Essa Al Ansari: How Fitness Saved Me

Emirati businessman hopes his fitness journey inspires others to take charge of their health

A health scare was all the reason Emirati businessman, Essa Ahmed Redha Al Ansari, needed to change his lifestyle. With newfound determination, regular exercise and conscious nutrition decisions, the 26-year-old has transformed his fitness levels, losing over 70kg in the process. Here Essa shares his remarkable story.

The turning point

I was overweight all my life, even as a child. Everyone in my family was fit except me. One day, I went for a routine check-up and the doctor announced that I was pre-diabetic. I was 20 at the time and it really was a shock. He said I had two choices – to stay the way I am and live an unhealthy life or make the decision to change. Having him say it so plainly, in front of my family, that I was looking at life or death, made me decide to be become healthier and fitter.

The challenge

The first six months was the most challenging in my journey. Just moving into a healthier lifestyle was a huge challenge, both mentally and physically, but I kept myself motivated. What the doctor said had a huge impact but having a support network was the number one reason for my success, and still is. There were many times when I wanted to give up but having that support network helped me push myself even further. Especially, my twin brother, Hamad. He’s been fit all his life so when I decided to lose weight, I followed what he was doing. He’s someone I look up to a lot.

“If I don’t start my day with a 30-minute workout, then I get depressed and I’m a different person”

Essa’s routine

I tend to get bored at the gym so I do a lot of different activities and high-intensity workouts, as well as circuit training and running. Fitness to me is something that will now always be very important in my life. It’s odd to say but I cannot leave the house without exercising! I’ll then take a shower, get ready and head out, but my main workouts take place in the evenings. I work out six to seven times a week, usually at BARE in Business Bay.

“My previous trainer gave me great advice: to simply keep going”

Transforming lives

The prevalence of diabetes and obesity is very high in the Middle East. Being an Emirati, who has gone through a weightloss journey of my own, it’s important for me to inspire others. If you’re stuck, push through it and you’ll see the results. If I did it, you can do it – no excuses.

Essa’s fitness tips

  • Adopt the right mindset
  • Stay determined and surround yourself with a positive support network
  • Eat what you like but remember to control your portions

Be more like Essa, and register for the Dubai Fitness Challenge using the app.