UAE's Best Gyms and Fitness Centres


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  • The industry may never return to its old ways after the pandemic, but can the virtual world replace the community feeling that a fitness centre offers?


The friendly hello from the receptionist. The fist bumps to familiar faces in the free weights area. The collective gasp when an instructor shouts out for another round of punches in the Body-combat fitness class. Even for those of us with a get-in-get-out attitude, the gym provided more social interaction than we actually realised. The system was massively shaken when we were forced to transition to working out alone in the living room all of a sudden.


Digital on the rise


As Covid-19 precautionary measures forced gyms to remain closed for a brief period, Fitness First launched an online platform called FF on Air. Jason Tubbs, Group Head of Operations, Fitness First, said: “It doesn’t replace the actual experience because for people to be motivated they need to have the instructor in front of them. Having that mix of on-demand and IRL is crucial. In fact, we have increased the number of classes by 30 percent than we have ever done because the demand is so strong.”


Fitness First is now building bigger studios to meet demand in the pandemic era. “You can’t replace a fantastic instructor who calls out your name and pushes you to do your best. You can’t make up for a nice gym session with your friends and going out for a coffee. That’s what most people were missing during the pandemic,” Tubbs said.


In the case of GymNation, the sheer size of their facilities allowed them to space equipment keeping in mind social distancing. Loren Holland, Founder, GymNation, said: “We have experienced minimal disruption and continue to invest in additional cleaning staff, as well as sanitiser wipes and spray stations in our gyms. We have also put in additional group exercise classes to compensate for reduced capacity. We continue to receive and pass regular authority inspections.”


Holland pointed out that it is estimated that only 7 percent of the UAE population is involved in some form of physical activity, offering fitness companies an opportunity to increase this figure closer to 20 percent like in some European countries.


“Thirty percent of our members had never been to a gym prior to joining GymNation, and we work hard to continue to ensure that GymNation is a non-intimidating and welcoming environment that is suitable for anyone, from professional athletes, through to first-time gym members,” Holland said.


Streaming services


The Platform Studios adjusted to the pandemic changes by quickly making sure that all members were connected with their coaches remotely. “We had coaches teaching from their apartments via different streaming services. We also ensured members had access to equipment such as bikes and dumbbells,” said Stewart Miller, Founder and CEO of The Platform Dubai.


“We started with Zoom and quickly invested to launch, a platform where we offered live and filmed classes on mobile, laptop or television. We made sure that we offered the same in-studio classes such cycle, HIIT, pilates and yoga.”


On the way forward, Miller said: “We don’t believe in replacing, but enhancing our community’s overall experience, both offline and online. We understand the importance of social media and are leveraging what we have from a digital perspective.”


Metrofitt believes that it’s only a matter of time before all fitness brands embrace a combination of online and offline classes. “Our biggest challenge was many members were just not ready to get back to training,” said Nitesh Seebran, CEO and  Co-founder of Metrofitt. “Our strict cleaning and social distancing protocols put many members at ease and got them back into their training. Our second challenge was many members had been affected by this pandemic from a work point of view, either a cut in salary or losing their jobs. Our goal was to make sure we didn’t add more to their difficult situation. We allowed members to cancel or extended freezing of their membership free of charge. By doing this we have noticed many are now coming back to join as they had an easy exit and appreciated this.”


Equipment rentals


The pandemic spurred Vogue Fitness to revamp its business model and offer a full schedule of classes across all its locations, as well as home personal training services, online coaching and equipment supply.


“When gyms were closed last year, we immediately rented our equipment to our members and supplemented the rental with daily online free fitness classes that were of a very high production quality,” says Billy Graham, Co-Founder, Vogue Fitness. “We then spent the closure building out our equipment supply arm, which is now among the largest stockists of functional fitness equipment in the UAE offering quick delivery. We also restructured our organization and developed our management structures to ensure we could reopen even stronger than pre-pandemic.”


For all the misery that  the pandemic has spread, it has also forced people to focus on health and fitness. The biggest change for gyms has been going online and offering digital products. Companies are starting to offer meaningful corporate programmes other than the outdated traditional approach of just putting together a list of discounted memberships for employees.


The digital trend will be an emerging niche market. However, it will grow in parallel with the industry in general, as opposed to being mutually exclusive to the growth of the brick-and-mortar health and fitness businesses in the UAE. The industry will begin to mature further and the diversity in niche offerings and micro-gyms will flourish over the next three to five years.





  • From everything on trend to what the future holds, industry titans focus on the topics that matter most for the fitness sector.




“A key focus for us has always been to stay close to the communities”


FRANK AFEAKI, Founder and COO,

ANT MARTLAND, Founder and Marketing Director, GymNation


  • ■ How did you come up with the idea for GymNation?


Loren: GymNation was borne out of the frustration that gyms in the UAE had been overcharging residents for far too long. As consumers ourselves, paying Dh400+ per month in one upfront annual payment, for substandard facilities, didn’t make sense.


As a result of this industry-wide high pricing, we felt too many people were being priced out of fitness in the UAE, so, we set out to create world-class  gym facilities that were all open 24/7, with membership prices from just Dh99 per month.


It’s now been 3 years since that first GymNation location opened, and we currently have 7 open UAE locations, with at least 3 more in the pipeline to open this year. This will take us to 10 gyms and a UAE membership base well in excess of 50,000, further solidifying our position as the number one gym chain in the UAE.


  •  What enables GymNation to make such big moves with expansion during this time?


Frank: The Covid period has of course been a disruption, but it definitely hasn’t affected our overall business objectives or our plans for growth.


Prior to Covid, our Al Quoz gym had been open for just over 18 months, and our Bur Dubai and RAK gyms had opened a few weeks before lockdown began, yet, after what was a tumultuous year for the fitness industry globally, we still managed to expand rapidly and finish 2020 with seven open GymNation locations.


  • ■ How do you keep the price so low and maintain the quality of the experience?


Ant: We manage to keep our membership fees low by cutting out the typical frills and the costs associated with them such as saunas, steam rooms and swimming pools. Our focus is on other key areas, such as investing heavily in streamlining and digitising our systems and processes. Whilst minimising costs enables us to offer lower-cost memberships, we will never cut costs in areas that would be a detriment to our product offering. From the equipment we install, through to making sure we work with the UAE’s best group exercise instructors. We’ve even started installing very expensive GHD hair straighteners and hair dryers in our changing rooms.


  •  What are some of the biggest business lessons you’ve learned in 2020?


Loren: A key lesson that was reinforced in 2020 was to not be afraid to take risks, but to make sure those risks are always calculated. At a time when many gyms around us were closing, or pausing their expansions plans, we decided to go in the opposite direction and invested heavily to take us from 1 gym at the start of 2020, to end the year on 7.


  • ■ Any initiatives for post-Covid? Tell us about any new projects in the near future?


Ant: For GymNation, 2021 is about continuing to widen the gap between us and our competitors as the clear market leader within the UAE, at the same time as expanding GymNation into GCC markets.


Post-COVID, we have invested significantly into creating and launching our own in-gym boutique workout concept called BLITZ in a number of our existing locations. BLITZ provides members with the opportunity to burn 1000+ calories in a 1-hour, high intensity group exercise class, through a mixture of cardio and strength exercises.


We have a number of soon-to-be-announced partnerships with both private and government synergistic organisations that will help contribute to the ongoing improvement in the health and wellness of UAE residents. Our partnerships with TriDubai and Super Sports UAE, ensures triathletes and runners can supplement their outdoor training, with in gym training as required throughout and outside of the race season.


We have also just launched GymNation On Demand, which provides members and non-members with free access to 1000+ online Les Mills workouts, that can be streamed anytime, anywhere.


  • ■ What attracts members to GymNation?


Frank: From the very first interaction a member has with GymNation, typically through our marketing or partnerships, through to their first time entering one of our gyms, people can see that we have fun, do things differently and push the boundaries versus what has been previously seen.


We call ourselves “The People’s Gym” and we live by that motto too! We were recently voted as The Best Gym in the UAE by UAE residents on Virgin Radio’s The Kris Fade Show, with a landslide victory of over 51 per cent of a total 70,000 votes!



“Competition is literally healthy”

BILLY GRAHAM, Co-founder, Vogue Fitness


■ In your opinion, what is the current state of the UAE’s fitness industry and what is the future?


The fitness industry in the UAE is maturing quickly. Previously health and fitness was the domain of the large international chains, whereas now in the last five years, homegrown UAE brands are creating tremendous fitness concepts. The future of the UAE fitness industry will continue to evolve to provide more niche services.


■ What is the brand’s single greatest accomplishment this far?


The single greatest accomplishment of Vogue Fitness is the number of lives that we are able to change for the better in the UAE. We have prevented people becoming diabetic, taken people from obese to athletic, and inspired people to adopt fitness into their daily lifestyle.


■ What is your advice to people looking to explore new ways of getting fit?


Just try new things that are offered by professionals until you find something that you enjoy doing. Then stick to that until you no longer enjoy it, or it no longer challenges you, and then repeat that process on a continual loop. Try to avoid joining a service simply because they offer you a discount on an annual membership. It can often be a trap where you only go for a few weeks, don’t enjoy it, but then psychologically won’t use another service until that annual membership expires. This can lead to years of inactivity. Only join a fitness service because you enjoy it and it can deliver the results that you are looking for in a supportive environment.


