5 things I wish my gym did online

For a few years before 2012, I had convinced myself that the best workouts would come from outdoor activities. To this regard, I shunned all gyms and indoor pools for bike rides, pilates, long walks, the weekly “nature” walk with the dogs, and the occasional tennis/basketball games. Moving from Beirut to nearby suburbs really had me reevaluate all outings. Optimally, you want your designated hamster-wheel to be nearby. But if it’s not, then it needs to have an edge- and that’s exactly what gyms in Beirut lacked. The only ones that you might consider joining all basically offered the same programs, machines, and sometimes pool. They had pretty much the same clientele, and often failed to deliver what they promised in terms of hygiene, atmosphere, and comfort.

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Last year, I discovered Fitness Zone had taken up the old Racket Club locale in Baabda- proximity, an “edge”. So while I’m overall very satisfied with my membership there, here’s what I wish they’d do online:

  1. Post updates: whoever is managing their Facebook page and Twitter account is already doing a good job of posting cool updates every now and then. I’d suggest varying the nature of the updates. While they already use SMS for most of their updates on opening hours and classes, they could consider pairing those with updates on their different social media channels. Let us know what’s happening.
  2. Be consistent: posting at random frequencies can deter your audience from engaging and make it seem as though you’re not really interested in connecting with your community of gym-goers. Make it a habit to Continue reading

The Old Man and the Sea

When I was a child, my Mother would take me every Sunday morning for a walk on the shore of Ramlet el Baida. She’d say that it was our way of “returning back to the source”. We sometimes took Mana2ish with us, and tea, and enjoyed what, as Lebanese citizens, we can sadly no longer claim as ours. Our dog would make sure we’d all get some good exercise, and we’d often come back so full of sand and salt we’d even have some in our teeth.

And it is exactly like that that I first met the Man. It must have been around 7:00 AM – we rarely ever stayed until after 8:30 – when I saw him walk into the rabid sea. I don’t remember what month we were in, but I knew that I was startled as I knew the Sea to be way too cold for a swim – God knows I had already tried it myself. But the Man walked, and walked, until he was waist high into the water. There, he stopped, and proceeded to rub his arms, his neck, his beard, and so on. Realizing I had spent the last few minutes staring, and staring at someone who probably needed some intimacy, I turned back and, like any child would do, bragged to my Mother about what I had just seen; a Man braving ice-cold water (and its surprises) to bathe! We walked on, enjoying the bit of calm before the others would arrive and crowd up the area above the shore.

As we made our way up the stairs, we noticed him leaving as well. If you had ever seen this Man, Ali, when you were younger too, Continue reading

Learning from Others’Mistakes: Circumventing the “Customer is King”?

I recently went to a restaurant a few days ago for lunch. A self-claimed trendy place, right in the pounding heart of Hamra district, which for those who don’t know, is an area filled with strips of shops and restaurants, perhaps a cross between the bar district and downtown – the next best thing for some.Seen from outside, the place gave a rather ‘bistro’ impression. However, once we had stepped in, we were surprised to see the place had a somewhat elaborate design. It was also quite spacey. The staff was altogether very smiley and courteous.The menu offered nothing special and now that I think of it, it screamed “We’ve spent a lot on design so pay up”. We both went for goat cheese salad. Unfortunately, when the food finally came, Continue reading

Araniss! Araniss!

During the last weekend, I notice someone had brought home raw ears of corn, and displayed them on the kitchen table. It is interesting how such simple veggie can bring one years back…The idea of “corn on the cob” is sealed into my childhood memories. And somehow, even though I can order or prepare corn on the cob myself – which would definitely be a lot cleaner – there is little that equates to the experience of buying from a corn on the cob stand.When I was very young, our outings were limited due to the political conflict presiding over the county. I spent part of my childhood between Switzerland and Lebanon, and my Mother had to be very creative to keep this kid entertained. She would brave army Continue reading

Dear Gym, I have’snobbed’you

Stick Figure Gym Skull Candy

Four years ago and during the July ’06 ‘block party’, we moved from Tallet el Khayyat to Mar Takla. Naturally, we had spent numerous very, very long days apartment hunting, which had given us the chance to get to know our new neighborhood. Luckily, we were able to finalize any and all papers required by the time the party had reached ‘half-time’.

Mar Takla is one of these areas that bask in a ‘residential area’ halo, where shops and grocers open and close early, random people feed cats, and often on a Sunday afternoon, you will find someone teaching their kid how to drive in the household’s poshest car. We’re blessed to have basketball courts, a football court, and a tennis court. Also, we have a GYM!If you’re familiar with the area, you probably have a smirk on your face and know which gym I’m talking about. Continue reading