Monday, May 15, 2017

To fit or not to fit

I have always hated sports, for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I used to come up with excuses to get out of gym class. I never took up any sports activity and the only marathons I will ever engage in are those involving my favorite TV shows while I sit on my couch in my pajamas.

Netflix is my best friend

I was one of those lucky kids and teens. Super skinny with absolutely zero effort on my part. Basically, I was my daughter. No matter how much junk she ingests, she stays thin. Underweight even, in my Lebanese mother's opinion. Yes, I know, an Arab mother may not be the most objective subject matter expert when it comes to children weight assessment (somehow all kids end up being classified as "underfed" with them), but still:

My beautiful daughter

And because life is an ironic piece of work, when size and weight started to matter to me, my hormones pulled one on me. I began gaining kilos left and right and I have not been able to keep this madness under control since.

Every year, the "average I will settle for" seems to go up.

Now that I am approaching the big 4.0. I feel like I must do something. Not because I need to plan for my cougar years (although that's an excellent and valid incentive) but because I refuse to be that girl people remember on Facebook as "the sweet, funny but unfortunate friend who died at 40 leaving two kids behind because she was too effing lazy to move her butt".


So I tried. Many, many programs from the Promised Land of Skinnistan. Personal Training, Zumba, Stretching, various Gym memberships and the free ones around my home... Nothing worked. Mostly because I hated them. And it probably has got to do with the fact that none of them showed actual results.


Well, that also may be due to the fact that in my innocent, impatient mind, results mean dropping 15 kilos in 15 days. By the way, if you ever come across this diet while browsing the Internet, run away. It does not work!

Dropping the weight is important now. It is the immediate goal of course. But I have come to realize nothing will really work outside of a long-term program. Something sustainable that I will not easily quit the minute I walk past the Nutella Bar at Dubai Mall.

Fitness is what matters. Not size. Not weight. Fitness.

The condition of being healthy and able to move. That is the ultimate goal.

I really do not need to be skinny by anyone's standards. I just need to feel like I can play with my kids and maybe their kids one day not because I got lucky but because I planned for me to live long enough to be there.

And so the search began. Facebook has become my new Google and fortunately it had some guidance for me. About a year ago, I started seeing ads for something called "EMS" in my newsfeed. It looked interesting. Mostly because it seemed like no work at all. A 20 minutes high intensity interval program only once or twice a week. Come on now! I can do 20 minutes!

I partnered with my best friend on this Mission to Sexiness. I mean Fitness. Mission to Fitness.


We tried out several places around town that offered EMS. We liked it. It seemed like a good plan. We know we cannot commit to a daily workout so this was the most reasonable alternative anyone had ever offered.

It turned out to be one hell of a workout though. When they say high intensity, they actually mean "the Devil himself may or may not have been involved in the design of that program".


It is hard. It is work. And I, myself am shocked as I say this:


In all fairness, it has to do with the trainers more than the training itself.

I will not be passing judgement on some of the places we visited because I am a firm believer in the rule "if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all" but feel free to inbox me if you are truly interested and need some feedback on how to filter all those EMS studios.


Mayssa and I are now in a committed relationship. The new man in our lives is Denis.

We took a couple's package which made the most sense financially but also to keep pushing and motivating each other. No excuses and no flaking. We hold each other accountable and this means we have not missed a training in three months!

Mostly also, because we utterly love Denis.

First of all he was the one trainer we met who did not make us feel uncomfortable (or fat, or ugly). He is not judgmental or mean. He is kind and funny and supportive and he knows how to motivate us in a fun and respectful way.

And we literally cannot wait to see him every week!


We work hard with Denis. But he works just as hard. He never ever gives us the same training twice. That means that we do not get bored which is super important but it also means our bodies do not get comfortable. Basically, we have been seeing him twice a week for three months now and each and every time, we spend the week aching! Our muscles are surprised with every session and that is important because this resonates as actual results.

It is refreshing and fantastic that his level of commitment to our personalized program is equal to ours and he is never lazy with his approach.

It does not hurt that he is also very attentive and will make sure we do not injure ourselves (so sometimes he tweaks some exercises to accommodate my bad knees) and he will keep his fingers on the machines to make sure he changes the various intensities targeting specific muscle groups based on the exercise he gives us.


He is a real Training Partner and did I mention we wholeheartedly, completely and entirely love Denis?

- A few words on EMS itself:
It is Electrical Muscle Stimulation. Basically you are hooked to a machine. Each and every muscle group is connected and at various intervals, the machine will electrically stimulate the muscles. It makes the workout harder but it also means each and every muscle is stimulated and working at the same time. In other words, during that 20 minutes, you can do more than a week at the gym targeting each group separately. We work on the floor, with weights, with heavy balls, with TRX, and we even do proper cardio. It is really a well rounded workout. And it is intensive and all-muscle comprising which means you can only do it twice a week maximum to give your muscles recovery time.

If you want to try out, you can buzz him at Fit Express.

They have two branches: one in JLT (on the border, easy access, no traffic) and the other in Mirdiff.

Time to get fit!
Trust me, you will love it!

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