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CommunityFitnessHealthYour guide to healthy Al Ain

Known for its luscious green oasis and towering Jebel Hafeet mountain, the garden city in the emirate of Abu Dhabi has long been a tantalizing natural playground for runners, cyclists and outdoor fitness enthusiasts. Not only that, but it’s recently welcomed an influx of flashy gyms and boutique studios, and offers an increasing selection of healthy eateries. Quiet and peaceful compared to the bustling cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, residents and visitors are invited...
Harriet ShephardSeptember 20, 2022117 min
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Al ainJebel Hafeet, Al Ain/Unsplash

Known for its luscious green oasis and towering Jebel Hafeet mountain, the garden city in the emirate of Abu Dhabi has long been a tantalizing natural playground for runners, cyclists and outdoor fitness enthusiasts. Not only that, but it’s recently welcomed an influx of flashy gyms and boutique studios, and offers an increasing selection of healthy eateries. Quiet and peaceful compared to the bustling cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, residents and visitors are invited to relax into the laid-back Al Ain lifestyle, and prioritize their own health and wellbeing while absorbing the city’s desert landscape and authentic Arabian feel. 

Al Ain gyms 

Fitness First Hili Mall 

Arguably the most recognizable fitness empire in the Middle East, Al Ain’s luxurious, ladies-only Fitness First branch offers endless fun and creative classes, including heart-pumping cycle rides. The huge gym floor is filled with cutting-edge strength and cardio equipment, and the long list of fancy extra facilities encompasses a private lounge, Wi-Fi, free teas and coffees, a sauna, steam room and stretching and relaxation areas. Free trial passes are available for those who want to know more.


Gold’s Gym Al Ain  

Spanning a colossal 62,000 square feet, Gold’s Gym at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium is an iconic hotspot on the Al Ain fitness scene. More interesting and exciting than your average studio, members are invited to sweat away their worries on the indoor running track, let out their frustrations in the MMA cage, cool off in the two swimming pools, and chill out in the steam room, sauna and member’s lounge. Ensuring that every workout remains fresh and interesting, energetic and friendly instructors add an extra boost of endorphins with yoga, cycling, HIIT, Les Mills, Pilates and over 40 different engaging classes. @uaegolfsgym. 


A good-humored and unpretentious contrast to some of the UAE’s trendier gyms, I TRAIN Gym’s satirical workout reels are brilliantly entertaining. But its state-of-the-art men’s and ladies’ gyms certainly mean business, and membership deals are made extra tempting with free PT sessions, body assessments and diet plans. Meanwhile, the packed class schedule spans CrossFit, Zumba, HIIT, Body Pump, step, yoga, and there’s even special kids’ classes in combat, circuits and more. @I_traingym

Vogue Fitness – Al Ain and Al Ain Ladies 

Quickly growing from just one branch at Yas Marina to more than a dozen throughout the UAE, Vogue Fitness members approach the vigorous circuit-style sessions with an almost cult-like passion. Raw and intense, every minute of every class demands 100 percent of your energy. Inviting you to leave your inhibitions at the door and throw yourself into box jumps, burpees, pull ups, wall ball throws and perhaps the most dreaded of all, the infamous assault bike, the exhausting ‘warm up’ might leave you questioning how on earth you will make it through to the end. But honestly, the triumphant finishing feeling makes it all worth it. Guaranteeing amazing results and a stronger, fitter physique in no time at all, the two branches at Al Jimi Mall in Al Ain are friendly environments where those of all abilities are made to feel entirely welcome. Memberships start from Dh999 per month. @voguefitness.uae

Yoga in Al Ain

La Dolce Vita 

A community-focused arts, music and fitness hub, La Dolce Vita brings a holistic approach to physical and mental wellness. Its friendly and positive ambiance makes it feel more like a hippy retreat than a serious fitness center, and it’s a great place to connect and make friends with other like-minded wellness enthusiasts. Offering yoga, dance and art classes for adults and kids, plus Pilates, Tabata and Zumba workout sessions, every class is a truly uplifting experience. @ladolcevitaalain 

