woman doubting herself

Self-Sabotage: 5 Easy Steps to Avoid the Pitfalls

Stop being your own worst enemy already.

Have you ever had one of those days that has possibly turned into months where you have a feeling of “I just can’t be bothered”? Or perhaps you have found yourself saying, “I just want to enjoy my life” whilst you gulp down that glass of bubbly with a handful of Godiva chocolates. 

A few weeks or months go by, and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. “How have I let myself get to this point?” you ask yourself. “Why do I end up having too many drinks?” “Why did I eat my way through that entire box of chocolates?”

The negative talk creeps in, and you start beating yourself up about your appearance. It’s a vicious cycle. The more you begin to dislike what you see, the more junk you eat and the less you exercise. Excuses creep in, and whilst there may be some good intentions, the whole “I’ll start my exercise and food plan tomorrow” never actually happens.  

woman smiling and loving herself

I get it. I’m a Personal Trainer, I’m a Women’s Wellness Coach, and I have a degree in psychology – yet I still have these battles, too. Want to know a secret? Most of us do! Social media doesn’t help us all that much, either. There is money to be made in having us feel down about ourselves. Social media gets pumped full of fit, sexy people (who, by the way, aren’t without their battles!), and we end up comparing ourselves to them. 

I’m here to tell you to STOP! Stop comparing yourself with others. You are you. There is no one else like you. You are unique and fabulous just the way you are. However, let me also be blunt and get to the point: if you are down on yourself, eating junk, not exercising, or beating yourself up with negative thoughts and comments, this vicious circle is your own doing. The self-sabotage is on you. Perhaps it sounds harsh? But in all honesty, you are the only one responsible for yourself. You are the only one that can stop the sabotage and choose a new direction. The choice is yours and yours alone.

Now, let’s focus on some easy steps to help you on your way:

happy spreading her arms

Step 1: Love Yourself

Self-sabotage will come from a deep place. That place is generally because we are not connected with ourselves. We do not think we are good enough the way we are. Or we feel unloved by others. When the truth is, we need to love ourselves first. Find some qualities about yourself that you really love. And if love is a stretch, find qualities that you like about yourself. 

Each morning, when you wake up, remind yourself of these qualities. “I have a beautiful smile, and I’m going to do my best to wear it all day.” “I have luscious curves, and that is sexy!” Small affirmations of love to yourself help build your confidence. When you start believing in these, you will find that others will too. And as you begin to feel that confidence build, you are less likely to reach for that extra chocolate too! 

Step 2: Make a Plan

By ‘plan’, I don’t mean an eating plan. I mean make a plan for the week scheduling in time for you – exercise, cooking nutritious meals, things you like to nourish yourself (massage/facial/coffee with friends). Hold yourself to that plan. You are the one who is responsible and accountable, remember!

woman sitting and eating

Step 3: Small Steps Lead to Big Changes

As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” – and neither is a fit and healthy body and mind. It takes daily, small, consistent steps towards a better you. Set a goal to work towards it. I like to set 90-day goals and work backwards from there. Break it into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks to achieve success.

If you miss a day, don’t be too harsh on yourself. The negative self-talk is a big thing we want to try and negate. Acknowledge that it didn’t happen for whatever reason – speak truthfully to yourself. Reset and get back to it the next day. No rulebook says you cannot skip a day or reset any time. 

Step 4: Scrap the All-Or-Nothing Approach

Jumping all in has proven to fail numerous times, not only for myself, but also many of my clients who have attempted the “all or nothing” approach. With this approach, actions are seen as ALL good or ALL bad. Another news flash: life just isn’t like that. There is a lot of “in-between”. When you limit yourself to all or nothing, you set yourself up for failure because it often means that anything less than perfection is a failure. 

