Bader Al Banna

Inspired by the fitness craze that is circling the globe, four young Kuwaitis decided to open the first CrossFit center in Kuwait. With the increasing popularity of CrossFit, a fitness workout which consists of various training concepts, this sport is gaining quite a popularity in Kuwait.

Khaleejesque caught up with Bader Al Banna, Managing Partner and Coach of CrossFit, as well as a certified CrossFit L1 trainer and certified L1 Kettlebells trainer, for a quick Q&A about how it all started.

What inspired you to start your own gym?

While studying in the States, and us being into the health and fitness scene in general, we experienced many forms of training and workouts that weren’t conventional. These different workouts varied in form and difficulty, yet most were interesting and fun to do. Coming back to Kuwait, we clearly saw Kuwait’s significant increase in awareness regarding people’s physical health, yet on the other hand we did not see any variety or progression in the type of training that was offered to people who were willing to improve their fitness and physique.

Several trends were clear, and one very strong trend was the shift of people, mainly men, from body building to toned fit bodies, doing real exercises that benefit the health as much as they benefit the physical appearance.

To serve this market, we chose to create class-focused programs. One obvious choice was CrossFit, which has grown explosively in the United States and now experiencing the same growth in Europe. We are the first fully equipped gym to offer CrossFit in Kuwait. Another program we went for was BootCamp. Although BootCamp can be a very vague term, here we refer to it as an unconventional fun group workout that is very effective and diversified. We also offered fight conditioning classes as we saw a growing demand for fight, but instead of doing strict fight classes, we offer fitness classes that revolve around Muay Thai, boxing, and MMA. So basically, what we offer is what we believe are the best and most beneficial workouts a person can get in a group setting full of energy, life, and variety, all under the supervision of highly qualified certified trainers.

Who are the people behind Circuit+?

The people behind Circuit+ are 4 young Kuwaitis, 3 of which are graduates of the University of Southern California, with majors spanning finance, accounting, and civil engineering.

As the managing partner and coach, I am a certified ACSM personal trainer, certified CrossFit L1 trainer, and certified L1 Kettlebells trainer.

Since Circuit+ is CrossFit based, explain to us more about what exactly is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a training program, or we may say a way of training, that has become extremely popular in the West. It first started in the 1990s, but has gained popularity recently and picked up a couple of years ago after the movie “300”, where all the extremely fit actors were trained using CrossFit principles.

To briefly explain the methodology of CrossFit, it is a high intensity interval training (HIIT) method that consists of a mixture of intense cardio, olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, and body weight training. It might sound and look intimidating, but in reality it is not as difficult as people think. One reason for its present global success (it's the fastest growing sport on Earth) is its scalability. By scalability, we mean anyone can do it. Army Special Forces are doing it, 16 year-old girls are doing it, and 74-year-old grandmothers are doing it. All workouts can be scaled to every single person's abilities.

We can confidently say it is the absolute best training anyone can get. CrossFit dramatically improves fitness, strength, and mobility. You will feel re-born as a human power machine, guaranteed.

Since classes are group based, how much individual attention does each member get, if any?

Although our training is group based, trainers’ supervision is a must in every single session. Before every class, technique is slowly and clearly explained to each and every member, whether old or new, in order to maximize benefit of the workout, and minimize injury risk. All throughout any class we offer, trainers keep an eye on every member to make sure proper techniques and postures are implemented. We offer the attention of personal training and the exciting, vibrant, motivational atmosphere of a group exercise.

What makes this gym different?

It is different in every sense possible. First of all, it is the first and only males commercial gym to offer full-scale CrossFit, in addition to being the first to solely offer class oriented training.

We offer great workouts that are not traditional and boring to the average person who is not a gym freak. They keep coming back for a consistently diversified full-body workout that they enjoy very much. Our members come looking for good intense workouts, and they sure do get one, but with a smile on there faces.

What we also believe separates us from others, and our members have agreed with us on this, is the community in the gym facility itself. What group classes day-in day-out do, and especially CrossFit classes, is create a community within. It may not be understood what we are saying unless you become part of it.

Was it hard introducing this new concept of training to Kuwait?

Yes, when we first opened, people had no idea what CrossFit was. Besides explaining the whole concept and way of training, people didn’t comprehend how an empty area with rubber on the floor and some equipment on the sides is supposed to be the best workout they will ever experience in their lives. Soon enough though, word of mouth started spreading and people started coming in wanting to sign up as the feedback has been very positive from all our members.

How do you wish to expand in the future?

That will be for us to know and for you to find out; hopefully in the near future. We most certainly welcome suggestions though.

Circuit+ is located at Lilly Center, Street 6, Shuwaikh Industrial Area, Kuwait City.

For more information about Circuit+, visit www.circuitplusgym.com; Tel: (+965) 66045273 or contact them at info@circuitplusgym.com

Images courtesy of Circuit+

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