There are new gyms opening all the time in Kuwait and most of them don’t usually interest me but, when Abdulmohsen Al-Babtain (of Sidekick Academy) emailed me about a new gym he was opening called SPARK, I knew there was going to be something different about it. Actually I really shouldn’t be calling it a gym because it’s more than a gym which is why they prefer to use the term athletic center.
When you first walk into SPARK there’s a small fitness store on the ground floor with stairs on the side leading you up to the main floor of the gym. I met Abdulmohsen on the lower level and followed him up the stairs to the main floor. I was expecting it to be a small specialized gym similar to the two gyms I’m currently enrolled in, Core Fitness and Circuit+ but when I got to the main floor I was shocked. The place was huge, 2,400m2 huge. I got introduced to the head coach right away who took me on a tour of the space. The majority of the space looks very similar to your everyday gym, they had a TRX station right at the start and tons of cardio machines on the far right. Then from one end of the gym to the other they had top of the line Hoist and Bilt fitness equipment followed by a small room at the very end for spinning classes.
But, where things get more interesting was a space in the back corner that occupied around 25% of the gym floor. The space is surrounded by a high black metal fence with a large sign outside saying no one can enter without a coach. Behind the black fence is over 400 square meters of professional indoor turf, the only indoor training ramp of its kind in the world, two 50-meter sprint lanes, a sand pit for simulating training on the beach and a corner with four Woodway super treadmills, one of which can hit can hit 40 km/h.
Finally theres a small room also at the back which they call the SPARK LAB. The lab contains a bunch of scientific equipment that can perform functional screening tests, body composition tests, wingate anaerobic capacity tests and full metabolic testing. One of the equipment is called Bod Pod and is used to calculate your body composition. It’s one of the most accurate ways of measuring your body fat percentage, around 8% more accurate than skinfold calipers. I got to try it out during my full physical assessment and after sitting in the pod for a few minutes the machine printed out numbers that included my body fat percentage, my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and Total Energy Expenditure (TEE). Turns out if I sit on my computer all day I can burn 2,246 calories or up to 3,649 with very high activity. Pretty cool.
Now the reason I found the gym interesting is because instead of just focusing on muscle gain or weight loss, they’re focusing on athletic performance. They’ve brought in coaches from around the world (one was a Florida Gator coach) and they want to help improve athletes in Kuwait from runners and basketball players to wannabe Olympians. For example I could go to them and tell them I want to improve my sprinting speed or I want to be able to jump higher and they’ll help me achieve my goal.
The gym is already open and their prices start at KD70 a month which is very reasonable. They also have personal training but that would cost an additional KD20 per session or as low as KD15 depending on how many sessions you would be taking. It’s a mens only gym but they are opening a women’s gym in the coming month or two and it’s going to be even larger at 3,600m2, have more facilities and will be located in KIPCO Tower in Kuwait City.
SPARK is located in Shuwaikh right on top of where Shuwaikh Market is [Map] and for more information you can call them on 22282058.