In my third week in Dubai, I finally found a trainer. I’d been to the gym in my building just three times in the first two weeks, but I think having a good trainer makes a huge difference – in motivation and in results. I tweeted that I was looking for a trainer and a friend got back to me with a number. The power of Twitter!
I called Rama and we talked about what I’d been doing, what my goals were, and when would be a convenient time for a full consultation. We decided on Tuesday morning at 11.15. Perfect – these days I rarely surface before 10am anyway.
I met him in the lobby of my building and we walked over to the gym. This guy is solid. His arms are the size of my thighs (but toned)! Wow.
Where was I? Oh, yes. He thought it was a well-equipped gym – I’ve mentioned before that it does have almost everything you need. The things I’ve noticed that are missing are a rowing machine, an upright bike (there’s a recumbent bike), and some weights are missing from what used to be a full set. It could also do with some decent stretching mats – there’s something that resembles a mat there but I only use it as a knee support when stretching.
We chatted for about half an hour, talking about exercise, diet, sleeping, caffeine, alcohol, smoking, routine. I told him I’d challenged myself to lose 10 kilos by Christmas but didn’t quite make it, and that I want to lose 10 kilos by Easter. Definitely possible, he said. We arranged to have our first full session the next day. Rates here are quite reasonable and I can have two sessions a week here for just a little more than the price of one session a week in London – so that’s what I’m going to do to start with.
On Wednesday, Rama told me our first session would be tough as he was going to put me through a series of tests to gauge my level of fitness. I told him it was ‘low’ but he said I still needed to do the tests.
I did a five-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer and then the tests started. I had to do as many push-ups as I could in one minute. Not a push-up on my toes, but on my knees with my ankles crossed behind me. I got to 23 – which is actually more than I thought I’d be able to do.
After that he made me do a squat with my back against the wall and hold it for as long as possible – I could feel my thighs burning after 15 seconds and once they started trembling at 25 seconds it was either collapse in a heap on the floor or push myself off the wall. I pushed myself off the wall. 32 seconds. Was that all??
There were sit-ups, burpees (hate them) and the plank. Then came the cardio.
I had to go half a mile on the cross-trainer at resistance 10. By the third minute I was ready to join my sister and her husband by the pool. I could see them waving at me but if I’d waved back I’d have fallen off the machine. I made it to half a mile in 4 minutes and 53 seconds. And I couldn’t breathe.
The tests were over. But my session wasn’t. There were still some crunches, tricep dips and lower body exercises to go, but compared to the earlier part of the session it was easy(ish).
After that there was some stretching and I was done. First session over! We arranged to have our second session on Sunday morning. I’ve noticed that people are quite laid back here – Rama said he’d confirm the time on Saturday. In London I had the same time each week – it was in the diary for 12 weeks. I don’t think people really plan in advance here!
I planned to do a light workout on Thursday but was out of the house from 9.30am to 5pm. Does walking through IKEA and the Lulu hypermarket count as light exercise? Yes, I think it does. I felt a bit sore on Thursday, but not too bad. On Friday I felt like my abs were on fire.
I went to the gym anyway. I did a 5-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer and then walked on the treadmill holding 3-kg weights in each hand. Rama told me to walk for 20 minutes at a pace of 5.5 km/h, using the weights every alternate minute. I thought 5.5 km/h seemed a bit slow as I usually walk at at least 6 km/h, but once I started with the weights it was actually hard work. And I’d have probably fallen over while trying to pick up or put down the weights! I finished with some upper body exercises and stretches.
I didn’t work out on Saturday – I was tired and lazy from a late Friday night! I’m still following the no bread/no carbs at night plan I was doing in London – I think that’s helped keep some of the weight off since I got here…
Read more updates here.