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girl-running

4 ways to increase fat loss

Body fat is simply stored energy, so giving your body a reason to use it is vital. This can be done through diet or exercise, but most commonly a combination of the two.

“To lose body fat, you need to place your body into a calorie deficit, forcing it to use its fat for energy. Muscle is also your body’s engine – the bigger the engine, the more fuel it uses and the more calories you burn, making it easier to lose fat,” says Etheridge, who suggests any good fat loss plan contains gradual progressions in both fat-burning cardiovascular activity and resistance training.

“Strength training is the most important element; the amount of cardio you need to do to achieve fat loss depends on how strict you are with your diet and what kind of strength and conditioning program you’re doing,” he says.

“Utilise progressive overload to make your resistance workout more difficult than what you can comfortably perform in your current program. Whether it be using different training principals, such as supersets and circuits, or increasing the weight or reps, keep progressing by asking more from your body.”

Etheridge suggests increasing your weight, sets, reps or intensity each week for six weeks, followed by one week of lighter training (aka. a deload week) to allow the body to recover.

“Lighter weeks or rest weeks are imperative to minimise overtraining and reduce the chance of overuse injuries. This is the optimal way to increase your strength,” says Etheridge.

“For weight loss, it’s not as important to use progressions with your cardio. The cardio is purely for fat burning – but if you want to continue to improve your cardiovascular fitness, aim to increase your workout intensity by approximately five per cent each week for six weeks. Take a week off and then start your new program.”

Here are her top four tips:

 

1. Change your exercises from basic compound movements to compound movements that require a higher level of skill, coordination or strength. For example, single leg or unilateral work. Examples:think pistol squat, TRX suspended lunge, Bulgarian split squat, single-leg deadlift, squats and step-ups using a bosu ball; single arm work such as one arm dumbbell or chest press on a fitball, single arm rows or renegade rows.

2. Reduce rest periods. Depending on how much rest you’re currently having, aim to drop it by five per cent per week for six weeks, or until you’re only having approximately 40 seconds rest (if performing straight sets) and 20 seconds rest between exercises (if you’re performing a circuit).

3. Split your program up and focus on two to three muscles groups per workout rather than full body. This is a more advanced way of training and a great way to continue progressing. Splitting the body parts up means you can perform more volume (sets) on each muscle group in each workout, and workout more days each week while still allowing adequate recovery time.

4. Add plyometrics to your workouts. Plyometric training is high impact and high intensity, and involves a lot of jumping where your muscles exert maximum force in short intervals – great for power and agility, and can be a quick and fun way to burn fat given its higher calorie output.

In order to track your progress, keep yourself accountable. Regularly weigh yourself or take measurements, and keep a food and training diary to understand how training and nutrition protocols affect you on a weekly basis.

 

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4 ways to increase fat loss

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alexa T

Top 3 training tips by Alexa Towersey

1. Resistance Training: 

Combine four compound exercises in one giant set:

8–10 x Barbell Back Squats

»8–10 x Barbell Bent-Over Rows

»8–10 x Deadlifts

»6–8 x Pull-ups 

»24 x Barbell Walking Lunges

TIP: Rest for 2 minutes between rounds and complete 3 to 5 rounds

2. HIIT Training: I like 400m sprint repeats the best.  Start with 5 to 7 and increase each week. 60 to 90 seconds rest between.

TIP: Don’t do these on the same day as your weight training.

3. Tabata Protocols:  I like to use Tabata-style exercises as ‘finishers’ after a weight-training workout.  It’s essentially maximum reps of an exercise in 20 seconds followed by a 10-second rest and repeated for a total of eight rounds (4 minutes or 2:40 of actual work).

TIP: My preferred variations include thruster, squat jumps, air assault bike, burpees, mountain climber or deadmill.

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Top 3 training tips by Alexa Towersey

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How to do a pull-up

Anybody who can do a pull-up is in pretty good shape…I’m still working on building mine up and the journey is fun!

