What does success mean to you?

Many of us hear about success, we see it on instagram, we hear it on podcasts and have read countless books on how to be more successful.

One question that hasn’t been answered is how would you personally define what success means to you? What are your motives behind gaining success? And if success is what you want, how do you measure it and why do you want to attain it?

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Success to me

was defined as “being rewarded for achievement” and that’s not even an achievement I personally aligned myself with.. Something I was “expected” to do.

I really had to contemplate on this to explore my personal motives. I will be clear, transparent and honest on where my motives were placed, why and how I began to be more aware to make a shift in my motives.

How I personally viewed my personal success always had to be measured, in kilos, percentage of fat, numbers in my bank account or worst of all “assurance”. Growing up, my success was measured by grades, golden stars or some kind of reward. Success to me was defined as “being rewarded for achievement” and that’s not even an achievement I personally aligned myself with.. Something I was “expected” to do.

We are undeniably part of this system, we cannot change it, however we can be aware of how we view it. My personal goals or aims were backed by motives that weren’t aligned with my values and preferences. When I started competing in Crossfit, my motives were always trying to prove that I can and I’m capable. To prove to others and prove to myself. If I had made podium or kicked someone’s ass in a workout I would feel good not because I had done great but showcasing I can do better than others. Qualifying for a competition and competing for me didn't mean I wanted to place myself on podium, it's starts with the clear intention of me enjoying the energies, workouts and have fun. But somehow I lose myself with the public's expectation of me making podium and find myself beating myself up for disappointing others. 

My transparency will only open your eyes on how far this has gone in terms of putting myself under so much stress. Ramadan of 2017, I decided to take on Muay Thai because I enjoyed the sport, I wanted to prove to myself that I can do two sports and push myself further because if they can, so can I. My motives began to shift into a different energy and escalated into an injury that has left me out of 3 competitions I had aimed to take part in. The injury had set me back for 5 months, and so did my previous knee injury had me out for more than 6 months. As much as I do believe everything happens for a reason, I do also believe that events happen because of our intentions. We create where our intentions are place. Reflecting on my personal motives and intentions back then made me realize that I was always trying to prove something to someone or myself. But at what cost??

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Some people define success with completing a workout. People define success with putting themselves in uncomfortable situations, persevering and then get credit for doing so. People define success by how much they can achieve. Or even worse putting someone on a pedestal and once you get recognition from that specific person, only then will you feel like you have “succeeded”.

Do you really want to continue to live your life for
others to give you a golden star on how you live??

This is truly deadly to many, chasing assurance, recognition and acceptance from others for the sake of feeling good about yourself? Do you really want to continue to live your life for others to give you a golden star on how you live??  You shouldn’t feel pressured or bullied into other people’s opinions.. YES OPINIONS. There is no truth to what they claim is to be successful. What is good for them isn’t necessarily good for you. What success means to them doesn’t have to mean the same for you.

I redefined success to align myself with my preferences and my passion. My goals also align likewise. Shifting my focus on the movement and alignment more than the outcome was very important for me. I began to release the urge to prove to myself I can be that person that people respect, I released that eagerness to prove others that I can do what I put my mind to. I release the need to prove myself to anyone.

Once and for all, I channel my energy towards my purpose and alignment. Success to me, is now that feeling of knowing that where I put my purpose is growing, evolving and coming to life to serve others.

Are you familiar with the #hustle?

Lately I have been noticing this trend of the “hustle” spreading like a virus. I’m sure many of the ones that chase the hustle are doing it with good intentions of gaining knowledge and inspiring others to do more work. However, I can’t help but speak up about how this is wrongfully viewed..

 

As many of you know, I religiously believe in energy and what it does to our daily lives. One thing I’d like to put out there before getting into the details, is that thoughts create. And I am not talking about your conscious thoughts, I am a firm believer in intentions and motives. Looking deep into where this motive is stemming from is where the energy is stored and from there it’s continuously reincarnating the world that surrounds us.

 

Don’t you find yourself something blocking someone out of your life, deleting, pushing out and eventually you find yourself within the same situation over and over again and think to yourself “I thought I was over this!!!” Well, my friends, there is no running away from what is hidden in our subconscious minds. Whatever deepest feelings we have from fear to guilt, these feelings will continuously project within your daily experiences.

 

Through my weekly studies, we look into words that we unconsciously use in our daily lives. We don’t realize the connotations that we have attached to these words and freely use them with daily conversations. Let me give you a simple example. The word “hectic”, I noticed that many people that lead busy lives unconsciously use the word “hectic” and have no idea what it does to their flow of energies and breaks their intentions and alignment. The word hectic is defined in the dictionary as “full of incessant or frantic activity.” Sounds familiar? Do you find yourself frantic and continuously feeling uncomfortable and unpleasant with your daily schedules? If you don’t use the word hectic, I’m pretty sure you’re thinking it. Hey, I fell victim to using these words all my life, but the more I was aware, the less I used them.

