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    Transformation Journey: Exercise Renewed My Self-Esteem And I’m Stronger Than Ever!

    If you’re on a transformation journey, take heart from the stories of others who’ve been there. Here, Louné Maree details how she went from skinny – and unhealthy – to strong and happier than ever.

    The Starting Point

    On the 28th of March 2023, I underwent my fourth and final surgery with the skilled Dr Nerina Wilkinson, marking a pivotal moment in my transformation journey. The decision to undergo a double mastectomy in 2019, following a positive BRCA2 gene test and the heartbreaking loss of my mother to cancer in 2008, laid the foundation for my path to self-discovery.

    Before the surgery, my passion for fitness and self-care defined my active lifestyle. However, post-surgery, I faced the challenge of re-entering the gym amid a toxic relationship that left me feeling unworthy. Throughout this period, lacking the necessary support at home and facing delayed re-entry into exercise, I made the crucial decision to remove toxic individuals from my life and relocate. By the end of June, I made a bold decision to relocate to Hout Bay in Cape Town, embarking on a journey to rediscover myself.

    By then, my muscles had atrophied, leaving me merely skin and bone. My once-perky butt and solid physique were replaced by a reflection in the mirror that revealed protruding hip bones and a stark change in the texture of my thighs. I weighed just 55kg.

    READ MORE: How To *Actually* Lose Belly Fat With Diet And Exercise

    Trying something new

    Before embarking on this transformation journey, I practised intermittent fasting, restricting my eating window to after 9 at night for a year. However, a pitfall was overindulging during those moments, leading to unhealthy habits of going to bed and feeling bloated. My objective shifted towards a healthier approach, aiming to eat more frequently with smaller portions. It wasn’t until the end of November that I realized being skinny isn’t synonymous with being healthy. With the goal of achieving my best shape before turning 33, this journey is still ongoing. Every week brings progress, and I can feel myself growing stronger.

    By the end of November, I transitioned to heavier weight training, eliminating cardio to focus on muscle building rather than further weight loss. I incorporated whey protein and creatine into my diet, prioritizing protein, vegetables, and fruits.

    READ MORE: How One Personal Trainer Lost 30kg – And Kept It Off


    Embarking on this transformation journey has been a solo endeavour, with the unwavering support of my sister, work colleagues, and friends. While I’ve always had a passion for exercise and fitness, this time around, it became a mental challenge. Some mornings, training before work meant conquering the temptation to hit the snooze button. Initially, even donning my gym clothes posed a challenge, but I recognized that once I started my workout, I was on a mission with unstoppable momentum. Surprisingly, cutting out sugar, alcohol and fast foods turned out to be the easiest part of this journey.

    I now maintain a robust and healthy weight of 60kg. Achieving this transformation spanned a dedicated five-month period.

    I experience increased energy, find daily tasks more manageable, and feel a new-found confidence in my physique. Building muscle has instilled in me a sense of strong willpower and improved mental well-being.

    READ MORE: How To Lose 1kg A Week: Safe & Healthy Exercise & Nutrition Tips

    Louné’s tips

    Get support

    “Begin by surrounding yourself with a supportive circle—I have a group of female friends I fondly call my cheerleaders. They uplift me during lows and celebrate my achievements.”

    Get an eating plan

    “Establish a well-balanced eating plan. As this gains momentum, consider joining a gym where like-minded individuals share your goals and energy. While setting personal fitness goals, always keep in mind that fitness is more than a goal; it’s a lifestyle.”

    Uplift yourself

    “I appreciate the concept of women empowerment. Recognizing our emotions, let’s uplift one another through genuine compliments on success and appearance, fostering self-confidence.” More

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    How I got my job as… Director of this hot yoga studio in the UAE

