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Fed up with feeling flabby? Get tips that really work in Dubai

Fed up with feeling flabby? From easy healthy eating tips to some calorie-melting workouts, we reveal how to get in the shape of your life in time for your summer holiday.

Dubai is a city of great variety. For every person piling on the kilos in the city’s latest greasy diner (at last count, 33.7 percent of the UAE’s population had a serious weight problem, according to a UN study), there’s another flexing their intimidatingly large muscles at a hot new paleo café. More troubling is the fact that most of our recreation time here revolves around food: want to catch up with friends? Let’s do brunch. Celebrate your birthday? Let’s check out that new restaurant. Shop for some new (bigger) clothes? I smell cupcakes… Looking and feeling your physical best is down to a few simple choices and a dollop of willpower. Of course, not everyone wants (or needs) to lose weight – some of us are trying desperately hard to gain muscle tone and impressive definition. We’re all different – the bottom line is, do you really want to get a better body? Assuming your answer is yes (though we’d love to hear from those of you who don’t silently berate themselves in front of the mirror), we’ve scouted out the newest, simplest and – importantly – the most varied and enjoyable ways to get your best body ever in Dubai.

View Top new fitness programmes
View Essential new classes
View How to eat: fat loss and muscle gain
View Healthy eats to your door
View Where you’re going wrong
View Get fit with sports
View Toning treats
View In search of perfection


Top new fitness programmes
Don’t have the willpower or confidence to go it alone in the gym? Find the motivation you need with one of Dubai’s fun and effective new workout plans

Glory Girl Shero
Run by Glory Girl Fitness (open only to women, as the name suggests), the Shero package is described as a ‘holistic lifestyle transformation for women of any age’. The 14-week plan includes 12 life coaching sessions, a ‘genetic brain organisational profile and consultation’ (ooh er), a restaurant date, cooking date, grocery shopping date, monthly workout plans, frequently updated meal plans tailored to clients’ body goals and access to the Glory Girl Whatsapp group for constant support and motivation. There’s also a professional photoshoot to celebrate achievements (not included in the price). You can start whenever you like, but head Glory Girl Nadine du Toit only takes on four new clients each month.
Dhs6,950 (payment plan available). Various locations, www.glorygirlfitness.com, nadine@glorygirlfitness.com (no number).

Blueprint Programme
Run by Smart Fitness trainer Jack Graham, this eight-week body transformation course combines athletic strength and conditioning with a nutrition programme and support to help participants improve both physically and mentally. Though Blueprint takes a very athletic approach, the team is adamant you don’t need to be an athlete to train like one during the 32 workouts the programme entails.
Price on application. Smart Fitness, HDS Business Centre, Cluster M, JLT, www.smartfitness.ae (04 438 5055).

Summer Running
Reebok Run Club by Urban Energy Fitness starts a new summer running programme this May, with the aim to help cardio fans stay in shape during the hotter months and avoid having to start their training all over again, come running season in September. The programme includes a variety of classes to suit all fitness levels, from first-time runners to keen marathoners.
Unlimited summer running packages from Dhs1,200 (valid May 1-August 31). Urban Energy Fitness, Dubai Marina, www.urbanenergyfitness.com (055 886 9158).

Military-style bootcamp

Ignite Fitness & Wellness is launching a new bootcamp course, running from Sunday May 4 to Friday May 30, featuring 16 sessions. Choose to take part in the Palm dawn patrol or night ops, Safa Park night ops or Marina dawn patrol.
Dhs800 full course, Dhs100 single session. Ignite Fitness & Wellness, various locations, www.ignite-wellness.com (04 456 2482).

SHP Explosive Strength Training

Learn to lift like an Olympic weightlifter with this course from Scandinavian Health & Performance (SHP). This two-day course mixes theory with practice to help participants increase their power output and performance, while teaching correct techniques and proper safety.
Dhs1,800. Fri May 16 to Sat 17, 9am-5pm. European Tour Performance Institute, Jumeirah Golf Estates, www.shpdubai.com (04 368 7800).

