Desert Life: WODs and Wadis!

So this weekend marks 6 weeks on my Dubai life calendar and the time has absolutely flown by. Life in the desert is pretty much everything I imagined and more and it is safe to say, so far so good! As with all my travelling escapades, life really only becomes normal when I find myself a gym or somewhere to train to my full capacity, and Dubai so far has most certainly given me endless opportunities.  Despite my overuse of hotel gyms and dalliances with outdoor sessions, my real gym search began when I moved into my apartment a couple of weeks back. Cue, my introduction to Crossfit…SHOCK HORROR!

Yes, after many, many conversations in the past taking digs at Crossfit competitions, I have found myself in the mist of the Crossfit revolution that is Dubai, oh the irony. These gyms, or “Boxes” as I now know they call them, are all over Dubai and with the chance to take on a new challenge, plus the free trial incentive, it was kinda hard to refuse to give it a go. I attended Crossfit Duo for two weeks, with my trial sadly coming to a close recently and I must say I am more than tempted to continue as a full member.

The classes have been challenging to say the least and I have well and truly lost my status as a big fish in the powerlifting pond. Whilst, I feel I can hold my own during most sessions, some parts of the WOD (workout of the day for the layman) do leave me drowning in true beginner’s style; I mean what even is “kipping handstand push up” anyway!

Even so, I find this somewhat refreshing at times; I am constantly learning new techniques and challenging my fitness to levels that I haven’t touched on during my time as a Powerlifter. The cardio, the anaerobic involvement, the repetitions, blood, sweat, more sweat and a little more sweat has kept me interested and feeling invigorated after every session, as well as keen to go back for more.

Don’t get me wrong, I most definitely have not lost my love for lifting, or my hunger for those 9 white lights, I even miss squats… honestly! But actually participating in Crossfit classes has opened my eyes to what it really is like, dispelling many a myth along the way. However, I still can’t help but internally criticise some of the events, techniques or methods used during a WOD or when watching competitions. It isn’t necessarily the techniques or events that leave Crossfit open to criticism, but the principles on which competitions are based. When taught properly and seamlessly (as it is a Duo) Crossfit is an excellent way of improving fitness, but in practice, true form and technique is often lost in the pursuit of maximising AMRAPs (as many reps as possible). Thus, I am still heavily undecided about my continuation into the Crossfit world, as much as I have enjoyed the challenge of something new, I am still not entirely convinced it is the life for me.

Cue the decision to look for more gyms, more free trials and generally just expand my horizons on the Dubai fitness circuit; which is looking pretty spectacular to be honest. I mean, in the past 6 weeks I have attended Fit Fest, Yoga Fest (Yes, no typo here, I actually went to a Yoga Festival), and Dubai Fitness Expo, as well as Canyoning through the waters of Wadi Showka, and so health and fitness is evidently a huge part of desert living.  On top of that, the opportunity to workout al fresco now the weather is delightfully tepid is expansive, with outdoor gyms on the beach, boot camps and purpose made running tracks that are “knee” friendly I really have no excuse to limit my training.

Anyway, I guess the next couple of weeks; I’ll be on the lookout for my new gym “home”, using this time to explore and test the waters before settling down so-to-speak. I am yet to try out Gold’s Gym, and still waiting for my opportunity to get down to the world famous Warehouse Gym for a session; which I believe has its own powerlifting club and regular competitions, so I have all of the reasons not to settle just yet.

I am taking this opportunity to really explore my options and leave no weight un-lifted until I find the right place for me. Powerlifting has served me well over the years, the temptation of figure and physique still hangs close by (although not as close as the Tim Horton’s underneath my building) and now my introduction to Crossfit has sparked an interest that I may find hard to dampen. Thus, a new life in the desert, has given me more reason than ever to maybe rethink and restart my fitness journey, even if for now, it’s only to avoid the dreaded “Dubai Stone”!


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