Abu Dhabi resident Eva Clarke, a former military fitness instructor, did 9,241 knuckle pushups in 24 hours to set a Guinness World Record on February 1. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A mother, wife, fitness trainer and record-breaker wants to promote fitness among Abu Dhabi residents, as many are still unaware of the risks of an unhealthy lifestyle and the health-care costs associated with the resulting diseases.

“I am in a position where I can give something back to the universe because I have this passion to push myself to achieve success. I will continue to challenge myself as much as I can, as a mother, wife and fitness trainer,” Eva Clarke told Gulf News.

Clarke, 34, an Australian, completed 1,206 knuckle push-ups in one hour and a total of 9,241 in the next 24 hours to set a new Guinness World Record. “I was never scared of failure. I wanted to test my patience. I have learnt that the only person I don’t want to let down is myself. I wanted to make a difference and say to the world that I am here,” she said.

“I started a long-term training programme one year ago in order to set this record. Also, my previous background as a military instructor for almost nine years has absolutely helped in improving my endurance,” she added.

As well as regular exercise she eats a balanced diet.

“I eat a lot of meat, green vegetables and fruit as well as protein supplements to control body weight, increase exercise capacity and muscle performance,” Clarke, who works as a trainer in the capital, told Gulf News.

“I don’t count my daily calorie intake. However, I look and focus on what is good for me to eat. However, when I tend to eat chocolate or a slice of cake I always exercise. I spend around four hours a day working out and it is not all high intensity,” she added.

Group exercise

“I am blessed with great health, children and a supportive husband. Therefore, it has been easy for me to balance my work and personal life. My family loves to get involved in all my activities and competitions. We are an active family and we exercise a lot,” she said.

When asked how she would advise women to keep fit, she said: “The first thing women need to do is to start walking. If you don’t have time, turn your housework into a work-out. It is a great way to burn calories without leaving home. Also, getting involved in group exercise can keep you motivated. It is never too late and you’re never too old. Working out and seeing your body change will definitely help to boost your confidence, change your attitude towards yourself and improve the quality of your life.”

Clarke, who has lived in the capital for two years, works as a trainer at New York University Abu Dhabi.

“I had to overcome some small barriers and, believe me; I had to work hard for everything that I have now. I suffered from Kienbock’s disease, which is a breakdown of the lunate bone in the wrist when I started bodybuilding in 2006 in Australia. However, such an injury did not affect my performance. I still want to promote hope and fitness to Abu Dhabi residents,” she added.

When asked whether she would like her children to follow her example she said: “It is a lot of pressure, yet I will be happy with any decision they make in their lives. I want them to be successful, to never give up or quit anything they love.”

Clarke started the push-up challenge to raise awareness for the Maria Cristina Foundation, a local charity that provides support for underprivileged children in Bangladesh. She raised more than Dh62,440.