as well as some links with running clubs here in Dubai,” said Sethi.
“Our aim is to branch out to everyone who is involved in contact or overuse sports including jiu-jitsu athletes, CrossFit enthusiasts, recreational footballers and sports and training academies and showcase the fact that we are here to offer high quality treatments and not just a temporary money fix.”
Although they aim to be a one-stop-shop for the myriad of colourful nationalities that call Dubai home, does not mean Valiant will not scour the globe to provide the perfect service.
No stone will be left unturned, meanwhile, in their search to cure the most stubborn of conditions. “We offer one to one personal care and guidance where every patient feels autonomous and valued,” added Sethi.
“The physiotherapy and sports medicine department have a wide array of expert sports medicine doctors and physiotherapists who have contacts globally. “We can always turn to them for advice for that challenging patient who has been to four doctors, had eight MRIs and two prior operations and is still suffering.
“In addition, we have an orthopedic department if the patient requires, although we try our best to treat conservatively. We truly believe in a more conservative approach and make sure to exhaust all options at hand before committing to surgical interventions.”
Sethi and his colleagues offer a variety of treatments that consist predominantly of evidence-based manual therapy techniques and exercise prescriptions in line with the current UK guidelines.
In the physiotherapy department, he also works alongside a well-equipped team of wellness experts that include a life coach, two dieticians and a psychologist. He has been left concerned by recent fitness and drastic surgery trends in the UAE and has urged caution.
Sethi said: “One piece of advice I would give is to always try and stay active but also to be careful while doing so. Over the past few years, we have seen a huge boom in unrealistic fitness trends and crazes which seem effective but have a high risk of injuries which consequently affect performance.
“Avoid surgery at all costs unless it is essential to your lifestyle. Surgery is the new fashion in the UAE followed closely by injection therapy.”
WHAT: Valiant Clinic
WHERE: City Walk, Dubai
CONTACT: For more information visit www.valiantclinic.com