Day in the life: A real show of strength from Yas Marina CrossFit guru

Patrick Hegarty, cofounder of Vogue Fitness at Yas Marina, switched careers from the engineering and construction industries to health and fitness last year.

Patrick Hegarty co-founded Vogue Fitness at Yas Marina in 2014. Christopher Pike / The National
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Patrick Hegarty co-founded Vogue Fitness at Yas Marina in 2014. Before dedicating his career to health and fitness, the 32-year-old Australian worked on national infrastructure development projects in Australia and South-East Asia. He moved to the UAE six years ago to work at an engineering and construction company as general manager before resigning to pursue his passion.


The alarm goes off and I drink a bottle of room temperature water to activate my metabolism for the day. I have a paleo-based breakfast, which consists of salmon, a tomato and avocado mix and poached eggs. I eat while sending out emails to get a head start on the day. I also set my daily goals. I believe that there are no shortcuts to hard work, and that you need to make sacrifices to achieve your goals, whether that’s in fitness, at work or at home. A lot of people expect things to just happen without taking action, or without taking ownership of their situation, which I don’t agree with. I am pushed by the fact that no matter how hard I work, there are people out there working harder and smarter than me, and that I need to excel within myself every single day if I want to be the best I can be.


I head to work. For the next two hours I assist with the coaching and judging of our CrossFitters and group fitness members. CrossFit workouts incorporate Olympic weightlifting, cardiovascular endurance, high-intensity interval training, gymnastics, callisthenics and other exercises. It is practised by members of more than 11,000 CrossFit affiliated gyms around the world. Individuals complete daily workouts or Wod (workouts of the day), as well as undergoing programmed skill, strength and conditioning training. I love the fact our members have formed solid friendships with each other; this embodies the community spirit that we want at the centre.


With the judging done, I compete myself in the worldwide CrossFit Competition, which this week consists of a range of exercises from muscle-ups, wall balls and double unders. The 2015 Reebok CrossFit Open had nearly 300,000 participants worldwide. It consists of five workouts over five weeks that every participant must complete. The workouts are released by CrossFit HQ in the US and participants then have four days to complete. Every individual workout must be judged, and their score registered and submitted.

8.45am Our weekly staff meeting starts and the coaches discuss how to improve our classes for the month ahead.


Our CrossFit team is ranked No 1 in the Middle East, Africa and Asia region. The team will now compete in Denmark in May against the fittest in Europe. If they are placed in the top five in Europe, they will compete against the rest of the world in the US.


There is a quick update from our construction team on the progress of our new CrossFit Box (the area where you complete the workout within the fitness centre). There are a few hold-ups with shipping from the US and Germany that we are trying to navigate around. My previous experience in the construction and legal industries helps us keep the project moving forward. On days like this, I am happy to have moved on from construction, which can revolve heavily around a blame culture. I was looking for a more positive challenge, and as fitness has been a passion of mine since I was a little boy, this career switch made sense.


I row a quick 5km, mixed in with moderate Olympic lifting and pull-ups at every 500 metres. Then it’s time for my regular lunch, which consists of half a roast chicken mixed in with tabbouleh and moutabal.

3pm to 9pm

The gym turns into a hub of activity; it’s non-stop from now until closing. One of the greatest satisfactions I get is watching people transform themselves.


It’s time to close. I grab a quick dinner of chicken breast and boiled vegetables – only a small portion as it’s not advisable to eat large portions close to bedtime.


At home I address any outstanding issues from the day – going back through my emails. I also spend 30 minutes reading; I love any books that help me understand the human condition better. I have read The Art of War by Sun Tzu numerous times, for example. These books exercise my mind, and I find this helps me help others. I also play rugby whenever I can, keeping up my involvement with the Abu Dhabi Harlequins.


I put on an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and fall asleep during the opening credits. I try to fall asleep by midnight.

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