Five fitness studios to try in DohaShereen D’Souza, 15 Aug 2019 08:25:06 +0400Bounce Fitness Qatar
For the ultimate indoor fitness hangout, try Bounce. It’s perfect for adrenaline-junkies, wall-runners, freestyle-jumpers and basically everyone who is looking for a fun, sporty indoor activity. Bounce Fitness has three special fitness categories to choose from – flight academy, wall runner and Bounce fit. All these programmes are focused on improving your fitness levels in a
fun and energetic manner.
QR90 (adults), QR80 (kids). Open Thu-Tue 8.30am-7pm. Tawar Mall, Al Duhail (4408 6500)

Dynamik by Evolve at The Pearl-Qatar hosts an exciting range of mixed gender and ladies-only fitness classes such as Muay Thai, Pilates, cardio kickboxing and even belly dancing. You may not walk out looking like Shakira but you will have a lot of fun and burn calories at the same time.
QR70 (per class). Days and times vary. Dynamik, The Pearl-Qatar,

Military Fitness Qatar
Too lazy to finish your workout? If you just answered yes, you probably need some military-style discipline. Formerly known as Bootcamp Military Fitness and created by a British army soldier, this group has assembled a unique and wide variety of trainings such as strike ops (muscle endurance plus cardio), artillery (muscle building and overloading), switch fire (HIIT workouts), desert storm and many more. The workouts are rigorous, disciplined and focused on maximising your output.
QR1,800 (30 sessions). Daily, timings vary. Treve Towers, The Pearl-Qatar (5503 0532).

OX Fitness Lab
OX Fitness is an umbrella fitness company offering several different and unique exercise programmes. They even have an app where you can choose your favourite sessions and attend them based on what’s available. Yoga lovers can enroll in Niya Yoga. For boxing action, you can punch to the rhythm at Beat Box. Encore Pilates is for reformer enthusiasts and Ride Tribe features visually enhanced spinning classes. Regular gym workouts are there, too.
QR1,750 (The Works package including unlimited classes for any activity of your choice). Dates and times vary. The Gate Mall (4020 6430).

The Pearl F45 Gym
F45 will most likely leave you gasping for air, but it’s all for the greater good. F45 is the most innovative, challenging and systemised team training workout we can think of. At The Pearl F45, you’ll be part of an inviting environment featuring trendy interiors. This studio gym is focused on getting you motivated through innovation and results through its programmes such as Hollywood circuits, Roman resistance training and Dockland cardio-based exercises among several others.
QR1,200 (one-month membership). Open daily 5.45am-9pm. The Pearl-Qatar (7068 9391).

Healthy meal programmes with doorstep delivery in DohaShereen D’Souza, 06 Aug 2019 08:25:05 +0400Diet Delights
Low-carb, healthy and fresh meals come in a box right to your doorstep. You can choose as little as one meal a day or opt for the box which provides you with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Al Hilal (4031 5411).

Not only is this keto-friendly, but the entire plan is tailored for you and your requirements. The food is tasty and reliable since it’s prepared by the W Doha chefs. All the food is labelled with calories and macros.
Abu Hamour (3334 4679).

Ideal Diet
Don’t want to commit to a monthly box? Ideal Diet delivers single meals and they’re all delicious, too. From dishes such as fish and chicken to desserts like cheesecake and basbusa, everything is calorie counted and really healthy.
Bin Omran (4488 7745).

Free sailing sessions in Doha, 04 Aug 2019 08:14:07 +0400The best way to beat the humidity this summer is to jump into a pool. Or head out for some aqua adventures.

Luckily, Sora Marine is offering free sailing sessions for both adults and children. A family activity for absolutely no cost sounds like the perfect summer plan.

Sora Marine Training teaches sailing, diving, wakeboarding, water-skiing, wakesurfing and powerboating, all with qualified instructors at the helm. You can take courses, sign up for watersports camps and so much more.

The RYA Standard Sailing Course, taught by qualified, highly experienced instructors, costs QR1,800 otherwise. It starts at level one and goes up to level three for adults, and offers a selection of advanced modules.

