So, here we are, mid-November and it’s cold, grey, wet and downright dreary. I love the bright Autumn days and the wonderful colours that the trees turn, but when winter knocks at the door I shiver and tend to lock myself indoors to endure the harsh Winter slog.
Not this year though. I made a decision earlier in the year that I was going to get fit and stay fit. I often went out running, but that just wasn’t satisfying me anymore and it is especially hard to do alone on dark winter nights, so after following Tribal Fitness Bootcamps on Facebook for quite some time and finding their approach to a healthy lifestyle appealing I took the plunge and started attending Tribal Fitness Belfast outdoor, ladies only, bootcamp sessions.
I was immediately warmly welcomed by Belfast tribe instructor, Hollie, and I have to admit I haven’t looked back since. The sessions are different every week, completely challenging yet I can go at my own pace and I have made some amazing new friends in the process.
Hollie has been a real encouragement to me personally and I know both from watching how she interacts with the women who attend bootcamp and from things that others say that she is hugely inspirational. She is so physically and mentally strong and yet she never fails to show her warmth, kindness and understanding during the one-hour sessions at Ormeau Embankment every week (no matter what the weather!).
Hollie kindly agreed to a Q&A post for the Every Treasure blog. I hope that as you read her responses to the questions posed that you will find her advice, words of wisdom and expertise as inspirational as I find the bootcamp sessions. As we journey through the rest of 2015 it is my wish to stay active and not to get caught up in over-indulgence during the festive season and to enter into 2016 feeling happy and healthy.
So here goes…
Can you tell me a little bit about how you got started with Tribal Fitness Belfast?
I have been a fitness professional for about 5 1/2 years now (although have been involved in sports training my whole life). After my second child was born, at around 4 months I attended some of Tribal’s Pram classes. I had been aware of Tribal’s rising success and was really impressed with what Nikki Jarvis (Owner) had accomplished.
Nikki and I got chatting during one of the Pram sessions and it was slowly from there the suggestion was made that a Tribal Belfast Franchise might be a fit for me. It didn’t take me long to make the final decision because there were so many great opportunities for me to be self-employed but still at home with my kids, working at something that was my absolute passion. It’s been the best business decision I’ve ever made and I really LOVE everything about it!
What would you say makes Tribal so unique?
It’s so much more than a fitness class. When you attend a Tribal session you’re walking into a community of women there primarily of course to improve fitness, lose weight or gain muscle and to improve all round health, but there’s also something else, a buzz in the air, friendships being made, stories shared and so many giggles! We try so hard to create an all-inclusive environment. No matter your circumstances or background, you can fill a Tribal girl shaped space! Our sessions aren’t just generic group workout classes, the instructors get to know the ladies, what their physical strengths and weaknesses are and what motivates them. Many have challenges they’d like to accomplish and Tribal is a fitness community where you’ll get the support to succeed.
People nowadays lead very busy lives. How important would you say it is to find time for regular exercise?
It’s not easy to find a balance when a person has so many responsibilities, and sometimes you can only juggle so much. There comes a time though when something’s got to give. We all know within ourselves what we really need to prioritize and what we could give up for a while to allow ourselves more space to focus on our health and wellness. If a person doesn’t find exercise enjoyable, but they know their health is being affected due to lack of activity, then it’s about finding a way to make it enjoyable. Going for forest walks, or meeting a friend for a walk and a chat, a bike ride, a swim with your kids, or finding a community of like-minded individuals who can all have some fun “hating” exercise together! Very quickly mind-sets can be changed and once the obvious benefits become apparent people’s outlooks on exercise can be transformed. A natural way to medicate yourself better!
I know how important eating healthily is to you. Would you say that being a good cook helps with eating well? Or can anyone rustle up healthy food? Any recommendations for busy people?
For many years I gave myself the title of a terrible cook. The idea of preparing meals for a whole family caused me great anxiety. I started taking an interest in recipes, various approaches to cooking and different ways of using ingredients. I realised that there was no great science or mystery, you did not have to be a “born” chef!
All that was needed was a little research, what food groups worked best with others, what were the best methods of cooking for certain ingredients. Because of my passion for nutrition and wellness I was drawn to natural, unprocessed, straight from the earth foods. Mostly plant-based. I loved the amount of flavour you could get from veg, seeds and grains. I now LOVE cooking, I get excited about new ideas, and I enjoy feeding the people around me!
