As the Dubai Fitness Challenge takes over the city, an Emirati, Irish and Egyptian national recalls how they transformed their bodies and took charge of their health
There was a time when Rashed Adel Alkhoori, a 22-year-old national of the United Arab Emirates, weighed 125 kg.
A year and a half later, however, he weighs only 75 kg. Rashed’s ‘fat into shape’ transformation came after a sustained struggle – now he boasts that he has never missed the gym, not even a single day in the past 1.5 years.
Losing weight and staying in shape has been a lifelong struggle, with daily life and routine always getting the better of him.
After trying to lose weight and failing several times, Alkhoori still hasn’t given up.
“I have never missed the gym, not even a single day for 1.5 years”
“I tried to lose weight, but I just couldn’t,” says the young Emirati. “I was going to the gym and then [stop]. But then I figured I’d go to the gym no matter what.
One day I decided to work hard, I decided to put myself in it and I told myself that I would not leave. Now, for a year and a half, I haven’t stopped going to the gym for a single day.”
Rashed says he wanted to take a cautious approach to his weight loss regimen, seeking professional help whenever needed.
“I went to see Dr Fadi Baladi in Burjeel for a consultation which turned out to be very helpful. me too [visit the doctor] every two to three months, which is very important. I have lost a lot of weight, so it is very important to check my vital signs from time to time.
“For the first two months, I started walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Over the next two months, I started adding more and more time until I reached an hour. and a half a day.
Now a healthy version of himself, Alkhoori recommends getting involved, noting that results won’t be seen overnight.
“Work hard and don’t be impatient for quick results. You won’t get results in a month; it takes at least a year to be fit. Most people want to see results fast and that’s not possible. Don’t think about results when you exercise; just follow the routine and go with the flow.
“I didn’t want my son to think his dad had a heart attack”
Another resident whose weight loss has made him much more confident now and proud of his transformation, due to his dedication and hard work, is Irish national Michael Kruger.
Kruger weighed 118kg in May 2021 and now weighs 92kg. Recounting his backstory and the turning point in his life, he notes, “It all started with my doctor, where I went for a blood test and a cholesterol test at Medeor Hospital. my cholesterol, my blood pressure and my sugar.
The doctor looked at me and said, ‘You’re fat. You need to lose weight. He said he could put me on medication for the rest of my life, but he also said it would be better if I made the changes without medication, and luckily I had that bandwidth.
I came home pretty upset. Three days later, I woke up thinking the doctor was right.
“Also, my son is only 12, and I didn’t want him to think that [his] dad had a heart attack. I didn’t want to end up like this. So I took the bull by the horns: I have a gym in my building and I wanted to focus on something that would make me feel fitter,” says Kruger.
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He eventually experimented with a stationary exercise bike and began to enjoy it, using music to benefit his workouts.
A clean diet, however, is what he recommends most for any tangible gain. “I started with five minutes and I already felt exhausted. But within six months I started to be able to train for 45 minutes. I lost 12 kg in six months, but after Christmas 2021, I couldn’t lose any more weight.
In the new year of 2022, I searched for a fitness coach to help me. It made quite a difference. I lost five kilos in January 2022.”
“It was mainly due to a change in diet because despite what I was doing, I was not eating well. My diet changes helped me find the right calories and what to eat,” he recalls.
“Then I started bringing food from a supplier. I did that for three months. Then the next year came, and I dropped to 92 kg. So I lost about 25 kg in total,” says the 52-year-old Irishman. expat.
What started this journey was the single desire to get rid of body fat; but now, for Kruger, it’s his lifestyle and it has dramatically improved the quality of his life.
“It’s not just that I lost weight,” he explains. “I’m more confident now. I can fit into my old clothes again. I’m single, so I even started dating again.
The importance of clean eating and mindful eating
Egyptian national Ahmed Tarek Abdellatif Ahmed Elbahy was also not paying attention to his growing weight until he noticed health issues, such as high blood pressure and recurring headaches.
“After noticing these changes in the way I felt, I decided to lose weight. I started out weighing 150kg,” says the energy engineer and freelance group fitness instructor.
“I started with a strict diet for the first three months. It was not easy; it was tough, but it was worth it. I went down to 130 kg. Then, as I progressed, I started to hit some milestones. I switched to a moderate diet, not very strict, and gradually it became a way of life. I always eat what I want but in moderation.
Ahmed has completely eliminated fast food and sugary foods from his diet, something he enjoyed a lot in the past.
“I followed up with a dietitian who guided me well, and I now weigh 90 kg. I feel like people who want to maintain a stable weight can eat whatever they want once a week and follow an active lifestyle just by doing simple exercises at home or taking walks for half a hour at least.
Explaining the importance of persevering and mindful eating, he says, “When people want to lose weight, they want to rush it and get results fast. Then people stop and go back to their bad eating habits.
Be patient. Make eating well an art of living. The Dubai Fitness Challenge encourages people to participate in different group activities and exercises, and the workouts are very enjoyable, often on the beach and outdoors. There are multiple benefits, including the ability to witness a beautiful view.
Training sessions with professionals are also good, which not only encourages people to exercise, but often helps the uninitiated to transition into a regular training regimen, acting as a positive influence on the society.
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