The courses are 12 to 16 hours long and can be completed in two full days in groups of up to six people, or privately.

But you can save that cash and get a free beginner’s lesson. The free sailing sessions start on Saturday August 31 at 8am until 9.30am and 10am until 11.30am for children and from 1pm until 3pm for adults.

The classes are conducted on a weekly basis (every Saturday), so the next session following August 31 will be on September 7 and 14. The timings are the same but the slots are limited.

Signing up as soon as possible might be a good idea if you want to strengthen your sailing game.

And just in case you want to enroll in any of the other watersports and classes here, there are plenty of options.

The PADI-certified diving lesson (QR300) includes an introduction to breathing underwater in the pool, and the open water scuba diving course (QR2,000) includes a theory session, a pool session and four sea dives.

Sora Marine Training’s wakeboats can be rented for QR400 per hour on weekdays and QR500 per hour on weekends for a maximum of three people.

You can learn to wakeboard, wakesurf and water-ski with the help of an instructor if you’re a beginner.
Free. Aug 31, Sept 7, 14, timings vary. Sora Marine Training, The Diplomatic Club,

Play indoor golf at Education City, 01 Aug 2019 06:40:35 +0400No plans for the weekend? Here’s something fun to do that won’t break a sweat. Try your hand at the new public indoor golf simulator at Education City Golf Club.

You can now play your favourite sport or learn something new any day of the year. Open to everyone in Qatar, golfer or non-golfer you can now experience golf indoors with a coffee and air-conditioning.

Education City Golf Club has recently introduced an HD Golf Curved Wide Screen golf simulator with a dedicated room at the Range.

The simulator allows golf to be played on over 29 different courses across the world such as the US Open Venue Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black and the home of golf St Andrews Old Course.

The system also has a wide selection of competitions and games from darts and tic tac toe to Long Drive and Closest to the Pin.

This means hours of indoor fun thanks to innovative technologies.

The simulator is incorporated into the suite of amenities so tech savy guests can be entertained for as long as they want to.

If you’re a new golfer and want to experience the feeling of sinking some putts, this is an excellent opportunity.

Up to six people can play golf in the indoor simulator which costs QR75 for one hour inclusive of golf clubs and balls.

The more friends you bring along to the simulator the cheaper the costs become. Booking is pretty easy – all you need to do is contact the reception at the Education City Golf Club.
QR75 (per person for one hour). Open daily 6am-9pm. Education City, Qatar Foundation (7773 7973).

Seven best fitness apps to try, 30 Mar 2019 10:30:32 +0400There’s an app for everything these days – we can order food, clothes and cleaners at the tap of that smart screen – but the ones below are designed to get you out of the house.  Whether the intention is to lose weight, tone up or complete your first 5k, we’ve rounded up the best apps to get you moving.

The team behind this free-to-download app are based in Bangalore, India, and pride themselves on having the largest database of Indian foods to keep track of calories – with a total of more than 55,000 foods. It’s been downloaded by more than five million people and scooped three successive “Best App of Year” nods from Google Play. You can input your daily intake, receive real-time insights on your food choices and instructions on 1,500 different exercises from coaches. While scoffing on curry and naans isn’t going to help you lose weight anytime soon, HealthifyMe will go a long way to making sure you’re at least cutting back on the bad stuff. Goodbye creamy kormas, hello pumpkin bhaji.
Free (premium option available). Available on App Store and Google Play,

MyFitnessPal will help you track your daily nutrition – and probably lead to the realisation that you such a good secret eater that even you had no idea. The aim is to track everything you eat and set targets for calorie intake, weight loss, or nutrition goals – so no more head in the fridge shovelling wedges of brie into your mouth. There’s a handy scanner device to pick up information from barcodes if you can’t face painstakingly entering every last crouton from your Caesar salad, or you can add ingredients more precisely if you’re making a home cooked meal. Even if you’re not intending on losing weight or bulking up, it’s good to see what you’re putting in your body – 540 calories in a Big Mac? Who’d have thought it?  
Free. Available on App Store and Google Play,