It is an unhealthy thought process that only triggers the vicious circle more. Many people who take this approach often end up in a yo-yo effect and are left wondering if it was ever worth going cold turkey. Ultimately, you want an approach where moderation is key. Eat well, sleep well, exercise, and get your time in. Taking the moderation approach translates to small steps, the in-between. 

woman meditating

Step 5: Who Says You Can’t Hit the Reset Button

I was on a coaching webinar with the coaching school I study through (International Coaching Institute Australia) when one of the mentors said, “Where is the rulebook that says ‘you can’t start again’?” At that moment, a light bulb moment occurred. I am my rulebook – just as you are for your life. 

That means you get to hit the delete button, and you get to hit the reset button whenever you need or want to. So if you wobble off course, don’t beat yourself up about it. The biggest gift you can give yourself is your awareness. Because with awareness, you then have a choice. With choice you can (if you want to) reset. Go on, give it a go. 


These little tips will help you find balance and harmony within yourself. The more you are consistent, the better the results you will see. So what are you waiting for? You have today, and you have now – this very moment in time to make a choice. Just like before, the choice is yours and will always be yours. 

Sharee Hendry is a women’s confidence coach and personal trainer with FitnessGuru. Visit @sh_theconfidencecoach for more information.


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Guide to Exercising in Menstrual Cycle

A Complete Guide to Exercising Through Your Menstrual Cycle

Here’s how to make the most of your workouts.

If I had a dirham for every time I was asked if I should exercise during my period, I would be very rich. You may have heard mixed messages on whether you should be working out during your period, and you’ve probably had days when your cycle has impacted your workout plans – those days when you just want to sit on the sofa, gorge on chocolate, cry at a romcom, and eat anything in your way that resembles comfort food.

The taboo around periods is finally slipping away. The more we normalise and educate people on this topic, the better it will be for the next generations of women. Top athletes are talking about how their menstrual cycle affects their performance and, with all the new research available now, how working with their cycles has increased their performance.  

Sports coaches of women’s teams, especially football, are now working with individual team members to enhance their performance by adapting their training according to where they are in their cycle. There is evidence to suggest it maximises the strength and ability of the team and enhances overall performance. Thankfully, research has finally caught up and studies now show that there is much more to our cycle than just the bleeding and if we work with our menstrual cycle rather than against it, it can really help us thrive. But don’t worry, you can still have those sofa days.

The ebbs and flows of hormones over the course of the menstrual cycle affect physiology, metabolism, stamina, and strength. These factors can have a massive impact on how we respond to and recover from exercise, and if we are bingeing on the wrong type of food, this can be a double whammy to us feeling crappy.

woman doing a plank

Why Are We Only Hearing About This Now?

Most of what you have learnt about exercise science, diets, calories, exercise, and fad diets was not applicable to women. How about that for a statement? The information that we have grown up with and probably implemented at one time or another into our lives was not relevant to women and their physiology.

You might be shocked to learn that studies for the keto diet – a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet long held as a controversial but highly effective method for rapid weight loss – were based on studies conducted with male participants, some women over 60, and clinical trials. It took some time for researchers to realise that men and women are different. At the time that the initial studies were conducted, women were deemed to be ‘too complicated’.

Fascinating and, more importantly, relevant research is now available to us thanks to the likes of Dr Stacy Sims and many other women in the medical/research fields, who basically have thrown away the rulebook. Thankfully, the likes of myself and other professional coaches can start applying some of these new lessons and really giving women the fighting chance they deserve.

It All Starts with Getting to Know Your Cycle

The first step towards taking advantage of your menstrual cycle’s phases is knowing when they are. Greater understanding of your own body and menstrual cycle allows you to choose and implement the right training and dietary requirements for every stage, boosting energy and overall well-being.

There are many apps out there to help keep track of cycles, but it’s important to remember that there’s more to it than just punching in the date when a period starts. Monitor the information before making changes. Some apps to help with tracking your cycle are:

What Is the Cycle?

