Dubai fitness fans sweat it out whatever the weather
As the temperature rises, training outside becomes tougher, with only the most dedicated fitness enthusiasts willing to swap an air-conditioned gym for the beach or park.
There is a plus side to facing the elements, according to Grant Goes, an athlete who runs the aptly-named Sweat training classes.
“There are a lot of benefits to sweating – the chemical releases, sweating the toxins out of the body,” said Mr Goes. “Sweating is half of what constitutes health.
“Training outdoors, the oxygen is better, and in Dubai we are so often breathing in recycled air through the air conditioning.
“There is also a lot of talk about the importance of connecting with the outdoors, with nature, feeling the grass underneath our feet.”
Anyone thinking of training in the heat of summer must take a few simple precautions to ensure their hydration and nutritional intake is correct.
“The toughest Ironman race in the world is held in Hawaii, where it is extremely hot but the body adapts.”
Team and partner exercises, which take place at Bar Park close to Skydive Dubai in the evening, reinforce the sense of community in the programme, said Mr Goes.
“The idea is that there’s a team around you to not just compete with but to motivate you. It gives you more drive as an individual to simply be better.”
Developing skills such as balance and hand-eye coordination are built into the programme.
“A lot of people have problems because their training is very linear whereas this has your body moving through different planes and joints, though different angles to engage the smaller stabilising muscles, using the whole body and focusing on a lot of mobility.
“Often, people are limited not by their lack of strength but their lack of mobility,” he said.
Each workout is inspired by a different theme – such as court sports, water sports, or free running – looking, for example, at the movements of a surfer as he uses strength, mobility and balance to go from lying on a surfboard to standing in a single movement.
“Squats and push-ups are such great exercises and Sweat extends on these movements to provide a challenging and effective workout in a more creative and motivating manner,” said Mr Goes.
Omar Abu Sharif, 36, has been training with Mr Goes for two years and recently began the Sweat classes.
“We have always trained outdoors and we always do until it becomes unbearable,” he said.
“It’s being in the fresh air, the sea beside you, the whole combination is beneficial.
“You get the vitamin D from being outside and the class is good for whatever fitness level you are at – when you are doing one minute of exercises, you can do as many or few reps as you are able to do in that time,” he said.
Australian Samm Medina, 30, signed up for the classes because she was keen not to “get so caught up being indoors”.
“You forget how nice it is to be outside,” she said, “despite Dubai’s summer heat”.
Her sister Laura, 25, said staying hydrated was important but she enjoyed being outside.
“Like the name of the class, the outdoor weather helps you sweat it out.”