Dubai is a major fitness hub, and it’s got a studio for pretty much everything you can think of – from pole fitness, to Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, SUP yoga, to underwater workouts – the spectrum is pretty huge. I’ve sampled a lot of what Dubai’s sports menu has to offer and I have honed in on a few of my favourites, focusing on the ones that give me both a great workout and make me feel awesome simultaneously. I tend to choose two or three studios to focus on at one time, buy a package in each and run with those for a month or so, to see how effective the results are, as I find that mixing up too many methods doesn’t suit me personally, but I am always curious to try out new studios that come to town.
Which brings me to today’s subject: the Reform Method. What is this method, I hear you ask. Well, it’s a machine-based workout that uses the latest Lagree Megaformer, and it’s taught at a brand new studio called Reform Athletica, which just hit Dubai this month. The studio offers two signature classes: The Reform Method and TRX Athletica, and today we are focusing on the former, to get into the detail of it all. The Reform Method is a core strength and conditioning workout, focusing on controlled, precise movements that give you that sweet little burn as you activate different muscle groups with every move that you do. If you’re familiar with the Pilates Reformer machine, then you will have a good idea of how this all works; although it’s not Pilates, there are some similarities in the methods, with a particular focus on core stability and abdominal focus, and working against the resistance of a spring-based load.
I caught up with Dina El Shurafa, one of the Founders, and Roberto Julio, Head Trainer at the studio to talk about the idea behind the project, the challenges involved in launching a studio, and of course about the method itself and why we should all give it a go.
A lawyer by profession from a Palestinian/Saudi background, Dina’s vision for Reform Athletica is to create a ‘lifestyle destination’ – one that inspires, motivates and challenges you to not only work out, but to make it part of your lifestyle. Housed in a beautifully converted villa in Jumeirah One, the Founders have taken a luxury approach, designing a boutique studio that encompasses a cleverly curated mix of fitness, design and art – not forgetting the careful attention to detail and promotion of sustainable, eco-friendly practices throughout. Dina wants Reform Athletica to play a part in raising awareness on the dangers of plastic pollution, the effects of harmful waste and the importance of recycling, and this is certainly tangible in the overall vibe of the studio.
So what’s the story behind this Megaformer contraption? Dina explains, “The Megaformer has been developed by Sebastien Lagree, who is one of the most inspirational men and entrepreneurs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. When we first met him in LA and spoke about the Megaformer, the knowledge and passion of which he spoke made me truly in awe of his vision and commitment to the development of these machines. He is constantly working on improving them and developing newer models with unique components and additions to keep improving the workout and maximising its results.”
The Reform Method
Heading up Training at Reform Athletica is Roberto Julio; half Chilean, half British, Roberto was raised in Germany and has spent the majority of his career in the fitness industry in London. He recently moved to the UAE with his family to help bring the Reform Athletica vision to life along with the team of instructors at the studio. I caught up with Roberto to find out more about the method and to understand how this workout benefits the body and also complements other styles of fitness that we do.
1. What is the Reform Method?
The Reform Method is a low impact yet high intensity strength and conditioning workout that we perform on the latest Lagree Megaformer machine. It’s a full body workout effectively improving your core strength and awareness, as well as improving your posture and flexibility while building lower and upper body strength.
2. What can we expect from the workout?
You can expect a challenging workout that is as much fun as it is effective, all while being taught in a safe and uplifting environment.
3. Describe the Reform Method workout in 3 words.
The Reform Method workout is a lot of fun, immensely effective and most of all results-driven!
4. What are the key muscle groups we will be targeting?
The workout targets all major muscle groups by focusing on isolating specific muscle groups that are worked in certain sequences in order to challenge the client’s strength development. Clients often remark that they are feeling muscles that they were not aware they even had!
5. What are the long-term benefits of the Reform Method?
The long-term benefits of the Reform Method are many, but the primary benefits in my eyes are: a) improved overall body awareness and ability to control your movements; b) improved core strength and joint stability, and c) improved postural awareness and overall flexibility.
6. How does this workout complement other forms of fitness/ sports that we do?
The Reform Method is hugely beneficial for people from all walks of life, but due to it’s low impact nature it is especially suited for those who have to avoid impact due to past or current injuries, or athletes such as runners or tennis players for example who want a safe and effective workout to support their sport.
7. What are 3 key exercises that we can expect?
Wheelbarrow: This movement is used to allow us to teach the client to maintain a stable core while providing a distraction at the shoulder joint.
Bungee Kick: This movement provides gluteus activation, a muscle that is dormant in many people due to increased periods sitting down.
Lunge: This is a leg strengthening as well as hip opening movement, low impact by design and also great for increasing leg stability.
If you’re curious about the Reform Method, head to reformathletica.com and sign up for your free introductory class. As a member of the Reform Athletica team, I speak from experience when I say that this is a workout to add to your routine, and the facilities are pretty impressive, so it all adds to the overall experience. So download the app, check out the schedule and come to one of our classes. See you at the studio!