Reform Athletica changing the fitness landscape of the UAE

Hiba Khan 7/04/2019
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Reform Athletica TRX class

When art meets fitness, that’s when you get a luxury fitness studio like Reform Athletica.

Located a couple of feet away from the hustle and bustle of Mercato Mall in Jumeirah 1, Reform Athletica offers a cozy little sanctuary to help bring all your fitness goals to fruition.

The boutique fitness studio offers four signature classes: Reform Method, TRX Athletica, RA Yoga and Kettle form.

The 50-minute sessions are conducted by highly trained instructors and each of these four exercises are designed to compliment one another to strengthen, stretch and condition your body.

At Sport360 we always have an appetite for a fitness challenge, so naturally we took some time out from our busy schedules to try three of the four exercises: TRX Athletica with Roberto Julio and Reform Method and RA Yoga with Laura McCone.

Here’s the breakdown for each.

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The Reform Method

If you walk into a Reform Method class completely blind, the way I did at first glance, it is very easy to mistake the fitness contraption for a medieval torture device, but in reality, it is so much more than that – in a good way, of course.

Perhaps, the comparison is not exactly flattering, but the Reform Method is the only workout that successfully combines strength, endurance, flexibility, cardio and balance training in the safest and most effective manner.

The session makes use of the latest Lagree megaformer machine, which really gets you the best of Pilates, and under the watchful guidance of Laura, we were able to navigate our way through the nitty-gritty details of the contraption.

The workout left everyone feeling sore and aching all over, but the session made us feel more fulfilled.

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TRX Athletica

Out of all the activities I tried at Reform Athletica, the TRX Athletica seemed like the most innocent one out of them all, but five minutes into the workout and with my arms on fire, it was with great remorse I realised how awfully wrong first impressions can be.

TRX, which stands for Total Resistance Exercise, was developed by a former US Navy SEAL and is a massive hit among fitness enthusiasts who claim the workout helps develop functional strength, mobility and stability.

As the head instructor, Roberto Julio thought that body weight drills weren’t enough, so he further incorporated the use of other weights and tools to ensure that the entire body is worked with each exercise.

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RA Yoga

One of my favourite parts of my Reform Athletica experience was definitely the RA Yoga session with Laura.

Having gone through a grueling TRX and Reform Method session, Laura’s infectious energy is exactly what you need to give your body a much-needed deep stretch to banish all stress from your mind and body.

The session starts off with some dynamic warm-up exercises to synchronise your breathing, which will help as we get into more complex postures with a special focus on splits.

Verdict

Every fitness session in Reform Athletica is carefully designed to strengthen, sculpt and tone your body, but at the end of the day, it is so much more than just a boutique fitness studio, it is all about a great community of health and environmentally conscious individuals who just want to make a difference in the region.

For information on classes and bookings, log on to: www.reformathletica.com

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Nike Free footwear: New shoe creates a barefoot feel for runners

Dan Owen 4/04/2019
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Nike Free Collection

Nike have dropped a new running shoe – that are a little different from the rest of the pack.

Nike Free footwear let feet flex, splay and move the way they want. Built on a more anatomically shaped last than traditional running models, the 2019 Nike Free Running Collection introduces new elements that enable a more barefoot-like feel than previous versions.

Because Nike Free is intended for lower-mileage runs, the foam cushioning in the new Nike Free midsoles is firmer (closer to that of the original 2004 model to promote a more barefoot-like feel underfoot), flatter and lower to the ground, delivering greater connection and more natural range of motion than before.

The 2019 Nike Free Collection is available beginning April 4th and will retail at AED 549 at the Nike Dubai Mall and select retail stores.

Nike Free Collection

Nike Free Collection

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Larry Wheels: The strongman dream being built in Dubai, and his goal of being one of the best around

Dan Owen 3/04/2019
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Larry Wheels will be living and training in Dubai for at least six weeks

Larry Wheels is an enigma.

A rare-breed athlete who seems capable of excelling in pretty much anything he turns his hand to in the world of strength sports.