The best way to get better at pull-ups is to do pull-ups assisted with resistance bands: try looping a band over the pull-up bar and place a foot or knee in the band, then complete pull-ups as normal. Step down carefully and release yourself from the bar. Step one foot out first to avoid snap backs.


Doing a pull-up:

1. Tighten your butt and your abs throughout the entire exercise – try not to swing, so slow down the movement. Keep your shoulder blades pinched together and focus on PULLING the bar down with your arms.

2. Use the least amount of assistance that you can handle. If you’re using an exercise band, try to get a few bands of varying tension so you can decrease the resistance as you get stronger.

3. As soon as you can do three sets of eight with assistance, it’s time move on up and either reduce the resistance bands or start trying unassisted. As you get better you can try one to two unassisted then go to the bands – it’s a great way to keep building.

4. Once you have mastered the perfect pull-up, you can progress to do more reps and doing other types such as wide-grip, close-grip and weighted pull-ups.

Words and workout by Nikki Fogden-Moore

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How to do a pull-up

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Running tips for women

Ace your next race with these top tips

Going for a run is probably one of the most popular ways to get your workout on, whether it’s hitting the roads or jumping on a treadmill when the weather’s gross outside. If you sometimes find running a little tedious, why not challenge yourself to go faster or further?

Here are our top tips to smash your run.

To the gym

Weight training could make you a better runner. A Norwegian study found that resistance training three times a week for eight weeks significantly improved running efficiency and endurance in well-trained, long-distance runners.

Uphill battle

Want to conquer the hills? To race uphill, run with a short stride while pushing off the balls of your feet and pumping your arms. Then relax your arms and use a longer stride to go downhill.

Ready, set, splash!

Getting wet could make you a better runner. Swimming increases your upper body strength, making your runs more efficient, while aqua jogging mimics your usual movement sans impact – reducing the risk of injury.

Bright idea

‘Watch your stance when running,’ tips Fitness First trainer Andy Hall. ‘Leaping forward and striding too far will drain your energy fast. Instead, make sure you stand tall and lean slightly forward, so when you feel like you’re going to fall, you step forward just enough to catch yourself. This should be the length of your stride.’

Take five

Listen to your body! If you’re feeling under the weather or if your body is sore and ready for a rest, take a recovery day. Only you know if those aches and pains are from a good run or the sign you need to rest.

Sand storm

Here’s a good excuse to book a beach getaway – running on sand can improve your speed and muscle tone. A study from St Luke’s University Clinic in Belgium found that pounding the sand requires 1.6 times more energy than running on pavements as your body has to work harder to deal with the soft, unstable surface. That adds up to more defined muscles and a swifter run when you get back to solid ground. Neat!

Drink up

Hydration is key for runners, but plain old water is best if you’re only doing short runs. Upgrade to a sports drink if you’re running for longer than an hour to help shuttle glucose to your muscles and combat fatigue.

Play it safe Protect yourself – the great outdoors brings potential hazards:

Navigate new destinations Make use of online running forums and social media groups to discover popular routes. Clearly defined, well-lit roads are a must when running in the dark, and remember there’s safety in numbers. Recruit a running buddy or join a club to improve your technique with like-minded enthusiasts – it’s way more fun than going solo!

Ditch your headphones An uplifting playlist can send motivation soaring, but when you’re running outside you need to be aware of your surroundings so you can rely on your senses when you need them. Save the tunes for your indoor workout and shift your attention to your breathing and form – or if you feel you really can’t run without music just keep the volume low.

Check the forecast We all know the British weather is unpredictable. It’s worth checking the forecast before you lace up so you don’t get caught in heavy rain that could hamper your performance and increase your risk of injury.

