A Curve Catch Up with {Rob Forster}

Rob Forster is one of the highly qualified trainers at Urban Energy Fitness, one of The Curve’s great fitness partners. Originally from the UK, Rob has been in the fitness industry since 2002 and is a Level 3 personal trainer. He took the time to chat with us about his experience in fitness and about one of the hottest new workout trends around: Tabata.

Rob Forster Urban Energy

Q: Tell us a little about yourself – How did you get into the fitness industry?
A: 
 I’ve been into fitness since a young boy and have always turned my hand to any form of sport from athletics to tennis, rugby and golf. Because of this, gym exercise has come hand in hand with my sports which I love. I started out as a gym instructor after finishing my National Diploma in sports and exercise science.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a fitness instructor?
A:   
My favourite thing about being a fitness instructor is meeting different people and seeing them get results and sometimes change their lives.

Q: Tabata sounds like a really interesting exercise – is it true that it only lasts four minutes?
A: 
Tabata is a fantastic workout based on 4 minute intervals of work, where you do a blast of exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds for a total of 8 rounds. You can use any combination of exercises you like. It’s a great way to burn calories and afterwards you feel like you’ve done a great workout.

Q: What makes this form of exercise so special?
A: 
This form of exercise is special in the way you can do it where ever you are with as much or little equipment there is. You can even complete a great Tabata workout with no equipment at all!

Q: Who do you recommend it for?
A:
 Tabata is for any fitness levels because everyone works to their own ability as it’s all about what you can do in that 20 seconds! It’s great for people who want to either lose weight, tone up, get fit or all three!

You get try out this new fitness trend every Wednesday at 8:30 AM. Book your session with  Rob today!

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Strength, growth and friendship beyond the mat

Since coming to the UAE, British expatriate Melanie Swan has made friends in all kinds of places from work as a journalist at The National to the gym, so becoming close to her yoga teacher she says was no surprise for the two women who share so much in common.

Yoga can be a fairly solitary practice, time to internalise, bring together the mind and body but it can also be a beautiful way to meet new people who share similar beliefs and attitudes. It was our shared love of yoga which is how I met Liz Terry, at her vinyasa flow class back in 2011 when she was teaching at Exhale in JBR.

Liz and I are the same age, 34, and share many things in common from our personalities to our life experiences and we both value friendship very strongly, not least since being far away from our families, mine in the UK and hers in the US.

Yoga challenges us both. It forces us to be more quiet in our minds, to learn to accept things the way they are, however hard this at times can be. Its philosophy teaches us so many vital keys to deal with life from compassion to the simple commitment to practice.

Liz and I connected very quickly through yoga. She had recently come to Dubai when we met and I had recently moved from Abu Dhabi to Dubai after two and a half years in the capital. I was drawn to her bubbly nature and her energy though as I grew to know her more, there was so much more to Liz than ‘Liz the bubbly yoga teacher’. Not least, I learnt how much a teacher gives to their students before themselves.

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I have been practicing yoga very on and off since my first class around 12 years ago but really engaged much deeper since a trip to Thailand nearly six years ago and through a teacher in Abu Dhabi. However, nobody had ever really made me commit to my mat in the way Liz did.

I first sought out yoga as I needed some mental calm in my life and figured yoga could be a good way to find that. Meditation is a very tough practice so for me, I find meditation through physicality the easiest. Many people however approach yoga for the ‘exercise’ idea but for me, that wasn’t what drew me to it. Neither Liz nor I practice to ‘work out’ but use yoga as a means of challenging and looking more deeply at ourselves. As Liz’s own teacher says, “the most challenging part of an asana (posture) is letting go of the ego”. Yoga teaches us to lose any sense of competition and to be more compassionate with ourselves. It has also been a vehicle for us both to manage the grief of losing our mothers, both of us coming truly into our practice at this challenging time in our lives.

Liz’s ability to bring so much honesty and personality to her teaching was from the start, very appealing: the qualities I also look for in a friend. Her business called Satya Flow Yoga, is Sanskrit for ‘truth’, which Liz really lives by. While she is an awe inspiring teacher, after more than five years teaching and close to 10 of practice, she remains so humble and her humility is a constant reminder that there is no place for ego – either on or off the mat.

I love to practice with Liz, whether we are taking classes or workshops together or just having fun on the beach. So much has she inspired me both on and off the mat, I finally decided to do my own yoga teacher training qualification this year thanks to Liz, who was the training assistant. I had first thought of this around four years ago but there is a saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears” and this I believe happened with Liz. Her friendship and my confidence in her as a teacher certainly enabled me to go deeper into my physical practice but also, she challenges me off the mat in a way true friends should.

Melanie is a journalist for The National newspaper and can be found on Twitter @Melanieswan1.

If you have found friendship or love through a shared interest or hobby, get in touch with us at info@thecurve-me.com to share your story! 

A Curve Catch Up with {Krista Degaetano}

With Contemporary dance still in its infancy in the UAE, Krista Degaetano, the founder of Contemporary Dance Dubai, is regarded as one of the pioneers of the dance style in the country. We sat down with her to hear more about her journey in the world of dance.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself – where were you born & raised?
A: I was born in Malta and grew up with my other 6 brothers till I moved to The U.K to study Contemporary Dance and achieve my dream of becoming a professional dancer and choreographer.

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Q: How did your interest in dance start?
I loved dance, singing and performing from a very young age. I used to choreograph and direct small shows for my family from the age of 6. At the age of 13 I was already performing semi professionally for the Maltese National Theatre doing 3 shows a year. At 16 I was already in a Contemporary dance company based in Malta, and at 20 I was off to the U.K to do two dance degrees. I knew exactly what I wanted to do straight away. Guess you can say I was born a dancer & a performer.

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Q: Why did you choose contemporary as the style of dance to focus on?
A: I fell in love with Contemporary when I was in Cambridge studying Musical Theatre. We had all the styles under the sun to learn and I felt most free, felt like I could express myself and my art through Contemporary dance. I then decided to get a degree in just that. I have never looked back.

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Q: When did you move to Dubai and why did you choose to come here?
A: I came to Dubai purely by chance. I believe in destiny, and life brought me here 4 years ago on holiday. I saw how Dubai needed more art and dance, and I saw how frustrated artists and dancers were by not having enough professional dance in Dubai. I saw how there was no Contemporary dance here and decided to pioneer it.  I get so much satisfaction from watching people express themselves and learn that I found Dubai to be the perfect home for my art.

Q: How is the contemporary dance scene in Dubai? Do you see progress?
Contemporary dance scene is still very small compared to other parts of the world. I have found that once people take the step to simply try it, they see their work transform as they really do get addicted to this style of dance. The hard part I have found is getting people to try it. This is slowly developing, and I have enjoyed instructing with over 400 passionate dancers over the last 3 years. I know this will develop further, and I am thrilled to be here to witness it.

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Q: What do you think someone benefits from learning contemporary dance?
A: Contemporary dance has it all. It uses a strong technical foundation, so dancers become more aligned and therefore able to achieve so many dance steps . Contemporary is one of the most original dance forms as although it has a base technique, there are no limitations therefore it is constantly changing, moving, becoming more innovative. Keeps dance exciting and fresh. Contemporary dance keeps you super fit as you are up in the air one second and rolling on the floor the next. You gain so much strength and core stability for ultimate fitness. Contemporary allows you to release and express yourself almost therapeutic. I guess you just have to try it.And when you do, please choose your class wisely. Please learn from professionals. Those that have an in depth education on the technique and have studied intensely.

Contemporary Dance Dubai’s new term starts in September with booking available on The Curve.