Best gyms in Doha

We round up the best places to start your fitness regime in Qatar

Best gyms in Doha
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The Doha Bulge. It lurks, that ignoble 10kg that seem to attack us the minute we get off the plane. And it’s not just a vicious rumour: an analysis of United Nations and World Health Organization data published in the journal BMC Public Health ranks Qatar as the third fattest country in the world, beaten only by the USA and Kuwait. To put it into perspective, you only need 13 adults in Qatar to tip the scales at one ton. In a country where soaring temperatures keep us indoors, most social activities revolve around food (why hello brunch), and McDonalds delivers. So it’s hard to stay healthy and active. But it takes more than just finding a treadmill to get in shape.

Gyms are more than just their dumbbells, so we asked the people who really make each gym what they are some impertinent questions, to help you find the best fit.

Anytime Fitness Gym

Name: Patrick Salloum, fitness manager, physical therapist and personal trainer

Fitness philosophy: Take care of your body; it’s the only place you have to live. Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.

How did you get involved in the gym industry?
Having a physical therapy background and experience in sports injuries rehabilitation and practicing multiple kinds of sports, the fitness field was always my main point of attraction.

What’s your own biggest fitness struggle or challenge?
My biggest challenge is to make sure that a good fitness culture, knowledge and practice can reach the biggest number of people no matter their age, their occupation or their level of education.

How do you stay motivated?
On a personal level I stay motivated by practicing new kinds of sports. On a professional level, the results I see with my clients improving their health, their positive feedback and the good impact on their lives are enough to keep me going.

What’s your best tip or trick for beating the ‘Doha Bulge’?
The best strategy to overcome the ‘Doha Bulge’ or any other, is to join any health and fitness club and be committed. Working out sucks: but wasting time sucks more. In an era with 24/7 fitness clubs that even have TVs on their machines, is time really an excuse anymore? And again, working out sucks. . . but using a lack of money as an excuse for staying lethargic, out of shape and depressed sucks more. You’re worth more than a piece of paper with some pictures on it. Don’t rob yourself of the ability to look better, feel better, play with your kids and not be out of the breath when you take the stairs. Those quotes are from the book Working Out Sucks by Chuck Runyon, Co-founder and Co-owner of Anytime Fitness.

What’s the move or habit you think everyone should be doing to improve their health?
Have good time management and consecrate time for everything you want to do. Learn good relaxation techniques to get rid of the stress and noise in your life. Have a balanced diet, stay away from tobacco, coffee, junk food, junk food and more junk food. Have periodic medical screenings. Exercise regularly, and hire a qualified and specialised personal trainer to guide you and set goals, especially at the beginning.

Try it out: They offer Fitness on Request, a series of classes available on demand anytime, with a range from aerobics and cardio to abs, core and kick boxing, as well as personal training. Plus, membership in Doha gets you into any of their 2200 clubs around the world. Membership is QR2800 for six months or QR4900 for one year.
Open 24 hours daily. Al Wakrah Main Road, with a new club opening soon in Al Sadd (4411 1999).

View 11 gyms to get you moving


Cabana Club

Name: Anoj Shakya, gym instructor

Fitness philosophy: Fitness is all about hard work, pleasure and satisfaction. We can experience pleasure when a total commitment of mind and body is made to an activity.

How did you get involved in the fitness industry?
The fitness industry has given me purpose and allowed me to impact the lives of so many other people, young and old alike. I’ve been in this industry almost nine years, working as a gym instructor. It’s a challenging job where I can achieve self satisfaction by helping people reach their desire to be healthy and fit. I know I’ve done a good job when people I train appreciate me for the outcome of the training, which is the best feeling ever.

What’s your own biggest fitness struggle or challenge?
Being healthy and staying fit is always a struggle and a challenge to both trainer and trainee. Because unless we, trainers, are fit ourselves, I don’t think anyone would like to train with us! As we say, ‘No Pain No Gain’. Fitness is always a struggle and a challenge where each drop of sweat and pain you get pays you back.