Apple Health
You know what they say, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” Well, one Silicon Valley juggernaut has dragged that old idiom into the 21st Century thanks to its Health app. Apple automatically installs the digital doctor onto every device, which then syncs to all your devices. It’s a combination of stealthy, healthy tracking and manual input – it will automatically measure your step count, stair count, distance covered and even hours slept on your iPhone or Apple Watch, before you’re able to input additional information. This includes meals eaten, exercises completed and even medical test results. You can also create a Medical ID, which will provide information about yourself, such as allergies, to emergency services. It can be accessed without unlocking your phone.
Free (automatically installed on all devices). Available on App Store,

Couch to 5k
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. C25K has been designed to get even the most reluctant runner off their armchair and up on their feet, running five kilometres (or 30 minutes solidly) in just nine weeks. There’s a load of good advice for people who have never ran before, and some tips to get back into it if you’re a bit rusty. There’s also a “pooch to 5k” option that we are keen to get on board with, to get both you and your hound as fit as a butcher’s dog. All we need now is a canine – preferably a husky that can drag us along (or an ankle biter to have us running like the clappers).
Free, Available on App Store, Google Play and the NHS App Library,

Google Fit
More into Android than Apple? Then this is for you. Google worked with the World Health Organisation and the American Heart Association to create the app. It focuses on two light activity goals called Move Minutes and Heart Points. Move Minutes rack up when your device registers your activity – initially set at 100 minutes per day. This can be altered. While one Heart Point is earned for each minute of moderate exercise such as brisk walking, or double points for more intense activities like running. You can set goals, get expert tips and sync it with wearing sports tech from Nike+ and others to track your all
of your good progress.
Free. Available on Google Play,

Nike Training Club
The Nike Training Club app is way more than just a running tracker, and if you can stick to this you need never spend another dirham on the gym. There are over 100 workouts to try, with professional Nike trainers and athletes showing you how it’s done through a series of video clips. Best of all, there are 15-minute options, meaning you can still feel like you’ve achieved something on the days when you can’t really be bothered to slog it out. The app is also pretty clever, and will create a personal training plan based on your needs, then continually adapt it as you go, meaning if you hit a peak, the workouts will adapt to push you further or get you back on track.
Free. Available on App Store and Google Play

Sleep Cycle
You’re going to need some energy to power all of these workouts, and that starts with a good night’s sleep. The Sleep Cycle app analyses your sleep and wakes you up at the perfect time so you feel rested and energised for the day ahead. It works by tracking your sleeping patterns and waking you up during light sleep by monitoring signals from your body to wake you up softly at your desired time when you are in the lightest possible sleep stage.
Free. Available on App Store and Google Play,

Get fit at these Doha dance lessons, 01 Feb 2019 09:52:14 +0400How many times have you watched your favourite dance reality TV star sashay across the length of the stage up in the air, just dangling by cloth? How many times have you wished you could accomplish that same feat? If you live in Doha, then you’re lucky. Brava Studio has just opened its doors to the public and we find out the studio is giving lessons to anyone. “Our classes are open for beginners and no basic skills are required for classes. Anyone who is interested in learning dance and aerial arts is welcome,” says co-founder of Brava Studio, Fiorella Otero.

Top choices
Brava Studio provides the community in Doha with high quality dance and aerial arts education. Simply put, super-cool air stunts are not all you can learn at this school – the staff can teach you everything from street dance and ballroom to salsa and tango forms of dance. “We teach a wide variety of dance styles. We offer ballet, contemporary, ballroom, salsa, tango, swing, Broadway and street styles such as hip hop, popping, waacking, commercial dance, afrobeats and heels. We also offer dance fitness classes such as cardio Latin and barre. In aerial arts we offer aerial silks, aerial hoop, stretching and tumbling classes,” explains Otero.

