Fancy heading indoors and mixing up your exercise routine and trying one of the new UAE gyms that have opened (or are soon) just in time for summer? Ranging from sleek and stylish spinning studios to raw and rugged CrossFit playgrounds, here are 10 options that can offer countless ways to make you feel happier and healthier. Get ready to fall back in love with fitness.
CAMP – Dubai
Launched at the end of January, this trendy cycling studio in Downtown Dubai leaves you dripping in sweat and feeling simply fabulous. Combining sizzling tunes with super enthusiast instructors, the energetic, 45-minute rhythmic circuits are just as much about mental endurance as they are physical fitness. Incorporating arms and abs moves along with the usual sprints and climbs, each session pushes you to new levels of exhaustion as you get lost in the beat. Providing the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a fruity acai bowl or a relaxing treatment after all your hard work, it shares its chic space with healthy cafe Soft Serve Society and luxury salon 360 Spa.
Chalk Training Ground – Dubai
If the usual spinning, Pilates and HIIT workouts just aren’t motivating you like they used to, Chalk Training Ground is one of those progressive, exclusively class-based gyms that will definitely reignite your enthusiasm for group fitness. Boasting an impressive “training ground” on The Palm, the exciting classes encompass everything from heavy, barbell-style lifting to explosive cardio and Glue Station leg days. Its lively social events and slightly intimidating Chalk Hell Month challenges have helped create some serious buzz, and it’s already gathered a legion of loyal fans. Although maybe not one for yogis who prefer calm and slow-paced forms of exercise, those who stick with the adrenaline-fueled routines will be left riding an incredible happy wave for the rest of the day.
FIT – Abu Dhabi
This is another one of these enormous gyms, and it’s been taunting us with Instagram teasers since October, but it looks like it’s finally almost ready to launch. Brought to you by Vogue Fitness, the hugely successfully homegrown CrossFit chain, FIT’s vast gym floor inside Yas Mall will include state-of-the-art zones for boxing, bodybuilding, functional fitness and cardio. The class schedule promises to be insanely comprehensive, and the onsite cafe is certain to be filled with delicious protein-packed healthy snacks. Adding to Yas Island’s rapidly expanding fitness scene, the special launch deal offers a full year’s membership for an unbelievable Dh999. Make sure you grab one when they go live.
HARAKA Fitness – Abu Dhabi
Founded in 2010, Haddins Fitness is a true Abu Dhabi institution. After 12 years of leading the UAE capital’s fitness scene, it rebranded to HARAKA back in March. Known for its friendly, community-focused vibe and grueling four-week programs that kick you into shape with a mix of functional, cardio and strength training, the whole premise of HARAKA is about making exercise enjoyable and sociable. A good one for any keen wannabe triathletes, it runs dedicated running, swimming and cycling sessions, with the latter taking place on Al Hudayriyat Island’s pretty cycle track. The unpretentious vibe is what makes its Zayed Sports City base a great place for people of all fitness levels, while members’ app HARAKA Online provides nutrition tips, live virtual workouts, tutorials and more.
Stryd – Abu Dhabi
With a sizzling hot destination on the Soul Beach boardwalk, pretty studio Stryd is one of the latest additions to the ultra-desirable and rapidly developing area of Mamsha Al Saadiyat. Still in its soft opening phase, it offers a unique, two-tiered approach to fitness, with an enticing billing as “your beachside indoor cycling and stretch studio”. Encouraging a balanced outlook to health and exercise, the satisfying muscle burn caused by the cardio classes is rectified with mindful and restorative stretching classes that are specifically designed to help you recover quickly and get the most out of every session. Welcoming to both people and animals, the cheerful staff are happy to watch your dog for you while you join a class.
Starcore – Dubai
Launched as an online workout platform during the pandemic, Starcore became so popular that it now runs physical classes several times a week at The Alley DXB. Led by fitness Instagram couple Peter Barron and Tana Boshoff, the short, sharp and effective 45-minute classes incorporate core strength, upper and lower body moves, and a bit of HIIT. Set within a funky glow-in-the-dark setting, it’s perfect if you feel a bit self-conscious about getting red in the face around strangers and just want to slip easily into your own zone. Focused primarily on body weight movements rather than using weights and bulky bits of equipment, many of the exercises are easy to practice at home.
The Warehouse Gym – Yas Bay, Abu Dhabi
The hugely popular Dubai empire is finally making its way to the capital and opening a new branch at Yas Bay by the end of the summer. As the name suggests, these cool and edgy gyms are renowned for being absolutely enormous, and the new Abu Dhabi branch promises to bring a vast array of every kind of strength, cardio and stretching equipment you can imagine. But, far from being sterile and personality-less, like a lot of larger gyms can be, The Warehouse Gym keeps the mood upbeat and cheerful with funky lights and motivational decorations. Offering everything from super-intense CrossFit endurance classes to relaxing yoga journeys, it’s time to start keeping an eye out for any pre-opening membership deals.
TruFusion – Dubai
Formerly Oomo Fitness Studio, the swish and stylish TruFusion Dubai is due to open on September 1. Providing an enticing mix of slow-burning barre, endorphin-filled HIIT and bootcamp circuits and relaxing yoga, the refurbished new complex is based around cutting-edge Sweat (heated) and Rock (non-heated) studios. With over 15 trendy gyms spread all over the USA, TruFusion’s first sleek UAE branch in Al Safa, Dubai, is about as boujie as it gets. Led by expert instructors who know exactly how to achieve the best possible results in minimum time, its tried and tested methods are certain to have you feeling stronger and fitter instantly.
LIFT by Barry’s – Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Barry’s UAE — the bootcamp people who pioneered the treadmill-hybrid workout — has launched its latest concept LIFT in the UAE. The 50-minute dedicated strength class focuses on building muscle mass, improving body composition and boost metabolism. It also moves at a slower pace than regular Barry’s classes so that practitioners can improve form using dumbbells, benches and resistance bands. The class starts with a five-minute warmup followed by a series of rounds in five and nine-minute intervals. Try it out at Barry’s Dubai Marina studio and a new location planned for summer 2023 in Abu Dhabi.
Wellfit goes big – Dubai
Another of these massive UAE gyms to open this year: Wellfit recently opened the largest indoor wellness and fitness facility, a whopping 5,000-square-foot multi-sport hub in Dubai at Jumeirah Village Circle’s Circle Mall. There are 300 group exercises offered each week, everything from parkour to Les Mills. Wellfit’s also has a signature offering: five daily sessions of Blackout, a 55-minute HIIT concept that combines progressive boxing combinations using aqua bags with strength exercises, based around the all-in-one FITBENCH STUDIO, a next-generation workout bench that serves as an individual training station with all the equipment anyone would ever need, including dumbbells, FITBANDS, plyo box and a FITROPE. The massive facility also includes recovery rooms, a member lounge, a restaurant, and a retail outlet. Wellfit plans to open at least four more facilities in the UAE within the next two years.
Harriet Shephard is an Abu Dhabi-based copywriter and freelance journalist with a particular focus on fitness, travel and lifestyle, which, along with good food, also happen to be her main passions when she's not typing away at her laptop.