 

Let’s get back to the word “hustle”. The word is defined in the dictionary as the following:

 

hustle force (someone) to move hurriedly or unceremoniously area. obtain illicitly or by forceful action: (hustle someone into) pressure someone into doing something. don't be hustled into anything unless you really want to. sell aggressively: he hustled his company's oil around the country.

 

What I want you to take from this is the key words to what is behind the word “hustle,” hurried, forceful, pressure, aggressive… Do you really want to live your life hurried? Forced? Pressured? The purpose of doing the work that you do is because you are consciously and intentionally aligning yourself with your true purpose. This act of alignment cannot be forced or aggressive, for energy to grow and evolve it needs an organic flow.

 

When we are exposed to these new trends that pop up here and there and find those people successful at what they do, it is understandable that we want to be a part of this movement. However, I found that many people that fall victim to the “hustle” feel guilty for not “hustling.” The moment you start to feel guilt, you’re immediately disconnected to your purpose. I found myself feeling guilty taking days off, because I was also constantly exposed to the hashtag of the year “HUSTLE” and think to myself, am I supposed to keep my mind engaged and working all the time? And it was only because I viewed these people are “successful” people who chase the hustle. But something I tell myself all the time is “what is good for you, may not be good for me.”

 

We are not all the same type of human, we all have our personal preferences, just because I don’t wake up at the break of dawn doesn’t mean I’m a loser and missing out of life. Excuse me, my friend, what is it that you’re trying to achieve by chasing life? What are you scared of losing when you take your time? If you think that we are limited by time, then you will always be limited. If you’re constantly running, your engine will malfunction. You’re not a winner because you hustle, and you’re not a loser because you don’t.

Approaching the New Year!

Lately I’ve been noticing posts, stories and even people talking about goals for the New Year. This year I’ve chosen to change my thoughts about these “goals” instead of setting these expectations to myself and try to control everything around me to reach that them.

The opening of Platform, my dream space, was one of those goals. We initially set a goal to operate in March 2017 and due to paperwork, approvals and many issues, the gym opening was delayed till August. 

This created a big disappointement for myself and others as well, as there were people depending on me. Another goal I had set for myself was to train as hard as I could to make it to Battle of the East. Though with opening the gym and dealing with an injury, another goal I had set my focus on was disintegrating before my eyes.

Feeling like a failure and disappointment not only to myself but to others was heavy on my chest. I had spoken to my life coach about this many times and it came down to one thing.

What is success? 

We follow this new trend of hustle like we don’t have time. Like our life is limiting and we have to chase everything before it’s over. I had to shift that belief in my mind and began to practice of believing in abundance and the limitless or the infinite. 

I practice to not stress about time and months and years, a concept that was merely created by humanity for structure. Why let time control us? Or why do we need to control our time? 

I come into the New Year with one thought, aligning myself with my passion and focused attention on personal growth, evolution and expansion.

My advice to all of you would be, not to set resolution and goals for the new year or every year, you never know how life moves and where it takes you. Always have that focused attention on aligning yourself with what you believe in and what you are truly passionate about. 

I’m passionate about lifting and competing, but I’m not setting a goal to lift 100kg by August or making podium by November. Erasing the concept of time will help you continuously align yourself to your passions that will lead you to success.

 I wish you all a blessed year head, full of love, peace and happiness. 

 

 

Competing from another perspective..

When I first started competing, I really had no plans on taking it further than the experience. Once I was picked up by RedBull, I felt responsible to live up to the brand’s elite list of podium finishers. Honestly, my RedBull family had no intention at all to push me to make podium finishes or even compete. They were always supportive regardless of my goals.

 

Growing up, I was always compared to other girls, cousins, relatives, and class mates and that would always make me feel insecure, not being good enoughor even up to societies standards. I knew I was always different in many ways but I never embraced it. Being different means you aren’t acceptable to people’s standards and when you’re growing up a need for acceptance is just as important as the need for the air you breathe.

 

At my first time competing at Battle of the East in Kuwait, the experience was mind blowing. I had never experienced such vibrations and energies in my entire life. I hadn’t prepared for it, I just wanted to give it a try. With every workout I had gone through, I just kept looking to my right or left wondering how in the world do these girls finish these workouts so fast and easily and I feel like I’m suffering through. I was so inspired by their efforts that I had pushed myself so hard I wasn’t able to walk for days.

 

Yes, I did place podium and that is when I signed my contract with RedBull. It wasn’t by luck, it wasn’t by default because some other girls withdrew because of their injuries, but that is how I defined it and that is how people started to see it. The next year, I decided to join InnerFight and get my fitness going, I wanted to experience that suffering, that pain and mental gains.

Months of posts later, Battle of the East qualifications came up. And during the period of joining IF and leading up to the qualifiers, I had been experiencing imbalances in everything. Food, sleep, supplementation and recovery. As much as I felt like I was getting better at fitness, there were days where I wasn’t myself at all and it happened more often than other times.

