Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, has a clear goal: starting Friday, he wants every person in the emirate to feel the joy of doing 30 minutes of exercise for 30 days in a row. No small feat, but then he also wants to make Dubai the most active city in the world.
Organizers report that Dubai 30×30, also known as the Dubai Fitness Challenge, drew 800,000 participants last year in its first edition – well above the 100,000 goal. For this year’s event, which runs from Friday, October 26 until November 24, they are shooting for one million.
“I urge you all, residents and visitors, to invest in yourselves and your happiness – so you can better contribute to the welfare of your families, your communities and the global society,” said Sheikh Hamdan.
Dubai Fitness Challenge schedule
The excitement begins on Friday at Dubai Festival City (from 3-11pm; Saturday from 1 to 8pm). The two-day event features 26 fitness classes including Les Mills RPM, dedicated TRX areas and yoga. There’s also kids yoga, basketball and boot camp, inflatable assault courses, toddler zones and climbing and trampoline areas. Among the affiliated events on the first weekend: on Friday there will be a training ride for the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge (Al Qudra, 6am) and the staging of the World’s Ultimate Strongman Contest (Bab Al Shams Arena Dubai; 3-11pm); on Saturday, the will be the XDubai Spartan Women’s Race (Jebel Ali Race Course, 6-11.15am) and a swim at Kite Beach (8-10am).
How to participate in the Dubai Fitness Challenge
The events affiliated with the Dubai Fitness Challenge are a mix of free classes, big-time events – the Dubai International Triathlon 2018 on November 2, for example – and paid activities. To join the official Dubai Fitness Challenge 2018 group, download the Dubai Fitness App. There, you can see and register for all the Dubai 30×30 affiliated events being held across the city. These range from a HIIT Spinning class in Al Sufouh to artistic yoga in Emirates Hills to something called beginners Megacore in Business Bay. And that is just what is happening on Tuesday, October 30. On the app you can create a profile, log your daily workouts and check out the leaderboard, a feature organizers will launch at the start of the festival. Sad because you don’t live in Dubai? You can still play along: the app tracks participation in other emirates, too.
Although we don’t know this year’s names yet, organizers promise there will be celebrities. Last year they brought in huge stars in the fitness world, including American Pilates and YouTube influencer Cassey Ho. She led hundreds of her fans – and others who just joined in for fun – for a late Friday afternoon core workout on Kite Beach. One of Instagram’s most famous trainers, Kayla Itsines, led a crowd through one of her killer Bikini Body Guide workouts at the Golden Mile Galleria.
Venues in Dubai
There are five themed fitness villages spread across the city to make it easier for residents. They are at DIFC, Al Khawaneej Walk, Kite Beach, DMCC and Palm Jumeirah. The range of activities and good vibes on offer at these sites, particularly on the weekend, is something to behold. On the Palm, for example, the Fitness Village at Al Ittihad Park hosts a Glow Run each night. There will also be tailored activities for children and people of determination. (Nakheel reports that last year their staff clocked 300 hours of physical activity during the challenge, topping off their efforts with 300 staff climbing 15 kilometers to the summit of Jebel Jais.)
The closing weekend carnival will be held at Burj Park, while XDubai just announced two new events for those final days. On November 23, it’s the X3 Jr Triathlon, starting at 7am for kids from age 4 up to to 16. On the last night, XYoga Dubai will hold a sunset session at Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, starting at 4.30pm and taught by one of Dubai’s most popular teachers, Melissa Ghattas. The triathlon costs Dh120 to Dh160; the yoga class Dh60. Register for both on the XDubai website.
Featured photo: X3 Jr Triathlon. XDubai
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.