CrossFit Athlete and Fitness Coach Shaikha Al Qassemi Reminds Us the Importance of Movement

Movement is vital for the overall performance of our body.

That’s why CrossFit athlete, coach, and Platform founder Shaikha Al Qassemi reminds the youth to move their body and avoid spending too much on their laptops and social media.

In this interview, Shaikha shares her best crossfit training tips, her diet plan, her self-development book recommendations, her future plans, and much more!

Crossfit Shaikha Al Qassemi
Photo credit: Budoor Al Shamlan

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Shaikha Al Qassemi, from Sharjah one of the Emirates in the United Arab Emirates. I’m a 28-year-old Crossfit athlete, coach and gym owner. I am currently training for the competition season and running my business, Platform, which is a wellness and fitness hub in the heart of Dubai. My hobbies are reading, writing and training of course!

How and why did you get into CrossFit?

I started back in 2013, I have always been in and out of the gym since I was 15 years old. I did body building for a long time, circuit training, swimming, boxing and some yoga too, to mix it up but never focused on one thing. I was introduced to CrossFit and fell in love right away! I wasn’t prepared for my first ever event, I remember I was finishing last in every event but it was such a thrill that it got me to competing locally and regionally for four years.

Crossfit Shaikha Al Qassemi

Why is CrossFit important for you?

Sport has taught me so much discipline, it has taught me to learn more about my body and others. As a coach, I am constantly learning new things as well as being an athlete. It’s a constant learning experience with everything we do in CrossFit.

Movement is very important, especially in our day and age, people are working on desks and cubicles all day, some people work 12 hours a day and barely move and our young generation spend so much time in front of their televisions, laptops and video games. It’s important to remind people that movement stimulates the mind and lowers stress levels.

Crossfit Shaikha Al Qassemi

What have been the best and most difficult parts of your CrossFit?

The best part of my sport is the community, I wouldn’t have met every single person in my life if it wasn’t for CrossFit. From people who I work with to people who I train with. I am always grateful to the journey and all the doors that have been opened for me during.

In complete honesty, I personally haven’t found any major difficulties, I have always made sure that I have my strategies and that I am open to any drastic changes. I am blessed to have my sponsor RedBull, supporters Lululemon Dubai, RedZone competitive programming, D.I.S.C Medical Clinic, Athleat (my meal provider), and PH Nutrition (my nutritionist based in London) to keep me recovered, injury free, healthy and at my utmost best as an athlete.

There are always difficulties on the way but I always reach out to professionals to ask for guidance.

How do you eat and sleep?

I have been following Athleat meal provider for about six weeks now. When I am traveling, I don’t follow but make sure that I am not excessively eating a lot of sugars and carbs. After my recent visit to London, my nutritionist has put me on a macro based diet, which basically means I have to weight my carbs and fats as well as stay consistent with timing with training and eating.

Crossfit Shaikha Al Qassemi

How do you handle injuries and recovery?

First thing I do is stay consistent with my mobility work, I make sure that I use balls, rollers and other tools to roll out specific areas in my body that constantly get tight after workouts. If I am faced with any injuries, I visit my doctors D.I.S.C Medical Clinic in Dubai Health Care City to see where the issues are coming from and how we can fix it. I am given some gym-work to do mostly rehab, before or after workouts. As long as I stay consistent with mobility I am in great health.

Crossfit Shaikha Al Qassemi

What is your best advice people new to CrossFit?

Don’t rush the process! It has been four years and a half of my being in this sport and I am still learning to get better at my air squats, snatches and even muscle ups! Some people have more body awareness than others and grasp the movement faster. But if you’re new to the sport, the most important thing to do is listen to your coach and your body. If you are aching, take a day off or move slow and steady on a row or bike to keep your blood circulating. Find the right place and people that you will look forward to working out with and stay consistent!

Crossfit Shaikha Al Qassemi
Photo credit: Budoor Al Shamlan

How do you prepare for events/races?

I prepare for Crossfit events by just doing Crossfit. Staying consistent and diverse, always being sure that I am a well-rounded athlete.

It is pretty hard to do when you only have five days to workout and just 2-3 hours, so you can’t jam everything into a program to be completely well-rounded. But it’s good to do a little bit of everything from running, swimming and lifting to be prepared for anything on a competition floor.

I read many self-development books such as The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer and Who Says You Can’t? You Do by Daniel Chidiac to reflect more on my thoughts and emotions when preparing for competitions.

Crossfit Shaikha Al Qassemi

What has been your best sport purchase below $100, what other favorite gear do you have?

Lululemon bra’s are amazing! They fit perfectly and they have them in all colors and designs! Also, RAD Mobility products the mobility balls that I use to keep myself recovered and injury free.

My SUUNTO Spartan Watch, I bought this product last year and use it for all my activities, running, swimming, even basic workout in the gym. It’s water resistant and is very accurate.

How do you finance your sport?

I am sponsored by RedBull, they’re awesome and take care of me whenever I compete here or travel. I run my own business, however, that does not fund my competitions.

How do you balance normal life with training?

I train five times a week, 2-3 hours, on my off days I go for a swim either at the beach or in an Olympic pool to keep moving. We have annual events every year and our training program changes according to the upcoming events.

Crossfit Shaikha Al Qassemi

What will the future bring?

I would like to continue doing Muay Thai at least once a week, I enjoyed doing it twice a week during Ramadan and would love to go back. I am competing at Battle of the East in Kuwait in November, it is my 3rd year and can’t wait to get on that competition floor! It is something else!

Also, I’m looking forward to growing my business in different field, we currently have nutrition, retail, coffee and Crossfit, I am very excited to announce soon what we are doing next!

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