Review: Reebok CrossFit LifeSpark. Dubai.
The international stage of my box jumping tour has begun and it is time to discover what CrossFit boxes outside of New Zealand have to offer. I am excited, curious. How different will they be to those in New Zealand? Does the CrossFit formula easily translate to different countries, cultures and demographics? And what will it be like doing a CrossFit class in a language that I don’t understand?
You might think that discovering CrossFit overseas would start with a visit to the United States – the home of Crossfit – but the first stop on my tour is Dubai. This is a city that for me conjures up images of camels, desert, burqas and never-ending skyscrapers, so I was surprised to see on CrossFit.com that there are eight boxes in this city. Eight! That’s almost more than Madrid! This got my brain ticking….what would a box in Dubai be like? Would women be allowed to attend the classes? And who would the classes be run by? Well, ex-pats of course!!
I received a warm welcome from the coaches at the front desk, which followed on from the fast response to my drop-in request, including clear instruction on payment of a drop-in fee. Although this is one of the few boxes to charge a drop-in fee it came with a free Reebok CrossFit LifeSpark t-shirt which was pretty cool.
10mins EMOM (every minute on the minute)
20x kettle bell swings
Ben, the Brit coach, put us through a solid warm-up, followed by careful coaching of kettle bell snatch technique. We then moved on to what I found to be a tough strength session. 20 kettle bell swings, every minute on the minute…this got heavy, fast! There appeared to be a mix of levels in the class, including some people who were obviously quite new. Ben was careful to provide clear technique instructions prior to the work out, as well as encouragement during the kettle bell session. The workout was a very “Josie” work out, and I loved it – sprints and air squats. Nice!
Visiting a gym with such a diverse range of members was interesting and made starting conversations easy – where are you from? What are you doing here?! The LifeSpark demographic appeared to be quite young. Whether this was just my class or not, I’m not sure, but I guess the Duabi ex-pat community could be quite a young one.
I’d never been to a box that had views like those of Reebok CrossFit LifeSpark. The box has massive windows that open out to the Jumeirah Lakes Towers and the surrounding lake. This environment certainly makes drowning in a pool of sweat a little more fun! I don’t know what the neighbours would have thought upon seeing a bunch of girls in spandex running around the block. But Dubai is one of the more progressive UAE cities, and LifeSpark is a great box for the large ex-pat community there.
Unfortunately the box itself isn’t amazing – it isn’t large and a pull-up structure in the middle of it breaks everything up, making it a bit hard to find space to work out. There was a weightlifting area separate to the main WOD area, although I didn’t get to try it out this time. With such limited space there was little room for people waiting for the following class to do stretching or mobility work.
This was the first Reebok-sponsored box I’d visited. I didn’t know what the requirements were for a box to be sponsored by Reebok, and I therefore didn’t know what to expect from LifeSpark, although I did think it would have been bigger. All the same, the box seemed to be very professionally run and there was a good number of staff and coaches around. More than normal, actually.
Post-work out there was time for a cool down and stretching, which is far too rare in boxes. I really appreciate it when a box makes time for a cool down, but also understand how hard it is to fit everything in. After our class, Ben jumped straight into the next class and I found time for a friendly chat with the other staff at the front desk.
LifeSpark offers a range of classes including kids, teens and ladies only, as well as a Functional Movement Screen to assess an athlete’s mobility.
Dropping-in to Reebok CrossFit LifeSpark was way better than using my hotel gym, although maybe I missed the little rolled up towels and iced lemon water just a little bit!
Drop-in date: 01/05/13
More info: reebokcrossfitlifespark.com