Shaquel al Balushi heads to his neighbourhood park in Amerat for an extreme workout with a difference.
It’s been more than 20 years since I moved to my family’s current home in Amerat, where there is a park opposite. For me, the park was a jackpot for my love of working out, so much so that I set up a small home gym for my friends and me to use.
And the park? That became an outdoor playground for our endurance workouts, a place where we could build our stamina with boxing and taekwondo, with a touch of gymnastics thrown in for good measure.
Our group would meet in the early mornings before school, just after the Fajar prayer, and do a quick half-hour workout. And then in the evenings, we’d head to my home gym to work on body building and strengthening our muscles.
Today, our legacy continues – but the nature of the workouts in the park opposite my home have adapted to the 21st century.
Groups of young men, including champion bodybuilder and even footballers, converge on the park during the evenings to stay fit and work on shaping their muscles for competition.
But these days, they are inspired by CrossFit, which was developed by the American Greg Glassman and is based on a combination of fitness disciplines aimed to deliver a high-intensity workout.
The atmosphere is electrifying as each man pushes himself to his physical limits. Even Muscat’s hot and humid summer is not enough to put them off their workout – and the park is just as crowded as it is during the cooler months.
It’s literally a case of blood, sweat and respect as the men go beyond the limits of endurance, using the park’s features to enhance their training regimes.
Newcomers are welcome and encouraged to get involved, but you have to be serious about improving your fitness.
It’s an amazing sight and one of the most rewarding pastimes that I’ve been involved in – and one that I know will endure for many more years to come.