    Welcome to the Emirates Woman weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.This week, we speak to Jessica Casalegno who recently took on the role as Dryp’s Wellness Director. She is a distinguished hot Reformer, Barre, Pilates, Yoga instructor and wellness professional hailing from the United States. Overall, she is setting a new standard for wellness in the region.This homegrown pioneering wellness destination has now reopened in Dubai Marina with two newly expanded and renovated men’s and women’s toilets, shower and changing rooms, there is an overall collective lifestyle feel to the brand’s new look and offering and state-of-the-art equipment including the infra-red sauna, below-zero cryotherapy chamber and more.To delve into her journey, Emirates Woman spoke to Casalegno, to see how her journey in the wellness industry began.What was your favourite subject at school?My favorite subject was always art – creating and making was always at the core of what I loved most.What was your first job?My first job was when I was age 17 and in retail, at Hollister in the US. My first graduate position was for a boutique architecture firm as a drafter while I was still in design school.What brought you to Dubai?Like so many other women, I came to Dubai with my husband, due to my husband’s job. I’ve found it to be extremely hard to find Americans who live outside of US (my husband isn’t American). So while I am a “rare” case living in the UAE, I really love living abroad, specifically here, and I don’t anticipate moving back to the US. Dubai has really become home for us over the past 6 years of residence.What inspired you to enter the wellness space and be part of the hot yoga studio, Dryp?I’ve always been involved in the active community in Dubai since relocating here in 2018. I joined boutique fitness studios and found likeminded friends outside of my office job as an architect within the fitness scene. After the pandemic of 2020, I became a freelance designer, which pushed me into working in fitness as a “part time” gig. I began by teaching Barre, then I moved into leading yoga classes which then led to Pilates and reformer training and teaching. I’ve been practicing yoga since age 12, and I danced throughout my childhood. I did American cheerleading and tumbling during high school and was captain of my squad. Core strength disciplines have always been at the heart of my wellness journey in life. I’ve been practicing Pilates on the reformer now for well over 6 years; the transition into working within the realm of bodyweight training felt like second nature. I was a Dryp member upon moving to Dubai, then I started teaching there as soon as I completed my further professional training – and everything just grew from there.Talk us through the concept of Dryp?At inception, the Dryp concept was a unique one: a space for the “modern” yogi and fitness enthusiast. Dryp remains one of the few homegrown workout studio(s) that leads with a hot wellness offering. Dryp isn’t about warm wellness, it is HOT; my classes hover around 40+ degrees Celsius! It is still the hottest studio that I’ve ever experienced to date. The way you feel after any of the workouts we offer is euphoric, and members get a full body experience like no other, that leaves them feeling incredible. The endorphins and dopamine that flood the body after a Dryp session are so powerful and satisfying. At Dryp we pushed hard to bring in the additional reformer Pilates studio that is now open, as no other studio in Dubai enjoys both. Having both hot classes and reformer Pilates is truly the best of both worlds. The studio now has everything members could ever want: reformer, hot classes and even my favorite matcha cafe too! Now with the added Cryo and infra-red sauna sessions, Dryp is a “one stop shop” for wellness, hosting all of the best of what Dubai has to offer. DRYP hosts just one price for memberships for our classes: regardless of if they are reformer or hot room. For example, when you buy 10 classes at Dryp you are free to mix them for the most preferable combination to you. No confusion and no hassle and the freedom to switch up your classes however you choose throughout your wellness journey.What are the key elements of your role?I lead our team – from instructors and admins to housekeeping. I draft up the schedules, I try out the teachers, I plan the packages and organize the prices accordingly with the owner. I collaborate with partners, I conduct the in-house marketing strategies. I organize photoshoots and private events. I also led the entire design renovation, utilising my background as an architect and interior designer. I directed all of the new design at Dryp, from the interior selections to the new equipment – mats, artwork, signage Working with BluMatcha, I even helped conceptualize menu prototypes for the Dryp café. I manage daily operations from sales to handling any sort of customer service experience. I’m at the forefront of it all. It’s a 24/7 role that is done on top of my wellness teaching and management of some architectural design projects too.Talk us through your daily routine.I’m an early riser and no day is the same. Typically, i’ll review the accounting and sales of Dryp’s previous day, then I’ll begin teaching classes, either in the studio or with my private clients. I always have to be available online to manage Dryp, whether I am physically in the studio or not. I usually have a little break in the afternoons where I will take meetings or handle the day’s demands, then I’ll