There’s more to this Dubai neighbourhood than art galleries and cafés – look behind those warehouse doors and you’ll find some of the best fitness venues in the city.
Here are nine gyms in Al Quoz that we definitely recommend.
1. CrossFit Gold Box
Located five minutes from Noor Islamic Bank Metro Station, CrossFit Gold Box might be the most accessible of Al Quoz’s fitness destinations. Run by RhinoCo Fitness, it’s a US export that’s brought some coaches across from New York and Miami (this is their first international venture). As well as group classes, there are personal training sessions and ladies-only options.
Vibe: The atmosphere is welcoming and positive; these ripped trainers might look like they could fight you, but they’re far more likely to be cheering you on.
Highlights: The facility is seriously impressive (all 1,115 square metres of it) with high ceilings, a Reebok shopping hub and a small cafe where you can grab a post-workout protein shake. For ladies, there’s a Get Fit
Chick programme – an intensive eight-week training and eating plan to help women transform their bodies. They also offer CrossFit for children and free CrossFit introductory classes every Saturday at 10am.
Prices: Dhs475 for five-class package, Dhs1,000 per month. Your first class is free, and they recommend attending the CrossFit intro class on a Saturday morning.
Where: 3A Street, behind Noor Islamic Bank Metro Station, Al Quoz, Dubai, Sun to Thur 6am to 8.30pm, Sat 9am to noon, closed Friday. Metro: Noor Islamic Bank. crossfitgoldbox.com
Don’t be put off by the name – you won’t be lacing up your boxing gloves here. InnerFight offers CrossFit classes for all ages and levels, including Base Training Classes, which are suitable for absolute beginners. One client went from struggling through this class to completing his first Spartan Race in just four months. The gym also offers programmes aimed at children, teens and ladies, and you can sign up for personal training sessions as well.
Vibe: It’s busy, with the pumping tunes typical of CrossFit blasting out, but not intimidating. There’s an inclusive feel, with people of all ages and fitness levels working out (the absolute beginner classes take place on a separate mezzanine level, so you don’t feel self-conscious) and lots of people proudly wearing their InnerFight merch.
Highlights: As well as the excellent beginner classes, the gym also holds InnerTalks, TEDTalk-style events where they host athletes with stories and advice to share
Prices: Dhs150 per session, Dhs1,500 per month for unlimited classes. Your first base training session is free.
Street 4 (behind the big Audi building), Al Quoz 3, Dubai, Sun to Wed 5.30am to 8.30pm, Thur 5.30am to 7.30pm, Fri and Sat 8.30am to noon. Tel: (04) 3212899. Taxi: InnerFight, Al Quoz 3 (behind Audi). innerfight.com
3. Pride Fitness
If you’ve ever thought about taking up a martial art, but big MMA gyms intimidate, we recommend Pride Fitness. Owned by former UFC trainer and Olympic gold medalist Nick Bismack, it’s a small but well-kitted out independent gym, where everyone from beginners to elite athletes can get a good workout. Classes include Muay Thai, MMA, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kickboxing. There’s also a room kitted out for functional fitness next door.
Vibe: Pretty relaxed on the occasions that we visited. Clients work hard, but everyone is made to feel really welcome regardless of your ability or fitness level.
Highlights: The perfect training facility if, like us, your fight experience extends only as far as the occasional Rocky marathon. The gym holds regular fight camps where beginners can get a taste of what it takes to train for an event – and if you have an actual event to train for, a membership here will get you there. If you’re an endurance athlete, be sure to check out the strength and conditioning evening classes run by local ultramarathon runner Lee Harris.
Prices: Dhs80 for a single session, Dhs1,050 for one month unlimited
Curve Building (entrance B), Sheikh Zayed Road, 4th Street, Dubai, daily 7am to 9.30pm. Tel: (04) 3805955. Metro: Noor Islamic Bank. pridefitnesscenter.com
4. Train Strength And Fitness
The curveball of the gym’s in Al Quoz, Train Strength And Fitness describes itself as “a hotel for trainers”. Rather than having in-house classes or PTs, it just provides a space where trainers can teach classes or look after clients one-on-one. Members can also use it as you would a normal gym, paying monthly or yearly to use the facilities.
Vibe: Because it’s so new (and huge – 42,000 square feet), Train SF is still pretty empty – you definitely won’t have to battle anyone for a treadmill. Get in now before the crowds catch on.
Highlights: Everything from the training facilities to the changing rooms are top-notch and in great condition. There are interesting classes on offer; we tried the GoGo Bounce class (see p101) but you have to visit the Train SF website to find the contact details of the teacher, and book directly with them. Hopefully they’re planning a more streamlined system.Prices: Dhs450 for one month, Dhs2,700 for three months, Dhs4,800 for one year.
4th Street (near Times Square Centre), Al Quoz, Dubai, daily 5.30am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 3799726. Metro: FGB. train-sf.com
5. Bespoke Ride
This Al Quoz gem is a fairly new addition to Dubai’s fitness scene, but already enjoys a loyal following among the city’s cycling community. For group classes, this stylish spot has a ‘Computrainer’ studio where you can adjust the resistance of the bike to your own fitness, which means you can cycle alongside athletes of pretty much any level. If you’re the competitive type, there are regular in-studio races too.
Highlights: As well as the classes, Bespoke also has the facilities to test your cardiovascular fitness, analyse your form and get your bike fitted perfectly. Plus, if you’re training for a particular race (for example, the Kona Iron Man tournament in Hawaii) they can programme the course gradients into the training system – that way any punishing hills won’t come as too much of a surprise. We also like the Bespoke Ride merchandise and the on-site smoothies.
Prices: Dhs150 drop-in, Dhs550 for package of five, Dhs1,000 for a package of ten.
Al Marabea Road, Al Quoz, Dubai, Sun to Thur 6am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 8am to 8pm. Tel: (04) 3484288. Taxi: Next to Art Satwa Gallery. bespoke-ride.com
FOUR OTHERS TO TRY…
6. Gravity DXB
Learn some impressive calisthenics moves from handstands to flags, and try out parkour in this playground for grownups.
Al Quoz 3, Dubai, Mon 6pm, Tue to Thur 7pm, Fri 8am and 10am, Dhs130. Tel: (04) 3216006. Taxi: Road 318 between Al Marabea Road and Umm Suqeim Road. facebook.com/GravityCalisthenicsGym
No longer confined to a single location in Burj Views, the cult favourite spinning class has a new base where you can feel the burn, in Gold And Diamond Park. Your first class is free.
Gold And Diamond Park, Building 7, Al Quoz, Dubai, class timings vary. Tel: (04) 3389409. Metro: FGB.
8. Team Nogueira
One of the most well-known MMA schools in Dubai, this spot offers Muy Thai, judo, Brazilian jui-jitsu and more.
Al Ghurair Warehouse (behind new Audi showroom), Al Quoz 1, Dubai, Sun to Thur 6.30am to 10pm, Fri closed, Sat 10am to 1.30pm. Tel: (04) 3388967. Taxi: Al Ghurair Showroom. teamnogueiradubai.com
9. Round 10 Boxing Club
This well-established fight school was the first in Dubai to focus purely on boxing lessons. They continue to offer excellent training and conditioning sessions.
364/19 Street (opposite Alserkal Avenue), Al Quoz, Dubai, Sat to Thur 8.30am to 10pm, Fri 8am to noon. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue. round10boxing.com