Motion Cycling's classes in the dark are a bright spot in Dubai's spin scene

Hiba Khan 21/07/2017
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Spin it to win it: Burn calories and get in tune emotionally in classes.

Dubai is not short of indoor cycling studios and despite the ambivalence surrounding the fitness regimen, each studio adds a unique twist to their spinning classes to jazz up an otherwise monotonous session of pedalling a stationary cycle.

Motion Cycling is one such studio that offers spin classes that not only get your body in shape, but claim to uplift your soul during a 45-minute session.

The studio is run by a diverse pack of inspirational individuals, conveniently located in Oberoi Hotel, Business Bay on the 18th floor with a picturesque view of downtown Dubai.

I ventured in the territory completely and miserably blind as I had no idea what spinning was, but I was warmly greeted by Ivana and Kim upon my arrival at the studio as they geared me up for my class.

Besides a clean pair of socks, you don’t need whole paraphernalia of exercise gear and the studio will provide you specialised shoes that clip on to your bikes.

The instructors are kind enough to help everyone get secured on to their bike, so you’re not left with one foot clamped on and the other one just awkwardly flailing around – not that it happened to me or anything.

My instructor for the day was Kim, a half Korean and half South American creative enthusiast, who filled the whole session with her infectious positive attitude and explosive energy.

Words to live by: Motion Cycling hopes to instill these qualities in visitors

Words to live by: Motion Cycling hopes to instill these qualities in visitors

The classes were conducted in a darkened candlelit room and the instructor quickly runs us over the operations of the bikes and the resistance that you will be cranking up and down on her instructions.

Each instructor brings in their own playlist and Kim’s playlist mostly consisted of remixes of mainstream songs that we had the absolute liberty to sing and pedal along to the beats.

Moreover, in a candlelit studio, there was a strange liberating comfort as you know that you can just pedal as fast as you can without caring about what you look like.

Kim instructed us to perform various exercises while incorporating some light weight training.

Once you get in to the rhythm of the exercise, you realise that there is something remarkably empowering about working out in complete darkness, and as you focus solely on the task of incessant pedalling, it puts everything about you in perspective.

When you reach that moment, you realise that you are not doing this to look good or to show your work out off to anyone, but just for the sake of your own well-being and health.

The darkness doesn’t just offer a much-needed cover for you, but it is a cover for everyone and besides vague silhouettes, it is practically impossible to see anything else in class.

It offers fewer distractions and it’s all the more refreshing to know that you won’t be wallowing in insecurities by constantly comparing your performance and body to that of all the seasoned spinners in there with you.

Kim made it a point to go around the class to everyone and offer words of encouragement, as we cranked up our resistance and continued cycling.

Even though, it may feel like that the work out is focusing mainly on your legs and quads, but by combining various upper body movements throughout the session, you are constantly engaging your core muscles as you crunch while pedalling.

You are also working your hips out as you move up and down on the saddle, and by combining light weight training, you are also building the strength in your arms at the same time.

Serene: Don’t compromise on comfort at Motion Cycling.

Serene: Don’t compromise on comfort at Motion Cycling.

So, it is safe to say that you are definitely getting a full body work out and in no time, you will find yourself gasping for breath.

As we continued with our workouts, Kim asked us to close our eyes and finish the sentence when she said: “I am grateful for…”

It was strange to bring that up in the middle of a high intensity workout, but as the music slowed down it just felt natural to close your eyes, be in the moment and focus on finishing the sentence while pedalling as fast as possible.

In hindsight, I really don’t know how or why I started on this line of thought and I had so many things in my life that I could have said, but the one thing I was grateful of was just being there; the fact that my body was strong enough to get through the hectic routine.

We often look down on our bodies for either being too fat or too thin, but we don’t actually appreciate the vessel that is our body for just being healthy.

I was filled with an immense appreciation for things we often take for granted in our body and it was a surreal end to such a physically-challenging exercise.

After the stretch off we all dismounted our bikes, and if it is your first time and you don’t know where the phrase ‘legs turning to jelly’ comes from, you will certainly find out.

As we left the studio, I realised Motion Cycling was more than just working out, but it also opens you up emotionally, giving you a chance to meet with some of the most amazing people.

