Review: Fitbit Alta HR

Post by Mark

A couple of months back, Fitbit sent me their latest fitness tracker to review, the Alta HR. I’m a mechanical watch kind of guy and so don’t own an Apple Watch so figured this would be a good alternative. I’d be able to keep wearing my mechanical watches on one wrist, and a fitness tracker on the other.

The Fitbit Alta HR is a pretty great looking tracker, it’s slim and looks like a regular rubber bracelet and so can be worn on the opposite wrist of your watch and not look like you’re wearing two watches. The biggest selling point for me with the Fitbit was the fact it had a heart rate monitor. I’ve been going to spinning quite a bit and was curious to know how many calories I was burning exactly. Since the Fitbit could monitor my heart rate, I assumed it would be great at that one job… it wasn’t. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

The Alta HR has a pretty simple and straight forward screen that can display the time, your heart rate, how many steps you’ve done, how many calories you’ve burned and a bunch of other information. You flip through the screens by tapping the screen and using the Fitbit app on your phone, you can even customize what information you want to show on the screen and in what order. So in my case the first screen would show me my heart rate, second screen the calories burned, followed by my active minutes and finally the battery life.

I like the screen because of its simplicity but I hate the responsiveness of it. I have quick view turned off since I don’t want the screen to turn on randomly when I raise or flick my wrist, so to turn the screen on I need to tap it. Problem is, 99% of the time it doesn’t turn on with the first tap, 70% of the time it doesn’t turn on with the second tap, 30% of the time it doesn’t turn on with the 3rd tap either. I have to tap the screen a few times to get it to wake up and thats very frustrating. The other major issue I have with the Alta HR is that the heart rate monitor doesn’t seem to work when I’m sweaty which is when I need it to work the most since thats when I’m working out. During spinning when I’m curious to see my heart rate, I need to tap a few times on the screen to turn it on and when it finally would come on I’d get “–” which means it can’t read my heart rate. Then the screen shuts off again and I tap it a few times to wake it up and I get “–” again. Then the screen shuts off and I tap it again a few times and suddenly its reading my heart rate and showing “148” or whatever my heart rate is at that moment. So much work and in the middle of spinning its really unpractical.

The worst part is it doesn’t seem to be accurate at all. Saturday I ditched my gym and didn’t do any exercise other than binge watch season 2 of “F is for Family” and my Fitbit says I burned 2,995 calories that day. Yesterday on the other hand I had 45 minutes of spinning and my Fitbit says I burned 3,084 calories all day. It won’t do the one thing I wanted the Fitbit to do which is let me know how many calories I’m burning during spinning. It doesn’t make any sense.

On the bright side, it does seem to be good at doing one thing really well, monitoring my sleep. The Fitbit is pretty accurate in knowing when you fall asleep and when you wake up. It also uses your heart rate to monitor how much deep sleep you’re getting, if you’re waking up in the middle of the night and how much light sleep you’re getting. So if you want to monitor your sleeping patterns this is actually a pretty great tracker for that. Another great feature is the ability to vibrate when you get a phone call or message. My phone is always on silent and I tend to not notice it vibrating sometimes. Now my wrist vibrates as well and so I haven’t missed a call ever since I started wearing the Fitbit. Battery life on this thing is also fantastic, it lasts around a week of constant use which means you don’t have to constantly be charging it.

Overall though I’m pretty disappointed with the Alta HR. The biggest selling point for me was the ability to monitor my heart rate and let me know how many calories I was burning but that didn’t work out as planned. The FitBit Alta HR is selling for around KD54 on [Xcite] and KD59 on [Blink]. Here is a link to the official Fitbit Alta HR product page [Link]

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Core Fitness is now XAthletic

Post by Mark

Seven years ago I decided to get off the couch and join a gym. I was overweight, I was eating extremely unhealthy and I wasn’t involved in any sort of physical activity. Through my blog I ended up meeting Fahad (aka Trying to be Fahad / @thedietninja) who invited me to come by and try out his gym called Core Fitness, and ever since I haven’t stopped going.

Lots of gyms have popped in the past seven years, a lot of beautiful looking gyms but I kept going to Core mostly because I was comfortable there and because I had my routine and didn’t want to break it. It was a small personal training gym, maximum three people at once (each with their own PT) and it was an all guys gym which I’m always more comfortable in. But the place really didn’t change much over the years and although I didn’t mind it, when I recommended it to friends they always found it visually underwhelming.