 

Fast forward to Kuwait, I had prepared myself mentally that I want to have fun and experience the energies as I felt it last year. Every person I would bump into, talk to or received a message from would say “You’re gunnawin it this year! First place!” This was just an expectation they set and not for myself, but all the pressure started to cloud my focus and intentions. I had signed up for a paleo meal service and I had already eaten a full day, I woke up nauseous, bloated and heavy. Even though the obstacle run wasn’t all that run for me to start with, I knew I would come back from it stronger with the other workouts.

 

Every workout I did I was in extreme pain, I would feel the lactic acid built up within the first 20 seconds of the workout. What was going on? This didn’t seem right and with all that was going on, I still tried my very best to push through every workout. I hadn’t been practicing my muscle ups and I had gone through the first round and I was super proud of myself. But every moment I would step out someone would ask me “What’s wrong with you? We expected better results from you! You train at InnerFight, we thought you’d win this”

 

And there. I was crushed. Did they really expect so much of me? And why and who are they to expect this of me? At one point, I have had it and told someone to “F” off because I was at the edge of breaking down. As I stood there behind the cheering crowd, they called out the podium finishers and as athletes passed I would hear them say “Where’s Kiki? Why didn’t she make it?” or they would ask me “What happened to you this year?”

 

I walked to the hotel, I didn’t even want to take a taxi, I just wanted to walk and think. I was shattered and shook, holding back the tears and frustration. Once I was in the hotel room, I broke down. I made a phone call to a dear friend of mine and just lost it. I couldn’t talk, all I did was cry. As my mother walked in a few hours later she asked, “Did you win?” I said, “No, I got 5th place” and then asked a million questions as to why the top 3 girls were better than I am. I just replied, “I can’t tell you why because we all did our best.”

 

I knew I did my best, I was food poisoned, I felt pain through every workout and I finished 5th? That’s a damn achievement to me! But all I was focused on was what they expected of me. My failure to make podium. I felt pressured, being a paid sponsored athlete, a brand ambassador to one of the largest active wear brands in the world and my thousands of followers that expected nothing but a win. When I got back, I decided to make changes. As I have mentioned before, the tests that I did to improve my gut health, supplement intake, nutrition and hormones. I felt like I needed to check myself along the way.

 

The 2016 EFC qualifications, I was feeling confident and excited to get back into it. After they cancelled it and decided we all had to do the DFC qualifications, the stress of it started to arise. I had done the 2 workouts and didn’t make it in time to post the last qualifying workout. I took this as a sign to reflect on competing, why do I compete? Have I really forgotten what it feels like to have fun? I find athletes separate themselves from others when they compete, was I supposed to be the same? Is that how mental game works? But then I see other athletes making jokes and having fun while competing regardless of placing. What was I missing?

Reflecting on what competing meant to me

Considering the stresses of opening my new gym, from paperwork to contractors to approvals. Training, good nutrition and sleep seemed like a luxury at the time. I took some time to reflect on what it means to compete to me and this is what I came up with. I would repeat this to myself to ensure my intentions with competing so that nothing shakes my focus or upsets me.

 

 I am only here to embrace, experience and express my passion, my gifts, my love for the movement, sport and energy. I am not here for the podium, I am not here for the people, I am not here for any placing. I am only here for the love that I have found in this sport.

 

To many people, I am guessing this would be ridiculous because they are taught that there are winners and losers, to me, I didn’t believe in that, I always believed that everyone is a winner in their own perspective it’s just the outside world that puts these labels, medals and placings of who’s the best and who isn’t. We are all profound on our own, we don’t compare ourselves to others for we are all one. I am grateful now that I have found peace when I train and when I compete.

Ramadan, the shift of mind and body to new beginnings..

Many of you requested for me to write about what and how I eat and train during the month of Ramadan.  

Goal setting is important

So first and foremost remember what your goals are this month. Do you want to your body fat percentage to go down? Do you want to gain some strength? Focus on conditioning? 

my goals for this month is to focus on eating better. For the passed few months I would have a meal a day some days, I would train for 2-3 hours without having food for 6 hours and that's what I want to try to avoid. With very little time to eat and train, I've signed up with Athleat DXB, a Dubai based meal prep company run by B09 for coaches and athletes. 

My main goal this month is to be lighter. I want to be lighter and faster with body movements so this month mostly focuses on light training, body weight and a lot of conditioning. Before breaking my fast I would follow a Daily Grind workout by Innerfight's competitors program Red Zone. Most of these workouts are light and around 20-30 minutes of sweat work. 

Bone broth is amazing! 

Athleatdxb offers 3 meals and bone broth to break my fast. So after a training session at my home gym, I'd have my bone broth and pray. Let it sit before having my first meal. I would have my first meal around 7:30-7:45pm and my second training session would start at 9:30.