The typical menstrual cycle is 28 days long. It can range from 21 to 35 days, and it has two phases with ovulation right in the middle. The follicular phase starts on the first day of your period and lasts for 13 to 14 days. In this phase, your oestrogen and progesterone are low. Did you know that you are at your strongest and your hormones are primed for high performance once your period starts?

Here’s why: once you are in the clear of pregnancy and your body doesn’t have to utilise all your internal systems creating that high hormone overdrive for a safe space for an egg to live, your body starts to relax and can now access those energy systems again for peak performance. So here is where you can hit the gym, go for your personal best, and do some serious strength training. Ovulation occurs and you can still hit some PBs.

Exercise During Period

Then you have the luteal phase, typically through days 15-28, when estrogen and progesterone levels are high. Your body starts preparing for pregnancy, hormones are on the rise, and this is where PMS symptoms can also rear their head. If you play racket sports, your hand to ball coordination might be a bit slower and you may feel a slump in your energy and performance levels. This is a time to relax and step back.

There is no doubt that the hormonal fluctuation impacts more than just the menstruation cycle; physiological, physiological, and emotional states are also affected. Awareness of what’s happening and adjusting your training and diet can really have amazing results on your overall health and well-being. Here is a simple breakdown of what’s happening in each phase and tips on how to structure your training.


There’s no reason you can’t exercise on your period if you feel up to it. We are generally stronger in this phase, so maybe a mindset change to how we used to train might work. We are all different, so maybe if you are bleeding heavily, a walk or something light might be more practical. Most of my clients who train on their first day of period definitely do have an uptick in their performance. Also, training can help with the cramps. 

Eat well as during this phase – your body is more likely to need some iron. Meat eaters can opt for red meat, chicken, and shellfish. Other sources of iron can come from legumes like chickpeas, lentils, beans, soya beans, and whole grains. Heavy bleeding can also deplete your iron levels, so help your iron absorption by upping your vitamin C.

Follicular Phase

After your period has finished, your body is primed to use the energy from stored carbohydrates and is better at metabolising carbohydrates and using them for energy. If there’s ever a good time to treat yourself with some good carbs, it’s the follicular phase.

This is also a good time to push yourself in your workouts. Your increased carbohydrate tolerance in this phase also makes it easier for your body to use glycogen for fuel during exercise and hit higher peaks of intensity. Ramp it up with higher-intensity workouts that build fitness. Focus on resistance training to build muscle.

Additionally, consume iron-rich foods and vitamin B12. For vegetarian sources of iron, opt for more dark leafy greens. You can enhance the absorption of plant-based iron by adding a vitamin C source, such as lemon or other citrus fruits in addition to beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. The goal is light, fresh, and colourful foods.

Boost probiotic-rich foods in this phase to support gut balance – think: fermented and pickled veggies, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Meanwhile, getting enough omega-3 fatty acids will help fight increased inflammation, so dine on salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardine along with nuts, seeds, and plant oils.

As with iron, you can use supplements to get what you need, but getting these nutrients from food is best and popping them without knowing your levels won’t help much. Magnesium is always a safe bet. Above all, stay hydrated – water is your best friend.

How to Exercise in Menstrual Cycle

Ovulation Phase

Like the follicular phase, ovulation tends to be a higher energy time. If that’s the case, make the most of it by getting some high-energy workouts in. Take this time to switch things up – you have the energy to do it! Estrogen’s appetite-suppressing effect causes women to be less hungry and optimally energised during this phase. As a result, a woman’s need to rely on carbohydrates for quick energy dramatically decreases. Go for small quantities of carbohydrates and choose lighter varieties such as quinoa, amaranth, and red lentils.

Focus on proteins and fat to help sustain energy, and lots of fibre to detoxify increased hormones. Fibre-rich veggies like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, chard, dandelion greens, okra, and spinach as well as antioxidant-rich fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, coconut, and guava help to increase glutathione and support further detoxification of rising hormones in the liver. Get plenty of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, pecans, and pistachios, all of which you can sprinkle on salads, mix into smoothies, or simply enjoy on their own as a snack.

