Fitness enthusiasts
Fitness enthusiasts. From left: Yuri Nemoto, Patty Kienberger and Sara Lodhi Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Patty Kienberger


Patty Kienberger enjoys nothing more than staying fit and pushing herself to ‘become a better version of myself’

Twenty-six-year-old Patty Kienberger has been a resident of the UAE for the last five years. Pursuing a career in the construction industry, she has always been a huge sports and outdoors enthusiast, and enjoys nothing more than staying fit and pushing herself to ‘become a better version of myself’.

Patty started cycling around two years ago. ‘I did some small triathlons as well as the half Ironman in Dubai and now I am focusing mostly on cycling since it brings me the most joy,’ she says.

Excerpts from an interview:

Why did you choose cycling?

I started cycling mainly thanks to my husband; it was the only sport he was allowed to do after his knee surgery.

What are the best things about cycling vis-à-vis your fitness goals?

My goal is always to become the best version of myself and to work on it every single day. There was never a particular event or race I had as a goal. As long as I get better I’m on the right way.

When did you start working out regularly?

I always worked out regularly because sport makes me feel good; I could definitely not live without it. As for cycling, I have been doing it regularly since around one and half years.

Which is better – working out alone or in a group or with a friend?

I love to work out with friends or in a group. It is always great to join groups and meet people who are passionate about the same things as you are.

How many hours do you work out on average a week?

I cycle between 10-18 hours per week, depending on my daily schedule.

What are the major changes you have noticed in your mental and physical well being since taking up this sport?

Cycling brings me a lot of happiness and joy and I am grateful for every single day I can spend on the bike. I often struggled in the past with my joints but since I started cycling I have way less pain since it is way more gentle on the joints than many other sports.

How do you keep yourself motivated to go exercising every day?

I am really passionate about cycling and I love to spend time outside. Besides that, I am really competitive and love to become better and to see results. I guess it is also a big motivation when you are training with a great team or in a group because you always know people are waiting for you.

What is your diet on an average day?

I don’t follow a particular diet. I just try to eat the right amount of food and to find a good balance of everything my body needs.

3 tips to stick to an exercise plan

I believe that you always need a certain goal in front of you which you are able to achieve.
Working out with friends or joining a group always makes it easier to go an extra mile especially when you have lack of motivation.
Never give up when it gets hard because one day it will get easier.

Do you switch exercise plans/sports during the summer?

I do change my plan during summer since it is off season during this period and no races take place.

Sara Lodhi


Sara Lodhi_
I find running the most enjoyable, says Sara Lodhi

Ask Sara Lodhi what is her favourite exercise regimen and she will answer without missing a beat– outdoor running. ‘Hands down, it is my favourite exercise.

‘I find running the most enjoyable as it helps me clear my mind,’ says the UAE resident.

To her, breathing fresh air, looking at beautiful views and ‘absorbing life as I run outdoors is the best therapy’.

Excerpts from an interview:

What are the best things about running vis-à-vis your fitness goals?

Running helps me stay fit physically and mentally as well.

When did you start working out regularly?

I have been working out for over three and half years. Working out is a part of my lifestyle now and I feel incomplete on rest days. This is the highest goal of fitness, where it becomes a part of life.

Which is better – working out alone or in a group or with a friend?

To be honest, I enjoy all three. There are days where I want to workout and run on my own; other days I need the company of runners. I have social run days and then my own solo work to make sure I am applying all that I have learnt... putting into practice all the things that I have picked up.

How long have you been practicing your chosen fitness program?

This is my second year of outdoor running.

How many hours do you work out on average a week?

I work out on average about 7-8 hours a week. On most days I workout 1.5 hours. I do try and take one rest day per week.

How do you keep yourself motivated to go exercising everyday?

I must say this has now become a part of my lifestyle. I feel it is essential for not just my physical but mental wellbeing as well. Post exercise, I feel like my best version, a happy person. My cup is full so I can pour into others’. Sometimes I do lack motivation, but on those days I try to be consistent and try not to miss my regular regimen. That said, I believe it is okay and beneficial to take breaks when you need it. Overtraining has negative effects so I listen to my body; if it needs a break I give it a break.

What is your diet on an average day?

I have done my macros diligently and calculated calories to reach my goals. But once I have arrived at my happy place, I eat well as a runner needs fuel. The best part is I can eat it all and burn it all. I try to be mindful and eat clean, but also give in to my cravings and enjoy life.

3 tips to stick to an exercise plan
Find an activity that you love and is enjoyable.

Consistency will get you results, a lot of people expect results fast and give up too soon. There is only one magic ingredient and that is consistency. Be patient and consistent, and you will see the results

Keep things simple, do not overcomplicate and do not get lost trying to find quick-fix solutions, and such programs. Go for changes that are sustainable over long term and that you can incorporate into your lifestyle for a positive change.

What are the major changes you have noticed in your mental and physical well being since taking up running?

I am definitely a happier and more positive person. My cup is full and I can spread the positivity around.

Do you switch exercise plans/sports during the summer?

For July and August this year I moved to indoor running. It was too hot to keep up with outdoor running but still I managed to get long runs in by waking up at 3 am and getting run in before the sun is out.