Trained instructors
Brava Studio has meticulously picked some of the best dance educators in the business and you can choose your instructor based on their specific skills. “You can be rest assured that you are getting excellent education because all of our instructors are formally trained professional dancers and aerialists who have extensive experience in their fields,” Otero tells us during a quick catch up.

Federica Liuzzo, an aerial arts champion, began training in rhythmic gymnastics at the age of six and competed for 17 years now. She specialises in silks, hoop, trapeze, corde lisse and straps. Nicole Neolove is a street dancer and afro beats and contemporary professional choreographer who started her journey in award-winning hip hop dance company, Boy Blue Entertainment, in London. She has also taught in internationally-recognised performing arts schools such as the BRIT school and The Movement Factory, so rest assured you’re in good hands. Martin Rycroft specialises in ballroom, salsa and tango and you might recognise him from season four of Dancing with the Stars Middle East as a finalist. He’s also taken his talent to the big screen in Bollywood.

Full-body workout
We’re already considering ditching our fitness classes for these lessons. In any case, dancing comprises a whole body workout, and it’s fun. “It is a great form of exercise because it provides you with both aerobic and anaerobic movement which our bodies need to be at their healthiest, and it helps you with balance and coordination. It is not only good for your body but also your mind because it helps reduce levels of a stress hormone called cortisol,” says Otero. This is probably why dancing makes you feel happy and more relaxed.

Aerial arts classes are also a fantastic workout. They are great for improving upper body and core strength as well as shoulder strength and stability. “While taking part in an aerial silks or hoop class you can burn between 300 to 400 calories per hour.

Aerial arts are also good for your mental health.

In a silks or hoop class you are placing trust in yourself while you are training at a height, so mastering the skills can help boost your self-esteem and create a real sense of achievement,” says Otero.

Aerial arts class
We probe about what a typical class feels like. It starts with a warm-up according to Otero. “The teacher will then go over technique and, in certain dance classes, teach choreography. The warm-up is very important to make sure your body doesn’t sustain any injuries,” she explains. After that, the teacher goes over the different conditioning exercises to train students to learn how to climb the silks and hoops, learn wraps and poses. The maximum number of students in a silks class is eight, ten for hoop, stretching 15 and ten for tumbling and hammock each.

There’s some serious talent in between the walls of Brava Studio and there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be in on the action. In fact, we have some additional exciting news. We’ve confirmed with the Studio there are no prerequisites for a beginner’s aerial class and no weight or height limit.

So, see you there?
QR85 (per class), QR800 (ten classes for two months). Open daily 9am-10pm. Parcel 12, 22 La Croisette, The Pearl-Qatar (4002 2000).

A dance studio with high-quality instruction

It’s fitness with an element of fun and you learn a new skill

Win free air tickets in cricket photography contest, 16 Jan 2019 12:50:22 +0400Is your eye for a memorable snap good enough to bowl people over? Well, now you can enter a cricket photography competition and prove it.

Plus, the best pictures will win three economy class tickets to India, one for each of competition’s top three winners.

After Qatar Museums’ (QM) recent unveiling of its partner country India for the 2019 Year of Culture initiative, it has launched its very first competition titled “Cricket Contemporary Photography”.

Qatar-based photographers are invited to submit photos and videos on cricket for a chance to a prize from Qatar Museums.

Although cricket originated in south-east England, it has become India’s most popular sport, even more than the national sport hockey.

Photographs and videos submitted for review may depict any location in Qatar where the community plays cricket, including professional or friendly matches that portray themes such as: competition, sportsmanship, passion, loss, and triumph.

Photography has always been an integral part of the Year of Culture program. Every year, photographers are encouraged to use their imagery to introduce audiences to the cultural elements of both Qatar and partner countries, thus fostering mutual appreciation and understanding between the people. Since cricket is a sport that really brings its players and fans together in vibrant and exciting environments, it’s the ideal subject for a photography contest.

The Years of Culture initiative, spearheaded by QM, is an annual series of bilateral, cultural exchange programmes with a partner country. It is designed to deepen understanding between nations and their people through mutual exchanges of arts, culture and heritage.

Friday early mornings are usually when you’d find several groups of people from expat communities batting and bowling on open grounds (you’re welcome). The deadline for submissions is March 31 and participants are required to be residents of Qatar.
Free. Submissions until March 31. Qatar Museums. For list of requirements and other information:

Rainbow fun run, 31 Dec 2018 20:00:00 +0400The most exciting event is back to the city and we’re crossing days off the calendar with multicoloured pens. Just a few weeks away is The Color Run presented by Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First, the flagship public health campaign of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q), a member of Qatar Foundation.

This popular 5km run involves a lot of colour-throwing, grooving to some fun tunes and hopefully, wearing multicoloured wigs. The happiest 5km on the planet is taking place in Doha for the fifth time and we are optimistic for this edition. Last year attracted a record-breaking 9,000 participants. The 2018 theme was The Dream World Tour and participants could run, walk, jog or skip around the 5km course. A super fun foam zone made an appearance and we are not ashamed to admit we spend an embarrassing amount of time in it. Participants received cool kits that included limited edition Dream World Tour race shirts, embroidered headbands, temporary tattoos, rainbow stationery and some other awesome goodies from sponsors. We also saw party socks and tutus going around. We weren’t brave enough for the tutus.

In this edition, colour runners will be doused from head to toe in brightly coloured powders after every 1km as they make their way around the course, before celebrating completion at the Color Run Finish Festival, which is basically a massive party. This year’s theme is “Hero Tour” and participants can throw on capes and other superhero garb when collecting their medals at the finish line. Luckily, the foam zone is back this year, too. Don’t judge us while we drown in bubbles from the foam machines.

And, if the multicoloured wigs and foam pits don’t motivate you enough to try this run, you should know this phenomenon has been experienced by more than six million people around the world. We’re just eagerly waiting to splash buckets of colour and brighten up the city. So, see you there?
QR160 (regular), QR50 (children). Jan 26, 7am-onwards. Qatar National Convention Centre, Al Luqta Street. For tickets and more info:

BeatBoxing: New Doha workout class combines boxing and grooves, 17 Dec 2018 06:20:05 +0400The country is experiencing a fitness wave and we’d be surprised if you haven’t come across at least two independent initiatives every day.

People are making a more conscious effort to lead healthy lifestyles and we’ve finally decided to take the plunge, too.

Our only demand (more like a desperate request) – a fun workout session. We may not be flexible enough for reformer pilates or agile enough for RideTribe (a super fun high-intensity spinning class), but we’re definitely prepared to take on a punching bag at OxFitness Lab’s new BeatBox classes.

A workout at BeatBox Studio has nothing to do with beatboxing but more to do with boxing (and beating).

This fun workout regime combines boxing techniques and functional fitness to deliver a high intensity, aggression-releasing, endorphin-filled session. And this session also involves groovy music where you can rhythmically punch to, or box to, the beat.

OxFitness Lab is a unique fitness venture and like its counterparts such as Reformer Pilates, BeatBox is also the first-of-its-kind in Qatar.

The best part about attempting a session is here that you don’t really need to be a pro.

You can get your pretend Rocky Balboa on (or Floyd Mayweather if we’re being more contemporary) and punch away to your favourite tunes.

Beginners are welcome here as the studio uses a punch-by-numbers system that makes it easy for everyone to follow, and alter, the exercises as per their own levels of fitness, regardless of experience.

The harder you punch, the more therapeutic it is. By the end of the session, you’re bound to leave feeling lighter, more energised and much more peaceful.

The studio makes every effort to keep it fun, for instance, crafting a new playlist for every workout session.

If we have to explain this simply, BeatBox is pretty impressive with its highly qualified trainers, aesthetically pleasing studio, amazing music and of course, killer workouts (add at least three weeks of guilt for just eating a fro-yo).

After an intense workout, you can keep the rhythm going by heading over to Soul Bowl Café. It has some incredibly delicious, healthy wholefoods. And, it’s a relaxing café, ambience wise, and the perfect spot to just chill and unwind after an intense workout.

If it turns out BeatBox isn’t your thing, OxFitness Lab also offers classes such as spinning, pilates and personal training sessions in a fantastic environment. And if you need a little more pushing, download the OxFitness Lab app and you can get a free class for the first time.

Punching a bag may be considered violent in some cultures, but throw in some groovy beats to have arguably the best form of calorie-burning therapy out there. Go on, strap on some gloves.
QR100 (per session), QR20 (glove rental). Timings vary. OxFitness Lab, The Gate Mall, West Bay (4020 6430).

A funky workout where you can punch to a rhythm

You can burn calories and have fun, your experience and fitness level doesn’t matter

Doha's first-ever 90km all-female run will cross the whole country, 31 Oct 2018 20:00:00 +0400Long runs are great, but a 90km race from Costa on the Corniche to Dukhan Beach all the way up is no ordinary feat. Kilometres will be covered, injuries will be overcome and records will be broken as Qatar’s first-ever all-female crossing on foot takes place in January 2019.

Inspired by an inaugural mixed-gender East to West run in 2018, Stephanie Innes Smith, a faculty member from Doha British School, decided to organise this extraordinary exploit in the hopes of encouraging women of all backgrounds, ages, shapes, nationalities, religions and abilities to embrace either running or any other arduous outdoor activity for their own benefit and to make friends, become healthier and inspire other young people along the way. “A significant proportion of the women on the team are teachers, like me, and I feel we are in an excellent position to help mould, encourage and influence the young people we teach to push themselves and try things without fear of failure,” she says.

Representing nine different nationalities, 41 women are participating in the event – 31 will complete the entire distance and the rest will split up into relay teams. Women of all age groups are in this together and 49-year-old Wendy McCracken is in high spirits, although she’s never attempted anything like this before. “For me, the mindset is the biggest motivator and barrier,” she says. “One of the best ways to prepare for this is to be surrounded by like-minded women who are driven and support each other.” She doesn’t believe one has to be “super fit” to participate. “Sport promotes participation, social interaction, resilience, confidence and positivity. None of us can be exceptional at everything but we can always be better than we were yesterday,” she says.

Lynsey Bramston is going all out to prepare for the run. “I run four times a week, research nutrition, use yoga and review online resources,” she says. Katherine Milton, similarly, is training with full dedication. “I have put together a schedule based on recommendations from our organiser, my mother (who trained for the London Marathon in 14 weeks) and magazines. I am slowly building up the kilometres and am trying to vary my training with some boxercise and cross-fit and sprints to keep it interesting,” says Milton who is experienced with running up to 25km. Leah Harding did two half marathons in a week. She loves a good challenge and recognises that women don’t have a strong sports presence in Qatar. “We have giant billboards of Lionel Messi and high jumpers, but not many female athletes on display (if any at all),” she says.

The challenge is different for some. “The biggest challenge in this event will probably be the conditions and trying to keep hydrated and consume enough calories throughout the day,” says Adele Ifan, who is a Type 1 diabetic. “This adds another dimension for me and I have to make sure my blood sugar remains optimal for continuous exercise.” For Amanda Bawn, her biggest challenge would be avoiding injuries, staying mentally focused and not neglecting her family while training.

Despite being from all different walks of life, the women have united in their ultimate goals, which is to empower other women and of course, set new personal bests. The run has allowed like-minded ladies the opportunity to be a part of a community that shares the same interests, from supporting each other at races to team socials and Whatsapp groups, the participants are working together. One of the team members has volunteered to provide yoga classes while another provides them with professional training, for instance.

We’re looking forward to supporting the women on the day of the event. The majority of the run will take place on the old road which runs parallel to the Doha-Dukhan road, so it is free for everyone to come and cheer. Volunteer opportunities are available, too. We’ll be at the front lines with coffee.
Free. Open to public. Jan 25, 6am-onwards. Costa Coffee, Al Corniche.