■ One year on, what’s the competitive environment in the UAE like for Vogue Fitness?


The competitive environment is ever changing as fitness in the UAE continues to evolve and grow. The more the competition, the more awareness it creates for the fitness industry overall, which then encourages more people to participate in fitness, which then continues to grow the industry further. Competition is literally healthy!



“Our gyms are built for any member looking to keep fit”



■ Tell us about some of the major turning points in the history of METROFITT.


We started METROFITT with the aim to change the market trend and make fitness affordable and accessible to all residents and citizens within the UAE. Why must good health come with an expensive price tag!


Our major turning point was when we opened our first Gym located at Dubai Airport Free Zone, the response from members to a new brand was unbelievable, we immediately knew we were on a winning formula. This gave as the motivation to open another four gyms in a span of three years.


■ What are you most excited about that METROFITT accomplished during the pandemic?


This was a tough time for many businesses, I am pleased to say we did not let go of any staff during this period and also opened our flagship club 3 months after the lockdown with our 5th gym opening in November 2020.


■ Which industry and customer segments are you targeting?


We target all residents and citizens of the UAE, our gyms are built for any member looking to keep fit, we offer a well-planned and fully kitted gym together with group classes for those members looking for some upbeat music and sick moves from our energetic instructors. We have partnered with Les Mills to provide our members with the quality they are now accustomed with our brand. We also offer personal training modules.


■ What sets your business apart from the competition?


We bring affordable premium fitness to the country, Our clubs are of international standards and tick all the boxes that a member is looking for. We have partnered with Matrix, the leading equipment suppliers across the globe, who have done an excellent job in filling our clubs with equipment that you will not find with other brands.


 ■ What's next for METROFITT?


The long term goal is to open more gyms, giving our members access to a METROFITT close to their home, and work is our ultimate goal. Our immediate goal is to continue to keep our members engaged and have them coming back for more!



“We will keep on investing in our people and products”

JASON TUBBS, Group Head of Operations, Fitness First


■ What are the key challenges you faced during this time and how did you manage to turn it around?


We operate 57 clubs in 49 locations across six territories and one of the biggest challenges we faced was keeping up with the constant regulations for the health, safety and well-being of our members. There were constant updates on regulations and we had to make sure that all staff was trained well. We overcame all that by rigorous staff training. We did additional spot checks and the followed the specific guidelines of the Dubai Sports Council. The point was to enhance the overall experience for our members.


■ Which accomplishment of Fitness First during the pandemic are you most excited about?


It is very unusual for any business to have time to reflect and look back at their business and see what can be done differently. The pandemic helped us make that time to do that. We looked back at the structure of the business and the member experience and we undertook many new initiatives that we were in the past only thinking of doing such as digitising with an online stream of classes. We were very keen to make sure that we stay in contact with our members and get them engaged and informed on what we are doing.


■ What trends do you see in the UAE’s fitness industry?


Everyone thinks everything is going to go online, but I completely disagree. I think there will be a general mix of people supporting their workout by doing classes at home with their friends and family. However, everyone’s going to return to the gym because of the community factor. They want a safe environment and they want to work out with their friends. The trends will be community focused, a mix of on demand digitized experiences.


 What do you see for the future of Fitness First clubs in the UAE?


We will keep on investing in our people and products, to continuously provide best-in-class facilities and innovations. We are looking at different growth opportunities whether it is the current model or rolling out more clubs. We already have a number of clubs in the pipeline and we may also be looking at different types of models for fitness clubs or studios as well. We are also looking at how we can enhance the swimming pool experience with the fantastic swimming pools we got.



“It’s all about our customers’ exercise journey”


The Platform Studios


 What does The Platform Studios bring to the fitness table, that differentiates it as a business?


For us, it’s all about our true north, our brand purpose and we have spent the last five years experimenting, prototyping and co-creating what experiencing the joy of exercise could mean to our members …ultimately that it should leave them with the thoughts and feelings of “Being Alive”.


At the Platform Studios it’s all about our customers exercise journey, and to this end, we will constantly develop and innovate the experience of exercise. Around here it’s affectionately known as “the joy of exercise” and we pay particular attention to the environmental sensory aspects and high touch personal engagement with our trainer/performers. In tandem these elements make up our stickiness DNA… and this is at the heart of our brand and resultant culture.


 What has been your highlight of 2020?


I’d have to say the highlight of an extremely tough year was the ability for us to remain true to our purpose of bringing joy to people’s lives through exercise experiences.


We have always believed that our people are the foundation of our value chain. The future of irresistible exercise and wellness experiences depends on our ability to create joy for our trainers and coaches in their day to day working environment. That’s was tough under the unprecedented conditions, but we banded together, driven by a common purpose, and grew stronger than ever with a collective spirit of creativity and resolve.


■ What do you think is new about today’s fitness studios?


Design, equipment, variety have all become table stakes now… the winners will be the ones that create a memorable experience.


■ How have digital options impacted the fitness industry, particularly for studios?


Digital has been fast tracked… but it’s not about one or the other it’s about a blend of the two.


From a digital point of view our purpose is to create a platform that helps coaches monetise their passion and effort and we have created a product that is driving industry innovation.


But on the other hand, people will always crave connection and so our physical spaces will continue to deliver variety… it’s the spice of life and that is why we have always remained true to this philosophy by ensuring that we deliver a multi-modality offering. From Cycle to HIIt, Box to pilates, Yoga to Mix it up we have, innovated and will continue to innovate in this space.


■ What’s your vision for The Platform Studios?


Our vision hasn’t changed… that’s the great thing about having a true north. It keeps you grounded and you don’t lose your way when the tough times come. Like I’ve said we set out on this journey to truly understand what the joy of exercise means and how it can contribute to changing people’s lives for the better.


We will continue to tweak and develop this value proposition across the physical and digital platforms available to us. Ultimately, we see ourselves providing an ecosystem that delivers the joy of exercise to anyone who wants to live happier and healthier… anywhere in the world.



“You are as good as your last brand experience”


CEO, Snap Fitness


■ Tell us more about Snap Fitness?


Snap Fitness is a premier international chain of gyms providing fitness and wellness solutions to customers across the globe. We, JSB Fitness, as master franchisee brought this brand to the region in 2016 with two 24/7 facilities in Media City & Motor city and the third in Downtown in Dubai.


■ What does Snap Fitness do differently?


Snap Fitness’ philosophy and what they call their method of making members achieve their fitness goals is unique. The brand truly believes in result-oriented programs which revolves around the 4 Foundations of Fit - 1. Get fitter faster 2. Get fit your way 3. Get fit when it fits and 4. Get fit together. These are simple practical philosophies to getting fit, for which we are loved and which keeps us growing across the world. In the UAE, we stand out for offering affordable membership plans that include goal oriented programmes, personal training & access to a range of unlimited global and home grown group exercise classes. Our club sizes range from 500 to 700 sqm and fits into the definition of neighbourhood clubs. We also have special packages for Corporates called Fit for Future, which offers tailor-made solutions to employees across organisations.


 What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from the fitness industry?


That you are as good as your last brand experience. At Snap we pride in having a loyal community of members whose experiences are reflected in the high referrals we get which drives our growth.


 What is your ultimate goal for Snap Fitness in the future?


Our goals for Snap Fitness are pragmatic and modest. We continue to improve our services and experience to grow organically in our existing locations. We are also looking at expanding Snap Fitness to strategic locations which are currently under served. Our next facility in Sharjah at Rahmania Mall reflects this intent as its our first Ladies Only gym to serve the local and expat women population in this growing community. We don’t have a presence in Abu Dhabi yet and are open to subfranchising the brand. Potentially, the brand can grow in excess of 25 locations in the UAE in the next couple of years. While we consolidate our presence here, we are looking at opportunities in other countries as well.



“Our warm, family-like environment makes everyone feel welcome”



Co-founders, CRANK


■ What is your inspiration for CRANK?


We wanted to create a successful homegrown brand that is tailored and unique to the market. Our aim was to provide people of any level with great workouts that are challenging, fun and exciting, with an element of competitiveness where we push our clientele to their limits and beyond. Creating a strong sense of community and a warm, friendly atmosphere was central to our offering.


■ What emerging industry trends have you observed for boutique studios?


We have seen fitness enthusiasts generally move away from traditional mainstream gyms into boutique fitness. People want to challenge themselves through fun, energetic experiences; furthermore, we find that customers want to be part of a friendly community.


■ What opportunities and challenges do the fitness industry provide to your kind of boutique studios?


Fresh and innovative concepts are rewarded, and social media is playing a significant role in attracting people to boutique fitness. The critical challenge studios face is the intense competition as new concepts continue to emerge globally and locally. This requires businesses to continuously adapt, change, and invest in order to continue seeing success.


A member’s journey starts from the point of booking a class, and we have developed a seamless reservation  system, which gives our customers the ability to book in advance, choose their favourite spot and make changes to match their needs. From then on, the experience at the studio itself needs to be impeccable, as clients have high expectations.



“We consider ourselves a second home for our members and employees”

EMMA JENKINS, Customer Relationship Manager, SEVEN Gym


 Your concept of a premium lifestyle holistic facility is very different from a regular gym. Tell us what you do differently.


The services that we offer and our attention to detail is what makes SEVEN unique. We don’t consider ourselves as a gym but as a second home for our members and employees.


■ How do you see the need of fitness education, right coaching, and nutrition in the UAE?