Luteal Phase

It’s time to back off with the high intensity. Your body is in prep mode, so it’s not a great time to go hard on your training. Switch to low-intensity workouts or yoga, and give yourself more recovery time between sessions. Listen to your body; this is a time to concentrate on your food. During these weeks, you will probably feel hungrier than usual. This is completely normal. In fact, your body uses up 5-10% more calories during this premenstrual phase. Don’t fight it and listen when your body is telling you to eat.

That said, this is the danger zone. A strong mindset to eat well is needed, calling for nutritional food, protein, and complex carbs to help combat those cravings. Do allow yourself a little indulgence. Hit the water, too – It can be more difficult to stay hydrated during the luteal phase, so keep water at hand, especially during and after workouts. To help with PMS, take magnesium five to seven days before your period starts. A daily dose, meanwhile, helps with cramps, recovery, and sleep. Increase your omega-3 fatty acids and if you do suffer, take a low dose of aspirin and zinc.

The Bottom Line

It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned gymgoer or a budding athlete; taking a closer look at how your body changes throughout your cycle can be an incredibly helpful tool to enhance your performance and get the best out of your time in the gym. When we understand what’s going on inside, we can set ourselves up for success in a personal and professional capacity, optimising our health and fitness goals.

Sharon James is a women’s health and well-being coach specialising in menopause wellness. Visit www.sharonjamescoaching.com for more information or connect with her via Instagram and Facebook. You can also get on the waitlist for her Menopause Mastery workshops here.


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12 Best Ladies’ Gyms To Kickstart Your Fitness Journey

No excuses in 2022.

Whether you’re new to Dubai, new to the world of fitness, or simply serious about your New Year’s resolution to live a healthier life, starting out can be daunting. Unsure of which offering best suits your requirements? Look no further – here, we reveal The Gaggler’s top twelve picks of the best ladies’ gyms in Dubai.

In Shape Ladies Fitness Club

In Shape Ladies Fitness Club is an excellent option if you’re looking for a reliable and comfortable ladies’ gym in Dubai. Before beginning your session, the club considers your posture, strength, range of motion, and lifestyle habits. 

InShape offers private and group sessions, with fitness programs including 1-on-1 personal training, FIT in 30 personal training, pro-training program membership, back on track, FIT over 50, and virtual training home classes. 

Some gyms in Dubai are known for being crowded and uncomfortable, but InShape provides a comfortable and inviting environment for its members. If you’re looking for a gym that caters to your specific needs and goals, InShape is a great choice.

Al Joud Building, Mezzanine 7, Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai, 054 404 2828, https://www.inshapeme.com/, open daily 7:30am-9pm except for Fridays 


As a homegrown business, CRANK is one of those gyms in Dubai that tailors its classes to the local market and their fitness requirements. Whereas the classic programmes include Ride, Shape, and Stretch (each focusing on specific fitness goals), all of its programmes are designed for a unique experience, combining a challenging workout with a nightclub setting. 

For example, its special ladies-only programmes focus on helping women achieve their fitness goals in a fun and supportive environment. And its corporate programmes are designed to help employees stay fit and healthy while bonding with co-workers. No matter your fitness goals, CRANK has a programme to help you reach them.

Unit 43, Alserkal Avenue, 8 B St, 04 321 2095, www.crank-fit.com/, open 6:30am-10pm Sun-Thu, 8am-3pm Fri, 8am-10pm Sat

Fitness4Life Ladies

Fitness4Life Ladies is one of the most popular ladies’ gyms in Dubai, known for its family-friendly environment and exceptional sessions. The gym offers exclusive exercise equipment at a reasonable price, making it an excellent option for those looking to improve their health and fitness. 

