Summer with Nelly

Don’t let the heat stop you!

Although it may seem too hot to train, and, it may be quite tempting to max out on outings and relaxing during holiday season – it is no excuse to discontinue your workout routine.

Remember, your body needs to be taken care of year-round; it is a full-time job but one that is very rewarding.


Make sure you have a fitness friend! Not only will this create some accountability, but you’ll also feel like you’re also getting a healthy dose of some social time. The only thing better than one fitness friend is a bunch of fitness friends, so I would also recommend group fitness classes.


Instead of using summer holiday as an excuse to put your training on hold, use it as an excuse to add some flavor to your training regime! Don’t fall into the habit of doing the same types of workouts over and over. Create a fun weekly cocktail of indoor, outdoor, low intensity, high intensity, familiar and new workouts.


If you go outdoors, max out on SUNSCREEN and WATER. I run with an entourage of water bottles, and a bleached face during summer. Better to be safe than sorry!


Take advantage of longer days and earlier starts. Begin your workouts earlier in the morning, or try doing them a little later at night. With the sun out for a longer period of time, your mind will be more receptive to working out both earlier and later than you may be used to. Whichever time you choose, creating consistency in your schedule will help you stick to your routine and ultimately achieve your fitness goals.


Stretch before and after your workouts. Stretching not only prevents injuries but also helps us to create the long lean muscles that we love oh-so-much. Stretching also helps to metabolize blood sugar and improves coordination.


Set your summer goals! When you have a set goal that you are working toward, your workouts become more meaningful. Nike says it best -start training, stop exercising!


Warm Up: (1 mile run; increasing pace).

Three circuits that will leave you feeling so ALIVE (and a little dead).

One minute on 30 second transition between each move.

Low squat pulses

Low squat pulses

Circuit 1

  • Low squat pulses
  • Push ups
  • Curtsy lunges
  • Superman swim
  • Straight leg bicycle crunches

1-minute break

Squat jumps

Squat jumps

Circuit 2

  • Squat jumps
  • Tempo pushups (4 holds)
  • Side lunges
  • Superman heal pulses (in and out)
  • Straight leg bicycle crunches (5 second hold each side)

1-minute break

Tempo pushups

Tempo pushups

Circuit 3

  • Tuck jumps to burpees
  • Explosive or Spiderman pushups
  • Plyometric lunges
  • Low to high boat

Cool Down (1 mile run; easy pace)

Bicycle crunches

Bicycle crunches

SUMMER CHALLENGE #saudiplankhold:

I challenge you to hold a plank for an extra 10 seconds everyday for 30 days – starting with 10 seconds on day one.  Plank, hold, sweat, shake, and tag us! Let’s see how far you can go! @destinationryd @shakeyojellywithnelly


Fight Your Belly With Nelly

Your monthly dose of Health!

Ramadan is an annual opportunity to cleanse and change our life style and get closer to Allah. I truly believe that Ramadan can be a great time to improve our health and overall wellbeing, if we manage to stick to a few things.

Here are some of my Ramadan recommendations for good health:

  1. Adapt your training program. Shift the timings, change up the intensity to low and moderate, and try different styles of training.
  2. Sleep well. Although for many, working-hours change, and almost everything shifts from day to night, you should still prioritize sleep over late night socializing!
  3. Workout smartly. Engage in low intensity workouts like yoga or brisk walking before iftar. Post iftar, you can kick it up notch, bearing in mind that you feel energetic and well. Avoid high intensity exercises during fasting hours as it can cause joint or muscle injuries and also lead to complications such as low blood pressure and dizziness.

Staying in shape all boils down to how you feel. The priority is the spiritual journey and then comes our fitness programs and everything else.

img_0888-2If time constraints don’t allow you to go out for a walk or to the gym, don’t worry! A decent workout is possible at home:

  1. Five minutes of going up and down the stairs, or running back and forth down the hallway to warm up.
  2. Body weight squats, back extensions and sit ups, with one minute off between each set.
  3. Five minute workout with 10 units of burpees, push-ups, y-ups and crab reaches with a minute between each set.
  4. Five minutes of broad jumps. Take a minute off after each one minute set.
  5. 3×8 sets of extended inchworms, single leg free deadlift and side lunges.
  6. Five minutes of cool down with brisk walking and stretching.

Wishing you all a wonderful month!


How to Travel in Shape

Don’t let excuses get in the way.

It’s always possible to get in some workouts while abroad. In fact, training in a new environment may help boost your mental stamina, introduce you to new and enjoyable physical activities, embed more creativity and variety in your workouts and blessedly offset the negative effect of eating outdoors.

Here are a few tips that have helped me stay in shape while traveling:

  • Book in hotel that has some decent workout facilities (e.g. gym, running track, and/or swimming pool). Otherwise, tag nearby gyms and parks.
  • Make sure to include workouts in your travel itinerary, preferably first thing in the morning. If training is a priority for you, you can surely plug in 30-60 minutes a day to work out!
  • Pack some light equipment and training clothes. Travel-friendly training equipment include: jump rope, TRX, resistance bands and swimming goggles.
  • Go fast and hard using just your body weight. Even if you don’t pack a single fitness tool, you can get good workout doing a bodyweight HIT session.


  • Physically move through tourist attractions whenever possible: walk, cycle, hike and run while you take in the beautiful scenery.
  • Have your travel buddies join you for a fun group workout.
  • Challenge yourself to try new physically-taxing activities: surfing, paddle boarding, climbing, open water swims even and night diving.
  • Don’t deprive yourself of trying new foods but control your portions and try to eat healthier meals whenever possible.
  • Never go more than two days in a row without working out. Otherwise you’ll find it harder to get back into the swing of things when you get back home.

