If you’d told me that I’d be addicted to hula-hooping a couple of months ago I would have thought you a little crazy. Because that’s for kids right? And I was never any good at it anyway – and actually I need to get that squishy bit around my middle toned up in the kind of way that only a gym workout will do. Well how wrong I was mamas! Hooping is now a worldwide craze that not only has loads of celebrities in a spin (Beyonce credits her toned curves to the hoop), but is also one of the best workouts for your body (one hour burns more calories than an hour of bootcamp – fact) and for your mind.
I bumped into the hooping queen of Dubai (or rather Chief Hoop Fairy as she prefers to be known), Teeba, while rather embarrassingly stuffing my face with cake in BookMunch cafe one day. Lean, healthy looking and full of positive energy, she quickly had me convinced that I should come and try one of her hoop flow classes the following evening – so I pushed the cake aside and booked in.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little apprehensive. I arrived at the Fridge warehouse in the art district of Al Serkal Avenue in Al Quoz at 8.30pm and peered in at an Intermediate class of hoopers who looked far more able than I’d ever be – performing amazing moves with their hoops, while I worried if I’d even be able to get it to stay on my hips for a couple of spins. But any concerns were quickly replaced by excitement as Teeba rushed over to welcome me and the group of beginners I’d be joining for the next session.
The first thing I noticed was how unbelievably friendly everyone was. Yeah so some of them could stand on their heads while hooping with their little toe but they didn’t give a hoot (or a hoop) that I couldn’t even get a couple of minutes of basic hula-hula under, or on, my belt. Everyone was full of encouragement and advice on how to get started. The trick? Go for a heavily weighted hoop (great for the abs by the way) and move front to back rather than in a circular motion. The lovely lady to my right told me that the week prior she hadn’t even been able to keep the hoop going for more than a few seconds, while another gave me helpful tips for getting my hoop to behave. Suddenly I was part of a happy hooping family even before class had begun! This was going well!
Classes are 75 minutes each which sounds like forever but actually goes incredibly fast – too fast. I now wish they were even longer despite the fact that they’re definitely hard work, the first 10 minutes had me in a sweat and the next day a few beautiful bruises had appeared as testament to my efforts. Over the course of each class you’ll work your legs, abs, arms and actually almost every other part of your body, but this is most definitely exercise disguised as fun, complete with awesome music and the most lovely people.
Beginners are encouraged to sign up for a 6 week course, over which time you graduate from basic moves to the stuff that you think only mega hooping experts can master. And that’s the great thing about this, I can honestly promise you that absolutely anyone can do it – regardless of age, weight, fitness ability or coordination – male or female and that you’ll see a huge difference in your skills after each class.
My hooping pals include a mama of 6 week old twin boys who wanted to start getting back into shape while grabbing some of that all important ‘me-time’, some serious business women for whom this is as much about forgetting all about the daily stress for an hour and a couple of uber cool looking guys (apparently there’s a husband/wife team on board – I’m yet to convince the hubby that he should get involved but I’m seriously trying!).
Completely hooked after my first class, I went on to join the ‘hoop jam’, a super cool gathering which happens every Monday in the streets of Al Serkal and involves live DJ’s and the chance to practice your newly found skills while being inspired by Teeba, her Flowground team and their magical LED lit hoops.
Mamas if you’re looking to get fit, to have fun and to take your mind off all things routine for a few magical minutes then give hooping a whirl – trust me you’ll be hooked.
Hula Hoop Classes are priced at AED 750 per six week course.