“C'mon let's go. Left jab, right cross, right knee … Thumbs by your cheekbones, hands by your face and elbows tucked in to protect your ribs …''

As Clifford Tindell, a fitness expert, gives out these instructions, a group of expatriates, armed with boxing gloves and kick pads, organise themselves into pairs and just let go. One would think it is a martial arts class in progress, but it's actually a fun-filled work-out session by the sea opposite the Jumeirah Beach Residence at Dubai Marina.

Called Core Combat, it helps increase cardio endurance, cuts flab and tones muscles within the body, said Tindell, who hails from South Africa.

A few metres away, another group, a men-only unit, is engaged in an intense cardio regimen called Core Cross-fit that is also run by Tindell under the aegis of Core Directions, a fitness company that he founded in May 2008.
Both Core Combat and Core Cross-fit are part of what is called the Core Active series.

The company also has classes in Core Yogalites, a system of movements based on exercise techniques like Pilates, yoga and callenetics which improves flexibility, tone and posture. These classes are currently held by the Marina.

“We have trained around 1,500 people so far,'' said Tindell, who said he has a team of 15 trainers who help him out.
Asked about the origin of the exercises, he said they were derived from the concept of boot camps, a martial arts fitness programme from the West. “But this wasn't for everyone, so we thought of introducing a form of exercise that could cater to the masses,'' Tindell said.

The innovative sessions which are held twice a week have people coming in not only from Dubai Marina but also other parts of the city, including The Palm, Downtown Burj, The Springs, Meadows and the Gardens.

“I got an opportunity to do an activity that I would never have thought of doing,'' said Arnaud Palu, a French resident of The Palm who has been attending the Core Combat sessions for the past three months. “I love the idea of working out by the sea. It's probably my romantic French side,'' he said.

Similarly, Rob Pearse of South Africa, who has been doing the rigorous Cross-fits since January this year, said, “This is intense cardio and works all your muscles.'' He said he did this in addition to his workouts at the gym thrice a week.

A month into the classes, Matt Dolman, a British expatriate, said, “Once you have tried it, you will not want to stop.''
Core Directions will be opening a new studio called Core Studio at the Marina on September 15 where indoor group exercises set to music will be introduced. The company also runs a dance academy for children aged between three and 18 and conducts educational courses in health and fitness training and management.

The Core Active series cost Dh500 for 10 flexible sessions.

For details, go to www.coredirection.com.