The gym also has a professional team of experts who can help you achieve your fitness goals, whether it’s weight loss, mass gain, or simply a healthy lifestyle. 

In addition to the main studio and functional area, the gym also features a cycling studio and swimming pools. With so many great amenities, it’s no wonder that Fitness4Life Ladies is one of the best gyms in Dubai.

Dubai Silicon Oasis, Community Centre 2, 058 104 3684, http://www.fitness4life.ae/, open 7am-10pm Sat-Thurs, 9am-9pm Fri

Fitness First The Palm

Gyms in Dubai have long been considered some of the best in the world, and Fitness First The Palm is no exception. This newly designed club offers the latest training techniques and Titanium standard facilities, making it a perfect place for those looking to get in shape. 

The Palm Jumeirah branch spans 1,000 square feet of training space and has five group exercise studios and dedicated ladies-only gyms. Moreover, the club hosts special fitness programmes during Ramadan for fasting clients who want their fitness schedule altered accordingly. 

So whether you’re a local or a visitor to Dubai, Fitness First The Palm is the perfect place for anyone looking to get fit and healthy.

Nakheel Mall, Palm Jumeirah, 04 572 6168, https://uae.fitnessfirstme.com/, open 6am-11pm Sun-Thu, 7am-9pm Fri-Sat 

The Gym

The Gym is a great option if you’re looking for gyms in Dubai. It’s a ladies’ gym with confidence and results imprinted across its range of services. Completed with stylish décor and an unmatched view of Burj Khalifa, it features only the latest equipment and training techniques, all conducted under a team of highly qualified and experienced trainers. 

Alongside the up-to-date workout equipment, it also has facilities such as a lounge area and a healthy café to unwind at. All its fitness programmes are tailored to complement your fitness goals, body type, and lifestyle. So if you’re looking for gyms in Dubai that offer the perfect combination of style, function, and fitness, The Gym is a perfect choice.

Vision Tower, Business Bay, 04 442 6586, https://thegymdubai.com/en/, open 6am-10pm Sun-Thu, 8am-8pm Fri-Sat


Gyms in Dubai are a dime a dozen, but finding one that’s affordable and top-notch is a whole other story. METROFITT is a premium fitness club with four branches in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi that takes a diversified approach to fitness, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. 

Whether you’re looking to sweat it out in the sweat zone, power zone, or build some muscle with the strength-building machines, this gym has sleek amenities for all fitness levels. 

And its power-packed team of professional trainers will make sure to offer you fitness solutions catered to your lifestyle. So if you’re on the hunt for gyms in Dubai that won’t break the bank, look no further than METROFITT.

Al Quds St, Dubai Airport Free Zone, 056 551 3455, https://www.metrofitt.com/, open 24/7 

Vogue Fitness JLT 

Gyms in Dubai have been popping up left and right; it’s hard to know which one is the best fit for you. This is why we’re here to tell you about Vogue Fitness, a gym that is quickly making a name for itself as the best in the business. Following multiple branches in Abu Dhabi, this is Vogue Fitness’ first facility in Dubai and is built heavily on principles such as fitness, community, uniqueness, and results. 

Regardless of the class or programme you choose, you will always be under the expertise of a world-class coach who will guide you towards expected results. Known for its outstanding physical results, Vogue Fitness specialises in group fitness, CrossFit, personal training, and functional training and caters to all ages and fitness levels. 

If you’re looking for gyms in Dubai that are tailored specifically for ladies, then look no further than Vogue Fitness. With its welcoming and supportive community, you’ll soon see why Vogue Fitness is the best choice for gyms in Dubai.

Concorde Tower, Cluster H, JLT, 04 450 8234, www.vfuae.com/vogue-fitness-jlt/, open 6am-9pm Sun-Thu, 9am-1pmFri-Sat  

Curvalicious Ladies Boutique Fitness

Curvalicious is a ladies’ gym in Nadd Al Hamar, Dubai. It is a unique place made by women for women. Iman Al-omrani started the Curvalicious Ladies Boutique in 2016 after she had her third child. At the time, she realized that fitness couldn’t be a quick fix; it had to be a way of life. 

