Cross­fit trend sweeps Saudi Ara­bia

Al­shahrani says sport’s unique phys­i­cal as­pects make it ap­peal­ing

Gulf News - - Front Page - ■ Ya­gana Shah is a free­lance jour­nal­ist based in Kho­bar. BY YA­GANA SHAH

There is a rush of women to prac­tise it, at­tracted by its unique men­tal and phys­i­cal as­pects

Just a few years ago, Amal Al­shahrani and her tight knit crew of Cross­fit devo­tees were just a small group of girls do­ing dead­lifts and squats to­gether in a tiny room.

Now, Cross­fit, the heavylift­ing fit­ness phe­nom­e­non, has be­come some­thing of a trend in Saudi Ara­bia, and more women are get­ting in on the ac­tion, too.

Cross­fit is a fit­ness con­cept which com­bines weightlift­ing, high in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing and gym­nas­tics.

It can be used to achieve weight loss, mus­cle gain and im­prove stamina.

Al­shahrani, who was in­tro­duced to Cross­fit in 2013, says more women in Saudi Ara­bia are be­com­ing in­ter­ested in the sport be­cause of its unique phys­i­cal and men­tal as­pects.

“It helped so much with my stress levels,” said Dalal Saudi Al­duhaij, 27, who has been train­ing for over a year with Al­shahrani.

“If you have a tough day at work you can just come here and re­lease all the ten­sion,” she said. Al­duhaij takes classes up to six times a week at Cross­fit An­tiope in Kho­bar.

For Al­shahrani, her pas­sion started six years ago at a gym in the UK.

“I had zero ex­pe­ri­ence in strength train­ing and here I saw peo­ple slam­ming weights and drop­ping bar­bells. You take your body and push your own lim­its. It’s not a team sport. It’s a ‘you ver­sus you’ sport.”

In 2016, Al­shahrani started teach­ing Cross­fit classes in Kho­bar for women.

In Au­gust, Al­shahrani won a spot to rep­re­sent Saudi Ara­bia in the in­ter­na­tional Cross­fit Games com­pe­ti­tion held in the United States.

She was the first fe­male Saudi na­tional to com­pete in the games.

“Cross­fit is grow­ing so fast, lots of gyms or what we call ‘boxes’ are open­ing up in Jed­dah, Riyadh, even two more re­cently Kho­bar for fe­males.”

You take your body and push your own lim­its. Its not team sport. Its a ‘you ver­sus you’ sport. Amal Al­shahrani | First Saudi fe­male Cross­fit cham­pion

■ Amal Al­shahrani says more women in Saudi Ara­bia are be­com­ing in­ter­ested in Cross­fit.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.