How do you stay motivated?
My fitness journey, fitness tips and fitness inspiration have no secret routine nor any magical number of reps and sets. All there is to it is my confidence, belief, dedication and hard work on a consistent basis and a desire to succeed, which always keeps me motivated and going on and on.

What’s your best tip or trick for beating the ‘Doha Bulge’?
My biggest fitness struggle or challenge as a trainer is to convince my clients and give advice. Doha is a city where everyone’s busy with work schedules and with the climate being too hot and humid, every one of us must think about health and staying fit. The best tip or trick that I can suggest is to always stay positive: remember things don’t happen overnight. Always adopt a holistic approach towards fitness. Also remember: your body needs an ample amount of rest, so sleep enough. Make exercise your lifestyle; and yes one can begin to exercise at any age – of course, under expert guidance! It’s never too late.

What’s the move or habit you think everyone should be doing to improve their health?
Exercise plays a huge part in living a healthy lifestyle. As we know we don’t have any elevator to success, you must climb the stairs. Patience is the key. You are not going to have the body you dream of and desire over night. When your exercise and workouts get harder and difficult and you think you can no longer continue, remember why you are doing this and what you will feel and look like at the end. One day every single drops of your sweat will give you what you deserve.

Try it out: They offer personal training as well as stretching classes, open to members and non members. Family memberships are QR300 for one month, QR600 for three months, QR7000 for six months and QR10,375 for one year. Couples are QR2000 for one month, QR5000 for three months, QR6000 for six months or QR9375 for one year. Singles are QR1250 for one month, QR3500 for three months, QR4500 for six months and QR7735 for one year.
Open daily 6am-10pm. Radisson Blu Hotel (4428 1621).


Cloud Nine

Name: Kelly Forder, yoga and pilates instructor

Fitness philosophy: Exercise is not just about losing weight, exercise is for life.

How did you get involved in the fitness industry?
I used to live in the south of Spain and I was bored with my lifestyle and job in a holiday resort. I decided to use my free time wisely and started to practice aerobics and jogging for myself. I developed such a passion for exercise that I researched gym instructor courses in the area.

What’s your own biggest fitness struggle or challenge?
In the beginning I used to push myself with running/jogging. It was hard, but I gave myself little targets and gradually built up so I could run for more than an hour. This gave me firsthand experience in how to help motivate my clients. In the beginning it was really scary teaching in front of many people, sometimes I wanted to laugh or run. Teaching taught me to leave my comfort zone.

How do you stay motivated?
The students I have keep me motivated. It’s a great feeling when they get the results they require. It may help to improve their overall lifestyle and confidence. I also keep myself updated with new exercise routines. Teaching an hour class always goes by so fast, for myself at least.

What’s your best tip or trick for beating the ‘Doha Bulge’?
Experiment with different types of exercise until you find the type you enjoy. Enjoyment is very important as it will help you to keep to your routine. Start your exercise with a positive state of mind, if possible try to practice exercise at the time of day you notice you have the most energy. Focus on what you do with 100 percent attention. Notice all the improvements, small and big, such as your energy levels improving, release of stress, improved sleep and improved fitness levels. The more you notice improvements the more you will stay motivated.

What’s the move or habit you think everyone should be doing to improve their health?
Include some movements to your day, we were not designed to sit in a chair all day. Exercise can help to improve blood circulation and keep the immune system healthy. Exercise is definitely not just about losing weight. Stretch and keep your joints mobile daily. Enjoy a healthy positive life, sleep well, try not to skip meals; it will help you exercise with energy and won’t have you rushing for the sweets at the end of the day.

