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.’


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!


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 front­deskd­ifc@bar­rys­boot­

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