More than a gym: a tour of ‘wellness sanctuary’ StudioRepublik Dubai

'The space lends itself to the culture of balancing your life,' says founder Ali El Amine

Dubai, United Arab Emirates -Aerial class  at the Studio Republik.  Leslie Pableo for The National

Gone are the days where gyms were just about weights, cardio machines and, if you were lucky, an indoor swimming pool. As the shift towards wholeness continues to surge, so does prioritising a more balanced life both personally and professionally. Gyms across the globe are now fine-tuning their approach by offering services with a more dedicated focus on well-being at large.

One facility embracing this in Dubai is the staggering 65,000-square-foot StudioRepublik, which offers versatile and immersive experiences in keeping with its “come to life” motto. Founded by the team who started FitRepublik, this addition to the Republik chain wants its new base to offer something quite unique.

“The space lends itself to the culture of balancing your life. We embrace skills, we embrace progress, we embrace a work-life blend,” says founder Ali El Amine. “The culture is nature and nurture. It’s a place to find out where you belong and then decide where you wish to go.”

The Arena

On the ground floor is the Arena, an area that offers boot camp classes, an aerial and pole studio, plus rooms for more focused group classes, such as Mind & Body to take the edge off from the busyness of the big city. The 50-strong spinning studio is where the immersive experience really comes to life. Gym-goers can enjoy a high-resolution presentation on the screens even as a live aerialist and DJ perform while the class rolls out.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Cardio booth camp with Jason at the Studio Republik.  Leslie Pableo for The National

The Stage

As the routine of daily life takes hold and responsibilities heighten, our practical side often takes over at the expense of creative expression. Enter: The Stage, which was included at the StudioRepublik gym to allow members the opportunity to explore that free-spirited side. “Our classes take you from serious to curious,” says marketing manager Lucy Billington. “It's about having a holistic experience, to dance, express yourself, be free. Most adults might think, 'no that’s not for me', but actually stepping out of your comfort zone and releasing those blocks in your brain is [important] to break the shackles of modern life and to think creatively.”

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Afro Fusion dance class at the Studio Republik.  Leslie Pableo for The National

The Lab

Another addition to this “wellness sanctuary” is the The Lab. The team comprises personal trainers, dieticians, physiotherapists and massage therapists, who personalise the experience with an in-house developed tool called K8. This four-step approach allows them to understand each member, and what he or she is looking to achieve, and then craft a curated programme. “Wellness is not a gym, it’s not strength and conditioning, and it’s not a diet, a movement or rehab. It’s all of these things and putting them together in your urbanised life", says El Amine.