teach in the evenings too. If I’m not busy training other people or managing admin, I make time to do my own personal training. I’ll either take a class, go to the gym or head outside for a walk. I might even be found rollerblading in the fresh air. I spend most weekends with my husband and friends – often at the beach or somewhere outside. Otherwise, I can be found cuddling up on the sofa at home with my two sweet kittens.What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?My best advice: don’t limit yourself or put yourself in a box. Allow life’s twists and turns, and grow with the seasons. Honestly, I would have never guessed I’d be doing what I’m doing now and I’m loving it. This path hasn’t been direct for me – but the best professional decision ever made was to leave the corporate world. I fully resigned from my full-time work as a senior architect less than one year ago. I went from working in fitness very “part time” to bringing together multiple aspects of my background into one leadership role. My work now is very intersectional as I’m still holding onto the design aspect, just in a different way than I did before – and I’m still learning every day.Tell us more about the classes offered?On the mat, we have “Original 60” & “Original 90,” which many people also know under the names of Bikram Express (60 minutes) and Bikram (90 minutes). These are the original sequences of the first style of hot yoga. We also have “Hot Vinyasa,” which is a dynamic vinyasa flow style class in the heat. “Hot Core Flow” is a vinyasa flow style class that specifically focuses on core asanas – consider it a “more intense” vinyasa flow. “Hot Yoga Sculpt” is a fusion class that all instructors teach differently. At its core, is a hybrid of weightlifting and Pilates style training with yogic flows intertwined within the sequence. “Hot Booty Core” is my signature class, which is a full on ‘sculpt’ style Pilates class, often with many squats and lunges – all low impact moves used in a non-stop, high intensity sequence. “Dryp Fit” is a strength and conditioning class that focuses on bringing out the athlete within. “Strength & Mobility” is a heated yoga workshop style class that teaches members how to enhance their yoga practice – think handstand drills and lots of chatarungas. “Hot Mat Pilates” has low impact moves for a high intensity workout. The softer classes on the mat include “Hot Yin” and “Hot Candlelight Flow + Stretch”, both of which promote flexibility and overall mobility. Yin focuses on holding asanas, or postures, that open the body and increase flexibility via static holds. Hot Candlelight Flow is a very soft, stretch focused vinyasa flow ~ slow but dynamic, soft but moving. On the reformer, we currently offer “Beginners Reformer,” “All Levels Reformer,” “Advanced Reformer,” “Cardio Reformer” (using the reformer trampoline as an extension), and “Stretch Reformer” (a dynamic stretching class). Very soon I’m so excited to begin offering the most unique of it all: HOT REFORMER – an advanced class for those who are in for a super challenge.What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?To simply live in the moment, to be grateful for what you have and to be your most authentic self. Life is ultimately so short: if you’re not spending it doing what you love, what is the point?And what is the worst?The worst was from anyone who tried to sway me from moving to the opposite side of the world, or those who tried to discourage me from my relationship with my husband. We were in an international long-distance relationship for 3.5 years before we got married – we then lived together, for the first time, in Dubai. Moving here with my husband has been the biggest, scariest life adventure – but also the most rewarding one. My life would have been completely different had I not taken the plunge with him, and I’m so forever grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here and the lifestyle I now enjoy. I believe that the best is yet to come and that I am destined for great things, outcomes that would have materialized had I stayed static in my corporate job in the USA.What’s the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?I’ve had a few challenges in life, during my childhood, in school and university years. However, perhaps the biggest personal challenge I’ve had to go through in my adult life so far is a more recent pain, which was the loss of my first pregnancy. I experienced my first (and hopefully my only) miscarriage about one month ago, at around 10 weeks pregnant. It was a terrible loss and something that I am still healing through, both mentally, emotionally and physically. What I’ve gone through is a struggle that so many women face, but yet so many suffer through the pain in silence. The biggest thing that has been helping me to heal is coming to terms with how it wasn’t my fault, and that it’s just a very sad part of life. I am so thankful for the amount of support I’ve had from my family and the many female friends and clients around me too.What’s your future for the brand?The future of the brand is to grow! I’m looking forward to bringing in more reformers and to introducing hot reformer classes as the first studio in MENA region to do so. I’m also looking forward to hosting collaborations and pop ups throughout Dubai and I’m hoping to increase awareness with our partnerships like Amadawear Boutique and Bala – all of our equipment at Dryp is by Bala. The sky is the limit.– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramImages: Supplied More

