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 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”
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”
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.