Travel Workout

Here is a workout you can do right in your hotel room.

  • Five Tabata cycles + 90 second recovery between each. Each cycle consists of 8X (20 second of work, and 10 second off/recovery). Challenge yourself to push as hard as possible during the 20 seconds.
  • Five-minute warm up (pulse-raising movements such as jumping jacks, high kicks, or even running through the hallway a few times).
  • Max burpees (or modified burpees) – try to keep the same amount of reps for every 20 seconds.


  • Superman rocks (or hold) – make sure you really squeeze your gluteus and legs together.
  • Squat jumps – drop down into a squat and a high jump. Try to maintain the rep scheme throughout the whole Tabata cycle.
  • Plank hold shoulder taps – keep your core and torso centered, with straight alignment from your head to your toe.
  • Russian twists using a water or even shampoo bottle – make sure you go through the full range of motion with the twists, and drop your chest to tap deeper into local core muscles.
  • Five-minute cool down (leg, arm and back stretches).

12074831_10154257761792519_3203240487348907193_nSome of my recommended travel destinations for a fantastically fit trip:

  • Climb Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
  • Climb Mount Kenya (Kenya)
  • Surf in Sri Lanka
  • Join a diving expedition in Komodo and hike with Komodo dragons (Indonesia)
  • Run the Paris Marathon (France)



Your monthly dose of health.

Lifestyle Tip of the Month: Earth is in serious need of our help, and we can all pitch in. Everything you do, no matter how big or small, makes a difference!

Here are 11 simple tips to help you start living a more eco-friendly lifestyle, from today:

  1. Use a reusable grocery bag when you go shopping (no to plastic bags).
  2. Use a water bottle you can refill; no, to buying plastic bottled water.
  3. Buy locally, instead of importing whenever possible.
  4. Eat seasonally – help support sustainable farmers, and get fresher food.
  5. Cut down on printing; save the trees and use an alternative to printing (e.g. e-tickets).
  6. Turn off appliances and lights that you are not using (energy efficiency).
  7. Carpool and rely less on your car whenever possible. Ride your bike, walk, or even run to get to places. Get moving people, literally J.
  8. Volunteer for or support local animal-shelters.
  9. Recycle, recycle, recycle. There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away, it always ends up somewhere.
  10. Conserve household water use; be water wise.
  11. Take extinction off your plate; eat less meat.

Mobility Month

Being mobile is a crucial aspect of our health and wellbeing. Our mobility effects the range of motion of our joints and muscles, and our posture overall.

Regular mobility training, even for a few minutes, goes a long way. It can alleviate ‘everyday’ aches and pains as well as improve our body awareness.

Here is a brief mobility session from the NTC+ (Nike Training Club) application that you can perform anywhere anytime! To see a live demonstration of the moves listed below and other great mobility moves, tune into the NTC+ app.

(18 minutes; no equipment; active recovery).


  • 2-3 minutes of pulse-raising exercises (cardio-based)
  • World’s greatest stretch (elbow to instep, internal torso rotation with reach, to a hamstring and calf stretch); 1 minute

Core Stability

3x (30 seconds each)

  • Crab reaches
  • Crab toe touches
  • Bird dogs (alternating)


3x (30 seconds each)

  • Dynamic runner lunge (alternate)
  • Walkouts to push-up
  • YTW with arms
  • Lateral hip openers

nelly-fitnesscolumn-april-2017-riyadh-courtesymuznaq2Quote of the month:

“The body achieves what the mind believes.”


Run for Fun

Your monthly dose of health.

Workout of the Month:

Proper Form and all that Jazz

It’s the season to get outdoors and run for fun!nelly-attar_riyadh_2017_nf_8

Pyramid Running Workout:

Warm up 5 minutes (brisk walking/jogging)

  • 1 minute hard (exert yourself, run or jog at a fast pace; you should be feeling breathless)
  • 1 minute easy (recovery – brisk walking, jogging, or running at a slow pace)
  • 2 minutes hard
  • 2 minutes easy
  • 3 minutes hard
  • 3 minutes easy (top of the pyramid!)
  • 2 minutes hard
  • 2 minutes easy
  • 1 minutes hard
  • 1 minutes easy

Cool down 5 minutes (brisk walking/jogging – back to warm up pace) and don’t forget to stretch!

Myth Busted:

No Sweat, no glory?nelly-attar_riyadh_2017_nf_7

Fitness Myth: If you’re not working up a sweat, you’re not working hard enough.

Truth: Sweating is not necessarily an indicator of exertion. Sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself.

It’s actually possible to burn a significant number of calories without breaking a sweat: Try doing some weight training or snowshoeing.

Tip of the Month:

Oil Pulling

coconut-oil-and-coconut-milkOil pulling – used primarily in Ayurvedic medicine- is a fantastic oral detoxification procedure that is simply done by swishing a tablespoon of oil (typically coconut or olive oil) in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. Oil pulling helps:

  • Cure tooth decay
  • Kill bad breath
  • Heal bleeding gums
  • Prevent heart disease
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Whiten teeth
  • Soothe throat dryness
  • Prevent cavities
  • Heal cracked lips
  • Boost our immunity
  • Improve acne
  • Strengthen gums and jaw

Start with a day a week (for about 5 minutes), to several days a week (10-20 minutes).