The Best Outdoor Workouts in the GGC

29 Nov 2011

Fitness addicts tell us how they burn the calories in the great outdoors

Scuba Diving
Damelza taumafai, Event coordinator
“Scuba diving is pure addiction. It is not strenuous aerobically, but it’s beneficial for the lungs, cardiovascular system and good posture. The underwater world is amazing and everyone must experience it. While it’s not as tough as my kickboxing lessons, nothing has de-stressed me more in the last year than weekends at Jumeirah Beach Hotel learning the skills of scuba. Totally worth every dirham!”
Try it: Pavilion Dive Centre, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, (04) 406 8828.

Dragon Boating
Sophie Wood, 25, PR
“I find the gym really boring and hate training on my own, so I went for a dragon boating session. It was great fun. It was a bit intimidating at first because there were really experienced people there who were way stronger than me, but I quickly got into it. The following day I couldn’t feel my arms. I guess that is a good sign that it actually works! I am definitely going back.”
Try it: UAE Dragon Boat Association,

Doing functional beach sessions
Nadine Du Toit, Owner of glorygirl
“The Functional Beach, Kayak and Sea Swim session at Oceana, Palm Jumeirah, is most intense beach training I’ve ever done. It involves exercises using TRX, flipping tyres, sandbags, balls, sprint ladders and other creative ways of torture like sprinting in the sand. The reward after the hard work is to get into a kayak and experience the calm and the cool water of the Arabian Gulf. If ripped is a description of the body you want, then this is for you!”
Try it: Phill Robson Sports & Fitness Academy,, Dhs300 per personal training session.

Selina Woodward, 27, Environmental consultant and adrenalin junkie
“The feeling of jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet is absolutely incredible. You free fall for one minute, which literally feels like you are flying, and you get an awesome bird’s eye view of Dubai its landmarks such as the Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa. I would recommend skydiving to everyone.”
Try it: Sky Dive Dubai. Priced from Dhs1,650 per person including a personal video.

Hit the golf course
Lucy Melton, Dancer
“In my spare time I like to play golf. It’s a precision sport that comes with a great cardio workout, plus you enjoy a nice long walk surrounded by greenery, which can be quite hard to find in Dubai. The best place I’ve found to take instructional golf lessons is the Optimal Fitness Golf Academy by Glyn Meredith, it’s an indoor facility, which makes learning golf easy in a cool comfortable environment. A great feature it offers is all of its golf lessons are captured on video and uploaded to its website, which you can log onto and review your lesson at any stage, which makes it really easy to remember what you’ve learnt.”
Try it: Optimal fitness Golf Academy by Glyn Meredith, Dubai’s Studio City. Call 055 275 6234.

Kettlebell classes
Tamara Vogel, 29, Dubai Film Festival Staff
“You don’t need to do a kettlebell workout in a gym. Thanks to these classes, I worked out with kettlebells by the pool and JBR beach. Plus when you workout on the beach, you can chill out with the group on the sand. I got in shape really quickly, it was great fun.”
Try it: Kettlebell classes at

Natalie Mason, 26, Presenter and Producer
“I first got into surfing when I was asked to make a mini-film for the website I produce for ( and was instantly hooked. I love to go surfing with my friends at Sunset Beach at the weekends. Doing water sports in the sea allows you to be at one with nature and it’s a fun way to exercise. I hate the gym, I much prefer to be outside.”
Try it:, from Dhs125.

Running a 10km
Karen Mathews, Director of Sports & Recreation, Amwaj Rotana
“Nothing is more invigorating than starting the day with a 10 km run outdoors to clear the mind and tone the body. Running on a treadmill does not compare. Not only do you get an ever changing view, but you double the calories burnt by hitting the road due to the various gradients and wind resistance. Running is a great sport as it can be a solo exercise or you can join numerous GCC running clubs and enjoy the camaraderie.”
Try it: Dubai Creek Striders,

Rowing in the Gulf
KatiePattinson-Hart, Model
“If you want to get into shape while enjoying the great outdoors, go rowing with the Mina Seyahi Rowing Club. Due to the location of the club you’ll get to experience both the marina waters and the ocean. Rowing is a great top-to-toe workout as you not only use your arms to row, but you push through your legs.”
Try it: Mina Seyahi Rowing Club, Dubai,, from Dhs200.

