Since my recent transition to a new country I haven’t had a lot of time to write any posts. My schedule for these initial 6 months I’m here will be rather hectic and most likely won’t allow me to write as much as I would like.

Because of this, I’m going to change up my posts a bit and write more of a stream-of-consciousness style. This will still allow me to write and get some information out to you folks, but it won’t necessarily focus on one particular topic. It will be more of a free-flow of thoughts…a random sentence on Saudi Arabia, then a random sentence on fitness, then a random paragraph detailing my love for Birkenstocks. You get the idea. Hey, it’s my site and I can write how I want to.

This random style of writing is pretty consistent with my current situation…not everyone packs up a fairly successful business in sunny San Diego and heads to the Middle East where he knows no one to take on a new challenge. Exciting…and random.


1. Client issues remain the same – Regardless of where people live in the world, the biggest issues they struggle with are finding time to exercise and what are healthy foods to eat?

Time – Everyone is busy. I’ve said it 100 times before (yes, I counted), you must make your fitness and your healthy a priority in your life. It’s not an issue of time, it’s an issue of priorities. Make your health a priority and you’ll find the time.

Nutrition – Just like back home, it seems people are confused by all the information out there today. Paralysis by analysis. My plan here is to keep things very simple; educate folks on the importance of eating REAL food…getting earth-grown nutrients into their bodies and staying away from highly processed options.

2. Saudi’s love their coffee – They drink A LOT of coffee here. I know we drink a lot back in the states but these folks may have us beat. In addition to all the local coffee shops at every corner and the multiple coffee kiosks along the roads (where you can just park IN the road to grab a cup from the kiosk), there are Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Coffee Bean options out here as well. Oddly, many of my new clients have expressed issues with getting adequate sleep. Coincidence?
I’m a fan of coffee…a cup, maybe 2 a day at most. Personally, I’ll have a cup of black coffee (or with coconut oil) before I workout. But many of these folks are on another level. My newest client drinks at least 2 pots a day. Forget cups…we’re talking pots!

3. My love for eating local – I’m more anal about food than I thought. I was definitely spoiled back in San Diego; all the great farmers markets which allow for local, organic, healthy eating year round. After some asking around, I’ve currently got two clients with farms out here and have already received a couple boxes of local veggies. I just need to figure out the meat scene here and I’ll be good to go. I’ve recently learned of an organic farm nearby that delivers some fruits, veggies, and meat. I think I’ll be eating a lot of lamb while I’m here. If it’s humanely raised and not pumped with drugs, I’ll give it a try.


4. It’s a big world AND a small world – I’ll admit, the culture shock is still something I’m getting used to. I’ve done very little international travel, so this part of the world is very eye-opening to me. Every day provides a new learning experience, which I love…so many new happenings and events all the time. Big world. That being said, I’m currently training 3 gals who went to Boston University, one who went to Boston College, and a gentleman who went to Northeastern. Tomorrow I’m meeting two potential clients who went to school in San Diego. Small world.

5. Timing – I’m not a religion person but respect everyone’s personal choice. Here is Saudi, folks pray five times a day. Businesses literally shut their doors for 20-30 minutes during business hours to allow their employees to pray. It seems that I head to the supermarket (which is in the mall incidentally) EVERY single time it’s a prayer time. If you happen to get in to the store before they close the doors you can wonder around and get your groceries…there are just no cashiers there to check you out.

6. Coconut oil – Two weeks in and still no coconut oil. Long drought for me, although I may be getting some this coming week.

Learning and growing everyday…two big reasons I accepted this challenge.

Ma’a salama

About Doug Balzarini
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.

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