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When you’ve been exercising as long as I have, you develop a sense for what your body responds to and which workouts help you achieve your fitness goals faster; as well as what kind of workout you enjoy most. Enjoyment really is a major contributing factor in maintaining a workout regime. Of course if you’re one of the large group of people who would never use the word “en-joy” to describe any form of exercise, sticking with your workout regime becomes even more of a challenge. I fall into the category of people who genuinely love sport. Hence if I can play a round of squash, a game of tennis or even train for a half marathon rather than go into a gym to workout, then I’m actually winning at life. The sport option is however not always readily available to me, so I improvise with high intensity interval training (HIIT).


Whichever category you fall into, it still takes a large amount of focus and motivation to get yourself to the gym regularly enough to make a difference to your fitness level and your body shape. Until recently, spinning was probably my least favourite form of cardiovascular exercise of the many that I have tried. I found the entire concept of being stuck on a stationary bike that’s clearly not going anywhere, staring at the screen that’s telling me how few calories I’ve burned frustrating and even a little bit aggravating. And just to add some contradictory peculiarity to how my mind works, Iactually really enjoy running to nowhere on the treadmill. It’s my favourite piece of gym equipment. I cannot elucidate the inner workings of my brain; some things I like – others not so much.

The reason my sentiments on spinning have changed is solely attributed to the phenomenon that is Joujou Al Fardan. Not only is she beautiful with an insane figure, but also she is serene, equable and boundlessly personable. One of those people who just exude confidence from their core and have a virtually tangible positive aura. Side note: I’m aware that this is beginning to sound like a love letter – but seriously, have you met her? When I found out Joujou was launching Qatar’s first indoor spinning studio featuring high intensity cardio, muscle sculpting and strength training – I had to check it out; and so I did, and it was magnificent.


Her new studio is called Ride Tribe and it’s located in the most active strip in Porto Arabia at The Pearl. I attended the ladies only class during Qatar’s National Sports Day and it was intense. The energy Joujou brings to the class is highly contagious, even when I was nearly out of breath I pushed through the fire in my legs merely by her willing me on from the front of the class. The rhythm-based choreography is highly addictive and carried me through the pain threshold where my body wanted to give up and my mind replied – not yet! The Ride Tribe method is a full body, fat-burning workout that incorporates interval training. In the dimly lit room with strobe lights and rhythmic beats I found myself pushing through what my legs dictated was possible and reaching new goals. Climbing, sprinting, breathing and breaking through the barriers created by my mind.

With every push and every pump, my muscles were all working in unison with my mind. It was all so balanced, everything was in tune, and I could feel that I was spinning into control. Control of my mind, control of my body and control of that small voice inside that
says my muscles have reached their limit. And putting that voice in its place.

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Follow Ntando Stemmet @ntandostemmet