Working and living in the Middle East can bring about some amazing opportunities if you are ready to grab them.

I have lived and worked in the Middle East for the last 10 years. I came here from The Reebok Club, in London, a far cry from the social, climate and cultural change in than that of Qatar.

5 top reasons to work in the Middle East

Professional Network:
It never hurts to create a network of relationships in one of the world’s economic powerhouses. Oil and gas is the most obvious industry to be involved in, but here in Qatar the sport and fitness industry is taking a massive turn in growth. With the FIFA World Cup on target there is huge emphasis on the nation to be ‘on side’ – developing health and fitness at all levels.

Financial:
This is the obvious one, of course. I moved to Qatar in my early 30’s for a a 2 year contract and ended up lasting a decade. It has enabled me to grow in my business and develop my skills and qualifications with more ease and time. Being a tax free country makes the situation much more attractive, with the extra cash flow, continual training updates has become easier to fund.

Making a difference:
I’m not sure if this is the top priority, initially, in the minds of many people coming to the Middle East, but suffice it to say that in many professional areas there is an opportunity to make a real difference, directly or indirectly, to people’s lives. Fitness, health and mindset is crucial for the expatriate community to keep up as they try to adjust to the new lifestyle that often has been thrust upon them.

For the local population it is something that is a far newer experience for them. Here, my role has become that of an education as to why fitness and health is important, rather than the mindset that it may be something you can simply buy.

Environment:
I teach classes and personal train usually with the sea in our view. My studio is also overlooking the water and when I am seeing my life coaching clients the peacefulness of the sea opens the clients mind to more possibility.

Friendships:
As a fitness professional, relationships, communication and people are massively important to me. I have built up some wonderful friendships and met some amazing people. In an expat community, one thing people generally want to spend more time on is their health, this gives me the ability to reach a lot of lives.

The Challenges

Of course, not everything is perfect there are areas of life here that can be a real challenge;

Heat
Simply living, let alone training, in 50 degrees celsius is almost impossible. From May to October being outside is not an option, life has to come indoors and motivation to train is hard.
I have to ensure people are safe from heat stroke, sun stroke and dehydration which is common through these hotter months.

Standards
People are living here from all over the world and standards vary greatly. Its is an area I have great passion for and if you have read some of my other article you will know that I get frustrated with seeing unqualified trainers, teachers and coaches.

The difficulty here is, that many people employing the trainers also do not have the knowledge of safe and effective exercise. Trainers are also free to set up independently and there are no governing bodies to monitor and regulate this. I work with many trainers to guide, train and improve the standards here.

Give It a Go

If you have a sense of adventure, self motivated and love meeting new people then I strongly urge you to try working in the Middle East.

For any advice or questions please don’t hesitate to post a question or get in touch.
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