Want to get fit, demolish calories and gain more confidence at the same time? Here’s how you can box, grapple, throw and kick your way to a brand new you, right here in Abu Dhabi
Be it boxing or karate, jiu-jitsu or aikido, there are plenty of places to bust some moves and get lean in the nation’s capital, and most importantly, many of them burn at least 600 calories an hour. Here are our 10 must-try classes

01. Brazilian jiu-jitsu

Jiu-jitsu is huge in the capital – last month, the emirate hosted the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, an event that saw the world’s best compete in the UAE. Emiratis love the sport (even members of the capital’s ruling Al Nayhan family are fans, while local fighters won 147 medals at an event in Dubai last September). It’s a fighting style with a focus on grappling and fighting on the ground and is related to judo and you can burn around 600 calories an hour during a session.
Primal Gym, Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 7.30pm, price on request. Tel: (050) 2962157. Taxi: Amaya Towers, Al Reem Island, near Repton School. primal.ae

02. Karate

Oriental Karate & Kobudo Club AD is one of the capital’s oldest martial arts clubs. Founded in 1977, it now has eight branches in Abu Dhabi and some 1,500 active students on its roster. If you want to get fit using a frenetic combination of punches, kicks and strikes using your knees and elbows, this is the place to go. They hold twice-weekly classes for children and adults and the club’s chief instructor Ali Mohammed has a 7th degree black belt in karate – the club has another 25 instructors in total.

03. Capoeira

The history of this martial art is unique – it goes back to the 1500s and was created by African slaves in Brazil and combines combat moves with dance-like movements that improve flexibility, agility, strength, balance, coordination and self-confidence. The sessions are usually accompanied by music, just in case you need a little more motivation. Children’s classes are also available in the capital.
Various locations including Club House, Khalidiyah Village, Al Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi, Mon and Sat 7.30pm, Wed 8pm, price on request. Tel: (055) 8417843. Taxi: near Khalidiyah Mall. facebook.com/capoeiraabudhabi.caxias

04. Boxing

Vogue Fitness on Yas Island has ladies-only boxing classes once a week and there’s many benefits to punching your way to improved fitness at the gym – boxing is a great cardio and strength workout that boosts your coordination, reaction times, balance and agility.
Yas Ladies Vogue Fitness, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, Sun 7.30pm to 8.30pm, Dhs700 for eight classes (for members). Tel: (02) 5832380. Taxi: Yas Marina. vfuae.com

05. Piyo Box and Burn

Head to ladies-only gym Tone Fitness if you want a workout that combines techniques from yoga, Pilates and boxing for an all-over workout that boosts muscle strength, works on improving your posture and absolutely demolishes calories.
Bain Al Jessrain, Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (050) 3168999. Taxi: Co-Op Building, Al Maqta. facebook.com/tonefitness.ae

06. Body Combat

Fit & Flex Studio is the place to go for a Les Mills class inspired by a whole selection of disciplines including karate, boxing, taekwondo, tai chi and Muay Thai. It’s a session that experts claim can burn more than 700 calories in an hour as you bust out some moves to dance music.
Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, Tue 8.30am (ladies only), Wed 5.30pm, Thur 4.30pm (mixed classes), Dhs70. Tel: (050) 1466123. Taxi: Abu Dhabi Golf Club. fitnflex.com

07. Boxfit

Fancy a full-on cardio blast? Boxfit combines boxing sessions with footwork drills and even skipping rope work. Some experts claim you can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour and the intensity of the sessions means it’s not for the faint-hearted – if you love those hardcore summer boot camps, then this one is definitely for you. Abu Dhabi’s The Room host these classes at Zayed Sports City.
Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, Mon 6.30pm to 7.30pm, Wed 6.30pm to 7.30pm, Dhs70. Tel: (02) 4444945. Taxi: Zayed Sports City, Gate 16, Tennis Centre. theroom.ae

08. Aikido

Aikido means “the way of the harmonious spirit” in English and is just as much about mental conditioning as physical. Beginners learn how to safely fall and roll, as the sport consists of throws, and defensive moves include pinning your opponent. Emirati sensei Diyab Al Aseery is the coach at Zayed Sports City – the venue is home to the capital’s first specialised Aikido dojo. “It is fight without fight, says Al Aseery. “It’s not like karate or judo where you fight to win, it’s about controlling someone if they try to attack.”
Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, children’s classes Sat, Mon and Wed 6pm to 7pm, Dhs600 for 12 classes; ladies’ classes Sun, Tue 6pm to 7pm, Dhs500 for 12 classes; mixed adult classes Sat to Wed 7pm to 8pm, Dhs600 for 12 classes. Tel: (050) 6629533. Taxi: Zayed Sports City. zsc.ae

09. Self-defence classes

Abu Dhabi is a pretty safe place to live, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from learning a few moves to protect yourself. Cobra Fitness holds weekly self-defence classes for women – and the first session is free, so you can get a feel of what the classes offer. The techniques used are similar to jiu-jitsu and you’ll be taught how to deal with potential attackers, how to fight off bag thieves and even people who approach you with a knife.
Cobra Fitness, Al Bandar, Abu Dhabi, Sun 9.30am to 10.30am, Dhs70. Tel: (02) 4496524. Taxi: Al Bandar. cobrafitnessuae.com

10. Muay Thai

Adrenagy gym hold Muay Thai classes daily and they also have lessons for beginners, intermediates and experts. Known as “the art of eight limbs” because competitors use their fists, elbows, knees and shins, it’s a fat destroyer that can burn off around 600 to 700 calories an hour.
Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi, Sun, Tue, Thur 5pm to 6pm, Dhs120. Tel: (02) 4441121. Taxi: Khalifa Park. adrenagy.com


Want to burn calories, get lean and lower your stress levels? Try kickboxing. Depending on your weight and fitness levels, you can burn between 400 and 800 calories an hour thanks to its combination of punches and leg moves.
a Emirates Karate, Salam Street, Abu Dhabi, Sun 7.30pm to 8.30pm, Wed 7.30pm to 8.30pm, Dhs50. Tel: (02) 6267674. Taxi: behind KM Trading on Salam Street. emirateskarate.com
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