Abu Dhabi is coming into its own as a fitness city after years of being underserviced, with an explosion in the number Western-style gym franchises, CrossFit boxes and yoga studios serving the capital - each with their own bells and whistles, serving ladies-only, expatriates and Emiratis alike. Any additions? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor's Note: Prices will have changed with the implement of VAT in 2018
Curves - gym
As the name suggests, this Texas brand, new to the UAE, is for females only, especially those who need a gentle nudge to get down the gym. The 30-minute group circuit sessions involve switching every 30 seconds between cardio mats and 12 hydraulic fitness machines, specially designed for women's bodies. Two coaches are on hand to advise. Members can partake in up to six 30-minute group workout sessions a week – and no more. If you don't show up to at least three, you can expect a call from manager Rania Blaibel to see where you've been.
• Curves is open from 9am-8pm and located on Baynuna Street, Al Bateen. A free trial class offered with a 3 month membership starting at Dh666 per month. For more information, call 02 634 4040
VivaFit - fitness classes
This is a Portuguese boutique women’s studio offering eight to 10 group classes, some of the Les Mills variety, and hydraulic machines. It also provides high-intensity interval training and functional exercises. There are dance programmes: Zumba, and the Les Mills programme Sh’bam, which incorporates hip hop, latina and jazz. Vivafit cardio and and Vivafit strength are designed for toning and weight loss, while Bodyvive incorporates balls and tubes. Pilates and Yoga-fusion Body Balance sessions are also offered. Manager Sonia Marques wants her boutique gym to be “like a family”.
• VivaFit is open from 7.30am-9.30pm, closed Friday with a half-day on Saturday and is located in Shining Towers in Khalidiya. Free trial class offered. Membership for one year is Dh3,900 which includes all the programmes, plus a one-time enrollment fee of Dh350.
The Hot House - yoga studio
This yoga studio launched in Al Zeina largely devoted to the challenging Bikram method, which features 26 poses, most done twice, done in a hot room over 90 minutes. However The Hot House has since evolved to offer a variety of classes, including ashtanga, pre-natal vinyasa and pilates, including two on Friday. Friday’s bikram class and Saturday’s hot vinyasa are both popular, so make sure to get there early.
• The Hot House offers classes beginning at 8.30am and 9am through the day to 8pm certain days. There is an intro pack offer at Dh130 for seven days, for first-timers. Drop-ins are Dh80; packages begin Dh350 for five classes. For more information email email@example.com or call 02 583 7753.
MProve Fitness - gym and CrossFit
This homegrown concept is billed as the capital's first warehouse gym. The Emirati owner Mohammed Al Tamimi, a CrossFit athlete, had a chance to cull the best of gyms during his travels as a pilot for Etihad Airways. The 15,000-square-foot space offers CrossFit, Fit 4 Life, kickboxing and calisthenics classes, has a roster of ladies-only classes and is well-stocked with weights and cardio equipment. The walls, floors and stairs feature impressive, graffiti-style images, including a massive rendering of Al Tamimi just after the entrance. The gym is flanked by Steroid Cafe and Oxygen, a supplements shop.
• MProve Fitness is open Sunday-Thursday from 6am to 10pm, 10am-9pm on weekends, located in the Al Maqta area, behind Princess Cars. Three-month, gym-only packages start at Dh1,599. For more information, call 02 555 1146.
Abu Dhabi Country Club - gym and fitness
Abu Dhabi Country Club - an original in the capital - offers more fitness group classes than any other gym in the city. Starting at 6am and running until 8.35pm, the gym offers everything from Les Mills to Kettlebell to TRX group fitness classes. They are the only gym in Abu Dhabi that currently offers Sprint, a 30-minute high intensity interval training Les Mills cycling class and Kranking, an exercise the focuses on building upper body strength through cardio fitness.They also have their own programme called Go Max, which is similar to CrossFit. They also have an impressive gym that’s split on two levels, for mixed and ladies only. Both are spacious and filled with newer equipement.
• Abu Dhabi Country Club is open daily, 6am-11pm. It is located on Shakhbout Bin Sultan St near Abu Dhabi City Golf Club. One year member includes classes for women are Dh5,000, for men Dh10,000, and for couples Dh15,000; classes can also be bought individually at Dh60 or a fitness pass for 12 classes is Dh600. For more iformation, visit: www.adcountryclub.com or call 02 657 7777
Fitness First - gym
Franchise gym Fitness First has five branches in Abu Dhabi including ladies only gyms in Marina Mall, Al Seef Mall, and Bawabat Al Sharq Mall. The other two branches are located at Dalma Mall and Abu Dhabi Mall and both are mixed, while also offering a ladies-only side of the gym. The Abu Dhabi Mall branch is their biggest Fitness First and offers many Les Mills group classes as well as their own popular programme called TUFF (The Ultimate Fitness Firster), focusing on strength and conditioning through bodyweight and barbell work.
