We recently challenged one of our favourite Dubai fitness bloggers, Sarah Zakzouk, to take on our 30-day fitness challenge, #DEFINEtogether. Five classes a week, four weeks in a row. After the challenge, we caught up with Sarah on her DEFINE experience and learned more about how her sports and fitness blog, Sports and the City DXB, is looking to impact the Dubai community!
How did you hear about DEFINE body & mind?
My friend Amanda (The Bikini Society) introduced me to DEFINE body & mind last year, and I joined her for my very first spin class! I was actually very intimidated by spinning. It just looked a little too intense for me, and then I tried the DEFINE rev (indoor cycling) class and absolutely loved it! It’s an awesome cardio workout, so the endorphins were seriously pumping, and that always feels good. Not going to lie, it took me by surprise, but that’s why you’ve got to get out of that comfort zone and try new things.
What inspired you to take our 30-day fitness challenge (20 classes in 30 days)?
The DEFINE team inspired me! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fit it into my schedule. To be honest – you’ve got to really plan your time when working out 5 days a week and having a busy work schedule. I made it work because I had committed to it and was determined to see the challenge through to the end.
What was the toughest part of the 30-day fitness challenge?
The toughest part was probably fitting everything into my schedule; well, either that or doing a 6.30am DEFINE rev (indoor cycling) class with Haley after a 6.30pm DEFINE body class with Ivy the night before. The burn is real.
What was the easiest part of the 30-day fitness challenge?
The easiest part was actually doing the challenge – the instructors are incredibly good at what they do; they motivate you to work hard and they encourage you to come back and do it all again the next day. Being held accountable for my workouts actually helps me because I have no excuses. Once I had signed on the dotted line, I was in for the month, and I loved it.
What surprised you about the 30-day fitness challenge?
I was surprised at how quickly my body adapted to the workouts, and how strong I became after each week. The DEFINE body (barre) class was something I hadn’t enjoyed before the challenge because I wasn’t very good at it. Once I got a feel for it, I really got into it and enjoyed it a lot more. I have always loved the DEFINE rev (indoor cycling) class, and even more so during the challenge, because my fitness improved in a big way – so I certainly saw some great changes.
How do you stay on top of your workouts while being employed full time? And running your own blog on top that that!?
Very good question! It’s hard work, to be honest, and I’m sure a lot of people in this city face the same challenge. There just aren’t enough hours in the day! My fitness strategy is to be selective and to choose two or three studios that I love going to, buy a package from each (5-10 classes) and stick to them each week. Some days I will be at work later than others. I mix it up between morning and evening classes.
Where did the inspiration come from to create Sports And The City DXB?
Well, I have been a city girl for quite some time now. Two things that have always stuck with me are sports and writing. I wanted to start a blog that combined these passions, giving me the freedom to talk about sport and fitness in the concrete jungle, as well as the stories that occur quite naturally when living in a city like Dubai – from careers, to travel and all the random stuff in between. Inspired by a particular HBO series, and looking for something fun to call the blog, I decided on ‘Sports And The City’ as the name, and voila!
How would you like to see SATC grow?
SATC started as a passion project and a platform for me to delve into a range of interesting topics and to feature some really great interviews with inspiring people in and around the region. I also ran SATC’s first event in collaboration with DEFINE: Dubai and Men’s Health magazine, in celebration of International Women’s Day – which was a great success and so much fun! Essentially I would like to see SATC grow into a community for the sporty urban dwellers of this city, as a platform to tell stories and to motivate others to join the community themselves, to meet like-minded people, and get involved in all the great things that this city has to offer!
Describe your approach to fitness blogging.
There are a lot of fitness bloggers out there, and everyone has their own style. For me, I like to be both informative and also quite lighthearted in my approach. I like to read a blog that has its own personality. I like to think outside the box a little with the features that I write; it’s always great to find something new to talk about and introduce your readers to – whether that’s a new fitness trend or an inspiring person who is doing cool things to watch out for. It’s definitely important to get the facts right if you’re giving advice on health and fitness. At the end of the day, people are taking that information from your blog. Always consult the experts and do your research.
Do you have a mantra that helps you get through tough moments in DEFINE classes?
All sorts of things go through my head when I reach those tough moments in DEFINE classes. I don’t have a mantra per se. Ivy said something in her DEFINE rev (indoor cycling) class the other day that stuck with me. “If it wasn’t challenging, then it wasn’t worth it.” Boom. Well said.
Any advice for people who are interested in taking the DEFINE 30-day fitness challenge?
My advice would be to give it a go! You’ll be surprised at how much energy and strength you gain from the challenge. Although it might look like a big commitment time-wise, it’s totally worth adjusting your schedule for. Nobody ever said, “I really regret that workout” did they?