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The Fit Guide Launches in Dubai, Eyes More in the Middle East
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The Fit Guide Launches in Dubai, Eyes More in the Middle East

Deemed the “fitness capital of the Middle East,” Dubai is a hotbed for innovative boutique concepts

The Fit Guide has laid the groundwork this year as the first-ever international rating system that revolutionizes the fitness industry and is now wrapping up 2023 with a long-awaited launch in Dubai. 

Founded by fitness industry veteran Jack Thomas and hospitality expert Matt Lavender, The Fit Guide hit the ground running in major cities this year, such as New York, London, Singapore and Sydney. As Thomas shares with Athletech News, Dubai is The Fit Guide’s final launch city for the year and signals the completion of 250 club visits across five global cities. 

Thomas says launching the fitness rating system in Dubai marks an important chapter for The Fit Guide.

“Dubai is undoubtedly the fitness capital of the Middle East and where a lot of innovation happens in the region, so we’re delighted to have a presence here,” he said.

The Fit Guide’s ratings are based on over 250 objective standards encompassing what Thomas and Lavender call a “premium fitness experience,” and span an initial phone call through post-class sales and service. Unbiased, anonymous and highly trained evaluators make the visits to clubs and studios, resulting in an overall rating and ranking based on scores.

Fitness businesses that received the seal of excellence from The Fit Guide were commended at Dubai Active Industry, a fitness and wellness expo. 

The Results Are In

Three Dubai clubs, Chalk Training Ground – The Palm, Storm Cycling – Mirdif and The Platform Studios – DIFC, each received The Fit Guide’s coveted 5-Star Award, recognizing the studios for an exceptional, world-class experience out of fifty other clubs.

Overall, Dubai scored above average in reception services but was a bit behind in digital and technology areas.

“Dubai has done well, scoring slightly above the global average across the clubs we visited,” explained Thomas, who also hosts the Fitness Business Asia podcast. “For a young fitness industry, they should be proud. Many of Dubai’s results mirrored that of other cities, with yoga and Pilates both the worst two performing categories in terms of the overall experience.”

BARE Dubai won the 5 Star Class Experience Award (credit: The Fit Guide)

Thomas added that cycling scored well and was the top-performing modality in Dubai, with concepts such as CRANK and Storm Cycling leading the way.

The Fit Guide also acknowledged 21 other clubs that received a 4-Star Award as businesses highlighted for their solid efforts. Additional Dubai clubs that receive special mentions are noted as “recommended” in The Fit Guide.

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More to Come in the Middle East

As for what’s next for The Fit Guide in 2024, Thomas says the fitness industry ranking system has had “encouraging conversations” with business owners regarding the potential of the Middle East market. 

“We’re excited to dig deeper into the industry in this region next year,” he revealed.

Lavender, co-founder and CEO of Enlites, noted that the Dubai fitness market is younger than cities such as New York or London.

“It was great to see the city score so well and show it’s up there with the best in the industry,” he said. “Announcing our award winners and talking through the data at Dubai Active in front of an audience of 300 of the region’s CEOs and executives was quite special, and certainly started a lot of positive conversations around how the industry can improve.”

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