Jen Cuttance, personal trainer to members of Oman’s royal family, describes her exercise aesthetic to Fiona Ralph.

Having moved her personal training practice home to New Zealand after a number of years working in Oman, Jen Cuttance is enjoying the change of scenery.

"Everyone has such a great attitude in this country and, as a trainer, I feel it's really fun to tap into that can-do Kiwi spirit to help push my clients that little bit further," she explains, adding that she hasn't given up on her Middle Eastern clients - she travels there once every three months to take them through a two-week training retreat. "I'm very happy being based now in New Zealand and still getting to travel often. I feel like I'm getting the best of both worlds."

Her other world is full of royal palaces, on-call maids (the clients', not hers) and high-profile clients, who she trains in their homes. Having unknowingly made friends with one of Oman's Royal Highnesses while in New Zealand, Cuttance moved to Oman, where she began training members of the royal family. Her training style proved popular, and soon more royals and high-profile clients were seeking her services. "[It was] such an incredible and flattering experience, I found myself often thinking how did this Kiwi end up here?" she says.

Highlights in Oman included the morning prayers - "I would wake up to hear [them] played out across the city, which I found to be not only relaxing but to carry a majestic feel through the air" - freshly brewed Arabic coffee served by her clients' maids - "I'm a spoilt trainer!" - and the Omani people. "They are incredible," she explains. "Extremely grounded [with] a good sense of what is important in life, particularly respect for their families." And the lowlights? The heat, and missing New Zealand of course.


She is now based in a private studio at Peek Practice in Ponsonby, in between trips to Oman. "It's been really great being back in Auckland," she says. "And I'm really excited about helping my new clients meet their goals."

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