Why 'cycling in water' is the hottest fitness craze in Dubai right now
As if spinning wasn’t hard enough already, now fanatics in search of an even harder (yet refreshing and effective) workout can splash out on new trend, aqua biking.
Aqua biking combines spinning with aqua fitness to offer a workout that tones the legs, thighs and abs in the way that conventional spinning does, but also in a way that combats troublesome cellulite and reduces water retention. Pedalling through water also has the added benefit of lessening the impact on joints, making it a good option for rehabilitation. The trend came from France and has been slowly gaining in popularity here in Dubai. So we hopped on the case at facilities across town to see if the fad is worth getting into a spin about. Balance Well-being 360° Private or group class? Private. The lowdown: It’s just you and the video tutorial in a waterproof case in this session, so it’s up to you to keep up your motivation. The spa bike sits inside its own pod of warm water at around 30 degrees. We climb up into the pod and sit on the submerged bike with water covering our knees. When the session begins, water jets out at us – like a Jacuzzi – so as we cycle, our legs get a constant blast of what, which helps to smooth away cellulite and work our lymphatic system. The video guides us through the different positions on the bike – interval training-style – and we can really feel our thighs and glutes working.
Any extras? Bikers can pedal to their own music and get access to the steam room and sauna. Classes are open to men and women. Dhs180 per 30-minute session. Balance Well-being 360°, Oasis Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.balance-wellness-centre.com (04 384 7010).
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach Private or group class? Private. The lowdown: Located within the plush spa of the Four Seasons Resort, this session uses the same spa bike as the one Balance Well-being 360° uses, with sessions open to both men and women. The main difference is that the programme runs for 40 minutes instead of 30 and the water is a cool 25 degrees, which feels a tad nippy to begin with, especially once the jets start going. But once we start pedalling, it soon warms up. Currently, bikers are left to their own devices to work with the video tutorial, but there are plans to have a specialist spa biking instructor offering personal training at each session.
Any extras? Bikers get access to the spa’s steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi after the session. Dhs270 per session, Dhs1,250 for five sessions, Dhs550 for classes with an interactive personal trainer. Daily 9am-9pm. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road, www.fourseasons.com/dubaijb (04 270 7706).
L’Atelier Aquafitness Private or group class? Group. The lowdown: This is the only session we tried where classes take place in a larger pool housing multiple bikes. Classes at the boutique aquafitness studio are small, no more than ten ladies at a time, making for an intimate session. The instructor takes us through a variety of sets, some including simultaneous weight work and co-ordinated movements that can be tricky to get the hang of, but that clearly work out our core muscles. Ab work is also incorporated at intervals. The class varies in its intensity, but you can really feel it in your thighs and glutes. It doesn’t feel like much of a cardio workout, but the studio offers a variety of other classes for that, including cardio aqua biking, a high-intensity interval training session and aquaswing, which is choreographed to a lively beat.
Any extras? There are light and airy changing areas and a lovely little tea and coffee bar with a range of delicious detox teas. Dhs155 per session, Dhs125 first-time discovery class. Water shoes are available to borrow for the first class, after which you must purchase your own. Villa 677 A, Al Wasl Road, near Umm Al Sheif Street, www.laterlieraquafitness.com (04 338 8323). Point Zero Floatation Center Private or group class? Private. The lowdown: Conveniently located for time-stressed Financial Centre employees, Point Zero Floatation Center’s spa biking sessions are as relaxing as they are challenging. Check into your own private suite and either motivate yourself for 40 minutes to the strains of Beyoncé or take on one of the video-instructed tutorials – but be warned, the latter will set your thighs on fire.
Any extras? Each private suite has a shower and bathroom facilities, posh toiletries and bathrobes. The idea is you can work out, then head straight out for the day or evening. A detox tea is served afterwards. For those who want a full fitness programme, packages with nutritional guidance and body analysis are offered. From Dhs99 for a 30-minute session, from Dhs2,999 for 15 sessions and five floatation sessions. Sky Gardens, DIFC, www.pointzerofloatation.com (04 457 9991).