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    SIRO One Za’abeel: Redefining luxury hospitality with a focus on wellness

    Lifeby Ruman Baig19 mins ago Nestled within Dubai’s iconic One Za’abeel development, SIRO One Za’abeel promises a transformative guest experience centered around fitness and recovery.This concept integrates technology with expertise, empowering guests to unlock their peak mental and physical potential. The hotel’s commitment to wellness transcends boundaries, encompassing nutrition, fitness, sleep, recovery, and mindfulness.At the heart of SIRO One Za’abeel lies the Fitness Lab, offering a diverse range of classes and state-of-the-art facilities. From high-intensity interval training to group cycling and boxing sessions, guests can embark on a personalized fitness journey curated by expert trainers. The Experience Box, a unique studio, immerses guests in atmospheric workouts enhanced by interactive visual engagement.Complementing the Fitness Lab is the serene Recovery Lab, located on the 31st floor. Here, guests can indulge in mindfulness practices, holistic therapies, and cutting-edge treatments designed to rejuvenate the body and mind. The Recovery Lab’s male and female-only zones ensure a tranquil environment tailored to individual needs.Designed as a sanctuary for holistic wellness, the guest rooms at SIRO One Za’abeel feature minimalist decor and thoughtful amenities. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views of the city skyline, while in-room recovery cabinets and wake-up technology enhance the wellness experience.SIRO One Za’abeel also prioritizes nutrition, with options ranging from customizable shakes at the Refuel Bar to 24-hour in-room dining featuring balanced meals. A monthly membership program extends access to the hotel’s wellness facilities to residents of Dubai.As the inaugural hotel of the SIRO brand, SIRO One Za’abeel sets a new standard for immersive wellness hospitality. With future destinations planned for Montenegro, Japan, and Mexico, Kerzner International is poised to revolutionize wellness travel worldwide.For more information, visit or @SIROHotels.– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramImages: Supplied More

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    We Asked A Yoga Instructor For The Best Back Stretches To Tackle Upper And Lower Back Pain

    Back pain? Join the club. Per the KZN Department of Health, some 30 to 40% of South Africans are affected by back pain at some point in their life. Back stretches help, so heed these tips from yogis for the best back stretches to ease out niggles and get that aah-inducing feeling that relieves it all.

    So what causes back pain?

    Back pain is caused by several conditions: arthritis that affects the lower back and spinal cord, osteoporosis (your spine’s vertebrae become brittle), or even muscle and ligament strain caused by repeatedly lifting heavy objects.

    What’s more, sitting at a desk all day causes back pain to intensify. According to UCLA Health, “sitting in a slouched position can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the spinal discs”, leading to prolonged pain. Over time, these pains can be intensified. Got a bad posture? You can thank your slumped shoulders for back pain, too. Slumping or slouching loads your back in a way isn’t supported by your spinal structure. The offshoot? “The intricate network of muscles, discs, and joints in your back tend to be pushed beyond their tolerable limit, causing pain,” according to Spine Health.

    The power of back stretches

    Doing back stretches regularly can elongate the back, reduce the stiffness in the muscles supporting the back and improve the range of motion and overall mobility. Also, it could help you maintain a good posture, since the muscles are stretched out and are able to better support a good standing or sitting posture.

    Yoga instructor Amy Hopkins weighed in on a few back stretches that can help with your back pain. Yoga is a popular workout for your rest days or for when you want to stretch or strengthen your muscles. Do these moves in your own flow every day and feel your back unwind.

    Back stretch gear

    These tools can elevate your stretching routine and deliver those aahs.

    Use a foam roller over your back to get some deep tissue massage going.

    Prop a yoga block under your back to release tension and relax your back muscles.

    A yoga mat delivers comfort and helps with slipping while you stretch things out.

    READ MORE: A 4-Week Home Workout Plan To Get Fit And Strong AF

    Get started…

    Start by releasing tension along the spine with a series of Cat and Cow postures. Begin in a tabletop position, hands beneath shoulders, knees beneath hips, on a mat or carpeted surface, fingers spread wide, tops of feet pressed into the mat. Do this slowly, five times each move for a total of 10 long breaths. These stretches bring flexibility into the spine and are great for stretching the back, hips and abdomen. They’re good for relieving lower back pain and sciatica (lower back into hips and butt).

