Dubai Fitness Challenge: Five classes to try

Here's a takeaway from some top fitness classes around town.



Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

By Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Sun 14 Nov 2021, 9:54 AM

Animal Flow

What: Animal Flow is a ground-based movement regime designed to improve strength, power, flexibility, mobility, and coordination. Created by fitness educator Mike Fitch, this workout works the under-utilised muscles in a person’s body.

Where: WTTU Moo Duk Taekwondo, DIFC

How it Works: The one-hour long Animal Flow session involves wrist mobilisation, activation of various muscles, specific stretches, switches, and a flow that allows a person to become a ‘human animal’. The basic forms are Ape, Beast and Crab. The workout begins with some warm-ups during which the wrists are mobilised. This is followed by transitions between the basic forms and some form-specific stretches.

What we liked about it: I had been scouting out Animal Flow for a while. The movements looked fairly simple and straightforward. However, the people I knew who were doing it, were elite athletes and they swore by it. So, when I turned up for the class, I thought it would be easy. During the warm-up, I started to really feel my wrists — a weak point in my body. And the first time we got into crab position, my wrists were screaming bloody murder. Suddenly it made sense why so many incredibly fit people did Animal Flow. It strengthens several parts of the body that are underutilised in other fitness activities. It promotes proprioception and a sense of balance. Animal Flow borrows from yoga but is more challenging and helps break a sweat. It is a great low-intensity workout that can be done by people of all levels of fitness.

Price: Dh100 per class. When buying a package of 8 classes, the ninth class is free.

Storm Cycling

What: A cardio-intensive cycling workout session that works the legs, core and arms.

Where: Storm Cycling, Mirdif

How it works: You are given specialised shoes that lock into the pedals of the bikes used for the exercise. The 45-minute cycling workout happens inside a dark room where you pump it up to the beats of music. You are also given a towel, a bottle of water and some light weights. Believe me, you will need all of these as you work several muscles in your body and sweat buckets and buckets.

What we liked about it: To be honest, I was sceptical about how much I would enjoy a cycling workout. However, this one blew my mind. The carefully crafted soundtrack, being in a room with some incredibly motivated people and the amazing instructor made this work out a truly enjoyable experience. The cherry on the top was when my arms and core were on fire when we began using those dumbbells. It proved to be a good full-body exercise. Again, cycling is a great choice to maintain strength in legs without compromising knee and leg-health. It is great for those who struggle with knee injuries and have been asked to do low impact exercises. Storm has both ladies only and mixed classes.

Price: Dh120 for one class. A pack of 5 classes cost Dh550.

Muay Thai

What: Muay Thai is a combination of martial arts and combat sports. It is often called the art of 8 limbs because of the use of fists, shins, knees, and elbows.

Where: Royce Gracie Academy, 
Jumeirah 3

How it works: The one-hour long class is taught by Muay Thai champ Lara Fawzy and is only for ladies. It teaches the basic techniques of the punches, kicks, kneeing and elbow use in Muay Thai. Starting off with a warm-up that includes some running and stretching, the class progresses to the participants practicing their kicks and jabs first on a punching bag and then on the instructor herself.

What we liked about it: I am a big fan of martial arts, so it didn’t take me much to love the workout. However, the class had a lot more going for itself. For one, it is an incredible workout where I burnt over 300 calories. Second, I learnt so many techniques about punching and kicking in the very first class. Having done boxing earlier, my elbows kept flaring out when I was punching. In Muay Thai that is a recipe for disaster as it warns the opponent where the punch is coming from, helping them to be prepared for it. There were so many such nuanced techniques that I learnt. It is an excellent class for anyone who wants to add some zing to their workout routine and is doable even for newcomers. It does require some stamina though, as there are some serious punches being thrown around.

Price: Dh599 per month, 3 classes a week.

Megaformer

What: Developed by Sebastien Lagree in 2005, this workout is performed on specialised Megaformer beds that use spring resistance to work different muscles of the body.

Where: Core Pro Club, Al Quoz

How it works: You start by getting on the Megaformer machine after which the instructor takes you through a variety of movements that works your cardio, strength, endurance, body composition, and flexibility during a one-hour session. You need grip socks to be able to work on the machine which provides the option to increase or decrease resistance according to your fitness level.

What we liked: Within minutes of stepping on the Megaformer, I quickly understood why the workout was so popular among so many Hollywood celebrities. Despite being a fairly fit person, I struggled on the machine. Several smaller muscles that are rarely used were activated within a short span of time. I was surprised by how much I was working despite the movements being low impact, slow and measured. It is an excellent choice of exercise for a toned body and is suitable for any fitness level.

Price: Dh99 for one class. A pack of 5 classes cost Dh399.

Dabke Classes

What: Dabke is a folk dance most commonly seen in the Levant area. It is usually performed at weddings and other joyous occasions.

Where: Twist Gym, Dubai Investment Park.

How it works: Usually taught in class packages of six weeks, the one-hour session teaches the basic steps required to dance the Dabke and builds it up into a dance routine over six weeks. Open to both adults and children, the group meets once a week.

What we liked about it: I have always loved dance. However, this was the first time I had tried my hand at an Arabic dance, and I really enjoyed it. The steps were all broken down into easy-to-follow parts and the energy and vibe of the music were infectious. The instructions were in Arabic but I was able to catch on pretty quickly. It is an absolute fun way to get your cardio in but you need a sense of beats to be able to enjoy the workout thoroughly.

Price: 6 classes for Dh450.


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