Right Fit

Sara Al-Boom
8 min readJan 6, 2021

The greatest fitness experience in Dubai

Who knew that in March 2020, COVID-19 would’ve been the source of our misery. As people began working from home, and students took on distance learning, hundreds of establishments struggled to keep their business alive. It was such an unpleasant reaction to the world as we all fell into this severe pandemic.

Right Fit Gym

That includes the fitness industry. Several gyms and fitness studios across Dubai had to temporarily close down their facilities in the wake of the pandemic.

The first thought that came to mind was, how are gyms going to survive during all this? What are the new measures they will have to take? What is going to happen to personal trainers? My sister and I had many conversations surrounding the matter while in quarantine. We were always in a constant state of curiosity, and we were anxiously waiting about a decision to re-open gyms and how they’re going to adhere to this COVID-19 world.

If you are someone like me who spends at least 4–5 days of the week at the gym, this decision probably depressed you. Nonetheless, it was a wise call that allowed fitness professionals to rethink their whole approach towards the circumstance.

With state-of-the-art machines, friendly staff, and top tier personal trainers, “Right Fit” is not your ordinary gym. For the past few months, I began taking images of the gym’s clients + trainers in order to showcase the environment in the midst of a pandemic.

Fitness has been a massive part of my life. Plateaus, setbacks, progress — I’ve seen it all.

Going to a gym for the first time can be intimidating, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Just like it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the idea of building wealth when you’re starting from zero.

That’s what makes “Right Fit” special, the trainers build a rapport with their clients like the start of a beautiful friendship. No judgment, no fuss. I have known the trainers for almost 5 years and I have never felt out of place.

One thing I often wondered while in quarantine was how the trainers themselves kept fit while gyms were closed. With no access to heavy machines and the additional weights, maintaining their physique took quite the toll.

Ana Monteiro, one of the Right Fit trainers.

Set in the heart of DIFC, “Right Fit” gym is a brainchild fitness experience created by 5 Portuguese trainers in Dubai. The gym was initially supposed to launch in March; however, they had to seek other arrangements due to the situation.

The benefits of the gym are quite clear. Staying fit and boosting your immunity to fight against the virus is one example, but there are also risks. People moving around indoors, sharing equipment and air, basically a recipe for easy viral spread.

“The gym teaches you everything you need to know about life. You get out exactly what you put into it”. — Paul “Triple H” Levesque

Since the pandemic began, many gyms had to change their operations completely. From halting classes to closing down the locker rooms, juice bars, and common areas, to name a few. They have implemented strict measures to check everyone’s temperature upon arrival, spaced out equipment, and begun intensive cleaning regimens.

The hygienic measures at the gym made me feel more comfortable over the course of time. Gyms have a big advantage over other retail and entertainment venues. Even though “Right Fit” doesn’t follow a typical “membership” model, they are a small boutique gym and so those who have been exposed can easily be contacted.

It’s clear that there are many things gym owners — and gym members — can do to lower the risk of infection at a gym, but that doesn’t mean the risk is gone. This is a new period for everyone and the trainers make it very clear and safe for their clients one step at a time.

The commitment to showing up stuck with me. Whether it’s showing up for yourself, even in your lowest times, or showing up for others, the act of doing so can be transformative if done consistently.

Pedro Salvador with his client.

The thrill of being back in the gym is such an amazing feeling. Ana (pictured below) is one of the amazing trainers at “Right Fit” who had to experience a different training route while in quarantine. From Zoom calls to lifting liters of water just to add resistance, it was a completely different lifestyle that trainers, like Ana and others, had to experience.

When asked what other measures she took while in lockdown to maintain her own physical fitness, she said that her alternative use of the “stair-master” machine was… the actual stairs. By adding 6kg ankle weights and climbing 30 floors of stairs, Ana had to figure out a way to get that challenging cardio kick. This is just one of many examples the trainers had to endure while they had no access to a gym.

Unlike previous years, 2020 has not only introduced some new trends but also revolutionized how we train — simply by changing where we train. Whether you are a seasoned gym-goer or a beginner, you’ve definitely been drawn to the trend of home workouts.

Indoor gyms closed at a peak time when people were about to start their “New Years’ “ resolution. But the move to digital workouts came easier to some than others, and many fitness providers and their clients alike see the offerings as only a brief, stopgap solution.

Virtual coaching became the norm, but for how long? People will end up getting tired of doing burpees and air squats in their living room.

Trainers like Carlos (below) were also driving the “zoom” call bus with several clients.

“It’s a completely different landscape when you’re physically not with the person to monitor their exact form”, he said.

To this day, Carlos has clients that come to the gym as well as a few others he sees virtually. But that does not stop him from helping others achieve their goals. He knows that everyone’s journey is different, but the principles remain the same. Consistency, dedication, and patience are staples of success.

Carlos Dimas monitors his clients form in a session.

There is a misconception that fitness is all about looking good. There is some truth to it, but nothing compares to how it makes you feel. This is one of the things I learned while training with Carlos over the years. As human beings, we get sucked into the glamour of having a 6 pack without considering the hardship one has to endure to reach that stage.

We all know that nothing worthwhile comes easy, and fitness is no different.

The worry many clients had while in lockdown was how to “bounce back” to their fitness regimen after a long hiatus. Being one of them, I was nervous when the prospect of returning back to the gym was in effect and how my trainer would react. I went back under his wing in July and then BOOM! 6 months later, It’s as though I never left.

That’s the beauty of keeping a healthy lifestyle, the importance of showing up and doing the work. If you look at the mountain of tasks ahead of you, it can look insurmountable. But if you take at least one extra step each day, you’ll soon find yourself with an incredible view from the top.

“Right Fit” is the safe haven that everyone should discover. If you want to be able to train when you’re 60 years old the same way you could at 30, do not neglect your health.

Speaking of longevity… “Right Fit” trainer Vera Santos (below) is the human equivalent of a “wall sit”. Looks easy, but tough as hell.

Vera began training my sister, Hind, almost 2 years ago and I can confidently see the positive results in Hind’s mental and physical wellbeing.

Hind had so many drawbacks, she went through a cycle of re-thinking her choice of having a personal trainer as well as entering the gym scene. This is a supernormal thought to have when you’ve entered a “discomfort” phase. But she embraced the challenge, the exhaustion, the ability to be at peace with being uncomfortable. That takes perseverance.

Vera Santos with her client during a night session.

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable can solve so many issues in our lives. The first step is always the hardest, but once you taste the result, it’s extremely gratifying.

As we begin in 2021, people will start thinking about their choices in life. Whether it’s a career move, the beginning of a healthier lifestyle, or just taking it one day at a time.

If you’re seeking a new path in your physical health, my recommendation is to start a new page with “Right Fit”. Trust me, you will not regret it.