Kelly Crane grills the city’s experts on how best to keep fit if you’re determined to train through summer.
You might sweat like you’ve never sweated before, but exercising outside in a UAE summer isn’t going to kill you. Personal trainer Kelvin Garner, 26, founder and man in charge at Dubai-based Pinnacle Performance, is at the service of anyone who isn’t lucky enough to have a fancy gym or beach club membership this year.
Having started his company in 2011, already a trainer for many years previous to that, Garner admits training outside is challenging and must be taken seriously when it comes to safety but maintains it’s more than do-able, even now.
‘Of course the humidity and harsh direct sun light does make things difficult but, if done properly, it is definitely not unsafe,’ says Garner.
‘Things feel harder due to the fact your body temperature rises so quickly, as well as restricted oxygen in the warm air.’
It doesn’t take a genius to work out it probably isn’t best to hit the Safa Park running track at midday, but Garner says the early mornings and evenings are perfect, even though the temperatures remain high.
So how do we prepare for an outdoor workout?
The first stepm according to most UAE trainers, is to get your brain on board. Corey Oliver, managing director of Dubai’s Original Fitness Company, says half the battle is with your mind. ‘You have to accept it isn’t going to be easy and live with the fact you’ll get sweaty but just get on with it. It’s a great feeling when you’ve worked hard and then you hit the showers feeling like you’ve achieved.’
Probably more important than the psychological prep (read: pain, tears, scars) are the obvious health issues. Nobody wants a t-shirt tan, shingles and dehydration.
‘You must be prepared with enough water in the system and correct nutrition before battling the heat outside,’ says Garner. ‘Drink water throughout the day [not just before your workout] if you plan to exercise after work. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty and certainly don’t wait until during or after exercise.’
On average, depending on body weight, Garner suggests females drink two to three litres a day and men around three to four litres.
‘I suggest shorter workouts in the heat. Get it done and get out. Work with bigger movements, squats and push ups and if weights are available dead lifts and push press. For cardio you’ll benefit more from high-intensity sprints than from a long run if you’re aiming to burn fat.’
Workouts done in the colder months will feel a lot harder in the summer, but Garner says using Ramadan to help aid weight-loss can be a winning combination. ‘When breaking the fast I don’t suggest high-carb meals as we don’t want to increase blood sugar levels which will then crash and cause us to over eat, the number one reason people gain weight during the Holy Month.’
Instead, Garner suggests protein and fat to replenish the body. ‘A few of my clients train on a fasted stomach just before Iftar then break fast, which is fantastic for fat loss.’
If you’re still not convinced but don’t fancy joining ‘fat class’ come September, how about using the facilities on your doorstep, literally.
‘Bedroom or home workouts can be done. Minimal rest so the intensity is kept at a high,’ says Garner. ‘Use the stairs to train. A run up the stairwell in your building is free and out of the sun, but still won’t be easy.’
Worst case scenario? Take the stairs when you get in from work. It all adds up when it comes to fat loss.
Pinnacle Performance, email@example.com (050 946 7298).
Three workouts under Dhs100
Work with a Bodypump, Bodyattack, Bodycombat or Bodybalance session, each Dhs50 per class. Mix up the workouts to stay in shape.
JBR (04 439 0403).
There are bargain cycling sessions this year at Dubai Sports World led by Vitor Carvalho, an ex pro. Each spinning class provides an intense power work out and is priced just Dhs50 every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 8am and 8pm.
Continue the old favourites this summer such as yoga, pilates and body toning, which will set you back from Dhs50 per class.
Various locations (04 424 3777).