Abu Dhabi gets its first CrossFit gym, Code CrossFit, thanks to four fit Emiratis

Four Emirati friends have joined forces to open Abu Dhabi's first CrossFit gym, Code CrossFit.

From left, Mansoor Nabil Abdul Ghafar, Mohammed Al Tamimi and Marwan Nabil Abdul Ghafar, three co-owners of Code CrossFit, Abu Dhabi's first CrossFit gym. Ann Marie McQueen / The National / April 2014
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Two bankers, one pilot and a law student are the Emirati owners of behind Abu Dhabi’s first CrossFit gym, Code CrossFit. We speak to Mohammed Al Tamimi, a 30-year-old Etihad pilot and a CrossFit Level 1 trainer, about the hard-core venture.

How and when did you get involved in CrossFit?

I got involved and started CrossFit three years ago. I used to read about it, but I’m proud to say that the person behind introducing me to it is Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum – we met in 2002 when I was training with Gulf Air. From that time onwards, he has always been supporting and motivating me, not only to be fitter but also to be knowledgable about fitness and CrossFit in particular.

Why open a CrossFit gym in Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi is the capital of UAE and it’s a shame not to see a CrossFit box open or people knowing about it there. Additionally, since I work in Abu Dhabi, I thought it will be more convenient if I open in the city since I usually had to drive all the way to Dubai to do my workouts. In the meantime, my friends and co-founders, Marwan Nabil Abdul Ghafar (27, manager of corporate banking at HSBC), Mansoor Nabil Abdul Ghafar (25, assistant manager of business banking at HSBC) and Mohammed Khalid Abdul Ghafar (24, student at Duke University law school) – who, by the way, are all holders of CF-Level 1 certificates and have been CrossFit enthusiasts for more than two years – were thinking of opening their own box in Dubai, so after discussing opening in Abu Dhabi with them, we agreed on opening it here because there is higher potential to spread and influence others.

What kinds of people does CrossFit attract?

CrossFit is for everyone: old, young, kids, fat and thin. As CrossFit always says, exercise is varied by degree not by kind. For example, you could be old and squat without weights, or do dead lifts (like picking up a bag from the ground). Additionally, CrossFit is a mixture of functional (natural and useful) movements, which you do daily using body weight or extra weights. And overall it’s fun in the end.

Why is there a large, horned vomiting creature on the wall?

Mr Pukie is a CrossFit symbol in every box, and basically if you do CrossFit for the first time, most likely you’ll meet him. It’s a fun character, which I think you try to avoid by getting fitter and working hard.

Code CrossFit is located in Danat Tower B, behind the Holiday Inn near 31st Street and Muroor Road. The gym offers mixed and ladies-only classes daily from 6am to 9pm, from Sunday to Thursday, with two classes on Saturday. The first class is free, with prices of Dh120 for a walk-in and packages starting at Dh850 for eight sessions. Call 050 297 5222 or email codemcrossfit@gmail.com for more information