If you prefer the solidity of a stationary bike (and other perks like safety), but want to get outdoors to enjoy the vistas of paradise, JA Manafaru has added to its already extensive estate of al fresco fitness with outdoor workout machines. I’ve long applauded resorts who gave their gyms prominent positions with open windows so that a holiday workout could also be as enjoyable as the rest of the vacation (too many were after-thought facilities sequestered in claustrophobic rooms in the middle of the island). You don’t get much more expansive workout views to distract you from your toil than Manafaru’s fitness deck.
It’s not just celebrities who face gruelling challenges, whether for reality TV or just their own Instagram feed (check out Sophie Turner battling her own thorny game below). If you want to steel up your fitness for any challenge life throws at you, Finolhu offers not only a complete training course facility, but also their own star trainer to help you out:
- “Finolhu has partnered with the renowned UFC GYM, the elite fitness concept from global phenomenon Ultimate Fighting Championship®. A UFC GYM Master Trainer will be based on island at Finolhu’s The Cove Club from October 1, offering a blend of traditional workout facilities and mixed martial arts to enhance the fitness levels of guests with a variety of personal training and group classes.”
- “Maldivian warrior is a bootcamp fitness course on the beach inspired by what Maldivians would have used in the past to keep fit before air-conditioned gyms came to the country. It’s a blend of calisthenics and exercises on the beach using wooden blocks, logs and heavy stones, followed by a swim in the lagoon and a run around the beach (over 3km to get round the island once).”
- “TheTRX was birthed in the Navy SEALS, a 60minutes suspension training body weight exercise that develops strength, balance, flexibility, and core stability simultaneously. TRX is a fabulous training tool that leverage gravity together with your body weight to increase fitness, strengthen and tone muscles. An intense full body workout just for you.”
Sir, yes sir! TRX, a treat!
National Fitness Day today. While most are lulled into indolent relaxation by the tranquilising Maldives, a few (and I was once one of these) take advantage of the fresh air, healthy food and plenty of recovery resting to get in some good fitness. The fitness offerings at resorts have gone from a few dusty barbells in a stuffy room to quite extravagant programmes and facilities. And the clientele savouring this equipment has grown to as you can see from the collection of buff fitness buffs visiting below…
- Matthew Fraser (USA) – One & Only Reethi Rah
- Alexander Schachner (Austria)
- Jonny Pattenden (United Kingdom) – One & Only Reethi Rah
- Miles MacCarthy (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
- Joseph Maynard (United Kingdom) – Bandos
- Famious Stephenson (USA) – Gili Lankanfushi
- Alexander Dorokhov (Russia) – W Retreat
- PT Dubai (OAE) – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
- Renato Vasconcelos (Portugal) – Velassaru
- Thibault Geoffray (France) – Summer Island
- Erasmo Viana (Brazil) – One & Only Reethi Rah
- Omar Ortiz (South Korea)
- Andrew Pap (Australia) – Kandooma
If you want the buff beach bod, then you might want to head to Jumeirah Vittaveli for some beach bootcamp on the beach gym they have set up there. Here is another “finally seen” as I had first seen such apparatus during a holiday in Spain a few years ago where they were quite popular for working out in the sun and counteracting the effects of too many sangrias the night before.
Versatile athletes need weight training for strength, cardio for endurance and technique. Pilates is tainted with a bit of a “aging bored housewife” stereotype, but it is great for the flexibility and core fitness needed for top technique in most sports. I have also started practicing Pilates every week with a group of guys in the neighbourhood. And if you want to see a real manly pro then check in with Lindley (photo) at One & Only Reethi Rah who offers “Stott Pilates” instruction. The “Stott” variant focuses on the “natural curvature of the spine” rather than a more straight alignment of conventional Pilates. Our sessions at home use maybe a ball or a band, but Reethi is kitted out with a number of high-tech specialist Pilates machines for the most advanced workout I’ve come across.
Today is a double holiday in Thailand – both the King’s Birthday, honouring Thai tradition and culture, and Fathers Day. The latter is more than a card occasion and is marked by this official holiday.
Someone who will be marking the day is Prasit Latsila Sujith K.V. from Phuket who teaches yoga, tai chi, and Pilates at Centara Ras Fushi. He also teaches the ideal sport for today – Thai Kick Boxing.
As it happens, Thai boxing skills are typically “passed down through the generations” according to Prasit and he learned the art from his father. He competed when he was young and studied it at university.
Another curious fact about Thai Boxing (or Thai Kick Boxing) is that it is the second biggest sport in Thailand. One of the first things I learned running Piero (sport television graphics) is that “Football” is the #1 sport in nearly every country in the world (“American Football” in USA, “Aussie Rules football in Australia, and “Soccer” football everywhere else). The variety comes in which sport is the second most popular. Motor Racing, Basketball, Ice Hockey and Rugby are the most common “2nd sports”. Thai Kick Boxing is one of the rare solo seconds, ie. the only country where the sport is #2 (another example of a “solo second” is Netball in New Zealand and Squash in Egypt).
Prasit offers regular and requested classes at the waterside yoga pavilion which is part of the resort spa (see photos). A session starts with the “Ram Muay” which is a “show of respect to the teacher” and a warm-up. And today in Thailand, is one big “Ram Muay” for wisdom imparting fathers everywhere.
National Fitness Day today in both the USA and the UK. A chance for us to work on shaping up those body shapes for our own beach photoshoots.
On the Maldives Complete Profile pages, I try to limit the material to the key things people are interested in. One of these is a picture of the Fitness Centre. A good number of folks on the Maldives TripAdvisor Forum are always when people ask about the gym or workout facilities. Why on Earth would you want to do anything with the word “work” associated with it in the indolent Maldives??
Well, on my holidays in the Maldives, workouts were one of my top priorities. Unlike when I am at home, in the Maldives, I am rested and eating well. So my body is ready for some good exercise. As a more restless individual, it gives me something to do. The climate and surroundings are idyllic which are much more invigorating for a good session than trying to motivate oneself to go out in the chilly, damp of England. The whole time can be a bit of a physical bootcamp to re-boot the body.
Like everything in the Maldives, there is usually a “Beach” version. And Jumeirah Dhevanafushi offers a superlative Beach Bootcamp. It was started by Elmer who also pioneered Zumba in the Maldives. It was a “Tabata Bootcamp” developed by the Japanese to train their Olympic athletes. A high intensity interval workout like circuit training. 20 seconds of working out followed by 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds making a 4 minute segment. I sampled it when I visited the resort (see above and directly below) and it was as challenging as any hour long session I had ever done.
The bootcamp is now offered by physical instructor Tanya Shapoval (who also guide the yoga practice – see below). Incidentally, just started practicing yoga regularly myself (ouch!).
Be fit everyone!
Even the nicest floor-to-ceiling glassed, over-water fitness centres in the Maldives mean that you have to go inside for some exercise. You have to extract yourself from the sunshine, fresh air, squawking tropical birds, and fragrant blossoms to get your heart rate up a bit. You typically have to put on your shoes for the only time in your no-shoes get-away. But JA Manafuru sets a high bar for activity-on-offer in the Maldives…quite literally. As their adventure exercise course actually includes a number of “bar” exercises (see photos here). The whole circuit is spread out around the island so you can jog from one set of exercises to another. All of the exercises included illustrated instructional signs. The areas are even lit at night so people can use them during the cooler evening if they prefer (as does the front office manager Jourden who told me that he does the course nearly every day himself).