- Why am I taking this course?
- What does fitness mean to me?
- What do I hope to gain from this course over the next 3 months?
- What are my own personal fitness goals for this semester?
It was not until the middle of the Fall semester of 2020 that I realized the toll that COVID-19 and social distancing have taken on my mental health. With the majority of my friends graduating, staying with their families, or leaving for home, I found myself all alone and running out of new things to do. Therefore, I decided to go back to my home country, Saudi Arabia, until further notice. Due to the massive differences in culture and environment, the lifestyle I created for myself there, in the US, is 180° different than the lifestyle I have here in Saudi. In the US, I could easily keep an active lifestyle. Hiking trails are readily available in the DMV area, and everything is within a walking or a metro distance. However, this is not the case in Saudi, where driving is the only method of transportation and trials do not really exist.
Hoping to find a way to change the lifestyle I have here to a more active one and to stay fit from the comfort of my home, I decided to take this class. Fitness is not just about being in good shape or good health. For me, it is about strength, challenge, and pushing the limits. As a kid, I used to have asthma which prevented me from playing hide and seek and climbing trees like other kids. While the asthma attacks gradually disappeared as I got older, I was still not allowed to bike or run due to social constraints. Therefore, I grew up overweight, with low stamina, and without muscle strength or mobility. My first hiking trip in 2015 was a deathtrap. When I started going to the gym in 2017, a speed of 3.0 mph on the treadmill would exhaust me. Pushing those limits and seeing how much I have come so far from that point had always made me proud and gave me a sense of freedom!
I have been here in Saudi for over 3 months now. On January the 17th, I wanted to do a quick HIIT running/jogging morning workout. Giving that I have been inactive for a relatively long time, I knew I should not expect much. Yet, I was completely surprised to see that I could not do more than three intervals of “push/rest” in 20 minutes. Not only that, but I could not get the maximum heart rate to go beyond 170 bpm when it used to be 200 bpm! My personal fitness goal for this year is to shed fat and build upper-body muscles. Over the course of 3 months, I hope that this class will help me achieve those goals as well as to build endurance through learning techniques of designing and implementing personalized workout and fitness programs that suits the life I have here. I also hope that this class will encourage me to stick to such fitness programs until it ultimately becomes a habit of mine and a new way of living that would last a lifetime.