We are very fortunate to be in a supportive and health focused environment in the UAE. It is really something that we don’t see everywhere in the world.


■ How important is it for health clubs to focus on selling memberships for a broader and complete health agenda?


At SEVEN we are not focused on selling memberships, we are providing an experience focusing on mind, body and soul. By keeping SEVEN as a members-only club (new registrations are on a waitlist basis), we can maintain unprecedented standards for all of our members.


 What were SEVEN’s major achievements in these two years?


There was a big gap in the market for a place like SEVEN - and we took it. We are proud of the contributions we have made to the industry and the support we have given to our members on their holistic journeys.


■ What vision do you have for the facility in the coming years?


Dubai is the ideal environment for us to evolve and perfect our brand. We consider SEVEN Dubai as the base from which we will launch our future worldwide developments.



“We create that feeling of being at home for everyone who walks in”

Managing Director, The PAD


■ How did you start in the UAE? What was the impetus for The PAD? 


The PAD is the brainchild of myself and my husband, Abbas Kanchwala. He is a passionate dancer, and Yasmin Karachiwala who is the pioneer of Pilates in India, is my aunt – so opening a Pilates and Dance studio seemed like the perfect blend of both our backgrounds! We opened The PAD on our first wedding anniversary in August 2018.


I was new to Dubai, and I wanted to build a community that I felt connected to. So, The PAD was built not just to be a place to work-out, but a place to hang out. Over the almost 3 years we have been open, we have had 3,000+ clients walk in through our doors and along with getting a great workout they meet like-minded people, make friends, laugh and always leave feeling great.


■ What makes you different from every other gym or Pilates studio?


One word: Community. Our members call The PAD their second home, and our reviews on Google and every other platform show the love and belonging they feel. We create that feeling of being at home for everyone who walks in! At The PAD, no one is allowed to body shame themselves! We promote accepting your body the way it is, and working from a place of acceptance rather than hate.


■ Tell us about the most popular exercise or exercises that are currently trending at The PAD?


Reformer Pilates is everyone’s all-time favourite class! But two classes that are unique to The PAD are “Bhangralates” and “Bollywood Cardiolates” – they’re basically Bhangra and Pilates on a trampoline! They’re high intensity cardio classes but very low impact on the joints. The trampolines are the best quality and absorb 96% of the shock of your jump. Everyone at The PAD LOVES the trampoline classes! Besides these, our dance classes like Bollywood, Afro, Contemporary are all very popular too. We have tied up with Pure Bhangra to offer the best Bhangra and Bhangrafit classes in Dubai!



“We take a user centric approach spanning design, materials and safety”

HANAY BUOMAR, Managing Director, Johnson Health Tech-Middle East


■ Being a premium fitness/health equipment company, how do you ensure the consistent quality of your products across all your brands?


Quality is non-negotiable, we  take a user centric approach spanning design, materials and safety, 100% designed and manufactured in our premises across US, Japan, China and Taiwan. Today Johnson is the global largest health and wellness company, Matrix is the world’s fastest growing brand.


■ What state-of-the-art technology are you using in your fitness equipment?


Seamless Digital Connectivity. Our digital platforms ensure managers, trainers and users enjoy the best experience. Our new Cardio won global awards, we have it in the UAE at the Ritz Carlton DIFC, Emirates Golf Club with more options soon.


 How do you bring the exact reality on the desk while setting up a gym, and kindly share some details about the after-sales service of your equipment?


We work collaboratively with our customers starting with the desired user experience, the space and the budget, we visualize using 3D drawings & walk through video to +90 per cent of reality, all done in-house in our regional HQ in Dubai.


We’re the only company with 24/7 support, an industry record of 12 hrs/ same day replacement, customers voted us the best after-sales.



“Successful gyms are all about creating a community.”



■ How did the idea of MeFitPro originate?


I came to the UAE in 1999 to set up the first commercial fitness club Planet Fitness. Three years later, I started MeFitPro, mainly as a consultant training those who wanted to work in the fitness industry. Now we are focusing on education, distribution, and recruitment and online.


■ When are you launching your Echelon Fitness concept?


We plan to do an initial launch in July and a relaunch in September when people return from vacation. What we’re doing is bringing the gym to your house. So you can use the app to do yoga, Zumba or boxing. All the classes are led by an instructor. It also links to your Apple or Samsung watch to gives you all your health information.


 How is technology changing the fitness industry?


It’s a game-changer. With all the technology people are wearing on their wrists, they can track their fitness goals in real time. There is also the concept of exertainment, which is about making exercising fun while focusing on results. It can be strength training, cardio, yoga, or even pilates and crossfit.


■ What are the trends or innovation you see today?


Home fitness solutions like Echelon, where you can do online live classes at home on demand is the biggest development. Group fitness has also become a big thing, while. fitness tracking is continuing to grow and smartwatches and other gadgets evolve.



“One thing that won’t change is our mission of a fitter planet”

GLEN STOLLERY, CEO Les Mills India, Middle

East and Africa


■ Les Mills’ mission is to help people fall in love with fitness so that they want to work out. How do you plan to achieve that?


We’re in the business of motivation. Our secret sauce is an incredible mix of rockstar instructors, the hottest music, and engaging workouts that are backed by the latest scientific research. It’s that powerful combination that gets people excited about exercise. Quite simply we make exercise fun!


■ Should instructors be worried about the threat of digital classes?


Absolutely not, in fact quite the opposite. Online classes open up an entirely new market for instructors. Our research in 2019 showed that 85% of gym members were already working out at home, and most were using some kind of digital device, app or website. Even pre-COVID it was already an established behaviour, just now due to the pandemic even more so. At Les Mills we provide instructors livestreaming solutions so they can offer something to those training at home themselves, rather than their members working out to a random YouTube video or third-party app. This way members get to maintain engagement with their favorite instructors, and train with them at home even on days they can’t make it into the gym.


■ What excites you the most about the impact of technology on fitness?


There are quite a few but what I think excites me most is the use of technology to enhance the workout experience. If we consider how technology has changed so much of our lives, like how we consume music and media content, it’s been transformational, but the way we workout hasn’t fundamentally changed in 50 years. Technology allows us to make workouts more experiential and compelling.





“We continually strive to bring a firm call for healthy food”

MARKCARROLL, Founder, Kcal


 Why do you think healthy home delivered meals are so popular nowadays?


Thanks to the digital age, everyone can purchase nutritious meals with just a few clicks on their devices and be delivered directly to their home. The availability of healthy home delivered meals pave the way to easily access a range of food menus that are rich in proteins, vitamins, and other minerals. And similarly, Kcal provides numerous channels in order for you to avail meal plans tailored specifically for your needs.


■ How did you grow Kcal into one of the Country's most popular meal delivery company?


Kcal was founded in 2010 with the passion to inspire people to live a healthier life and introduce the convenience of eating wholesome meals with the freshest ingredients to make meal plans that are crafted with the right amount of energizing carbs, proteins, and healthy fats without compromising the quality and taste of the food. Through the years, we continually strive to bring a firm call for healthy food with far-reaching benefits sought by our customers.


■ Fuel-Up by Kcal delivers meal prep designed to support physique performance goals through perfectly portioned nutrition and clean supplements. How important are supplements in the whole fitness process?


Fuel-Up by Kcal provides fresh, tasty, and healthy packed meal prep designed by our certified nutritionists and fitness specialists. Our brand is created for those who have big goals and need to prioritize their time – less time in the kitchen worrying about food means more time in the gym to achieve your fitness goals. We believe that what you intake can determine how you feel and perform and so we bring you an accessible range of nutritious meal plans to choose from. Our prepared daily meal can be accompanied by our clean supplements ranging from whey protein, for pre-workout, BCAA, L-Glutamine and more that you can take together with your meal prep depending on your fitness needs.





  • Gyms of the future will be a hybrid of what you can do at home as well as what you can do in the gym

By Greg Boucher: CEO, MEFITPRO


Fitness technology has been growing rapidly since the world continues to go in and out of lockdown. It’s no surprise that technology continues to find a way into people’s fitness routines as they try to stay on top of their fitness and wellness game.


The buzzwords in the fitness industry, motivation, wellness and recovery, come in all shapes but being able to track everything from sleep patterns, steps to calories burned and being mindful of what you are eating are all areas where technology is playing a part.


From fitness apps to wearable technology, to digital fitness platforms and latest equipment with built-in monitors, they are all on-trend in the fitness world, with new advances coming out every month. It’s convenient, accessible and affordable for everyone.


Gyms will need to partner with tech companies and suppliers and make these available to their members to help them build and grow a members’ community, making these tech features available to their members whether attending the club or staying at home. Gyms of the future will be a hybrid of what you can do at home as well as what you can do in the gym. The key is what continues to motivate you to stay on track with your fitness and wellness goals?


Fitness technology and access to online fitness apps have grown leaps and bounds within our industry and continues to push forward. Gym owners and operators need to harness these and shift where possible to maximise the offering to gym goers.


Here are ten types of fitness technology that are enhancing wellness and trends that every fitness club must respond to and implement in one way or another.

  • Home gym equipment
  • Online coaching
  • Virtual reality
  • Fitness trackers
  • Wellness apps
  • Fitness apps
  • Technology built into exercise machines
  • Wearable technology
  • Meal apps built for your goal
  • Gamification

Coaches and gyms must adopt a hybrid approach, as they need to focus on how to incorporate an array of these apps, equipment and new tech to motivate their members/community by tracking and monitoring their efforts.


Gyms of the future must think about the following:

  • Cater to your members wherever they are and build this community so they fall in love with what they do.
  • Create programming in-club and outside of the club that is world-class and motivational.
  • Bring the technology game and use data to help your members stay on track, reward them and learn about their fitness habits.
  • Give your members a world-class experience every time, anywhere and everywhere.
  • Use technology to give the content and motivational aspirations that your members want to hear and see.



5 Fitness tips for summer

  • Hiit workouts are on-trend, yoga is for all ages and a good relaxing swim cools both body and soul

By Zainab Fahad


  1. Make a move

Walking, running or cycling in the evenings or early mornings would help you not only achieve the health benefits of vitamin D, but these forms of exercises also help increase your cardio levels, which works towards gaining a healthier body.


  1. Climb that mountain 

It’s a total body workout and can help increase coordination, flexibility and your range of motion. It’s a great workout, especially during the summer. Besides who doesn’t like to enjoy challenging themselves?


  1. Yoga on my mind 

Be it sunrise or sunset, a hot yoga session outdoors at the beach or park without going to an indoor class, especially during the summer would be enjoyable. Furthermore, with the current lockdown restrictions and social distancing norms, yoga works extremely well.


  1. HIIT those workouts

Doing a short workout and sweating more at the gym without stepping out in the heat would make you burn more calories during the summer.


And don’t worry about cutting your workout short; all of these short segments help build overall endurance. In this case what is shorter might not always be worst. Exercises such as jump rope, mountain climbers and burpees work best in this format.


  1. Swim a little

With summer setting in, swimming is the best exercise to beat the heat. As a form of exercise, swimming is the best way to build stamina and reduce weight, while also helping in proper functioning of the heart and  aiding in blood circulation in the body. Talk about a one-size-fits-all approach to exercise.





  • They’ve got the best equipment, special deals and latest innovations. You just need to pick and choose the one that works for you




Why CRANK? CRANK is a homegrown fitness business offering three types of classes: Ride, Shape and Stretch. Ride is a unique indoor cycling experience where you can pedal through heavy climbs and saddle up for powerful sprints to enjoy a full body workout set against beat-pumping tracks and state-of-the-art light and sound system. Shape is an all-encompassing workout combining high-intensity interval training, strength and functional movement skills designed to challenge, burn and shape selected muscle groups and boost your overall strength. Stretch is a class combining dynamic and static stretching for all levels of flexibility, designed to aid muscle recovery, reduce the risk of injury, and enhance performance. CRANK is located at Unit 43 in Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai. This summer, CRANK will be opening its second UAE location in Shaikha Fatima Park in Abu Dhabi.


USP of the brand: Homegrown brand tailored to the local market and its requirements. Energetic, fun and inspiring instructors. Strong community with a friendly feel where everyone is welcome. Unique experience combining a challenging workout experience in a nightclub setting 

Special programmes: Ladies only classes; corporate classes.





Why Fitness First? Fitness First Middle East is one of the region’s leading health and fitness brands, owned and operated by Landmark Group, a leading retail organisation in the Middle East and India, with over 57 clubs across 49 locations in the Middle East.


USP of the brand: Fitness First offers world-class amenities including best-in-class equipment, ladies only clubs, swimming pools, squash courts, tennis courts, free group exercise classes and personal training by internationally accredited fitness professionals.


Latest innovations: Fitness First is proud to bring the latest innovations in the fitness industry to its members including Reformer Pilates, Hot Yoga, XFit, JUMP, TUFF, BOX, Fitness First Tri, Swim Academy, MYZONE, Hydro, Pound, Rush and many more. 





Why Kcal? Kcal has been providing the best, healthy, simple and accessible food solutions to UAE residents for the past 10 years, transforming tens of thousands of lifestyles through healthy meals without compromising on quality or taste.


Meal plans: It has a range of different plans to suit your goals and to suit most dietary requirements. One of its newest plans is its partnership with TV celebrity Chef Hala, where together they have created a Levantine-inspired healthy meal plan option for those searching for healthy Middle Eastern flavours.


Prices: Each Kcal meal plan is individually priced. The lowest calorie plan starts at Dh3,175.





Why GymNation: It’s the UAE’s most affordable and flexible gym chain providing gym memberships from just Dh99 per month. GymNation members get 24X7 access to world-class gym facilities, 500+ pieces of the latest cardio and weights equipment, and 200+ free group exercises classes that enable them to reach their health and fitness goals, whatever they are.


Discounts/deals: Free one-month membership for all Gulf News readers, including full gym and group exercise class access and a free personal training session. Visit to get yours! Free access to 1,000+ online workouts, which can be streamed anytime, anywhere with GymNation on Demand. Visit to sign up.


Latest innovations/releases: GymNation on Demand is here, you can subscribe for free at It’s 100 per cent free for members and non-members. You get 1,000+ online Les Mills classes for every level. New workouts are added every month. It has the world’s best instructors and the most inspiring backdrops. You also get the latest music, and you can stream anytime, anywhere. GymNation centres are located in Al Quoz, Bur Dubai, Motor City, Mirdif, Silicon Oasis, Khalidiyah Mall (Abu Dhabi) and Manar Mall (RAK), with more UAE locations opening very soon.


For more information visit or reach out to them on Facebook (@gymnationuae) or Instagram (@gymnation_uae)





Why METROFITT? Bringing diversity and dynamism to the UAE’s buzzing fitness landscape, METROFITT is an affordable premium fitness club with four gyms in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. From strength-building machines to dedicated sweat and power zones, it has sleek amenities for all fitness levels. With a power-packed team of personal trainers on hand, it’s committed to offering transformational fitness solutions for all types of lifestyles. Its GX time table features classic and trendy classes. Having opened two clubs after the UAE’s Covid-19 lockdown shows this brand has a vision not only to transform its members but the UAE fitness industry as well.


USP of the brand: All of METROFITT gyms are no contract, meaning you are not tied in if your circumstances change. Cancelling a gym membership is just as easy as joining. Visit any METROFITT for the day, with no contract or sign -up fees. 


Special programmes: Flexible membership plans, corporate plans and day passes.


Discounts/deals: Exclusive offer on GEMS Rewards app, an exclusive rewards programme, designed for its community of students, parents and staff.





Why The Platform Studios? Winner of the best boutique fitness studio in Dubai, three years in a row, it offers a wide range of classes, which includes HIIT, cycle, boxing, yoga, pilates, barre and many more other variations of the mind body modalities. The Platform Studios has two state-of-the-art venues located in Index Mall DIFC and Park Island Dubai Marina.


USP of the brand: The Platform Studios pay particular attention to the environmental sensory aspects and high touch personal engagement with its international superstar trainers.


Discounts/deals: The Platform Studios is currently offering a starter pack for new members – get two classes for only Dh105.  





Why SEVEN? It operates an upscale wellness centre providing over 36.000sq ft of space dedicated to fitness and recovery services. SEVEN goes beyond the external results and dives deeper into the mind and soul, and the overall foundation of what it means to be well and live a healthy lifestyle.


USP of the brand: SEVEN is a home for wellness catering to every aspect of health and fitness needs.


Special programmes: It often designs several programmes throughout the year to enhance its customer experience and motivate its members to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


Latest innovations: Some of its greatest assets are the high-end equipment it provides as well as its cryotherapy chamber.





Why Snap Fitness? Launched in 2018 in Dubai, Snap Fitness is a global fitness club, which is a part of JSB Group. The gym provides MyZone heart rate monitoring, world-class equipment for functional and strength training. Snap Fitness is currently located strategically across locations such as Downtown Dubai, Media City (open 24X7) and Motor City (open 24X7) in Dubai and first Ladies only branch in Rehmania Mall Sharjah (opening soon).


USP of the brand: The brand truly believes in result-oriented programmes that revolves around the 4 Foundations of Fit - 1. Get fitter faster 2. Get fit your way 3. Get fit when it fits and 4. Get fit together.





Why the PAD? The PAD is a boutique pilates and dance studio located in The Greens.

It was nominated as one of the top five Best Pilates/Yoga studios by Fit Middle East. it’s a franchise of celebrity Trainer Yasmin Karachiwala – trainer to stars like Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone. It prides itself on building a strong community around its studio, where like-minded individuals come to workout and hang out. Its clientele includes international tennis star Sania Mirza, Anjali Jeswani and Raza Beig.


USP of the brand: The PAD is one of the only studios that offers pilates and dance classes in the same space.


Classes offered: Classes include Reformer Pilates, Wunda Chair, Trampoline classes and MOTR classes. Dance classes include Bollywood, Bhangra, Contemporary, Afro Dance and Zumba. 





Why Vogue Fitness? Whenever you do a class with Vogue Fitness, you are always with a world-class coach who will train and guide you every single session, every single day you attend. You will achieve outstanding physical results with Vogue Fitness under the daily supervision of the industry’s leading professionals.


USP of the brand: Vogue Fitness achieves outstanding physical results for its members, and delivers every class to you with the UAE’s top coaching team. You are always learning and improving with Vogue Fitness. 


Special programmes: It specialises in group fitness, CrossFit, personal training, and functional training.


Discounts/deals: It offers a one-week free trial on its website. Visit to avail of it.


Latest innovations: One membership can access all locations simply through its app. Your live heart rate is also displayed using MyZone during all classes for real-time biometric feedback.





  • If you’re running a fitness business, it goes without saying that you need all it takes to create the perfect space. Here are three great companies to help you 




Why Johnson Health Tech? It offers popular commercial and home fitness equipment brands. The commercial brands include Matrix and Vision. The home fitness brands include Matrix Home, Horizon, Vision and Tempo. 


Best pieces of commercial equipment: Performance Plus Treadmill, Performance, Endurance and Lifestyle Cardio Series, Ultra-Strength series with Intelligent Training Console, S- Force Performance Trainer, S-Drive Performance Trainer, and CXP Target Training Cycle.


Best pieces of equipment for your home gym: TF50 XUR Matrix Treadmill, TF30 Matrix Treadmill, E30 Matrix Elliptical, C50 Matrix Climbmill, Horizon Paragon X Treadmill, Horizon Omega Z Treadmill, Horizon Andes7 Elliptical Trainer, and Horizon GR7 Indoor Cycle.


USP of the brand: World-class product innovation and manufacturing, five large scale production facilities around the world, full presence through a fully owned subsidiary in the Middle East, guaranteed availability of spare parts, fast delivery and preventive maintenance, and remote diagnostic service.




Why Les Mills? It is the global leader in group fitness, with 20 programmes currently available in participating gyms and fitness facilities worldwide. The classes are scientifically designed to maximise results and crafted by the world’s leading choreographers to incredible music. Each workout is refreshed and updated with new choreography and music every three months. Les Mills is now shaping the new age of fitness by blurring the boundaries between physical and digital to provide omnichannel workout experiences that today’s consumers have come to expect. 


Popular fitness apps: Les Mills On Demand




Discounts/deals: 14-day free trial for new customers on


Latest innovations: THE TRIP Immersive Fitness, CONQUER and CEREMONY boutique classes (coming soon!)


For more information, call +971 55 312 2785 or visit





Why Mefitpro: As fitness industry experts in the Middle East, Mefitpro has been providing

world-class fitness solutions since 2003. The company offers many services, which includes Gym fit-out designs and installations, fitness equipment provider, education provider of internationally accredited courses, master distributor of world-class equipment and nutritional products, and recruitment agency that sources the best fitness industry talent within the region.


Special products/brands: Eleiko, Wooday, Concept 2, Younix, Echelon, TRX, Assault Fitness, Powerblock, Aquabag, Rouge Red Light Therapy, Styku Body Scanner, Nuzest Nutrition, Atkins and many more.


Discounts/deals: Dh150 voucher with every Dh500 spend (up to Dh10K spend) for the first 100 walk-in customers to the store only, starting from June 29. T&Cs Apply

 Latest innovations: Mefitpro is a proud partner of Echelon, the immersive, studio quality

workouts with a global community from the comfort of home. Echelon is home to thousands of live and on-demand bike, row, treadmill, and fitness screen workouts.





  • Looking for a little motivation? Read these people’s stories as they share their experience of trying to keep fit using services from the top gyms, fitness centres, boutique studios, fitness solutions providers, and healthy meal planners in the UAE



Ali Morsi


I’ve been training at GymNation in Al Quoz with my coach Hollie since the start of the year and I really love it. I was born with cerebral palsy, which affected my physical mobility and made every activity challenging. But every time I come to GymNation, I feel as strong as Superman. There is so much space and the other members and trainers in the gym always help and shout at me to run faster.


At the start of the year, I told Hollie that I wanted to do a challenge to prove that my cerebral palsy doesn’t stop me from doing anything. I trained a lot and on the day of the challenge, GymNation let all my school friends and teachers into to the gym to cheer me on. I managed to finish a 1km row, 40 squats, 30 slam balls, 20 chin-ups and 100m prowler push and raise money for Al Jalila Foundation. This challenge was also undertaken to inspire other children of determination in the UAE. I can’t wait for my next challenge at GymNation.




Eimear McElroy 


I’ve always loved exercise but, like most people, during lockdown and the following opening-up, I was slightly reluctant to get back to a gym. My friend introduced me to CRANK. She’d been waxing lyrical about this amazing studio in the uber-trendy Alserkal Avenue. That was June last year and now more than 200 classes later, I’m still giddy, excited and sometimes a little nervous (in a good way), walking into the studio.


What makes CRANK different? Ask anyone, and the simple and resounding answer is everything.


The instructors are the best in the business, everyone says that but they truly are. The classes are purposeful, well-thought through, efficient and insanely effective. Having the ability to do Shape, their total body conditioning class, as well as the Ride, their high-intensity cardio classes under the same roof offers the perfect blend.


Everyone knows who you are, your goals and most importantly, your favourite CRANK post-workout smoothie. I’ve done two CRANK challenges — the trainers have checked in on me, pushed me and made an experience out of it. What I was looking for was a studio that was Covid-safe, and what I found was a community full of passionate, professional trainers, good people, great music and contagious energy and fun... what’s not to love!




Sagar Patel


I’ve always loved a good outdoor space to train and move around. METROFITT is one of the only gyms here that has just the right mix and it’s been my gym for quite some time now.


I’m an avid advocate for active living and a big believer of how you start your day defines it. At METROFITT, we have managed to build a strong community of over 15 people (and growing), who show up every morning at 6am to be better, confident and build resilience to power through the day. 


They know how to appreciate their loyal members and are always willing to go the extra mile to make sure we feel welcomed.




Hannah Aspden


I wanted to work on improving my strength and powerlifting skills and was searching for a gym where I can achieve my goals without burning a hole in my pocket and found Snap Fitness. I joined Snap Fitness just when we all came out of lockdown and with the help of the team, I have seen my strength improve over a period of 9-10 months and I have received a community to call my own and a place to work out peacefully.


The team has been very helpful in terms of guiding me with the best workout for my body type, keeping my goals as priority. I also got educational tips from the trainers with regard to my diet. I can confidently say that Snap Fitness and its team is one of the best in Dubai.




Wissam Hilal


SEVEN stands out for its high hygiene care. I honestly haven’t seen any other fitness centre close to that level of order and cleanliness. There is a wide range of equipment and big space for CrossFit workouts. 


It feels like home. Starting my day every morning at a venue with positive atmosphere sets my day good straightaway. 


Working out in the morning has helped me both physically and mentally.


The team is caring and kind. They are always there for whoever needs help or guidance. They have become our friends. 




Anjali Khushalani


The PAD – Pilates and Dance —brought together two forms of fitness that I’m very passionate about. With Yasmin Karachiwala at the helm of The PAD, I thought it was an amazing opportunity for me to learn from such an established name in the fitness industry.


My experience at The PAD has been nothing short of enriching. I have learnt so much about my body, further enhanced my flexibility and strengthened my core, and it’s brought me so much closer to my fitness goals. 


The PAD team are excellent guides and very supportive, helping not only during workouts but they are also constantly correcting my posture and form – ensuring that I never get injured while I push myself to the next level. The best part was they were able to help me during my pregnancy to adjust to my ever-changing body.




Imen Ayari


I joined Fitness First in 2012. Back then, if you had asked anyone to suggest a good gym or fitness club, they would immediately say, Fitness First, and over the years that hasn’t changed. Fitness First has always been a highly recommended gym, as it offers the best quality and variety of classes, along with exceptional trainers and hygiene.


I have had such a positive experience throughout the years. On a couple of occasions, I also opted for their personal training sessions that were excellent. The trainers are very professional and genuinely want to see you reach your fitness goals. They helped me with everything, including the basics, such as walking me through each workout and demonstrating how to use all the equipment. The nutritionist at the club helps Fitness First members with dietary requirements and meal plans. 


My fitness journey with the brand is incredibly special to me and after 10 years, I still enjoy coming to my Fitness First gym every  day for workouts.




Katie Kerins


I had heard about The Platform Studios through friends and when attending other gyms, people I had met had encouraged me to try classes here. And, as they said I really loved the classes — the best I have been to in Dubai. Each class has its own vibe as the coaches really put their energy and create a space of experience; it’s not just a fitness class.


The coaches are fun and talented and they also know their strengths — they have their own style which makes each class a different experience.


They have helped me with my confidence and my love for fitness keeps growing. The classes are so enjoyable that I disconnect from everything when I am in a class. You feel a part of the Platform community very quickly, while seeing results physically and mentally. 


At first, using the app to book classes was new for me, however, their front of house team is a WhatsApp/call away and is very helpful. 


They send you reminders of when the new schedule is out, which is great for me. Their social media has consistent updates and information.


In the studio, you always have someone assisting you. The coaches know whether you’re a beginner and they walk you through your first class.





A Kcal customer


My Kcal journey began six months ago after deciding to do something about the weight I’d put on during lockdown. A friend of mine recommended Kcal’s weight loss plan and I eagerly signed up.


I’ve had constant support from the whole team since the get-go and in the first three months, I managed to lose over 10kg. I’ve especially enjoyed the convenience of receiving my meals fresh every day instead of having to go to the supermarket, shop and prepare my food.


Initially I chose the weight loss plan for six days a week, however, since hitting my weight loss goal, I’ve switched from the weight loss plan to the Chef Hala plan. There is so much variety and with this new plan, I get to experience all my favourite Levantine dishes but with a healthy twist. Some days, I even forget I am on a diet plan. I’ve always enjoyed the taste of the meals but also how flexible and vast the menu is. I’m able to change my meals easily, using the online dashboard where I can choose from hundreds of dishes. The quality of the meals is of an extremely high standard in comparison to other meal plan companies I’ve tried in the past, as is the service levels of the support team.


The quality and consistency of the food is important to me, as is the variety and flexibility of the plan. Kcal ticks all these boxes and is leaps ahead of any other meal plan I’ve tried previously in the UAE in terms of quality. 





Zainab Bachir,


Certified Instructor and Reebok x Les Mills Brand Ambassador


I started my fitness journey more than a year ago with Les Mills On Demand (LMOD). I have always been a fan of Les Mills programmes such as BODYCOMBAT and Les Mills GRIT. And as a mum of two, being able to workout to the amazing Les Mills programmes at home was a great option to me. In November 2020, I won the #findherfitness competition that was held by Reebok and Les Mills in the Dubai Fitness Challenge and became a certified Les Mills BODYCOMBAT instructor. It was a great achievement for me to become an instructor of my favourite Les Mills programme. I am in my second year of subscription to LMOD and let me tell you this, you will never get bored with LMOD. With LMOD you will get fitter and stronger every single day, just like I did. 




Ismail Sharif, Acting Managing Director,

Jumeirah Golf Estates


Johnson Health Tech has really changed the game adding a further layer of sophistication and fitness technology for us here at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Both our guests  and residents are absolutely delighted with the equipment.


Matrix’s new gym range has a fantastic quality. Its cutting-edge fitness technology in digital combined with robust framework hold up well to the daily heavy use of our busy fitness centre.


They are unique in their partnership approach. Matrix team has been supportive and collaborative right from the start of our journey working together looking at the best option that meets our needs.


We are delighted with the levels of service and support they offer us as well as our residents and guests, who enjoy the fitness experience we provide.




Stewart Miller,

Founder & CEO, The Platform Studios


For our studios, we wanted to create a real wow factor for our members, so we went to MEFITPRO to help us realise our vision. MEFITPRO was committed to sourcing the best in-class equipment for our premium studios; they exceeded our expectations in every way, along with a first-class professional service.


From the initial consultation, right through to the completion, their attention to detail is second to none, with the project being completed on budget and on time.


Their selection of equipment is excellent and they provided expert recommendations and solutions for our needs. They have a highly professional team with a great reputation for supporting both studio and gym owners with superb equipment and a lasting relationship. I look forward to working with them again in the future. 



Multiple interfaces, one goal


  • Technology is leveraging fitness to new height sand fitness centres in the UAE


The UAE has been at the forefront in terms of adopting digital solutions, right from the initial lockdown here in March last year, says Glen Stollery. And as the CEO of equipment and fitness centre solutions brand, Les Mills India, Middle East and Africa, Stollery, personally couldn’t have been happier with the move despite the gloom brought about by the pandemic in 2020.


In fact, a week into lockdown, the fitness solutions brand deployed its unique platform Les Mills On Demand (LMOD) to clubs at no cost, reveals Stollery, just so their valued members could continue to train even when confined to their homes.


“GymNation was really quick out of the gate with Les Mills on Demand, offering it free of charge to literally tens of thousands of UAE residents. Since then there’s been continuous innovation and we’ve seen some incredible initiatives in this space with most of the major club chains having released digital solutions. In fact, just this month both Fitness First and GymNation brought out video-on-demand platforms for their members.


“We were fortunate in that we launched LMOD five years ago so we were well-prepared to meet increased demand for at-home fitness. That said, with an 800 per cent jump in LMOD sign-up volume year-on-year, we had to make big investments in our technology to meet the added capacity, particularly as we provided free access to support our club partners and their members, at the start of the pandemic. 


“We’re constantly working to refine LMOD and enhance the experience. We recently added our 1,000th workout to the platform. With new workouts being added weekly through our Trainer Series, our audience has never had a greater choice of world-class programmes than they do today. These are the workouts you’ll find in 21,000 leading gyms around the world and we’re working hard on new features to encourage more LMOD users to go out and experience live classes at their local club.”


Pumped up


The fitness space is quickly heating up in the UAE as the pandemic begins to show signs of plateauing out, and this quiet but quick digital evolution seems to be playing the role of a catalyst. Hany Abu Omar, Managing Director, Johnson Health Tech Middle East, providers of  fitness equipment, agrees that Covid has had a positive impact on the fitness vertical by making it technologically more receptive to customer needs. “We have seen a major shift in habits towards fitness as it became the cornerstone of health and wellness. Simply put, if you are not fit, you are not healthy,” says Omar, while talking about the brand’s all-new Fit-Tech platforms. “We just launched a new cardio range that meets the emerging needs of our customers with digital platforms, seamless connectivity and variety of choices all designed to meet the diversity of training needs, budget and spaces.” And then, blending workouts is also  a trend.


Adapt to the new norm


“People have started to blend their workouts, they will go to the gym but also workout at home and occasionally go to boutique studios,” says Omar. “People will seek digital platforms that enable them to enjoy all of that out of one platform, using wearables to track their progress and health. We help our clients to be an integral part of this new paradigm by providing digital platforms as well as flexible equipment replacement programmes.”


In fact, Greg Boucher, CEO, MeFitPro, a UAE-based brand that deals with gym installations and fitness equipment, agrees that the availability and adoption of fitness tech in Dubai and the UAE has been both evolutionary and revolutionary. “Tech has continued to change the industry and with the connected devices and smart watches, we have access to and that most people own, will continue to see technology getting better to support our wellness goals. The tech will get better and people will get better at using them to track and monitor and help reach their goals faster.”


He also says that digital fitness has evolved exponentially in the past 12-18 months due to the pandemic. “The need for clubs and studios to stay connected to their members when going to a class was difficult due to limited space, and some members are still feeling a little apprehensive. We, at MeFitPro, have invested in the space by partnering with Echelon Fitness who will bring their digital platform to the Middle East region. The software allows users to explore thousands of live and on-demand studio fitness classes led by expert trainers to get in-shape from the comfort and safety of home. One membership provides access to all classes and exclusive app content, while connecting you to the Echelon community as a whole. When you become an Echelon member, you become a part of a supportive fitness family that wants to see you succeed.”


The brand also introduced a couple of other innovations last year such as Styku, a 3D body scanning and health check system, as well as TRX Maps, which uses technology to check one’s body movement analysis.


Degree fitness


For Stollery, the next step in the evolution of gyms would mean enabling a fantastic experience both in the club and at home with seamless integration. “Imagine you can’t make it into a club to go to your favorite class, but you can log into your gym’s platform and join that class in real time at the same time others are enjoying it in the facility. If you choose to you can turn your camera on, connect with others and the instructor also can connect with you and encourage you. Your wearable is tracking your performance and if you choose to you can log in and compete on a leaderboard with your friends and those in the gym. Even though you’re at home you’ll still get that “live” experience with others and with an instructor you have a personal connection too. If you’re travelling or can’t quite attend the class in real time, you can watch it on demand later at your convenience. It’s a full 360-degree solution that connects you with your club, your favorite instructor and your friends no matter where you are. In fact, there’s scope for some entertainment as well.”


Are you entertained?


Livestreaming, for instance is another area that Les Mills quickly moved into to meet demand, says Stollery. “Les Mills, unlike any of our competitors, uses original music in all of our live classes. What that means is that the Lady Gaga track you hear in your favorite BODYPUMP class is actually being sung by Lady Gaga. While this a considerable USP and something we’re very proud of, it also means we have to work very closely with music licensing bodies and artists to ensure we have all the necessary licensing for their music. If you’ve ever uploaded a track to social media or YouTube, you’ll know streaming online can be a real minefield. As such we had to work really hard to get the necessary licenses so our clubs and instructors could livestream our classes as soon as Covid hit.”


That said, at the end of the day though, gyms or fitness centres are as good as the trainers they hire for the job.


Trained and prepped


Les Mills, for instance has its trainers suitably prepped to deal with customer needs in a post-Covid world. 


Stollery says, “We released education modules and taught our instructors how they could modify our programming for a socially distanced world. Some of our programmes had lateral movements, circle runs or large movement patterns that instructors could modify accordingly so they could still deliver safe and effective classes with participants remaining on the spot. This is something that is also critical for home workouts where you may not have a lot of room.” ■





  • On a mission to innovate the experience of exercise


A t the Platform Studios it’s all about our customers’ exercise journey, and to this end, The Platform Studios constantly develop and innovate the experience of exercise. Around here it’s affectionately known as “the joy of exercise”. We offer a variety of classes such as high intensity interval training, cycle, yoga, barre, pilates and more.


The Platform Studios was awarded Best Boutique Fitness Studio of the Year at Dubai Fit Awards, three years in a row: 2018, 2019, 2020. From New York to California, Cape Town to Canada we recruit the best trainers within their field of expertise.


We also offer all our members an online training platform,, where they can access a wide range of live and filmed classes by our world class coaches.


Stewart Miller, Our CEO, has a clear vision to create the most dynamic game-changing exercise and wellness company in the world. He believes the future is full of opportunity particularly for those who remain true to the human experience, and guiding people towards a better version of themselves through the joy of exercise.





  • Get into the workout routine without straining any muscles


The PAD is a boutique Pilates and dance studio located in The Greens in Dubai. They were nominated in the top 5 Best Yoga/Pilates Studio by Fit ME Awards in 2020. The PAD is a franchise of Celebrity trainer Yasmin Karachiwala, the personal trainer to Bollywood celebs like Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt.


