I’m still reeling from the event last Saturday from The Empowerment Hub. My thighs hurt like hell, my back and arms are stiff, I’m spreading muscle ointments on my body like lotion and all I can say is that whatever pain I am feeling right now…it’s ALL WORTH IT. The Empowerment Hub was started by a group of Saudi women who aims to strengthen women’s health and fitness in the entire Kingdom by spearheading active, social and educational events with all their proceeds going to different charitable institutions in the country. Their theme is “Change 2015” in order to inspire a healthier change for all of us.
When I first saw their website and all the classes they would be offering that day, my eyes were glued with excitement. I was always a big fan of CrossFit and TRX and I always wanted to try it so when I saw that it was one of the classes they’d be offering that day, I was psyched. However, my wallet wasn’t. It turns out that the Athlete Ticket to the event was at 700SR! I’m quite the average expat and I had to think thrice before deciding to shell out a huge amount for a one-day event. I seriously considered buying it because they had so many amazing activities listed down like the dance classes in La Femme and Latin, martial arts, all kinds of yoga and most especially, the super fun-looking Electric Run! Luckily, a super duper awesome friend of mine sponsored a ticket for me and I was floored in gratitude!!! (Y’mahn, again, THANKS!) See, I’ve been a regular gym goer for over a year now and I really wanted to experience a fitness extravaganza like no other and I felt like Change 2015 was it. And it was! 🙂
So come Saturday afternoon, albeit the dusty skies, my friend and I skedaddled off in the middle of the desert somewhere 76 kms away west of Riyadh to Al Reem International Circuit. It was more or less an hour-long road trip and you’d end up wondering “Where are we?” Haha. Well, we eventually got there and were welcomed by kind usherettes who verified our classes and registration and then gave us a map to help maneuver ourselves inside the venue. Considering that this was an all women’s event, I had to limit my photography. All photos you will see here may seem empty and devoid of people, but believe me, there were plenty of us there.
The classes were divided per zone. There was Spinning, KSA Crossfit, Moov Zone, Groov Zone, TRX and Mind, Body & Soul Zone. I signed up for the La Femme Dance Class, CrossFit, TRX, Antiaging Face Yoga and Latin Explosion Dance. There was a free Bike Ride all around the race track and the Electric Run was also open for all later in the evening.
I was super excited by the idea of doing KSA CrossFit since I’ve been so interested in it for the longest time but just couldn’t afford the classes. I even watched beginner CrossFit videos on Youtube that morning to kind of orient me a bit about what to expect. But no. If I was expecting a spoon-fed intro into CrossFit at Change, I experienced the opposite. While the instructions on what to do were pretty basic and did not require rocket science, I guess it was the high-impact level of it all which I wasn’t ready for — add to that the heat and outdoor setting that kind of doubled-up the intensity. Phew! I was seeing white dots as we neared the end of our session and I had to be taken aside by one of the volunteers ‘coz I really thought I was going to collapse already. Haha! I guess I had to be careful what I wished for. On retrospect though, I didn’t feel like I shamed myself at CrossFit by almost passing out. 😛 At least I tried, yeah? 🙂 It just goes to show I still have a loooong way to go from my regular treadmill runs and squats to eventually becoming a CrossFit champion.
Here are the other Zones in the area with their respective classes:
My last class was the Latin Explosion which was a mixture of salsa and rumba moves that really shook what my momma’ gave me. It was a great way to get loose and have some dancin’ fun!
There was also a Chill Zone for those who wanted to regain their consciousness (like myself) after our classes and simply chill in the comforts of a lavish tent and infused water drinks. Amaya Spa was also one of the sponsors and offered massages to the participants for an additional fee.
Even though this event was a fitness-inspired one, don’t fret, there were still food at the event! There were several healthy choices from the participating vendors (McDonald’s included) and I was able to try some of them out during my breaks.
A little after 8 PM, it was finally time for the Electric Run, which is a concept that makes running look like a rave party! It was a super awesome idea that makes use of total darkness, neon lights and glow in the dark face paints and accessories while running (or walking) around the track with loud music blaring out of the speakers placed in every nook of the dessert. It was even more awesome for me to learn that it’s the first time that the Electric Run was being done in the entire GCC and as one of the hosts of the event put it, “Finally, we beat Dubai in doing something for the first time!” LOL! That surely got the audience pumped! After securing all the safety measures, the bright lights of the race track finally came off and all the ladies and the decor started glowing in the dark with the music playing on the background signaling the start of the race! I think for the first half, people were busy taking photos first but I managed to pull a lap with just embracing the experience and how great it was to have been a part of that.
I was able to finish the half-marathon (it was my first time) and I managed to run straight in one lap and a half and then started to shift from walking and running on the succeeding ones (my excuse: I was already tired from all my previous classes, so forgive me experienced runners!). I just really wanted to finish above all else…even though I could hardly feel my body functioning anymore.
Eventually, it was time to pack up our sore bodies and drive back home. My friend and I were staring into space, bewildered at what we had gotten ourselves into. It was overall, an unforgettable experience. We vowed that by next year, we’d participate again and not be as tired as we were that evening. We should take that as a sign to change for the better and build stronger bodies that can withstand all the high-impact trainings we just did. I guess on that note, I can say that Change 2015 fulfilled it’s purpose on me.
The Empowerment Hub