• Prices and schedule vary on branch location. For more, visit www.uae.fitnessfirstme.com
Gold’s Gym - gym
There are three branches in Abu Dhabi: Al Wahda, Mazyad, and Deerfields. The Al Wahda branch has a roomy studio that’s ideal for group fitness classes as well as a spacious mixed and ladies only gym. The Mazyad branch has a smaller group fitness studio but it is slightly newer and offers a similar class schedule. The Deerfields branch is the newest of the three and has newer equipment. All the gyms offer Les Mills group fitness classes as well as other classes such as LBT, yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and more.
• Open daily, prices and schedule vary on branch location. For more, visit www.goldsgym.ae
Primal Gym - fitness classes
Primal Gym is located in Amaya Towers on Reem Island. The gym offers group fitness classes that range from Les Mills to Zumba to Tabata. Primal also has a special focus on martial arts and offer classes such boxing, muay thai and adult brazilian jui jitsu. They also offer ladies-only classes in the mornings and kids-only classes in the evenings. They plan on opening another branch of their gym at the World Trade Center Mall sometime during the summer. The club also allows for a free trial on any class.
• Primal Gym is open every day with classes starting from 5.30am-8.30pm (with half-day morning fitness classes on the weekends). The gym is located in Amaya Towers on Reem Island. One year membership starts at Dh5,500 for individuals or Dh8,500 for couples; classes are Dh50. For more information, go to facebook.com/primal.ae
There are 9 branches of this long-running gym in Abu Dhabi, with the biggest club at ADNEC. They also offer group classes such as Zumba, yoga, Bollywood Dance and circuit training as well as the occasional Body Pump class depending on which brand you attend. Some branches are specifically divided and don’t allow for mixed training (such as the branch in Y Tower).
• Prices and schedule vary by branch. For more information, visit www.lifelinewellness.com
Peak Fitness - CrossFit
Peak Fitness is a CrossFit gym that offers lessons for beginners to advance members and even has classes for kids (including their own CrossFit). All classes are an hour and focus on different aspects of CrossFit, which helps with building strength and endurance. The club also offers Jumping Fitness, a ladies-only cardio class that uses trampolines. They also offer beginner and advanced weightlifting classes and have their own programme called Sweat which is an outdoor high intensity interval training class.
• Peak Fitness is open Sunday to Thursday, 6am-9pm. It's located in Abu Dhabi City Golf Club. Classes can be bought individually for Dh100. Memberships starts at Dh10,000 for 12 months for the bronze package, Dh10,800 for the silver package, and Dh18,000 for the gold package. For more information, go to pf-uae.com
The Body Company - Electronic Muscle Stimulation
This gym opened quietly in 2015 and has built a loyal clientele ever since, offering uber short - just 20 minutes - but ultra-challenging electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) workouts. The workouts can be done solo or in groups of three and always under the tutelage of the instructor. First you suit up, having for Dh250 purchased a form-fitting black rayon outfit, topped with a futuristic neoprene workout suit that has been dampened for maximum impact. You can’t just stand there, either: you must tense your muscles in time with the machine, while the electronic nodes literally grab every muscle, making them feel as if they’ve been stuck in an electric socket. Staff recommend just two sessions per week for results in about a month.
• The Body Company is open from Saturday to Thursday, from 11am to 8pm. located in Bin Hamoodah Building (in Abu Dhabi's Adnec area). Memberships start at Dh3,800 for unlimited group sessions for two months. For more information, go to www.thebodycompany.eu or call 056 334 2286
Yoga One - yoga studio
Abu Dhabi badly needed a third yoga studio and Yoga One is the finest addition the capital's dedicated yogis and yoginis could ask for. Owners Margie Cordon and Mina Lee (who is also a really great teacher) have crafted a full roster of classes including hot hatha, vinyasa flow, Lee's own brand of yang/yin, ladies-only options and yoga for athletes. Although you can sign up for classes in advance, they are held regardless and pre-registration is currently not required. In happy news for weekend warriors, there are five classes on Fridays, starting at 9am and finishing at 7.15pm, including a donation-only class from 3.15-4.15pm. The studio has a brightly lit lobby, lots of parking, and really roomy change/shower rooms.
• YogaOne is open every day, with the earliest classes starting at 8.15pm and the latest running until 9pm. It is located in Mangrove One, just off Sheikh Zayed Road behind Al Seef. Single classes are Dh75, with packages starting at Dh350 for five classes. Go to Yogaone.ae or call 055 716 4845 for more info.
Arena Fitness - CrossFit Abu Dhabi
This gorgeous 724-square-metre space in Abu Dhabi’s Al Zeina neighbourhood has a firm “safety first” ethos. Owner Hisham Awad, who would like his gym to be “injury-free”, has incorporated a four-day “On Ramp” programme (Dh350) so newbies can spend a full four hours learning the basics of moves including squats, dead lifts and overhead presses before hitting an actual class.
The gym offers a full roster of classes throughout each day, with a mix of beginner and intermediate levels.