I experienced something profoundly beautiful working out in a darkened room with a bunch of strangers and as a result not only did I accomplish my physical goals, but made meaningful connections in the process as well.

WHAT: Motion Cycling

COST: AED120/class (one month expiration)

WHERE: Oberoi Hotel, Business Bay

VERDICT: Truly an uplifting work-out for the body and soul

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GuavaPass in Abu Dhabi is your ticket to a fitness paradise

Kara Martin 13/07/2017
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Hoops of fun: Hula Hoop class is on the agenda during the day.

If you’re staying in town for the summer, there is always that dread that there will be nothing on and nowhere to go, but that’s less and less the case each year and we’re baffled to find ourselves with still a busy calendar of events and activities. For example, on the fitness side there’s GuavaPass’ Abu Dhabi takeover this month – a full day of fun, cheap-as-chips fitness.

The citywide wellness app is teaming up with Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana and RIPE Market for a cool day out in the capital full of healthy shopping and hardcore workouts on July 29, and we’re telling you now because Guava’s events fill up fast and have been increasingly hard to get in to – even for us sometimes!

The Summer Saturday fun day has a group class for all sorts. For example, if you’ve ever wanted to try hula hooping, come and release your inner child with a whirling workout led by the guys at Flowground.

Based in Dubai, but now offering group classes in Abu Dhabi, Flowground is the premier meetup to break a sweat while learning some insanely intricate skills with the hoop. It’s not just for kids and hippies, and can be a real fat burner – trust us.

On the plus side, if you are heading to a festival later in the summer, well, now you have a skill you can show off between gigs!

For something a little more hardcore, there’s always Level Up’s Boot Camp and Power Toning, both of which promise to deliver endorphin-rushing range of cardio, strength and plyometric exercises that just might leave you keeled over but feeling accomplished.

Or you can stretch and lengthen those limbs on the increasingly popular Pilates Reformer – a curious bed-like apparatus fitted with springs, straps and bars that are used in all sorts of creative ways and ensure you really reap the benefits of Joseph Pilates’ legendary methods.

Any chance to jump in a pool these days is always nice, and this jam-packed pop-up event has that covered too. Bring your swimwear and give Aqua Spinning a go.

Nutritious: RIPE Market will be on site.

SeaTime provides Aqua-cycling sessions in the sea and in the pool where you get to pedal underwater. That means you’re working even harder against the resistance of the water, thus burning more, and yet it doesn’t feel quite as hectic as it does on land on your average bike. We’re always up for that.

On top of all this, there’ll also be a nutrition talk by Maria Abi Hanna that you’ll not want to miss. Co-founder of KeepEATreal – a nutrition and lifestyle consultancy that offers tailor-made nutrition solutions for businesses – Hanna will be on hand to inspire you to de-clutter your kitchen for the better.

And speaking of nutrition, the RIPE Market will be right on site and ready to help you with that, too. While you nosh on a healthy lunch, you can shop a wide range of organic produce, fresh fruits and veggies, even organic household items, trendy fitness wear and more.

If you are not already a GuavaPass member (who don’t have to pay), then you are only spending Dh15 for each session. That being said, it would totally be worth your while to sign up to the app as well, not just because it is very good – allowing you access to some 200 fitness classes across the city each day – but to take advantage of their summer promo where new members can get a whopping 40 per cent off their first month on monthly plans just by using the code SUMMERDAY.

If summer is slowing down your fitness regime, you’ve got to admit, this great day out would be a fantastic way to kick yourself back into energetic gear and get healthy. And even if you’re not much of a fitness freak, this could be just the motivation you need to become one.

WHEN: Saturday, July 29

WHERE: Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, Abu Dhabi

COST: Admission is free; classes are Dhs15 each for non-members

SIGN UP: summerday.guavaconnect.com or RSVP directly to [email protected]

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Take the Right Bite and you will feel more energised every day

Hiba Khan 6/07/2017
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The only way is Up: The meals are delivered with a daily menu of dishes.

Meal kit delivery services are a fantastic development in the ever-increasing health conscious trend that has taken up everyone’s lives by storm in their quest for a perfectly chiselled and toned physique.

