TRIED & TESTED
Pounding drum sticks, swinging bags and virtual cycling: We put Dubai’s new workouts to the test
Dubai’s fitness scene is hotter than ever. Friday tries out 10 of the latest workouts.
You know that thing we’re all supposed to do regularly – especially if we love cake and ice cream (and particularly if you love cake and ice cream as much as we do). Exercise. Now we all know that we need to do it to keep our body, mind and soul in tip-top shape, but for many of us it’s not just the will to do it but the continued commitment that’s a struggle. The best way to get around that is to find workouts that are so engaging and fun that they don’t feel like workouts.
Fortunately, the UAE has a fantastic fitness scene with new gyms, bootcamps, and training trends popping up all the time. Exercise enthusiasts have plenty of options to mix up their workout regime or just try something different. Friday sent two challengers – Mairead Walsh, editor,
InsideOut, and our very own art editor, Mark Setchfield, to try 10 new-to-the UAE exercise classes to see how they fared.
‘The last time I jumped like this was on my parents’ bed when I was six. So how hard could jumping on a trampoline be? Quite.’
MAIREAD WALSH, 44
Getting older has its challenges and one of them is keeping fit. I am a very competitive person and I already exercise regularly and try to mix it up, but I was looking forward to these new workouts to try something different and to really push my limits. Bring it on!
MARK SETCHFIELD, 47
I do try to keep fit and my diet healthy, however like many people, I find the motivation to get to the gym challenging, mainly because I hate working out alone in an empty gym. I feel like time hits the pause button as soon as one gets on a cross-trainer.
So to get over my fitness boredom, I looked forward to the new challenges and the variety of innovative fitness classes. Hopefully, at the end of this experiment, I would walk (even run!) away with some new techniques and shape up at the same time.
MAIREAD Walking in to the dark, mirrored room with treadmills lining one wall, a weight rack lining another and steps boxes lining the third, you know you’re in for a sweaty session. The smooth-talking, enthusiastic instructor, Bradford, essentially conducts two classes at once, directing half the participants on the treadmills and the other half on the steps through a high-intensity, minute-by-minute workout. Whether instructing every 30 seconds to increase pace or incline, or giving direction on leg lifts, sit-ups, shoulder presses, etc, Bradford constantly provides encouragement and advice on form. And there’s a great energy in the room motivating everyone to push themselves to new levels. I especially liked that Bradford ended the class with a minute of meditation: ‘Think about what you’re feeling right now. Fatigue, yes, but also strength. Did you have a moment when you felt weak and used some emotional, mental strength to push through? Think about the things you want to achieve. Feel gratitude for what you have accomplished and what you’re capable of.’
MARK I’ve heard a lot of people talk of Barry’s Bootcamp like it’s a cool club I should be a part of. Arriving for the 8.30am core training session felt like I had walked into a members’ club – everyone clutching a juice and high-fiving each other. Grabbing a towel, I headed into the dimly-lit studio. As I began my class on a treadmill, I liked the way the instructor pushed me to either increase the speed or the incline. The high-energy music helped keep up with the momentum. Moving to floor we worked on core exercises under guidance and motivational whoops from Bradford. TRY IT YOURSELF Where: Barry’s Bootcamp at Central Park Towers in DIFC. Price: First class costs Dh80, Dh120 per class thereafter. Packages also available. To book: Call 04 2544775 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.