    The Cow Posture

    Inhale as you lift your forehead and eyes to gaze up towards the ceiling.

    Drop the belly as you curl your spine, as if you have a Pilates ball balancing on your back.

    Actively tilting your tailbone upwards will help create the curve.

    The Cat Posture

    Exhale as you round the spine (imagine the ball is beneath you now) and suck your belly button into your spine.

    Press your hands into the mat, creating a lift in your shoulders.

    Drop your head and gaze towards your belly button.

    Actively tip your pelvis forward.

    Come back to a neutral tabletop position to move into the next pose.

    READ MORE: The 3 Stretches You Should Be Doing Daily

    Back stretches for the upper back

    Child’s Pose With Side Stretch

    From tabletop position, bring your toes together and spread your knees so that each knee is at the edge of the mat.

    Fold forward over your lap and let your belly hang softly between your thighs, arms stretched out in front of you.

    Actively try reach your bum to meet your heels. This elongates the spine. Stay here for five to 10 breaths.

    Walk your left hand over to just outside the left side of the mat. Place your right hand on top of your left, so you really stretch out the right side of the back and shoulders. Hold for five to 10 breaths.

    Move your hands back through the centre, then over to the right side, placing the right hand outside the right side of the mat.

    Place your left hand on top of the right, so you feel a nice stretch along the left side of the back and shoulders. Stay here for five to 10 breaths.

    Thread The Needle Pose (good for the whole back)

    From tabletop position, inhale to lift your right hand up towards the ceiling; as you exhale, thread the needle: bring the right hand and arm through the ‘hole’ you create on the left side with your left arm and left thigh.

    Bring the arm all the way through so you’re lying on your right shoulder and your right cheek and temple are on the mat. Extend the left hand out in front of you so your arms form perpendicular lines. Stay here for five to 10 breaths.

    Walk your left hand back to underneath the left shoulder; inhale as you push up through the left hand, lifting your right hand back up towards the ceiling. Exhale to place the right hand back on the mat, so you’re in a neutral tabletop position.

    Repeat on the other side, starting by inhaling as you lift your left hand towards the sky, and then thread the needle on the other side. Stay here for five to 10 breaths, then come back to tabletop position.

    READ MORE: LISS: A Complete Guide, From What It Actually Is, To Why And When To Do It

    Back stretches for the lower back

    Supine Twist

    Lie on your back, bringing your arms into a T-shape.

    Bring your knees in towards your chest, then slowly release both knees over to the right-hand side.

    Rest your head either facing upwards or looking over your left shoulder.

    Keep both shoulders on the mat and try to keep your knees pressed together. If your top leg lifts up, you can fold a towel and place it between your knees (or use a yoga block).

    Stay here for five to 10 slow breaths. Bring your knees back up to centre and then over to the opposite side. Repeat.

    Sphinx Pose

    Hopkins says that because we spend so much time sitting, our lower backs can take a lot of strain. The Sphinx Pose is a counter-pose to sitting and promotes the natural curvature of the spine, relieving back pain.

    Start by lying on your stomach. Feet hip-width apart and with your forearms on the mat, bring your elbows to rest directly beneath your shoulders.

    Be mindful of the pressure on your lower back – if this is too painful, you can shift your elbows slightly forward.

    Hold the pose to five to 10 slow breaths. Release by lying on your belly, right cheek to the mat.

    You can then move into Child’s Pose to finish off.

    Women’s Health participates in various affiliate marketing programmes, which means we may get commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. More

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    7 Best Lower Back Stretches To Ease Aches And Pain

    There’s nothing more satisfying than finding that ahhh-inducing stretch when you have a tight and achy back — and nothing more maddening than not being able to hit that spot. But doing the best lower back stretches for yourself is important – especially when we sit at a desk all day, or even if we’re on our feet.

    Lower back pain is near-universal — in fact, about 80 percent of people experience it at one point or another, according to the American Chiropractic Association. “Where the spine meets the pelvis is kind of a crash site,” says Patrick Donovan, owner of Heather Lane Physical Therapy.