A glance at his physique and you’ll see he’s a genetic freak. Watch him lifting weights and it seems he’s from another planet. And all at the age of just 24.

The American is not accustomed to the stage, but has built a following – of more than 1.5m people – very much in the 21st century way, on social media.

When he started lifting weights in his early teens, the physique changes were impressive, yet it was when he discovered the extent of his strength that Larry’s notoriety grew.

Lifts of more than 800lbs in both the deadlift and squat, along with a 600lbs bench press, and the ability to take well over 400lbs overhead made him an internet darling.

And it’s this raw ability which brings him to Dubai.

When the team behind World’s Ultimate Strongman were devising their latest venture, the Strongman Incubator, Larry was the obvious choice to be the first participant.

The WUS team is taking athletes with potential and nurturing them into world-level stars through intensive training camps with access to the best coaching, nutrition, and recovery.

Eyebrows were raised at Larry’s inclusion, but he’s determined to make the most of the opportunity.

“I feel like I am starting a legacy as I’m the first to do this, and I definitely don’t want to disappoint. The incubator has taken me away from all my distractions in the States, back at home so I can just focus on training and eating,” he told Sport360.

“I definitely want to add a few kilos, I have had a plateau in bodyweight for a long time so I am looking forward to pushing myself with my diet. I am training with a very experienced coach, Mark (Boyd), and I want my technique on the yoke, log, and many of the strongman events to improve.”

Getting into strongman has long been a goal for Larry – but he always thought he was restricted because of his size. Tipping the scale at a, ahem, paltry 125kg (just shy of 20 stone), he would be one of the smallest athletes on the circuit, on what is a land of giants – with many getting close to 200kg, but that’s less of a concern now.

“When I first started lifting, I wanted to get into strongman, as a teenager,” said Larry. “Then I would look at the top guys, people like Brian Shaw at the time, and I would say ‘how could I ever compete amongst them?’

“At that age I only wanted to do what I thought I could be great at. So I picked up bodybuilding because that’s where I thought I could do well, I picked up powerlifting. But now, I have built up such a strong foundation with powerlifting, I feel I can be a top competitor in strongman so now is the time to strike.”

Now, another great opportunity awaits Larry in the early part of next month. Thanks to his overhead pressing prowess, he has been invited as a wildcard to the World Log Championships which is being held as part of the Europe’s Strongest Man event.

A newcomer to the bright lights and huge crowds of competitive strongman, Larry is setting realistic goals he wants to come away from the show having attained.

“A the very least, a 200kg log,” he says with certainty, but with a sense of a tough battle to get there.

“I’ve hit that in training. The log I was using in training, I gripped it down the centre, the log at the Championships is going to be a wooden log so the distribution of the weight is slightly different to the log I was training with at Thor’s Powergym. I am hearing it will be more difficult on this log at the competition, it’s smoother, it rolls, the clean is harder, and I’ve never performed in front of a crowd of 10,000 people – I’m not expecting to take any records but I am expecting to do, at the very least, a 200kg log.”

The mention of Thor, brings us on to one of Larry’s biggest advocates – Hafthor Bjornsson. The undisputed strongest man on the planet has taken Larry under his rather hefty wing. It is something that’s not lost on Wheels and his development.

“It’s a huge privilege. Thor is like a real-life superhero. He’s the biggest and the strongest in the world and he’s at his prime right now so I am just super grateful to have this opportunity to spend so much time training with him and learning from him.”

In strength sports, achievement is not measured in potential, social media followers, or gym lifts – when it comes down to it, it’s performances on the biggest of stages that matter.

In strongman that means the World’s Ultimate Strongman, World’s Strongest Man and Arnold Classic event, and Larry is laser-focused in predicting how far he can go: “As far as I want!” he says with a knowing smile. “Realistically, I think a podium finish at World’s Strongest Man or World’s Ultimate Strongman is there.”

They are big words. But this is a big man, with a big talent.

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