Unless you were living under a rock in 2014, you’ve surely noticed the rapid rise of fitness and wellness in the Middle East, from the runway’s athleisure trend landing in stores to new workout and health crazes sweeping the region. It’s almost impossible to scroll down your Instagram feed without coming across pictures of your friends working out, someone’s new pair of rainbow-colored Nikes, or another person’s attempt at a spot of morning yoga. Fitness is, inarguably, in. This has given rise to a new breed of “It” girls, whose thousands of social-media followers hang on their every workout post, gluten-free recipe, and backbend. In this fitness feature, Savoir Flair tapped four of these girls to find out their stay-slim secrets. Amanda Rushforth, Jessica Olie, Tala Samman, and Teresa Karpinska sport this season’s best workout gear and share everything you’ve ever wanted to know about their fitness and health routines.
Click through the gallery to see the photos and read the interviews.
Special thanks to FitRepublik.
The Fitness Secrets of the Middle East's Trendsetters
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What first inspired you to work out?
I quit smoking and, in order to help really feel the benefits of this, I decided to take my once-a-week yoga class up a notch. I wanted to really feel good about myself, so I decided to actively make that change.
Who are your fantasy workout buddies?
Any of the Victoria’s Secret models so that I can see how they maintain their figures!
On the cover: Reebok top and leggings, The Dubai Mall; Reebok slip-ons, Amanda’s own
What do you do during cheat day?
I don’t really have a cheat day. If I’m hungry, I’ll eat, but I make sure to snack on fruits or nuts while I’m at work. I prefer to exercise in the evening, so that I don’t have time to sit in front of the TV and get tempted by the chocolate drawer in the fridge!
What do you have for breakfast?
A bowl of cereal topped with some fruit and a handful of nuts, with milk.
What’s the thing you enjoy most when working out?
The high. I’m one of those odd people who smile when they’re dying during a workout!
What’s your fitness goal for this year?
To build more strength without bulking up.
On the cover: Outdoor Voices top, Hautletic; Body Language leggings, FitPlum; Nike trainers, Tala’s own
What’s your workout of choice?
I’m definitely a barre babe. I love my barre! One of my top recommendations would have to be Flybarre. That being said, I only see results when I mix things up, so I’ve added cardio by going to Flywheel, strength training through one-on-one sessions with the tough Afef at Machka, and flexibility and core workouts by taking pole dancing classes with the amazing Karla at Sweatshop Studios.
On this page: Nike hoodie, Net-a-Porter; Splits 59 top, Hautletic; Splits 59 leggings, Hautletic; Nike trainers, Tala’s own
Tell us what first inspired you to work out?
I’ve always been very active. It’s something that I always try to make time for, because I know how good it makes me feel.
How often do you work out?
Five to six times a week, incorporating lots of different workouts to keep it interesting!
On this page: Onezie top, The Hot Box Kit; Splits 59 leggings, Hautletic; Outdoor Voices hoodie, Hautletic
Who are your fantasy yoga buddies?
That is actually such a hard question. I love the Instagram community. All the girls I follow inspire me in different ways. It’s amazing how this little app on our phone can connect us to so many beautiful people from around the world.
What’s your fitness goal this year?
My dream is to inspire the nation to get more active in any way it can.
Do you try to switch up your workout routine?
I have the lovely benefit of always being offered to try new things. That’s how I discovered pole, which I am now grateful for. Having said that, although I love trying new things in fitness and in life, I am a creature of habit.
How often do you work out?
Approximately four times a week.
What is your biggest fitness secret?
The most important thing to remember is that, for most of us, the will to work out comes from a very profound place of wanting to do something nice for ourselves. Once your mindset and mentality shift to a place where you recognize that your body deserves to be looked after and not abused, it’s easier to incorporate workouts into your life without feeling like they are a chore. As cliché as it sounds, there is a lot of truth in the ”your body is a temple” statement.
On this page: Splits 59 top, Hautletic; Nike shorts, Net-a-Porter; Nike trainers, Teresa’s own