    Why you should be doing back stretches

    It’s little wonder that this area is a pain point for so many seeing as how the daily habits that commonly cause lower back issues are the ones you likely do often: spending hours hunched over a computer, phone, or steering wheel, which all cause the muscles in the front of your pelvic area to shorten and tighten, too. When the hip flexor muscles are contracted in a seated position, those muscle fibres start to shorten, pulling the pelvis forward and pushing the lower back out of alignment. Translation: weaker — and achier — back muscles.

    You’re probably getting the picture that the more time you spend sitting, the more likely you are to experience lower back pain, but it’s not like you can just stop working a desk job or driving your car. Being mindful of your posture and standing up regularly can help you prevent lower back…but what if you’re already hurting? Stretches can definitely help.

    A quick disclaimer: If you’re experiencing extreme pain or pain that radiates down your leg, talk to a doctor or physical therapist to make sure there’s nothing serious going on — and do that before trying out the stretches below, says Donovan.

    If it’s just everyday aches and pains, here are the 7 best lower back stretches to do at home, ASAP.

    How to: Start in a kneeling position, with shins flat on the ground, butt on heels, knees slightly wider than torso and hands in lap. Walk arms forward to straight on the floor, lower stomach down onto thighs and rest forehead on the floor. Hold for at least 30 seconds.

    READ MORE: The 3 Stretches You Should Be Doing Daily

    Sphinx Pose

    How to: Start by lying on the stomach with legs extended, elbows bent, upper arms close to ribs and hands planted on either side of the rib cage. Lift chest and walk hands forward so forearms rest on the floor parallel to each other, with elbows beneath shoulders. Press forearms and hands into the floor and tuck tailbone in to engage lower abdominals and support the spine. Lengthen from tailbone through crown of head.

    Hold for at least 30 seconds.

    Thread the Needle

    How to: Start on all fours. Slide the right hand along the floor behind the left wrist until the shoulder is on the floor. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Reverse movement and lift right arm into the air, twisting to gaze up. Repeat on the other side.

    Low Lunge Twist

    How to: Start in a low lunge with the left foot forward between hands and the right leg extended straight back. Draw the left hand straight up overhead toward the ceiling and rotate the torso from the waist to gaze up at it. Hold for at least 30 seconds, then return to low lunge and repeat on the other side.


    How to: Start on hands and knees with elbows and wrists below shoulders, knees below hips and toes untucked. On the inhale, drop your stomach and arch back to lift your tailbone and chest towards the ceiling. Look up. On the exhale, pull the navel to the spine and tuck the chin and pelvis towards the navel to round the spine. (Initiate the movement generated from the tailbone and allow the spine, neck and head to follow.) Repeat for at least 30 seconds.

    READ MORE: LISS: A Complete Guide, From What It Actually Is, To How And When To Do It

    Spinal Twist

    How to: Start lying on the left side with legs bent and both arms straight, the right one resting on top of the left. Keep left arm on the floor and knees pointed toward the left side, then open right arm across the body in line with shoulder, bringing it to rest on the floor on the right side of the mat. Hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

    Seated Spinal Twist

    How to: Start seated with legs crossed. Plant left foot outside of the right thigh, lifting knee as needed. Extend arms up overhead and twist torso to the left, placing right elbow against the outside of the left knee and left hand on the floor behind (but close to) back. On the inhale, lengthen the spine. On the exhale, gently twist lower back, middle back and then upper back to the left. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Then, repeat on the other side.

    This article was originally published on More

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    Looking for a meal subscription? Here are the best options in Dubai