Try it out: Open for ladies only. They offer aero dance, step aerobics, belly dance, Tae Bo, water aerobics, hatha yoga, pilates, yoga/pilates fusion, cycling and Zumba, as well as kids ballet classes for ages four-12 and kids Zumba for kids over seven. They also offer personal training and home training and swimming classes. Classes are QR50 per class, or QR500 for three classes a week for one month, QR800 including pool and gym. QR800 for unlimited classes, or QR1200 for unlimited classes, gym and pool use. Quarterly, six month and annual memberships also available.
Open Sun-Thu 9am-9pm, Fri noon-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm. Opposite the Exhibition Centre, Lusail Road www.cloudnineqatar.com (4493 3057).


Curves for Woman

Name: Najwa Natour, managing partner

Fitness philosophy: It’s a matter of leading a healthy lifestyle. Consistency is the key to success: it’s not exercising four hours during your weekends, but rather dividing these hours through the whole week.

How did you get involved in the fitness industry?
I had a small car accident and had to struggle with knee treatment until I got introduced to Curves. I fell in love with its concept and both my physician and I were so impressed with the results of Curves’ workout. So I decided to quit my job and help other women by getting Curves to Doha!

What’s your own biggest fitness struggle or challenge?
After my accident, climbing up or going down the stairs was a nightmare to me. After being with Curves for over five years, I can jump off the stairs, wear high heels and dance!

How do you stay motivated?
Seeing the workout results keep me motivated, not having to be on diet to stay in good shape also keeps me going on with Curves’ workout.

What’s your best tip or trick for beating the ‘Doha Bulge’?
Stick to three simple rules: stay active, a 30 minute workout a day can work miracles, believe in it! Stay away from heavy dinners, your worst enemy. If you have a sweet tooth like me, make your sweet treat a snack between breakfast and lunch, as it’s the best time for your body to burn calories.

What’s the move or habit you think everyone should be doing to improve their health?
Treat your inner bones and joints the same way you treat your teeth: take daily care of them.

Try it out: For ladies only, they offer a circuit training program. Membership is QR3100 per year. For this month only, subscribe for a year and get three months free.
Open Sat, Thu 8am-6pm, Sun-Wed 7.30am-noon, 2pm-7.30pm. Al Waab (4469 9955), Duhail (4421 7755), Hilal (4455 2477).


Diplomatic Club

Name: Allan Lloyd C. Martinez R.N. personal trainer

Fitness philosophy: ‘If you lose your health, you lose it all’. The body that you have right now is a direct representation of what you have been doing and eating for the last six months or even for the past years. If you want body transformation you must act now and work for it. As the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’.

How did you get involved in the fitness industry?
I got involved in the fitness industry while I was still in high school. I used to be so skinny and wanted to improve my physique. After getting my nursing license, the opportunity in my field was scarce. I decided to pursue my passion for health and fitness. I worked with Fitness First Platinum RCBC in the Philippines.

What is your fitness struggle?
My fitness struggle was during my teenage life when I was so thin. My body type is ectomorph. I need to focus on calorie intake, long rest periods, and minimum cardio. It was only then I started making some real gains and I’ve never looked back.

How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by sticking to my fitness program and rewarding myself with small things whenever I reach a certain progression or fitness goal.

What is your best tip or trick for beating the ‘Doha bulge’?
You must find ways to incorporate an active lifestyle and eat healthy foods with your busy schedule.

What’s the move or habit everyone should be doing to improve their health?
Have an exercise program. If you are a beginner I highly recommend that you hire a personal trainer who can guide, support, and keep you motivated to work out and give you an individualised program that suits your circumstances and fitness goals.

Try it out: They offer personal training as well as a variety of classes for both members and non members (for a full schedule see www.thediplomaticclub.com/leisure.aspx). Family memberships are QR16,000, couples are QR14,000 and singles are QR9000.
Open daily 7am-11pm. West Bay, www.thediplomaticclub.com


Fitness First

Name: Mohammed Nyamathulla, fitness manager

Fitness philosophy: Fitness should be a part of your lifestyle. It improves your health, quality of life, self-esteem and good looks. Function defines structure.

