Omar Nour: Egypt’s triathlon star running on inspiration

Rachel Omolewu 16:26 06/03/2014
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Omar Nour, the 6’3” Egyptian triathlete, entered the world of triathlons in an attempt to lose weight after ripping his pants twice while getting into a car.

He lost 18 kilos training for his first race, and restored his health and love of fitness and now he competes to inspire others to live fit and healthy lives. 

Next up for Nour is the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon on March 15 and hopes to become the first ever Egyptian triathlete to compete at the Olympic Games.

He shares with us his goals, his desire to inspire and leave a legacy helping people.

How did it feel training for your first triathlon? Was it hard to train after not being active for so long? How did participating in the race feel?

It was absolutely phenomenal, I trained solo and when you’re training for something, your morale goes up.

Endorphins start kicking in the system and they stay in there after the workouts.

I loved the race and in all the photos, I’m smiling ear to ear. I was loving life.

You trained for the race while running a business with your brother. How do you, with such a busy lifestyle, get back in shape?
Don’t let taking care of yourself take a back seat, prioritise. If you don’t prioritise your health, it won’t prioritise you later. If you don’t take care of yourself now, you will have to take care of yourself twice as much later.

You have to have a support system in everything that you do. My brother is my support system. He’s allowed me to go after these goals.

What is the first step to succeed at weight loss and to maintain it?
Set realistic goals but and don’t throw everything out of the window if you fail.

Be tough on yourself, but you also have to be able to forgive yourself. Do I slip up? Yes. I accept it, and then I get back with my nutrition regime.

Balance. It’s all about balance, right?
Exactly. Allow yourself the piece of cake but then get back on track. Life will always figure out a way to sneak up on you. It’s up to you whether you stay down or rise back up.

How do people stay on track with their fitness goals?
This is the tip I have for any beginners; you are who you surround yourself with. If everyone around you eats unhealthy, you are going to eat the same.

I’m not suggesting people dump all of their friends, I’m saying you have to find the right balance. Find someone to do it with you, to lose the weight with you. 

Where else in Abu Dhabi can one go to make a step towards active life?
There is TrainYas on Tuesdays where you can train on the Formula 1 race track.

You’re an ambassador for Active Life by Daman, why did you join their movement for active living?
They are forward thinking and they want to benefit people. They are doing it genuinely, to help others to live healthy.

There’s a high rate of childhood obesity and diabetes which is preventable and I like to motivate people.

I want them to know it’s never too late and that I also made mistakes. I smoked five shisha’s a day and I was overweight but I rectified it at age 29.

This is all about educating people as I feel everyone needs to learn more about these health problems.

You’re not only an inspiration to overweight adults; you are also passionate about working with children. Can you tell us more?
Yes, I also go to schools and give talks. A kid even bought a bike after one of my speeches and he told me that he began his training because of me. Another child, who had won the Active Life Kid’s Duathlon, went on my Facebook page and dedicated his win to me, saying that I inspired him to enter the race.

It was then I realised it’s so much more important to talk to children, than it is to win a race. Because if I affect one kid, that could change his entire life, his entire perspective—he could prevent disease, inspire others.

How else are you helping others to get fit and active?
I want to come up with different ideas to affect people.

I’m developing a training tool that fits in line with my ON [Omar Nour] brand, which can be used with your iPhone or Android and will be out in the next few months.

It’s not just about getting faster or being an elite athlete but it can also be used for someone to lose weight.

Has anything interesting happened to you while racing?
In New York City I got stung in the face by a jellyfish in the Hudson River and last year, I fell off my bike and broke a rib. My bike wasn’t damaged, so I kept on going. It proves you can do anything that you want if you’re focused.

You didn’t let those instances affect your performance?
No, you must stay in the moment and I think this is true for life. People worry too much about the past, and they can’t do anything about it.

With triathlons, it’s the same. If you get a flat on the bike, you can’t cry about it. You accept it and start the process [to fix it]. You get back on your bike and cycle harder to make up some time. You can’t let it affect your mind and ultimately the race.

People that stay in the moment end up doing the best in life.

You are 35. What’s next for you after triathlons and achieving your Olympic goal?
I don’t know if I will continue competing. I want to continue to inspire people and make a difference— to send the message of healthy living. One thing’s for sure, I will still be pushing the healthy lifestyle. 

To keep up with Omar Nour and his training, you can follow him on Twitter (https://twitter.com/omarnour) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/omarnourtriathlon). Visit www.omarnour.com To find out more about the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon on 15 March, visit www.abudhabitriathlon.com.

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