Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

Mobility, flexibility and variety are key to fitness, says programme manager at Dubai’s XFit 3-in-1

The Fitness First-powered arena opened in Town Centre in Dubai’s Springs community on June 12

XFit uses a number of props to make workouts more effective and interesting. Courtesy Steve Currie
XFit uses a number of props to make workouts more effective and interesting. Courtesy Steve Currie

The variety many of us crave from our workout regimes is akin to the chicken and egg situation. Are so many gyms launching because fitness buffs demand variety, or did a gym-­goer’s expectations expand because there’s now a fitness “concept” at every corner? Either way, the number of studios, clubs, apps and indeed concepts that have made their way to the UAE’s shores suggests the weeks of working out one body part every other day interspersed with cardio and abs are long gone. Enter XFit 3-in-1.

The Fitness First-powered arena, which opened in Town Centre in Dubai’s Springs community on June 12, seemingly offers a ceaseless permutation of classes and props so participants can keep both their enthusiasm and fitness levels at their peak. Ryan Thomas, national programming manager at Fitness First Middle East, has 20 years of coaching experience in taekwondo, boxing, MMA, kick-boxing, dirty boxing, Olympic weightlifting, HIIT, function strength, conditioning, CrossFit and rock climbing. He is also a 70.3 Ironman. We talked to him about managing fitness expectations.

Ryan Thomas, national programming manager at Fitness First Middle East
Ryan Thomas, national programming manager at Fitness First Middle East

What does the XFit 3-in-1 concept stand for?

XFit is actually three studios in one place, which we call “The Box”. Each studio, in turn, covers three zones – Lift, Box and HIIT – with different classes available daily, each of which is designed to be both fun and dynamic in terms of a tailored approach to working out.

Variety seems to be a key factor in fitness now, both from a participant’s and a gym’s point of view …

Variety is one of the founding pillars of what we offer. Every day is a new programme; you never need to experience the same workout twice. Sometimes we combine two studios for diversity, some days we work specific skills, other days we mix up workout modalities to improve your output and your needs. With fitness awareness and activities booming in the UAE, it’s an interesting time to be working out here.

So what is each of the three studios all about?

The Lift studio has three signature programmes, including Lift and Smash. The former takes in Olympic lifting, gymnastics, bodyweight training and conditioning skill development, while Smash is an intense non-skilled strength and conditioning class where you use weights and body-weight movements to improve overall strength. And Super Saturday is a longer workout that takes in strength endurance and cardio, and is a non-stop and furious way to burn extra calories – up to 800 per class.

The HIIT studio includes three programmes. X75 is the “daddy” of our cardio conditioning, and focuses on running, the air bike and ski machines, and some form of resistance movement, working in blocks of 75 seconds with 15 seconds recovery. X60 works in blocks of 60 seconds, while “younger brother” X45 needs you to move for 45 and rest for 15 seconds. These burn between 500 and 800 calories per session, and we use a range of multi-plane movements – transverse, sagittal and frontal – to improve your fitness.

The Box studio works to build your striking confidence and develop co-ordination, through the use of long Muay Thai bags, boxing bags and wrecking ball bags. You can burn between 400 and 800 calories per workout.

The Box studio at XFit 3-in-1 in Dubai's Town Centre
The Box studio at XFit 3-in-1 in Dubai's Town Centre

What are some of the other props you use to engage people to work out?

We use Olympic lifting bars, kettlebells, bumper plates, rowing machines, powerless treadmills, SkiErgs, climbing ropes, gymnastic rings, plyo boxes, wall balls, a signature Rogue fitness infinity rig … I could go on.I strongly believe that the more flexible and mobile you are physically, the more open-minded you’ll be as a human being.

What can you tell us about the kinds of people who work out at XFit?

The average age of people coming here is between 27 and 45, and we have a 50-50 mix of men and women, some extremely conditioned, others completely unconditioned. If you are extremely fit, be prepared for us to push you to work at an ever higher capacity; if you’re unfit, we guide you to perfect your form up to the range of motion your body can accommodate. It is as important to feel safe and comfortable while working out, as it is to recognise and be excited by the growth and progress you make in class after class. It’s an amazing journey to witness as a coach.

XFit studio charges Dh80 per class, Dh699 per month and Dh6,990 per year

Updated: August 5, 2019 03:22 PM

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