Alternative Abu Dhabi workouts
Ditch the treadmill, forget team sports and try these fun workouts Discuss this article
Ballet away your body fat
A ballerina’s body is the definition of poise, strength and control, so choosing an exercise regime that builds such a physique definitely isn’t a bad idea. Xtend Barre combines elements of ballet, light resistance and cardiovascular fitness into a single session. For people who want to make their body leaner and stronger without necessarily wanting to bulk up, this is an all-over body exercise that works.
From Dhs70 per class. Bodytree Studio, Hazza Bin Zayed Street, www.bodytreestudio.com (02 443 4448).
Belly dancing for fitness
Being engaged in and enjoying your fitness class is the best way to make sure you keep going. There is little point in signing up for a pre-dawn bootcamp if you’re going to spend all week dreading it and thinking of excuses not to go. So, an option such as Fitness First’s belly dancing lessons could be the health solution you need. They encourage movement, it’s super-fun and can get you flexing muscles you didn’t even know existed while also working your core and hips.
From Dhs2,500 (three-month membership). Fitness First, Marina Mall, Al Marina, www.fitnessfirstme.com (02 666 2116).
Bounce blubber away
We first attended Abu Dhabi trampoline park BOUNCE on a children’s party and were wheezing, exhausted lumps on the sidelines within ten minutes. Take fitness goals higher with a 60-minute, structured BOUNCE Fit class. The sessions are high intensity, low-impact cardio workouts and will have your heart rate thumping and muscles toning. It’s one of the more fun fitness classes you will enjoy and an effective one to boot.
From Dhs80 per session. BOUNCE, Marina Mall, Al Marina, www.bounce.ae (04 321 1400).
Every pole’s a goal
Cobra Fitness prides itself on cultivating an entire mixed martial arts lifestyle. As well as the various boxing, jiu-jitsu and sparring sessions available at this combat fitness gym, that also means some pole fitness as well. Anybody who has ever tried to clamber up one of the vertical poles will know the strength it requires. (And if you haven’t, we’ll tell you – it takes a lot.) Classes are all about giving strength to the core and a degree of mindfulness to the brain.
Dhs700 (ten classes). Cobra Fitness, Al Bandar, Al Raha Boulevard, www.cobrafitnessuae.com (02 449 6524).
Just Kangoo it
You simply have to trust us on this one. Kangoo Jumps are rebound shoes (think ski boots, crossed with rollerblades but with a springy platform underneath instead of wheels or skis) and after strapping them on you can bounce your way through a teacher-led fitness class. Like we said, just trust us. The boots are quite heavy so that adds some physical exertion to standard exercises such as star jumps or jogging on the spot. And classes are fun, teachers are enthusiastic and the results of an hour of exercise with trampolines built into your shoes are profound.
Dhs80 (one-hour). Tone Fitness, Bain Al Jessrain, Al Maqta, www.facebook.com/tonefitness.ae (050 316 8999).
Kick and be kicked
You can only appreciate the term “fighting fit” when you are being toned by muay Thai, kickboxing, mixed martial arts and other combat fitness techniques. Approaching its ten-year anniversary, Abu Dhabi Muay Thai puts an emphasis on health goals, weight reduction and respectful co-operation in one of the toughest and most personally rewarding workouts you’re likely to find.
Dhs500 (one-month membership). Abu Dhabi Muay Thai, Fatima bint Mubarak Street, Al Reem Island, www.abudhabimuaythai.com (02 676 9658).
Krank it up
The inventor of spinning, we sometimes like to think, had incredibly well-defined legs and behind, a strong core and less-than-impressive arm muscles. Nothing could be further from the truth as Johnny G, as he is affectionately known by rugged, health-mad types, also invented Kranking to buff up arms, chest and shoulders. The classes can be tried in Abu Dhabi and are similar to spinning except the pedals on a device similar to a stand-up bike are powered by the arms.
From Dhs2,000 (three-month membership). Abu Dhabi Country Club, Shakbout Bin Sultan Street, Al Mushrif, www.adcountryclub.com (02 657 7777).
Pull your weight
Indo-Row is to the gym’s rowing machine what spinning classes are to the exercise bike. A group class that makes a pumping team workout out of a solitary activity. Static rowing machines are lined up side-by-side and an instructor yells out the motivation as you pull and thrust your way through as best you can. It is exhausting, you will be flustered, sweaty and ache for days. Then you will feel the results and want to go back again.
From Dhs4,150 (six-month membership). Hiltonia Beach Club, Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche West, www.hilton.com (02 692 4205).
Ride your bike at a party
Spinning classes are all about lining up a load of stationary exercise bikes and pedalling like a maniac while an energetic instructor yells out instructions. Spinning Candy sessions at The Room stick to these basic guidelines but are known for some freedom to freewheel once in a while and also a genuine party atmosphere.
