6 of the best boutique gym experiences in Abu Dhabi
Because gym life, is life…
We’re not sure at what point in human history the lines between gym and nightclub began to blur, but we’re glad they did. We’ve watched a collection of innovative new gym and cycle bar concepts popping up across the capital, put together in a way that makes us not want to skip leg day. These are some of our favourite boutique fitness brands and trends available in Abu Dhabi right now.
Chic boutique fitness outfit, CRANK Abu Dhabi recently opened its doors at Sheikha Fatima Park and has been putting the city’s fitties through their black-lit paces from the jump. The brand offers 45 minute programmes of intense cycle fitness, getting riders to incinerate those kcals in churning sprints and endurance climbs all in the glow of distinctly midnight rave ‘art lighting’ aesthetics specially designed for the studios. And, importantly, the soundtrack slaps. CRANK operates an innovative ride ranking system (which, if this thought fills you with dread, you are free to opt out of) — which allocates points according to your pedal power and torque settings, and then puts you on a leader board at the front of the class. In the Dubai locations, they offer Shape and Stretch classes, which don’t seem to be available in Abu Dhabi just yet — fingers crossed for the future. Pro tip: They give new riders a discounted trial session, but be careful, once you CRANK, there’s no turning back.
Sheikha Fatima Park, Rides from 8.30am to 7.30pm, pricing from Dhs60 for trial. Tel: (04) 321 2095, @crank.uae
Sure Etizan the colossal fitness complex at hotel Erth (formally known as the Armed Forces Officers Club and Hotel) does not qualify as boutique. The recreational hub is legitimately stacked with an Olympic range of sporting activities including a 3,500 sqm gym, tennis courts, multiple football pitches (including a fully FIFA-certified 11-a-side pitch), a boxing studio, martial arts space, an eight-lane-indoor-tournament-spec pool, facilities for gymnastics, aerobics, squash, bowling, track and field, volleyball, basketball, shooting and Jiu Jitsu. But something they do offer a more bijoux racket in, is everybody’s fave new court sport — padel tennis, with rental from Dhs240.
Erth, Khor Al Maqta, gym day passes from Dhs151, padel court rental from Dhs240, football pitch rental from Dhs504. Tel: (02) 497 5229, Etizan.ae
This Aussie-born cult fitness brand has a reputation for fierce but fair workouts, with dramatic conditioning results. The classes combine a mixture of HIIT sessions, functional training (which is where the ‘F’ comes from in the name), circuit training and a cool-down period where you lock your trainer in the eyes and mouth obscenities at them. Though that last part is entirely optional. Each 45 minute class is designed to burn fat, build muscle, improve functional form, torch up to 1,000 calories, make you sweat through your eyeballs and dry wretch over a bin, at least the first time. There’s no doubt that this outfit changes lives, it physically vibrates with positivity and community, it gets results fast and comes with a three-day free trial.
Zayed Sports City, Main Football Stadium, Dhs105 per class, unlimited month pass for Dhs1,100, discounts for multi-month purchases. Tel: (056) 332 3113, F45_training_zayedsportscity
Yeah circuits are fun, but have you ever tried launching your fists into an indestructable punch bag for 50 minutes with a plasma storm light show goes off all around you. *Ding ding* Step into the gym/ring for HIIT, Classic and Ladies only sessions at Punch, and fight yourself fit. More than just a spot of fisticuffs with an inanimaye sack, these HIIT workouts obviously work on your overall fitness and focuses on you knocking that ‘UAE stone’ clean out. The Classic classes go deeper into the skills and techniques behind the gentleperson’s sport of pugilism — tightening up your footwork, jab combos, defensive postures as well as helping you develop your strength, speed and agility.
Punch Boxing Club, Zayed Sports City, Dhs100 for one class (newbies get two for one), and it’s Dhs800 for an unlimited month pass. Tel: (02) 666 9717, @punchuae
The hugely popular Dubai cycling studio, Motion recently opened an Abu Dhabi location on Al Reem Island. Part of the brand’s success has been built on the fact you can burn up to 1,000 calories per ride. The intense workouts have candlelit sessions (which sound deliciously trippy), women-only options, and R&B backed classes all lead by an expert team focused on keeping you motivated and pushing harder.
office 461, Floor 4, Wafra Square building, Al Reem Island, cycling classes from Dhs50 (for first ride). Tel: (055) 8530 0836, motion-cycling.ae
This flex squad help you get those gains on the grains — they’re offering tickets to the sun show as well as the gun show, and a wide range of fitnness classes (from as little as Dhs60) on the Corniche beach. There are expert-led sessions in yoga, BoxStrike, calisthenics, HIIT, muay thai, ciruits and boxing, all in the glorious, wall-less dojo of the great outdoors. You’ll find them at Al Bahar at the Abu Dhabi Corniche, next to Abu Dhabi Marine, so if you fancy doubling down on that alfresco flexing, you’ll find a comprehensive selection of watersports activties, just a short walk away.
Al Bahar, Abu Dhabi Corniche, single class rates from Dhs75. Tel: (050) 303 2594, @xstrikeuae