Get fit indoors: Dubai's best personal training studios
What’s On has details of personal training studios in Dubai including SHP Dubai, Symmetry Gym and OP Integrated Lifestyle Centre.
One-on-one training is no longer the sole territory of movie stars and top athletes. Studios providing only personalised training services are catering to everyone from marathon runners to mums. Here are four studios helping clients get in shape.
Scandinavian Health Performance Dubai
Good for: Fat loss
Stepping into SHP Dubai is like entering a laboratory. There’s no waft of sweaty socks – it’s clean and contemporary. Owner Ian Houghton, a chiselled Norwegian chap who specialises in sports rehabilitation, combines his expertise with a team of expertly trained physios, personal trainers and nutritionists to offer a balanced training platform.
Part of the service is a personal training programme within their small but fully-equipped studio. Our trainer, Jenna Lincoln – a pint-sized ball of fire – is a fat loss specialist creating specific programmes for her clients and re-evaluating them every four weeks. The first session involves a lot of unpleasant clamping where she uses calipers to measure body fat. You can have photographs taken to track your progress as the weeks pass.
Once you’ve established your goals, it’s time to hit the gym. Free from crowds and clutter, SHP Dubai has a spacious and quiet studio that rarely has more than three clients, so you can focus on your training.
You’ll do rigorous sessions that include squats, mountain climbing, push-ups, dead lifts and weight-bearing exercises before finishing off with some cardio. While we might be the only ones feeling the burn, Jenna remains right by our side, monitoring, motivating – and giving the occasional look of disdain when necessary. You’ll hit breaking point just in time for your post-workout stretch.
Swiss Tower, Cluster Y, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai, daily 8am to 8pm (other times available by appointment only), from Dhs250 a session. Tel: (04) 3687800. Metro: Dubai Marina. shpdubai.com
Good for: Camaraderie
Symmetry is almost always packed, with music bellowing out the door. Inside, the equipment is minimal but each workout is a sweat-fuelled concoction of pain and tears. So why do people keep coming back for more? Perhaps it’s something to do with the impressive results many clients experience after six months at this exclusive studio, but our guess is that it’s more to do with the community spirit that’s unmatched in any other gym in the city. Each member is welcomed through the doors. It’s like a euphoric echo across the studio as everyone shouts hello. The trainers are loud, confident and have no problem shouting at you in a playful way that’ll leave you giggling and crying at the same time.
At the helm are co-owners Amir Siddiqui and Alex Causton. The former is a Middle Eastern New Yorker who’s the size of a shed and rarely minces his words. The latter is a charming young woman with biceps of steel. Together they have made a studio that has a long waiting list despite an expensive monthly price tag. If you can get in, you’ll encounter exercise plans tailored to your goals with sessions rotating each week for ten weeks, before you’re re-evaluated. You’ll be bear crawling, rope throwing, and doing push-ups on medicine balls before you know it.
Building 5, Gold And Diamond Park, Dubai, Sun to Thur 6.30am to 8.30pm, Fri 9am to 2pm, from Dhs2,400 a month (minimum three-month term). Tel: (04) 3466479. Metro: First Gulf Bank. symmetrygymdubai.com
OP Integrated Lifestyle Centre
Good for: Overall wellness
Enter this JLT gym, and you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve walked into an outdoor playground. It’s colourful and inviting – there’s even a wooden swing in the lobby.
OP’s boss, Matt Coe, a former pro rugby player who is now a physiotherapist, does your initial assessment to determine your mental agility (something he calls brain fog), fitness, posture and general health. It explores factors such as old injuries and body alignment. From this, a tailored plan is made and you are assigned a personal coach, available to you all day every day for advice.
The training sessions are designed to be fun and the main studio is filled with gear you played with as a child such as space hoppers, hula-hoops and climbing frames. There isn’t a treadmill in sight. Despite the fun factor, these workouts are no joke. Under the guidance of your trainer, you perform personalised circuits of planks, skipping, rope climbing, and balance techniques.
The instructor makes notes on your performance, which are then discussed at the trainers’ weekly client assessment meeting. This means your training sessions adapt as you grow in confidence and ability, keeping your routines fresh while pushing you to reach goals you didn’t think possible.
Silver Tower, Cluster I, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, Sun to Wed 7am to 9pm, Thur 7am to 7pm, Sat 9am to 4.30pm, from Dhs134 a session. Tel: (04) 3653399. Metro: JLT. oplifestyle.com
Platform 3 Fitness
Good for: Equipment
Many people feel uncomfortable in mainstream gyms as they feel they are being watched, while ironically they can’t get the attention of the people they need help from. Enter Platform 3, where only six clients train at any one time.
How many gyms in Dubai can say they have a climbing wall on the premises? Platform 3 in Dubai Marina is one of them. As part of your private training, you may find yourself dangling from a rope halfway up an eight-metre wall.
Other cool equipment inside this two-storey funhouse includes a boxing ring, a conditioning zone with kettlebells, sandbags and TRX equipment. What you won’t find are many cardio machines. In fact there’s only one indoor rower in a corner upstairs, which is only used to warm up.
Sessions involve a full body workout using kettlebells and weighted balls for the arms, squats and step ups for legs, and planks and crunches for your core. You’ll also get to box for a cardio workout.
Park Island Apartments, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Mon 9pm, Wed 9pm, Sat 7pm, Dhs350. Tel: (04) 4358083. Metro: Dubai Marina. p3dubai.com