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Running tips for women

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pilates-at-home

5 exercises for at-home reformer Pilates

If reformer Pilates sounds like your kind of deal, you better be prepared to part with a pretty penny. An hour-long private lesson can set you back hundreds of dollars, while group classes are still quite pricey. But for those without the watertight income, exercise physiologist Jennifer Smallridge and physiotherapist at Sportsmed biologic, Rebecca Huppert put together five spins on classic reformer moves to have you reaping all the benefits in the comfort of your own home:

1. Reformer lunges

This move is traditionally performed with one foot on the carriage, one foot on the stable platform, and the lunge pushes the carriage back (creating instability). This can be reproduced with XR Slides on a carpeted area (xrslide.com) by placing one foot on the ground and the back foot on the slide, lunging and then swapping sides. You could also use a book to gain the sliding motion.

2. Hands in straps – pullovers

Without a reformer, a resistance band can be wrapped around a steady object (table leg, tied tightly around a door handle). Lie with your body facing away from the band, ensure there is tension in the band, extend both arms up to the ceiling and pull the band down towards your sides while keeping your pelvis neutral. Challenges to this move include putting the legs up in tabletop, and/or adding an abdominal curl.

3. Leg press

This is one of the foundation moves in reformer Pilates. Without the footbar to put the feet on, you can lie on a mat and place your legs in tabletop, then try to keep the pelvis level as you tap one foot down on the mat at a time. You must engage your core muscles for this to be effective and safe. Add difficulty by straightening the leg each time it lowers, or lifting up the head and chest.

4. Reformer row

Again, wrapping a resistance band around a fixed object will allow a row type movement to be performed. The reformer works well by challenging the core, so to get the same benefits, stand on an unstable surface (BOSU, cushion, one leg stand) or complete a squat at the same time, with your core muscles active.

5. Scooter

This exercise involves one leg firmly on the floor and the other on the carriage, pushing it back against resistance and challenging the gluteal muscles on both sides. Without a reformer, arabesques are a nice way to work these muscles. Stand on one leg, hands on hips and lower your chest/lift your back leg at the same time, so that you feel it working all of the stabilisers of your stance leg. Rise up and repeat.

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5 exercises for at-home reformer Pilates

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sculpt-arm-workout

Workout tips for toned arms

Try: Supersetting Antagonising

Supersetting antagonising is the pairing of two opposite muscle groups such as chest and back, triceps and biceps and quads and hamstrings. The science behind this technique is to loosen one muscle while its antagonist contracts. This allows more weight to be used, or additional reps performed.

How: Give this little workout a go:

a. Dumbbell external rotation 10 reps – 4 sets, tempo 3; 0; 2; rest 30 seconds
b. Incline dumbbell preacher curl 10–12reps – 4 sets, tempo 3; 0; 1
c. Tricep rope pushdowns 15 reps – 4 sets, tempo 2; 0; 2; rest 45 seconds
d. Scott curl reverse biceps curls 8–10 reps – 4 sets, tempo 2; 0; 2
e. Overhead dumbbell triceps extension 12–15 reps – 4 sets, tempo 2; 2; 1; rest 45 seconds

Why: Supersetting agonist and antagonist muscle groups is not only time efficient and great for building lean, toned arms, but it also increases the afterburn effect of your workout by up to 24 hours.

Insider’s tip: Try and finish off your arms day with 3 x 500m sprints on the rower to really get your arms burning.

Check out our workout section for fitness tips, exercises and workouts.

 

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Workout tips for toned arms

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yoga

Yoga poses

While yoga is undoubtedly known as the go-to for limbering up, de-stressing and boosting flexibility, it’s less known for its contribution to cardio fitness. Wild, a new class from Fierce Grace (fiercegrace.com), is looking to change that, though. Taking inspiration from martial arts, ballet, qigong, physiotherapy, resistance exercises and, of course, traditional yoga, Wild is a functional-based workout designed for anyone and everyone. Try this workout for a taster of what this innovative class offers. Ready?

Ragdoll jumps

Technique-

With your feet hip-width apart and arms loose, perform continuous little jumps for 30 seconds.

Straddle reach-through

Technique-

Stand with feet wider than hips. Bend your knees if you need to.

Hinge at the hips, reaching your arms out. Graze the floor with your hands as you go, exhaling all the way to reach your arms through your legs. 

