Breaking Records

ABU DHABI-BASED EVA CLARKE SMASHES TWO WORLD RECORDS WHILE RAISING FUNDS FOR THE MARIA CRISTINA FOUNDATION

LAST MONTH AT AL WAHDA MALL IN ABU DHABI, PERSONAL TRAINER AND MUM OF THREE EVA CLARKE, set out to do what many would deem impossible – set two new Guinness World Records: one for the most knuckle push-ups in one hour and one for the most knuckle push-ups in 24 hours. Not only did she break those records, she pulverized them. Eva says: “I almost quadrupled the record for most knuckle push-ups in one hour and accomplished 9,241 push ups in 24 hours, breaking the previous record of 7,000.” When asked why she chose knuckle push-ups as the challenge she wanted to undertake, Eva explained: “I do push-ups on my knuckles as I have a pin in my right wrist due to Keinbocks disease... I had already broken two world records for push-ups before so Guinness Books was the next step up; and, I knew that having Guinness involved would also draw more attention to the charity.”

While the accomplishment was certainly satisfying for Eva – who’s also the UAE’s fittest woman 2012 – raising money for the Maria Cristina Foundation, a charity that supports children in Bangladesh, was a big part of what got her through the gruelling ordeal. ”I had to have more grit about me in those 24 hours then I have ever had if I wanted to succeed in changing the lives of others. The pain wasn't temporary; it lasted 24 hours, but quitting or failing just wasn’t going to happen.” At the end of the 24 hours, Eva was able to raise over USD17,000 for the foundation.

As a former Military Physical Training Instructor, Eva knows a thing or two about sticking to rigorous training. To prep for the event, she followed a no nonsense push-up regime that included high reps, timed reps as well as Eva’s own HUA training – a form of cross training, endurance, and strength training using various exercises specific to build core and upper body strength. Of the training, she says: “Some days my volume was four hours plus of training. I would train no less than six days a week and during certain periods of my program there were months where I would be doing pushups seven days a week.”

Eva also made her nutrition play in her favor by incorporating a well- balanced mix of protein, carbs and essential fats – and the
occasional cheat treat – into her daily routine. “I kick start my day with a green vegetables and pineapple juice; have breakfast post-training – usually eggs, spinach and lean meats – and a protein shake. At lunch I generally stick to meat and salad. Sometimes I eat rice, pasta and bread if it’s been a big day. Dinner consists of meat, salad, vegetables, soup or a meat/vegetable casserole. I eat about two to three bananas and for snacks, nuts, oats and sometimes yogurt and berries.” Eva also allows herself her favorite foods, saying: “I have a pizza night on Friday and if I have had a hard day and feel like cake or a burger I will eat that too. I train pretty hard so my body needs fuel. I can’t keep my diet too clean or I get too fatigued. I am a real person. I eat real food and if I’ve earned it I am going to eat it!”

Like most people who go on to achieve extraordinary feats, Eva wasn’t alone on her physical and mental quest. “We had rowers, runners, cyclist, people doing pushups, sit-ups, squats; then I had pushup paces tagging me and the spirit and drive of my team, kept me going. This event will leave a mark both on the community and everyone involved for life.”

You’d think that after accomplishing such an incredible result – and the insane amount of work and drive that went into doing so – Eva would have taken a well- deserved rest. Instead, just a week after completing the record-breaking event, Eva entered the Wadi Bih 50km solo canyon run. She placed second overall.

While Eva has her hands in all things fitness, her family is her number one priority, and like many busy mums out there, she just makes it work. “I am always on the go and live in training clothes. I’m training myself and clients, running classes, getting my troop ready for school, taking them to their sporting activities, doing homework… In most instances we are products of our environment and my job and duty as a mum is to ensure my children are healthy, fit and cared for… I really enjoy balancing and juggling my children with my passion towards life, I hope it inspires them to be as driven.”

So what’s in the pipeline for this 34-year old fitness expert? Lots. Starting with a completely new challenge – Jujitsu. “I am hoping to have my first fight in a few months. Hey, I might lose that fight but I am winning everyday with the attitude I have towards life.” Watch this space.

For more information about Eva Clarke and HUA training, visit huafitness.com.au.

Published on healthandfitnessmag.ae in March 2014.