• Arena Fitness - CrossFit Abu Dhabi is located in Al Zeina (part of Al Raha Beach, adjacent to Yas Island) and offers a full range of classes each day from 5.30am through to 8pm. Packages start at Dh950 per month. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 552 9002.
BodyTree - yoga studio
Once upon a time, BodyTree was just about the only place to take a yoga class in the capital, launching as Yogatree and Soma Pilates in January 2007. Now it’s the leader, run by the mother-daughter team of Sharifa and Nadia Sehweil out of a beautiful, 580-square-meter, three-storey space in Karama and offering a mix of classes that include yoga, pilates, dance, barre and recently SpinTribe, a mix of stationary cycling and pilates. They also bring in a steady flow of respectable yoga names from the west - the American Tymi Howard and David Kim have been among the visitors - and offer a wide variety of workshops. It also houses the Nectar Juice Bar, which offers a wide range of healthy juices, smoothies and baked treats. BodyTree adheres to a fairly restrictive registration policy for its many of its classes, with some classes and sessions requiring payment in advance.
• BodyTree is on Hazza bin Zayed Street (near Al Wahda Mall). Drop-in classes from Dh70; packages from Dh640. For more information email email@example.com or call 2 443 4448.
Let’s Go Gym - gym and fitness classes
This busy gym located outside the downtown core - with lots of Mawakif parking - has a spacious workout area, lots of cardio equipment, Technogym equipment, a variety of free weights and lots of bodybuilders. The staff are friendly, interior bright, with a snack counter and a healthy roster of fitness classes, including 630am Les Mills RPM several times per week.
• Let's Go Gym is located in Technip Building off Muroor between Dhafeer and Rabdan streets (with a second location planned for Reem Island). It is open Saturday to Thursday, 6am to 11pm and Friday 8am to 8pm. For more information call 02 666 0383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Room - fitness classes
This fresh, bright, modern gym in Zayed Sports City offers lots of daily classes in a variety of forms, with a focus on Spinning, which uses a different bicycle and choreography than the Les Mills RPM classes found elsewhere, as well as boxfit, pilates, pump, salsa and yoga. Ladies-only classes are among the offerings, as well as offsite classes at the Intercontinental and Hiltonia Beach Club.
• The Room is located at Zayed Sports City and offers classes from 8.30am until 8, 9.30 or 10.30pm, depending on the day, with offerings on Friday and Saturday. Drop in classes are Dh70; 10-class, three-month packages cost Dh600. For more information email email@example.com or call 02 444 4945.
Haddins - gym and fitness classes
Haddins has been a leader in fitness in the capital and is still the centre of choice for many of its fittest - and not so fit - despite shiny new offerings. Their no-nonsense approach could be summed up as “get on with it and you’ll get fit”. Expect to spend a lot of time outdoors, regardless of the heat. Newbies and those looking for a shock to their system can sign up for one of the Primal Transformation groups that are regularly offered; those who complete the diet and workouts do indeed undergo a physical transformation. There are extremely challenging workouts of the day (WOD), hardcore boxing classes, triathalon training, off-site classes and a gym if you like to go it alone. There is also a midnight class mid-week for those on the night shift.
• Haddins is located Zayed Sports City and has classes from 5am through to 9.30am Sunday to Wednesday, 7.30pm Thursday with limited classes Friday and Saturday. Drop-in classes are Dh80; monthly packages Dh1,080. For more information, call 02 403 4233.
Vogue Fitness - gym and CrossFit
Vogue Fitness, which has a choice location at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina, opened in 2014 and has a dedicated following. Although parking can be tricky, the space is gorgeous and coaches often use the surrounding building and exterior. There is also an outdoor “box” with a view of the water. For new joiners they offer an “on ramp” course (Dh300) to safely learn CrossFit-specific moves. In addition to basic CrossFit classes there are hour and half-hour MetCon sessions, Olympic lifting coaching, spinning and yoga.
• Vogue Fitness is located at Yas Marina, building two level one. Classes are offered from 5.30am through to 9.30pm Sunday to Thursday, with select Friday and Saturday sessions. Drop-in classes are Dh120 with one-month unlimited packages Dh950. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 583 2380.
Cobra Fitness Abu Dhabi - gym and fitness classes
Located in Al Bandar, Cobra Fitness is the capital’s mixed martial arts destination. This industrial-sized black-and-lime green destination offers a tough range of mixed and ladies-only classes including boxing, sparring, Muay Thai boxing, self defense, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, TRX, Tabata and pole dancing for ladies. Cobra offers the rare opportunity to work out with multiple heavy bags in its Boxing and Muay Thai and Boxing Technique classes.
• Cobra Fitness is located in the upper basement of Al Bandar (Al Raha Boulevard) and open Sunday to Thursday from 6am to 10pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 7-11am. Drop-in classes cost Dh70; one month unlimited membership is Dh800. For more information email email@example.com or call 02 449 6524.