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

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