Dhs70 (one session). The Room, Zayed Sport City, International Tennis Centre, www.theroom.ae (02 444 4945).
Ride your bike in the sand
Fat bikes are specially-designed cycles with tyres wide enough to make riding on sand dunes possible. It is not an organised fitness class, but the struggle is real when you are huffing and puffing to the top of a dune out near the Qasr Al Sarab Resort by Anantara. The tours require a lot of fitness and energy will be burned as you get to explore the Empty Quarter at the same time.
Dhs180 per person. Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, 1 Qasr Al Sarab Road, Empty Quarter, www.qasralsarab.anantara.com (02 656 1399).
Ride your bike in the water
We’ve been told that riding a spabike (a static cycle in an individual jet bath) burns twice the calories of normal cycling. As well as increasing the resistance, the jets in a spabike pod also give a hydrotherapy massage at the same time. On paper, it sounds very impressive. A cellulite-busting Jacuzzi which strengthens thighs and tones your backside? Now that sounds impressive. And it won’t leave you completely drenched in sweat like other cardio workouts.
From Dhs440 (one-month membership). Bodylines, Yas Island Rotana, Golf Plaza, Yas Island, www.rotana.com (02 656 4000).
Shake yo’ thang
What is the polite way of saying you’re working on your twerking muscles? The Master hip-hop dance classes at Bodytree Studio might actually teach you a few moves to bust out in a club, but they are also a great workout in their own right. There is an emphasis on fun, but you’ll surely work up a mean sweat and get a decent workout while you’re at it.
Dhs70 per class, Dhs 640 (ten classes).. Bodytree Studio, Hazza Bin Zayed Street, www.bodytreestudio.com (02 443 4448).
Shocking new fitness regime
You may have heard of Electric Muscle Stimulation. The innovative personal training system claims simple electronic equipment can enhance your regular workout by a factor of 18 times. That means just 20 minutes in the gym can have more effect than six hours. You be the judge, but a trip to The Body Company may be enough to entice you into changing up your regular workout for rapid muscle-building results.
From Dhs250 per group session. The Body Company, Bin Hamoodah Building, ADNEC Area, www.thebodycompany.eu (056 334 2286).
Stand up for yoga
Yogis are only too happy to tell you how much more balanced, focused and mindful they are since starting yoga classes. We can tell you from first-hand experience that it is all the more true when your yoga takes place on a stand-up paddleboard floating on the Arabian Gulf. As well as the meditative benefits, you can strengthen your core and work your arms and shoulders while you are at it.
Dhs120 per person. Watercooled Abu Dhabi, Hiltonia Beach Club, Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche West, www.hilton.com (02 692 4205).
After thinking of a cool name like Adrenagy (we guess it is a combination of adrenaline and energy) you need to find some cool exercises for your gym. Step forward, carefully, and try Surfset training. The new fitness trend made a Middle East debut at this Khalifa Park gym and classes see participants clamber onto a rotating mechanical surfboard, which actually simulates the movements of riding an actual wave.
Dhs119 per session. Adrenagy Training Club, Khalifa Park, Salam Street, www.adrenagy.com (02 444 1121).
Survive and you thrive
CrossFit has been the fitness story of the past few years. Amazing results, seemingly superhuman enthusiasts and a sense of community bordering on the obsessive – that’s what it’s all about. There is a competitive edge to the training and the soon-to-return Survivor sessions are among the toughest workouts Abu Dhabi will see this year. There is even a money-back promise for anybody able to finish the programme and specialised nutrition plans to help you get the most from the results-driven course.
Dhs950 (one-month’s unlimited CrossFit). Vogue Fitness, Building 2, Yas Marina, www.vfuae.com (02 583 2380).
Swing by a yoga class
Just when you thought you had grasped the basics of yoga, somebody decided it needs to be done in fabric swings dangling from the ceiling. The fabric hammocks used in the classes can accentuate a stretch, demand greater flexibility and show off superior poses when you get it right. All-in-all it is more challenging than regular yoga and can lead to enhanced results. Plus, when you get it just right and are balancing up in the air you’ll get a little transcendental buzz.
Dhs117 per class. Hiba Yoga at Adrenagy Training Club, Khalifa Park, Salam Street, www.facebook.com/hibayoga (02 444 1121).
TRX in the city
TRX Abu Dhabi Navy Seals are pretty tough. It would be churlish to argue otherwise. So this workout system devised especially for the Seals has the potential for immediate results in a no-pain-no-gain sort of way. Also called suspension training, it involves gravity and your own bodyweight to get muscle results. Core stability, strength and flexibility are all worked at the same time and it’s a demanding class that will offer benefits equal to the amount of effort put in. Pretty much, you’ll be pulling yourself up on a series of straps and pulleys attached to a wall or ceiling and using very little equipment besides muscle groups across your entire body.
Membership from Dhs4,450 (annual). The Club, Mina Sadiyat, www.the-club.com (02 673 1111).
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