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The gym for all seasons

In a time long past gone, physical fitness was regarded as the preoccupation of health nuts and sports enthusiasts. Except for the armed forces where intensive physical activity was considered as de rigeur,  for all practical purposes life moved along at a comfortable pace. And even if you were slightly more than chubby, it didn’t matter at all. Indeed whatever little exposure people got of physical and sporting activities, seemed to almost end once university and college days were over and one had  slipped into the humdrum pursuit of career, marriage, middle age and the middle age spread.

I suppose the only people who took a rather serious view about exercise and physical fitness were the Greeks. That’s why the games they organised at the base of Mount Olympus in honour of their gods became the percussor of the modern day Olympic games.

But the era of laidback contentment and flab has seen a gradual transformation over the course of the past three decades, where the accent has been on toned, chiselled and sculpted bodies. The focus is now on rippling muscles, a six-pack Ab and a massive chest that threatens to pop the buttons on your shirt. Behind all this is the obsession of today’s Generation Y with the cult of the macho and superhero. And all this has given rise to this massive burgeoning  of gyms, or body temples as I like to think of them.

Long before the cult of the body temples had become widespread, the Al Falaj was among the first hotels in Oman to offer world class gym facilities, not just to their own guests but others as well willing to avail of these facilities on a membership basis.

It has also been the very first hotel in the Sultanate to introduce separate gym facilities for both men and women.

The hotel’s gym complex has undergone transformation over the years not just in terms of machinery and equipment but also in terms of trained experts and staff to make sure your gym experience is equal to the best in the world and which will make a big difference in your level of fitness and how good you feel about it.

Tijana Vandija from the Europe, has recently joined the facility as a gym instructress.

One look at the tall, lithe and loose-limbed Tijana and it is easy to presume that she is a natural for basketball. And true enough, this soft-spoken lady has had 12 year of experience in basket-ball, representing  her country, Serbia, at the state and national level for more than 8 years.

“After completing my instructors training, I have specialised as a gym trainer. I coach both older people and children in groups in body-building, weight training and kettle bell training”.

Tijana is also a trained physiotherapist.

Nandana Dissanayake, a physical instructor specialist  brings with him fifteen years of experience with the Hilton, Colombo and  has been with the Al Falaj Hotel since the past eight years

Nandana says he is a fitness trainer and he takes both group fitness classes as well as personal training classes.

Giving details about his role, Nandana says “Our job is to make our trainees fit, increase their knowledge about health and about their bodies and from time to time we have to motivate them also so that interest also stays at peak level.

Some of the activities that are part of his routine include compound exercises, body weight exercises and biometric exercises.

“I am a specialist in body fat reduction, together with right nutrition techniques people must follow both to gain as well as to lose weight, and calisthenics”.

Talking about the average number of people that he takes in a session, Nandana says “in the ladies group we have between 6 and 8 persons. For the men the numbers are slightly more, between 8 and 12”.

Nandana usually handles about three group sessions in a day. “This is in addition to my personal training sessions.

He is also a part-time tennis coach. “That’s where I get the opportunity to interact with kids

Swimming coach Don, who has recently joined the Al Falaj Hotel gym complex some four months ago, and makes up the trio of extremely competent coaches, bring with a long a rich experience of 10 years working with the Jumeirah Hotel, Dubai as their swimming coach.

A Sri Lankan national, Don has been a national swimmer (breast stroke) and has represented his country many times in international events.

Don says he teaches beginners, usually kids, in groups of 10 and takes four batches of students in a day, spending one hour with each batch.

“We are always open every day of the week from 5.30 am to 10 pm”, says Don.

Talking about the number of members they have Don says “we have over 250 members. For most them our hotel is more like a second home  and many of these people have been members for over 25 years”.

He says he has received his certification from the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA).

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