Inhale to bounce back, then reach through again, taking a second to complete each reach-through.

Do 15 reps in total.

Straddle push-up

Technique-

Standing up straight with your feet wide, reach down to the floor by your toes.

Walk forward with your  hands until your body is in a straight line.

Bend your arms to lower your chest, then push back up.

Walk your hands back to the start.

Repeat for 10 reps.

Spine flex

Technique-

Sit cross-legged on the floor with your hands on your ankles.

Exhale, round your spine and relax it, look down and feel the stretch in your upper back.

Inhale and arch your spine, look up and push your chest forwards, using your hands to help you.

Repeat, performing one rep per second for one minute.

Corkscrew twists 

Technique-

Sit cross-legged with your hands resting on your shoulders – fingers in front, thumbs at the back and elbows out to the sides. Keep your eyes and head forward throughout.

Inhale to twist left, then exhale right.

Pull your belly in and lift your chest.

Repeat once per second.

Fire plank

Technique-

Hold a plank with hands under your shoulders, fingers spread, tailbone tucked under, abs and quads tight.

Practise ‘fire breath’ (drawing breath from your navel area, quickly breathe in and out through your nose, pulling your belly in as you exhale).

Hold for 45 secs.

Now, without losing form, lift your left leg and right arm.

Bring them back to the plank then do the same with the opposite limbs.

Do this twice more on each side.

Fast scissors

Technique-

Lie on your back with your palms under your hips for support and legs off the ground.

Scissor your legs up and down, performing fire breath through your nose once each rep.

Go for one minute.

Bum lift 

Technique-

Lie on your front with your arms beside you, palms down, elbows locked and forehead on the floor.

Bend your knees to take your feet off the floor, keeping them together.

Inhale and squeeze to lift your knees off the floor, then lower them straight back down to finish the rep.

Do 30 reps.

Check out www.fiercegrace.com for more information on yoga, classes and training

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Yoga poses

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Full body resistance band workout

Give your whole body a strength and cardio workout in one with Ashley Azevedo‘s resistance band workout.

The workout

Circuit training simply means performing exercises back to back with little to no rest in between. Its elevator pitch is maximum perks in minimum time. Due to the fast-paced nature of circuit training, it elevates heart rate and couples cardio and strength training.

Even if you’re solely a weights girl, resistance bands are a great way to keep your body guessing and prevent plateaus. The resistance, reps and number of circuits can all be varied to meet your goals and fitness level.

What you need to do

Consider the list a sequence, not an a la carte menu. Perform a set (10 to 15 reps) of the first exercise and move immediately to the second exercise. Perform one set and move immediately to the third exercise and so on. Keep rests as short as possible. After you complete one full circuit, rest for about 60 seconds and start again. Available time and current fitness level will determine how many cycles you do, but aim for one to five.

(Fit tip: Don’t try to do too much too soon. It’s false economy.) Make sure you warm up the muscles you’ll use before any workout and cool down and stretch out afterwards to avoid injury and consult your doctor before starting any new training regimen.

Targets: Biceps, Delts

curl-press-1.jpg

Perks: This compound movement allows multiple muscle groups to be worked with one exercise, making it time efficient and adding to the difficulty of your workout. Sculpt the arms with this two-in-one exercise.

Move: Stand with both feet on top of the band, about hip-width apart.

(Fit Tip: You can control how easy or hard the exercise is by where you stand on the band to create more or less tension.) Start with both arms straight and begin to curl the arms up and towards the chest. Keep your elbows locked at your side. Once you get to the top of your curl, rotate your arms outward and turn your hands so palms are facing away. Press straight up, pause at the top, lower back down and repeat.

Words and workout by Ashley Azevedo.

Photography by James Patrick.

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Full body resistance band workout

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480d31004fc6b75e1cda732eb769052a

How to tone up your back

Say goodbye to annoying back fat…

Guilty of neglecting your back muscles? You’re not the only one. We often focus mainly on the muscles we see in the mirror and end up completely forgetting about the ones at the back. While our abs may be on point just in time for our summer beach holiday, our back could do with a little work in the gym. However, we’ve got you sorted with the best exercises for toning your back and feeling fantastic, from back to front.

