My name is Caroline Kassab, I’m a 23 year old Lebanese based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. I graduated with a degree in Administrative Studies from York University, Toronto, Canada last summer and am currently working at New York University Abu Dhabi as an Admin Coordinator in our Arts and Humanities Division.
I grew up in a very health-conscious home consisting of my active, outdoorsy dad Hilmi, my sporty younger brother Carl and my biggest inspiration, my mom Reem – A Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor with almost 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. Today, she teaches 4 programs of Les Mills International here in Abu Dhabi, spreading her infectious energy and love for fitness in clubs all over town.
After moving back to AD from Toronto, I took the decision that 2017 would be the year I follow in my WonderMama’s footsteps and take the plunge into the fitness world – and so I did!
So far this year I have completed my Group Exercise Leader certification, TRX qualification, Les Mills Body Pump Initial Module training and Advanced Instructor training. I plan on pursuing certifications in a couple more Les Mills programs in the near future, namely CXWorx and Body Combat.
Although I’m no expert, I have been surrounded by fitness professionals since I was in diapers, so I think I picked up a thing or two. In my opinion, the main do’s and don’ts when it comes to maintaining a healthy body are:
- DO Try a new activity to get you moving! Not everything is for everyone, so I say keep trying new activities till you find what you love – YOUR “thing”. As long it motivates and challenges you, you’re guaranteed to remain consistent and see results.
- DO Consider Group Exercise A lot of people avoid attending classes; some do because they are new to exercise and are intimidated, and some others think that they won’t be challenged enough (yes, I’m talking to you MEN). I strongly believe that there are benefits to group fitness for anyone, of any fitness level. I highly recommend Les Mills classes because they offer a wide range of programs that coach safe and effective movements, all choreographed to AWESOME music. There’s something for everyone in our world – take my word for it and join our Les Mills Tribe!
- DO Surround yourself with motivating, active people Now I’m not suggesting you ditch your family or friends if they happen to be lazy, but I do think you should place yourself in an environment where you’ll meet new people that will have a positive impact on you. You’d be amazed at the difference a good support system can make on your fitness journey, and who knows, maybe then YOU can do the same for your friends and family.
- DON’T Compare yourself to others After meeting countless fitness professionals of all shapes and sizes, I quickly learned that no two bodies are the same and that you definitely can’t determine someone’s fitness level or strength just by looking at them. It’s important that your desire to look like that model you saw on Instagram isn’t your only motivation to getting fit and for you to allow your body to change in its own time and love the changes that come.
- DON’T Call it a “diet” The phrase “going on a diet” implies that it is something that is temporary, when that shouldn’t be the case. For you to see and feel long-lasting results, the key is to know the foods you should be eating and finding the right balance for your body, without feeling deprived. We are blessed to live in a time where a wealth of information is at our fingertips, through the internet – make it a point to educate yourself on the GOOD kinds of carbs and healthy sources of protein and try to incorporate them into your daily meals. I turned Pescatarian a couple of years ago, cutting out all types of meat with the exception of seafood, getting my protein from fish, eggs, beans, nuts and avoiding excess dairy intake. I am very happy with the results this dietary change has had on my skin, digestive system and overall health. Get ‘Googling’ and find what kind of balance works for you!
- DON’T Ignore pain I’ve had knee pain for most of my life, but just ignored it up until I had a minor incident where I dislocated my knee cap. Turns out, I have a genetic knee condition and had to complete a course of physiotherapy for 3 months. I’m still not 100% but I’m on the right path to recovery now that I know what I should and shouldn’t be doing. Moral of the story is don’t get to the point of injury to get something checked by a doctor! Learn to listen to your body and avoid movements that cause you to feel unnatural pain.
I currently teach Body Pump at Inspire Sports (Ladies only, in Al Bateen Academy) and Primal Gym (on Reem Island). Find me on Facebook and Instagram where I share both gyms’ schedules and if you’re interested, come on down and try my class out! Please don’t forget to introduce yourself !
Thanks for reading!