My UAE: Nuha Almarri is training to win

A profile of the Emirati weightlifter and CrossFit devotee Nuha Almarri.

The Emirati weightlifter and CrossFit devotee Nuha Almarri, pictured in Dubai. Alex Atack for The National
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Nuha Almarri has worked her body hard to get her to what she is today – a professional athlete.

“I was born and raised in Dubai, and sport was always a big part of my life,” she says. “From an early age, I did gymnastics, and then in high school, I switched to basketball and running.”

Almarri, 28, maintained that momentum during her college years, hitting the gym regularly and running. Then, in 2013, she found CrossFit.

“Since then, I have not missed a day [in the gym,] except for rest days,” Almarri says. She trains five days a week, and is currently preparing for her next challenge, the Talise Fitness Sandstorm race at Jumeirah Beach Hotel at the end of this month.

Besides this, Almarri recently caught the attention of Reebok Middle East, and was included in their team of athletes chosen to represent the brand at races and competitions around the UAE and GCC. She also has her heart set on competing at the CrossFit Regional Championships later this year.

“[CrossFit] gives me motivation, keeps me goal-orientated and focused, which helps me with other things in life,” she says. “When I see myself achieving goals [that] are hard work, it makes me feel good.”

Almarri holds a business-­management degree from Dubai Women’s College and is a certified strength coach. She doesn’t have a specific coach of her own, instead opting to follow a personal programme and schedule.

“I wake up at 8am, have my breakfast, go to the gym at 10.30am, and do my first session from 11 until 12. I have lunch, and then go back again around 2pm for my second session, which is weightlifting,” she says. “My sisters work out with me almost every day. My mother is a big fan and supporter – she enjoys watching me compete, although sometimes she gets scared when I lift really heavy weights during competition.”

What’s needed to get to the top? “A lot of discipline, commitment, motivation and hard work.”

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you like to have with you?

My Reebok shoes – they perform well in the sand – a barbell and some weights, so I don’t waste time.

What sort of car do you drive?

I drive a small Suzuki. It has good performance and is easy to park. I am not a car fanatic – it suits my purposes.

What’s your favourite tourist attraction in the UAE?

The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. I am so proud that Dubai has it here, and I am amazed by it every time I see it.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Copenhagen is one of my favourites. It is a very vibrant city with great culture and food.

What do you do to relax?

I love hanging out with family and friends.

What five things do you never leave home without?

My gym bag, Reebok leggings and trainers, a towel, a wallet and my phone.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

My mum told me always be committed and do what you love.

What music do you currently have playing on repeat?

I love listening to heavy metal – it makes me want to compete and train harder and faster.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

I love Kcal – they offer healthy food and the quality is amazing.

What’s your favourite show to watch on TV?

I prefer documentaries, such as Wim Hof: Inside the Superhuman World of the Iceman.

What would you tell your 15-year-old self?

Follow your dream, which I did.

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