Day in the life: FitnessLink co-founder fit to face the challenges
Grant Goes, 34, runs FitnessLink, a Dubai-based health and fitness website which is starting to expand into the wider Mena region. The New Zealander came to the UAE in 2011 as one of the presenters and trainers on the Les Mills fitness programme. He won the 2012 Dubai Fitness Championships and, in the following year, co-founded FitnessLink along with the Macedonian marketing coordinator Simona Sotirovski and her brother, the FitnessLink CTO Aleks Sotirovski.
I wake up in my apartment in Tecom. I meditate, listen to self-development videos or break stuff down on the whiteboard to get myself into the right mindset for the day. I jump on the computer and see what’s going on back in New Zealand, then I might go for a walk to freshen my mind.
I have a banana or smoothie and hit the gym in my building. Morning training is more endurance-based – basic squats, push-ups, anything light and easy. It’s about high repetitions of low resistance.
I have some oats with honey. I try to eat as cleanly as possible, but I need to eat a lot because I train at least twice a day and I’m always active. I eat between three and five meals a day to make sure I get enough calories.
I go through emails and book meetings. I love my job because I get to meet so many people who are passionate about health and fitness. I arrange a meeting with someone looking to get into the fitness industry, who wants to ask me about the fitness scene in Dubai. People think there are a lot of boot camps and gyms in Dubai, but in some other parts of the world there are twice as many. There’s lots of room for the market to grow. But one of the biggest misconceptions is that people think they’re the first ones to come up with an idea. Usually I know five other people already doing it, so I can provide information to help them make informed decisions about whether to go ahead with a concept.
I visit a gym to talk to the manager about new types of training they’re developing, and new products being brought into the region. Being known within the fitness community for my involvement in competitions has helped me to develop a trust from those in the industry. Meetings are often held at fitness facilities, in Dubai or another emirate. I take my computer with me so I can work out of fitness centre cafes.
Lunch is toast with peanut butter at home, then back on the computer. I’m currently putting together a product site so if you’re looking for a particular fitness product, you can go online and find the variety of products available in the Middle East. It might be “here are 11 types of treadmills and information on where you can find them”. I also make some calls regarding the 2015 UAE Fit awards we’re organising for November.
A meeting at a yoga facility. I’m asked about fitness trends and what’s new to the region. FitnessLink.me gets between 15,000 and 21,000 hits a month. There was some rivalry within the fitness industry, so we set FitnessLink up two years ago as a neutral platform for people to communicate through. We’re not biased towards anyone, our information is just cold facts – the latest fitness events, and information on what trainers charge or what a physiotherapist does.
Later in the day I do heavier, more traditional weight training. The best way to get to know a new fitness facility or programme is to trial it out, so I’m always working out at different venues. Today it’s a gym that’s just opened. I’m not a very computer-minded person, I prefer to be active and maintain a healthy body for a healthy mind. It’s the old cliché.
I’m on the phone to members of a Dubai-based organisation I volunteer for called the Sameness Project. They’re running an initiative called “We’ve Got Your Back” that involves giving out leaflets to taxi drivers and more recently construction workers, advising them on correct posture and techniques to ease back pain. I consult with them about the next block of sessions, making sure that the type of exercises and stretches are appropriate, the language used to describe them is simple and the care packs we give out contain the right items.
Since the last fitness competition I took part in six months ago, I’ve been taking time off my evening training schedule to get back into sports, for the first time in 20 years. Tonight it’s rugby. Within the industry I’m known as the fitness guy but actually I enjoy sports more than training. I love tennis, squash, cycling, rugby, wakeboarding, kite surfing – anything that involves being active.
Back on the computer, as we’re looking into developing a fitness convention and trade show. Like anyone who has a passion, I spend a lot of time on FitnessLink. Yesterday I was on the computer until 6am. It’s more a hobby than a job and it’s part of who I am.
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Updated: August 15, 2015 04:00 AM