Aquafitness centre the first of its kind in Dubai

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Something new: Aquabiking has proved to be a huge success in France.

Stay out of the heat and combine your loves for swimming and cycling with our new favourite summer fitness trend, aquabiking.

Dubai’s only aquabiking centre is L’atelier Aquafitness, a place which proves biking can be done in the water.

Speaking to Sport360°, founder Karima Rahali-Sebti was happy to explain how she discovered the concept.

She said: “I’m very sporty and do everything from pilates to yoga to swimming classes, but I wanted to discover something else and it was my sister who recommended aquabiking. I discovered it in Paris about five years ago, and when I arrived to Dubai I didn’t find it.

“At that time I got pregnant and thought maybe I can take a break from my career as a financial analyst and do something for myself, and so I decided to bring this concept here and share it with all the other women in the UAE.”

The French may be fond of it but apparently aquabiking was invented by a physical therapist in Italy and geared towards the rehabilitation of injured athletes and ballerinas. Today, it’s all the rage as a fitness trend with proven quick results.

“It’s a full body workout, it’s high intensity but still low impact, making it suitable for everyone,” Rahali-Sebti said.

“If you’re a really fit person, you’ll still get a workout because there are different levels of intensity and the coaches have different choreography all the time. If you’re a little bit older and don’t want to go to spinning classes, this is great.

“Or if you are injured, it’s suitable for you as well as there’s no impact on your articulation, your joints, your back because in the water your body weight is divided by two. I am pregnant right now and still doing it. It’s helping me a lot, as it takes the weight off.”

“That said, with the natural resistance of the water, you’re working a lot harder when compared to land exercises.”

Twelve times harder, actually, with 500-700 calories burned per 45-minute session. Naturally, we had to give it a whirl and headed over to L’atelier Aquafitness.

As the name suggests, L’Atelier Aquafitness is a very stylish, private facility made somewhat in mind of ladies who lunch.

Ladies simply wear swimwear (no baggy clothing) and are given complimentary water shoes for their first class (you must bring your own from then onwards).

Classes cater to no more than ten people, so everyone gets the attention of the coach.

An aquabike is stationary in the water offering three different levels of resistance, managed by a wheel of propellers between the seat and handlebars.

It’s already different from your typical spin class in that you remain cool submerged in water, but what’s even quirkier are the different cycling positions.

Position 1 is seated, 2 is standing while cycling, 3 is a thigh-quaking standing with bent legs and cycling, and position 4 sees you hanging off the back of the bike, gripping the seat and pedaling – a killer on the gluteal muscles.

You can also pedal backwards on an aquabike, which our coach put to good use too, enabling us to work muscles we wouldn’t usually work by cycling normally.

This is a full body workout as the upper body is also accounted for in the routine with light weights and resistance bands, placed off to the sides of the pool for everyone to grab while on their bikes.

You can even do a searing tricep/bicep dip series, pulling yourself up out of the pool from its ledge and back down into the water repeatedly.

As with any proper fitness class, you do a warm down stretch to finish, but the end of my experience had the added perk of laying back in the pool for a couple of well-earned lazy minutes before the next batch of clients came through.

It’s easy to see how one can trim down fast aquabiking.

“If you continue coming twice or three times a week you begin to see the results very quickly, and they’re amazing,” insisted Rahali-Sebti. “In about a month, with generally healthy eating, you’ll see great changes in your body.

“Also, one great thing about aquabiking is that it reduces cellulite because you’re benefitting from a massage in the water while you work, sort of like lymphatic drainage.”

As a ladies-only class, it really doesn’t get better than that, does it?

What: Aquabiking
Where: L’atelier Aquafitness, Villa 667A, Al Wasl Road, Safa 1
When: Classes run hourly from 08:00 everyday
Cost: A Discovery Class costs Dh125, and following this, single classes are Dh155, with packages available that work out cheaper.
Contact: 04 338 8323, or visit www.latelieraquafitness.com

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Crank up the intensity with Nordic walking in Abu Dhabi

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Fun for all: Nordic walking adds a new edge to a stroll on the beach.

Think walking on the beach is just for leisure? Not anymore! Helen Beckley, sports coach at Proactive UAE has found a way to crank up the intensity in the simple activity of walking with Nordic walking.

Nordic walking originated in Finland, as a training exercise for cross country skiers. People used walking poles to mimic hand movements of skiing as they hiked across the hilly terrain in the warmer months.

While teaching fitness classes in the UK, Helen realised how fun an activity and great a workout Nordic walking was and came up with the idea to bring it to the sunny beaches of the UAE.

Nordic walking is not your average stroll down the beach. The class involves taking long dynamic steps which get your heart pumping.

You use the poles to “pull” yourself forward with each stride. The pull helps you keep your pace up to tempo. Additionally, the range of movement in your arms is larger than traditional walking – this allows your upper body to get a nice workout as well.

Nordic walking, just like crosscountry skiing, is one of the most effective exercises for total body training and cardiovascular fitness because it is low impact, placing minimal stress on the joints.