Bone brother is amazing, full of nutrients and collagen, it prepares your stomach after long hours of being empty for it to have easier digestion. Collagen is amazing for your hair, skin, nails and recovery! 

Don't be hungry! Don't snack on sugars! 

Before training I'd have either a shake or protein snack and post workout I'd have the same. Around midnight I'd have my second meal and my third meal would be around 3 am. 

 This way, I am ensuring that I have a meal at least every 2-3 hours. 

The list of supplements I'll be taking during the month of Ramadan is the following:  

  • Antioxidant supplement: grape seed extract and turmeric 
  • Omega 3: 2 capsules every meal  
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium: 4 capsules before bed  for optimal recovery

As for my macros, I've signed up for Paleo-ish meals, low in carb, moderate protein and fat. An example of what I'm having today:

  • Asian beef with vegetables and rice
  • Grilled chicken with boiled broccoli and 3 slices of sweet potato
  • Grilled chicken quinoa with pomegranate and vegetables  

As a snack I would either have eggs or a protein shake.

For any question feel free to send an email through kikiforcrossfit@gmail.com 

5 simple changes that can improve your health at the office.

Often people ask me how they can improve their day to day life to avoid reoccurring nags and injuries like back pain, hip strains, neck pains and even headaches. Here are 5 simples changes you can make to your days at the office that can help improve your day to day movement and functionality. 
  • Drink more water, less coffee. Oh we all know our love for coffee is undeniable, however, we do neglect the fact that coffee dehydrates us. We want to make sure we are fully functional happy and refreshed individuals. So here are ways you can rehydrate: coconut water or add some cucumber, lemon or orange slices into your bottle. To stay energised add fruits, ginger slices, or even chia seeds into the mix and feel fresh throughout the day.
  • More stretch less stress! We all complain about back problems, pelvic pains and even nagging necks. This is due to long hours of sitting on a desk on the same chair. Make sure that you are stretching your legs, spine and neck to avoid injuries.
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  • Are you even sitting right? Many people crouch over their desks which causes neck and spinal problems in the long run. Sitting up right will make a big difference and if there is space between your lower back and the chair, invest in a pillow that can keep it comfortable.
  • Explore your options! If you cannot afford a healthy meal plan and don’t have time to prepare your own food, explore apps that can deliver healthier options. Ubereats and Deliveroo offer some options like: Under500, Right bite, Smith St Paleo or Circle Cafe.
  • Finally, keep moving! If you do a lot of work on your laptop or computer, try to do some work standing for a change, have a lacrosse ball on your desk, place it under your feet to release tension. Use it when your sitting on your chair, place it on any tension and start to release. Avoid asking other people to print for you or bring you coffee, walk  around the office to get things done!

Why eating healthy isn't enough.

For many years I have been struggling to reach a target weight/fat percentage. I have been on every “diet", you name it!

I do eat significantly healthy, take supplements and make sure that I pack my meals with as much greens, yellows, reds and purple as possible to benefit from its nutritional values. In 2015, I decided to go paleo after I came back from Battle of the East, and I followed the paleo meal plan for about a month. I dropped significantly in fat kilos but my training wasn’t as efficient as it used to be. The amount of carbs was lower than usual, I was on almost 1,200-1,500 calories sometimes less. I wasn’t performing at my best, not lifting as much as I used to.

 Eggs, spinach, avocado.. Basically what I was eating for breakfast everyday.  

Eggs, spinach, avocado.. Basically what I was eating for breakfast everyday.  

 

Fast forward one year later, I joined Innerfight’s classes and RedZone. Training increased by double and felt like my body was beat. I would either sleep too much or not sleep at all. I supplemented with Vitamin C post workout, ZMA and Vitamin D as well as post workout protein shake.

 

As my weight yo-yo’d and so did my training volumes, I was still oblivious as to what I should follow. I downloaded RP Strength and followed for a month and there was still a plateau in my weight and training progress. I traveled to London to meet with Liam Holmes, performance nutritionist to do a clinical test and detailed diagnosis of what was deficient in my system and why it has been tough for me to reach a target weight.

 

I arrived back in Dubai patiently waiting for my results and spoke to a local nutritionist that can also partner with Liam in London to sort out a meal and supplement plan for me. Lulu Al Armali, local nutritionist in Transform gym, Dubai, put me on Keto for about two weeks. As much as it was effective, my training was horrific and I had no energy by the end of the day. After the results came and I was put on a carb cycling diet, things started to kick off. My results were the following:

 Results overview.  

Results overview.  

 

  1. Severe deficiency in B-Vitamins (even though I was taking them every night)
  2. Moderate need for antioxidants, magnesium and zinc. (I was also taking)
  3. Imbalanced gut health.
  4. Block in carbohydrate metabolism.