That was the beginning, and now Curvalicious Ladies Boutique Fitness is one of the best gyms and fitness centers for women in Dubai. At Curvalicious Ladies Boutique Fitness, we understand that every woman is different and that each person has different fitness goals. 

This one of the best gyms in Dubai offers a wide range of classes to meet your needs. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up, or just stay fit and healthy, we have a class for you. And if you’re unsure where to start, our knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to help you find the right class. 

Curvalicious Ladies Boutique Fitness, Nadd Al Hamar, Dubai, 04 397 3338, open 11am-8pm Sun-Wed, 11am-6:30pm Thurs, closed Fri-Sat 

Strong Ladies Gym

Gyms in Dubai are becoming increasingly popular as more people look to get in shape. However, not all gyms are created equal. Strong Ladies Gym Dubai is a gym that was specifically designed with women in mind. 

The gym offers a variety of classes such as meta fit, circuit blaster, Zumba, and boxing that are designed to help women get strong, fit, and healthy. In addition, the gym offers a peaceful and quiet place for women to take yoga classes which is very popular among their regular customers. 

The gym was started by a fitness fanatic, Maryam Al Mur Bin Huraiz Al Falasi. The gym firmly commits to helping women reach their fitness goals. If you’re looking for gyms in Dubai that will help you get in shape and feel great, Strong Ladies Gym Dubai is a perfect choice.

Strong Ladies Gym, Al Joud Centre – 1 15 A St, Dubai, 04 333 3579, open 7am-9pm, Fri & Sun: closed

Dubai Ladies Club

If you’re looking for a great place to work out, the Dubai Ladies Club is a great option. They offer reasonable prices for classes like yoga, dance, and kickboxing. You can even become a member for just AED 200 per month. This gives you access to the Octagym training playground, where eight people can work out at the same time. 

The Dubai Ladies Club is famous for women who want to kickbox, as they have a great schedule. So if you’re looking for gyms in Dubai, be sure to check out the Dubai Ladies Club!

Dubai Ladies Club, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, 04 349 9922, open 7am-10pm daily

Zabeel Ladies Club

Zabeel Ladies Club is a ladies’ gym in Dubai with lots to offer, including cardio and strength fitness classes with state-of-the-art equipment. And with membership packages designed to give you unique experiences, you won’t be disappointed.

It’s a one-stop shop for women who want to reach their fitness goals. The team of female fitness instructors and personal trainers are internationally certified, so you can be sure you’re in good hands. 

The club also boasts relaxation facilities that are second to none. Take a dip in the pool, and relax in the Jacuzzi or sauna. So if you’re looking for a gym that can offer you the perfect balance of exercise and relaxation, look no further than Jude Fitness.

Zabeel Ladies Club, 12 20 Street Za’abeel 1, Dubai, 04 382 0000, open 8am-10pm daily except Tue open 2pm-10pm


Among the many gyms in Dubai available, Fitness 360° is one of the most popular. The J3 Mall branch of this gym has an exclusive facility for women, where they can take Pilates reformer classes, go for yoga, engage in a CrossFit workout or simply visit the place to use their equipment. 

Fitness 360° offers a wide range of services and amenities, making it an ideal choice for women who want to get in shape and stay healthy. In addition to the great facilities and classes offered, their staff is highly trained and certified, ensuring that you’ll always receive the best possible service. 

Whether you’re new to working out or a seasoned athlete, Fitness 360° is sure to have something for you. So if you’re looking for a great place to get fit and have fun, check out Fitness 360°.

Fitness 360°, J3 Mall, Al Wasl Road, Dubai, 04 380 9969, open 7am-11pm, Friday & Public Holidays 09:00 am- 09:00 pm


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