Not only will working on your back boost your overall physique, but it’ll also dramatically improve strength and posture. A clever combination of the right diet plus the back exercises that give you the most bang for your buck will get you on the right path to eliminating excess fat and back pain. These two effective exercises are bound to make you feel strong, powerful and ready to step up your gym game.

Bent-over row

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees bent and upper body leaning forwards from the hips. Keep a flat back.

2. Holding a barbell with both hands, arms extended towards the floor, row the barbell up to your waist.

3. Lower slowly and repeat.

Safety tip: keep your shoulders back and try not to hunch.

Eccentric chin-up

1. Stand underneath a pull-up bar, on a step if necessary.

2. Jump up to take hold of the pull-up bar with both hands, palms facing you. Your chin should already be at the height of the bar, at the top of the movement.

3. Lower yourself as slowly as you can, until arms are fully extended.

4. Release and repeat.

Kick refined carbs to the curb

Keeping fit and looking after your body isn’t just about doing the right exercises; you also need to make sure you’re eating the right food to. Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet go hand-in-hand.

Make sure that sugar and refined carbohydrates (like pasta and bread) are sparse in your diet as the consumption of high-GI foods like these will encourage your body to store fat. Fill up on fibrous veg and high-protein sources like eggs and chicken, instead.

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How to tone up your back

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mobiletrainer3

10 online and app-based training programs

Whether you do best with a real-life trainer to keep you accountable, learn best from demos or written instructions or prioritise tracking tools, here are 10 pocket gyms to suit those who don’t have access to a gym.

1. trainingonline.com

HIT: Devised by a qualified trainer, the customised programs on this free site answer goals such as weight loss, strength conditioning and general fitness. The fitness library contains more than 200 exercises complete with video demonstrations, iPod-ready instructions and printer-friendly versions perfect for lunchtime sessions. The site’s user guide makes it a doddle to use the extensive functions.
MISS: If you tend to be derailed or struggle to stay motivated, consider a real-life trainer as the lack of personal ongoing support puts the onus on users.

COST: Free

2. fitness.com

HIT: More an online toolkit brimming with health and fitness tools than a program per se, fitness.com is ideal for returning exercisers or those who have some experience in training. Built around a thriving community of highly active, supportive users, it has a sorority vibe. You can rest assured you’re not the only one asking the questions you do or struggling with an issue.
MISS: If you need practical advice or lack foundation fitness knowledge, consider a website that offers prescriptive plans.
COST: Free

3. workoutsforyou.com

HIT: With a whopping 5,000 exercises able to be matched to users’ expertise, equipment, interests and goals, workout offers two payment packages with perks such as a personal trainer, ongoing customisation and regularly updated workouts.

MISS: Expensive compared to other featured websites – but still far cheaper than most gyms.
COST: Made Just For You – 4 months/$99; Self-directed – 4 months/$59

4. fitera.com

HIT: The re branded version of Fast Track to Weight Loss is expressly geared to toning and fat loss with a focus on efficiency. Perks include workout videos from fitness experts and live weekly chats with trainers. The personalised fitness plans are flexible, allowing for modifications to suit respective needs. However, it also provides sufficient structure to stop you from wimping out or falling into bad habits. Sign up for one of the regular challenges hosted by the website to keep you inspired and responsible for achieving your targets. And if you need that extra push, FITera also offers a paid coaching program that is virtually unrivalled in the online fitness community. The benefit of a global online community is hard to beat.