SUP Paddle Fit
Jump on the stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) bandwagon at Ignite Surf School at Riva Beach Club. During a package of ten hour-long sessions, you can expect to be put through your paces with core and cardio exercises. Aimed at intermediate and advanced paddlers, each class focuses on endurance training and giving participants and all-round body workout on the water and the beach.
Dhs100 per hour when booked for ten sessions, or Dhs125 per drop-in. Starts Wed May 7, runs Wed, Sat 8am-9am. Riva Beach Club, Shoreline Apartments, Palm Jumeirah, www.surfschooluae.com (055 601 0997).

Coming soon: Bounce Dubai

A ‘free-jumping revolution’ is coming to Dubai, in the form of Bounce – an Australian trampolining company bringing its interconnected trampolines, foam pits and padding to the city. While there is no set date for the launch yet (rumours suggest some time in June), the facility will be designed to accommodate air-sports, acrobatics, dodgeball and good old-fashion energy-burning fun.
www.bounce.ae.

View Essential new classes
View How to eat: fat loss and muscle gain
View Healthy eats to your door
View Where you’re going wrong
View Get fit with sports
View Toning treats
View In search of perfection


Essential new classes
Don’t fancy committing to more than an hour at a time? Check out one of Dubai’s latest 60-minutes-or-less workouts

Bharat Thakur’s artistic yoga
The brainchild of Himalayan yogi Bharat Thakur, artistic yoga is a complete workout that targets all aspects of fitness including strength, endurance, flexibility, agility and balance. Classes include breathing techniques, high-intensity cardio, strength training, stretches and bodypart training.
Dhs550 for three sessions per week for one month, Dhs700 six sessions per week. Sat-Sun 7.30am-8.30am. Fit Lab, Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Living (04 417 9850).

Trampoline cardio

Not the huge gymnastics ones – the smaller, gym-size trampolines (you may have one gathering dust in your home). This low-impact training session goes easy on the joints but offers a great cardiovascular workout – and even claims to burn up 500 calories in a 45-minute session.
Dhs50 per session, minimum six participants per class. Sun, Wed 8am. Location on enquiry, j_chalouhi@yahoo.com (no number).

Bollywood workout
If Bollywood sounds get you grooving, this workout is for you. You can make like Mallika Sherawat in this class that combines cardio, dance and conditioning exercises.
Dhs60 per class, free for members. Sun 5.30pm, Tue 5.45pm, Optimal Fitness, Building 3, Dubai Studio City, www.optimalfitness.ae (04 457 2048).

Submission Grappling
This class combines the best of a variety of martial arts and wrestling techniques. Classes simulate real fight situations, and you’ll not only get fit but learn self-defence skills.
Dhs100 per class. Warehouse Gym, Al Quoz, www.whgym.com (04 323 2323).

View Top new fitness programmes
View How to eat: fat loss and muscle gain
View Healthy eats to your door
View Where you’re going wrong
View Get fit with sports
View Toning treats
View In search of perfection


How to eat: fat loss and muscle gain
Eating right isn’t as straight-forward as you might think – what’s really important is eating the right way for you. Amir Siddiqui, head coach at Dubai’s personal training-only Symmetry Gym (www.symmetrygymdubai.com) and Dubai’s most expensive personal trainer (he charges Dhs1,000 an hour) explains how your nutritional needs differ depending on your goals.

‘Energy in and energy out. Over long periods of time, your body finds a sweet spot of composition – a sweet spot that usually goes against the aesthetic ideals of modern culture. This is why you should not “listen to your body” but rather learn to interpret its deceptive ways – ideally through coaching with an expert.

‘The first thing to do is decide whether you actually need fat loss, or if you need more muscle. It’s not as simple as you think – many women think they need less fat when they need more muscle, and many men think they need more muscle when they need less fat. But let’s assume we’ve intelligently resolved that complex conundrum.’

For fat loss, you need:
1 A calorie deficit. Instead of complex equations, simply take your bodyweight in pounds, and multiply it by 11 (though it can vary from ten to 13 – a good coach can help you figure it out). This is the total number of calories you need per day. If you weigh 150 pounds (68kg), 1,650 is what you need per day to push your body to use its own fat.

2 An exercise programme. Dieting alone will give you a smaller – and most likely flabbier – body. Exercise will make you hot, dieting alone will not.

3 Nearly half your calories should come from carbohydrates such as fruit, sweet potatoes and even rice. The rest you can divide between fat and protein.