But recently, things changed drastically. First thing that happened was we moved to a new location, the 10th floor of the new Crystal Tower in Kuwait City. The second change was that the gym changed its name from Core Fitness to XAthletic and with that, a complete revamp of the brand and interior look (which now resembles a traditional gentlemen’s club). They also brought in a bunch of new trainers and replaced all the previous gym equipment with beautiful new ones. And my favorite part? They installed four huge ass speakers in the gym that pump out a ton of bass. Pretty dramatic overnight changes and I’m loving it so far and there are supposedly more things coming.

The gym is currently in its soft launch phase but is officially opening on May 1st. If you’re interested in finding out more you could check out their instagram account @x.athletic

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Yoga at P5M

Post by Mark

Last week I found out there was a new yoga studio at Hamra Tower called Project 5 Miles (P5M). P5M is a social health initiative aiming to make healthy lifestyle everyone’s commodity. I had heard of them before because they used to hold fitness sessions at Al Shaheed Park, and the new P5M studio in Hamra Tower is a new addition to their activities.

I have an Alive Yoga membership but a friend of mine wanted to do yoga with me this weekend so we decided to try out P5M since the cost per session is just KD5. The P5M studio is located on the 55th floor lobby of Hamra Tower in Kuwait City. It’s not easy to find since it’s kinda hidden but when you come out of the elevator, the entrance to the studio is located behind the large pillar on the right side.

The studio is a beautiful space with a really high ceiling and a beautiful view. They have a bunch of classes with different trainers. We went to the 11AM class yesterday that was being taught by Nawaf Al Ali whom I’ve taken classes with before. It was a very chill and small class and I really enjoyed it. The class I went to was mixed but they also have ladies only classes as well.

The P5M studio is a pop-up studio meaning its not there permanently but only on a temporary basis. Like I mentioned above, their classes are just KD5, so if you’re interested in taking a yoga class there, make sure you check out their instagram page @project5miles and also their website

Tip: Bring your own water bottle and towel, they provide mats, blocks and straps.

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DIY Diet Plan

Post by Saud Alkhateib


Let’s face it. We’ve all been on vacation. We all know what it’s like to gain a pound or two or five. I have been a victim of really good food in foreign places. Yes, I ate the pizza. Yes, I ate the pasta. And, yes the fried things were delicious. I was a victim of not caring about the consequences of weight gain. Because, I was the one at the table ordering dessert. I was the one ordering the ‘Lava Fudge’ chocolate thing, when everyone else was full. I was a victim of really good food. If this sounds familiar, if this sounds like you, then maybe we can be friends.
I was like, sure, I’ll just go back to Kuwait and I’ll eat like a human being again, that’s easy. It wasn’t and I didn’t. Getting back into the groove was the single hardest thing I ever had to do. At work, when people ordered from ‘X’ I ordered the carbs. I ordered the hummus with the bread. It was me. It was pretty sad to lose so much self-control. It was sad when I realized I lost the battle to ‘batata hara’. I am not proud, but such things happen.

After gaining an inordinate amount of weight, I realized maybe I should opt for one of those diet delivery services. Having a preset menu each day, means I can limit myself from gorging when the only option was left-over machboos when I got home from work.

There were many, as you may already know. Most of these delivery services focused on low calorie and horrible carb intake. They would serve you mrabyan and baryani things. Their nutritions were off. They had lasagna Thursdays, pasta Tuesdays, macbhoos Mondays. But no fiber Saturdays, or low carb Sundays. They were just low calorie empty carbs that did nothing but slow down your metabolism. Basically, their “diet” plans could have been planned by Qamar Al-Din (our driver) and none would be the wiser.

I recently discovered that there are crazy Eastern European specialist who decided to start a diet service, there are at last count 4 that I could find on Instagram. It was interesting and I immediately subscribed. They had paleo options, low carb options…etc, I went with the simple low carb one. Chicken, fish and veggie main dishes. I lasted about a week, right before the problems started to happen. The problem was, they weren’t chefs, and it showed. They did things to passion fruit and chocolate pudding, that they probably shouldn’t have. Not to get into a lot of detail, but I ended up referring to them at work to ‘allah iykarm al ni3ma’ box that I gave to the cleaning crew.

What was even more absurd was the 220 and 240 kd they were asking for a 3 meal plan and a snack for 26 days. Being the fat person that I was post my Mykonos trip, I thought “yes, that was the price to pay for not having a six pack.” but it wasn’t. These people are crazy, Eastern European trainers who wouldn’t know any better. And the less said about the bigger “diet” companies the better. Those were a complete joke. Fun fact number 1: Did you know some of them charge 40 kd to do a blood test to determine your “diet meal plan” but end up giving you the same meal plan as everyone else? Because your blood type has nothing to do with what ever food you should be shoving down your mouth.

