Day in the life: Dubai personal trainer of the year has it all planned out

Jarred Lowson has just won personal trainer of the year at the Sport 360 Fit Awards. A 30-year-old South African, he did his final three years of high school in Dubai before going back to Port Elizabeth to do a degree in Human Movement Science, specialising in exercise science and sports management.

He returned and has been working in Dubai for 10 years as a personal trainer – at SMART Fitness in Jumeirah Lake Towers for the last four years and also works as operations manager for sister company SMART Nutrition, which produces sports supplements. He is married to Dana, a Canadian schoolteacher.

5am


I have clients from 6am so it’s important that I get up early to allow myself enough time to shower and have a good, healthy breakfast – and catch up on sports news and scores. I eat a fairly large breakfast – six egg whites and one whole egg, scrambled or in an omelette, plus oatmeal with almond milk and blueberries and some low-fat cottage cheese.

6am

On average, I see four clients for an hour each back-to-back in the morning. Each session begins with an aerobic warm-up, some myofascial release on the foam roller, to release muscular tightness and aligns the body, and some warm-up exercises. While using the foam roller may be painful at first, continued use aids flexibility and reduces injuries. Then we discus nutrition – one of the more challenging aspects for most clients, but I try to educate them about advance preparation and avoiding eating out during the week. For most, it’s simply a matter of healthy eating and portion control.

I also check up on their ‘homework’ sessions – time to confess. Then we get into the body of the workout which is customised to suit their goals and progress through their mesocycles – phases in their training plan – to prevent plateaus. I have three male clients on carb cycling plans and another has been training for a half marathon so his phases change as race day nears.

10am

After a full early morning, this is generally my first break, when I catch up on email or schedule meetings for Smart Nutrition. My role as operations manager includes liaising with the warehouse and keeping stock levels up for existing clients, meeting prospective retailers and distributors and working with the rest of the team on marketing and promotional strategies. I meet the managing director regularly to brief him on progress.

12pm

I review client files and start work on the next phase of their training and nutrition plans. The approach for their next mesocycle will depend on progress, feedback and the follow-up tests and measurements I take. This is often work that runs into the weekends as there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

1pm

I try to drive home to Motor City as often as I can for lunch – it’s normally already prepared. Generally I’ll have grilled chicken or turkey with broccoli and a large sweet potato or brown rice. Saturday is the only day I take completely off from work and I’ll spend the afternoon preparing my meals for the upcoming week. I am quite strict with my diet and practice what I preach. The only way I know how a meal is prepared is if I prepare it myself. I normally read fitness articles as I eat – there’s always more knowledge to be gained.

2.30pm

My time to train. I train six days a week and prefer this time, when the gym is quiet – I don’t have to rush and can disconnect. It’s important for me to keep fit and healthy as well as giving a good balance between work and exercise. Training helps clear my mind and energise me for the rest of the day.

4pm

I normally do three sessions in the late afternoon. I train project managers, media professionals, CEOs, teachers, oil and gas specialists, lawyers and full-time mothers, with ages ranging from the mid-20s to mid-60s. Women make up probably 70 per cent of my client base. Clients’ goals vary from weight loss to strength and a healthier lifestyle. I currently have five clients undergoing rehabilitation sessions after injuries or surgery – back, knee or shoulder problems, mostly caused by muscular tightness or weakness. I try to teach correct posture and stretches to be done during the day to accelerate progress and ease pain.

7pm

I try to finish by 7pm, as I’m doing a course to become a certified physical preparation specialist (a global standard for personal trainers) and would rather study in the evening, so I have more free time over the weekend. On Fridays, I train three to four clients in the morning and take the afternoon off. I just finished a rehab injury management master course too – I enjoy personal development. After dinner, my wife and I catch up on each other’s days and watch a bit of TV if there’s time.

9pm

We go to bed early in the week – Dana is a teacher, so getting a good, restful sleep is very important to both of us. I definitely feel better when I do get to bed before 10pm.

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