Faces Who Changed the Fitness Game in Egypt: Sarah El Shahed

Sarah El Shahed 3

A new year is upon us, and with it comes our annual pledges to make healthier choices. Whether it’s replacing smoking with spinning, opting to run on Friday mornings instead of staying out all night Thursday, or snacking on Bake Stix instead of binging on ice cream, we can always do more to limit self-destructive habits.

In honor of those health-conscious resolutions to live well, we’re highlighting inspiring personalities who have changed the fitness game in Egypt.

These days, you can’t describe the fitness industry without including CrossFit, the uber popular strength and conditioning program that has taken gyms by storm.

One of the faces of CrossFit in Egypt is Sarah El Shahed, a dedicated trainer and coach who truly lives what she teaches.

Get Sarah’s take on healthy living in her on words, below:



1. In your opinion, what’s the biggest fitness mistake people make?


In my opinion, the biggest mistake is that people commonly only exercise for short-term or temporary goals. Exercising and training should be adopted as long-term goals for the sustainability of an improved lifestyle. There can be short-term goals, but not in the sense of ‘I’ve reached my goal, I am now done’ – one should never be ‘done’ with exercise or training.

Many people are driven by single-goaled purposes, training for a month or two or whatever the period of time, to reach a certain goal, like getting into shape for the summer, fitting into their wedding dress or tuxedo, or just reaching a certain weight and then stop working out.

Exercising, training, nutrition and improved fitness are essential for developing a healthy lifestyle and should be tackled through gradual changes, creating new habits, making better choices, exploring different routines and continuously developing.

It’s commonly seen that the people who are driven by some sort of ‘change’ usually make dramatic and unsustainable changes and, once their goal is achieved, they resume their old habits or even end up where they began.



2. What’s one obstacle you’ve faced in your fitness journey and how did you overcome it?


When I first started with CrossFit, my greatest fear was training with heavy weights, mainly because I was afraid of getting injured, and secondly, as many girls would agree, was the fear of becoming too ‘manly’ or ‘bulking up’.

Firstly, I was able to overcome my fear of getting injured with the help of great coaches and colleagues who taught me that technique and form come before increasing weight.

Whether it was a snatch or a back squat, I began to overcome my fear by gradually working on my weaknesses, training hard without straining myself, focusing on improving my technique and controlling my body and the movement.

And until today, as I get stronger and more comfortable, I continuously challenge and push myself to lift heavier and get even stronger.

My second concern was quickly addressed when I realized that the concept of using weights and ‘bulking up’ was a common misconception. Whilst lifting weights, you gradually increase muscle mass, however, cardiovascular exercise and diet play a key role.

Also, I learned that women are not as susceptible to gaining muscle mass as men are due to their different hormonal balance. Based on personal experience, I realized that gaining muscle mass meant increased metabolism, better performance, and I also looked and felt healthier.



3. Give us one piece of advice about healthy living.


Continuously set attainable goals to ‘increase work capacity across broad time and modal domains’, as Crossfit defines fitness. That entails gradual changes, creating new habits, making better choices, exploring different routines and continuously developing – whether in terms of training, diet or state of mind.

As CrossFit emphasizes, to reach optimum physical health, make sure that your exercise regimen works on improvising all aspects of fitness (power, strength, cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, flexibility, accuracy, speed, agility, coordination, balance, and stamina). Also, fuel your body with nutrients and get sufficient rest.

One last thing, always strive to make each day better than the day before. Only compete with yourself and do not forget to go ALL OUT every time you work out.



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*This content is sponsored by Bake Family