If you’re sticking it out in the UAE for the summer, or just looking for one last big push with your fitness goals before revealing that ‘summer holiday body’, you really can’t do better than to sign up for Haddins’ perennially popular Primal Transformation programme, which comes back round again from this Sunday, July 3.
Led by the club’s top guns in functional fitness, the four-week programme is not just a brutal bootcamp featuring some of the toughest full body workouts you will have ever done, it is also a month-long masterclass in cooking and eating clean – which we all know plays the bigger role in really whittling the body you want.
Back by popular demand, the same rules apply – participants pay for a pack of 20 signature Primal sessions (valued at Dh1,200) and basically train and eat in a way that mimics that of cavemen in the Paleolithic age, bringing your body back to basics and through to a killer transformation.
You’ll be really schooled in the movements of your ancestors, and don’t take that to mean that this will be easy. From lifting and hauling heavy objects to sprinting up hills and through obstacles (as if escaping a predator), you’ll be tapping straight into your primal instincts each day, and transformed fighting fit for any postapocalyptic encounter to hit earth (or just for, you know, regular life).
Outside of training, Haddins takes it into the kitchen as well where you will become fully acquainted with the Paleo diet – essentially, if it doesn’t have a heart beat or isn’t sprung from the earth, this style of eating says it’s off limits.
It is as hard as it sounds, but Haddins’ ‘Primates’ aren’t just left to their own devices. Not only do all participants have the added aid of their own special Primal ebook complete with everything from tailor-made grocery shopping lists and recommendations for supplements to a bank of delicious, tried and tested Paleo recipes, there is also a dedicated interactive Facebook group where they can share their own tips, tricks and tries at the Paleo experience.
The programme does not stop there, says Haddins’ Phil Smith.
“We give them homework as well, for example recommend some additional workout sessions they can do to complement the group training.”
It is full-on, but no other programme in Abu Dhabi has seen such astonishing results as those achieved by the thousands that have gone through the series since it first launched 28 seasons ago.
The success stories are endless, and truly inspirational. Kristen McGehee, for example, came in with an effort to lose pesky baby weight and went from a size 12 to a 6 during her Primal encounter.
“The challenge is really not an easy road, but it is a road well worth the travel,” she says. “It starts with a four-day detox, which was brutal – I had excruciating headaches. But the detox kickstarted my weight loss and pushed my body into ketosis, doing exactly what it was designed to do.
“The workouts were also hard. Things that seemed like they would be fun and easy had me using my muscles in totally different ways. We did burpees, bear crawls, stair runs, tyre flips, and push-ups, to name a few. I hadn’t exercised like that in years!”
She agrees, though, that one hour a day of the pain is a small price to pay, and totally worth it.
“Primal really teaches you to change your habits and not fall back into those traps of poor eating and laziness. I have learned a lot from the experience and have managed to maintain my weight and level of health.”
A once athletic Matt Darling signed on to the programme to kick-start his physical and mental mindset in order to return to peak health and fitness, and lost 5kg, gained muscle and no longer had complaints of poor sleep, lack of concentration or lethargy thanks to the tidied nutritional routine.
“If you get through one week of eating well, then there is no reason it can’t be done again. Like anything, we are creatures of habit,” he says of the benefits of having to stick to Primal’s strict routine. “I have continued with the training and am back competing in triathlons.”
Meanwhile, Ben Parham is a completely different man from that of his “buffet-lifestyle” days before Primal, and keeps coming back for more with his spouse.
“A few of my friends and work colleagues had tried various Haddins programmes and all spoke very highly of the team and the success rate of the programmes,” he says.
“I wanted to lose weight and get fit and I didn’t have the discipline to do it on my own, so my wife and I signed up for our first Primal Transformation programme together (the first of many). It was never going to be easy, but we both wanted and needed to change our lifestyles and agreed to take the programme very seriously.
“Even a recurring (existing) back injury and the 05:20 wake up’s could not deter us. We saw weight loss, but most importantly, we witnessed lifestyle changes and realised how unhealthily we were eating and living. We feel younger and much fitter now, and we are in better shape to take on the energy levels of our two young children.”
Parham’s top tip for surviving the challenge: get your mind right.
“Realisation and admission that a lifestyle change is required in order to get and remain fit and healthy is the starting point.”
If the 06:00 training time puts you off, there’s a second session at 18:00 each weekday that the Primal crew meets, and there is going to be plenty of motivation to make it to class, not just because of the camaraderie and community-feel we regularly hear about that comes with training under one of Abu Dhabi’s top clubs, but because of an added monetary incentive, too.
Yes, on top of there usually being a heaping cash prize for the person with the biggest transformation, Haddins refunds each participant Dh30 per day for every session completed over the four-week period – this means you save Dh600 by the end of the programme.
What more motivation do you need to get Primal fit this summer?
During the long summer days of Ramadan when temperatures are in excess of 40 degrees Celsius, it may be required to fast for up to sixteen hours or more daily.
To ensure continued good health during the holy month, Jacques of Amwaj Rotana offers his top Ramadan and general health tip to keep you feeling sharp mentally and physically.
Amwaj Rotana is one of the studios you can experience with a GuavaPass membership. GuavaPass is Dubai’s first and largest fitness community of its kind, offering an unlimited membership to group fitness classes at over 60 top studios across the city. Take advantage of their GuavaPass Ramadan Promotion with 25% off your first month.
Visit Amwaj Rotana's website HERE: Amwaj Rotana
The money equipment was awarded to Senses via Talise after the gym won the “Let’s Move for a Better World” competition.
The global campaign aims to increase awareness about obesity and tracks the total ‘moves’ made on Technogym machines by members at participating gyms within a certain period.
In total, 106 Talise Fitness members at Jumeirah Emirates Towers generated 943,801 of these moves, the highest activity recorded in the UAE.
“It was fantastic to be part of an initiative that brought both our members and our team together to work towards a common goal,” said Cedric Betis, group director of Talise Wellness.
“We are delighted by the achievement but more importantly we are honoured to be able to support Senses and provide children access to the tools they need for a healthy future.
“This is a very important focus for Talise Fitness.”