The 30-day challenge will mean 1,500 free workout classes (at some of the city’s hottest studios) and 5 weekend carnivals, with almost 100 sports facilities getting involved…

The Dubai Fitness Challenge kicks off on Friday October 20 and there is heaps to get involved in.

If you haven’t heard of the Dubai Fitness Challenge (and you should have by now) it’s a new initiative by HH Sheikh Hamdan, challenging Dubai residents to complete 30 minutes of exercise, every day, for 30 days.

Kicking off at Safa Park on November 20 and 21, there will be a free-entry, weekend-long carnival. Expect an appearance by former England football captain Rio Ferdinand, performances from La Perle’s acrobats and XDubai’s Skydive team, plus more than 20 fitness opportunities to get involved in, from yoga to football to boxing.

There will be plenty more to get stuck into throughout the 30 days too. Here are our picks…

The big events

Desert Warrior Challenge

Taking place on Friday October 20 in Dubailand district, this race is not for the faint-hearted; so if you’re a fitness enthusiast wanting to up your game, this event is for you. Expect adrenaline-pumping obstacle courses for all levels that can only be defeated by swinging, sliding and climbing.

Dubailand, (near the Outlet Mall), Fri October 20, 10am to 6pm, from Dhs490 on the day. More info on website

Dubai City Swim

Swimmers get ready for Dubai City Swim, which is part of the Global Swim Series, one of the largest open-water swimming initiatives in the world. This swim race heads past the iconic Burj Al Arab.

Kite Beach, Sat October 28, 8am to 10am, Dhs185. Tel: (056) 549 543. More info on Facebook

XDubai Spartan Race

Spartan Race is returning to the Middle East this November. There are two levels; Spartan Sprint, which is 5km, and Spartan Beast which is 23km. The races push participants to tackle challenging terrain – obstacles typically include 7ft walls, barbed wire and rope ladders. There are various levels of distance and difficulty depending on your experience level too.

Hatta Mountain Bike Trail Centre, Hatta, Dubai, Fri November 10, tickets from Dhs290. More info on website

Dubai International Triathlon

A more advanced course, Dubai International Triathlon is back at The Waterfront Jebel Ali on November 10. The triathlon consists of a a 1.5km swim, followed by an 80km cycle, and finishes with a 10km run. There are six individual age categories or three team categories of male only, female only or mixed to get involved in if you don’t fancy going it alone.

Jebel Ali Waterfront, Jebel Ali, Fri November 10, tickets from Dhs600. More info on website

Colour Run

Considered the largest running series in the world, the Colour Run returns to the UAE in November. Dubbed the “happiest 5km on the planet”, colour runners can look forward to even more fun this year with a new foam zone, where foam clouds will cover all those who take part. Runners will of course still be covered from head to toe in an array of colours in the colour zones along the 5km, untimed route. Along the course, participants can show their aspirations on the dream wall, snap selfies with giant unicorns, and enjoy a colour party with family and friends at the finish festival.

Dubai Autodrome, Sat November 11, tickets from Dhs140. Tel: (04) 367 8700. More info on website

Dubai Women’s Run

This ladies-only, inclusive run is suited to all fitness levels and abilities, so join the community spirit on either a 5km or 10km run. The region’s exclusive women’s run returns for its seventh year, encouraging women aged 14 and above to participate for a cause.

Marasi Business Bay, Fri November 17, tickets from Dhs150. More info on website

The free fitness classes

To find exact times for these classes filter by activity, partner or location within the Dubai Fitness Challenge app…


There’s something for all levels of experience when it comes to free cycling classes over the month. The Cycle Hub will be hosting rides for varying levels of experience at the Al Qudra cycling course every weekend, or there’s a one-off cycling session for ladies at Meydan on Tuesday 24 at 7am. For those wanting to keep it inside, ‘Cycle 45’ by The Platform will be offering four high-intensity 45 minute classes at its Dubai Marina studio throughout the month.


There are stacks of free yoga classes to suit all yogis over the fitness festival. Studio 136.1 will have various Hatha Yoga classes in Dubai Marina, there is beginners Sri-Sri yoga at Yoga Ashram in JLT, and further afield there are several high-energy power yoga classes at GFX in Mirdif.


If you’re not into exercising alone, there’s a whole load of morning, afternoon and after work bootcamp classes to kick start your fitness. The free classes are happening all over Dubai, Ignite will be putting on hour-long sessions from The Palm, to Motor City to The Springs, plus there’s ladies’ only classes at the famous Barry’s Bootcamp and Dubai Ladies Club.

Paddle Boarding

For those who like to take their fitness al-fresco, Kite N Surf are running an hour long Paddle Boarding taster class every Friday and Saturday morning at 8.45am in Jumeirah 3. There’s also a sunset class in Jumeirah 3 by Du Kite too for those not-so-early risers.

Horse Riding

horse riding safari

There are even free horse riding lessons at the Dubai Polo Equestrian Club throughout the month in Arabian Ranches. Pick from either the 7am to 8am class, or 8am to 9am class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and enjoy a 45 minute lesson at the equestrian club.

Best of the rest

From Zumba in JLT, to HIIT classes in the Marina to boxing, barre, burn and body pump, there are heaps of opportunities for you to get involved in classes of every level across Dubai. You’ll find us at Ignite’s ‘military bootcamp’ on The Palm, picking up a free one day pass to Fitness 360 in Al Wasl and finishing the day at ‘Step and Sculpt’ in Studio City.

The family friendly:

Weekend Carnivals

Each weekend over the 30 day chaellenge, there will be a pop up fitness carnival in different locations across Dubai that will come with free fitness events for the whole family. It’s kicking off in Safa Park this weekend, before heading over to Kite Beach, Skydive Dubai, Burj Park, and then closing with Festival City.

Karate for Kids

2Fit2Quit studio in JLT is running various hour long after-school karate classes for kids. Children of all experiences are welcome, and classes are on various Saturdays and Mondays throughout the challenge.

Kids’ Parkour

Gravity Gym have got a taster parkour class for kids at their Al Quoz space as part of Dubai Fitness Challenge. This new urban sport combines an obstacle course with free-running and is derived from military-style training.

For the full list of Dubai Fitness Challenge activities, visit their website or download the app.

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