Men, are you up for a fitness challenge that ‘is going to hurt’?
On Saturday, Bodytree Studio in Abu Dhabi will open its venue for instructor Carlos Mendez to run his Movember Men’s Fitness Challenge. Mendez, who worked for Madonna’s gym Hard Candy in Mexico before moving to Abu Dhabi in 2015, describes the challenge as a “three-hour aerobic-busting, muscle-building and sculpting exercise-a-thon, designed for men, by men”. The session, which will be followed by food and drink from the inhouse Nectar juice bar, costs Dh185. We speak to Mendez about what to expect.
What does the Movember movement mean to you, and why do you think awareness about it is significant?
Long story short, I have always been part of groups that help: the Boy Scouts, teaching the hearing-impaired through sign language, giving clothes and toys to foster kids, visiting retirement houses, volunteering in Operation Smile, etc. I had the chance to listen to Anita Moorjani, a cancer survivor, and her story moved me to help more people with cancer. Here in the UAE four years ago while helping a friend of a friend with cancer, she made me aware of the Movement foundation. I then read all about Movember and I decided to become an ambassador and advocate for it, and have been for the past three years. It needs to be known that it is not taboo for men to talk about their health, whether mental or physical. There are so many misconceptions that men can only be men if they do not show their emotions as it is deemed as being weak.
What can a bloke expect from the three-hour session?
Expect to be pushed to your limits in conventional and unconventional ways. It is going to hurt, you’re going be out of breath, but you’re going feel strong and you’re going use muscles that you’ve probably never used before. The challenge is both physical and mental. It’s getting through the exercises without quitting and overcoming the setbacks your mind will put before you. Bodytree has always had mixed group classes, but this is the first of its kind for men only.
What are some of the bites and refreshments on offer?
Nectar will be providing nutrition-dense, functional food that will refuel and re-energise after the challenge. Most importantly, it will be delicious! We will also talk about nutrition among men, what works and what doesn’t. Our head nutritionist will be on hand to support the challenge and answer questions.
What are some common misconceptions men have about exercising?
That high-impact exercises generate more testosterone – they don’t. Some are forever waiting for the right mind set or moment to strike – it never does. And others take shortcuts or do exactly what XYZ actor did – it never works. I have also found a lot of men want to improve their fitness, but they don’t know where to start. Then they get injured because they were too shy to ask for help. I hope that this fitness challenge gives them a good baseline to start from.
Body Tree’s Movember challenge will be a three-hour musclebuilding ‘exercisea-thon’