CrossFit might be gruelling

CrossFit Might be Gruelling but Can be the Start of a New You

© Red Bull

As part of her passionate endeavour to embrace a fitter, healthier and balanced lifestyle, Red Bull athlete Shaikha Al Qassemi shares her advice to take you a step closer to living better.

In 2014, I got my first job in CrossFit as a part-time coach for ladies classes in Altitude, Sharjah. In the first month of coaching, some classes would have just one attendee and most of the time classes were cancelled.

However, within a few months, the classes started to grow into a thriving community of students, working ladies and mothers. In my experience, commercial gyms and personal trainers didn’t give me sufficient guidance when it comes to nutrition, recovery or the importance of sleep.

I’ve always said that people lose sight of what CrossFit truly is because of its competitive nature. Fitness is about improving your physical, mental and emotional health. For me, the benefits of training mentally outweigh physical results. The ladies in the gym would always emphasize improvements to their mental and emotional health as well as their energy levels and quality of sleep.

Mental strength: Fitness is more than physical results
Mental strength: Fitness is more than physical results

Many of us have a busy work and social life with little time to mindfully change our eating and resting habits. Many don’t take into consideration how important food and sleep is for the mind and body. Your quality of sleep improves with exercise, as it lowers stress-levels throughout the day, especially if you start your mornings with exercise. The brain also functions better when your stress-levels are low.

The psychological benefits of training also include gaining confidence, reducing anxiety and improving your well-being and mood. Exercise and physical activity help improve mental health, cognitive skills and helps you to focus.

I sat down with some of the girls that I could at my gym and wanted them to reflect on how CrossFit has made such an improvement in their day-to-day lives. I have always said that people lose sight of what CrossFit truly is because of its competitive nature. Fitness is about improving your physical, mental and emotional health.

Sukaina, a 40-year-old thyroid patient and a mother of three started her CrossFit journey in August and now trains five times a week. “CrossFit means everything to me, it has changed my life completely,” she says passionately. “I am calmer, more aware of the food I eat, more confident and CrossFit has changed my mindset. I have also lost 10kgs having cut out sugar.”

Anne, a 34-year-old housewife and mother, who trains six times a week, started her CrossFit journey in June. “CrossFit has enabled me to change my lifestyle completely, it’s all about the supportive community. It continuously breaks personal limits that I set myself.” She says, “I have started to eat better and eat more. I’ve seen a big improvement in my sleep, movement and stress levels. I feel lighter, healthier and more relaxed than ever”.

23-year-old Afra has a full-time job but has never skips a week of training. Since 2016 she’s been coming to Platform four times a week. “To me, CrossFit means community, support, challenge and competitiveness. It helps you to quickly learn, challenge yourself and try new things. It has taken me out of my comfort zone, I am more confident, social, outgoing and physically stronger”, she says. “It has changed my mood, improved my sleep pattern and I spend my day looking forward to the class”.

CrossFit is one of the best ways to kick start your fitness journey due to the positive and supportive community. The gym thrives on support and encouragement. I found a purpose in one of the lowest moments in my life, when I felt lost, confused, depressed and unhappy with where my life was going.

When I began training consistently, I noticed both my focus and learning improved drastically in comparison to when I was studying in university. So begin your journey and let’s get physical to improve our quality of life together.