United Arab Emirates: The fitness industry has become a niche as residents opt for gym alternatives – News
More people prefer to choose specific exercises based on a number of factors rather than just hitting the gym and working out
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The veteran golfer, MS, thought it was time to close his clubs at the age of 70 when he began experiencing aches and loss of strength. However, he ended up signing himself up for a golf-specific program with Richard Donsby.
“Within six weeks, he was pain-free and his swing improved,” said Richard, who directs his program at Optimal Fitness. “He went on to win a championship at his club and got an all expenses paid trip to Germany. He completely turned his life around. That was one of the most rewarding things to see as a coach.”
Richard is one of many fitness professionals who target a niche market of clients in the UAE. From people in specific groups to offering workouts based on specific sports, the fitness industry in the UAE is becoming an increasingly niche market. More people prefer to choose specific exercises based on a number of factors rather than just hitting the gym and working out.
Another specialized fitness regimen is offered by Dubai-based trainer Georgie Ricks, who is the founder of “Its a PCOS Party,” a workout program specifically for women with PCOS.
“There are a lot of general copy-and-paste exercises and programs out there,” she said. “It’s hard when the fitness world is so imbued with knowing who to trust and believe in. Having a place like PCOS helps women feel heard, insightful, and understood. They know I can relate to what they’re going through, and that my regimens will be bespoke and customized to their goals and needs.” .
Since launching her show earlier this month, Georgie says she has received unprecedented attention. “At first I started picking up a few clients,” she said. “It quickly reached its capacity, and I actually had to start a waiting list. It really emphasized to me how huge the problem was and how many women were suffering alone.”
Richard Dansby also said he has a calendar full of seeing at least 30 golfers a day. “I knew golf was huge in the UAE with over 14,000 active golfers in the country,” he said. “So when I moved here, I noticed there was a niche market and catered to it. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.”
According to other industry experts, the demand isn’t just for fitness classes. People are looking for specialized products in fitness fashion, too, says Raj Pajarani, founder of sportswear brand Iron Tribe.
“Before, people would wear anything to the gym,” he said. But not anymore. There are specific materials that were developed just for gym wear. Shoppers want specific functionality in their clothes based on the type of exercise they’re doing. Like, if they’re doing CrossFit, they want support. If they’re lifting weights, they want to make sure That clothes do not restrict movement.
Experienced in spotting patterns
One of the biggest benefits of fitness professionals working in niche markets is that they are able to identify problems even before they occur due to their expertise.
Sports physiotherapist Anil Daniel Prasad who works extensively with runners at the Beginning Clinic said he works even harder to get his clients to do strength training because he knows how important it is.
“Runners aren’t big fans of strength and conditioning,” he said. “However, it is important for them to lift weights because running is such an impactful activity. They need to prepare their bodies for it. Strength training also helps reduce injuries.”
Likewise, Richard knows which areas the client should work on based on their profile. “For example, if I am young,” he said, “I have to work on developing strength and stability to develop strength.”
“If a client is in the 40-60 age range, they are most likely spending a lot of time at a work desk which leads to reduced mobility. So in this group I mostly work on improving strength and balance and reducing the chances of injury.”