20 April 2018Last updated

Get fit

Gain fitspiration from the fitness professionals

Want to get fit but can’t find the motivation? Check out these down-to-earth fitness fanatics who you, the Aquarius readers, nominated as the best trainers in town

By Louisa Wilkins
9 Jul 2013 | 12:14 pm
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  • Buffi Jashanmal: "I’m more of a workout buddythan a personal trainer. I don’t stand on the side telling my clients what to do – I do the moves with them."

    Source:Grace Paras/ANM Image 2 of 8
  • Bernadette Abraham

    Bernadette Abraham: "I have a strong desire to help as many people as possible. I have launched my website to carry the message further."

    Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM Image 3 of 8
  • Paula Nunes: "I love helping people to change their body shape and seeing how it reflects on theirself-esteem, health and happiness."

    Source:Grace Paras/ANM Image 4 of 8
  • Rob Sharpe: "Most of my clients WhatsApp me telling me what they are eating throughout the day. So this is a bit of a 24-hour job."

    Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM Image 5 of 8
  • Barry Ennis: "I feel like I am having the impact I want to be having... inspiring people to higher levels of living."

    Source:Grace Paras/ANM Image 6 of 8
  • Kim Beso: "My dad always asked me why I wanted to do this rather than something that makes more money. But I love what I do. It’s something other people don’t understand."

    Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM Image 7 of 8
  • Rob Forster: "I love helping people at all different stages of fitness. Seeing thatprogression... I get a lot of satisfaction out of that."

    Source:Grace Paras/ANM Image 8 of 8

Buffi Jashanmal fell into personal training when she was a contestant on Project Runway

“I’ve always been obsessed with fitness. I’ve done yoga for 10 years and have always been into going to the gym. But I started getting bored of going to the gym by myself, doing the same thing... I felt like a hamster on a wheel. So when I moved to Dubai I decided to mix it up by joining a running club, taking classes and inline skating with friends. “I just want to be active as a person and active with my friends. I don’t think fitness should be a punishment... it should be fun and sociable. I try to help my clients make fitness a part of their daily lives, rather than a chore. It should be fun – if you try to make it different each day it makes it feel more enjoyable. “I started thinking about making my fitness hobby into a career last year when I was in New York shooting Project Runway. Even once you have been kicked out, you have to stay sequestered in the show’s home until it finishes. I started doing fitness training with the other girls and really enjoyed it. They enjoyed it too... so I decided to do a personal-training course. “I’ve always enjoyed teaching... I’ve taught sewing, fashion and DIY to children and adults. I even used to run knitting classes. With the personal training, I’m more of a workout buddy than a
trainer... I don’t stand around on the side telling people what to do – I do all the moves with my clients.

“I especially love helping people who don’t feel good about their bodies... it’s amazing seeing the difference exercise makes to a person. They sleep better, eat better, drink more water, eat healthier, feel more confident... it has a positive effect on your whole life.

“Being nominated as a fitspiration is amazing for me... I love that I can have a positive effect on people’s lives and it’s great to be part of someone’s transformation. It makes me feel good and makes me want to keep sharing the love and sharing the good word.”
For more information on Buffi’s personal training, visit

Bernadette Abraham fell in love with gymnastics

when she was eight and hasn’t stopped moving since “I started competitive gymnastics when I was eight years old. I was always really skinny as a child – my knees were actually bigger than my thighs – and I remember being shy about going out on to the gym mat, but then I looked around the corner and realised they were all the same as me. I did gymnastics for eight years until an ankle injury made me stop. I still loved it, so I trained to become an instructor. Within two years I was competing in the Candian junior nationals in heptathlon, but the same ankle injury put me out of the game. Again, I trained and became an instructor. “At university, I got in to Thai kick-boxing and got certified at that... I got certified in all sorts of classes.

“Once I had kids, I stopped working full-time and threw myself into my passion – I studied a masters in exercise science and health promotion while pregnant with my third child. “Now, with a personal training certificate too, I am putting all my learnings into full force, helping people achieve their goals – fitness related, lifestyle and weight loss or weight gain. “I have a strong desire to help as many people as possible. I have launched my website to help carry the message further – I post regular articles as well as videos so people can stay fit when travelling, or when they are too busy to go to the gym. In March this year, I became an Adidas Ambassador, which was really great and now I’ve started running wellness retreats too.

“Getting this nomination means a lot to me. It’s very satisfying feeling you’ve changed someone’s life for the better.”
For more, visit

Paula Nunes launched Fitness For Dubai Marina Mums and carried on holding classes until she was 37 weeks pregnant

“At the age of four my mum sent me to rhythmic gymnastics classes because I was jumping and dancing all the time. It was really good for me – I enjoyed it a lot. We had competitions and I learned about discipline, posture, understanding my body and how to control my energy. I was really committed until the age of 14. “At 17 I joined a gym and did fitness classes like aerobics. One of the teachers was a Danish lady with a very unique style – she really inspired me.

“I started studying law at university to please my parents, but I was so unhappy that I left the course. My family were angry, so I had
to decide quickly what to do next. “I decided to study sociology and, at the same time, got certificated in fitness. I started giving classes in gyms and then in a big group of health clubs. Soon I became a certificated Body Balance, Body Pump and Body Jam instructor. I was teaching in four clubs at the same time. I discovered how much I love to teach.