4 Embrace hunger! If you are overweight right now, you are used to eating as soon as you are hungry. On a diet plan for fat loss you need to accept hunger with calm – remember, hunger is not an emergency. Most people eat out of boredom and anxiety.

For muscle gain (‘which is what gives you curves’), you need:
1 A surplus of calories. Take your bodyweight in pounds and multiply it by 14 (this can vary widely on your current fitness levels, anywhere between 12 and 16, so get a coach to help you get it right). This is your caloric need per day.

2 An exercise programme – one that will shuttle all that extra energy into beautiful, lean muscle. If you do not work out, you will gain a lot of unsightly fat.

3 Once again, nearly half of your calories can come from carbs and sugar sources such as fruits, honey, oats, rice and potato – the rest from protein and fat.

4 Embrace fullness. In the same way that an overweight person believes that he or she doesn’t eat much, every scrawny, muscle-less person I’ve ever come across claims to eat a lot. No, you don’t.

View Top new fitness programmes
View Essential new classes
View How to eat: fat loss and muscle gain
View Healthy eats to your door
View Where you’re going wrong
View Get fit with sports
View Toning treats
View In search of perfection


Healthy eats to your door
An increasing number of delivery diet plans are now available in Dubai. We take a look at some of the options

Right Bite

This established catering company offers customised meal deliveries across Dubai, and has just launched a ‘Renew You’ programme that aims to help dieters shed their extra kilos in time for summer. There’s also the choice of choosing a full package (breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner) or opting to have individual meals catered.
From Dhs960 for seven days to Dhs3,620 for 28 days for Renew You programme. Delivery to locations across Dubai, www.right-bite.com (04 338 8763).

Health Factory
Choose from a range of nutritionally balanced programmes, including diabetic-friendly, post-pregnancy, weight-loss and healthy lunches, designed to tailor to your requirements. There is also a Beat the Heat programme, created to help see you through summer, when healthy eating patterns can go out of the window, plus a Ramadan programme to help you break your fast the right way.
Price on enquiry. Delivery to locations across Dubai, www.healthfactory.com (04 347 3808).

Live’ly
Try packages for weight management, metabolism boosts, nutrition education, building muscle, kids and more. There’s also an entirely organic programme, and even a Live’ly Café at Jannati Health Spa in the Dubai Women’s Association in Deira.
Price on enquiry. Delivery to locations across Dubai, www.lively.ae (04 348 1006).

View Top new fitness programmes
View Essential new classes
View How to eat: fat loss and muscle gain
View Where you’re going wrong
View Get fit with sports
View Toning treats
View In search of perfection


Where you’re going wrong
Convinced you’re doing everything possible to look your best? Inger Houghton, nutritionist and personal trainer at Scandinavian Health & Performance in Dubai (www.shpdubai.com, 04 368 7800) reveals some common everyday mistakes.

You starve yourself throughout the day, but overeat in the evenings
Make sure you distribute your intake of food evenly throughout the day, this will prevent you from giving in to unhealthy cravings and enable you to make smart choices.

You eat because you are bored
Learn the difference between actually being hungry and just wanting something to eat. Ask yourself if you are really hungry before you reach for the snacks and make sure your cupboard is stacked with nutritious healthy foods to minimise the risk of giving in to temptation.


You exclude one macronutrient completely without replacing it with another

While it might be true that cutting down on carbohydrates and fat are easy ways to lower your calorie intake, you cannot do both at the same time. If you are low on carbohydrates you need to include more fat in your diet, your system and mind will not work properly if you are low on both.

You drink your calories
A glass of juice, a smoothie after your lunch and several cappuccinos in between will sum up to the equivalent of a full meal. Liquids do not fill you up as much as food, but the chances are they will leave you with the same or an even higher calorie count in the end.

You don’t eat enough
If you are not getting the results you want from your training, chances are you are not eating enough food. No matter if your goals is to lose weight, gain it or maintain it, you need to make sure you are hitting the sufficient intake of energy each day. Otherwise, you will not reach your goal and you will feel miserable and agitated throughout the process.

