If your boxing experience starts and ends with watching the Rocky films, you might laugh at the suggestion of trying it for yourself.
Yet the ancient art of pugilism isn’t just for impossibly chiselled men with muscles like Ivan Drago and stamina like Apollo Creed.
The combat sport has been incorporated into so many workouts across the world, and Abu Dhabi has fully embraced this
But when you think about it, it’s easy to see why boxing is such a popular way of keeping fit. Combining its skill and discipline with strength and cardio training results in the perfect all-body workout.
Boxing is perfect for all ages and fitness levels. It isn’t at all scary or intimidating, and as it requires you to fully concentrate on learning a new skill, you’ll be far too absorbed to think about how tired you are or how heavy your muscles are feeling.
So here are some of the best places for working on your left hook in Abu Dhabi.
Adrenagy Training Club
While some of the capital’s best gyms are small, boutique-style workout centres, this Khalifa Park venue is a huge labyrinth of countless workout rooms and fitness studios. In addition to the main gym, there’s also an enormous ladies-only floor, complete with every type of fitness machine you can imagine. The state-of-the art boxing ring and training area might sound daunting, but it’s really quite the opposite. The trainers are experts in the pugilistic arts, and are especially good at passing on their skills in a safe, accessible and engaging way. If you find running on a treadmill mindless and tedious, joining a boxing training programme could be just what you need to get yourself motivated. As well as offering an intense physical workout, it gets your brain cells working, too.
Prices vary. Open Sun-Thu 6am-11pm, Fri 2pm-11pm, Sat noon-11pm Khalifa Park, Salem Street (02 444 1121).
The founder of this gym competed in professional boxing and karate tournaments before studying with the International Sports Science Association. The private and semi-private sessions are specifically tailored to your needs and fitness levels, ensuring you really get the most out of every minute of the one-hour sessions. The kickboxing classes are the perfect introduction to the sport, while the cardio and core sessions also include some boxing. Continuous punching and kicking will really get your heart rate racing and your arms aching. Believe us, we’ve tried it.
From Dhs85. Open Sat-Thu 6am-10pm. Blumont Capital Hotel, Dhafeer Street (050 813 8415).
A boutique studio that marries up adrenaline-pumping tunes, cool lighting and boxing training. Here you can take part in 45-minute, boxing-inspired exercise classes. PUNCHIIT mixes boxing techniques with a series of high intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises, moving quickly from punching routines to short bursts of bodyweight moves, such as burpees, push-ups and mountain climbers. Your heart rate will soar and you’ll burn fat at the same time. The workouts are available as mixed and ladies-only classes, and the cost is worked out on a pay-as-you-go basis. Each class costs Dhs100, but first timers can take advantage of a two-for-one offer.
Dhs100. Various times, Sun-Thu. International Tennis Center, Zayed Sports City (050 754 8474).
Describing itself as a ‘fitness and lifestyle’ club, this Zayed Sports City establishment certainly offers far more than the average gym. With a chilled-out and chatty ‘care team’ of instructors, the classes cover indoor cycling, pilates, tabata and much more. The boxfit sessions are perfect if you want to burn fat, learn how to box and have some fun. Sure there’s a lot of punching and kicking involved, but it’s broken up with HIIT (high intensity interval training) and strengthening moves. Now that the weather has cooled, the sessions are held outside, and switching between the different moves makes the 60-minutes (or 45-minutes if you go for the boxfit express class) go so extremely quickly.
From Dhs73.50. Open Sun-Thu 8am-9pm, Fri 8.30am-11pm, Sat 8am-1pm. International Tennis Center, Zayed Sports City (02 444 4945).
This ladies-only gym seems to specialise in exciting and quirky forms of exercise. As well as Kangoo Jumps and Pound (drum-inspired cardio) classes, it also hosts ‘box and burn’ sessions. With half the class made up of HIIT exercises and the other boxing moves, it leaves every part of your body aching in a satisfying way that really proves how hard you’ve worked. But as you’re concentrating so hard on following the punching routines correctly, you won’t really have time to register the sweat dripping down your face. You’ll leave the class feeling empowered, energised, and ready to handle anything life throws at you.
Prices and opening times vary. Bain Al Jessrain, Al Maqta (50 316 8999).
Ultimate Women’s Fitness Club
This club is home to two of the friendliest and most enthusiastic trainers in the capital. However fit you think you are, Tarryn and Ashton will really put you through your paces in their UBOX classes. But a good fitness session should always leave you sweaty and gasping for breath shouldn’t it? Combining HIIT exercises with boxing disciplines, Abu Dhabi’s first boutique, women-only boxing gym offers the ultimate way of switching off from all the worries in your life. The positive vibes and unwavering encouragement will have you perfecting your boxing skills and smashing your fitness goals in no time.
Prices vary. Open Sat-Thu 8am-8pm. Building 5, Twofour54, Khalifa Park (02 553 9493).