Home-grown GymNation offers an affordable path to fitness


May 30, 2018 | By Rupkatha B

Dubai now has a world-class, state-of-the-art fitness facility in GymNation. Located in Al Quoz, GymNation spans 45,000 sqft and is equipped with over 500 pieces of latest generation equipment by Matrix and offers over 200 Les Mills fitness classes, all accessible as part of the monthly membership.

But why another gym when Dubai has a flurry of fitness centres?

The answer is a gap in the local market for affordable gyms, which founders Loren Holland and Frank Afeaki spotted. They were both involved with leading low-cost gym operators in their home countries – the UK and New Zealand, respectively. With GymNation they sought to disrupt the local fitness market by offering best-in-class facilities and services but at an affordable and flexible price point.

“The UAE gym market is well developed with a lot of different operators, but most are very expensive and bind customers into inflexible contracts requiring 12-months payment upfront. We set up GymNation to bring both a world-class gym facility and affordable pricing under one roof,” says Holland.

The GymNation model focuses on the essentials, while cutting out the frills. The facility offers latest generation Matrix gym equipment; Dubai’s largest Group-X studio where over 200 classes are held in a month; spacious changing and shower facilities; and ample free parking. But expensive frills such as sauna and steam room or a towel service are not available.

“We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to get involved in a healthier lifestyle. The result of our concept is that you can sign up online at a very low price – starting from AED99 – with no-hidden costs, which is a fraction of what most traditional gyms are charging,” adds Afeaki. “And we felt 2018 is the perfect time to launch our brand as the importance of health and fitness among UAE residents is increasing rapidly. City-wide initiatives such as the recent Dubai 30-day challenge by the crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, encourage a more health conscious population.”

Formally launched to public this month, GymNation is also showing its keenness to collaborate with other local players promoting health and fitness. It has already partnered with Fuel Up by Kcal, a concept dedicated to promoting wellness through good, wholesome and healthy food. Fuel Up by Kcal is now GymNation’s official nutrition partner and will also operate its in-house café.

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