 

Due to my poor gut health, my body was not processing any vitamins and nutrients that I was putting in my body, hence, weight gain and ill recovery post workout. Now for all of you that are struggling with your weight whether it’s to lose it or gain, here’s some advice:

 

  1. Get tested: blood tests and urine tests will help massively to find what is holding you back from reaching your target, even in your training performance. (check out: http://www.phnutrition.co.uk/
  2. Take your results to a clinical nutritionist or performance nutritionist that can help you assess your results and come up with a meal and supplement plan. (see Lulu Alarmali: http://www.transform.ae/team/lulu-alarmali/)
  3. Think long term: short term diets they will work for you for a few weeks or maybe a month or two, but we all have stubborn fat that we want to get rid of.
  4. Carbs are good for you! Carb cycling was scary for me to start with, having 1 1/2 cup of rice in a meal was pretty heavy but losing 3% body fat in two weeks (with weight still sitting at 66kg) was encouraging.
  5.   Keep it SIMPLE! Avoid complicating your diet by weighing everything, counting calories, and having various types of foods in your meal. Follow a simple diet plan that you can follow even when you’re out. And don’t eat the same meals every day for a week, boredom will effect your motive to keep going!
  6. Scales don’t count! As much as it hurts me to still see the scale at 66kg for the passed month, I have lost 3.5% body fat and still going. When your body is still adjusting to changes don’t obsess over the number on the scale, rather take notice of how your body is changing and what the number is on fat percentage.

Eating healthy is very essential when it comes to changing your lifestyle for the better, but it isn’t enough when you are not sure of what your body really needs. 

My rest and recovery..

So many of you have asked me about how I train and recover.. I decided to post about this today considering that I am extremely sore and resting! What works for me might not work for you… Every body is different, every one recovers differently.. You should just test what works with you..

  1. PurePharma supplements

My number 1 source of recovery has to be Omega 3. I do take a good amount of omega’s in my foods but I do need extra because I train so many hours in the day and put a great deal of stress on my muscles. PurePharma Omega 3 is easy to get in any Crossfit box in the UAE. I take 3 a day but if I need a little extra dosage I take 3 more.

2. CryoHealth

I have been using CryoHealth for over a year now, whenever I am feeling beat up, sore and tired, I pass by CryoHealth (Emirates Towers or Dubai Ladies Club) to freeze myself for 3 minutes. It helps boost your immune response, eases chronic pain, heals nerve damage, recovers muscle soreness and even improve sporting performance.

3. DISC: Diversified Integrated Sports Clinic

I visit Dr. Tamara and Nermeen every month to get my body adjusted, massaged and needled. With heavy lifting, sudden movement in Crossfit, and moving around in my sleep, every one is in need of an adjustment with a chiropractor. It is important even for people that do not train in Crossfit to see a chiropractor because we all have bad habits of slouching or sitting in an awkward position which consequently displaces our bones and causes cramps and muscle sprains.

And finally….. my favorite!

4. ROMWOD

RomWod is just a new fancy word for Yoga within the Crossfit community, everybody is doing it! We all forget to stretch, breathe while stretch and how long to stretch for. RomWod is a website you can subscribe to and get access to demonstrating videos of stretches for any parts of the body. You can choose to warm up, recover or increase mobility for certain areas and videos can start from 10 minutes up to an hour.

Because I train up to 5-6 times a week, if on my rest day I feel great I would do a recovery workout, maybe light gymnastics moving around the gym, stretching, a row or a swim. If however, I am extremely sore and beat up I would just do RomWod and get enough lazy couch time as possible!

Also please check out:

How anti-inflammatory foods help you recover faster

Top 10 foods that reduce muscle soreness

Another reason why I had to sign up for Nourishing Dubai was to help me recover better, faster and better my performance.

Stay fit, healthy and blessed x

The Crossfit Open 2015 and setting goals

I started Crossfit in early 2013, I wasn’t confident enough to join the Crossfit Open back then being that I started a month before. And in 2014 after a nasty car accident, I couldn’t do explosive movements or go below parallel in any squat movement, so it was a chance for me to work on my upper body strength until my knee was back to normal.

It was only recently that I started to gain confidence in my knee and trust that it is back to normal. In the passed two Opens, I couldn’t do a lot of movements because they were still skill that I was working on like, chest to bar pull ups, toe to bar and handstand push ups.

Even with a lot of practice, stringing them into continuous reps in a wod was extremely tough for me, the only time I’ve tried RX hspu was in Diane, and 15 reps in, I had to place the abmat because of fatigue. With toe 2 bar and chest to bar pull ups, my grip was an issue, I would fry my forearms with the first set, even after breaking it up. And mentally, I suck at mental challenges, I would just break down. I’m still learning on how to shut my brain off and fight threshold.