MISS: If you are looking for an advanced strength routine for sports/strength training, FITera’s focus on fat loss and toning may prove limiting.
COST: Free or add ACE Coaching and Accountability – 1 month/$97

5. abc-of-fitness.com

HIT: Based on a mission to democratise healthy living, this website seeks to make health and fitness resources ultra-accessible. For newcomers, information on fitness equipment is ideal for setting up a low-key home (or car boot) gym. BYO organisation and discipline. ABC can be a successful motivator.
MISS: The ant-size micro text and confusing navigation. If you need to be told what to do or easily lose motivation, the onus on pro activity and self-motivation might fall flat.
COST: Free

6. gymamerica.com

HIT: Ideal for those looking to strengthen or add muscle, this results-oriented site hangs its hat on detailed weights advice. This ‘just the facts’ approach is ideal if you’re a go-getter who’s always on the move and needs basic information in an easy-to-understand format. There’s also a focus on nutrition here, with a dietary plan designed just for you based on personal stats and a 40,000+ food database to pull from.
MISS: GymAmerica substitutes software for a real trainer and while it’s state-of-the-art, it lacks peripheral attributes such as empathy and genuine encouragement.
COST: $38.97/3 months

7. freetrainers.com

HIT: With the word ‘free’ listed upfront, Free Trainers is proud of its complimentary fitness service that has helped provide plans for nearly two million users. All plans are fully customisable, which means you’re always satisfied, if not a little less motivated at times. The community element is a big reason why fans keep coming back to Free Trainers, with the site format replicating a social media network that allows users to search for fellow members by name and email. The detailed questionnaire on sign-up gauges your current fitness level, preferences and goals, and is even smart enough to incorporate particulars such as injury rehab.

MISS: Naturally the non-existent price tag means a lack of human interaction from a qualified PT; however, website staff and fellow users are happy and available to offer general support if you’re able to wait for a response.
COST: Free

8. dailyburn.com

HIT: DailyBurn’s fitness library offers over 100 workouts with a focus on cardio, health and weight training to suit multiple goals. These workouts are each state-of-the-art and ideal for someone who needs to constantly change it up to avoid losing interest. While taking into account your ideal body type, time for exercise and skill level, the website targets programs that suit you. There’s also a great range of tracking tools for keeping up with your progress, plus an incredible food database of over 67,000 items. And if you don’t like it, there are no problems thanks to the free 30-day trial!
MISS: On the surface there’s very little info about what the site offers, which doesn’t do its features justice. The free trial allows you to see this in action, however, with a generous 30 days for you to get a true sense of what’s on offer.
COST: $32.50/3 months

9. itrain.com

HIT: A website purely dedicated to MP3-matched workouts to take to work or on vay-cay, it comprises exercises sorted by interests and goals, so one day you can focus on weight loss and dance and the next, flexibility. If your ideal workout involves hitting the park with your headphones and hill sprinting like nobody’s watching, you’ll enjoy this.

MISS: If you frequently purchase one-off downloads, it can get pricey. Consider a yearly subscription with unlimited downloads.
COST: Average $10 per download, or 1 year/$119.88 unlimited downloads

10. changingshape.com

HIT: With 24-hour personalised support from your own trained PT based on a bespoke plan, this platform lets you substitute other exercises to progress your training and avert plateaus. The emphasis is on sustainable long-term results. There’s a foolproof nutrition plan with customised shopping list, meal plan, swap suggestions and even a guide to healthy fast food options. You can also have your plan tailored to food allergies. A bank of calculators and thriving community make this a great all-rounder.

MISS: Direct debiter beware: you will be billed even if you don’t use the site, yet some people will use the potential money pit as motivation. Testimonials vouch for the sites’ appeal.
COST: 12 weeks/$29.95 or 12 months/$59.95

In need of some inspiration? Check out some of our favourite Instagrams to follow now.

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10 online and app-based training programs

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Paige Hathaway

2 hours 31 minutes ago

If kissing burns 6 calories per minute....
How many calories do you think laughing burns? 🤔

Paige Hathaway

6 hours 51 minutes ago

Hey everyone, really excited to announce I am going to be in the Middle East @dubaimuscleshow on from December 8th - 9th at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Really excited to see all of you, first time ever in Dubai and the first time I am meeting all my Middle Eastern fans.
I can’t wait! 😁 Get your tickets now !!

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