Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 9 August 2020

Abu Dhabi residents put through their paces in Hudayriat island fitness challenge

Government workers tackle a 3 kilometre obstacle race as part of a 21-day health kick

Public sector employees were put through their paces in an obstacle challenge on Hudayriat Island.

The 3k challenge on Thursday is part of a 21-day health kick for government workers. In total 800 employees from 11 organisations are involved in Fitness Pioneers.

Ahmad Al Mansouri was among the first to finish.

“It is not every day that you come across such a motivational environment, I hope they repeat this every month,” said the 31-year-old Emirati, who works for the Executive Council.

I used to say 'I will lose weight when I want to lose weight'. Nobody was able to change my life until I wanted to change my life

Khalifa Al Darmaki

The programme was launched last month as a pilot project by the Department of Community Development (DCD) under a bigger project called Get Fit Abu Dhabi. The plan is to roll out Fitness Pioneers to every public sector organisation in the emirate.

Ali Al Mansouri said before the challenge he barely walked 5,000 steps a day.

“In the past 20 days I’ve been walking up to 20,000 steps,” said the 41-year-old Emirati, who works for DCD.

“I am now more motivated to get fitter - but I won’t eat less.

“I suffered in some of the obstacles, I could not lift myself because I am heavy, but still the goal should be to get fitter not just to lose weight."

Khalifa Al Darmaki found the motivation to become fit and healthy.

The 39-year-old Emirati lost 64 kg in less than a year in 2007.

“It was a line from a movie that inspired me,” said the media presenter and fitness trainer.

Rocky Balboa tells brother-in-law Paulie he still has "stuff in the basement" - anger and determination to drive him - in the 2006 reboot of the hit series.

Mr Al Darmaki said he was inspired because people called him fat and urged him to lose weight.

“I used to say 'I will lose weight when I want to lose weight'. Nobody was able to change my life until I wanted to change my life," he said.

He continued with a healthy lifestyle and got certified as a fitness trainer. He has also hosted three seasons of a fitness radio programme on Emarat FM.

Fitness Pioneers continues next year.

Updated: December 13, 2019 01:18 PM

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