Dubai Diary: A Day in the Life of a Physique 57 Dubai Instructor

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To celebrate the recent opening of our permanent studio at Dubai Citywalk, Physique 57 instructor Neva Cockrell is giving readers a sneak peek at her experience living (and working) in Dubai.

We’ve been in Dubai for a little more than 3 months opening the first international Physique 57 studio. It’s been a whirlwind, and is really taking off! We have been working in a temporary space, while our gorgeous new studio was being finished, and now it’s finally happened! Our new studio is up and running, and is perfect–down to the last detail, and the clients here love it! As a teacher it’s been really rewarding to be teaching in this new studio because I see many of our clients almost every day. I am getting to work closely with them on their bodies and form as they get stronger, leaner, and healthier. Just the other day I measured one of our amazing clients, Bronwyn Patten, who’s been doing Physique classes 6 days a week for 1 month and has already lost a total of 4 inches and feels leaner, happier and more energized. What a treat to get to celebrate something like that with a client!

Desert Safari Ride in Dubai - Nora Hickman, Melissa Matich, Erin Bellis and Neva Cockrell.
Desert Safari Ride in Dubai – Nora Hickman, Melissa Matich, Erin Bellis and Neva Cockrell.

So what’s it actually like in Dubai? So far I am really liking it (and I think the best is yet to come!). The weather is getting to be nice, fall has brought the weather into the 80s and 90s. I live a 15 minute walk from the studio, a 5 minute walk from the metro, and a 30 minute walk from the beach in a great one-bedroom apartment with a balcony…not bad right? And on top of that, most apartment buildings here are outfitted with a swimming pool, gym, and sauna! Coming from NYC living, that’s a dream! I swim almost every day, get a healthy amount of sunshine, eat fresh food from all over the world, and travel to other parts of the world on my long weekends. English is the first language and it’s definitely the most commonly spoken. To be honest, the lifestyle is so comfortable that sometimes I forget I’m not in America, and then I’ll hear the call to prayer coming from a Mosque down the street or see people in traditional Arab dress. It’s a nice mix of comfort and newness for me.

As a fitness instructor, I really feel like I am doing something new here. There aren’t a lot of fitness choices in Dubai, as the industry is just starting to take off, so we are at the forefront of the movement and offering something unique! It’s exhilarating, people are curious and excited to try our classes, and the news is spreading fast. We will be featured in Shape Middle East and Cosmo Middle East next month!

Physique 57 instructors Nora Hickman, Neva Cockrell and Erin Bellis with Physique 57 Dubai Founder and CEO (second to the right)
Physique 57 instructors Nora Hickman, Neva Cockrell and Erin Bellis with Physique 57 Dubai Founder and CEO (second to the right)

Though there are relatively few Americans here, everyone seems excited about this new American fitness offering and curious to learn more about US. I am enjoying being a rarity—I meet people who say, “You moved to Dubai from NYC to help open a fitness studio? I’ve never met anyone doing that before!”. And that’s neat. Dubai might be even more of a cultural melting pot than NYC, and I am finding it really rich and fun to be meeting people from all over the world—sharing stories, ideas, and cultures with them! Unlike NYC, Dubai is still a very young city, so there isn’t yet a “uniform culture,” which allows each person to be individual, from their own culture. I like that.

Erin Bellis, Nora Hickman,makeup artist extraordinaire Basma Masri and Neva Cockrell
Erin Bellis, Nora Hickman,makeup artist extraordinaire Basma Masri and Neva Cockrell

The city is overall less expensive than NYC, but similar in that you have all of the possible lifestyle choices available to you! I love being able to treat myself, and still live within my means, and Dubai makes it easy to do both. I don’t have a car, though I would say most people do. Having a car seems like it might make life a little easier—though I’ve rented one 4 times since I’ve been here and that’s easy to do to take weekend trips. So far though, I am getting by fine riding the metro (which is very fast and clean!), taking taxis (which are pretty inexpensive), walking, and biking. It’s really a lifestyle choice, whichever you prefer! As the weather continues to get nicer, I spend even more time outside, on the beach and in the parks (yes there are a few parks, and one particularly big and wonderful one). The city is an incredible combination of truly cosmopolitan life and serious beach/vacation life!

Dolphin watching and snorkeling in Oman
Dolphin watching and snorkeling in Oman

So if you find yourself in Dubai, definitely stop by our studio for a class! We’ll be pulsing and squeezing in our gorgeous new studio at Citywalk (with a view of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world!) 7 days a week! And if you or anyone you know is interested in joining our Physique 57 team in Dubai as an Instructor please have them contact globalauditions@physique57.com. We are growing so quickly and have so much going on that we are looking to expand our team! It’s a great opportunity for someone looking to live abroad, in a beautiful, international city, and help to pioneer the fitness scene in the Middle East, while living on the beach. In addition, you would be helping to start Physique 57’s first international studio within its first year! What a truly dynamic combination!

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