I started my squat program exactly 4 weeks ago, with the start of the Crossfit Open, it wasn’t easy, my legs were tight and sore every day. My squat program consisted of front squats and back squats:

Sunday: Heavy front squat (heaviest:85kg)
Monday: Heavy back squat (heaviest:90kg)
Tuesday: Moderate front squat (heaviest 77.5kg)
Wednesday: Moderate back squat (heaviest 85kg)

I also started training Olympic Lifting with my coach Natalia. Of course the first week felt ok, I was energetic and excited to learn technique and get more reps, more weights, get stronger.. Little did I know how sore, painful and exhausting it was! Of course, because I am a beginner learning the movement from the beginning, starting position, first pull, second pull, all that jazz, even holding the starting position I would feel my legs shake.

My performance in the open wasn’t as good as I had hoped, but I really do need to consider the change in my program, I was now focusing more into weightlifting and not just Crossfit. Hence the reason why I didn’t do 15.5, everyone I know was sore for days and I had to prioritize lifting over the Open this year.

Setting goals means sacrifice, and with a squatting program I need to follow religiously, I couldn’t risk burning myself out with one workout over some gains for next years open!

Setting my goals:

Last year, my goal was to get chest to bar pull ups, this year I got my chest to bar kipping pull ups and with a lot of strict work, I also got weighted chest to bar chin ups.

Handstand push ups were my goal for 2013 and yes I got them but I was still working on skill work and kipping technique.

After my knee surgery, my squats were not going anywhere until I trusted my knee 100%. After shockwave therapy, I tested my front squat and it increased by 5 kilos after resting it for 3 weeks, same with my back squat. Before my surgery my front squat was around 75 kilos, and back squat was a barely 85kg.

My goal for 2014 was 85kg front squat and 95kg back squat, and even though I was held back and couldn’t achieve my goal in time, I couldn’t be happier with an easy 85kg front squat and 95kg back squat.

This years goals:

*Strict Muscle Up
*Strict handstand pushup (I can barely get one, I’m aiming for up to 5)
*Butterfly pull ups
*Front squat 100kg
*Back squat 110-120kg
*Clean & Jerk 80kg
*Snatch 60kg

Silver lining, we all start from somewhere, and with the hype of the open it is okay not to get your first muscle up, it’s okay if you still don’t have your toe to bar, it’s okay if you’re still learning, and it’s also okay if you have all of those but did not perform as well as you expect. We all have goals in life, in fitness, in crossfit, we just have to set focus on what is important and do it often, then you will achieve what your set your mind to.

Believe in yourself! God bless you all xoxo

Kiki

7 Princesses

This Monday the 9th of March, I was part of the “7 Princesses” exhibition under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan. Words cannot expressed how honored I am to be a part of this beautiful project that was a collaboration between the world renowned photographer Steve McCurry and The Empty Quarter gallery in DIFC, Dubai.

The Empty Quarter gallery managed by partners Sebastian Ebbinghaus and Safa Al Hamed, is a fine art gallery that is exclusively devoted to photography pieces from around the world. The Empty Quarter collaborated with Steve McCurry, known for his “Afghan Girl” which appeared in the cover of National Geographic magazine.

November 2014, I was contacted by Safa Al Hamed asking me to be a part of the 7 Princesses Project. I was humbled by the offer and I just couldn’t refuse!! The Emirati women that were photographed are inspirational women in the Emirati society, that have an impact in empowering arab women. “Each photograph a reflection of the crucial roles of the contemporary, vibrant and dynamic Emirati woman” – Dubai Pr Network “The objective behind 7 Princesses is to actively build bridges between the UAE and international cultures presenting a unique and avant-garde point of view regarding the role of Emirati women within the society and their international influences.”

I started my fitness journey in Crossfit in early 2013, and never imagined that I would be where I am today. Inspiring women by doing something as simple as posting a video of my workout on Instagram, my scores, my failures or progress. When I took the job of part time coaching at Altitude The Box, I didn’t know if coaching was for me, they say it isn’t necessary that a good athlete is a good coach and vice versa. I found myself taking charge, having a big voice, being loud, firm and considerate at the same time. When I started Crossfit, I just wanted to pursue being an athlete, never have I ever imagined that would change, I want to be more than just an athlete, I want to teach women more than squats, I want to teach them strength, struggle, discipline,will power, independence and humility. We all start somewhere, and we were all once lost, but once you find a community that you fit in, you share the same struggle, the same discipline, the same successes you feel at home wherever you go. I have found my place in this society and feel greatly rewarded by all my followers showing me continuous support and love. All of you motivate me to reach my goals, day in and day out! God bless you all!

More information about the 7 Princesses:

The 7 Princesses exhibition will open to the public from 10 March to 13 March, at Fairmont The Palm, followed by public gallery opening from 16 March to 16 April, at The Empty Quarter in DIFC.

To all my followers that are planning on seeing the exhibition, please take a picture of my photograph and Instagram it with the hashtags #uaefitnessmovement #empoweringwomen and #7princesses and tag my Instagram account please too @kikiforcrossfit

Much love,

Shaikha

What I eat, what supplements I take and what I avoid the most..

With the Crossfit Open season starting, my training program will be changing and I would need better nutrition and better recovery.

