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CommunityFitnessCrank: Here’s a peek inside Alserkal Avenue’s first gym

Dubai won’t see another Crank now that the class-based boutique fitness studio is open in Al Quoz’s Alserkal Avenue. That’s because one of the requirements of the edgy arts district, which offers a mix of galleries, industrial workshops, community spaces and cafes, is that each concept be unique and not be replicated elsewhere in Dubai.  When Crank opens – watch their Instagram account for the imminent soft launch – it will offer three types of classes,...
Ann Marie McQueenAugust 9, 20187 min
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crankThe boutique cycling studio is preparing to open in Dubai's Al Serkal Avenue. Photo courtesy Crank

Dubai won’t see another Crank now that the class-based boutique fitness studio is open in Al Quoz’s Alserkal Avenue.

That’s because one of the requirements of the edgy arts district, which offers a mix of galleries, industrial workshops, community spaces and cafes, is that each concept be unique and not be replicated elsewhere in Dubai. 

When Crank opens – watch their Instagram account for the imminent soft launch – it will offer three types of classes, all 45 minutes in duration, under the banners Ride, Shape and Stretch.

crank
Photo Crank

In addition to high-energy indoor cycling classes, Shape will be a mix of boot camp-type high-intensity interval training while Stretch will focus on mobility and recovery.

There are four partners in this home-grown concept, with the most visible being Nuno Costa Fernandez, a popular Flywheel and Barry’s Bootcamp instructor from Portugal. The group was brought together after Dana Salbek, who will be a Stretch instructor at Crank, became partial to Fernandez’s classes at Flywheel.

“He knows everyone, he speaks to everyone,” she says. “He takes a personal interest.”

Just as Crank was just taking shape earlier this summer, livehealthy.ae got a preview. Like most everything else in Al Serkal, it’s got a clean, open, industrial feel and promises to be very, very hip.

Graffiti art and industrial lighting in the changerooms. Photo Crank

Located beside Hapi, a community center and all-day diner, and spread over two floors, Crank offers industrial lighting, a floating staircase, exposed pipes, lots of concrete, neon signs and gorgeous artwork, including a graffiti-style wall courtesy of the Drawdeck artist community. (Dubai Municipality has also added a new range of paid parking to Al Serkal, for those who’ve visited previously and encountered issues.)

Crank will use Schwinn’s MPower system of stationary bikes. Photo Crank

Inside Crank there will be 40 Schwinn stationary bikes using the Mpower system, which tracks all relevant performance-based statistics – heart rate, speed, place in the class – collecting and displaying them on two large video screens. The owners are still working out the cost structure, although it will include the standard class pack and monthly membership options. 

Some of Crank’s instructors. Photo Crank

Crank has slowly been announcing their roster of teachers, many who will already be familiar to Dubai’s fitness enthusiasts. They include Tamara Ghazi, a “chiropractor by day, energy bolt by night”, according to Crank’s Instagram account, and Jon Ashwood, a British personal trainer and transformation coach.

Crank will have a smoothie and juice bar (courtesy of Hapi next door), a comfortable space to hang out in and connect after class, as well as all the regular gym essentials, including change rooms with showers. There will be events and competitions, too, because what Fernandez really wants is to create a community.

“We want people to have a nice vibe,” he says. “These days it’s all about the experience.”

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.