Embody Fitness is, I’m told by director of training Rob Richards, not a gym. It’s a transformation centre. And a very smart one at that, with changing rooms more akin to a spa, the spacious gym floor with floor to ceiling windows over looking Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, above the ultra modern Lamborghini Building. It’s equipped with all the latest gym equipment, although no treadmills; a running junkie, this panics me. But, the guys at Embody say they don’t need them and, given the impressive before and after photos on the website, testament to the transformative powers of this centre, I'm open to the idea. Treadmills are a cardio comfort blanket, but perhaps there is another way.
The original Embody members-only fitness club in London was co-founded in 2013 by husband and wife team James Miller and Sharare Haua, city workers frustrated by not being able to find a gym to fit in with their high pressure, time-poor lives. Now they have brought the concept to Dubai, opening the Olympic standard 10,000 square foot training facility in March, clients ranging from overweight teenagers to semi-professional athletes. Unlike most gyms which are intent on tying you into lengthy contracts, Embody Fitness does the opposite - the point is you come in, commit to their fitness and nutrition programme for an average of eight to twelve weeks, then leave a changed man or woman, and keep up the good work on your own.
Embody Fitness Dubai
The programme is highly personal and centres on a triad combining training, nutrition and supplementation, and sports therapy to transform body and mind. It is based upon both fitness goals and an initial full assessment that focuses on a nutritional analysis and lifestyle screening (based on stress, sleep patterns, type of jobs), and a movement and orthopaedic evaluation, looking at your potential for injury or imbalances accordung to how you perform simple movements. It’s unlike any other analysis I’ve had; my tendency for dodgy knees and lower back and hip pain is probably come from in-turned knees stemming from my feet I’m told. Some things might seems little strange, such as the moment I’m told to hold a pen and keep both eyes on it as I bring it to my nose and out again. I go cross eyed, but one eye doesn’t quite follow in sync, suggesting my hand eye co-ordination might not be the best. An excuse for the humiliation of school netball, but also an indicator of a slight imbalance.
All this feeds into the programme, each exercise designed to achieve the maximum results in the shortest period of time, while avoiding injury. The opposite to those over-zealous gym visits that quickly result in a trip to the physio. Mine involves a varied circuit including leg presses, arm exercises with light weights, step ups, pushing a weighted sled across the floor and short sprints on an assault bike. While I’m not dripping with sweat by the end, I certainly feel the burn the next day. Programmes typically include private personal training sessions with group classes, and there’s a private training room, accessed from the women’s changing room for women who want to exercise discreetly.
With The Embody Bar serving up fresh juices and good coffee, a member’s lounge and rehabilitation specialists also onsite, the whole place feels more like a member’s club than a gym. Only problem is, you’ll be loathed to leave once you’ve been transformed and have to exercise with the masses once more.
For more information see embodyfitness.ae