Reform Athletica Founder on Fitness Innovation

Sports hall


  • Abu Dhabi
  • Al Ain
  • Al Khobar
  • Dubai
  • Jeddah
  • Riyadh
  • Sharjah
Please select city

Dina ElShurafa, founder of Reform Athletica expands on how she’s created the luxury boutique fitness studio and where she’s taking it next.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?

I start my day with emails, getting ready for work, and of course, coffee!

How did you know it was the right time to launch Reform Athletica – was there a pivotal moment that served as a catalyst?

In early 2016, we recognized that the fitness scene was still emerging and that there was a significant gap for class-based studios outside of traditional gyms.

We saw an opportunity to introduce a high-end luxury fitness experience in Dubai that caters to all ages and fitness levels.

What lies at the core of Reform Athletica – what inspired the DNA?

Our clients are at the heart of everything we do. Being in the service industry, it's essential that from the moment they enter, they feel valued and welcomed.

Our goal is to empower our clients and enhance not just their physical fitness, but their overall mental and holistic health.

The workout experience in the Jumeirah and ICD Brookfield Place studios is exceptional. How do you approach things differently?

We focus on quality control and having excellent trainers.

Our instructors undergo rigorous training and continuous assessments to ensure they deliver top-notch workouts.

We also constantly seek client feedback to improve their experience and ensure satisfaction at every touchpoint.

How has the brand evolved and scaled and what has the reaction been like?

Starting as a single studio, we've grown into a two-location business in Dubai and have plans to expand into Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the wider Middle East.

This growth wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support from our clients and their belief in our brand and services.

Reformer Pilates stands out as a core offering – tell us more about the various signature classes and its benefits to the body and overall, well-being.

While our 'hero' class is the Reform Method using the Lagree Megaformer, we offer other classes that are just as impactful.

My personal favorite is the RA Strength class centered around the TRX, which significantly improved my strength and fitness.

We also have the Microform class, a hybrid HIIT session using the smaller Lagree machine combined with TRX, weights, and kettlebells.

Finally, our yoga classes, including deep stretch sessions, complement a client’s fitness regimen perfectly.

Can you define the inspiration behind the design of the studio and how does it appeal to the local culture and market?

For our Jumeirah 1 location, we aimed to create a welcoming, art-filled space that elevates the customer experience both inside and outside the workout studio.

Our ICDBP location’s design was crafted by TR Studio Architects from London, ensuring it matched our brand’s luxurious standards.

The art installations play a crucial role in making Reform Athletica a unique and inspiring space.

Sustainability is at the forefront for the brand – what practices within the studio have been implemented to drive this?

Sustainability is core to our ethos, and as a plastic-free studio verified by Oceanic Global, we’ve made significant strides since opening in 2018.

We chose not to sell plastic bottled beverages, including water, which was initially met with skepticism. Now, the plastic-free movement in the UAE is thriving.

We do not sell any plastic-packaged products and our juice bar, RAfresh, uses biodegradable packaging to adhere to our environmental standards.

What has been the biggest challenge to date and how did you overcome it?

Managing two careers has been a significant personal achievement! However, with the assistance of my outstanding team on the ground, it has become manageable.

Tell us about your fitness journey – what does your fitness routine look like?

I began running 15 years ago and discovered Reformer Pilates while on vacation; since then, I've been hooked. I like to vary my routine, but it largely depends on my travel schedule.

My must-dos include Reformer Pilates (1-2 times a week), strength training (2-3 times a week), and at least one or two runs when I’m not preparing for a race.

Additionally, I ensure I walk at least 10,000 steps daily.

What do you avoid in terms of lifestyle to ensure you have a balanced, healthy body?

I aim to incorporate 10,000 steps a day, get eight hours of sleep, eat well-balanced meals, engage in weightlifting/Pilates, drink two liters of water, and spend time in the sun.

What’s next for Reform Athletica?

We are diligently working behind the scenes to expand our RA family in my homeland of Saudi Arabia, possibly opening another branch in the UAE, and considering the broader Middle East.

This is The Body Issue – what are your non-negotiable self and body care practices?

A healthy body supports a healthy mind, so my non-negotiables are getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food, and exercising.


Source: emirateswoman

The opinions shared in the GymNation blog articles are solely those of the respective authors and may not represent the perspectives of GymNation or any member of the GymNation team.