Boxing can burn around 600 calories while toning your entire body. This makes it one beast of a workout. Recently, fitness fans in the UAE have been asking for more options — and gyms, unsurprisingly, are providing them. Classes vary from the highly technical ones to those for ladies only to ones that feature almost dancelike moves. Here are some of our top picks.
Underdog Boxing — Media City Dubai
This brand new boxing gym is all about making the often intimidating sport accessible to everyone. “Boxing can be quite daunting,” explained co-founder Linda Chambers. “We wanted to create an experience that was fun.” Enter upbeat music, playful lighting and friendly trainers. Classes include a focus on strength training and conditioning, while popular instructors like Nadine du Toit teach women of all levels to feel stronger.
Real Boxing Only — Al Quoz Dubai
Home to ESPN’s Fighting Fit Dubai show, this two-floor gym in Al Quoz Dubai attracts everyone from dedicated boxers to groups of casual friends. Upstairs, members work through group fitness classes and bootcamps. Downstairs pro-boxers practice. “We’ve made it into a gym where everyone feels comfortable,” said Michelle Kuehn, managing director of Real Boxing Only. Group classes are varied, but all incorporate elements of boxing, ranging from boxing technique to boxing yoga to boxing circuits.
Cobra — Al Bandar, Abu Dhabi
With tag lines like “push till ya spew” and “train insane or remain the same,” it’s no surprise that Cobra attracts a high intensity, adrenaline-loving crowd. Trainers have a reputation for being friendly but will make you work hard. Try out the Boxing Technique class to work on your form, or the Sparring class to actually get those punches going. There’s also a ladies self-defense program, Fighters Fitness to work on cardio, kids Muay Thai and more.
UFC Gym — Business Bay and JBR, Dubai
With a crisp industrial feel, free weights, cardio machines and a boxing area, this black-and-red gym draws a strong crowd. Classes at UFC Gym offer boxing conditioning and kickboxing conditioning. Family friendly bootcamps encourage parents to work out with their little ones and there are classes just for children. If you’re feeling particularly strong, a whole host of mixed martial arts programs will show you how to wrestle, strike and master Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Round10 Boxing — JLT and Al Quoz, Dubai
Get ready to torch a serious amount of calories at this gym. A class here might include circuits, drills using the boxing bag and actual boxing. There’s Power Boxing and Kids Boxing, Beginners Boxing Technique and Ladies Cardio Boxing, just to name a few. The range of options means this boxing-focused gym has something for everyone. The trainers also promise to burn up to 1,000 calories per session.
KO Gym — Dubai Marina, Dubai
Former fighters train at this rather brutal gym. Expect to cycle through tire flips, planks, sprints, weights, burpees and press-ups. Once all that is done, you’ll throw on a pair of gloves and work through boxing moves. Instructors are quite hands on, helping correct your jabs, hooks and upper cuts as you go — but this also means they don’t allow for much stopping. All this happens in a bare-bones space that gets the job done.
Primal Gym — Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi
With a focus on martial arts, Primal Gym offers technical boxing and high intensity Body Combat. In the former, instructors will have you punch, jab and uppercut until you do the moves correctly. In the latter, you’ll fly through the air kicking and punching, moving to a series of choreographed songs. There’s also plenty of weights and exercise equipment, plus an optional six-week transformation program.
Punch – Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi
Trendy and approachable, this brand new boutique boxing gym takes punching workouts and sets them to intense tunes. Expect to start sweating the minute you stand in front of your own boxing station, and not to stop during the entire pulsing, thumping, music-fueled class. The idea behind Punch, explained co-founder Bashar Al Eid, was to simplify the technical element while adding in a bit more energy. “Instead of always having a traditional boxing gym, let’s make it much more fun,” he said. In addition to cardio-intense HIIT classes, Punch offers four-week training camps throughout the year.
TK MMA – Media City, Dubai
Founded by the impressive Tam Khan, this gym draws a fairly muscled crowd. Workouts happen indoors and out, with a dedicated outside space offering a CrossFit rig and open-air weights. Classes span everything from Muay Thai to Pilates. For boxing, lessons run throughout the week inside and out. And if you’ve got a kiddo, there’s even a dedicated “anti-bullying” fitness program to teach self-defense and confidence skills.
Warehouse Gym — Al Quoz, Dubai
Back behind this two-floor gym’s row of cardio machines, its heaving weight racks, its sprinting sled track and its CrossFit area, you’ll find its sizable boxing ring. Here is where this graffiti-painted gym hosts BoxFit, a boxing-based cardio workout. Classes incorporate drills, jumping rope, ab exercises and shadow boxing. If you want more one-on-one training, Warehouse Gym has a host of personal trainers on hand.
The Champion Club — JLT, Dubai
With the first session free and a focus on technique, this gym attracts newbies and dedicated pros alike. It was set up by three-time World Thai Boxing Champion, Prince Amir, so it has that easy air of expertise. In a class, expect to spar plenty after working through shadowboxing drills.
Featured photo TK MMA
Danae Mercer is a freelance health and travel journalist. In addition to working as editor-in-chief of Women's Health Middle East and Men's Health Middle East, Danae has written for The Sunday Times, CNN Travel, Dubai Tourism, The Guardian, Afar, Bloomberg and many more. She's based in Dubai and is a trainer at Crank. instagram.com/danaemercer