The importance of year-round nutrition by Red Bull's Shaikha Al Qassemi

Sport360 staff 17:40 18/04/2018
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Fitness fanatic: Shaikha Al Qassimi

After falling out of love with the gym, Shaikha Al Qassemi turned to CrossFit and quickly fell in love with its charms. The Emirati uses CrossFit, along with a new diet, to get her stronger than ever. Now a Red Bull athlete, Al Qassemi is passionate about educating others on a how they too can adopt a fitter, healthier and more balanced lifestyle.

You wake up in the morning, in a rush, only time to pop a capsule in the Nespresso machine and zoom out of the door to beat traffic. You spend hours at your desk gulping coffee until one of your colleagues reminds you that it’s lunchtime. By now you’re starving, and you either choose to order through a delivery app to bring it straight to your desk or go to the closest convenience – usually fast food restaurants.

We constantly complain about the foods we eat and how it doesn’t sit well in our stomachs. We also complain about stiff joints, fatigue, headaches and bloating. Every time we’re sick, nauseous or fatigued, the first thing we rush into is curing the symptoms instead of eliminating its cause. We take what we are prescribed – antibiotics, over-the-counter medicines and painkillers. The more we consume these medicines, the faster we heal, without taking into consideration possible side effects on our internal system.

Before I started my CrossFit career, I would be down with the flu at least 4-6 times a year. I suffered from insomnia, fatigue, depression and acne. Once I shifted the way I train and what I put in my body, my immune system was so much stronger than before. Now I get better sleep, I’m more energized throughout the day and have better focus. My digestive system has never been healthier, and I no longer suffer from bloating or indigestion.

If you suffer from any of the aforementioned, try removing foods that cause inflammation like corn, dairy, soy, wheat, gluten, processed foods, refined sugars and carbs and legumes. Add a lot of greens into your meals, make sure that you get leafy greens and vegetables of all colours to get maximum benefit. Personally, I added a morning green juice with a tablespoon of L-glutamine as well. Once you feel less bloated and have a healthier and easier digestive system, you can slowly add foods that you enjoy without removing the greens from your diet. Above all else, do not neglect your body’s need for hydration, water is an important factor to a healthier, lighter and fitter body.

As a coach, it’s important to know that you don’t have to be fit to do CrossFit. If you find a good CrossFit box, which teaches you the proper movements you’ll soon build up your strength. It’s super high intense but what’s important to know is CrossFit will get you fit, you don’t need to be fit to begin with. A mistake people make is they go into their first class head on and they fatigue very quickly. What you should do is take it easy to begin with and build up the intensity. If you do that type of intense workout every day, after one month you’ll be exhausted.

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