There are numerous meal kit delivery services all across the UAE, but for this story we will be focusing completely on Right Bite and their nutrition plan ‘Fuel Up’.

Right Bite is a specialised centre for expert nutritional consultation and bespoke gourmet healthy meal delivery service that caters to a wide variety of body types and needs.

‘Fuel Up’ is a meal plan, specially designed for people who are always on the go, and given my recent venture into the world of fitness and athletics, I completely fit the bill to act as a right bite guinea pig.

The two-week meal plan consisted of breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with side dishes and four post and pre-work out snacks.

Nutrious: Each meal has a balanced intake of ingredients.

Along with a hectic job that keeps me on my toes at all times, the meal plan was meant to give my body enough nutrition for my fitness adventures, or rather misadventures.

The meal plan is optimised further by Right Bite’s expert nutritionists, following a one-on-one session, where they try to get insight into one’s existing nutritional habits and will help set up the online account for Right Bite.

The website interface is super easy to navigate through and with just a few clicks of the button you can choose your menu for the whole week from an eclectic range of dishes and finally be well away on your diet.

Having always had a skinny frame, gaining weight had always been a struggle and was more the result of my genetics than anything else.

Therefore, going on a diet came somewhat as a shock to many, mostly because of the widespread presumption that dieting is solely for the purpose of weight loss.

A diet can be followed as much for weight loss as it can be for weight gain, depending on the body type of the dieter.

In my case, Fuel Up was meant to ensure a balanced intake of essential nutrients to give me sufficient energy to go through a hectic, fitness-fuelled day.

My fitness regime consisted of daily pole fitness, aerial silk and acrobatics lessons for the sake of muscle building that is often documented on my social media.

I undertook the diet with my weight standing at 95lbs, with a BMI (body mass index) of 17.3, with a lean mass weight of 83lbs.

The meal kits were delivered right to my doorstep very early in the morning, with the daily menu inside.

Delicious: Fruit and treats.

Delicious: Fruit and treats.

All items are carefully labelled and also include the exact amount of calories and all the necessary nutrition facts.

The meals were perfectly portioned and were flavourful for most part, even though some items were a little bland for my taste and needed a little getting used to, but that was mostly because of my usual consumption of extremely spicy food.

The meals were light and fresh, and were packed with just the right amount of nutrition that kept me energetic throughout the whole day.

The most outstanding part of the plan was the wide array of choices in the menu that went from baked tandoori fish with garlicky eggplant and potato for lunch to Szechuan beef salad for dinner.

The banana pancakes for breakfast were a delight, whereas their spaghetti bolognaise is the best I have had in a long while.

The snacks were the absolute highlight of my days, with a diverse selection of delicious bite size portions that left me craving for more.

Their chocolate brownie was dense and fudgy, and honestly my all time favourite, but their other snacks were just as good.

Some of the items that deserve an honourable mention were the American chocolate cheesecake, chocolate éclairs, meat and mushroom pies, and the pineapple upside down cake.

The meal plan was ideal in sating my otherwise insufferable sweet tooth, but some of the things that I couldn’t really acquire a taste for were the smoothies.

The soups and salads were quite average, but then again, nothing was too unbearable as the portions were absolutely adequate.

By the end of my two weeks, my weight had gone up by two kilos and stood at 99lbs, with a BMI of 18.1 and lean mass weight of 85lbs.

My fat percentage went up from 20 to 21 per cent, which was a major development in my case as now I fell in the range that was ideal for athletic body types.

All in all, Fuel Up was a boost to my fitness regimen and really amplified the effects of my aerial fitness lessons that helped me build my strength.

Fuel Up is ideal for bulking up or getting lean; it is just one of the many amazing dietary plans that are offered by Right Bite that caters to all body types and needs.

Whether you’re a new mum wanting to get back in shape or just want a diet for weight management, Right Bite has it all and it is easy to customise a meal plan as per your liking after just one session with the nutritionist.

You can also sign up to Right Bite’s 20-day full Fuel Up plan, quote coupon code RBFUEL360 and get four bonus days for free. The code is only valid for one month.

For more information on Fuel Up or Right Bite log on to www.right-bite.com or email them at [email protected]. You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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