How did you get involved in the fitness industry?
Sports and fitness has been my passion since early childhood. I was actively participating in sports activities, particularly athletics and wrestling from my high school days. After completing post graduation in Physical Education I signed up for a fitness personal trainer course with Australian Fitness Academy and completed level four certification, which gave me the opportunity to become a personal trainer and change people’s lives.

What’s your own biggest fitness struggle or challenge?
Often, my fitness level starts to plateau. To beat this I have to add new challenges by changing training intensity and frequency at regular intervals.

What’s your best tip or trick for beating the ‘Doha Bulge’?
Compulsory exercise programs at least three times a week combining cardiovascular conditioning and dynamic strength training for all the population based on their fitness level. The government and health insurance companies should subsidise gym memberships for every resident, which will encourage more people to exercise and stay fit. I believe fitness should be fun and enjoyable, something to look forward to and something that leaves you feeling satisfied and successful. At Fitness First when we design a program for our clients we take into account their goals, body composition, individual fitness levels and also the spirit and sense of humour of our clients. It’s not always necessary to put in long hours to get good results but the quality of exercise or the exercise chosen must be goal specific.

What’s the move or habit you think everyone should be doing to improve their health?
Movement is the most important element for good health. Our body is designed to move. Just adding a little movement to your life can decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Plus it will contribute to good looks by helping you shed extra body fat. Activities like brisk walking, gardening and washing your own car can make a big difference to your overall fitness level.

Try it out: Fitness First offers a variety of classes, from aerobic and strength classes like body combat and cycling to Zumba, belly dance, Salsa, and yoga, as well as personal training. Classes included in membership, QR100 for guest pass. Membership is QR3000 for six months or QR4000 per year.
Open Sat-Thu 6am-11pm, Fri 7am-9pm. City Centre (4411 5999)


Fitness Qatar

Name: Ryan Bell, personal trainer

Fitness philosophy: My fitness philosophy is simple. Produce a high quality, personalised fitness programme specific to my client’s goals and abilities to get results. I also aim to educate and empower my clients at every opportunity.

How did you get involved in the fitness industry?
I first got involved in the fitness industry through my own struggle in reaching my fitness goals. For years I went from one commercial gym to another, spending a considerable amount of money on personal training without achieving any results. I was introduced to a facility called Varsity Gym, a private, results-driven gym in Glasgow. I instantly achieved great results and was also taught a vast amount about training – this is what has inspired me to become a trainer.

What’s your own biggest fitness struggle or challenge?
My own personal challenge is finding the time to train in between my busy work schedule. Another challenge I have faced, specifically since moving to Qatar, is to educate people about the importance of maintaining their health and fitness. We are in the middle of a health epidemic and it is our job as trainers to endeavour to inspire the nation to get active and lead healthier lifestyles.

How do you stay motivated?
What keeps me motivated apart from loving what I do is having both short- and long-term goals, not just in fitness, but in life. Without an end goal or target you have nothing to aim for and nothing to work towards. Specific, time-related goals definitely keep me motivated!

What’s your best tip or trick for beating the ‘Doha Bulge’?
I actually lost weight when I moved to Doha! But what I would advise individuals looking to avoid the ‘Doha bulge’ is to get settled into a routine as quickly as possible. I think the moving process certainly contributes to bad eating habits. Many people find they haven’t got time to prepare fresh, healthy food and as a result tend to favour fast food as an easier option.

What’s the move or habit you think everyone should be doing to improve their health?
I am a big advocate of strength training. I recommend big, multi joint, compound movements such as the squat, bench press, deadlift and military press when looking to achieve the best results. However, it is essential that individuals take the time to learn correct techniques or seek professional advice before performing these exercises themselves. We are sticklers for technique at Fitness Qatar!