    Emirates Manby Camille Macawili2 hours ago Looking to start off 2024 strong?Whether you’re hitting the gym regularly, want to regulate your health levels or simply want to eat healthy, Emirates Man has rounded up the best meal plan providers in the UAE to support your fitness goals.Best for Plant-Based Meals: Right BiteOne of the first and leading meal plan service in Dubai, Right Bite offers a wide array of option that match your dietary needs such as Diabetic Meal Plan, Made for Mums Meal Plan, Gut Healthy Meal Plan and more.For those aiming to switch to a vegan lifestyle for 2024, Plant-Based Goodness is a nutrient-rich option with curated and flavorful meals that are high in protein and fibre. From breakfast to dinner, expect a variety of dishes and snacks such as sweet potato Spanish tofu omelette, hot Buddha bowl, soba miso noodles, artichoke and potato soup and more to be delivered to you.For more information, visit rightbite.comBest for Home Cooked Family-Friendly Meals: Hello ChefHello Chef is a subscription-based meal prep service that delivers fresh and ready-to-cook ingredients with easy-to-follow recipes – from low-calorie, hearty, to family favorites that starts at Dhs35 per serving. Meals can range from pizza, burgers or healthy meals, this option is perfect for those who are looking for a stress-free and hearty home cooked meal.For more information, visit hellochef.meBest for Macros: Fuel-Up by KcalFor the calorie-conscious looking to gain, shred, or optimize your athletic performance, you’ll find range of meal plans at Fuel-Up by Kcal that will boost your fitness goals. You can opt to create your own meals according to your preference or the exact macros you need or choose from a wide selection of chef-cooked meals to be delivered to you.For more information, visit fueluplife.comBest for Ketogenic Meals: KetolifeFor those looking to lose weight, control their appetite the healthy way, or improve PCOS symptoms, a ketogenic diet might work for you.This trendy diet is known to have food restrictions so opting for a meal plan can make it fuss-free and affordable. Ketolife, the first ketogenic diet meal plan provider in UAE, serves low-carb delicious and hearty ketogenic meal plans. Sample dishes include avocado and bacon muffin, keto pizza, chicken Alfredo with cauliflower and spinach, and more at an affordable starting weekly price of Dhs539.For more information, visit– For more on how to look smart and live smarter, follow Emirates Man on Facebook and InstagramFeature Image: Instagram @hellochef More

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    FitnGlam Founder on transforming the landscape of women’s fitness in UAE