Love Yoga UAE

Wendy Johnson is a yoga teacher for everyone, including kids, teens, men and women going through menopause. Her teaches a variety of her Love Yoga classes at the Al Ain Rotana most days of the week, including slow flow, aqua yoga, power flow and Weekend Wake Up. Thursdays and Sundays at the Al Ain Rotana, as well as Aqua yoga in the hotel’s secret pool on Tuesdays. Wendy has also created a series of workshops forusing on yoga poses, pranayama, nutrition and bringing women together to share what works for them during perimenopause and menopause. @loveyoga_uae


Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club 

There are many reasons why this veteran sporting club has long been the social center of the Al Ain community. Loved by people of all backgrounds and interests, the first thing that strikes you about this extraordinary complex is its mammoth size. Driving around the state-of-the-art facilities for rugby, cricket, golf, padel, shooting and equestrian takes a good ten minutes, and there’s so many things to do it’s hard to know where to start. Offering the chance to play a championship golf course, learn to ride on beautiful, flawlessly trained horses and scale an 11-foot outdoor climbing wall all in one place, beginner to expert sessions are in every discipline for adults and kids. The three on-site pools provide a refreshing escape from the summer heat, while the club house restaurant is loved by golfers and non-golfers alike. @aesgc

Outdoor fitness 

Al Ain Cycling Track  

Picturesque and totally car-free, this stunning and undulating track is undoubtedly the best place in Al Ain for a cycle or jog. Spanning roughly 23km and fully lit for late-night exercise sessions, it takes you past sand tunes, date palms and camels that occasionally meander onto the path. Local triathlon, cycling and running groups meet here regularly, and it also hosts countless community events and races. For more safe places to pedal, designated cycle paths are found scattered across the city, including along the shaded paths of the Al Ain Oasis.  

Al Ain Running Team 

Organized by Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), the Al Ain Running Team is on a mission to introduce as many people as possible to the simple joy of a jog out in the fresh air.  Ideal for those who want exercise to feel like a social occasion and crave an escape from the four walls of the gym, the group meets around four times a week for runs and workout sessions on the tracks of Al Wadi and Towayya parks. Whether you’re training towards the ADNOC marathon, or simply want to master a 5km without stopping, this inclusive group will give you the motivation you need. 

Jebel Hafeet  

The highest peak in Abu Dhabi standing at 1,249m, Jebel Hafeet is Al Ain’s most famous endurance training route. The winding 12.5km road to the top from the city forms part of the UAE Tour cycling race, and completing it is certainly no small feat. Attracting runners, cyclists and walkers from across the world, the views are sensational and endless off-road routes for trail runners and mountain bikers are also waiting to be discovered. Visitors from out of town are encouraged to extend their stay with a desert glamping experience in the Insta-worthy skylight domes and bubbles of Pura Eco Retreat in Jebel Hafeet Desert Park. 

Healthy restaurants

Shape Healthy Food 

Renowned for its wholesome, balanced and delicious specialties, homegrown brand Shape proves that healthy food isn’t bland or boring. The comfortable café is a pretty place to do a spot of work with a barista coffee or fresh juice, while the terrace is made for cool winter nights catching up with friends. The breakfast menu spans overnight oats, eggs benedict, and Arabic favorites, while there’s also burgers, wraps, sandwiches, salads, risottos, pastas and satisfying mains like healthy traditional makhani, and ragout steak. Launched in Al Ain, its customizable meal plans and recipes have become so popular that it’s expanded to open a second branch in Abu Dhabi.@shape.healthy.


Arguably the city’s most famous healthy eating brand, Al Ain-founded ZEROFAT now boasts seven branches across the UAE, including two in its home city. Specialists in healthy, colorful and delectable comfort food, its appetizing meal plans are ideal for those who have busy lifestyles and want an easy and efficient way of enjoying fresh and nutritious food. The ultimate meeting place for food connoisseurs and gym bunnies, the restaurant décor is chic and stylish, and every dish is packed with protein and nourishing ingredients. The ever-evolving menu features hearty, guilt-free treats such as pizzas, burgers, cakes and towering pancake stacks that contain less than 600 calories. Stunning salmon noodles, spicy arrabiata salami pasta, and light, vitamin-packed salads, chia bowls and smoothies are amongst the many other highlights, and it’s even created its own app to make ordering its personalized delicacies extra easy. @zerofatae

Harriet Shephard

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.

One comment

  • Active Fitness Store

    November 18, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    Active Fitness Store is GCC region’s leading Fitness & Gym equipment destination. We offer a broad range of top quality home and commercial equipment across UAE, Saudi, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar.


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