Beckley is one of the UAE’s few qualified Nordic walking instructor. She said: “Nordic walking is for all ages. At first, some people are a bit nervous to try it, it can be quite intimidating. But once you find your stride and rhythm, you can see how much fun it is.”

Nordic walking burns nearly 50 per cent more calories than traditional walking. You can burn anywhere from 500-700 calories in one class, depending on your pace and rhythm.

Nordic walking became so popular in the 1980’s that an exercise machine was developed to practice indoors during the winter for those who wanted more of a challenge than treadmill walking.

Nordic walking incorporates the large muscle groups, including chest, back, legs, and core.

Beckley said: “Nordic walkers are required to maintain a straight posture while walking and keep their arms straight.

“The hands should swing from the shoulders and not the elbow. Walkers press into the poles with their hands as they walk in the same way as one would in a cross-country skiing.”

Consistently activating these muscle fibres not only allows for increased calorie burn, but also builds muscle.

Beckley can show you how to pick the right pole for your height. Additionally, there are poles for different types of surfaces as well.

“When walking in the grass or sand, we use spikes to enable walkers to get a better grip. On hard surfaces, we cover the spikes with ‘shoes’ to make the walk easy,” says Beckley.

Beckley’s class meets at 18:00 weekly on Sundays at Yas Island, Du Forum carpark.

“We walk around Yas Island, around the beach. The scenery is very beautiful,” she said.

"There’s so much to view around Yas Island, the landscaping, the beach, you won’t even realise you’re working up a sweat."

They cover up to 6km in one-hour session. The course will continue for a few weeks more, before the summer heat picks up. The class will then resume in September.

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to try this fun activity. Grab a buddy and head on down to Yas Island, Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

For more information on Nordic walking, contact [email protected] or visit www.Proactive.ae.

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New gyms in Dubai worth their weight in Gold

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Weight for it: Some of the lavish equipment available at the new Gold's Gyms.

Has your fitness routine slowed down? Were you once a gym regular, but now struggle to make it?

Or maybe you consistently “forget” to pack your gym clothes on your way to work. Suddenly, your motivation to exercise just isn’t there anymore. 

Well, maybe it’s not you.

Maybe you just need a change of scenery, a new refreshing place to burn rubber on the treadmill.

And the new Gold’s Gym locations in Al Hamriya and Diera, Dubai may be just the place to light your fire and rev up your exercise routine.

Gold’s Gym, the world’s largest fitness franchise health club, is opening two new clubs in the UAE.

The Hamriya location boasts 45,000 square feet of state-of-the art fitness equipment and a section designated just for women.

Technogym, one of the leading brands in fitness equipment, will line the floors of this spacious facility.

Their exercise machines have a reputation for smooth performance and stability, as easily seen in their shock-absorbent treadmills. Run pain free on these belts. 

Additionally, the on-board computer system accurately calculates energy expenditure letting you know if you’ve burned off those extra cookies you had earlier that day.

The gym gear at Gold’s Gym scores high in overall user experience.

That five-kilometre trek you once struggled to finish will now be accomplished with ease, your time at the gym will breeze by.

The other Gold’s Gym branch is also buzzing with attractive features.  

Conveniently located in Reef Mall, Diera, the 10,000 square foot facility is open to both men and women, and offers a wealth of fitness programs to keep members inspired and motivated to stay on top of their fitness regimes.  

“We’re targeting different areas of the city in our drive to promote an active lifestyle, “says Nitesh Seebran, chief of operations, Gold’s Gym UAE. 

In designing this branch, Seebran aimed to “provide an excellent atmosphere for members to work out in and discover their true potential”.

And with a wide variety of group fitness and well-being classes ranging from belly dancing to body combat and yoga, you can definitely find yourself reaching to new heights. Gold’s Gym locations have established themselves as the premier place to train. 

They stay on top of fitness trends, offering the latest gear. The Diera location offers a cool, hip indoor cycling studio and also special fitness classes for children so the whole family can exercise together.

“We want to create facilities that welcome everyone, and are a cut above any other gym in the UAE in terms of equipment, facilities and tradition,” says Ali Al Samahi – head of ventures, Al Ahli Holding Group (Al Hamirya location). And they do welcome everyone. 

High profile celebrities have had memberships at Gold’s Gym, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brooke Shields and Kate Moss.

Just last week, the reigning Mr. Olympia and American bodybuilding champion Phil Heath, visited the Gold’s Gym Al Barsha Mall location. 

Members posed for pictures with the champ and also received his nutrition and training tips.

Whether you’re a gym newbie, cardio queen, or hardcore athlete, or you just want to look at fit bodies — these two new Gold’s Gym locations will have something for you. 

The new Diera location is offering a special enrollment rate in anticipation of its grand opening.

Visit goldsgym.ae or call 800-GOLDS (46537) to sign up.

You have to act fast, because once their doors open next month, the special goes out the window. 

“All Gold’s Gyms branches across the UAE are united by their global tradition of passion for fitness, and the motto, ‘Know Your Own Strength’,” Al Samahi remarks.  

Rekindle your fitness spirit with a trip to these superb fitness centres.

Go and see why Virgin Radio DXB voted the chain “Best Gym in the UAE”.

We’re almost certain you won’t be disappointed.

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