Even as UAE fitness centres open up, some residents prefer exercising at home. Here’s what you need to do it
While the Dubai government did allow commercial gyms to reopen last week – with some restrictions in place – many residents will prefer to remain at home for safety reasons. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain or build your level of fitness, personal trainers tell GN Focus.
Ross Gilmour, Co-founder of Better Body Collective, says it’s important to define one’s goals before setting up a home gym. “If improving your cardiovascular fitness is most important, prioritise items that are versatile such as kettlebells, dumbbells and medicine balls. If possible, getting a hold of a rower, stationary bike or if appropriate a skipping rope would be useful.
“If building muscle and getting stronger is your goal, prioritise maximal load with minimal equipment within the space you have available. Mechanical tension is the key driver for muscle growth, so we want equipment that allows us to do this to a high degree. A barbell and plates (if feasible), adjustable dumbbells, a TRX suspension trainer, and some different strength resistance bands would be a great place to start.”
If improving your cardiovascular fitness is most important, prioritise items that are versatile such as kettlebells, dumbbells and medicine balls.
If you don’t have the budget for all that – the current economic situation means a lot of people may not be able to splurge thousands of dirhams on equipment – Gilmour recommends picking up a TRX resistance trainer and various resistance bands. Both can be obtained for under Dh200 on Amazon. “The upper posterior of the body is the hardest to target with bodyweight alone. By manipulating movement speed, time under tension and utilising pre-exhaust methods across all exercises, you can continue making progress with minimal equipment.”
For those whom money and space are no object, freelance personal trainer Joe Watters says investing in a squat rack, adjustable bench and rack of dumbbells would be ideal.
Gym vs home
While many UAE residents have grown used to lifting heavy weights at commercial gyms, it can be hard to achieve similar results at home with more limited resources. “You should try to keep resistance as high as possible,” explains Watters, who regularly posts exercise demonstrations to his Instagram page, @joewatters_coach. “Try to do this using resistance bands and bodyweight exercises.”
You should try to keep resistance as high as possible. Try to do this using resistance bands and bodyweight exercises.
For building and maintaining muscle, he recommends three primary exercises: squats, press-ups and dips.
When it comes to burning fat, only one routine really works, insists Gilmour: “The top three exercises are 1) a calorie deficit, 2) a calorie deficit, 3) a calorie deficit.
“There are no magical fat-burning exercises. You must consume fewer calories than you expend. That’s right, doing lots of sit-ups does zero to reduce fat around the belly.
“You can’t spot-reduce fat in a chosen area of the body. You can however target increases in muscle in chosen areas. Want to lose belly fat? Hire a coach to help you through a sensible, well-structured training and nutrition framework that is specific for you as an individual. If you are consistent for long enough, not only will you lose the belly fat you’ll keep it off too.”
For building and maintaining muscle mass without equipment, freelance personal trainer Joe Watters recommends these three exercises: