Loren Holland and Frank Afeaki, founders of GymNation which opens in Al Quoz this month Image Credit: XPRESS/Clint Egbert

DUBAI Over 3,000 people have signed up for GymNation, a budget-friendly gym concept, ahead of its launch in April.

Sprawled over 45,000 square feet, the facility is located near Times Square Mall in Al Quoz and has been billed as the largest gym in the UAE. But it’s not its size but affordability that’s drawing people in hordes.


Membership fee here works out at Dh149 per month if you opt for a yearly contract.

In fact their promotion offer which ran throughout last December was pegged at even less - a measly Dh99.

“Our promotional offer elicited a staggering response as nearly 1,500 people enrolled within days,” said GymNation founder Frank Afeaki.

He said they decided to keep the membership fee to a bare minimum following a survey which revealed that many people don’t join gyms because of high costs. “In Dubai, gym membership fees range from Dh400 to Dh2,500 per month. At Dh149, our membership fee is cheaper than a meal for two at an average restaurant,” said Afeaki.

The fully-equipped gym features 25 treadmills, 35 spinning bikes, around 100 strength building machines, 200 pairs of dumb bells besides a sauna and steam room.

“Our concept is like that of a budget airline, which is a value-based strategy where people pay a minimum charge for using the facility and a little extra for ‘add-ons’. For instance, if you want to use sauna or steam room there is a separate fee.

“A lot of gym users do not use these facilities but it is budgeted in their membership fee. We are doing away with the extras and giving members what they need,” said co-founder Loren Holland.

The gym will have group classes such as bootcamp, barre, body pump, yoga, dance and spinning. “We are looking to collaborate with fitness apps to maximise our reach,” said Afeaki.