Why this new fitness craze is harder (and more effective) than it sounds
As new group class Indoorwalking takes off in Dubai, Mark Griffiths warns you shouldn’t be fooled by the name, as this particular workout is no meander in the park
As a seasoned half marathon runner and triathlete, the concept of walking indoors as a serious workout option seemed laughable. Until I tried it.
The latest fitness craze to hit Dubai, Indoorwalking isn’t exactly as you’d imagine. Banish all thoughts of little old ladies walking casually around in circles. Forget even those fast walkers pacing along the side of the highway, unaware of quite how ridiculous they look in order to increase cardio capacity.
Instead, picture an age-varied group of people from all walks of life – pun very much intended – keen to shed kilos and inches while rocking out to hits from the ’80s.
In true Dubai style the emirate is now home to the world’s first official Indoorwalking Training Centre. Complete with a fully-integrated fitness program, state-of-the-art machines and probably the best walking (yes, again) advert for the place in general director Javier Lanfranchi, the Tecom-based facility leaves a lasting impression in more ways than one.
Svelte Lanfranchi, greets you with a smile and a questionable pair of cycling shorts. His muscles reassure and intimidate but the story behind his warm Argentinian nature will serve only to inspire.
‘I wanted to prove Indoorwalking works before I put my name above the door,’ says Lanfranchi. And that he did.
The former rugby player once weighed in at 115kg and dropped 25 kilos in just four months on a custom-built Indoorwalking program – the very same one he now offers at the Dubai studio.
A light, airy room houses three rows of walkers designed to train using natural, focused and dynamic movement with low impact on joints and high calorie consumption.
Rather than stare blankly into space alone at the gym, this is group training. ‘It’s suitable for everyone,’ adds Lanfranchi who tells me he has clients aged from 20-65. ‘The beauty is you can push yourself as hard as you can based on your own fitness levels. An elderly man can train alongside a marathon runner and still focus on his own fitness.’
The music jumps from the sound system and the idea is to keep your legs walking in time to the music throughout the entire 45-minute class adding resistance when necessary making things a little more tricky. ‘I have devised a program with three types of classes – stamina, strength and aerobic,’ says Lanfranchi who owns the distribution rights for Indoorwalking International, a Spanish-based company. ‘In order to shift the kind of weight I did you would need to combine a change in nutrition (we don’t use the word “diet” here) with four to five classes a week.’
Lanfranchi also maintains just one session on the elliptical cardio trainer can make a difference. ‘A client could potentially burn anything up to 700 calories per workout depending how hard they push. We’ve been open for three months now and the uptake has been very promising. It’s addictive.’
A combination of positions – hands on upright poles, low bar and outstretched front handle – offer varying degrees of training.
But it’s the ‘walk and squat’ and core burn which truly finish you off. Already puffing away as my little legs soldier on, I am told to squat.
I make a promise today to never mock a walker again. Class packages start from Dh110 and Indoorwalking personal training starts from Dh250. The Indoorwalking Training Centre is based at the Yassat Hotel Apartments, SZR, Tecom, Dubai. For more information call 04 381 8931, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.indoorwalking-me.com
Three more cardio workouts to try
Flywheel Extreme A music-tinged spinning workout to push yourself against your own fitness as well as other members of the class via an electronic results monitor. Dhs110 per class. Burj Views, Downtown Dubai (04 423 2544).
KBox Circuit A cross between kickboxing and circuit training offering a way to mix things up. Not for the faint-hearted. Price upon application. Fitness 360, Mazaya Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 330 7711).
Run, run, run If it’s a proper workout you’re after then not much beats a good old-fashioned run. The Dubai Creek Striders welcome new runners every Friday morning for their weekly pavement pounding sessions from 6am. Dhs10 (for water), car park opposite the Novotel Dubai, www.dubaicreekstriders.org
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Lara Jun 12, 2013 06:56 am
Indoor Walking is fab!! I went for the first time last week and again tonight and I love it already! The staff are really helpful and friendly. Would highly recommend going if you need a push to exercise and to stay motivated!!