Sand Running
Victoria Leckie, Marathoner Runner
“Living in Dubai, we’re spoilt for choice with sand anywhere and everywhere. It’s such great training as the uneven surfaces mean you really work your core and balance and the impact on your body is far less than if pounding pavements. Best of all, it’s free! You don’t need to go that far either as there are plenty of sand trails in Dubai. Or you can head out towards Bab al Shams or Big Red for a mini-adventure.”

Full Moon Yoga
Kaitlin Wardle, Flight Crew
“Yoga keeps me grounded and at one with the world. As I’m not a morning person I de-stress at the evening sessions at Talise, it is so relaxing to practise your omm to the sound of the sea.”
Try it: Talise Spa, (04) 366 6818. Priced Dhs99 per session.

Rock Climbing in Dubai
Derryn Brown, Shape Personal Trainer of the Year 2010
“I love the rock climbing wall at the Quay Club. My first climb was tough, but thanks to the instructor I was soon leaping across the rock to get my next hand hold. The adrenaline rush was so rewarding. I would recommend to anybody looking for an alternative to the usual exercise options.”
Try it: visit the Priced Dhs200 per hour.

Tabata Runs
Hanan Wehbi, Tabata Instructor
“My favourite outdoor workout is a tabata run on the beach. I found this semi-private beach just across from Burj Al Arab; there’s a small turn right before Jumeirah Beach Hotel that takes you there. It’s quiet and the shoreline is less than 3km so it’s perfect for your laps. I sprint one way, jog back the other way. It’s great to be in touch with nature.”

Clemencia White, Executive Admin Assistant
“I absolutely love going to Boot Camp here in Dubai. I workout with Original Fitness Co, which runs classes at JBR Beach and Safa Park in Dubai and on the beach in Abu Dhabi. With my hard work I was able to build my endurance as well as having my energy levels soar. I would suggest anyone looking for a challenge to give it a go.”
Try it: original fitness co. From Dhs100.

Michelle Christie, Personal Trainer, Core Direction
“In my spare time, I grab my surfboard and go wakesurfing. I was introduced to it in Dubai last year and can’t get enough of it. Not only do you get a full body workout, but you can have fun doing it – surf’s up ladies!
Try it: One & Only Royal Mirage Water Sports Centre, (04) 315 2181.

Becky Hart, Budokon Teacher
“Practicing Acroyoga in Safa Park is an amazing way to spend a morning. You feel light, yet strong and challenged while you are flying in the air balanced on the feet of your partner.”
Try it: Classes are every Friday from 10am. There is no fee, they just ask for donations to charity.

Canyoning in Muscat
Noura El-Imam, Yoga Instructor
“The whole Snake Gorge Walk experience is like a roller coaster ride. You never know what to expect. You’ll burn calories climbing over the boulders, but you’ll be rewarded with a dip in the icy cold water once you reach the pools. Several pools and small waterfalls are crossed during the walk, including one pool that flows into a pitch-black 30-metre-long cave. It’s tough, but once the walk is completed you feel such as sense of achievement. ”
Try it: Muscat Diving And Adventure Centre,, 968 2454 3002. Priced Dhs563 per person.

Paula Haman, Jebel Ali Dragons Ladies 7s Player
“Rugby is known as a physically demanding game and ladies rugby is no exception. Ball skills, strength and sprint training twice a week gives you an all over body workout in full preparation for your 7s Tournaments around the Gulf Region. The team and club spirit in Jebel Ali Dragons gives you all the motivation you require to continuously push yourself to new levels.”
Try it: For more details log on to

Yoko Shoji, Flight Attendant
“I really get an endorphine rush training outdoors. I love the challenge that tennis gives to my body. My agility, fitness and coordination levels are tested whether I’m playing a friend in a game or having a lesson with my instructor at Le Meridien. The more games I have the better my fitness level and skill get even with the heat it’s a great workout.”
Try it: le Meridien Airport Tennis courts. Court hire is Dhs75.