Skip here for tldr;

So to summarize: Diet food delivery services tend not to taste so good (at least for me, if you love it, all the power to you), they’re not constantly nutritious (also debatable, but bare with me) and those that were nutritious were just inedible (I have yet to find a service that would break this rule). Worst of all, I’ve come to learn that they take a really big margin.

I did the math, basically it costs 200-240kd for a full 26 day program (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack) depending on who you talk to.

But, I came to a much more interesting conclusion. If you are as lazy as I am, and you want to have your meals delivered to you without thinking about the consequences, there are options. Options much better than the ones mentioned above.


If this post gets some traction, I’d like to update this with a different restaurant every other month. But, for this month I am going to make a ‘weight lose’ plan for Pick Yo. The focus here is on a low carb and aggressively low calorie diet (1200-1300 calories).

Below is a link to a schedule of meals that you can get from Pick that will give you the daily recommended dosage of protein and carbs all for the super low cost of 188 kd a month. Also, it’s not disgusting. I’ve also attached an excel sheet (and Apple Numbers for all you Mac fans) to change the plan around to your desired outcome. Let me know what you think!

Link to [PDF]
Link to [Excel]
Link to [Numbers]

Please note, that I am not a trained dietitian, or an expert on anything. You might die if you follow this diet, but probably not. Basically, the advice you’re getting here is the same one you’ll be getting from any/most/all diet services available in the country today. Only with less BS.

Happy weight loss.

Post by Saud Alkhateib, an amateur Photographer/Videographer who also really loves food. Founder of

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The Ketogenics Diet Works

Post by Mark

Back in February I was listening to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast and he had Mark Sisson on who is a fitness author and blogger, and a former distance runner, triathlete and Ironman competitor (video of podcast above). During the show he started talking about the ketogenic diet and by the end of the show I think everyone who listened to the podcast wanted to try it out just because it sounded so absurd.

So this is how I understood ketogenics, basically your body right now uses carbs for energy, with ketogenics your body uses fat for energy which is a better fuel. To transform your body to burn fat instead of carbs it takes just 21 days. During these 21 days you need to completely phase out carbs from your diet (good ones and bad ones), so no grains like wheat and rice, no high carb veggies like sweet potato or corn and no more sugar. You’ll instead have to limit your carb intake to just 15g a day. Secondly your diet will have to consist of 75% fat and 25% protein. By fat they don’t mean just good fats like avocado but any fat like butter and fatty meats. So what happens is your body looks for carbs for energy, doesn’t find any carbs anymore so it starts looking for an alternative source of energy, and it then sees all this fat coming in so it starts burning the fat for fuel.

As of this post I’ve been on the keto diet for exactly 104 days (3 months and 2 weeks). Not only have I lost a lot of body fat but its the first diet where I’m really not craving any food I can’t have. Three months ago I went and had my body fat percentage measured using the BodPod and I ended up with a BF% of 24. It was really surprising and upsetting because it was the highest I had been in years. Fast forward to last week, I got my body fat measured again and I was now down to 17%. The only thing that changed was my diet. I was still going to the gym 3 times a week, I wasn’t doing extra cardio or anything of the sort, it’s just the food that I’ve been eating that has been different.

Now I know what you’re thinking, if I get on any strict diet I’ll lose weight and thats true but I’ll also most likely be just having grilled chicken with steamed veggies and hating my life while craving all this delicious food I can’t have. But if you look at what I have been eating the past three months its ridiculous, I love the food I’ve been eating. Foods I use to stay away from like kebabs, butter with my eggs, cheeses, ice cream etc.. are all now part of my keto diet. I now make delicious fat bombs which are high fat, no sugar and very low carb ice creams at home to help me keep my fat intake high. My chocolate chunk avocado ice cream is my favorite but I also make an incredible butter roasted pecan ice cream. In the past 3 months I only cheated three times, and all three times I cheated it wasn’t because I was craving certain foods but because I was with friends and we just ended up at Elevation or Shake Shack. In all the previous diets I had tried, I always had at least one cheat meal a week and now I don’t.

So not only have I lost fat because of ketogenics, but I’m also loving the food I’ve been eating.


One more thing I wanted to talk about before I ended this post is the Ketonix breathalyzer. When your body is burning fat for energy it goes into a state of ketosis. So to know if you’re in ketosis or not (ie if you’re eating properly) you need to measure it and there are three ways to do that. The most accurate way is with a blood prick test but it’s also the most expensive while the least accurate and cheapest way is with urine test trips. The third option is not as accurate as a blood test but much more accurate than a urine test and it’s using a ketone breathalyzer. It’s also the most affordable in the long run since you can test your breath as many times as you want without having to get refills or anything. I ordered mine from Ketonix (pictured above) for $150 and it really helped me in the beginning keep me on track. So if you’re looking to try keto then I’d recommend ordering one.

