IT CAN’T HAVE ESCAPED YOU that there’s a new ﬁtness crew in town. Shimmering Sands Takes You Beyond Human, the 360-degree, all-female training and nutrition programme, has ballooned to nearly 100 dumbbellbrandishing trainees in under 12 months, each one humblebragging across our social-media feeds, evangelical about the positive, and importantly, affordable, changes SSxBH has made to their lives. The joint brainchild of Frankie Hales – the shimmering part of proceedings – James Agus and Michael Sole – both very much Beyond Human in their personal-trainingslash-deadlifting capabilities, its goal is to create an empowered community, debunk the myths, and take the intimidation out of weights, one kettle-bell swing at a time. Here are the stories of the humans of Beyond Human…
BEYOND HUMAN CO-FOUNDER
We might be pretty unorthodox in our approach, but that’s also our strength. We’re real, we don’t pretend to be otherwise, and we don’t expect you to be anything else, either. We’ve lived in Dubai for ages so we know what the lifestyle here is like and we have realistic expectations. My goal as a nutritionist is to get you to the same level of knowledge about food as we have. It’s all about balance and understanding that there’s no such thing as a ‘healthy’ food in isolation – it’s all about context. That, and don’t believe everything you read.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
With SSxBH, I feel more empowered both in and outside the gym. I’ve been with them since day one and I knew right from the start I’d be getting a different training experience from any other that I’d had in Dubai. Nutrition was my biggest challenge but I’m a lot more conscious about what I’m putting into my body now. My proudest moment happens in every session because I honestly feel myself getting stronger every day. Being able to squeeze back into my inspiration jeans doesn’t hurt either!
GRAZIA DEPUTY EDITOR
I’ve never been ﬁt. One school sports day, I came third to last in the 800 metres, only because one girl had an asthma attack and another stopped to help. For years, that was about the level I was operating at, but after a desk-bound Dubai existence led to a stone in weight gain, I knew something drastic was in order. A lifestyle rethink. I stopped smoking, joined SSxBH, and even though I’ve got a long way to go, I genuinely feel like I’ve made the smartest decision of my life so far.
BEYOND HUMAN CO-FOUNDER
We’ve rapidly gone from 12 girls to 46 and now nearly 100 in under a year since launching SSxBH, and I really think it’s because of how personal it is. We’re invested in every single girl; they’re actually easier to train than men as they listen, there’s no egos thinking they know better, plus they have a higher pain threshold for exercise! They all now know that weight training doesn’t make you bulky, and for us, it’s so important to debunk those kinds of myths. There’s a lot of charlatans out there, so our USP is being honest, transparent and using legitimate, evidence-based knowledge. Our motto is ‘Trust The Process’ for a reason!
PR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR
I heard about SSxBH through the girls at work. I’d literally just moved to Dubai and was looking for a good gym to join. I’ve always been into ﬁtness, just not consistently, so I think the idea of being on the beach most weekends deﬁnitely spurred me on to look after myself more. It’s been three months and I have so much more energy; I’m literally buzzing after each session. But it still helps to have some motivation, and the boys – and the other girls – are amazing at doing that.
HEAD OF CONTENT MARKETING
I moved here in May and decided to change my lifestyle – new city, new beginning, new me – so I joined SSxBH to try and ﬁnd a work-life balance, as well as feel satisﬁed with myself and my body at 30. Not everything is about the physical difference, it’s more about the mental changes. A healthy lifestyle isn’t about zero fats or zero carbs, it’s about balance. My proudest moment was doing 100 burpees in one go without dying, but also achieving a ﬁgure I thought was impossible to get without starving myself. I feel so much stronger, more conﬁdent, and full of energy and positivity.
PR & SSXBH CO-FOUNDER
When I ﬁrst met the boys I was massively intimidated; their arms were bigger than my head. But that’s the magic of SSxBH, we’ve made personal training approachable, and affordable, and the boys are actually the kindest gentle giants with a genuine interest in every girl. It’s an educated lifestyle change, not a fad, and as well as personally feeling the best I’ve ever felt, I’m also proud of the super-supportive, ‘real deal’ community we’ve created. 100 per cent of our Day One girls are still with us. That says a lot.
WE’RE REAL, AND WE DON’T PRETEND OTHERWISE
Photos: Fritz John Asuro Hair and make-up: Alex O’Mahoney at Glamour HQ