For Hala Barghout it's all about the burn. "Well, very high-intensity training to be specific," she says.
Barghout is a sports-mad dietitian based at the all-new Platform 3 in the Dubai Marina. As part of a fat-burning-focused exercise plan, she's providing clients with nutritional advice which, combined with that intensive exercise regimen, will set them on the way to losing the weight they long to shed.
"We wanted to try to create a workout that would push people above their limit in order to reach and burn the goal of 1,000 calories in one hour," she says. It's no easy feat, of course, to torch the equivalent of a Big Mac and Coke or three slices of deep-pan pepperoni pizza if that's your thing. It would normally require around four hours of power walking to do the same, hence the need for "intensive" training. The exercise involved guarantees that even if you don't hit the goal, you'll burn plenty of calories in trying. Whether it works for you is another matter, but at least Barghout provides you with a fighting chance.
Barghout practises what she preaches. She's run the Dubai Marathon, is a biathlon veteran and has completed the one-kilometre swim around the Burj Al Arab. When she's not at the gym, you'll find her scuba diving, skiing or playing football.
"Right now, though, I'm enjoying being at Platform 3 and helping clients achieve their aims," she says. "We've got great state-of-the-art equipment here, including a Gravity Machine and the body weight suspension TRX system, as well as a boxing ring, climbing wall and sports therapy room."
The 1,000-Calorie Workout is part of Barghout's continuing pursuit to bring innovative and effective exercise formats to the people of Dubai. "Since residing in the UAE, my profile has been raised by being chosen to train some very well-known personalities and I attribute that success to always striving to ensure the best for my clients and by constantly developing my knowledge as a fitness professional."
It worked for me!
Megan Murray, 27, a dental hygienist originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and who works in Dubai, has reaped the rewards of working out at Platform 3.
"Working with Hala, I have been able to change my long-standing unhealthy eating habits and become fitter and stronger," she says. "She taught me that changing the way you eat to be healthier doesn't mean giving up the foods you love. You just have to keep them in moderation." But Murray admits that the toughest part of the programme has been staying committed. "There are so many temptations in Dubai to overindulge. But I really enjoy the feeling I have when I am leaving the gym - seeing my body change and the sense of accomplishment it gives me."
How to burn 1,000 calories in 60 minutes
The 1,000-Calorie Workout Challenge is a group personal training class - with a maximum of six people - that promises to burn 1,000 calories in just one hour. "The workout itself is a multidiscipline one that consists of sprints, explosive lifting, jumps and burpees. It also incorporates the use of Vipers, Gravity Machines and TRX equipment," explains the Platform 3 personal trainer Marko Mladenovic. "It's hard cardio training - everything that keeps your heart rate pumping non-stop with minimal breaks."
Health changes you can crack in 60 seconds
If the 1,000-Calorie Workout sounds like too big a step for you right now, then Barghout also has a few tips for those who want to look and feel better in an even shorter space of time:
* Pack your own lunch "Bringing a lunch to work every day not only saves you money, but it will force you to eat healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables."
* Take on water" Hydration is necessary for all systems of the body to operate at optimum levels. Look to drink two litres of plain filtered water daily - and squeeze some lemon into a glass of water before breakfast to help detox your liver."
* Don't eat late "It can disrupt sleep and cause digestive issues such as hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) that manifests into hunger and sleep disturbances through the night. Have your last meal at least an hour before bedtime."