7 ways to get fit for free in Abu Dhabi

There’s no shortage of things to spend money on, but fitness classes doesn’t have to be one of them. ADW tells you how to train like a pro and keep your coins in your pocket

Summer is fast approaching so you better get ready. It’s time to start moving and shed those extra kilos but we want to help you save money in the process. Whether you’re aiming for a banging beach bod or better overall health, here are free ways to get fit in the capital.

Yas Island

Yas Island is more that just a one-stop shop for leisure and entertainment; it’s a popular destination for free fitness programmes, too. From running to cycling or power walking around the world-renowned Yas Marina Circuit Formula 1 track, you can join free community fitness sessions every week.


Kick off your week with StartYAS by Daman’s ActiveLife where you can spend Sunday evenings cycling, walking or running on the Formula 1 track. StartYAS welcomes families, groups and individuals of all fitness levels who are looking to engage in exercise. Free, registration required. Gate 20,  Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island. 6pm-10pm. Visit: yasmarinacircuit.com


Keep it going with a midweek cycling, walking or running session on Tuesday evenings as well. At TrainYAS, if cycling is your thing, you don’t have to bring your own bicycle as 400 complementary bikes and helmets are provided for use courtesy of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All you need to do is get there early and grab one. Free, registration required. Gate 20,  Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island. 6pm-10pm. Visit: yasmarinacircuit.com 


Can’t get enough? Well, the ladies are in for a special treat. Enjoy a ladies-only fitness session led by an internationally certified female trainer every Wednesday. This session is open to ladies aged 14 and up and those between the ages of 14 and 18 must have adult supervision. Free, registration required. Gate 20, Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island. 6pm-9pm. Visit: yasmarinacircuit.com 

Daman Local Heroes

Daman Local Heroes is a movement in the UAE celebrating everyday people who like to share their love of physical activity with the community. So how does it work? Each local hero leads a weekly fitness session that aligns with their passion, with the aim of giving everyone access to free, fun and educational workouts.

Judo with Tom Reed

Tom is a judo champion who also mentors other athletes. He credits his uncle and his two brothers, with whom he rough-housed a lot, for drawing him into the sport, and now he’s ready to train you. Judo is one of the safest contact sports you can do but the first thing you’ll learn is how to catch yourself in a fall. Come learn the fundamentals of throws and holds while improving your balance and coordination. Free. Mubarak Bin Mohamed School, Al Bateen. Sun 9pm-10pm. Visit: bit.ly/2QdLx33

Zumba with Clari Lehmkuhl

Clari is the only Down syndrome Zumba instructor in the UAE and is licenced to teach Zumba, Zumba Gold and Zumba Kids & Kids Jr. Join Clari for a ladies-only Zumba class and have a ton of fun while getting fit. The programme involves dance and aerobic movements performed to energetic music – just the right combination to get your heart pumping. Free for girls aged 14 and up. Yas Marina Circuit North. Wed 7.30pm-8.15pm. Visit: bit.ly/2Q9o1V8

Athletics with Andre Karelse

Andre is a teacher at Wales International School who enjoys coaching track and field events including discus, javelin, 100m and 200m races. He also coached and officiated Ultimate Athletics Abu Dhabi and now he’s ready to help boys improve in their running. Each session starts with a warm-up followed by either sprint technique training, standing starts or relay shuttles. Free for boys aged eight to 16. Abdulla Bin Otaiba School, Mohamed Bin Zayed City. Tue 5pm-6pm. Visit: bit.ly/30r6mwM

Mix it up

Heading to StartYAS or TrainYAS? Functional fitness training centre Haddins is on hand to help you mix things up a bit with weekly group exercise sessions and, yes, they’re also free.

Embrace the outdoors with an O2 workout session, which includes endurance, HIIT and circuit style exercises using your own body weight. The class is open to all fitness levels, ages 16 and up from 6.30pm.

Haddins Moves is a jam session that includes a combination of different styles, such as salsa, bachata, merengue, reggaeton and Zumba to give you a workout and help improve your social dance skills, too. The class is suitable for all fitness levels, ages 10 and up, from 7pm. For more information, contact: 02 403 4233, info@haddins.com

By Tamara Clarke
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