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. 

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