What’s On teams up with Good to compare gym memberships in Dubai, and the deals at gyms including Fitness First, Fitness Factory, Tribe Fit and Curves.

Our friends at Good measure up gyms in the UAE, the memberships they offer and precisely what you get for your dirhams – plus any hidden traps, fees or perks.

1) Gyms are cagey about giving information out over the phone. They would much rather get you through their doors to essentially ‘sell’ their packages in person.  Remember Chandler and Ross from Friends trying to quit the gym? A bit like that.
2) There seems to be some discrepancies in what is being offered online and what is offered in person, and even between individual salespeople, so don’t accept the first price you hear.
3) Gyms really want your business, so there may be some room for negotiation. In some cases it is possible to knock off the joining fee or have them throw in a free personal training session. 


Lowdown: With 27 branches found across the UAE, Fitness First is one of the most prominent gym brands in the region.
Free trial? Yes, but make an appointment in advance.
Joining fee? If you opt to pay monthly for a 12-month package, there is an admin cost of Dhs299. If you pay up-front for packages, this is omitted.
Membership: Three tiers of packages, Plus, Platinum and Platinum Plus, with each package determining which clubs you can use. Corporate rates and off-peak rates are available. For standard (‘Plus’), costs are: Dhs2,099 plus admin fee (three months). Dhs3,149 (six months), Dhs4,199 (12 months), Dhs5,249 (18 months).
Cancelation policy? Unless you can prove you have been terminated at work or you’re relocating, no refunds are given. However you can freeze your membership for up to three months if need be. Helpful if you are planning on escaping the summer.
Personal training? Yes.
Classes? Yes – all are included.
Information: Open seven days a week. Various locations, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 800 FITNESS (04) 3486377. fitnessfirst-me.com


Lowdown: A brand new, independent gym on Umm Suqeim road that aims to offer something different to the usual chains
Free trial: Yes – check the website to sign up for a free day pass
Joining fee: No joining fee or admin fees.
Membership: You pay an upfront fee of Dhs395 which covers your first month, and provide your bank details. Then your card will be charged each month on a rolling basis.
Cancellation policy: You’ll be charged on a monthly basis until you cancel your contract, and you can do so at any time.
Personal training: Yes
Classes: Yes – various group classes, a spinning studio and a full Crossfit gym (the latter costs extra, but all others are included in the price).
Information: The gym officially opens on September 1 but is accepting memberships now. Open daily, 6am to midnight. Umm Suqeim Road. Tel: (04) 3950050. fitnesshq.ae



Lowdown: “Great looking bodies and head turning physiques don’t just happen. They are created, manufactured and made,” say Fitness Factory, with Arnold Schwarzenegger undertones.
Free trial? Yes.
Joining fee? Only when opting for the one-month package.
Membership: Dhs299 plus Dhs150 admin fee (one month), Dhs750 (three months), Dhs1,400 (six months), Dhs2,500 (12 months).
Cancellation policy? No refund for cancellations, but if you sign up for a three, six, or a year-long package, you’re given a ‘vacation allowance’, where you can suspend your membership for a month.
Personal training? Yes.
Classes? No.
Information: Open Sat to Thurs 6am to midnight, weekends 7am to 11pm. Building 10, Zen District 3, Discovery Gardens, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4474844 fitnessfactory.ae


Lowdown: With four clubs across Dubai, Fitness 360° is expanding and proving itself to be a contender in the big gym stakes.
Free trial? Yes, just fill out your details on their website. The company often offers three to seven free trial days through its facebook page (facebook.com/Fitness360ME).
Joining fee? There is a standard Dhs99.
Membership: Membership costs vary from gym to gym and your membership will determine which gym you can use. A student discount is available. For standard membership, costs are: Approximately Dhs3,087 (one year).
Cancellation policy? No refunds, but membership can be frozen if a member is travelling, ill or injured, until they’re ready to return.
Personal training? Yes.
Classes? Yes, and they some fairly unique ones, including dancing in heels and partner yoga.
Information: Sat to Thurs 6am to midnight, Friday and public holidays, 9am to 9pm. Check online for the club closest to you. fitness360.me


Lowdown: An exclusive boutique gym, U Concept has art on its walls, a set of DJ decks and a UFC cage in the basement.
Free trial? Yes, although the gym prefers a session is booked with one of their trainers rather than any freewheeling.
Joining fee? Nope.
Membership: Dhs1,250 (one month), Dhs3,600 (six months), Dhs9,600 (12 months).
Cancelation policy? No refunds for cancelled memberships.
Personal training? Yes.
Classes? Yes – all included, with spinning, martial arts and boxing.
Information: Sun to Thurs, 6am to 10pm and 8am to 5pm on weekends. Building 4, The Gate Village, DIFC. 055 919 6666. uconcepthq.com


Lowdown: Female-only gym is based a circuit of machines, both cardio and toning, which, along with stretching, is completed twice in 30-minutes.
Free trial? Yes, you can book an appointment for a free trial but for one circuit only.
Joining fee? Dhs199 with the current 50 per cent discount.
Membership: Dhs4,788, which can be paid in two installments if needed. (one year).
Cancellation policy? Similar to other gyms, relocating elsewhere or a medical note, will allow you to cut all ties and recoup your dirhams. You can also freeze membership for up to three months if you’re travelling.
Personal training: No.
Information: Sat-Thurs 8am to 8pm, Friday, closed. Villa 1012, Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3806516. curvesme.com


Lowdown: Not a ‘gym’ in the strictest sense, Core Direction revolves around group exercise – from high-energy body pump classes to lower impact exercise such as yoga.
Free trail? 
Yes, depending on availability. You will have to call in advance to secure a place.
Joining fee? Yes, a Dhs200 one-off fee.
Membership: There are discounts for couples and premium packages (includes outdoor classes) are available. For standard membership, costs are: Dhs350 (one month), Dhs1,050 (three months), Dhs1,800 (six months), Dhs3,000 (12 months)
Cancellation policy? 30-days’ notice is required for quarterly memberships. No refunds are given for bi-annual or annual memberships, unless a medical note or proof of expatriation can be provided.
Personal training? Yes.
Classes? Yes, over 260 classes to choose from.
Information: Dubai Marina, Dubai. Tel: (050) 9226247. coredirection.com


Lowdown: Widely known as the most expensive personal trainer in Dubai, Amir Siddiqui is the face of Symmetry Gym, which offers personal training and personal training alone. So confident of his very own training model, Amir offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if the customer is less than 100 per cent satisfied.
Free trial? This is something of a grey area. There is however a ‘bring a friend day’ offering the opportunity to come along with a current member.
Joining fee? No. There is however a Dh250 consultation fee, which is refundable if you sign up after.
Membership: Prices begin at Dhs2,400 a month (which include 12 personal training sessions) and rise to Dhs10,000 if you opt for the elite package and train with Amir himself. A cheaper alternative could be to pay for a seven-day trial membership (Dhs550) that includes a fitness consultation, physical assessment, plus two fitness coaching sessions with a master coach.
Cancellation policy? A 30-day cancellation policy.
Personal training: Yes. Lots. This is a strictly personal training-only gym.
Classes: No.
Information: Sun to Thurs 6.30am to 8.30pm, Fri 9am to 2pm and Sat, closed. Building 5, Gold and Diamond Park, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3466479. symmetrygymdubai.com

**All information right as of June 2013

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