A friend of mine who’s working with the team handling the preparations of Jaber Al Ahmad International Stadium (AKA Jaber Stadium) official opening has invited me for a tour at the stadium today. I always heard and read controversial news about Jaber stadium but actually never had the chance to visit it before so I decided to go and see if the issues were rectified, it was planned to officially open on the 17th February but opening was postponed for a reason that I don’t know yet. I arrived in the evening at Gate#8 and I noted there were 13 gates, I saw there were tickets kiosks scattered around the parking area which is good idea for buying tickets and preventing future congestion.
A short brief about Jaber stadium before I take you on a tour; it’s a multi-purpose stadium in Ardhiyah area and can be seen from 6th Ring Road, it was completed in 2009 but there were many issues and claims regarding the structural integrity but thankfully they were resolved, it’s constructed in 4 levels and has a capacity of 68,000 seated spectators and 6,000 car parkings which makes it the largest stadium in Kuwait.
I recall there was a problem with the turf a few months ago but I saw that this was also resolved. There were many volunteers working hard to get the stadium ready for the opening, they said the new opening date is between February 25th and March 5th. As a civil engineer, I loved how the stadium was designed yet I expected it to be bigger though it looked beautiful from every angle. My first remark was regarding the absence of multi-car parking because clearly 6,000 parking are not adequate for 68,000 spectators but they said the parking area was expanded to reach around 50,000 parkings, also I wish if they start marking the emergency evacuation exits. I walked around the stadium and checked the facilities, there were two large LED screens fixed, a royal and VIP platforms in addition to normal platforms, specialized boxes for media, large speakers, and solar panels that they say are used in case of power failure.
They said there will a huge festive event for the grand opening (laser and fireworks show) and that there will be an international football team coming to Kuwait for a friendly match (most likely Brazil like I said before) and that there will also be an event to break Guinness World Record by making the biggest flag in the world. Did I mention that I went to the top of the stadium? The view was spectacular.
I generally liked how Jaber Stadium looked but there were small shortcomings related to the design and some of the facilities (no Olympic swimming pool, small toilets…etc.) but I suppose they can be addressed, I’m defintely going to visit Jaber stadium for the opening event.
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I got you sneak peek pictures for the new health club and spa Al Hamra Thermae that is currently in soft opening phase. I posted perspective photos a few months ago but even in real it looks luxurious and indeed one of the finest health clubs in Kuwait with the spacious training areas and fancy decorations. Health Clubs are getting better and better by the day in Kuwait with numerous offers and new training techniques, so it’s not just free weights area and benches anymore since many are now offering new ideas and techniques for fitness seekers and I was curious if Al Hamra Thermae brings new creative training concepts or if it’s merely one good looking health club and spa.
So to answer all my questions I had a long chitchat with the owner and have asked umpteen questions. First of all, Thermae means hot or warm springs and the health club is located on the top level of Al Hamra Luxury Center right above Grand Cinemas but don’t freak out because members won’t enter the through the mall because there’s a special entrance and elevator that is only accessed via the membership card, so no one can ever get in without a prior appointment which I think gives members more privacy. The gym was designed to have indoor and outdoor training areas, outdoor there is a rooftop walkway overlooking Kuwait city skyline.
There will be two different sections located on two different floors for men and women. Speaking of facilities it has the following;
Men’s Grooming Area
Ladies Swimming Pool
Different Countries Theme Spas
This is good but what got me interested is that there are first time things in Kuwait such as the anti-gravity treadmill machines in which users will feel like they are running in the air, guess it feels good. Also have you ever heard of a salt and mud rooms? They say these rooms are for body scrubbing and skin care.
Another interesting thing is that the training machines are connected to the Internet and were made exclusively for Al Hamra Thermae, WiFi is also available across the gym. They said there are special aerobics and bootcamp sessions plus yoga classes. I admit seeing how Al Hamra Thermae looks tempt me to give it a try but as a bodybuilder my main concern is the free weight area but I couldn’t see it yet because the men section is not yet open plus I want to check out the swimming pool and spa section so I’ll make sure to have another visit later.