The ketogenics diet works. My friends keep asking me how long I’m going to do this for as if its a temporary thing but right now I don’t have an issue staying on this till whenever. I’m enjoying all the food I’m eating, I’m burning body fat without even trying and I feel good. I’m now aiming to get my body fat down to 12% within the next 3 months but I’m also going to be adding cardio two or three times a week. Now keep in mind, I’m not a dietician, so if you’re interested in trying keto watch or listen to the podcast I’ve posted on top and then read up on it.

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MCT Oil in Kuwait

Post by Mark


Does anyone know where you can find MCT Oil in Kuwait other than at the Results Vitamin Shop? Results have MCT Oil but they’re selling it for KD24 while Amazon is selling the exact same one for KD8. So that’s literally triple the price.

If you don’t know MCT Oil is, click [Here]

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OVO – A New Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant

Post by Mark


OVO, not to be confused with Drake’s record label, is a new vegan and vegetarian restaurant that opened up in Bneid Al-Gar around two weeks back. They’re located inside the Massaleh Complex and they have a pretty great outdoor seating thats secluded from the rest of the surrounding area.


More than 80% of their menu items are vegan or vegetarian but they also have some flexitarian options (food with meat) for those tagging along with vegans or vegetarians. I took a couple of photos of their current temporary menu so you can get an idea of what kind of food they serve. You can check it out [Here] and [Here]


Even though they’re currently in a soft launch phase and they’re still adding and fixing stuff on their menu, I’d definitely recommend passing by since the weather is amazing and you don’t want to miss out on their outdoor area before it gets too warm.

Finding their location might be a bit tricky though since they’re hidden off the main road. OVO is located inside the Massaleh Complex, so you’re going to have to park your car, and then take some side stairs to the back of the complex to find it, but if you follow this [Google Maps] link you shouldn’t have any difficulties. In case you get lost you can call them on 22575324/22575374 or visit their isntagram page @ovokwt

That area of Bneid Al-Gar is shaping up to be a healthy area with Alive Yoga and Healthy Feast both located nearby.

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Fork Fed: Salads

Post by Fork Fed

Many of us turn to salads when thinking of a low calorie meal option, yet we neglect to realize that some additions to our salad could actually sabotage the caloric amount in that salad. I thought it would be interesting to look at ways we are adding extra calories (perhaps unnecessarily) to our salads.

Going nuts with healthy fats
I’m guilty for this one. Just because olive oil is a healthy fat that does not mean we can add an abundant amount to our salads and still stay low in calories. Always keep in mind that 1 tablespoon of olive oil does has about 120 calories, adding more tablespoons could easily sway your salad to a 500 + calorie salad. Choose a nut or an avocado (not both) and limit the oil in your salad to control your calories and still get some healthy fats.

Romaine is your green of choice
With salads it’s important to discover other greens that could be added besides romaine. Many of us rely on romaine lettuce due to its availability virtually everywhere, which is a great source of vitamin A; but mixing up your greens will make sure you get plenty of fiber, feel fuller and get a variety of nutrients. Think of using rocca, baby spinach or even kale every once in a while.

No chicken please
Many of us avoid sources of protein in our salads, and we tend to get hungry again within an hour which could lead us to overeating. It’s always a good idea to add protein to any of your salads, and keep in mind that protein doesn’t just mean chicken or steak; you could also add eggs, low-fat cheese or even salmon or tuna as sources of protein.

Croutons and toppings
You’d be surprised how many added calories croutons and other toppings could add to your salad. Most croutons or breads have been deep fried to give you that crunch in your salad – and to me, crunch always means one thing -HIGH CALORIES! Beware of these added toppings even if you are having your salad as a main course. The same goes with toppings like dried fruits and nuts, yes they may be healthy but if we’re not careful with the amounts in our salad the calorie amount could go overboard. Instead, measure out your toppings and make sure you have more veggies and greens to feel full.

Extra dressing please
Now we all don’t want to have a dry salad, but dressings could increase the caloric amount of your salad to be the same of a huge burger. Really watch what dressing you choose to add to your salad. Creamy dressings are a big no-no and filled with calories, the same goes with balsamic vinegar. Unless you are buying expensive aged balsamic vinegar, most of the ones found in restaurants or even the grocery store are actually loaded with added sugars. My tip, ask for your dressing on the side, this way you can measure how much is added to your salad. Also, always aim for vinegar like apple cider vinegar or even lemon to enhance the flavor of your salad minus the added calories.