    Lifeby Sarah Joseph1 hour ago In January’s – The Alignment Issue cover story, Raising the Bar, Founder of FitnGlam, Helena Hijazi shares how she embarked on a journey to transform the landscape of women’s fitness in the region.Scroll through to read the interview below.What inspired you to launch FitnGlam?After moving to Dubai, I struggled to find a fitness space that catered exclusively to women, offering both privacy and a full range of equipment and services. The mixed gyms had small, under-equipped women-only areas. I envisioned a place where women could comfortably access all forms of fitness and wellness under one roof – cardio, weights, classes, and community – without the need to compromise. This was the inspiration behind FitnGlam.The facility also has direct access to a CRYO clinic, providing members with a rounded holistic journey – tell us more.We aim to offer as much value as possible to our members and our partnership with CRYO adds an exciting dimension to the FitnGlam experience. We want to provide a well-rounded approach to health and fitness and ensure our community has access to the latest and most effective wellness therapies. Cryotherapy has a lot of benefits, such as reducing muscle soreness, inflammation and accelerating recovery after workouts. I personally use CRYO and love the experience. It is now a key part of my wellness practises and perfectly complements my fitness routine.You’ve created a place in the UAE where women could just be themselves – was this the plan from the outset?Yes, absolutely – since day one, our focus with FitnGlam was to build a space where women could truly be themselves. We recognised the need for a fitness and wellness facility for women that catered to more than just the physical aspects of exercise. We wanted to create a space where women could feel entirely comfortable, both physically and emotionally, to embark on their fitness journeys. In many fitness settings, women can sometimes feel selfconscious or judged, which can be a significant barrier to achieving their goals. We wanted to break down those barriers and have an environment where women of all backgrounds, fitness levels, and ages could come together, support one another, and focus on their individual aspirations without any fear of judgment.FitnGlam has handpicked personal trainers and nutrition coaches who work with clients on custom plans. Can you expand on this?Our approach is personalised for each individual member. We start by simply having an open and honest conversation about your goals, expectations, fitness experience, and dietary needs. From there, our expert trainers and nutrition coaches collaborate to create tailored plans that align with your individual needs. These plans might incorporate strength training, cardio, or classes depending on your preferences, with a balanced dietary plan to complement your fitness and health journey. Our members’ success is our success, so we stay involved every step of the way to provide guidance, support, and motivation throughout the process and to ensure the results are long-term.To refuel, guests can visit PROTEINHOUSE – how important was it to have a dining space that complements the wellness element?We all know that fitness is not just about the exercises you do; it’s also about what you eat and the nutrition you provide your body. That is why we partnered with PROTEINHOUSE. It’s a place where members can grab a nutritious meal, snack, or smoothie pre- or post-workout, giving them the right fuel to make the most out of their fitness journey. We actually worked with PROTEINHOUSE to create a bespoke menu for FitnGlam centered around women – with preferred sizes, ingredients, and nutritional profiles that support a healthy, active female lifestyle. This means the food not only tastes great but also complements the specific nutritional needs of our members, whether they’re looking to build muscle, lose weight, or simply maintain a balanced diet.The gym has everything from boxing, Barre, yoga to Pilates – what are some of the main classes offered?We offer all sorts of classes for different interests and fitness levels. Our most popular classes are HIIT, Cycle, and Boxing for intense, calorie-burning sessions, yoga for flexibility and mindfulness, and Pilates for core strengthening and toning. We also offer specialised classes like dance-based workouts, and Barre for those who enjoy a mix of ballet, Pilates, and yoga. Our classes are boutique and specifically designed for women, so our members can always find something that resonates with their personal fitness journey.What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?One of the most significant challenges we faced in the journey of establishing FitnGlam was entering the highly competitive fitness industry, particularly with like a huge risk, as many people warned us against excluding men from our clubs and cutting off half the potential customers. However, we wanted to stay true to our vision. We knew there was a specific need in the market for a fitness and wellness space dedicated solely to women. By focusing on this niche and building a club to suit the preferences of women from all walks of life, we not only stood out but also created a strong brand identity. This was ultimately our greatest strength, as it allowed us to build a community of over 8,000 women strong and an environment where women could feel comfortable, empowered, and supported on their fitness and wellness journeys.Do you enjoy managing the commercial or creative side of the business?My background is in the commercial side of business, but I would say that over time I have gravitated more towards the creative side. I felt this shift when we were developing the concept of FitnGlam, as I was trying to incorporate my own passion and vision into every aspect of the experience. I wanted to empower women through my own experiences with fitness and wellness but also through our shared experiences as women. This required a lot of creativity and reflection, and it has been really fulfilling to help shape the fitness experience at FitnGlam in this way. However, I also enjoy the commercial aspects of business and it is important to strike the right balance between both sides. So, I make sure to divide my focus and time on the commercial side to make sure we are running a sustainable business but also on the creative side to continue evolving and innovating the brand in ways that resonate with our community.What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?I would tell my younger self to trust the journey and not to fear taking risks. It’s important to believe in your vision, even if it seems overwhelming or unconventional at first. Also, I would say to never underestimate the power of hard work and even failure. There will always be challenges and setbacks in anything we do, but these are important learning opportunities. Embrace them, learn from them, and use them to become the best version of yourself.This is The Alignment Issue – what activities help you align yourself in daily life?For me, alignment comes from staying active and moving my body. I’ve found that this not only boosts my energy levels but also helps in maintaining focus and clarity in other areas of my life. I try to prioritise regular exercise, whether it’s a gym workout, a yoga session, or simply a walk outside. This is a key part of maintaining both my physical and mental health. Also, making time and spending time with my family. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of daily responsibilities, but for me spending time with my family provides a sense of grounding and connection that is so important for my overall alignment.January’s – The Alignment Issue with FitnGlam  – Download Now– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramImages: Supplied More

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    10 Zen studios in Dubai to book for a yoga class

    Lifeby Sarah Joseph30 mins ago VIEW GALLERY/ 10 IMAGESAs it’s important to start the year on a positive note, it’s time to book a yoga session to feel calm from the inside out.So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, there’s a class for everyone to try out and feel completely rejuvenated after.From Vinyasa to hip hop yoga, you can choose a class that fits best into your workout routine to relax and heal during your time off or for a midweek break.Hence, for inspiration on where to book next, Emirates Woman has curated the perfect guide of venues to book for your upcoming yoga class.– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and InstagramImages: Supplied & Feature Image: Instagram @galaortin & Feature Image: Emirates Woman’s January Cover 2024 More