Fitness First Middle East (FFME) has brought to town a whole new look and feel to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) this month with the launch of a fun and vibrant XFit studio in Dubai Media City.
Even though in the UAE we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the cool and new in fitness, from niche private training facilities and boutique anti-gyms, to scenic outdoor workout spaces – and okay, even free at-home exercise assistance in the form of apps – we can’t ignore the fact that regular affordable group fitness, and the atmosphere of an old reliable community gym, still go a long way in getting us to our wellness goals. They just make us feel comfortable, no flashiness needed.
Backed by more than 17 years’ experience in the fitness industry, Fitness First has been that old friend – even if today the global mega-brand, which originated in the UK, has grown into a network of over 380 clubs and one million members in more than 15 countries worldwide.
Boasting 49+ locations in the Gulf alone, it’s likely to be one of the first that comes to mind when considering an all-inclusive gym package. In the face of such popularity, it’s nice to see that they’ve not grown complacent, though. “Cool and new” doesn’t have to mean bad. Still as social and supportive a community as ever, they’re now just scaling new heights by working smarter.
HIIT, is the smart way to train harder and faster in a shorter space of time, and for more explosive, exciting results. And that’s what FFME’s XFit, Media City’s new 3-in-1 concept studio is dedicated to. The expansive and eye-catchingly designed, custom-built facility covers three zones: LIFT, BOX and HIIT, all of which feature their own unique equipment and space to partake in fun, alternative high intensity and dynamic exercises during a range of no-nonsense classes.
“When you put the three toget-her it offers a variety of strength, conditioning and cardio training under one roof. These classes are for the individuals who want a 30-45 minutes blowout, in and out, they don’t have to think about their workout as it’s instructor led”, says George Flooks, Fitness First’s Chief Operating Officer, referring to it as a sort of ‘ready, steady, go’ sort of place.
But what excites us most is that everything is electricity-free (self-powered). XFit is fitted with functional based equipment to help you learn to maximise the use of your full body along with variations in workouts. You will hardly ever do the same thing twice.
Yes, those are treadmills in one corner, but they’re not just any treadmills; they’re Woodway’s non-motorised variety, which, unlike the traditionally hard-decked treadmills, are curved and built with an efficient no-friction foundation that offers huge relief on the joints. They hit top speeds when you want them to (just run faster), and allow users to burn more calories while engaging more muscle groups than when on conventional treadmills.
Less is more too when it comes to XFit’s other kit such as plate and free weights, kettlebells, boxes for jumping activities, Assault AirBikes (which uses natural resistance from air), and a dynamic boxing ring. They’ve got a rig, some rowing machines, a few massive tyres for functional lifting, and have paired it all with coaches who live and breathe the HIIT method.
We sampled a XFit DEEP class and saw that a huge portion of the CrossFit-type class went towards dynamic warming up and detailed instruction on technique when lifting an assortment of weights in more efficient ways (again with the less is more approach). After skill sets, 12 minutes was literally all we needed to experience a long-lasting burn during a powerful WOD (nicknamed here DEEP – Daily Extreme Exercise Program). Every day in this all-sorts class is meant to be different, dynamic, and will certainly get you digging DEEPer into HIIT trends and training.
What we can say is that if you’re a HIIT and CrossFit fan, you’ll be in your element at XFit; and if you’re not, it’s an exciting place to learn and experience a fresh perspective on training differently, efficiently.
Location: XFit, Ground Floor, Business Central Towers, Media City, Dubai
Contact & Information: 04 424 3999 | www.fitnessfirstme.com
Now in its second year, the event is taking place at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, against the incredible backdrop of the Burj Al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah and Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
Open to fitness enthusiasts of all levels of abilities, Sandstorm sees competitors taking on a series of sea and sand-themed challenges and obstacles.
Designed to test resolve and determination, athletes have to run, jump, climb and crawl across the 4km sprint course.
Wearing Reebok apparel featuring the latest technology to help athletes keep their cool, no matter how intense the competition gets, six members of Team Reebok will be taking part in the event: Emirati national Nuha Al Marri, who specialises in CrossFit; Emirati nationals Saood Al Noori and Bader Al Noori (CrossFit and circuit training); British-born George Roberts, a training enthusiast; German athlete Martin Ziegler (CrossFit and weight lifting); and Nabil Ibrahim, a Romanian/Lebanese national (professional CF-L1 Trainer and CrossFit).
Launched earlier this year, the mixed gender Team Reebok was chosen from UAE-based athletes across a range of different sporting disciplines, including CrossFit, circuit training and weight lifting.
So far, the team has shown off its skills representing Reebok at some of the region’s toughest challenges, including the Spartan Race in Dubai and the Battle of Heroes in Bahrain.
Follow their progress and training regimes on Reebok’s social media channels via @ReebokMENA.
The first official UFC gym in the region has landed. The mixed martial arts and fitness facility, which first debuted in 2009 and now has over 120 locations around the world, officially opened its doors this month in Bay Square, Business Bay. Inside you’ll find signature classes such as Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, boxing, mixed martial arts conditioning and women’s self-defense.
The presence of the famous UFC octagon and a poster of UFC figher Georges St Pierre sets the tone that this facility means serious MMA training business, but in addition to channeling your inner Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey, you’ll also find different fitness zones that cater to various other types of training.
Some of these include group fitness such as Zumba, yoga, Les Mills and Pilates classes, a functional training zone, plus parents can sign up children as young as four for group boxing and Jiu Jitsu lessons. This is a facility for both fitness enthusiasts, young and old, and MMA athletes.
What: UFC Gym
Where: Building 1, Bay Square, Business Bay
Fitness First has just opened a new 3-in-1 studio that brings together their three types of Fitness First-developed fitness classes. Located in the Business Central Towers in Dubai Media City, the studio is larger version of the old XFit studio which was located in Knowledge Village, with additional concept classes.
The three classes on offer are called XFit, X:30 and BoxX; XFit combines weights, cardio and gymnastic movements (think CrossFit style workouts), X:30 focuses on 30 minute high-intensity interval training, and BoxX is a boxing-themed HIIT workout.
The studio is fitted with assault bikes, a dynamic boxing ring, a rig, Rogue equipment, kettlebells, and other functional training equipment that is used in some of the classes.
What: XFit (by Fitness First)
Where: Ground Floor, Business Central Towers, Dubai Media City
More info: XFit website
If you like spinning, then you’ll love this brand new cycling studio that has just opened its doors in Dubai Media City. What makes it different to the usual indoor cycling studio are its bikes. Their classes are powered by Real Ryder bikes which allow side to side movement as you cycle, simulating a real outdoor bike ride and more a natural cycling movement. Here’s what they look like.
The classes are either 45 minutes or one hour and are done to a customized playlist, and the studio describes itself as a ”night club themed personalized studio” – moving lights and all.
The first two classes are free, so if you’re feeling like giving the legs a good burn session make sure you check this place out.
What: Sure Body Fitness, indoor cycling studio
Where: Level 11, Concord Tower, Dubai Media City
More info: www.besurge.com