I hope you enjoy these tips, just remember that with any food – healthy or not – portion size is key.

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

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Fork Fed: Pickle Juice

Post by Fork Fed


Is pickle juice the new health hype? Many new health claims state that pickle juice can enhance athletic performance, and improve blood sugar control for those with diabetes; which makes me wonder whether drinking pickle juice can actually be worth it?

Before we take a look at the nutritional aspects of pickle juice, we need to keep in mind that this drink is definitely going to be a salty one! So those with high blood pressure issues should definitely stay away from this drink. In regards to carb, protein or fat amounts, pickle juice doesn’t really have much to make it stand out in a special group. What pickle juice does have is lots of sodium as well as a decent amount of probiotics.

In the old days, pickle juice was the result of combining cucumbers, salt and water. The cucumbers are fermented by the bacteria Lactobacillus resulting in some probiotic content in the pickle juice. Nowadays, pickle juice is the result of combining cucumbers in vinegar, therefore no probiotics are really available, so stick to your yogurt if you want the probiotics. Regardless of the probiotic content, pickle juice is claimed to have other health benefits that may or may not have any truth to them.

1 – Pickle juice can help relieve muscle cramps.
Muscle cramps could be the most annoying thing, especially when they happen when you’re asleep or during a workout. There could be a cure, but only after the cramp takes place. Recent research has shown that taking 1 ml per kg of your current body weight of pickle juice during a muscle cramp could help you recover faster than drinking plain water or ignoring it and not having anything at all. The verdict: TRUE! Keep your pickle juice jars on your nightstands or take them with you to the gym if you frequently get muscle cramps. It could be worth it for you if it takes you a while to recover from that cramp.

2 – Pickle juice can help with stomach cramps.
Stomach cramps usually happen due to low amounts of acid in the stomach. Adding in the acidic pickle juice could potentially help since we are re-adding acid to our stomachs. Unfortunately no scientific evidence has proved that re-adding acid could help with stomach cramps. The verdict: FALSE! Maybe sticking to antacids or just avoiding some foods could be best with stomach cramps.

3 – Pickle juice can help enhance athletic performance.
The theory is behind the high salt content in pickle juice. Since salt retains fluid, the idea is that having pickle juice prior to exercising could keep you more hydrated and enhance your athletic performance for exercises requiring stamina. Unfortunately most studies have not shown any effect making this claim worthwhile. The verdict: FALSE! Stick to regular water, good training and sleep to enhance your performance.

4 – Pickle juice can control blood sugar.
Vinegar and blood sugar have been researched for a while. The link is between vinegar and insulin to be precise, where vinegar has been shown to improve sensitivity to insulin in the body – therefore reducing blood sugar levels. Vinegar has also been found to slow down the absorption of food in the stomach, when taken with a meal; that could also help potentially lower blood sugar levels. The verdict: True! I would consider adding vinegar but not necessarily consuming a cup of pickle juice with my lunch or dinner. Perhaps some apple cider vinegar in my salad dressing would be a more palatable choice.

So, would you be consuming pickle juice? I certainly will continue to enjoy eating my pickles and until more research has been conducted, I will be holding off on the pickle juice.

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

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Measuring Your Body Fat

Post by Mark


Since summer is coming and a lot of people will be trying to lose weight for beach season, I figured it would be the perfect time to post about this subject. I recently started a Ketogenic diet and wanted to measure my body fat so I could compare it again a few months down the line and the most accurate way to get your body fat measured is with a Bod Pod.

A couple of years back I posted briefly about the Bod Pod when I passed by the then recently opened SPARK Athletic Center. The Bod Pod is much more accurate than biolectric anaylysis (the paddles you hold while standing on a scale) and much more accurate than skinfold calipers which a lot of people seem to think is very accurate. Recently I was made aware by a reader of a small nutrition center in Shaab that also has a Bod Pod and the best part is, it’s available for both men and women.

The picture on top is of the Bod Pod, you basically sit in it for a few seconds while the machine uses air pressure to calculate everything. Some of the information the Bod Pod will be able to provide you with is your body fat percentage, your fat mass, your lung capacity and your resting metabolic rate.

The whole process takes a few minutes and you could be in and out of there in less than 30 minutes. The cost of getting your measurements taken is KD20. If you’re interested the place is called Your Choice and they’re located next to where Edo used to in Shaab (Same building as Ryoog). You need to call for an appointment on 22621117 and here is the location on [Google Maps]

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