Built around the concept of bringing the outdoor world and mixing it with the concept of a sterile gym, Tribal Fitness brings to the Kingdom the opportunity to experience fitness and health through natural movement, natural food and living. Conceptualised by Craig Heslop in 2010 and with two branches around Bahrain – on Budaiya Highway and Bahrain Financial Harbour, which opened recently – Tribal Fitness aims to bring a balance between fitness and health through their various exercise regiments that focus on different parts of the body without exerting too much pressure, and is achieved without the use of any mechanised equipment. Fitness Instructor Lloyd Parks spoke to Perle Magazine about the ethos behind Tribal Fitness and how they are revolutionising the fitness industry through their unique and effective workouts.
Using his own nomadic upbringing as inspiration, Craig developed a distinct yet effective method to try and steer people towards embracing a more natural way of living through movement and food. Having been brought up in Africa, UK, New Zealand, Australia and the Middle East, Craig combined his knowledge of these different cultures and his experience of being in the fitness industry for over 14 years to establish the core beliefs and culture that define Tribal Fitness. Aptly naming the locations, ‘The Jungle’ (in Budaiya) and ‘The Summit’, Tribal Fitness offers multiple fitness programs, which include: group training, private training, expeditions, corporate wellness training, junior training, special events, and holiday fitness adventures. Tribal Fitness carefully planned workout plans accommodate the various kinds of people that make up the community in order to ensure everyone can be a part of the Tribal experience. Taking clients out of their comfort zones in a helpful and safe manner, the fitness facility creates its macro programming according to seasons, and is designed in a way that allows the clients to be able to reach their own potential in an exciting and energetic manner.
Tribal’s take on fitness the natural way:
Strength and Skill (S+S): which looks at building strength through compound movements like pressing, lifting, crawling, and squatting in a lower rep range that encourage higher strength building.
Kettlebell Club (KBC): the only weights that are used throughout the facility, the class focuses on developing muscular endurance with a higher rep range. Kettlebells are incorporated into the workouts due to the dynamic exercises that can be performed using it such as presses, swings, get-up, squats and lifts.
Survival (SRV): the core of Tribal Fitness is built upon the practical and contextual movements that are carried out in the outdoors, and Tribal brings that indoor through a range of back to back movements such as crawling, climbing, farmer’s walk (carrying kettlebells in both hands and walking the length of the gym), rowing – essentially going from point A to point B.
Combatives (CMB): a class based on building skill in defence and combines elements from boxing, kick boxing, and some wrestling. Teaching self-defence manoeuvres combined with body conditioning movements, the class does not aim to train in fighting, but rather developing a stronger body overall. w
Stability and Natural Movement (SNM): the newly introduced class is inspired by Yoga principles and focuses on movement flow combined with strength building. The class helps in joint repairing and mobility to their full ability, flexibility and muscle health, and restore postural integrity.
Junior Fitness at Tribal:
Conditioning the youth to look after their health in a fun and active manner, Tribal Fitness offers its junior members a wide variety of activities and wellness plans to improve their overall health and fitness.
Offering an exciting way to be more active after school, Tribal Fitness offers its junior members exercises and activities designed around natural movements to help them connect with nature and sports in a healthy yet fun manner in their After School Program. The children’s program is based on ten foundation movements, which include lifting, climbing, and locomotion and they are also given a Tribal Diary to keep a record of their progress. Maintaining their core beliefs throughout all their programs, Tribal Fitness aims to instil positive habits of teamwork, healthy eating and living achieved through fun movements and the right kind of health education for the juniors as well.
Similar to the adult colour band system, the Juniors also have a program designed to measure and challenge a child’s fitness progress with the Juniors Tribal Band. The idea behind the Junior’s Band system, much like the adults, is to work towards enhancing a child’s competency in terms of natural movement, food, and living.
Unlike any other camp, Tribal Fitness Holiday Camps are the ideal way to introduce children to nature to encourage a life-long change. Lasting usually three days for four-hour sessions (except for the overnight survival camp and the Summer Camp), the holiday camps are scheduled during school holidays (like Summer break), and are carried out with the help of Tribal trainers. Within the activities provided, children are given the opportunity to move closer to their true health.
Offering a change from the usual children’s party activities, at Tribal, the juniors can enjoy a group activity with friends in a completely new and exciting environment. Tribal offers two different types of activities, Desert Survival and in-gym “Rumble the Jungle”.
Tribal’s Desert Skill Party is more than just a fun way to let the children spend a few hours. The activity allows them to pick up multiple survival skills such as shelter building, fire lighting, spear making and knot tying.
Allowing the kids to move about freely in the fitness facility for two hours, during Rumble the Jungle, children also get to learn a little about exercise and fitness through activities such as climb, crawl, jump, and balance. At the end of the activities, each party-goer receives a special gift from Tribal Fitness, with something special for the birthday boy or girl and indulge in some sweetness with cake!
“A lot of our fitness is practical, we do not want people to be able to do a thousand pull-ups, instead, we are looking for it to be contextually based”, Lloyd says and explains that at Tribal, they want their clients to be able to use their strength to be able to carry out daily movements with ease such as carrying their kids above their heads safely, or pull themselves up. “We want to influence people’s lifestyles as opposed to just two hours or two weeks in a gym to lose weight”, he adds.
“A positive mindset, work hard, remain open minded, and support others”, the philosophy that has made Tribal Fitness a success – among the younger and older clients of the facility – is one that encourages all the clients to use their skills to the best of their abilities without being concerned about being fit enough. The hands-on instructors also make sure each member of a class or private training are being attended to at all times. The group classes are capped at 12 people per session, and all new members are encourages to attend a Foundation Program to ensure they can move well. Upon completion of the foundation session, members can take any class they desire. At Tribal Fitness, it is not just the members who are challenged, but the trainers also partake in the different challenges set up by the facility. Much like everything at Tribal, the challenges are more than just testing the body, but rather focus on all aspects that lead to a healthier life. The challenges are based on a colour-coded band system, where each band represents a certain focus area to be challenged. The challenges include: regional and local food, social eating, living by the light, conscious play time, daily walkabouts, limiting technology in daily life, reducing the amount of time in a chair each day, and building a strong support system at home and work.
The facilities themselves are designed in a simple manner with a ‘raw’ design aesthetic that mirrors the ambiance of the outside world. The large windows in both facilities allow in plenty of sunlight during the day with views of the busy streets of Bahrain that create their own unconscious natural movements. With a team of five trainers on board, that split their time between The Jungle and The Summit, Tribal Fitness works diligently to influence the community as much as possible through their unique methods of training and beliefs in terms of health and fitness.
For more information:
The Jungle – Budaiya Highway, adjacent to Harley Davidson and Party Mania, Maqabah
The Summit – at Harbour Gate Mall, Bahrain Financial Harbour
(00973) 1730 0859
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