Try it out: They offer personal training for groups and individuals, as well as corporate programmes and bootcamps. They come to you, training you in the space you have available. Personal training for QR250-QR550 per session, depending on number of people, with discounts if you book 10 sessions. Fitcamp Small Group training QR400-800 for groups of 5-10. Bootcamp is QR750 for 12 sessions.
www.fitnessqatar.me, www.bootcampqatar.com


Just Personal Training Gym

Name: Ian Hutchinson, gym manager and personal trainer

Fitness philosophy: Progress demands sacrifice, a target and motivation. With all the best intentions in the world, if you do not have these three things, it will be very difficult to achieve your goals. If you find it hard to motivate yourself, hire a personal trainer. I always give any new clients the first session free of charge just to ensure that we get on with each other.

How did you get involved in the fitness industry?
It was 30 years ago. With my passion for sports, I started to go to a gym and then went on to a fitness instructor’s course. I passed my first fitness course in 1984. This was the hardest course I had ever attended.

What’s your own biggest fitness struggle or challenge?
Fitness instructors are just like everyone else. We like our sweet things and fast foods. As I get older it is a struggle to maintain a high level of fitness. Believe it or not one of my biggest struggles is to say no to the unhealthy foods that we should not be eating. I have a passion for apple pie and custard, it’s an English thing.

How do you stay motivated?
Staying motivated is very easy for me. I love to be creative and see positive results in others. Many years ago I trained a female in England. After three months of hard work she lost about 15 centimetres around her waist. She looked great. I remember saying goodbye to her as my work was done. As I saw her tears running down her face, I knew then that I have the best job in the world.

What’s your best tip or trick for beating the ‘Doha Bulge’?
As we progress with our work and our family lives we sometimes forget about ourselves. Without noticing until it is too late the ‘Doha Bulge’ just suddenly appears. The best trick for beating the ‘DB’ is to say no when the wrong food is offered to you. Sorry everyone, the question is what are you willing to give up to achieve your health and well-being goals?

What’s the move or habit you think everyone should be doing to improve their health?
Walking, walking and more walking, that’s a start. Sorry everyone, if you tell me that you do not have time for exercise, you are wrong. Tough words but they have to be said. You can walk up the stairs, or in the park. If the weather is too hot, how about walking in the mall, there are no excuses!

Try it out: They offer personal training and group training, all within the membership price. Membership costs QR400 for one month, QR1100 for three months and QR2000 for six months.
Open daily noon-9pm. Hamad Aquatic Centre, Aspire Zone (7713 6177).


Cool Classes to Try

Aqua Zumba
Where: Ritz-Carlton Doha (4484 8000)
What: Exactly what it sounds like, this is the Zumba craze gone poolside! Combining the workout of Zumba with the gentle cooling of a water workout. The schedule is updated regularly, so check for most recent times and dates.

Capoeira
Where: George V Spa (www.georgevspadoha.com)
What: It’s Brazilian Fight Dancing, combining the grace and flexibility of dance with the intensity of martial arts, all to the beat of a drum. It’s an intense workout with a zen-like high at the end. Prices TBD, but classes are Monday 7pm-8pm and Wednesday 6.30pm-7.30pm.

Hulu Hoop
Where: Various (InTheHoop.fitness@gmail.com)
What: The humble hula hoop has come a long way since we were kids. Now, it’s a low impact cardio workout that can burn between 400 and 600 calories an hour, while toning and strengthing your core. Class schedule varies, so check directly for updated times and dates.

Trampogym
Where: Doha English Speaking School (6664 5032 or 5548 6059)
What: Bounce on a trampoline and increase flexibility while burning calories in a fun, fast-paced cardio workout. Classes are Monday 7pm-8pm, for QR70 per class.

Healthy Food

Can’t be trusted to cook for yourself? Put down the ice cream: there’s help. Two different companies offer healthy, balanced meals, delivered to your door. Slim ‘n Lite (4432 3035) delivers a box of food including breakfast, lunch,n dinner, salads, snacks and desserts to either your work or your home, starting at QR2500 per month. They also offer a healthy lunch box service, delivering balanced lunches to your office each
day for QR48 per box, or QR960 per month. Or try the Diet Centre (4436 8820), which offers a similar service with meals delivered.
The first month is QR3500, and QR3150 per month after that.

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