When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, life turned upside down for many as lockdowns, movement bans, and restrictions in public places, including gyms, forced many to give up their fitness regimes. That’s when the search for a fitness coach was paramount for many.
In these troubled times, the fitness conscious turned to a new concept of online coaching with Saif al Rawahi’s Smart Approach Fitness – an online personal coaching platform. Rawahi’s clientele grew rapidly but financially it was quite the opposite for him.
Not wanting to make hay while the Sun was shining, Rawahi, however, chose to offer people a solution that was free. The 29 year old coach, who is an OTA (Online Trainer Academy) certified online trainer, felt it was his duty to help people regain/maintain their fitness levels by availing of his coaching that was not a profit-making venture.
“We believe in helping the community, the people, and our clients first. This is the reason why we still regularly provide free 30, 60, 90-day free online coaching programmes. Even though we could’ve capitalised on the situation, we chose to take a financial blow for a worthycause,” Rawahi said.
Transition into resistance training
Despite what ideas Rawahi’s dreadlocks convey, he was born and raised in Muscat. Growing up, he was always active and into fitness from a very young age. “I grew up playing all kinds of sports. I won many medals playing soccer, basketball, sprinting, volleyball, and even netball without real structured training,” he recalls.
It wasn’t, however, till his year in the US when Rawahi transitioned into resistance training and focused on body composition rather than performance. Rawahi got most of the knowledge during his first semester at the Humboldt State University, US, which ignited his passion, and got his first personal training experience when he started training people in 2013 as a fitness coach.
“I was underweight and small made, compared to the average American then. So, my mission was to enhance my physique and learn everything I could about health and fitness, training, weight gain, weight loss and nutrition,” says Rawahi who is now a full time ‘fitness guru’.
Oman hasn’t fully accepted online coaching to date and the Smart Approach is the first online personal training and fitness brand in Muscat, which sprouted in 2018. The platform has helped many locals as well as expats transform into healthier versions of themselves, providing tailored exercises and nutritional coaching with many added benefits.
Effective online coaching
Fitness coach Rawahi’s Smart Approach Fitness also provides in-person training, though they moved to 100% online coaching following the onset of the pandemic.
“We are your start to work out smart. The way we approach the public is by giving them a 60-day money-back guarantee. We work on the belief that people want to transform, so we let them try our services for 60 days, risk free. With nothing but time to lose, the public are open to trying something new. Most felt they needed a coach in the gym, when in reality they needed someone outside of the gym,” says Rawahi.
Many people doubt whether online coaching is as effective as in-person training and whether they can achieve the same results. But Rawahi’s coaching doesn’t only focus on training, it also provides guidance, nutrition coaching, mindset coaching, and clarifies all doubts of participants.
“We provide a full system that takes you to where you want to be, we learn exactly where you can improve and guide you towards getting there. People achieve much more than just results – they learn what to do, how to manage their food, appetite and hunger, and run a schedule outside of the gym that is built to move them closer to their goal,” he says.
He also helps women get back in shape, post-pregnancy, and scientifically adds a few years to that persons life, too. The two scenarios of gaining and losing weight are at the opposite ends of the spectrum and a person’s experience level, gender, health history and many more intricate details matter for a programme to be sustainable, he asserts.
“To gain weight, we’d increase your food intake. Some people can’t do that easily, so we help you choose foods that are calorically dense. To lose weight, we’d decrease their food intake – one way to do that without being hungry all the time is by selecting foods that are not calorically dense. As for the training, it would comprise 45-60 minute sessions for around 3-4 days a week,” Rawahi explained.
A great nutrition protocol promotes healthier outcomes, less gut problems, keeps you at an ideal weight, strengthen your immune system, decreases the risks of diseases such as, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, kidney stones, osteoporosis and cancer, the fitness coach pointed out.
“Nutrition is a huge part of fitness. You can’t be ‘fit’ if nutrition is not within your top 3 things to focus on,” says the certified ProCoach who earned one of the most respected nutrition coaching certifications in the world from Precision Nutrition.