The Dubai Fitness Challenge kicked off last weekend, setting out the simple goal of doing 30 minutes of daily activity for 30 days. You may be using it to make some serious gains, trim a little time off your PB, or simply to kick-start a more active lifestyle. For whatever reason you’re embarking on this journey, we hope our top tips will help you through it!
30 Tips for 30 Minutes for 30 Days for the Dubai Fitness Challenge
1. Warm up
I’m not talking about sitting by the fire here. Most classes I’ve been to in Dubai don’t have a sufficient warm up. So if you’re like me, and made of wood, arrive 10 mins early and get a proper warm up in. This could be 5 min jog/cycle/row, followed by 5 mins of dynamic stretching (relevant to your training).
2. Drink water
Don’t drown yourself or make yourself sick by downing liters of just before your class. However, make sure you keep yourself hydrated (especially if you’re training outside). Always make sure you take a bottle of water with you, as not every class will sell water.
3. Eat at least 1 hour before exercising
For me, this is actually more like 2 hours (anything less results in intense heartburn and some occasional mouth sick). It is important to get some carbs and protein in your system before you exercise. Fasted workouts are ok if you know what you’re doing, but no-one wants to be the pale guy being dragged out of a class after fainting.
This is important when warming up, but even more important post-exercise. If you’re new to exercise or getting old (like me), this is even more important. Many classes don’t have any cooldown. Therefore, ensure you finish every session with a light walk/jog and some static stretches of the muscles you’ve used.
5. Mix it up
Making sure you’ve got a good soundtrack mixed up and ready is essential to my best workouts, but I’m talking about mixing up your exercise routine. Whether you’re new to exercise and not sure what you like, or experienced and a bit bored with the same old routine – this month will give you a great opportunity to try some new stuff. Maybe your inner Zumba dancer is dying to get out…
6. Avoid midday heat if you’re not used to it
I’m English, pale, and sweat a lot. Therefore outdoor training during the day is still a no-no for me. Be conscious of where you are training (outside vs inside) and what time of the day it is. We live in the desert people, it gets hot.
7. Wear the right shoes
As someone who tries (and fails) to look cool, I’m a fan of overpriced branded trainers. Whilst they might drive an additional 7 likes on your Instagram post, they might also cause you physical damage. Make sure you wear proper and relevant footwear when exercising, especially if you’re running. Do some research and visit a specialist store if you’re not sure.
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8. Wear comfortable training gear
Nothing puts an end to a session quicker than unwieldily chaffing. Believe it or not, tight training gear from the major sports brands is designed to be worn whilst training. Crazy right? You don’t have to pay a fortune either. Visit Sun and Sand Sport’s outlet in Al Quoz, or the Outlet Village and pick up some cheap training gear. Some of it actually looks good as well (+11 Instagram likes).
9. Do it with a mate
Not what you’re thinking, you rascals. Arrange to train with a mate. Not only does it make the session more fun, but also gives you a kick up the arse to actually go, as you don’t want to let your mate down. Additionally, this means you’ve got someone to take that “totally caught off guard” Instagram pic.
10. Invite your friends and family
Another option is making it a larger event. Why not invite friends and family down to the beach for a game of footy? Make it an event, why the hell not?
11. Document it on Instagram, so everyone thinks you’re super cool
With my super engaged 332 followers, I consider myself one of Dubai’s hottest influencers, so why not follow in my footsteps. Whilst the benefits of looking super cool are obvious, adding pics to your social media is actually a great way of spreading the positive message around keeping active. Perhaps, it might even encourage someone to start exercising.
12. Try not to be hungover
I fail at this most weeks, but trust me, avoid it. Whilst it’s funny for everyone around you to point and laugh, it usually ends in tears. However, if you do find yourself hungover, water, water, water.
13. Be punctual if you’re attending a class
Nothing more annoying for a teacher than having to run through the instructions 3 times. Aim to get there 15 minutes early to get your warm up in.
14. Get your protein in
Whatever exercise you’re doing, it’s essential you get protein in your system. I’m not saying guzzle 14 protein shakes before and after your training, but just be conscious that your body needs protein to recover. A protein filled meal after training will suffice.
15. Push yourself
If you’re going to do it, do it properly. Whilst it might be hellish at the time, there’s nothing more rewarding than the feeling after you’ve properly pushed yourself. Set goals, and then smash them.
16. Eat healthy
It’s not rocket science, but if you train everyday and then eat junk food, you’re not going to get anywhere. Regardless of what your goals are, take this month as a chance to properly focus on your diet, and get into good habits.
17. Get enough sleep
The 3rd pillar of making progress is sleep. This is when your body recovers and evolves. Regular exercise also improves sleep, so if you struggle to sleep, get out there and do your 30 minutes. Make sure you get a minimum of 6 hours a night.
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18. Train the mind
Whilst this month is about getting the body active, why not use it as an opportunity to train the brain? Start reading that book that’s been sat by your bed for months, or start writing that blog you’ve been chatting about. Healthy body, healthy mind.
19. Be friendly
The best thing about fitness is the community, so don’t be afraid to say hello to the sweaty monster beside you. I’ve met a lot of people through exercise, and if you’re single…well, I’ll say no more 😉
20. Provide feedback
The only way these classes improve is if you give feedback. Nonetheless, be positive. If the class is rubbish, tell them how it could be improved. If it’s awesome, tell them!
It’s only 30 days. I’ve had relationships that have lasted less time. Besides, 30 mins exercise could just be a walk, so even if you’re not feeling it, get out there and get it done. Trust me, you’ll feel awesome once it’s done.
22. Cut down on the drinking
I’m using the next 30 days to cut down on my drinking. I should really use it to quit for 30 days, but I’m not naïve enough to know that won’t happen. If you know you’re training in the morning, just keep it in the back of your mind when you’re out at 2am. The fear of a hungover exercise class is good motivation for reigning it in.
23. Stop smoking
A few classes should get the alarm bells ringing if you’re a smoker. Hence, why not use this month to see if you can cut down, or even quit?
24. Measure your progress
The best motivation is knowing you’ve made progress. Whether your goal is to lose weight, lift more or run faster, make sure you keep track of where you began and where you’ve got to. But don’t rest on your laurels, keep setting new goals.
25. Be positive, especially about yourself
Don’t be hard on yourself if things don’t go exactly according to plan. Focus on the plan moving forward, but don’t give yourself a hard time. I can occasionally be a negative Ned, but it’s amazing what a little bit of exercise can do to the spirit. Love those endorphins.
26. Wash your training gear
Sounds obvious, but no-one likes that smelly person in the class.
27. Don’t be a showoff
As a child who was sometimes sent to their room by their mum for “showing off”, I am occasionally guilty of this. No one likes that guy, so don’t be that guy.
28. Wear sunscreen
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29. Encourage others
If you see someone struggling, offer to help or give them some positive encouragement. After all, what goes around comes around.
30. Enjoy yourself
This is the most important, and imperative for continuing an active lifestyle. You might not enjoy it at first, however, I promise you will.
Now get out there and get it done! Make the most of out the 30 days of the Dubai Fitness Challenge!