Zack Roy is dreaming big. After watching his father establish the omnipresent Fitness First brand in the Middle East, as well as running a number of gyms in the US, the young fitness entrepreneur is currently building what could be Dubai’s biggest gym.
At a whopping 42,000 square metres, over two floors, Train Strength and Fitness is being built in Al Quoz, with plans to open its doors by early December.
Roy’s plan is not just to build a massive gym, but to change the way gyms and trainers interact, by creating a facility that gives a space to personal trainers. “We want to cater to trainers by being able to open up a gym to run as their own business,” says Roy. “It’s also a regular gym as well, so members can come and use the facility as any normal gym. But our philosophy is that you can come and rent out rooms for yourself, or for you and your clients. It will also be a gym any member can use, too.”
Having worked in all aspects of the fitness and gym management industry, from reception to personal training and area management, Roy describes Train SF as his “dream gym”. And that dream is close to becoming reality. “I’ve been working on this business plan for three years now and I’m so excited. I’m actually more excited to work out there, to be honest,” he laughs. “In Dubai, I haven’t yet found a gym I actually like, so for me I want to just get in there and get training.”
Roy hopes that the behemoth gym will solve a problem for the city’s personal trainers, as well as simple fitness enthusiasts. “I noticed a lot of the apartment gyms in the city are run down or that PTs aren’t allowed to train clients there. We don’t want to be like some franchise gyms, where they don’t give back to trainers. We allow the PTs to grow themselves as much as they want to.”
Ask Roy about his plans and you will get a dizzying litany of superlatives. The gym will house 16 rentable training rooms, three private personal training rooms (of 65 square metres each), three assessment rooms, an MMA room complete with full-sized boxing ring, and a unique posing room (that’s right – a room where it’s actually okay to pose in the gym). “I am pretty sure that it’s the only posing room in Dubai,” says Roy. “It has angled mirrors and retractable poles, which is ideal for anyone that’s into body-building.”
In addition to all of this, the facility will have a café, stretch zone, group cycle rooms, a power room for weights and four gym suites “that contain a treadmill, dumbbell bench, foam rollers and medicine balls, like a gym within the gym”.
While the gym is designed with trainers in mind, members who come to work out are also well catered to, and Roy is being realistic in his approach to pricing and memberships, aware that the majority of people get roped into signing up for annual memberships while riding on the crest of a “New Year, New You” wave. “You end up hating the gym because of that,” says Roy emphatically. “I want to push our monthly deals. It’s Dhs350 per month, no contract.”
As we await the mega gym’s opening, Roy tells us that for him this big step is really just the beginning. “The plan is to have 15 different locations in the next four years,” he says. “We’d like to open five big gyms like this, and then we’ll have smaller satellites. So wherever you are in the UAE, you’ll find us.”
From Dhs350 per month. 4th Street, Al Quoz 1, www.train-sf.com (055 467 0515).