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1 Class Action There's nothing more motivating than being yelled at by a super-fit instructor in front of 30 fellow exercisers. You also have to finish the hour or face the shame of trying to sneak out unnoticed. Fitness First (www.fitnessfirst.ae) has a wide range of group exercise classes, but you must be a gym member to partake. Alternatively, try the Aviation Club (www.aviationclub.ae) for pay-as-you-go classes. 2 Go The Distance It might be just a little too late to set your sights on beating Haile Gebrselassie to the finish line of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, which takes place this month on January 16. (www.dubaimarathon.org). But you still have time to register for the RAK Half Marathon, which takes place in Ras Al Khaimah on February 20 (www.rakmarathon.org). Whether you run or walk, finishing the 21.0975km course should provide an amazing sense of achievement, and hopefully all the training beforehand will help you firm up. 3 Change Your Habits If you've managed to convince yourself that French fries count as a vegetable and a stuffed-crust pizza meets all the recommended dietary requirements, perhaps it's time you re-learned the principles of healthy eating. Good Habits is an eating programme and support group that has weekly meetings in various locations around Dubai - at each meeting you'll weigh-in to check your progress before listening to a talk about healthy habits and how you can use them to banish your spare tyres and double chins forever. 4 Iron Out Your Lumps and Bumps Apparently, lifting weights is not just for Schwarzenegger wannabes; it is one of the most effective ways to boost your metabolism, burn fat and turn your body into a lean, mean machine. While people may tell you that you'll get the same results with two cans of baked beans and a bag of sand, you're probably better off signing up with a gym - Fitness First (www.fitnessfirst.ae) has friendly staff who can show you how to gain maximum results (with minimum embarrassment). 5 Go Walkabout It's the perfect time of year to start a walking regime - and hopefully by the time the hot weather starts, you'll be so hooked that you'll ignore the sweat patches and stride your way through the summer. Walking is, by many accounts, the perfect exercise: it requires no special skill or expensive equipment, it has a very low chance of sports-related injury, and it has excellent fat-burning potential. The rubberised track around Safa Park on Al Wasl Road is not only kind to the knees, but it is thronged with fellow walkers throughout the day. 6 Seek Professional Help If you've tried every diet fad in the book but have yet to shift even half a pound, perhaps it's time to see a dietitian or nutritionist who can help you figure out what unique solutions suit your body. Dr Nathalie Haddad is based at the French Medical Centre on the Beach Road, and is highly recommended for her friendly approach to healthy eating. Alternatively, check out the Weightcare Clinic (04 363 5395) in Dubai Healthcare City. 7 See Grown Men Cry Sign up for boot camp training and discover a world of pain that could reduce you to tears, but that yields amazing results. A burly, hard-core, military-style instructor will yell orders at you while you jog, sprint, squat and heave your way to a more svelte body. Classes usually take place at sunrise on the city's public beaches, so the opportunities for mass humiliation are endless, but the end result is worth it. Contact Physical Advantage (04 311 6570, www.physicaladvantage.ae). 8 Be a Member of the Band In extreme cases, where obesity poses a significant health risk, it may be necessary to have a gastric band fitted to aid weight loss. It offers a long-term solution to those who have not found weight-loss success elsewhere. It is not for you if you only have a few kilos to lose - reputable doctors will most likely not even consider you for a band unless you have at least 30kg to lose. Contact American Hospital (www.ahdubai.com) or Emirates Hospital (www.emirateshospital.ae). 9 Fight The fat Sumo wrestlers aside, when was the last time you saw a chubby martial arts expert? There are several martial arts centres in Dubai where you can learn karate, judo, taekwondo or aikido - all of which provide a great physical workout, as well as teaching you the thing that so many dieters lack: self discipline. Contact the Dubai Aikido Club (www.aikido.ae), Dubai Karate Centre (www.dubaikarate.com) or XMA (www.xmafitness.com) for more information. 10 Take The Team Approach Get some friends together and make a weekly date to play some sort of team sport. Insportz is Dubai's first indoor sports centre (so no excuses in the summer), and features five multi-purpose, air-conditioned courts. Sports available include table tennis, cricket, football, basketball and hockey. Prices start from dhs25 (including equipment hire). Contact Insportz for more information (04 347 5833, www.insportzclub.com).

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jan 5, 2009
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