Sunrise Nation in Dubai

Wake up to the wacky new early-morning fitness party popping up all over Dubai

Sunrise Nation’s founders
Sunrise Nation’s founders

Wacky new early-morning fitness party Sunrise Nation is popping up all over Dubai. Benita Adesuyan learns more

‘It’s like room full of happiness,’ chirps Alamira Reem Alayedrous, one of the founders of Sunrise Nation. Not the kind of description you might expect for an early morning workout. While for some getting up to exercise before work is a chore, for hundreds of ‘sunrisers’ who have discovered this revolutionary new fitness party, it’s the exact opposite, with the next event set for Tuesday September 23.

Sunrise Nation was founded by Rasha Gebran, Alamira Reem Alayedrous and Tamara Ghazi – three friends who grew up together and share a love for arts, health and partying. This unique event is a culmination of all their personalities and interests.

‘All three of us share the same passions and bring things to the table,’ says Reem. ‘If you were going to divide us I’d say definitely Tamara is our fitness and health expert, Rasha brings the party and I’m all the hippy stuff.’

Undoubtedly, they’ve brought a unique event to Dubai’s fitness scene, with the event being as much about a party as it is fitness. What more uplifting way to get fit than dancing to DJ beats in a giant warehouse? The events are hosted in pop-up venues around Dubai, and aim to act as an antidote to the city’s nocturnal excesses. ‘Dance parties in Dubai are always late at night,’ says Tamara Ghazi. ‘There’s a big late-night party culture here, and we decided to drift away from that and take the music into the morning, let people de-stress and give them a bit of fun before they go to work. We picked Tuesday because it’s mid-week, so why not give people a mid-week refresher? It’s amazing, the effect it has on you. The whole week flies by and before you know it it’s the weekend.’

The trio behind the movement are all working women, and organise the events in between managing their busy day jobs. Tamara is a chiropractor specialising in sports, Rasha an architect and Reem is finishing her PhD.

From their first event with 80 people, word of mouth and social media meant their pre-summer closing party in June saw attendance more than double. ‘The first one was funny because it was a lot of friends and family,’ explains Tamara. ‘When we hosted the second one, our friends stopped coming, but by the third time we knew no-one, and at the last event I didn’t know 80 percent of the people who showed up.’

It’s as much a community event as it is fitness – each party is entirely free to attend and instructors volunteer to host classes and demonstrations. Every month is different, with activities ranging from hula-hooping and pole fit to African drumming and yoga. Each event is also themed, and the forthcoming party will have an Alice in Wonderland theme so you’re not still dreaming if you see a white rabbit run past you. The venues provide changing facilities and the walls are decorated with blank pages so that people can paint and can express their feelings and gratitude. According to the organisers, their free-thinking approach often surprises those who are more used to having instructions barked at them by overzealous fitness trainers. There’s no need to register, no membership fees or forms to fill in, just get up and get involved.

‘A lot of new people walk in and just freeze,’ says Tamara. ‘We have to pull them in and point them towards the action, and once they’ve settled in they’re away.’ According to Reem, the organisers encourage people to move in and out of activities, and you don’t even need to get dressed if you don’t fancy it. ‘You come as you are. If you roll out of bed and don’t feel like getting dressed, just come in your pyjamas. It’s a completely judgement-free environment. If you want to come dressed up as a fairy with wings and face paint, sure, do that. We have had messages from people asking if it is OK to come in their work clothes – of course! We had a guy in a three-piece suit, juggling. It’s nice to see that freedom. People start networking, they make new friends and it starts to feel like it’s a real community event. That’s what makes it special.’
Find out for yourself just how special at the end of this week.
Free. Tue September 23, 6am-9am. A4, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz. For more details and dates, visit

More must-try morning workouts

Bootcamp at Warehouse Gym
Get your day off to a kicking start with an intensive bootcamp session in Al Quoz.
Dhs45 members, Dhs100 non-members. Sun, Tue, Thu 6am The Warehouse Gym, Umm Suqeim Road, Al Quoz, (04 323 2323).

Les Mills RPM at TribeFit
Burn away the calories and the cobwebs with a spinning session to energising dance music.
Free for members, Dhs100 day pass for non-members. Wed 6.30am. TribeFit, Silverene Tower, Dubai Marina, (800 87423).

Strong Flow at Fidelity Fitness
Combining yoga with aerobics and using continuous movements, this class is ideal for stretching out those sleepy muscles.
Free for members, Dhs70 for non-members. Wed 9am. Al Fattan House, Dubai Marina, (04 392 8121).

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