View Top new fitness programmes
View Essential new classes
View How to eat: fat loss and muscle gain
View Healthy eats to your door
View Get fit with sports
View Toning treats
View In search of perfection


Get fit with sports
From mid-May, local social sports organiser Duplays will launch all of its new leagues. Offering Dubaians a chance to mix up their workout routine, sign on to play for an hour each week and burn anywhere between 600 to 1,000 calories.

Touch Rugby
Open to: Men and women.
When: Tue-Wed 8pm-10.30pm, from Tue May 20 to Tue July 8.
How much: Dhs450 per person.
Where: Wellington International School, Sheikh Zayed Road.

Ultimate Frisbee

Open to: Men and women.
When: Mon 7.30pm-10pm, Mon May 19 to Mon July 14.
How much: Dhs450 per person.
Where: Emirates International School, Al Thanya Road, Jumeirah.
For more information on these and dozens more leagues, visit www.duplays.com.

View Top new fitness programmes
View Essential new classes
View How to eat: fat loss and muscle gain
View Healthy eats to your door
View Where you’re going wrong
View Toning treats
View In search of perfection


Toning treats
Worked hard in the gym? Reward yourself with a cellulite-busting massage or firming wrap instead of that bar of chocolate

Velasmooth at Talise Spa

This toning and reshaping treatment is offered to both men and women and is clinically proven to improve the appearance of cellulite. Infrared light and radio frequencies are used to heat the skin and shrink fat cells while a vacuum rolls the tissue to smooth out the skin. Each session takes approximately 45 minutes and can target areas including the thighs, posterior, stomach, calves, hands and even double chins.
Dhs500 for 45 minutes. Talise Spa, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6818).

Anti-cellulite massage at Organic Glow Beauty Lounge

Following an exfoliating body scrub to warm and stimulate the skin, two therapists tackle this intense half-hour massage together, focusing on the hips, thighs and rear. The technique involves deep and vigorous massage strokes to help increase circulation and remove toxins.
Dhs300 for half an hour. Book a course of four and get the fifth free. Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 3, next to Choitrams (04 380 4666).

Thalgo LC24 anti-cellulite treatment at The Cure

This treatment moves along at a leisurely pace and involves the use of revolutionary slimming cream Thalgomince LC24. It includes a stimulating scrub, a vigorous adispose massage (which directly targets fat cells, and a body wrap to tighten everything up.
Dhs500 for two hours. Various locations including Dubai Media City (04 391 6485).

View Top new fitness programmes
View Essential new classes
View How to eat: fat loss and muscle gain
View Healthy eats to your door
View Where you’re going wrong
View Get fit with sports
View In search of perfection


In search of perfection
For some people, having an exercise and healthy-eating-honed body just isn’t enough. Dr Maurizio Viel of London Centre For Aesthetic Surgery reveals the nips and tucks trending in Dubai right now

‘In our Dubai office, we see many patients for liposuction, breast augmentation for women and penoplasty for men. Due to the fact that the population in Dubai tends to be quite young, facelifts are not as popular. In the summer, patients want their bodies and faces to look their best. We see more patients coming to us now for botox and fillers to deal with lines and wrinkles. Also, with less layers to hide certain flaws, patients are more willing to have liposuction and breast augmentation surgeries now to get ready for their beach holiday. It means they have recovered in good time and can start investing in a new wardrobe.’


‘Botox and fillers are popular but also Titefx treatments, which use radiofrequency energy to the body and face can help tighten the skin and help reduce small volumes of fat over six to eight non-invasive treatments. For botox and fillers, there is little to no downtime. Liposuction surgery takes two to three hours and then about a week to remove the stitches. In the case of breast augmentation, it takes about an hour in surgery, and stitches are removed within two weeks. These surgical procedures are done under sedation, which is not to be mistaken with general anaesthesia. The patient will be in sleep mode but can go home the same day.’
From Dhs1,200-Dhs2,000 for botox and fillers. Breast augmentation from Dhs28,000, liposuction from Dhs27,000. London Centre for Aesthetic Surgery, Dubai Healthcare City, Oud Metha, www.lcas.ae (04-375 2393).

View Top new fitness programmes
View Essential new classes
View How to eat: fat loss and muscle gain
View Healthy eats to your door
View Where you’re going wrong
View Get fit with sports
View Toning treats

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