Now “unto” the part that many of you are awaiting, pricing right? They said the annual subscription costs KD1,000 (plus one month free) and that includes a personal trainer throughout the year plus free nutrition consultations from popular local nutritionist Ghanima Alrayyes (AKA gcalories). So by doing simple math, Al Hamra Thermae costs around KD76 per month (KD1000 for 13 months) but I think the management is targeting the yearly membership, I admit I’ve fallen in love with this health club but I’d love it even more if they introduce special offers.
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I managed to get you a sneak peek visit to Fitness First health club which will supposedly open in about a week at 360 Mall – Level 3, this is their first branch in Kuwait and they said they will later open two other branches in Salmiya and Sulaibikhat. Little introduction; Fitness First is the largest privately owned health club group in the world with over 540 branches around the world, but does it really worth the popularity? That is the question.
My first question to them was of course “Why do you always open inside malls instead of having separate building?”, they said it’s their philosophy to open health clubs within malls because they have facilities such as large parking area, food court, cinema, recreational, shopping…etc. so their members can enjoy working out and enjoy shopping or dining or say go to cinema later, “we also target office workers in the mall” they added.I noted they had two separate clubs for men and women with common reception area with total area of about 2,200 sq. m. I started with the women club which was spacious on the inside with cardio area with treadmills, free weights area, stretch area, group exercise area, mind and body, freestyle area. I noted there were new multi-purpose training machines that I haven’t seen in other clubs, changing room was large with many lockers and there were steam, sauna and showers.
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As for the men club it was more like a gym rather than fitness club, it was smaller than the women side with a strength section, cardio area with treadmills, free weights area with dumbbells and benches, showers and lockers room, sauna and steam rooms. They also have a small lounge area with free WiFi Internet connections and computers.
The men gym looked nice but don’t expect a big gym with large free weights and numerous training and weight-resistance machines like the other gyms. Their machines are from brand Life Fitness and they had around 58 treadmills in total (both clubs). I asked about their prices but they said they can only provide me with the prices for the first 200 members that will subscribe, as follows;
6 months; KD311
12 months; KD 388
18 months; KD467
The normal rates will be announced when they are officially opened. Fitness First does look nice and neat but some things were missing like a swimming pool , therapy and massage treatment but personally I rarely use such facilities anyway.
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I’m glad that I managed to keep up with my workout for several months now and drop my weight from 97KG to around 86KG and maintain the result, but of course my target is not only to lose weight but to get back in shape by losing fat and gaining muscle mass to get the toned body look. However, the biggest challenge that I’m facing now is that on some days I feel little drowsy when I arrive to the gym, also feel tired when I do intensive workout for say 50-60 minutes. I usually start with a warm up then do weight resistance exercises and finish with cardio or sometimes swimming at the pool.
So I’m now considering to add supplements to my regimen, the ones that I used before are shown above but I’ve checked online (supplements in Kuwait too expensive) for bodybuilding, vitamin shoppe, and amazon websites and there are many new supplements that I know nothing about, what I’m basically looking for are the best supplements that help with raising energy level, boost natural testosterone and growth hormones, improve muscle anabolism, whey protein and multi-vitamin. I’d would be thankful if you could share your experience about supplements so we could all benefit, also if you know good shops or trusted websites that sell them for good prices.
Note: I wanted to add that ordering supplements online has also become tough in Kuwait because of customs and Ministry of Health new regulations, package has to be sent to test labs before it can be retrieved.
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I finally found the exact location of Fitness First health club since they said they’re opening in Kuwait soon but wasn’t sure where. The location is Salem Mubarak street in Salmiya in an under-construction mall called Al Salam Mall.
I was also able to reach the management who said they will probably open by end of this year and that they will be one of the biggest health clubs in Kuwait. Can’t wait for the opening, its nice to see franchises that are not restaurants.
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