Inspire Pure Fitness, a new gym recently opened in Al Beda, is taking fitness back to its roots and reminding people why they signed up for a health club in the first place. To get fit.
Since arriving in Kuwait it could be argued that my fitness level has dropped somewhat. This would be an easy argument to win, trust me! I’ve never been the super-fit guy, but I believe I take care of myself, or rather, took care of myself. You see, I’ve never owned a car, I don’t have a driver’s license, I’ve never even had a lesson. In fact, I don’t think I know how to drive a car at all. I always opted for walking or cycling to get me around and so I kept a reasonable level of fitness without even really thinking about it. It’s only since being here that I’ve realized how much I took this simple exercise for granted.
It’s no surprise then that in Kuwait, gyms, fitness studios, health clubs – whatever you want to call them – are big business. But herein lies the problem; with all the different names it’s sometimes not clear what you’ll be doing there, there’s too much going on.
This is what intrigued me about Inspire Pure Fitness. At Inspire they don’t have a beach, they don’t have a pool, they don’t have a restaurant. What they do have is some of the best fitness equipment in the world, the best personal trainers in Kuwait and a space that has such a focused, simple, positive energy, you’ll only have one thing on your mind once you enter – fitness.
If you want to get fit, and I do, then why would you join a beach club?
I was given a tour of the place by general manager Mike Campbell, who has four years PT experience under his belt in Kuwait already. All the weight equipment downstairs is Technogym Pure Strength, which is professional level equipment that allows the benefits of free weight training with none of the risks. They have been the official sponsor of the last two Olympic Games. Speaking of Olympics, they also have an Olympic weight lifting platform and they’re teaching all their members how to Olympic lift! This is following the current resurgence in back-to -basics fitness, especially for women. Mike told me, “We are breaking myths about women lifting weights, they are lifting big weights and they’re getting leaner, we test their body fat and it just keeps going down and down.” He quotes a recent success story of one of their female members dropping from a US 12 to a US 6 dress size in just six weeks at Inspire.
What this place is really all about, is the personal trainers. You can have all the equipment you want but if you don’t have someone to motivate you, to focus you, to inspire you, then it’s just equipment. Mike told me, “The trainers drive the place and without them we wouldn’t succeed. So I’m very careful about who I hire in terms of experience and their character. In terms of qualifications, I can quite happily say that our PTs are some of the most highly qualified in the Middle East.”
Enter Craig the PT… Craig would be my introduction into the philosophy of Inspire. The first time I met him he took hold of fat on various parts of my body and measured it – but in a good way! What he was doing is known as BioSignature Modulation, a system developed by Charles Poliquin, one of the top strength and conditioning coaches in the world. By measuring my body fat at different locations Craig was able to tell me things about myself that had me convinced he’d been spying on me. My lean calves told him that I regularly get a good night’s sleep, my belly fat let him know I eat too may carbohydrates (damn you pasta!) but a relative lack of fat on my upper back rescued me, because it shows I can process all those carbohydrates fairly well. To convince me he wasn’t a psychic or a spy, Craig explained the science behind the system, which I’ll admit I didn’t really understand, but that’s why he’s a PT and I, a lowly writer who eats too much pasta. He then told me to try two weeks without grains and to only eat protein, and nuts or berries for breakfast, assuring me that I’d notice the benefits without even working out. I can’t argue with a guy who knows me as well as my wife does.
I thought I’d gotten off lightly until the next day when I met my PT for my introduction to the methods of Inspire. He met me at reception and told me to change and meet him upstairs. The changing rooms are a sanctuary of peace, with keypad lockers that don’t require you to always need a pocket for your key (a gym pet-peeve of mine). Upstairs is a very spacious Zen-like group fitness room where they offer a variety of classes. On one side of the room they have a bank of BodyBikes – top-of-the-line Danish-made spinning bikes and brackets on the wall for TRX suspension training. The upstairs fitness area is the PT space at inspire – this is where they bring you to get you in shape. There are punch bags, kick bags, kettle bells, free weights and all other kinds of fad-free, tried and tested fitness equipment.
All this appeals to me – they are not trying to hide the exercise behind anything, or dress it up as something else. You’re here to work out and that’s what you’ll do. This is what really sets them apart from all the other options I’ve seen in Kuwait. They believe in focused workouts dictated by a PT. Each member is required to take one PT session a week. Inspire believe this not only reaps tremendous rewards for your fitness, but also shows a dedication to your program that the PTs can then work with. They trust in this so much that everyone who works there also has to take a compulsory PT session each week.
In the first half of my session with Craig he assessed my body through a series of checks so he could spot particular weaknesses and then know where we need to work, rather than arbitrarily assigning a fitness regime. After identifying a couple of areas where I could improve we then jumped right into a workout. They wanted to give me the full Inspire experience and what better way to do that, apparently, than introducing me to a Tabata workout? This is a high-intensity workout that uses 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes (8 cycles). If this sounds easy, I challenge you to go to Inspire and try it for yourself! When I was done I had only worked out for twenty minutes but it left me pining after my hour-long plods on the treadmill.
Craig pushed me to my limits but it felt so good I didn’t care. I knew the pain I would be in the next day as I stood under the cascading shower head in the private cubicle after my workout. The freshly laundered towels and pristine facilities offered a pampering experience that is heightened after such a workout – making you feel like you’ve truly earned it.
To me this is what fitness is about. If you want to hang out by the pool, go to the pool, if you want to have something to eat, go to a restaurant, if you want to work on your tan, get to the beach; if you want to get fit I’d suggest getting down to Inspire. With no distractions you can focus on your workout and then when you’re done, your time is your own to do whatever you please.
And you know what? I do feel a whole lot better after cutting down on those pesky carbs.
Inspire Pure Fitness is located in Al Beda at the Al Remal Hotel & Resort. For more information visit inspirekw.com or call 2226 3151. You can also follow them on Twitter @InspireQ8. Images Courtesy of Abdullah Al-Naser: [email protected] or Twitter @abdullah_photo.