So for almost 8 weeks I have been following the Ketogenic diet, not so dedicated in the last week, but I have noticed very good change but not so dramatic.

In the first 4 weeks I was training 5-6 times a week, however in the next 4 weeks I wasn’t training as much due to my busy schedule, driving back and forth Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and sometimes Ajman! It has been a crazy month, and it flew by so quickly, and now it’s time to get down to business!

I was requested time and time again about my nutrition and supplement intake, so here it goes.. What I take might not suit everyone. Some may find other products work for them better than these so it is all about trial and error to see what works best for you.

My food consists of high fat, protein and little carb. My fat intake mostly comes from avocado, nuts (mostly brazil nuts, macadamia, walnuts and almonds), Avocados are also high in fibre which helps break down protein and eases digestion. I also eat nut butters, coconut butter, coconut oil and grass fed butter. Most importantly, I eat animal meats with its fats, bacon, fatty steaks, salmon with its skin, and full chicken with the skin. You will be surprised how much nutritional benefits you can get from animal fats, skins and organs (ew I know). I do have my occasional chicken liver and bone marrow and here is why;

Benefits of..

Chicken liver: Although high in cholesterol, chicken liver is rich in protein, high in Vitamin A and B12.

Bone marrow: Rich in Calcium, Iron, Phosphorous, Zinc, Selenium, Magnesium, Manganese and Vitamin A. Strengthens the immune system, improves memory, sleep, mood and cardiovascular and renal system (urinary system).

Basically that is my diet, good fats, protein and little carb. (See:Keto)

Supplements that I take and why?

PurePharma

PurePharma offers a great range of products, Omega 3 fish oil, Vitamin D and Mineral (Zinc + Magnesium)

  • Omega3: Consistent supplementation of Omega3 helps with reducing inflammation and which consequently helps with muscle recovery by reducing muscle soreness and swelling and improves oxygen delivery.
  • Vitamin D: Important for healthier bones, improves the immune system and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. It is recommended that you take Omega 3 with the Vitamin D as it helps the absorption of Vitamin D.
  • Mineral: Zinc and Magnesium two minerals that are important for muscle recovery and improves muscle function. ZMA Minerals aid in reducing muscle spasms, helps with deeper sleep, reduces fatigue and just like Omega3 it improves oxygen delivery.

When taking PurePharma supplements, I would recommend taking all 3 at once, all three compliment the other by helping the body absorb the supplements more efficiently.

Animal Flex

Since Crossfit and heavy lifting has a cumulative effect on joints, ligaments and connective tissue, not much nutrition can be consumed and absorbed to support your training. I’ve only just began taking Animal Flex for a week, so I cannot give you much feedback or review on it, however I can explain it’s contents and benefits.

Basically, Animal Flex has a pack that you take once daily, each daily pack contains:

  • Joint construction complex to help repair connective tissue (Contains Glucosamine and MSM)
  • Lubrication complex to help cushion joints from lifting (Contains Flaxeed Oil and Hyaluronic acid)
  • Support complex that reduces soreness (Contains Ginger root and Tumeric Curcumin)
  • Vitamin and mineral blend for joint health (Contains Vitamin C, E, Zinc, Manganese and Selenium)

BSN Amino X and Cellmass

Finally, these two products were recommended to me by two weightlifters that have seen a difference in muscle recovery and soreness using these two products. And since I have only just taken it twice, it wouldn’t be fair for me to review it since I need to continue consumption for at least a month or two to see results. However I will explain the general benefits.

As you know, Amino and BCAA’s are taken for various reasons, mainly muscle recovery post training. Amino X contains a blend of essential amino acids, BCAA, L-Alanine, Taurine, L-Citrulline and Vitamin D. If you suffer from any effects of Taurine (Also in Redbull) I do not recommend using BSN products since both Amino X and Cellmass contain Taurine.

Cellmass is a concentrated post workout recovery supplement that contains creatine, glutamine, amino acids and hydrolyzed whey protein. I take one scoop of Cellmass right after workout, and Amino X throughout my workout and sometimes mix in both and take it post workout.

Post-workout supplementation is essential after intensive workouts, to strengthen and protect your muscles, connective tissues, joints and tendons. There are other brands that you might find more suitable to you if you are sensitive to any of these supplements. In the mean time I am not taking any protein supplement, I eat lunch after my workout, just waiting to receive the PurePharma Pr3 to add to my supplement list!

What I avoid the most is easy, sugar sugar and sugar! I would have some carbs and it wouldn’t make a difference but I avoid sugar as much as possible. I have noticed after cutting out sugar I sleep better, I perform better and recover better. Whenever I have sugar, processed foods or junk food (which I rarely do) I feel bloated, heavy, sick, and not sleep well. So I suggest to those looking to fix their diet, it’s okay to eat out, to eat carbs, you can cut down but the most important thing to avoid is sugar, sugary drinks, cereals, desserts and foods.

