In January I received an email out of the blue from a man called Yoka offering me a months free personal training and a years membership to his new gym which hadn't yet opened. I was pretty excited, and clueless, about the whole thing and replied back that absolutely I'd be interested. Being a fan of pies, all of them, and having just come out of the Christmas period, I was feeling definitely like it was time to commence Operation: Be Less Fat.
Yoka wanted time to set his gym up and told me he'd be in touch in a few weeks. I had mentioned this opportunity to a few people, and the few that had heard of Yoka all told me the same... get ready for the pain. I laughed it off, thinking, yeah I've had sore muscles before, nothing new there, I've played rugby on and off for nearly 30 years.
So there I was, well and truly lubricated at the Canadian Stampede when my pocket vibrated - it was the message I was waiting for... Yoka was ready to start training - my first session would be on Monday 9th March - and among other things no booze for the month following that. I can safely report that when I woke up the morning after the Stampede, alcohol was the absolute last thing on my mind.
Monday came, and so did the training session. I walked in, and Yoka was there along with 2 other people and they all looked like they could have snapped me in two and used my broken limbs as toothpicks. I felt intimidated and incredibly nervous for what was about to happen. It turned out I didn't need to feel intimidated because all the guys were really nice and supportive.
Yoka absolutely killed my arms in that first training session, they were shaking and I could barely hold a bottle of water to my mouth. That first session he drove my heart beat to 210 BPM and I was absolutely broken. Little did I know he was only just getting started. For the next few days, the pain in my muscles got worse and worse, to the point where I was beginning to despair, but a friend Mike who'd been through the Yoka treatment before just told me some advice: Embrace the pain, it's fat leaving your body!
|The locker room|
And then came the legs. Session 3 was a grateful respite from slaughtering of my upper body but it came at the price of me being unable to use my legs properly for 3 days afterwards. Toilets were certainly a challenge- you'll either get it or you won't!
During this entire time, and still to this day I am on a strict diet - no booze at all and carefully weighed meals. I've been through 9 sessions now and I'm sleeping better than I have in a long time, I have more energy and I'm on a completely brand new belt hole that I've never been in before since I bought this belt 2 years ago. I'm still a fatty, and I have a long way to go, but I'm on the right path now and hope to keep it up, and I've lost over 10kg so far.
Yoka has given me the gift of renewed fitness and increased energy and I'm very grateful to him. He's about to open his new gym, Elite Gym, which is in a brand new building behind the Al Ameen Mosque in Al Khuwair. His gym is stocked full of brand new Cybex equipment and you even have a nice view while on the arc trainers, or the horrible horrible bicycle machines (they're horrible).
Pricing for this gym is higher than the likes of Horizon, but for a reason - if you want the best, that costs. Yoka and his training staff will tell you if you're not using a machine properly (from a point of view that you're not doing the exercise properly) regardless of whether you're receiving personal training or not - if they see you do something wrong, they'll tell you. Elite gym is designed to be a place for people to work hard and get pointers to help them get the results they want. The difference between Gold membership and Elite membership is that the Elite membership comes with 5 training sessions with Yoka, a nutrition plan (with three updates) and a guest-pass thrown in, just to get you started and help you build up a repertoire of exercises to help you achieve your goals. The guest pass is for if you have a visitor in town and you want to take them to your gym to train with you - you can use that 24 times in a year.
If you're looking for a personal trainer, then Yoka offers that, and I honestly have to warn you - its not for everyone - but Elite has other trainers there too. Yoka has busted my ass, but he's helping me get to where I want to go - and he can help you too.
|Yoka with his partner Nawaf|