When it comes to fitness options in the UAE, there is certainly no shortage. I’ve tried various gyms and personal trainers, but this time I was looking for something truly unique. So when I got invited to try out the different classes at Dubai’s NRG Fitness, I didn’t hesitate.
Here’s the deal – until now, I’ve never, ever done a single gym class. In fact, I avoided them like the plague. Either the classes seemed too easy, or too difficult. And the pressure of keeping up with others in the class seemed a bit daunting.
So when I agreed to a six-week transformation with NRG, I was nervous. In fact, showing up to a new class felt like a new kid’s first day at school. Scary at first, yes, but I quickly managed to find my groove and build my confidence.
NRG is an urban boutique fitness facility conveniently located in Dubai Marina. Situated on Marina Walk, it features three state-of-the-art training studios complete with advanced equipment, funky LED lights and a built-in sound system guaranteed to keep you pumped during your work out. It also boasts an impressive Ride studio, where you can enjoy a number of different cycling workouts that deliver maximum results with minimum impact on the joints.
NRG Fitness isn’t your typical gym. Instead it offers a wide range of stimulating classes including NRG Ride, RPM, Ariel Swing, Sprint, Pole Fit, NRG Core, NRG HIIT, NRG Run, NRG Box, BodyPump, BodyAttack and even Zumba. In fact, they’re always adding more to the list.
Best of all? It’s all app based! You simply download the NRG app, check the schedule and book your desired classes. And the technology doesn’t stop there. The NRG Fitness team is focused on helping you achieve your personal fitness goals by using the NRG System – assess, programme, track and support. One of the tools they use is the MZ-3 HR Belt, which allows the trainers to accurately track the progress and effort of your fitness journey. The MYZONE belt delivers heart rate-based effort tracking technology that allows you to monitor your heart rate during a workout. You can then view your physical activity data on a smartphone through the MYZONE App.
Despite the many clients who come through its Dubai Marina doors, NRG has a wonderful community feel to it. Thanks to co-founder Christina Guastella and fitness instructor Sharon McConnell (who oversaw my regime and progress), there was always a friendly face to make me feel welcome, motivate me and push me to my limits.
Thanks to the variety of classes on offer, training at NRG never gets boring. On days when I was bursting with energy, I’d opt for HIIT or BodyPump classes. On days when I felt a little burnt out (we all have those, don’t judge), I’d go for the NRG Core and KO8 classes (which are still rigorous, FYI). Whatever the case, I always left feeling like I’d been pushed harder and trained more intensely than I thought I could handle before the class.
After six weeks, I felt at home. The class schedule doesn’t change too drastically, so you’re able to plan your weeks accordingly. Personally, I tried to squeeze in two BodyPump classes, a K08 session and a NRG Core class every week, which targeted just about every body part and muscle group imaginable. Best of all? It was fun, and the more classes I attended, the stronger and fitter I became. When I reached week six, I managed to triple my weights in the BodyPump class. YAS!
By the time my six weeks were over, I felt like a member of the team. I knew all the lovely staff by name, greeted all the regular faces in my classes, and I knew my way around the gym. And, of course, the results started to show. To be honest, I was having so much fun and feeling so much fitter, that I wasn’t particularly bothered by the exact results. They were certainly there, but it was the sudden comments from my friends and colleagues that proved it was working. Truth be told, the classes at NRG were the best cardio workouts I’ve experienced to date, while also toning and shaping my body.
Fantastic results aside, I’m now not afraid to attend and try new fitness classes. Because, guess what? Everybody is in the same boat, and nobody is judging. Which is exactly why I can’t wait to return to NRG to try even more new classes. Go team!
INFO: NRG Fitness, Marina Walk, Dubai Marina; for more info on classes and different pricing options, visit nrgfitness.me
Meet The Co-Owner: Christina Guastella
What inspired you to start NRG Fitness?
Since my early days, I’ve always found a passion for group exercise. When I moved to the UAE 12 years ago, fitness classes became part of a regular routine, my go-to for a means of balance and motivation in the hectic and challenging Dubai lifestyle. What started as a hobby on the side of my corporate life quickly led to me becoming a fitness professional. I gained so much more by sharing the passion with others and helping coach them in achieving their own goals too.
What sets NRG Fitness apart from other gyms in Dubai?
Firstly, NRG is owned by fitness fanatics who strongly believe in what we do, determined to share our own successful fitness journeys. We believe in focusing on the members’ experience and using attention to detail in a friendly social atmosphere where training in smaller groups provides a sense of belonging. Secondly, you will find the UAE’s most diverse range of group fitness classes at NRG, and with so many training methods to choose from, you can literally tap into whatever gets you moving. Our highly motivating coaches are committed to supporting you every step of the way, offering personal training for a more tailored focus, whilst keeping your nutrition on track through fresh smoothies and post workout boosters at our in-house NRG Bar. The place is made to feel like a social hub where you can find positive vibes and gain inspiration in a group environment.
What are your favourite classes to teach and why?
My first love of group fitness classes sparked from Les Mills (originally from NZ), favourites being BodyPump and RPM (indoor cycling) – totally addictive and they work! I just love seeing the transformation and positive change in participants’ moods and lifestyles once they get hooked on a program that is fun and shows results.
You obviously eat incredibly healthy. What’s your favourite cheat meal?
Oh gosh, I’m a massive foodie so this is a hard one! Top hits would definitely have to be a nice juicy lasagne and sweet treats including carrot cake, pumpkin pie, sticky-date pudding and custard.
Meet The Instructor: Sharon McConnell
How long have you been working at NRG Fitness?
I have been at NRG fitness for 16 months. From the pre-opening till now.
When did you first realise you wanted a career in fitness?
When I was in Australia in 2004, I realised how fit and healthy the country was. Everyone was out running and everyone had personal trainers. I then went to live in Thailand for a year in a Muay Thai camp and trained 5 hours a day. When I eventually returned to the UK I went to college then university to study sport. I have always been an active person and sitting behind a desk was not my desired career path.
What are your personal fitness goals?
I found it hard to motivate myself after teaching classes and working 12-hour days at times. Then I realised we all have to make time for ourselves. When I teach classes I don’t see that as my workout, so I have started my own fitness journey and workout strength training five days a week on top of my 45-plus fitness classes I teach a month. Over the last 6 months I have lost 8kg and gained more muscle mass, which is exactly what I wanted.
What’s the best thing about being a PT and instructor?
The best part of being a PT and group instructor is motivating people and making them feel better about themselves. Even if it’s not a weight loss goal, it may just be that happy hormone release they need to feel better about themselves or to start their day off. It’s very rewarding.
If you could train any celebrity, who would it be?
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Not that he needs anyone to train him, but it would be the best hour of my life just being in the same room as him.