NTC Beirut: Boys Are Welcome

In the Trump era, equality has taken on an urgency that goes beyond Girl Power laptop stickers and singing along to Beyonce lyrics. As is standard when it comes to gender perks, girls are left out except when it comes to Beirut’s NTC. In a twist of irony, NTC Bey sessions were only available to women; that is, until this month. As of March 1st, Nike Training Club’s classes at UEnergy gyms will now be co-ed as all beasts are considered equal head by ladybeast Diala, the official NTC Trainer.

NTC sessions are so quick and efficient lasting only 50 minutes tops; it’s no wonder the guys were getting jealous they didn’t have access to FREE circuits with a trainer and potential mates (as in “friends,” tihihi). If you ask me, this is great for both sexes. Not only does it allow for another biweekly gathering where you can meet new friends with a common interest in fitness and a healthier lifestyle, something that is lacking in Beirut, but you also get to be pushed by the competitive nature of training. Although biologically speaking, males and females differ in their capacities to lift and strength-train, having supportive bros pushing you to be a fierce ladybeast is always helpful. Did I mention skimping on monthly gym memberships now that you can run & train for free with Nike? For NTC, all you have to do is call the corresponding UEnergy branch on the same day to book a spot.
After 4 months of marathon training, my Nike peeps and I have reached a certain level of camaraderie I haven’t had since my university years. Much like the days when I’d come disheveled wrapped in a ginormous hoodie to Nicely Hall pre-exam having hardly slept, my Nike bros & I have seen each other at our most raw and gross. Suffering together with all masks dropped brings you closer; perhaps closer than those who have only seen the coiffed and carefully curated color-coded version of you. All activities that require bonding via social interaction while your body is undergoing stress lead to formations of tight friendships (basketball, hiking, chopping tabbouli ingredients), especially given that we commune to decompress after long workday nightmares, on and off the road. You’re already in this mindset of shedding bullshit and dropping facades. Ain’t nobody got time for drama. Within NRC or NTC, much like in classrooms, you’ll find people you can connect with without the need to be at the alcoholic watering hole complete with why the heck is this guy talking to me vibe. Don’t get me wrong though, we eat, drink, and be merry. There is one common ground that all my Nike gymrat athletes share: we do all this because we love food. Turns out, coming together to get healthy has helped me find my fellow foodies. Maybe at NTC, you can find your people too. Or you can just come run (and eat) with us regular runners at NRC. I guarantee you’ll be welcomed at both.
March
And NRC runs every M/T/Th 6:34pm at Nike Souks – Downtown Beirut
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NTC: The Other Free Nike Club

After a year of El-Tanein Diet, 10 months of running with Nike+ Run Club (NRC), and a couple weeks of failing to cross-train during marathon training season, I finally made it to my first session of Nike+ Training Club (NTC). I recently signed up for an intro Spanish class at Cervantes that coincides with both NTC sessions but, thanks to Ashura/Spanish Independence Day, I was able to join the girls this past Wednesday night. I say “girls” because the NTC sessions are exclusively dedicated to women only in effort to encourage ladies to get their gains on. Relax boys, classes will become dual gender in 2017.

The sessions, which are built around the NTC app, are intensive 1-hour cocktails of easy-to-follow workouts using body weight or basic gym equipment. Diala El Khazen, the trainer and chef who throws together a new menu for every session you attend, is an encouraging coach who uses the you-can-do-it approach rather than the aggressive tactic that other coaches go for. Much like Mark Jibran, her NRC counterpart, Diala also pushes you to complete the workout without making you want to push her off the roof of the gym where the session takes place. That’s not to say that the workout is easy; however, the session is so diversified in activity with workouts taken straight from the NTC app that before you know it, you’re on your back doing cool-down stretches on the artificial grass.

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Strength training on non-running day: check.

It’s short and sweet in comparison to the tough runs we’ve been doing pre-marathon but they’re a necessary evil as a supplement to whatever else you’re doing at the gym or on the track. The only downside was knowing I wouldn’t be able to attend anymore because of Español. Lo siento, Nike.

BUT I could use the NTC app on my own, right? First, suggested workouts are based on your average weekly workout frequency. With a wifi connection, the app and the workouts are free to download and you can select ones with or without equipment in case you don’t have gym access. If going to the gym isn’t an option, I recommend using a mat or even doing the workouts at Horsh Beirut so you have a soft surface and space.

I gave it a shot today at home. I decided to go for a workout plan that will give me a structured schedule aimed at getting lean and building muscle in a 6-week period. The app sends you notifications the night before, walks you through the workout, and will adapt the plan according to your effort level/schedule/goals. Every following workout will be according to how you performed in the previous one. I’m hoping this 15-workout LEAN FIT plan will help rid as much excess fat as possible before Marathon Day. The lighter and stronger I am, the easier the 21K will be. All I have to do now is stay away from the tortilla chips.


The NTC app aims to be your personal trainer without the ~$350/month biceps packaged in a XS Lycra t-shirt. Does it work? Too early to tell but what I do know is I had some direction this morning and that’s already an improvement over my usual method: pick 5 machines that work the upper body and do 4 reps of 12. Not exactly well-studied. It’s true that you may need a human trainer to check your form and yell at you when you’re slacking off but that’s what the free NTC sessions can do: be your guide so you can continue on your own when you can’t make it to UEnergy.

Both NRC and NTC sessions grant attendees 20 points in your loyalty account.
1000 points translates to $100 store credit.

NTC
Mondays at 7:27pm at UEnergy Bliss Street
Wednesdays at 7:58pm at UEnergy Downtown
Book ahead, spots are limited. Free of charge.

NRC
Mon/Tues/Thurs at 6:34pm at Nike Beirut Souks

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