Karachiwala brings her fitness mantra to Dubai through The PAD, which is jointly run by Abbas Kanchwala and Shaazia Qureishi Kanchwala. During these Covid times, we have all been sitting more than normal and it is causing our body to go through negative changes that will impact us badly in the long run.


The PAD offers low-impact, high-intensity classes that will help you get back into the workout routine without straining any of the muscles, even if you haven’t moved in a long time. The fresh smell of plants when you enter, along with the happy smiles and positive vibe will ensure that you feel comfortable as soon as you step in; and after you finish your Pilates or dance class, you are sure to feel great about life. The motto is: Workout at The PAD to feel great and live your best life. And they do everything to ensure that you start to love and appreciate your body after only a few classes with them. The PAD offers free trial classes for anyone who would like to try their Reformer Pilates or dance classes.





  • CRANK offers you an energetic workout to challenge yourself in a fun atmosphere


CRANK, a home-grown boutique fitness business, is all about workouts that are unique, challenging and fun for you to enjoy. With three types of classes to choose from, every fitness enthusiast can join our warm and friendly community and get motivated to adopt an active and energetic workout regime.


Ride, Shape and Stretch sessions are designed to allow you to free your mind, challenge yourself to push to your limits and redefine yourself.


Ride: Experience a unique indoor cycling action-packed activity where you can pedal through heavy climbs and saddle up for powerful sprints. Enjoy a full-body workout set against beat-pumping tracks and a state-of-the-art light and sound system.


Shape: Challenge yourself with this all-encompassing workout that is a combination of high-intensity interval training, strength and functional movement skills. It is designed to burn and shape selected muscle groups and boost your overall strength.


Stretch: A class that combines dynamic and static stretching exercises to match all levels of flexibility. This workout is designed to aid muscle recovery, reduce the risk of injury and enhance performance.


CRANK welcomes you to join and be a part of the community. Its instructors are passionate and energetic and will inspire you to push yourself to your limits and beyond. At CRANK, you will experience a nightclub type atmosphere with immersive audiovisual settings and the state-of-the-art technology. CRANK offers full shower facilities, changing rooms, a hangout area and an outdoor terrace, where you can relish a smoothie, coffee or snack at the juice bar.


CRANK’s flagship Dubai studio is located at Al Serkal Avenue. This summer, CRANK will open its second UAE studio at Sheikha Fatima Park in Abu Dhabi. Classes run from 7am until late evenings on weekdays, 8am until 2.30pmon Fridays, and 8am until 7.30pm on Saturdays.





  • The brand that believes in result-oriented programmes


Launched in 2017 in Dubai, Snap Fitness is a global fitness club, which is a part of JSB Group. The gym provides MyZone heart rate monitoring and world-class equipment for functional and strength training.


Snap Fitness is currently located strategically across various locations in Dubai such as Downtown Dubai, Media City (open 24/7) and Motor City (open 24/7) and its first ladies only branch is opening soon in Rehmania Mall Sharjah.


Snap Fitness’ philosophy and what they call their ‘method’ of making members achieve their fitness goals is unique.


The brand truly believes in result-oriented programmes which revolves around the ‘4 Foundations of Fit’ — Get fitter faster; Get fit your way; Get fit when it fits and Get fit together.


These are simple practical philosophies to getting fit for which we are loved and which keep us growing across the world.


In the UAE,we also stand out for offering affordable membership plans which include goal-oriented programmes, personal training and access to a range of unlimited global and home-grown group exercise classes. Our club sizes range from 500 to 700 Sqm and fits into the definition of neighborhood clubs. We also have special packages for corporates called ‘Fit for Future’, which offers tailor-made solutions to employees across organisations.


Dedicated to providing results through heart rate monitoring, functional training and strength training, Snap Fitness operates 24/7 and is strategically located.


Snap Fitness also offers unlimited group classes such as yoga, Zumba, Box Fit, Cardio Groove, kickboxing, Strong Nation, Pound and much more. Each fitness centre also provides amenities such as free parking and wifi lounge for its members.


To help anyone looking to get started on their fitness journey, Snap Fitness is currently running a limited time offer of Dh1,999 for an annual membership.


To find out more about this offer and the current class schedule, visit the website of Snap Fitness.





  • Spearheading the absolute best of fitness innovation and expertise


Fitness First Middle East, the region’s leading health and fitness brand, is headed for a radical new direction and huge expansion plans across the Middle East, with the opening of four new clubs this year and more ladies-only facilities on the agenda. 


The fitness chain’s continued growth comes amid the Middle East’s widening interest and knowledge in health and well-being and a growing demand for holistic fitness solutions across the region. The brand will expand its regional footprint across strategic locations, ensuring communities have more and better access to fitness innovation and programmes.


Spearheading the absolute best of fitness innovation and expertise, the leading fitness chain has already given its members a glimpse into the future of Fitness First, with its successful gym openings in Dubai, including Marina Gate, The Meadows, and The Palm club at Nakheel Mall. Fitness First also recently relocated its Festival City Mall gym, which now features brand new and improved concepts.


Other new locations set to open in the coming months include Silicon Oasis, Sahara Centre in Sharjah, DIFC and Bahrain City Centre. The ambitious regional expansion will see fitness innovation coming to life across Fitness First clubs around the region. A host of pioneering exercise and club concepts will continue to energise the brand, including dynamic boxing classes that provide sensory knockout; immersive indoor cycling experiences that draw on data visualisation technology and online gaming and Hot Studios, powered by an ingenious infrared heating system that warms the body directly rather than heating the air.


The expansion also means that women can take advantage of more private ladies-only offerings, which provide a supportive, intimate, and comfortable environment to work out in and educate themselves of the importance of wellness and fitness and this will be in addition to Fitness First’s existing and phenomenally successful 20 ladies only gyms across the region.


Fitness First Middle East currently has over 57 clubs across 49 locations in the Middle East, located in the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan. With its huge expansion plans Fitness First aims to provide a new direction of fitness.





  • 10 years of leading the way in the UAE healthy food industry


Healthy F&B concept, Kcal, has been providing the best healthy, simple and accessible food solutions to UAE residents for the last 10 years. This wholesome food provider, brings to you a destination for simple, accessible, and nutritious meals filled with calorie-controlled recipes, that is ingrained in the multicultural residences of the UAE. Kcal’s products reflect how the brand meets the highest standard with the consistent quality of food and service which allows them to retain its successful position in the market.


Kcal offers three arms to eating healthy — meal plans, restaurants and the option to order online daily.


With their calorie-controlled meal plans, you have the freedom to choose what plan is right for you and receive a health consultation from the in-house expert nutritionist to ensure that the results you are looking for are achieved. If you are dining in or ordering online, each meal offers transparency, showcasing the macro and micro-ingredients as well as the calories. Kcal only uses the highest quality ingredients in each dish making sure their consumers receive nutritionally dense food every time.


There is no need to spend time thinking about what next meal you have to prepare as the brand gives you the power to choose what healthy meal to consume for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Kcal also offers a range of healthy and balanced drinks like Blue Acai Peanut shakes, Super Greens juice blend or a simple but healthy infused water.


In all the meal plans and restaurants, you will discover an encyclopedia of international flavours, filled with calorie-controlled dishes. All recipes have been conceptualised by Kcal’s expert nutritional and chef team.


For more information or to review the menu, please visit:





  • An award-winning fitness solutions provider


As fitness industry experts in the Middle East we’ve been providing world class fitness solutions since 2003. We are here to help you grow your business, and at MeFitPro we provide many services which include the following:


  • Gym fit-out designs and installations.
  • Fitness equipment provider.
  • Education provider of internationally accredited courses.
  • Master distributor of world-class equipment and nutritional products.
  • Recruitment agency that sources the best fitness industry talent within the region.


With decades of experience in the Middle East, we are an award-winning solution provider. We have been supporting the fitness industry for many years, being based in Dubai and distribution throughout the Middle East.


As an internationally recognised education and training provider for fitness professionals, we provide premium courses such as NASM-ICPT, Group Exercise Leader, Animal Flow & Gray Institute. As educational leaders, we take pride in providing an exceptional learning experience that nurtures coaches of the future.


In 2004, we founded MEFIT, the region’s largest annual health and fitness event. This event showcases the latest in product innovation within the industry and attracts fitness experts from around the world in education, fitness forums, trade show and conference, and provides the latest education to personal trainers, group fitness instructors, club management leaders and pro-consumers. At MeFitPro, we launched the MEFIT Teen Summit in 2016, which attracted more than 900 teenagers from both local and international schools in the UAE, with the aim to educate and inspire health and Fitness among teenagers in the region. In 2019, MEFIT was also launched in Egypt with huge success and we will continue to grow this event around the region.


Throughout the years we have been recognised for our commitment to education and we have received several awards. Our most recent awards are listed below:

  • 2020 UAE Youth Sports& Fitness Awards.
  • 2019 Fitness Training Provider of The Year.
  • 2019 Brand of The Year.
  • 2018 Fitness Training Provider of The Year.
  • 2018 Best Fitness Facility– Men’s Health & Women’s Health Magazine at the 2018.
  • 2018 Best Sports/Fitness Event – at the 2019UAE Teen Sports & Fitness Awards.





  • Keeping its community united through the power of a healthy lifestyle


SEVEN is a premium wellness centre with 36.000sqft of space dedicated to fitness, relaxation and well-being. We are far away from being just a gym – at SEVEN, we provide the highest standard of products and services and keep our community united through the power of a healthy lifestyle.


