Burn habibi burn: CrossFit crazy Arabs are deadlifting that holiday weight off!

Published January 6th, 2015 - 18:58 GMT

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For some, it was love at first box jump. For others, it took a few more burpees and thrusters to get over the fear factor of this intense sport. But, somehow, WOD (workout of the day) after sweat-drenching WOD, thousands around the region are forcing themselves out of bed or office chair and to the gym for this hardcore, elite form of fitness.

And you know what? They’re healthier, happier, and have a stronger sense of community because of it. Continue reading below »

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You might be surprised to discover that women, covered or not, are push pressing those barbells with the best of them. Check out this diva-rocking Reebok CrossFit LifeSpark's Firestorm competition 2014. (Image: Facebook)
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10You might be surprised to discover that women, covered or not, are push pressing those barbells with the best of them. Check out this diva-rocking Reebok CrossFit LifeSpark's Firestorm competition 2014. (Image: Facebook)

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'Since I've started, I'm actually feeling better about myself... And I've only been a member for two weeks!' - Mohammad Maani, CrossFit Crescent
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10"Since I've started, I'm actually feeling better about myself... And I've only been a member for two weeks!" - Mohammad Maani, CrossFit Crescent

Enlarge
'First I want to lose weight, get fitter and also I have a prior back injury and I want to make my back stronger.'  (Image: Facebook)
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10"First I want to lose weight, get fitter and also I have a prior back injury and I want to make my back stronger." (Image: Facebook)

Enlarge
'To increase my flexibility, mobility and fitness... and to socialize, its a club, its like a small community where everyone is friendly!' (Image: Facebook)
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Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10"To increase my flexibility, mobility and fitness... and to socialize, its a club, its like a small community where everyone is friendly!" (Image: Facebook)

Enlarge
'I CrossFit because its a team sport. You know the last one who finishes is just as important as the first.' - Ramzi Hassan (Image: Facebook)
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Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10"I CrossFit because its a team sport. You know the last one who finishes is just as important as the first." - Ramzi Hassan (Image: Facebook)

Enlarge
'I CrossFit because its fun, challenging and its like magic... You get stronger and stronger each class.' - Jumana Dalgamouni, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)
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Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10"I CrossFit because its fun, challenging and its like magic... You get stronger and stronger each class." - Jumana Dalgamouni, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)

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Some might say CrossFitters’ heads aren’t screwed on right to willingly subject themselves to such intense training. These athletes at CrossFit 965 in Kuwait are certainly looking at the world upside down! (Image: Facebook)
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Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10Some might say CrossFitters’ heads aren’t screwed on right to willingly subject themselves to such intense training. These athletes at CrossFit 965 in Kuwait are certainly looking at the world upside down! (Image: Facebook)

Enlarge
“It keeps me coming back for more: for the endorphins, the people, the PRs, the laughs, the new skills, the intensity, progress, etc. I could keep going…' - Farah Gilani, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)
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Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10“It keeps me coming back for more: for the endorphins, the people, the PRs, the laughs, the new skills, the intensity, progress, etc. I could keep going…" - Farah Gilani, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)

Enlarge
'CrossFit makes me feel at my best, and exceed my limits every day. CrossFit...is my second family.' - Faisal Shukur, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)
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Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10"CrossFit makes me feel at my best, and exceed my limits every day. CrossFit...is my second family." - Faisal Shukur, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)

Enlarge
Do you see a box in your area on this map? Are you ready to drink the CrossFit Kool-Aid? There are over a hundred to choose from in the region. (Image: screenshot from map.crossfit.com)
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Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Do you see a box in your area on this map? Are you ready to drink the CrossFit Kool-Aid? There are over a hundred to choose from in the region. (Image: screenshot from map.crossfit.com)

Enlarge

1

You might be surprised to discover that women, covered or not, are push pressing those barbells with the best of them. Check out this diva-rocking Reebok CrossFit LifeSpark's Firestorm competition 2014. (Image: Facebook)

Image 1 of 10You might be surprised to discover that women, covered or not, are push pressing those barbells with the best of them. Check out this diva-rocking Reebok CrossFit LifeSpark's Firestorm competition 2014. (Image: Facebook)