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years now. After coming to Dubai and delivering my second daughter, a friend of mine asked me to give bootcamp classes to a group of mums... so I started running bootcamps on the Marina Walk during the winter. It was such a great experience as it allowed us mums to exercise with our kids around. Sometimes we were running with our strollers. After a while, I called it Fitness For Dubai Marina Mums. During the summer, I just give personal-training sessions to some ladies – always with my one-year-old with me!

“My passion is not just for movement and sports, but also for teaching and interacting with people. Teaching changes the experience completely as then it’s not about me, or my body, but about wanting to help others – keeping in mind you’re a role model, but with your focus on theothers in front of you. “The best thing about my job is when you improve thelife of someone else... I love helping people to change their body shape and seeing how it reflects on their self-esteem, health and happiness. I had a man who started exercising with me in his mid-60s and he kept going for seven years. Can you imagine what a difference it made to his life? Now I’m working with mums after delivering and helping them go from a post-baby bump to a strong stable core. I had one woman who couldn’t breathe after five minutes of exercise in her first session. Now she has lost weight and
can handle 60 minutes of workout... I love what I do. I’m very grateful for being nominated for this.”

For details on Paula’s classes, search for Fitness For Dubai Marina Mums on Facebook

Rob Sharpe is a fitness trainer at Tribe Fit in Dubai Marina

“Exercise has always been a big part of my life. I first got into fitness when I was about eight years old. I played a lot of football and, as I got older, I became more involved with the school teams. That continued all the way through school and when I was 18 I went to college to study sports science. I’ve always been inspired by well-being. For me this is not a job, it’s like my hobby. I get to do what I love and I get paid for it. “The thing I love most about my job is seeing a result. I have one client who came to me nine months ago and he had 36 per cent body fat and weighed 135kg. Now he has 8.5 per cent body fat and weighs 95kg. That is an amazing result! I like the buzz I get from helping people, not only to change the way they look, but also how they feel and their overall attitude to fitness. It’s a massive confidence booster. “My clients have the most success with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Everyone is different but I find this form of exercise gets the best results. I combine it with a diet plan – most of my clients WhatsApp me telling me what they are eating throughout the day. So this is a bit of a 24-hour job.” For details on Rob’s personal training, visit

FlyWheel, FlyBarre and yoga instructor Barry Ennis brings psychology into his fitness classes

“I studied psychology at university but, after graduating, I wasn’t sure I wanted to sit at a desk. I was training to be a professional baseball player at the time. I was sent to a pro-training camp, where I did yoga. I had the typically male perception of yoga, but I quickly saw the physical and mental benefits – how it was improving my game, making me stronger, giving me mental clarity. “Around the same time, I got really into spinning and road biking. I sold my car, which was a crazy move in Los Angeles, and bought a road bike. I nearly killed myself a few times trying to race cars.

“I went to India to study yoga philosophy. It’s about how to live your life to achieve prosperity and peace of mind, which everyone wants but you rarely find together. “Six months in, I got offered a job in Dubai and moved here. I found it fascinating how everything I had learned in India and in college could be applied to fitness classes. I feel like I am having the impact I want to be having... inspiring people to higher levels of living and helping them ascend to whatever they want to achieve.”
Sign up to one of Barry’s classes at

Kim Beso is head coach at The Burn Room

“I used to do amateur boxing when I was a teenager, and then started rowing and playing basketball too. After college, I became an industrial designer and did my personal training certification. “I moved to Dubai in 2004 and started working in an office. It wasn’t really my thing, so I did personal training at Fitness First until I moved to The Burn Room, where we do CrossFit and personal training in small groups. “This is my passion... my dad always asked me why I wanted to do this, rather than doing something that makes more money. But I love what I do. For me, it is about helping people achieve their own personal goals. It’s something other people don’t understand... it’s just the way I am. I love training people, talking to them, helping them. My wife always tries to tell me there’s a life outside of my career. “I have a client who was 110kg and now he is 87kg.

It changed his life – I went to his wedding and was the only man allowed to meet his bride. Touching people’s lives in that way is something you can’t put a price on.”

For on The Burn Room, visit

Rob Forster is a personal trainer and fitness
instructor at Urban Energy Fitness “I’ve been a trainer for the past 10 years. In the UK, I worked as a gym instructor and personal trainer, and then got trained in spinning, Body Pump, circuits and other classes. I then started training sports teams... such as netball, rugby and football. Over the years I got experience in pretty much every fitness field there is.

“I’ve always been into sports but I kind of fell into it as a career. I was planning to go to university to do sports science but was offered a personal training job and took it. “I love being a fitness instructor... I love seeing people progress from a starting point and seeing how their whole outlook on life changes. If I didn’t do this, I don’t know what I would do. But I’d probably stay in sports somehow. “I had a client in the UK who was 65 when she started training with me – she was 72 when I left. She loved it straight away and started coming five days a week. She did all the classes and personal training with me – she was absolutely incredible. We did a plank challenge at the gym I was working at and she won! She did a plank for seven and a half minutes!

“Here in Dubai, at Urban Energy Fitness, we had a group of women who had never run before. We trained them and got them doing a 5km run. Most then progressed to doing a 10km run, which is fantastic – especially for women who have never run before. This is what I love most... helping people at all different stages of fitness. Seeing that progression... I get a lot of satisfaction out of that.”
For details on Rob’s classes and personal training, visit

By Louisa Wilkins

By Louisa Wilkins