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CrossFit, Calisthenics gain popularity in Kingdom with athletes shine at Red Sea Games

JEDDAH: CrossFit and Calisthenics, two high-intensity fitness disciplines, have been making waves in the Kingdom as individuals embrace their efficiency in achieving overall fitness.

The recent two-day Red Sea Games Championship, hosted by Stark Fitness, In2Fit, and Reform Athletics, highlighted the remarkable talent and dedication of athletes from 14 different countries, who even flew in specifically for the event in Jeddah.

CrossFit, described as a high-intensity fitness program combining weightlifting, cardiovascular exercises, and gymnastics, aims to improve strength, endurance, flexibility, power, speed, and agility. Workouts, known as WODs (Workouts of the Day), incorporate a mix of exercises such as weightlifting, rowing, running, and bodyweight movements. Calisthenics, on the other hand, focuses on bodyweight exercises to build strength and flexibility.

According to Mohamed Jamal and Karem Nasr, founders of Stark Fitness Equipment and In2Fit Gym, “CrossFit and Calisthenics help improve overall strength, endurance, and flexibility through their combination of varied movements and high-intensity workouts. These fitness disciplines differ from traditional gym workouts by emphasizing varied, high-intensity workouts that incorporate elements from other fitness disciplines and athletic, sports-based movements.”

“Additionally, the sense of community and competition found in CrossFit adds an engaging and motivating aspect to these workouts.”

“We believe in the power of CrossFit and Calisthenics to transform individuals’ fitness levels. The constantly varied workouts, functional movements, and high intensity create a unique and engaging experience that keeps people motivated and excited about their fitness journey,” said Jamal.

Female coaches in the CrossFit and Calisthenics space have noticed a significant increase in female participation over the years. Albatool Almalhan and Amani Aljuhani, founders of Reform Gym, and Rawand Alderawi from 962 Gym, said, “It is important to create supportive and inclusive environments to address challenges such as body image concerns, fear of judgment, and perceived physical limitations. Tailoring workouts based on individual capabilities, setting realistic goals, and providing positive reinforcement during challenging workouts help women push past their comfort zones.”

Almalhan emphasized the importance of educating individuals on the physiological differences between men and women, saying, “It is crucial to educate people about the physiological differences between genders. We need to emphasize that strength training contributes to developing a toned and strong physique without excessive muscle mass.”

The winners of the Red Sea Games Championship expressed their enthusiasm for the event and their appreciation for the organizers. Ahmed Alnahdi, winner of the Men’s RX event, expressed his gratitude and looks forward to the next championship.

Ibrahim Omar Abd Albadeea, winner of the Men’s Calisthenics event said, “The Red Sea Games showcased a high level of competition, and I felt honored to share the floor with such talented athletes.”

In the Ladies Intermediate event, the team “Latin Style” emerged champion, with Leyla Murad and Carolina Ramirez showcasing their skills. Both athletes expressed their satisfaction with the well-designed WODs and expressed their eagerness to participate in the championship again next year.

The championship also featured an adaptive category for individuals with physical disabilities, showcasing the inclusive nature of CrossFit. Among the participants were an athlete from Egypt, who competed in a wheelchair, and another athlete, hailing from Kuwait, who lacked the use of one arm. Despite their unique circumstances, both athletes engaged in the same workouts, albeit with modifications tailored to their specific needs.

The success and positive feedback from the Red Sea Games Championship reflect the growing popularity and appeal of CrossFit and Calisthenics in the Kingdom. Coaches and athletes share a hopeful outlook for increased female participation and representation in these disciplines.

By cultivating supportive environments, and emphasizing the numerous physical and mental benefits, these fitness practices strive to empower not only men but also women and enhance their overall well-being.

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