British resident Dee Smith believes you don’t need to join a gym or buy expensive home equipment to get in shape. The mum of two, has put her entrepreneurial spirit to use by creating her own makeshift gym.
Every evening as the sun goes down, on a spot of wasteland in front of Smith’s villa in Mohammed bin Zayed city, you’ll find her pushing an old pallet, flipping tyres, lifting buckets of sand and letting off steam with a homemade punchbag, which she made by hanging up a pillowcase filled with sand.
“I’ve paid for gyms for years and years and each time, I’d go a few times and then stop,” Smith admits.
“I just thought ‘you know what, I’m just going to try it on my own’.”
Back in August, Smith started looking around her local area for potential gym equipment and found plenty of discarded items she could upcycle: concrete blocks, a spade, buckets, bricks, a wheelbarrow borrowed from an old construction site – even a discarded piece of a children’s play gym.
Smith is now often joined by her friends and their children, as well as her 14-year-old son Kai.
Friends, and also strangers, have started leaving Smith supplies.
“I walked out of my house one day and there were four tyres outside, which I use,” she says.
Smith’s workouts are causing quite a stir in the local community.
“The neighbours all clap when they drive past,” says Smith.
Husband Andy Smith is proud to have such a thrifty wife. “She uses the materials quite creatively,” he says. “She looks fab and it cost me Dh0!”
Smith’s daily workouts, which began last autumn, have been reaping her desired results – a month in she had lost about a stone.
“But I don’t weigh myself anymore, I just go by clothes I can now wear,” she says. “The definition in my arms is amazing – I have guns! I’m so proud. I’m really pleased I’m doing it.”