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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Support Your Girls: Invest in a Decent Sports Bra

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Like many other females, I would spend wads of cash on the lace & silk pieces from Victoria’s Secret but skimp when it came to activewear; I couldn’t justify dumping so much lira on undergarments that were going to be worn at the gym and eventually soaked in sweat. I’ve been reading up on the effects that running and hardcore training have on your body and one red flag went up when the articles started mentioning boobs.

Everything I read, I could relate to. Needing a bra that was secure enough to support the girls while allowing you to breathe and keep you dry, a bra that didn’t irritate or exacerbate chafing, a bra that was comfortable yet didn’t remind you of your grandma’s laban cloth bags in terms of style and material. For me, it was always too tight, too loose, or too…wet.

Next thing I know, I’m reading reviews on sports bras, realizing how many bad ones I have in my drawers, and worrying about my Cooper’s ligaments.

Wait, what are Cooper’s ligaments?

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These are the connective tissues in the breasts that help them retain their form or structural integrity. Basically, they’re the suspensory ligaments you want to strengthen to avoid having flapjacks with age. Many different factors can affect them but running and training without proper support can exert intense force on these tissues speeding up their deterioration, a problem that can be avoided.

Not only do bouncy boobs affect their shape in the long run (pun intended) but they also affect your form when running. Subconsciously, you may be altering the way you run to decrease bounce and you’re more likely to get injured because of this. According to Runner’s World, “Researchers at the University of Portsmouth in England found that excessive breast movement can result in heavier, injury-promoting landings.” Running and training without thinking about your girls would allow you to focus on what’s important: improving your pace, breathing, and stride.

Sports Bra Shopping Criteria Recap

  • Snug Factor: being aware of how tight is too tight, the bra should be supportive yet comfortable. You don’t want to feel like your bust is going to bust out.
  • Breathability and Sweat Absorbency: the material should keep you clean and dry, a bra that wicks away the sweat while staying in place is key
  • Workout Intensity: get the bra that corresponds to your workout regimen, what bra you need depends on whether you’re doing low-key strength training sessions or high impact sprints
  • Style: make sure you feel good in the bra you buy, it’s the most subtle form of motivation when trying to get/stay fit