We team up with Reebok and their cutting edge #ZPump shoe to find out how Egypt's most illustrious athletes get motivated. This time, we speak to CrossFit Engine 38's Mourad Gaber and Hassan Gabr...
In the second of our collaborations with Reebok's new ZPump sneakers, we speak to salubrious citizens Mourad Gaber and Hassan Gabr, two athletes at the forefront of the cult phenomenon that is CrossFit. The former is the founder of CrossFit Engine 38 while the latter is a level two trainer for the same box. We head over to hang out with these fit humans while they get in a work out, with their feet clad in the new ZPump running shoes, and find out what gets them pumped and ready to take on all the challenges the sport brings.
When did you begin practicing sports? Which sports were you into as a child?
Mourad: I began playing sports at the age of 4. I did long distance swimming, Karate and Muai Thai (Thai boxing).
Hassan: I started sports at the age of 7 with football. I went on to playing football competitively for a few clubs, my school teams and my university teams as well.
When did you pick up CrossFit and why?
Mourad: It was around 4 years ago when a friend of mine, Ramy Saleh brought it to Egypt. He introduced it to us and I fell in love and I've been addicted ever since.
Hassan: I picked up CrossFit just over 2 and a half years ago. I was a big gym rat and I loved lifting weights but then I found out about CrossFit. CrossFit gave me the opportunity to get even stronger than I was and at the same time get fit. I am now the fittest I have ever been in my life and my strength and lifting numbers are at an all-time high as well. CrossFit makes you healthier and makes your life better I can say.
When did CrossFit turn from a fitness activity into a career for you?
Mourad: A little more than three years ago I decided to start my own CrossFit Box; so with four great partners we established CrossFit Engine38.
Hassan: I quickly fell in love with CrossFit and developed a passion for it which made me read more and educate myself about fitness in general. Naturally I wanted to keep learning even more and transfer some of this knowledge onto other people just like my coach and inspiration Mourad Gaber did with me. I passed my coach's exam and started assisting in some sessions before moving onto coaching at CrossFit Engine 38 :)
Why do you think Egyptians are becoming more active and health conscious?
Mourad: I don’t think it’s just Egypt; but the whole world became more aware that sports make you healthier and ready for life - not just make you look good. So people nowadays strive to be faster, stronger and overall fitter. Egypt just joined the global move.
Hassan: I think it’s the new generations that are causing this. People in general have become more aware and open to the trends worldwide. People always want to look their best and feel healthy and the sport of fitness gave them this opportunity which regular gyms never gave them. I think it is also caused by a lot of people who refuse to indulge in the “wild party scene” that is growing in the country lately.
What's your personal weekly workout routine?
Mourad: I work out 5 days a week of which 3 are twice a day.
Hassan: I train 5 days a week Sunday through Thursday and I rest Fridays. I tend to get in some sort of light workout or run or swim on Saturdays just to get loose.
After a long week of teaching and working out, how do you motivate yourself to start all over again?
Mourad: It's two things; mainly you have to have self-discipline and self-motivation all the time and be at peace with the idea of doing what you have to do regardless what your mood is - a bad workout is better than not working out at all. Also surround yourself with the right people; and I have been blessed by the greatest people any coach or an athlete would ask for, pushing each other to be better every day. Also always think of why are you here and why you are doing this.
Hassan: The beautiful thing about CrossFit; it is limitless! You can always do the same workout faster or lift a heavier weight as an athlete, and with the right coaching and programming you continue to get better whether you are a beginner at CrossFit or the CrossFit games champion. You are always eager to get back in the gym and work hard! Also helps if you eat a lot of cheat meals during the weekend so then your motivation is to just go and burn them off!
What gets you pumped up to work out?
Mourad: The results. Moreover CrossFit is constantly varied so you are tested in a new way every day and we never repeat a workout unless we are testing progress; so basically you never know what will hit you today so you are always pumped and waiting for workout time.
Hassan: The barbell. Nothing gets me more pumped up then loading up my barbell and getting dirty! You will either get that barbell up or that barbell will take you down and beat you!
How do you get your class pumped up? Especially beginners who are reaching their threshold?
Mourad: You always talk about the result of what they are going through. You show them success stories whether from our normal class or the advanced ones, showing that they all started from where they are now. Positive feedback on their progress and constant encouragement during their workout helps as well.
Hassan: As a coach you have to lead by example. You have to be energetic, you have to be excited and you have to be clear on what you want from them. You have to keep pushing everyone from your advanced athletes to your beginners but with the beginners we always have to be careful to scale the workout or the weights or the time in order to maintain their intensity during the workout without compromising their safety first.
Favourite work out music?
Mourad: Old school Hip-Hop and House
Hassan: Nothing ever beats some good old gangster Rap! Biggie, Eminem and my all-time favourite Tupac.
Tell us your experience with the Zpump shoe.
Mourad: The shoe is amazing, light and very explosive. It’s really comfortable; I have tested it running, jumping and in tons of body weight and gymnastic work and it was really good. I strongly recommend adding it to your arsenal of shoes.
Hassan: I’m an OG cause I had the very first Reebok pump basketball shoes so I was pumped to try the new pump! I have to say they are awesome! They mould to your feet and become one when you pump them up which makes your performance so much better. They are soft on the knees too because they are cushioned and they feel great when you run with them or when you use them for more advanced movements like box jumps!
Keep up to date with Reebok on their official Facebook page here, or follow @ReebokMENA on Instagram.
Check out the latest ZPump collection in Reebok stores at CityStars, Cairo Festival City Mall, Mall of Arabia, Dandy Mall, Maadi City Center, Grand Mall Maadi, 44 Lebanon Street, 50 Nady El Seid Street and Alexandria City Center.
Photography for CairoScene by Mido Ayman.