The fitness scene in Egypt is on the rise and it seems that its not going any other way. We are lucky to witness this dramatic change in fitness and health, and we can’t help but praise the ones who inspire us everyday with their stories and achievements. It might sound a bit cliché when we say “anything is possible,” but really it’s not. If you’ve been a follower of the fitness scene in Egypt then you would probably know Hassan Gabr. If not, then we think it’s time to familiarize yourself with one of the most inspiring athletes in Egypt.
When you meet Gabr, you would instantly and easily bond with him. He is a strong athlete with a high sense of humor that can’t go unnoticed. Gabr, who won the award for fittest man in Egypt in the 35+ category in “El Fit” 2016 event, which is the biggest annual fitness competition in Egypt, makes us all feel ashamed of ourselves for slacking during our workouts or coming up with tons of excuses for not getting our workout in.
At an early age, Gabr’s first sport was soccer, however at the age of 16 he had to quit due to several knee injuries. The gym then was his go to place for working out like most teenagers until the age of 31, and later cross-fit came along. “When I discovered CrossFit, which completely transformed my life, I started out just as a regular guy trying to get fit, becoming a coach and eventually, a competitive athlete, which culminated in me winning the Fittest Man in Egypt 35+ this year.”
Gabr describes himself as a hard worker and reaching his goals had nothing to do with luck or talent, “I was a little short skinny kid. I am not genetically gifted at all but rather a hard worker! I had to work hard and train harder to become athletic.”
At some point in his life he became overweight reaching 105 kg. To him, that was a turning point where he decided to get back on track and workout to get in shape.
Gabr’s before and after picture
Gabr who has a very hectic life, is currently coaching at BeFit along with managing his own business and keeping his workout routine intact. He studied at Webster University in Geneva, where he got his BA in Business Administration and then his MBA in finance. In the mornings, Gabr runs a chemical products manufacturing plant where they produce cosmetics and detergents for multinational companies, but in the evening, you will find him pursuing his passion. Although he acknowledges that it’s very difficult to balance all aspects of his life, now he is more than willing to give more than 100% in everything.
We’ve seen many who start their fitness journey and then lose interest along the way but I’ve watched Gabr a few times closely during his workouts and let’s just say that this is a man who would stop at nothing. His persistence, dedication and focus are qualities not to be missed when you meet him. He sets an example to anyone who thinks he/she can’t reach a high fitness level or lack the motivation to start in the first place. Most people would think that a person has to be in their 20s in order to get as far as Gabr, however that’s not true. Age is nothing when it comes to hard work and commitment. The 35-year old, set his goals and worked towards them with no hesitation nor rest.
Breaking the misconception of declining fitness level in your 30s, Gabr’s daily schedule is one that got him where he is right now. Getting his workout in at 5:30 am before heading to his own work and then coaching from 6 pm till 9 pm, is just a normal daily routine in his life.
When it comes to food you would think that he is a strict health freak, but again that’s not how it is. Managing his food intake is important but he still indulges more often than you would expect. However, working out religiously five days a week helps him get away with it. “I am an avid food lover and a pretty good chef. I tend to eat a lot of burgers and carbs, I can afford to get away with some of it since I have 2-3 hours a day of intense training, however I keep it to one meal a week and I keep the rest of the week in check.”
Like many athletes, struggling through injuries or having a simple slump in form or strength is normal and something any athlete has to work with. Gabr believes that this is when it gets hard and you have to push through it because when you have your eyes set on a goal you have to work for it.
“You have one of two things: either give in or fight through it. My biggest motivation is I just think of how far along I have come and how far I still have to go to reach my goals. I am not naturally talented or genetically gifted, my only strength is that I am a hard worker and if I give up on that then I would have nothing left!”