Yuri Nemoto


Yuri Nemoto_02-1668678484706
Yuri Nemoto makes it a point to train every morning

Yuri Nemoto picked martial arts as a sport and for self-defense when she left her country, Japan, at the age of 22. ‘I thought that would help my parents to calm down since I’m the only daughter,’ says the now 31-year-old UAE resident who works as a nutritionist for athletes.

Passionate about staying fit, Yuri makes it a point to train every morning- running and skipping rope for 30 minutes as a warm up and boxing for an hour.

Excerpts from an interview:

Why did you choose boxing?

When I was small, I used to avoid watching combat sport because I don’t like violence, but looking back, I had no clue about the spirit of the sport at that time.

When I started Thai kickboxing later, I found it is about training my mental strength to better control negative thoughts because nobody enjoys being hit. The first time I learned that mental fortitude matters as much as technique and physical condition was when I fought in the ring. Recently I chose to take a new challenge, which led me to start boxing.

What are the best things about boxing vis-a-vis fitness goals?

Boxing requires strength, endurance, and speed. This is where my interests as a Registered Associate Nutritionist in UK come in – proper nutrition can do so much for athletic performance. But another core element is the mindset to not show that I am tired, when in reality I am [gasping]. It is tough but I enjoy learning this. It is like telling your mind “shhh it’s fine, we’ve got this”, as if the fear is a little creature living inside me.

When did you start working out regularly?

In 2016, when I started Muay Thai in London. It was the moment in my life when I wanted to make sure I am surrounded by people who inspire and make me feel empowered. Especially I really appreciated and cherished the females I met through the sport, how dedicated they are even if they are working hard at a full time job where many are high on the career ladder.

How long have you been practicing boxing?

In 2020, it all started with Mehdi Oubahammou, who helped me to prepare for the UAE Muay Thai Championship. Once experiencing the fight camp, training twice a day for six days a week before the fight, I started to feel my resilience grew further outside the sport context as well.

Which is better – working out alone or in a group or with a friend?

I like all, each session will have its own performance objectives. But certainly training in a group is the best option to learn the culture of the sport and experience the community atmosphere. In a place like Dubai, you get to hear from people you train with what it’s like training in their home country too– a big bonus.

How many hours do you work out on average a week?

Ten hours per week typically. Once the fight is booked, it becomes more. In my opinion, what matters more is habit creation i.e. how long you can train according to your personal circumstances. On the days you have time, low to medium intensity can be applied to aerobic or technical learning. On those days you don’t have time, increasing intensity will compensate for lower time allocation.

What is your diet on an average day?

Depends on my training schedule, but it’ll be a combination of fruit and vegetables, protein-rich foods, seeds and grains, and of course water. Food is power. I have some comfort foods from Japan too. Soybean items make me feel at home, it’s also very important for me to include them in meals. I feel they give me more than just nutrients, strength and warmth like when my mother cooked.

3 tips to start on a fitness plan

1.Find something you can continue: You may already know your passion, but also be open minded to suggestions by your peers or coach. They may point out something you are good at that you never thought about before. You may find your game once your passion and potential are combined.
2. Compare with yesterday’s you: No need to compare with others in your training class, each body is different. Just aim to perform better than yesterday.
3. Pace yourself: Even though you might have an ideal goal you want to reach, no need to rush and please do enjoy the journey because it can take a while. Consistency is the best capability in fitness that helps you grow further.

What 3 tips can you offer people to stick to an exercise plan?

1. Be surrounded by people who make you feel empowered: If you are someone who likes training with others, select a group and facility you like because they make you feel yourself and motivated to improve. No one should make you feel inferior or less of you.

2. Build your team: Committing to sport may bring you questions regarding the performance and your health. Having access to someone you feel you can rely on will help you be equipped properly. - coach, PT, S&C trainer, physiotherapist, sport masseuse, medical doctor, sports nutritionist or dietitian if you have a medical diagnosis.

3. “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” This is a quote by Haruki Murakami. There will be days where every one of us feels that going back to training is painful. You might have several reasons not to do it. For physical pain, seek help from experts who can reassure you and take good care of you. Injuries happen when we are in low energy and lose sharpness. For mental pain, remember that it is ok to talk about it to people around you.

What are the major changes you have noticed in your mental and physical well-being since taking up boxing?

I highly value mental changes more than physical ones. It actually takes longer (months/years) and occurs inside, so it could be invisible for others. But it impacts our daily life immensely. It changes our lifestyle, quality of life, self-discipline, morals and so on. Physical changes occur at first (weeks) following your consistent training. The truth is if it’s easy to obtain, it’s easy to lose.

Do you switch exercise plans/sports during the summer?

Actually this summer I had a personal challenge on my own! I’ve been exposed to explosive high intensity sports in my life, but not endurance, so I decided to run a full marathon. As a nutrition geek, I was focused to be mindful of my physiological stress during the activity, so doing it on my own was enough. I switched both my training plans and nutrition plans for endurance. I went running when the city was asleep so that I could avoid high humidity and temperature during the summer in Dubai. When I completed, it was a beautiful moment to realize once again that sport brings out the best in us. Acknowledging how far you’ve come compared with where you used to be brings us the biggest confidence.