2

'Since I've started, I'm actually feeling better about myself... And I've only been a member for two weeks!' - Mohammad Maani, CrossFit Crescent

Image 2 of 10"Since I've started, I'm actually feeling better about myself... And I've only been a member for two weeks!" - Mohammad Maani, CrossFit Crescent

3

'First I want to lose weight, get fitter and also I have a prior back injury and I want to make my back stronger.'  (Image: Facebook)

Image 3 of 10"First I want to lose weight, get fitter and also I have a prior back injury and I want to make my back stronger." (Image: Facebook)

4

'To increase my flexibility, mobility and fitness... and to socialize, its a club, its like a small community where everyone is friendly!' (Image: Facebook)

Image 4 of 10"To increase my flexibility, mobility and fitness... and to socialize, its a club, its like a small community where everyone is friendly!" (Image: Facebook)

5

'I CrossFit because its a team sport. You know the last one who finishes is just as important as the first.' - Ramzi Hassan (Image: Facebook)

Image 5 of 10"I CrossFit because its a team sport. You know the last one who finishes is just as important as the first." - Ramzi Hassan (Image: Facebook)

6

'I CrossFit because its fun, challenging and its like magic... You get stronger and stronger each class.' - Jumana Dalgamouni, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)

Image 6 of 10"I CrossFit because its fun, challenging and its like magic... You get stronger and stronger each class." - Jumana Dalgamouni, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)

7

Some might say CrossFitters’ heads aren’t screwed on right to willingly subject themselves to such intense training. These athletes at CrossFit 965 in Kuwait are certainly looking at the world upside down! (Image: Facebook)

Image 7 of 10Some might say CrossFitters’ heads aren’t screwed on right to willingly subject themselves to such intense training. These athletes at CrossFit 965 in Kuwait are certainly looking at the world upside down! (Image: Facebook)

8

“It keeps me coming back for more: for the endorphins, the people, the PRs, the laughs, the new skills, the intensity, progress, etc. I could keep going…' - Farah Gilani, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)

Image 8 of 10“It keeps me coming back for more: for the endorphins, the people, the PRs, the laughs, the new skills, the intensity, progress, etc. I could keep going…" - Farah Gilani, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)

9

'CrossFit makes me feel at my best, and exceed my limits every day. CrossFit...is my second family.' - Faisal Shukur, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)

Image 9 of 10"CrossFit makes me feel at my best, and exceed my limits every day. CrossFit...is my second family." - Faisal Shukur, CrossFit Crescent (Image: Facebook)

10

Do you see a box in your area on this map? Are you ready to drink the CrossFit Kool-Aid? There are over a hundred to choose from in the region. (Image: screenshot from map.crossfit.com)

Image 10 of 10Do you see a box in your area on this map? Are you ready to drink the CrossFit Kool-Aid? There are over a hundred to choose from in the region. (Image: screenshot from map.crossfit.com)

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CrossFit has long been an addiction in the West, but, not surprisingly in a culture where family and tribe is everything, enthusiasts from Morocco to the Emirates have recently caught the bug and joined this fitness community too. More than a hundred (and counting) CrossFit gyms, or boxes as they are called, have opened across the Middle East.

Ramallah-based trainer Basel Qatamesh believes in CrossFit's ability to transform lives. He's currently aiming to gain affiliate status for his gym "Pal-Fit" because “this sort of training is not familiar for the Palestinian community...Pal-Fit is keen to create a new physical culture within the box itself and to positively affect our trainees’ daily lives to improve their resilience towards life challenge,” he shared in an interview.

We gathered images and quotes from CrossFit Crescent in Amman, Reebok CrossFit LifeSpark in Dubai and CrossFit 965 in Kuwait to illustrate the impact the sport has already had on the region. Will you be next to join the cult...I mean, CrossFit?

If you’re hoping to say "see ya" to the spirit of Christmas cookies past and kick those extra kilos gained over the Eid holidays to the curb, then you might be interested to learn why so many people of all ages, genders, and socioeconomic statuses are simultaneously heading to the nearest CrossFit.

Besides, you’ve got to earn that kabsa somehow, right? 

The Middle East has drunk the CrossFit Kool-Aid. And here's how they're hittin' up the box and kicking those hangover carbs to the curb this holiday season!

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