Our group classes offering is wide, including CrossFit, yoga, boxing, calisthenics and HIIT, to name a few. SEVEN also provides a range of ladies-only classes in our dedicated ladies-only Gym section. Besides weight and functional training space, it has a boxing area, three multipurpose group exercise studios and a ladies-only section including massage room, prayer room and ladies gym. In our wellness section, we offer several services, such as cryotherapy, massage, physiotherapy, hammam and barbershop. Prayer rooms are also available. Seven Café offers a unique selection of fine signature dishes.


SEVEN has been designed to cater to all of your needs in one location. For more information, visit





  • Workouts that are designed to make people fall in love with fitness


Les Mills is the global leader in creating life-changing fitness experiences. For 40 years, Les Mills has designed the world’s favorite fitness classes, such as BODYPUMP, BODYCOMBAT, BODYBALANCE, RPM, LES MILLS GRIT and more, taught in 21,000 gyms globally and hundreds of fitness centres throughout the UAE. From strength training to flexibility, cardio to core, high intensity to mindfulness, Les Mills workouts are designed to make people fall in love with fitness.


Les Mills classes are scientifically designed to maximise results and crafted by the world’s leading choreographers to incredible music. They’re then cinematically filmed by award-winning production crews and presented by over 140,000 of the world’s best instructors.


For those that can’t make it to the club, Les Mills’ world-class workouts can be streamed directly into your home through its Les Mills On Demand platform (LMOD).


Loaded with over 1,000 workouts, wherever you are, LMOD transports you into the middle of the greatest classes on the planet.


Innovation is at our core and we’re constantly looking at new ways to engage and motivate a new generation into fitness. We combine cutting-edge technology and the latest exercise science to create immersive virtual reality programmes such as THE TRIP, and boutique experiential classes such as CONQUER and CEREMONY.


The Les Mills mission is simple — to create a fitter planet. To find a class near you or join us on demand, visit





  • Matrix, more than just the finest fitness equipment


Striking the perfect balance between engineering and aesthetics, Matrix has become the preferred gym equipment brand for hospitality in the UAE.


Whether you operate a luxury resort, leisure facility or a hotel, you’ll get more than just the finest fitness equipment. “We work with our partners — from selecting the ideal equipment to planning their space and visualising the experience. We have the shortest delivery and the best aftersales service. Our goal is to create a perfect first impression as guests enter the fitness facility, ensuring a safe and purposeful workout experience” says Lotfi Hamrouni, Sales and Marketing Director — Middle East.


“Recently, we launched a new high-performance cardio line offering three new series with a diverse collection of options. This gives our customers the flexibility to deliver the experience that is right for their space, budget and guests.


“Every fitness facility is unique and caters to different users with different fitness goals. Our diverse offering is tailor-made to match the requirement of the end-user, whether that’s running, rowing, riding or climbing along with a user experience that guests will find approachable and easy to use. Matrix gives each guest the options to enjoy their favourite music, entertainment, apps, and social networks on connected cardio platforms. We have exceeded the expectations of hospitality customers in terms of performance, entertainment, and connectivity, backed with best-in-class aftersales service and 24/7 support centre,” says Hamrouni.


“Since the start of 2021, we have been installing the new Matrix fitness equipment in many leisure facilities and luxury hotels like West Bay Abu Dhabi, Ritz Carlton, Jumeirah Golf Estate, Emirates Golf Club, and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and many more are expected to be launched before the end of 2021,” adds Hamrouni.





  • A gym that brings affordable fitness to all


The lack of physical activity is the leading cause of worldwide disease and death, according to the World Health Organisation.


Factors that affect how often an individual is active every day range from lack of suitable space and money to a lack of time and inconvenience.


Making fitness accessible to everyone, while still providing premium equipment and resources, Metrofitt is a fitness club with branches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi with memberships starting from Dh199 per month and no contract.


Research finds that, globally, one in four adults is not active enough. With 30 minutes of activity recommended every day, members can choose how to spend their 30 minutes with Metrofitt’s selection of free GX classes (adult, kids, and group classes), world-class strength machines, Sweat and Power Zones with specialised equipment. Metrofitt’s branches also have on-site personal trainers and WiFi to either Instagram your post-workout glow or stream your favourite show as you work up a sweat. Linking mental fitness to physical fitness, all its branches have an electric atmosphere that gears up members for a power-packed workout.


Metrofitt partners with global brands like LesMills and Matrix that blend top technology and the hottest beats for a workout that always hits the spot.


Its GX classes feature classic and modern classes from Zumba and Pilates to Body Pump, Swing Yoga, and (coming soon) Jumpfitt and pound class.


“We first opened our doors in 2017, and have a collective experience of 75 years in the fitness and leisure sector. We make prioritising your health easy, exciting, and affordable,” says Nitesh, founder of Metrofitt. “Our concept of high value and affordable price point was designed to give the UAE residents and citizens a world-class environment like the rest of the world.”


Metrofitt has four gyms in Dubai, one in Abu Dhabi, and has recently opened two new clubs in Al Ghurair Centre and Beach Park Plaza, Jumeirah Street. Its other branches are in Dubai Airport Free Zone (Dafza), City Towers 2 on Sheikh Zayed Road, and Bawabat Al Sharq Mall in Abu Dhabi.


Members get 24/7 access to its branches in Dafza and Sheikh Zayed Road club, equipped with world-class training equipment and a full range of GX classes with renowned fitness experts.


Metrofitt’s members are given a passport that grants them access to all its branches in the UAE.


For more information, please visit 





  • Providing you with the best hour of your day


Vogue Fitness has been ranked as the UAE’s top fitness centre and best gym in Abu Dhabi, and one of the top fitness brands in the UAE. With multiple locations in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras AlKhaimah, Vogue Fitness offers the most modern training experience possible with its world-class coaching team. Our goal at Vogue Fitness is to provide you with the best hour of your day, and every time you complete a class with us, you will leave feeling amazing.


We specialise in group fitness classes, ranging from CrossFit, to bootcamp-style training, to a range of programmes developed by our team that are designed to maximise your fitness results.


Personal training is also a speciality of Vogue Fitness if you are looking for specific results.


Vogue Fitness can help you shape your body, reduce body fat, and rapidly increase your fitness levels. We specialise as welcoming new people to Vogue Fitness, as we teach you from start to finish. From the moment you walk into a class, you are under the careful guidance of one of our coaches who will guide and assist you at every twist and turn.


“Vogue Fitness is the best gym I have ever been to,” said Steven Jonothan.”I have got tremendous results in a really short time frame”.


Faris Al Shamsi is another person that loves Vogue Fitness, “There is no other place like it. Before Vogue Fitness, I did not enjoy training at a gym. Now with Vogue Fitness, I get very excited for class every day. It is unbelievable how positively they have impacted my view on health and fitness. I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been in my life, and I feel fantastic.”





  • A low-cost gym brand that caters to what people really need


Let’s take it back to 2017. A typical gym membership in the UAE costs Dh400+ a month and you need to sign up to a 12-month contract.


To make matters worse, the only option is to pay upfront for the whole year in one big payment.


That’s an initial payment of over Dh4,800!


In fact, joining a gym in the UAE was so expensive that in a report released at the time by Deutsche Bank, Dubai was ranked as the 2nd most expensive city in the world to buy a gym membership.


This had to stop. Residents in the UAE had been overcharged for sub-standard gym facilities for far too long. So, we decided to put “Fitness First… Not Profits First” and developed a low-cost gym brand that catered to what people really need. GymNation was born, and it was time to make health and fitness affordable and accessible for everyone in the UAE.


Being a GymNation member doesn’t just mean you save money. It also means you have access to world-class, state-of-the-art gym facilities that provide everyone in the UAE with the opportunity to reach their health and fitness goals – no matter what they are.


Even though we offer gym memberships at one-third of what other UAE gyms do, we definitely do not compromise on quality. We just cut out the frills so that we can provide everyone in the UAE with an affordable and flexible gym membership.


We do things differently. From our “viral” marketing videos and our never-ending supply of fancy dress characters visiting the gym, to our awesome member parties and even being crowned “The Best Gym in the UAE” by 51 percent of over 70,000 votes on Virgin Radio’s The Kris Fade Show. Everything about GymNation is unique. We have made GymNation a welcoming place for everyone, from first-time gym users through to the most dedicated of athletes. In fact, over 30 percent of all GymNation members had never been to a gym or taken part in a fitness class before joining GymNation, so what are you waiting for?


We look forward to seeing you at the “Best Gym in the UAE!”


GymNation locations are the largest gym facilities in the UAE. Ranging from 25,000 square feet to 50,000+ sq ft in size, and each one offers the following:


  • 24/7/365 access. We never close!
  • 500+ pieces of state-of-the-matrix cardio and weights equipment.
  • 200+ free of charge, live, instructor-led, fitness classes per month(Including Les Mills, Yoga, Zumba, Spinning, JumpNation, BollyNation and more).
  • Thousands of virtual, on-demand classes that you can take part in any time of the day.
  • Free member parking.
  • Ladies-only facilities and classes.
  • 20+ fully qualified, world-class personal trainers.
  • Instagrammable friendly changing rooms including GHD Hair 
  • Our BLITZ HIIT workout focused boutique fitness studio.