So no, you don’t have to be a self-titled good cook, you just have to have a desire to understand what purpose these foods have within our bodies. Know their worth and goodness and you’ll be excited to get cooking!! For quick meals I’m big in to roasting veg, any sorts, throw it all on to a baking tray with coconut oil or rapeseed oil, season and bake! Or slow cook soups and stews, no time needs to be spent on the cooking time and there’s lovely warm meal waiting for you at the end of the day!
As a mum, like myself, how do you go about keeping your little people active? Any top tips for getting families up and out? And especially through the colder months when we are inclined to stay indoors more?
Kids are full of energy when it suits them, they take small intervals of hyperactivity, when they’re playing and having fun, but they also love to vegetate just like us. I find it a struggle to get my 7- year old to be active on my request, they’re very spontaneous little individuals, so at times I find I have to go with the flow. Obviously getting raincoats and wellies on and getting out for a play is wonderful, or park time and biking. But when they’re not in the mood, they can’t be forced. So house games like building forts and bridges with pillows, or ships with the sofa, all of these fun creative games keep them active and using up energy without them even realising.
I find that making time for exercise helps me stay more focused in my work and my mental health is much better when I’m active. In your own experience do you see a link between physical exercise and mental wellbeing?
Absolutely, for me it’s about having space to think, to have some control over my body and stretch its capabilities. I enjoy pushing myself hard, feeling tired and well worked, but that’s not always necessary, activity can also be slow and controlled, invigorating but not intense. It’s so nice to get a mixture of that in your life. It’s be proven that endorphins are released into our blood stream during and after exercise, so when the body or mind are feeling low and depressed, these natural chemicals in the body, lift and energise us into a more positive physical and mental state. So many of my Tribal girls train because of how much better they feel emotionally, not because of wanting to look better, that is of course a bonus, but taking care of our mental health is so important.
The word ‘bootcamp’ might fill some people with fear. I know tribal isn’t scary, but if someone was feeling a little unsure about attending a session, maybe because they think they’re too unfit, how would you encourage them?
I’d say Tribal is a place where you will be looked after. It’s so important to me that my clients feel welcomed and encouraged. I don’t believe in tough encouragement, having been an athlete since very young, I know how hard it is to just motivate yourself to be there and to train. So having someone there who will focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses is so important. A client once said I help women find their inner athlete, and I really loved that. Fitness is for EVERYONE. It’s certainly not just for people who are already fit. It’s particularly for the people at the start of their fitness journey.
There’s nothing more amazing than watching and supporting people through the various barriers they have faced til that point when they decide, enough is enough, time to take back some control and invest in this body they were given.
Exercise, and eating well are one thing, but how important would you say it is to find time to relax and unwind… how do you personally ‘unwind’?
Time to relax is SO IMPORTANT. Life is to be enjoyed and with the amount of responsibilities in people’s lives, relaxation comes way down the list. That’s so unfortunate and really just paves the way for burnout.
One thing I do notice is the methods in which people use to “relax”, that sadly become detrimental to a negative cycle they find themselves in, we are all guilty of these at times e.g. buy in loads of chocolate and crisps with a movie, and relax. Have a full bottle of red wine to yourself, and relax. Go out to the cinema but buy warm cheesy nachos, diet coke and Minstrals, and relax.
See how there’s a common theme of rubbish foods and drinks being the tool which people associate with relaxation?! Thus continuing a cycle of over eating, ill-health, negative self-confidence and increased anxiety, making it virtually impossible for people to really switch off and RELAX.
I, as well as being guilty to the above, also love to go for drives with a coffee and nice music and watch the world go by. Or write in my journal, again with good tunes. I really love to take a nap (hardly ever happens now, but I really love to find a little time to recharge).
Cooking up a yummy meal from scratch and switching off the T.V to enjoy the flavours and a good natter with my other half.
Anything else you would like to add?
If you’ve been feeling for a while now that it’s time to get your priorities straight, time to focus on your health, your body, your nutrition and this blog has struck a chord, please don’t set your laptop to the side. Continue with that notion, take that first step. Either get in touch with us at Tribal and we will help you get started on this new amazing journey, or get in touch with any other fitness professional that’s right for you. You will know when you find a community where you fit, and where you can belong until you find your flow….
If you like the sound of Tribal Fitness you can contact Hollie at: