Spinning, weight lifting, running, barre, yoga, Pilates, circuit training – as Dubai’s workout scene has grown, so has the number of workouts available to its residents. Between trying to decide what membership or class pack to commit to, the daily struggle of separating from your couch to get into gym gear, and the amount of contradicting information on fitness that you’ll find pretty much anywhere you look, most of us settle for doing, well, nothing at all.
But that’s before Crank came along. The newest player on the Dubai fitness scene, this studio is proposing a more well-rounded approach to caring for your body, thought up by one of the city’s best-known trainers: Nuno Costa Fernandes, of Flywheel and Barry’s Bootcamp fame. The studio, which just opened its doors in AlSerkal, is offering spinning, strength, and stretching classes, providing everything you need under one roof.
Goodness caught up with some of Crank’s trainers, namely Talayeh Vaziri, Kayleigh Dawson, Tamara Ghazi, Danae Mercer, and Dana Salbak to pick their brains on how to best design your weekly workout schedule, whether you join their classes or choose to go it alone.
How much strength training vs. how much cardio and how much stretching do you need in a week?
Talayeh: If you are looking to build muscles and gain strength, I would suggest strength training your different muscle groups twice a week. For instance, that could be legs and glutes on one day, chest and back on the second day, and arms and abs on the third. Alternatively, you could divide them into upper-body and lower-body days. If your goal is to build stamina and improve your cardiovascular system, and possibly lean out further, then you’ll need to include more cardio.
Kayleigh: Deciding on how much strength training vs. how much cardio you should be doing depends on your goals and time. In an ideal world, you should do three strength, two cardio, and two stretch sessions a week. That would be the perfect balance, but we all have time restrictions. Try to get a least one of each, every week.
Dana: Training your body is about balance. A comprehensive and successful training program should cover everything from resistance to cardiovascular training, while allowing ample time for rest and recovery. Most important when balancing your cardio with your weight training and stretching/mobility is identifying your primary training goal; if you’re training to lose fat, your balance is going to be very different than if you’re trying to gain muscle. Stretching and mobility are essential to both and should ideally include dynamic stretching, which is best before a workout as it helps warm up muscles and improve range of motion, and static stretching, which is great post-workout, as it helps your muscles relax.
How do you decide how many intense days you should have per week, how many days you should train moderately, and how many days you should rest?
Talayeh: For one, you should always listen to your body. As fitness professionals, we don’t always follow our own advice; we tend to push ourselves beyond our limits, but it’s important to let your body recover. I would recommend at least one or two rest days per week. If you follow a pattern of training your upper body on one day and your lower body on another, you are also allowing your muscles to recover during the week.
I personally train intensely on most days, but if my body is exhausted, I will change my routine to something more moderate, like yoga or Pilates. You will eventually find out what works for you, how much you can push yourself, and when your body needs rest.
Danae: It sounds cheesy, but I listen to my body. I’m fitter now than I’ve ever been, so I’m training loads more. But if I have a day where I’m shattered, I’ll just do a gentle yoga session.
Tamara: As much as you may want to go high intensity with every workout, it’s important to take it easy on some days. Especially during periods of high stress or when you’re not sleeping enough, slow down because your nervous system is overloaded and you are much more prone to injury.
For optimal recovery, what should you schedule on top of your workouts?
Dana: Rest and recovery are critical to any training program, and this refers to various actions taken to maximize your body’s repair. These can range from hydration and nutrition to stretching, myofascial release, and massaging. A combination of these will ultimately return your body to its normal state: elastic and healthy muscles, ready to perform when necessary.
Talayeh: I prefer an active day on the beach, spent swimming, and I absolutely love recovery bike rides. I also recommend foam rolling and stretching after every workout. A visit to the physio every now and then, when your muscles feel super tight, is also a good idea.
Kayleigh: If you want to recover, make sure your nutrition is on point. Don’t forget to refuel properly post-workout to help your muscles recover and replenish. Hydration is also key. Other than that, foam roll and stretch daily if you can, and get a massage once a week.
Tamara: As a sports medicine chiropractor, I know the importance of rest and recovery in protecting your body, improving general fitness, and feeling great. My number one advice is to sleep consistently! Most people don’t get enough sleep with our modern lifestyles, and it’s the most important part of physical repair and recovery. I personally get chiropractic adjustments and sports massages every two weeks to reset my body.
Danae: Foam rolling is really great for loosening up muscles, so I’m definitely a fan of it. I also like trying to incorporate plenty of walking (easier now that the weather’s better) to stretch and relax my legs.