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Marcus Smith: How fitness saved my life

Endurance athlete, motivational speaker and the man behind one of Dubai’s top fitness facilities – Marcus Smith is a busy man

The 39-year-old former Rugby Seven’s player swapped the pitch for the world of fitness a few years ago to set up InnerFight, and has since made active living his life’s mission.

From competing in scorching heat to tackling numerous cycling and running events, he is no stranger to extreme challenges. But his biggest challenge came in February this year when he was left fighting for his life after a cycling accident.

While training in the mountains for a world record attempt, Marcus was hit by a truck, and veered into a brick wall at 54km/h. Left with seven broken ribs, a shattered scapula and a collapsed lung, Marcus lay in the road with blood foaming from his mouth, 80km from the nearest hospital. This is when every day of fitness and mental training he’d ever put himself through was put to the test. This is when the hard work paid off tenfold: because his body and mind were strong enough to fight.

How fitness saved his life

After three days in intensive care and another five in the main ward of the hospital, Marcus, who is also a CrossFit regional athlete, was allowed home to start his recovery. “I woke up every day and asked myself what I could do to get better that day, to be in a better position by the evening,” he recalls. “It was a lot of hours of hard work and rehab. For the first two months, I could not lift my left arm over my head, so I worked on it and I continued to train parts of my body that were working, and also my mind.”

Amazingly, Marcus has made a full physical recovery. “Three doctors told me had I not been physically fit I would have died. My cardiothoracic surgeon could not believe that I had survived,” he explains. “For my recovery, the fact that I prioritised good nutrition and sleep allowed me to make the progress I have made.”

The importance of being fit has never been lost on Marcus, who trains between 15 and 20 hours a week, but since the accident he is more determined than ever to get other people moving too.

30 minutes is what you need

“Fitness means being physically and mentally able to live life to the fullest. The Dubai Fitness Challenge is needed as it makes movement and fitness simple and bite-sized,’ explains Marcus. “People are often under the illusion that they have to work out for hours but they don’t, 30-minutes a day is great.”

Marcus has ambitious plans for Dubai Fitness Challenge, having committed to running 30 marathons in 30 days across the emirate.

“This is a city I have spent 35 years living in and I am passionate about helping people live the best lives they can. I will run all around the emirate and I hope to inspire people and show residents, and the world, some amazing parts of our city,” he says.

Marcus answers our quick-fire questions:

Cardio or weights? Mix always
Big breakfast or big dinner? Both
Long run or quick sprints? Both
Favourite food? Smith St Paleo
Favourite exercise or sport? Play as many sports as you can, they’re all fun
Favourite part of Dubai? I love the desert
Tell us one things we might not know about you? My second and third toe on each foot are  webbed
What are you most grateful for? That I wake up every day with my wife: ready to make a difference.
One thing you couldn’t live without: My wife
One line to motivate people: Show No Weakness
Why should people be part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge? It will make you a better human  on many levels

Follow Marcus on Instagram: @mjd_smith

Find out how you can be part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge by downloading the app now.