It comes as no surprise to our regular readers that Team Amanqi is a group of fitness lovers. As a result, we’re constantly on the search for cool workouts and workout spaces to try out. Whilst we’ve found our favourites in London (Core Collective & BXR, here’s looking at you), we’re always expanding our Dubai list. We recently had the opportunity to experience the Dubai-based Reform Athletica and we are officially obsessed. With a powerful workout, a great space and some seriously friendly instructors, there’s honestly nothing not to love about Reform Athletica.
Intrigued by the changing Dubai fitness scene and the Reform Athletica journey, we decided to sit down with the team to discuss the ever-growing Dubai fitness landscape, the best thing about a TRX workout and the impact of social media.
Dina: Having experienced the real results from my regular fitness regime and attendance of classes similar to the Reform Method and TRX Athletica (the two signature classes at RA) at a top London studio, I became fascinated with the fitness industry and started exploring the possibility of creating a fitness space where clients could experience the same ‘high’ and results I experienced.
The adventure started with my pitch to an initial investor and then to one of London’s top trainers over a juice at Joe and the Juice in London. From there, the idea of Reform was born and together we worked hard to bring it to life. Each of my partners has provided support and guidance along the way.
For 3 years, we went on a working holiday world-tour of classes in London, New York Hong Kong and Los Angeles gathering useful experiences and taking the best of each studio in these cities to turn this concept into a reality in the Middle East hub of Dubai. We wanted to create a space in Dubai that is comparable in quality and standard to studios in the ‘fitness capitals of the world’.
We are almost a year into our journey and what a journey it has been! We have built a real following from our clients who now share the same passion for our classes as I did before the idea of Reform Athletica came about. It’s rewarding to see that our clients are seeing the benefits and realising the results of their hard work that they have been putting into their fitness journey. We continue to promote our environmental commitment and sustainability promise by reducing the use of one-time plastic, so much so, that we were verified and received the badge of ‘Oceanic Champion” by Oceanic Global. We have added two more signature classes to our schedule to compliment the initial offering we had and of course, we continue to grow our art collection which is all on display at the studio!
The Future of The Fitness Scene in Dubai
Dina: The answer to this question can be summarised into two main changes we have witnessed in the fitness industry. Firstly, the more conscious end-user and the birth of the ‘studio culture’.
People today are more conscious than ever of the benefits of maintaining levels of fitness and flexibility throughout the decades of their life. Exercise has suddenly become the number one solution to all our ailments and the advice from every doctor and health professional for any health problems we face (both as a preventative measure or as a cure). As an end-user, we are much more exposed to such benefits by the promotion of a healthy lifestyle through social media channels and the ability to witness real ‘transformation’ stories of ‘normal’ people and their diets which in turn convince us to adopt a similar lifestyle. Working out has become the new ‘going out’ and quinoa, spirulina and açai have all become food staples in our diet as a result. This increased awareness and attention to fitness has turned a vast majority of people (of all ages and fitness levels) to exercise in a quest to take care of their health.
The emergence of the ‘studio culture’ or ‘pay as you use’ model means that people are no longer confined to the one ‘super-gym’ and tied to monthly memberships that worked more for the gym-owner rather than the end-user. The ‘studio culture’ has given people a wide range of options and a diversity in exercise models that they were not previously exposed to before. This together with the more ‘conscious end user’ has meant that there has been an absolute flurry of (and a demand for) studio-openings in Dubai in the last 2 years (at least 7 studios). We have seen the franchise names setting up in Dubai like Barry’s Bootcamp, Physique 57 and Orange Theory – which is a real testimony to the success of these models in the region. Equally, the Dubai fitness scene has also permitted the home-grown brands to set up and flourish (of which we are one) in order to showcase the very best of local talent. It has been heart-warming to see local brands with world-class standards set up and grow from strength to strength.
The combination of the ‘conscious end-user’ and the growth of the ‘studio culture’ has been further strengthened by the platform that Dubai has given fitness enthusiasts. Whereas previously the fitness scene was limited to the winter months in Dubai with local communities organising running clubs and various small fitness events for a limited number months, it has now transformed into world-class events like the Dubai Marathon which started in 2000, the Dubai Fitness Challenge launched for the first time in 2017 and the multitude of yoga festivals that run throughout the year. This has meant that studios now are becoming more and more integral to the community feel that we look for. To supplement that and strengthen that cause, there has has been a definite focus at the governmental-level to give Dubai a fitness-hub status competing with cities like London and New York.
The Impact of Social Media
Dina: Social Media has been an incredible powerful tool in the life our business. Indeed, social media has become a necessary marketing tool for any business these days. Individuals in search of information want to find it in the most convenient and easiest of ways – and social media with outposts like Facebook and Instagram has meant that information has become very easily accessible to the end-user. For us as a studio, it was essential in the run-up to our opening in order to give people an idea of who we were and what offering we have. We have seen a shift in the way individuals are communicating as well with a strong preference for digital messages (like instagram and WhatsApp) in order to obtain any information about the business. Social Media marketing allowed us to promote causes we are passionate about and promote awareness about certain issues that are dear to our heart. However, despite all its benefits, I still have my reservations vis a vis its use and the rise of ‘instagram celebrities’ that are a product of this system. There is a very fine line between use and abuse of social media and we as a studio have been very keen to ensure that it is not a tool that is over-used beyond what it’s meant for. We are very keen to keep the use of social media in line with our ethos and principles and that we don’t overload the end-user with unnecessary burdensome information!
Dina: It works (and it never gets easier!)! The best thing is that it is a full body workout that incorporates both strength movements as well as bursts of cardio elements to make it an overall complete session, so if you’re pressed for time this is the workout for you. It is also a very effective workout to supplement the Reform Method and you really see the benefits very quickly after attending a few classes.
An Insider Tip to Becoming More Fit
Dina:There are many ways how to answer this question and it really depends on what the specific goals of the individual in question are and how you define your ‘fit’. But in order to be able to help the majority of people I would suggest the simple tool of ‘tracking’ to be the most important step in order to improve no matter what the goal. You need to know where you started in order to know whether you’re improving or not. So I would suggest assessing your current level of fitness, be it current body fat percentage or current ability to perform a full push up or how fast you can run 5km. Once you know that you implement your ideal training plan and frequency and book your sessions in and get the ball rolling. By doing that and consistently showing up and putting the work in as well as tracking your progress along the way you will have a much better chance to achieve the goals you have in mind.