“Blending physical activity with fitness” is a goal at Tribal Fitness. People use these terms interchangeably, but they are two very different things. Craig cited football players as an example: many are very overweight and unhealthy, with a life expectancy ten years lower than the average American (which is an ever-shrinking number as well.) Yet people would assume such physically fit people are healthy, but fitness is its own playing field. Likewise many overweight people are healthy and fit. These are different dimensions of wellness that need to work together, and this is done by balancing our activity levels with stress, what foods we take in, and other facets of our lives.
As many of you know, I’ve been on quite a journey into weight loss and fitness, discovering what’s healthy based on many things, including a lot of trial and error. Crash diets: I’ve tried a few and even when they work, they’re always short term. What really did it for me was Weight Watchers helping me learn portion control and what the elusive term “moderation” really means. I wrote an article about the first leg of weight loss journey here about 6 months ago, but I’ve been off WW for 5 months, and I’ve continued the healthy habits I gained then, and am always finding more. This presentation summarized a lot of what I had learned, while also pointing out things that should have been obvious to me before, that I will definitely be adding to my routine every day.
In Craig’s words, the vision of tribal fitness is to "guide humans back to natural movement, food and living”, and these are the three core pillars of his philosophy. But the thing is, its not a “diet”, its a new way of life, or something many healthy people do without realizing it. There’s no caloric limits, no gym regimes, and certainly none of those “no pain no gain” sacrifices people are always dissuaded from healthy living for. Tribal Fitness is about returning to a natural way of life and understanding what is healthy, and engaging in that because it feels good.
There are three pillars to his fitness goals:
1. Natural movement.
- The biggest part of this is walking every day, outdoors if you can.
- Keep movement “joyful” and varied: “human-specific” movement ensures a wide range of exercises, because we were blessed as a species with joints that jump and run and swim and crawl and lift and row and play sports and ride bikes… do it all, and do what you love.
- Humans should be able to comfortably “bottom squat”, or sit in a squat position with their feet flat on the ground, for extended periods of time. This can be worked up by sitting in “hunter’s pose” (alternating legs) and on double-bended legs, as well as a yoga exercise from downward dog to this double-bended leg position. I’ve been varying my positions while sitting watching TV or even writing this article, and I’m already more flexible. Craig ensures this will increase joint longevity and promote graceful aging.
- Eat slower, enjoy what you eat and appreciate that you have food to eat, and avoid “man-made products” that come from a package.
- Buy local and healthy foods, whole foods like vegetables and such, but also be mindful of what is good for YOUR body. I know my body doesn’t like carbs. Not just gluten, but rice, pita, wraps, popcorn… I have to have these in moderation. I found that out for myself. Craig recommends trying a month or so without certain foods that make you tired or bloated or just plain sick, its all trial and error, and if you feel better without something, chances are its not worth keeping it in your diet. Sticking to natural foods is a sure way to know you’ll feel better.
3. Natural living.
- “Live by the light” is Tribal Fitness’ model. It’s challenging to ensure that you’ll be in bed with the sun, but it’s important to wake up as early as possible and be on that “natural alarm clock” system with the daytime.
- Get 8 hours of sleep in darkness; nighttime is for sleeping!
- Eliminate any chronic stress, from work place drama, school worries, but especially people in your life. It is important to have a “supportive tribe” of friends. It’s been said that we are a product of our four closest friends — make sure that’s a good thing.
- Breathe from your stomach (diaphragm). Shallow breathing is dangerous for your health and keeps toxins from the air around you in your lungs rather than refreshing them every breath. It’s easy to do: think singing, or yoga, and soon you’ll do this naturally.
- Be in nature. Enjoy time alone, silent, calm and relaxed. Not reading, not checking your phone, not listening to music even… just take a few moments to meditate or just simply focus on breathing, every day.
- Maintain your purpose. Find something that makes you feel alive, and make sure you don’t lose it. For me, it’s teaching, among many other things that make up who I am, and i don’t plan on changing a thing about myself for anyone or any reason.
- Add value to your community. A healthy lifestyle includes mental and emotional wellbeing. Giving back in any way possible (volunteering to running a 5k) will benefit you and others.
These things are all very simple, and I was overjoyed to realize that I’m becoming a very fitness-oriented person. My health and general wellbeing are things I care about more than anything in this world, because I know there is no better way to ensure my future will be pleasant. I’ve lost 36 pounds, and have 30 pounds to go… I know I’ll make it, and I know I’ll keep it off, because I haven’t done this through sacrifice, I’ve done it with change. I’m living a new lifestyle that I don’t see any end for.
WALK twice a day, 30 minutes each time
EAT at least one meal per day with friends or family
LIVE by the light with 1 hour outdoors a day and 8 hours of sleep at night
Since I’ve been in Bahrain I’ve lost about 2 pounds a week just walking outdoors for an hour (before this presentation) and I’ve lost a lot of weight, so I know this little program will help. It doesn’t sound like much but it will do wonders for your health, trust me. It’s amazing to look back at how far I’ve come, believe me if I told myself last year I’d be more than halfway to my ultimate health goals by now I wouldn’t have believed it! But it’s easy once you tell yourself it’s just going to happen, and taking these first small steps are the key.
Please, Bahrain residents, check out www.tribalfitness.com to see their programs. They do a corporate one-day Bedouin Businessman experience to train on outdoor survival with your workplace; a junior after-school program for youth fitness; and even an off-island getaway to learn survival in a very approachable way on a beautiful location, Koh Samui.
Thank you for reading and I hope everyone can take something from this, and get on a road to better health in 2015!