x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Four hours of daily push-ups for Abu Dhabi fitness instructor

Eva Clarke, an Abu Dhabi fitness instructor, describes her, often physically punishing, working day.

 Fitness instructor Eva Clarke will attempt to break the current world record of 7,000 knuckle push-ups on November 22. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National
Fitness instructor Eva Clarke will attempt to break the current world record of 7,000 knuckle push-ups on November 22. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National

Eva Clarke, a fitness instructor, tries not to tax herself too hard with her regimen of push-ups and gym sessions – no more than four hours a day, she says.

The military veteran who used to train the Australian Air Force today leads classes for UAE residents at New York University Abu Dhabi and Fit, an Abu Dhabi studio.

Sticking to her personal fitness schedule is even more important this month as she prepares to try for a spot in the Guinness World Records with a 24-hour knuckle push-up marathon. Her attempt on November 22 at breaking the current world record of 7,000 push-ups is to benefit the Maria Cristina Foundation, a charity that provide education to children in Bangladesh.


I rise and prepare my three kids, Harley 3; Isabella 7; and Tyla 13, for school and drop-off.


I start my days’ training: push-ups, pull-ups, and core work. It’s a super quick body-weighted circuit and basically it just kick-starts my day. I don’t ever do the same structured workout. One day I could go for a 15-kilometre run, or the next day I could do a circuit. I work out three and a half to four hours a day, including the classes I teach. I actually had to cut back because I found I didn’t have enough family time. I had to cut back and say I won’t do more than four hours a day. I don’t want to burn out.


I teach an RPM [indoor cycling workout where you ride to the rhythm of powerful music] class at Beyond, a studio in Khalifa City.


I take an Olympic weight-lifting class from my trainer Jens at Cobra Fitness, a weight studio in Al Bandar. I’m lifting my body weight now, which is about 60 kilos, which is good for me because I’m small. It’s technique, as opposed to when you do a lot of repetitive stuff, like push-ups and chin-ups and running, when people think you’re weaker. So I’m working on the explosive power as well.


I meet my husband, Scott, for a quick snack and buy the groceries. I buy a trolley full of greens. I’m a juicer. So every morning and every night I drink a juice. I’m not as restrictive on the children as I am for me. They’re kids, so they can eat carbs. I eat a lot of meat; I’m a protein girl. I’m big on eating carbohydrates at lunchtime, but I don’t eat them every day. So if I know I’m going to do a long or a cardio session, I’ll carb-load the day before. I try to go based on how I feel, rather than saying I’ll completely cut carbs.


I do a 20-minute stretch. I’m working on my range of movement. I never used to stretch. so I was always tight. After stretching, I organise team shirts for members of my Hua fitness class.


I go to a meeting at Abu Dhabi Golf Club about sponsoring my 24-hour push-up challenge.


I return home to do 30 minutes of homework with Isabella.


I drive to NYU Abu Dhabi and start my main workout: a strength leg session plus 20 sets of a circuit of 20 push-ups, five 24-kilo kettleball swings, and skipping rope.


Still at NYU, I conduct my Hua class for students. They’re young, and they’re willing to be challenged. I do a lot of complex movements, so therefore they get a cardio and strength-based workout in one. Everyone says they want to get toned, they want to get fitter, and they want to get stronger.


I return home just in time for my husband to head to work. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it can be part of his schedule as a consultant for the military. I shower and eat and kiss my family.


I help Harley and Isabella with their online reading assignments.


Tyla comes back from swimming. I sort her out with dinner and prepare for bed. I stretch while watching TV so I can save time.


I go to sleep.