Ramadan 2022 in UAE: Gyms report rise in memberships during holy month

Residents remain committed to maintaining their health and well-being despite fasting, say fitness coaches

By Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sun 17 Apr 2022, 4:34 PM

Fasting residents are powering through their fitness goals with boxing, karate and other intense workout sessions.

From membership numbers rising to more people training in the hours just before and after Iftar, gyms across the UAE are seeing certain common trends during Ramadan. The one that stands out the most is how committed those observing the holy month of Ramadan are to maintaining their health and well-being.

Boxing coach Marat Kaldybekov, who trains at Punch 360 at Jumeirah Islands, says he is impressed by the discipline he has seen in his fasting clients.

“Most people come in a few hours before iftar,” he said. “They are ready to go full power and don’t want to back down. It is like they want to challenge themselves physically, mentally and spiritually. Some people come after Iftar, having consumed just dates, water and a light snack so that that they can train. The discipline that people are showing is something I respect.”

The facility has also seen a rise in membership numbers. “I think people are mindful of the fact that they may be eating more than usual with Iftar gatherings and family meals,” he said. “So, we have seen more members signing up.”

At the F45 gym in Motor City, the trend has also been that more people are training around Iiftar time.

“Usually our early morning classes - the 6.30am ones - are fairly full,” said Jessie Bremus, head coach and manager of F45, in Motor City. “However, since Ramadan began, we have had to cancel some of our morning classes. Instead, we are seeing more people training during the late afternoon or soon after Iftar."

She added: “We have days when we focus on strength and days when it is pure cardio. Some of those who are fasting adjust the intensity of their cardio workouts, but many are willing to go full throttle.”

At the United Karate Group International’s classes, most students continue training as normal throughout Ramadan in their martial arts classes.

“During Ramadan, we change our training slightly to ensure those who are fasting are not over-exerted,” said Kyoshi V. A. M. Iqbal, chief instructor and technical director for Middle East. “Once in a while, some people choose to train in a later session, but most don't mind training even during their fast.”

“In our gyms, it is business as usual,” he said. “Many people don't change their workout timing, even during Ramadan. Some change the intensity of their workouts slightly but most just take the month in their stride. We also have new members joining during Ramadan as I think more people tend to get health conscious.”


Sharjah-based fitness studio Barakah has launched a Thirty Days of Bliss Campaign during the month of Ramadan.

“In Ramadan, we find a lot of people interested in adopting new habits, like increasing physical movement and improving mental health,” said Bashayer Al Obeidli, co-owner of Barakah. “So, we launched this campaign to help people get rid of negativity and focus on their well-being. During this month we have seen our memberships go up and a lot of demand for our yoga classes. A lot of people come in right before and after Iftar. We reduce the intensity of our classes before Iftar as we don’t want to tire them out too much.”

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