Again if you have any questions or requests don’t hesitate to email or leave a comment! Enjoy the rest of your week! God bless, much love!

xoxo,

Kiki

“In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die”

Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone that took time to visit my link, after I posted on instagram I got a huge spike in viewing from countries all around the world! You guys won’t be disappointed I have so much in store for you, articles from doctors, advice from personal trainers from all over the UAE, talks about life and experiences. I’m very excited to start this chapter in my life to share with you all what I have learnt from Crossfit, training, recovery, coaching and from all the great people I have met in the passed two years and also topics about life, positivity, food, nutrition, social identity and much much more.

I came across this post on instagram and the song attached to a video of some snatches was “Awake My Soul” by Mumford & Sons, and I thought of the perfect title for my next post.

“In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
And where you invest your love, you invest your life”

Pretty much sums up my life. After 8 years of on and off gym, body building, circuit training and boxing, I was introduced to Crossfit and my love for it in undeniable. You are blessed with a functional body from God, isn’t it the right thing to do to treat it well? For in these bodies we will live and we will die. I started Crossfit in March 2013 when I had a job working in Jebel Ali. I had a job for 6 months, and it was exhausting, driving an hour back and forth and sitting on my desk for hours a day. I started training in Fitness First until Marwan Al Marri contacted me through facebook and we were talking about training and he mentioned Crossfit. I’m not going to lie, I had the same reaction as every other person. The moment I googled it all I read was “injury” related articles and comments. But the more I read about what Crossfit is, how it started, how it grew, I wanted to be a part of it.

But unlike most people, I wanted to build a base of good technique and strength before getting into it. So I contacted Inger, and started taking personal training sessions 3 times a week, and other days I would do circuit and body building. After a month under her wing, I signed up at The Burn Room, where most of you guys know Kim Beso (my current Coach) used to coach there. I remember doing my first air squat in front of him, and he told me I need work on “form” and I thought to myself come on, I can squat! But little did I know there’s more to a squat than just dropping down A2G and standing up!

For a whole year, I took some courses, learnt some things, trained with the greatest trainers and coaches in the country and I couldn’t be more blessed. The number one thing I took away from training with my coaches, is that mobility is essential. Mobility means “the ability of move freely” and some people would associate flexibility with mobility but we’re talking about mobility with good form, I could easily drop in a squat but my chest and back would be slouching, I wouldn’t engage my core or maybe I would get on my toes. I learnt mobility drills and exercises from YouTube videos, my coach friends and Crossfit Trainer Courses, and I can share some links in the end of this post.

Second most important, is form and technique before anything. Time and time again I would let athletes know you got to leave that ego at the door. You could be the strongest guy/girl in the box, but hey without form you ain’t going no where! I constantly teach my athletes to drop weights, work on correct form, then gradually increase the weights to when you’re comfortable. Now I’m not saying you should stay in that bubble forever, I’m saying stick to good form until your biomechanics switch on and it’s an automatic reaction to set up before every lift or movement. Don’t try to RX the WOD when your power cleans are terrible! That will only lead you to injury, and we wouldn’t want that!

“Where you invest your love, you invest your life”

I became a coach for my love of Crossfit, community and my eagerness to help people. I invested what I love, I invested my life in Crossfit for the girl who gets her 80kg back squat, for the girls who get the unbroken double unders, for the girl who gets her first kipping pull up after struggling for months. Seeing girls get stronger and more confident has made me stronger and more confident. I feel a sense of pride in myself, being able to change lives with something as simple as Sport or through my videos on instagram, or through my blog. I am finally in a state of peace and happiness within myself and with my life through Crossfit and it is truly rewarding with each person that I work with.

God bless you all,

Have an awesome weekend!

Kiki

Welcome to my world…

Yes.. I started a blog!

I’ve been contemplating for the passed few months whether to start a blog or not, I do think it’s the right way to go! I can’t always say everything that I want to say, openly and freely on instagram, and as my other social media accounts are more private, I wanted to set up a free space to talk about anything and everything, not just Crossfit!

Since I am very outspoken and do believe that everyone has their own opinions, I wanted to share some with the world. There are so many misconceptions about how we “Arabs” live our lives, some more true than others I do not want to misrepresent Arab females and I wouldn’t want to offend anyone in any way through this space, I would like to encourage and inspire more women to be true and real to themselves, follow their dreams regardless of what “society” thinks of them.

Most importantly, I would want you all to take away something important from my first post:

“Everyone has an opinion, but it is just an opinion, it is not a fact”

People will always tell you what is right and what is wrong, but who gives them the right to tell you how to live your life? You are in your own shoes, you live inside your own body, you live inside your own brain, not them. You are yourself, be yourself. Being what they “expect” you to be, and what society’s “acceptable” way of being, will only cause you to live in a fake life filled with stress, sadness and confusion within yourself. No one else knows how to be you, but you. Do not let other peoples opinions change who you are!

God bless you all, be kind to one another, be true to yourself.

xoxo,

Kiki