Get out of the gym and unleash your inner kid with Tribal Fitness
Time Out Bahrain staff
Fed up with the gym? Feeling a bit rebellious and want to get ‘back to nature’ or relearn how to play? If so you might be a candidate to join Craig Heslop’s ever growing tribe of people who are embracing a new ‘old’ way of life.
South African personal fitness trainer and former rugby pro Craig started Tribal Fitness two years ago in Bahrain, having become disillusioned with the sterile gym atmosphere, and the movement is taking off in a big way.
He explains: “At Tribal Fitness we work to improve our members’ lives through natural movement, food and lifestyle.”
And is it true that members use rocks as weights and chuck spears?
“Natural movements include climbing, rolling, jumping, sprinting, crawling, lifting, balancing and throwing,” says Craig. “We need to be efficient at a wide range of movements to survive well in nature. We work to improve our members’ weaknesses so they have a wide niche. We avoid gyms, machines or conventional fitness methods. The only gym we know is nature.”
And although the movement is not specifically aimed at weight loss, it certainly helps on that score too being all about getting back to nature and making healthy choices both in lifestyle and foods.
“Natural food relates to Paleolithic food and drink choices - meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, roots, nuts, seeds and water. We return to the food choices humans have survived on for hundreds of thousands of years. We avoid man-made foods and take care to appreciate where our food comes from. We encourage all our members to prepare quality clean food and enjoy it with friends and family. Nobody is too busy to prepare and eat well. It’s simply a matter of choice,” says Craig.
Natural lifestyle means Tribal Fitness followers also aim to live in tune with the rhythm of nature. This includes ‘living by the light’ - waking up when the sun comes up and going to sleep shortly after it goes down. “This means we get the right quality and quantity of sleep needed to recover well. Living by the light also means exposing ourselves smartly to the sun,” says Craig. “The Middle East has some of the highest levels of vitamin D deficiencies in the world!
“Lifestyle also includes ‘walkabout’ - going for a walk every day to move, de-stress and be creative. In the city we make the choice to avoid walking every day. It is very important.
“A natural lifestyle also includes the ability to ‘play’.
“As adults we are led to believe that playing is for kids only. If we look to the animal kingdom we see that every animal takes time to play. Play allows us to have fun, be creative, learn new skills and be active. “Tribal Fitness’ philosophy to fitness is that every experience with us should result in: Feabhas (Gaelic for improvement), Thokozela (Zulu for fun) and Wero (Maori for fun).” The names reflect Craig’s own Celtic, Zulu and Maori heritage.
Anybody, of any level can join Tribal Fitness. There is only one requirement: the right mindset. Craig says members need to be open-minded to change, committed to hard work and positive to the rest of the tribe. Negative individuals need not apply!
There are currently 17 weekly sessions running across the island for kids, young adults, women and mixed. They range from 30 to 90 minutes and can include anything from crawling and running to climbing and sparring.
And the call of the wild is clearly proving popular with Craig saying: “The tribe has grown well over the last two years and we are lucky enough to have attracted fantastic people. We have built a culture that is supportive, positive and fun.” Sessions (not classes, no conventional gym terms here thanks!) are available throughout Bahrain. Times and places can be seen on www.tribalfitness.com.