FAST Sports Performance, a strength and conditioning training facility for amateur and professional athletes, already has a great following in Dubai, and this month hooked up with indoor football joint Ahdaaf Sports Club in Al Quoz to open their new, smaller performance studio, geared towards developing athletes in a more intimate group setting. Sport360° headed over to find out what sets them apart in the fitness industry.
The first thing you see when you walk in is a wall emblazoned with the phrase ‘If you want to play it safe, stay at home’, and you automatically feel as if this is where the magic happens, where athletes really get down to work, and reap results.
To your right, youngsters are heavily engrossed in some five-aside action, while to your left is the glassed-off FAST suite which Ahdaaf members and non-members alike can now benefit from on a regular basis to enhance their pitch performance.
Indeed, there may be quite a few ‘Strength for Football’ group classes on offer on the timetable, but the new FAST Performance Studio isn’t just for footie fans – even if it did open just in time for the World Cup. If you’re serious about your sport, be it weightlifting or triathlon, then this is your home away from the playing field.
“Yes, since we’re sharing a facility with six pitches we decided to emphasise training for football, and in fact my previous job here in Dubai was as a fitness coach for a football club,” explains Joao Marcelo, head strength coach at the new facility.
“But the biggest point for FAST is our focus on the performance of athletes in general, as well as regular people who are serious about training, fitness and health, and we were lucky that we found this gap [in the UAE fitness industry] regarding such specialised services.”
The Brazilian, himself a triathlete competing in his third Ironman event this weekend, adds: “We have endurance athletes training here for marathons, some people even coming for their first 5K, I’ve been working with a swimmer who wants to cross the English Channel (34km).
“One woman is training to climb the Himalayas, and another just started exercising; so clients vary, all are welcome. In the end, they should just have a target and if they’re serious they’ll get results.”
Equipment-wise, the studio only appears sparse but that’s because you’re probably used to banks of treadmills, bikes and other contraption-like units. But FAST are big fans of functional training, where less is more.
“We like to focus on human movement – sit, stand, push press… You don’t need machines and technology to develop an athlete. Any other bits of equipment used is just a prop to enhance their movements in their individual sports,” says Joao.
He adds: “Each person is given his or her own programme, supervised by our coaches. You never do the same thing as another person even if it’s a team workout. We understand that everyone has different needs.”
In fact, Joao ran us through a brief introduction to their methods and we didn’t realise that while performing some warm-up exercises he was examining our body in motion to see where the personal strengths and weaknesses lay.
The workout to follow was then constructed to work with, or against, these observations.
If we’d been familiar with a particular type of exercise before, he’d skip it and go for something our bodies were completely foreign to, ensuring that we were thoroughly challenged throughout the session.
Indeed, these guys like the word ‘challenge’. “In each session we try to challenge the body and the mind in different ways; the idea is to create new patterns, to build self-belief, like ‘I can do anything’,” says Joao.
All staff have a sport background, whether having been an athlete or a coach, and are on hand at all times to guide clients through private and semi-private coaching, as well as group classes such as Yoga for athletes, Strength for Endurance Sports, Strength for Football, for core stability and even injury prevention, among others.
What’s more, they are building a FAST triathlon team for which anyone serious about the sport can sign up. There are a few attractive membership options – Dh90 for walk-ins, Dh499 for a month unlimited, and Dh3,900 for the year. In addition, FAST are going to start a youth training programme, and have agreed to include complimentary training sessions as part of the contract membership plan that footballers have at Ahdaaf.
Ready to make some huge gains in your game? Then head down there, FAST.
What: FAST Sports Performance
Where: Al Quoz
Contact & info: www.trainwithfast.com / 04 355 5181 / [email protected] trainwithfast.com / Facebook and Twitter: @trainwithfastd
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