BEIRUT: Jack Lalanne, the body builder known as the “Godfather of Fitness” once said “your health account and your bank account are the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out.”
Fitness has become the new social scene, both abroad and locally; and people are spending more time exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
When setting out on a new career, not only did celebrity trainer Charbel Abou Khattar choose this path for himself, but he also decided to inspire and motivate people by helping them transform their bodies and lives.
It all started in 1994, when Abou Khattar’s father gifted him fitness equipment on Christmas Eve. He advised him to work out and exercise because “girls love that.” He followed his father’s advice, and his journey began, as he told Annahar.
“At first, I did it for girls’ attention but later my goals developed. Exercise became my stress therapy and my endorphin booster. When I saw the weekly results, I became addicted and my goals turned into professional ones,” he said.
Day after day, Abou Khattar practiced a daily routine of positive habits. He mastered his mind and focused on a healthy nutrition, hydration, and getting enough sleep. Every morning, he read books about positivity and articles about the newest fitness routines.
In 2012, Abou Khattar participated in the Italian International Class of Natural Bodybuilding and won the first place with a score of 100/100 as a life-time drug free athlete. Additionally, he was the first Arab person to win this competition.
After that, Abou Khattar’s ambitions led him into the entrepreneurship field. He combined his marketing skills, acquired from his Master’s degree in Marketing, with his fitness experience to start his own gym and named it CAK.
Abou Khattar talked about what makes his gym different than others.
“It’s not a normal commercial gym. Every person registered in my gym is trained by a personal trainer to ensure that he’s exercising in the right way. However, I don’t choose personal trainers according to a certificate; they are usually my own students that have proved their skills practically,” he said to Annahar.
Abou Khattar emphasized on training the mind before the body. He also indicated that the most important exercise in his routines is squats, which requires exercising the whole body to be done right.
As for losing weight, he recommended staying away from sugar, which is the “enemy” of good health.
In two years, Abou Khattar achieved his ROI (return of investment) for his original startup funding. Not only that, but CAK gym became a haven for many celebrities such as the singer Roula Saad, the actress Dalida Khalil and the singer Nader Al Atat.
Every day Abou Khattar posts videos featuring celebrities or students giving motivational quotes and always ends them with his motto of the day:”Enjoy your day, CAK”.
Maya Nehme, the famous singer and dancer who was a finalist in Star Academy Arabia told Annahar how registering at CAK gym affected her life.
“As a celebrity, who is under the spotlight, I face criticism and I need to take care of my body. Before, I used to think that in order to have abs, I should starve. Nevertheless, at CAK gym, I became more knowledgeable and developed healthy habits. I was able to sculpt my body with 3 days of training per week,” Nehme said.
She added that Charbel is an experienced champion, which creates a sense of credibility; and that his optimistic spirit is “contagious.”
One of the challenges Abou Khattar faced when training his students was their poor nutrition. This is why he started his own healthy food line, CAK Kitchen, which serves and delivers all kinds of foods and sweets.
He stressed that to achieve maximum results exercise should be accompanied with good nutrition.
Following his advice and mentoring two of his students, Ara Arsalian and Steve Abou Rachid participated in the International Austrian Championship. Arsalian reached the fifth place and Abou Rachid won the fourth.
Coach Steve Abou Rachid was always a person “thriving for knowledge,” and working with Abou Khattar helped him gain the experience and discipline he needed to affect the people he trained, the way Abou Khattar did when training him.
The advice Abou Khattar gives to aspiring personal trainers is as follows:
“Due to my experience, I have reached a point where I can visualize a student’s future transformed body, the first time I see him. My advice to personal trainers is to practice what they preach and give everything they have from knowledge to positive outlook and not to ask for anything in return.”
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