By Ashlee Starratt
Images courtesy of fit20 Qatar
It’s a mantra we tell ourselves…that little bit of self-talk that pushes us to take the easy way out. ‘I’m too busy.’ ‘I can’t find the time.’ ‘It’s not a priority just now.’ When it comes to being proactive about our health – whether it’s changing our diet, hitting the gym, or just finding those quiet moments during the day to be mindful and recharge, more often than not we find ways to convince ourselves not to do it.
A new fitness studio in Qatar begs to differ. In fact, they’ve staked their name on it. If you can’t find 20 minutes in your week to factor in for your health and wellness, then it’s time to rethink the work/life balance. At fit20 Qatar they’ve simplified the process of hitting the gym to maximize impact and minimize the inconvenience of a long sweat sesh on the treadmill. In fact, you don’t even have to change out of your work clothes…
If you can find just 20 minutes a week, they’ll make sure it’s the most intense 20-minute workout ever – pushing you to the limit through an invigorated take on High-Intensity Training (HIT) – in slow motion. Established in the Netherlands ten years ago, fit20 Qatar marks the brand’s first foray outside of Europe, and the first branch in the Middle East. We sat down with fit20 Qatar’s Managing Director Matthijs Westra to learn more about its unique approach to changing the way we think of exercise.
ILQ: How was fit20 developed?
MW: fit20 started about a decade ago in the Netherlands. The founders of fit20 (who are still with the company), heard about high-intensity slow-motion training and went to the United States to experience it themselves. They were so impressed with the results being achieved that they decided to start fit20 in the Netherlands. Since 2010, we’ve become a franchise organization and currently over 100 studios are operational in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, and the first studio outside of Europe opened in Qatar earlier this year.
ILQ: What’s the science behind the fit20 concept and the effect it has on the body?
MW: fit20 is based on the principles of High Intensity Training (HIT) which was developed in the 1970's by a gentleman called Arthur Jones. We’ll push your muscles a little beyond their current maximum capacity and, as result, the whole body will get an optimal stimulus to adapt and get stronger. All exercises are performed until the point where your muscles are unable to push any further, and always under the guidance of a personal trainer. In that way, it’s only the muscles that are doing the work – and since we train in slow motion, the chances of injuries are minimal.
ILQ: What would you say to someone who’s skeptical about getting fit in just 20 minutes a week?
MW: I completely hear you! If there was someone skeptical when they first heard about getting fit in 20 minutes per week, it was me... I had friends in the Netherlands who were very satisfied with the training concept, but it sounded to good to be true for me. I did a lot of research and tried it out for myself when I was back in the summer of 2013. After I did my first session, I understood the concept and felt the impact on my body. So try it out for free and let us surprise you!
ILQ: What makes fit20 stand out from other workout routines when it comes to long-term results?
MW: We make people fit in just 20 minutes per week without sweating and changing clothes, in a private studio with optimal privacy. You can only achieve long-lasting results if you train on a regular basis. For most people, it’s difficult to include exercising as part of their lifestyle. Since our clients only have to train once per week and can train in their normal clothes, it’s easier to maintain. Many of our clients in the Netherlands have been training for years. We recently even had a client who performed his 400th session (almost 8 years).
ILQ: How did fit20 end up coming to Qatar?
MW: After hearing about the concept for the first time, I decided to check it out when I was in the Netherlands during a summer holiday. I spent a month at the headquarters and in studios and spoke to clients, personal trainers, and the owners. I believed fit20 would fit perfectly in the busy lifestyle many people maintain in Qatar and decided to bring this concept here. We established our company by the end of 2016, and started our first fit20 studio in January this year. We’re planning to open multiple studios over the coming years so more and more clients can get fit without spending hours in the gym.
ILQ: What’s been the most rewarding or surprising feedback you've had from clients on the fit20 regimen?
MW: It’s difficult to rank them, but the following stand out for me:
One of our clients has been dealing with severe back pain for the last 10 years. He’s visited many specialists, therapists, and even specialized back hospitals, but he’d given up that his back would ever function normally again. In his daily activities this was a big disruption since he couldn’t stand or sit for a longer period of time. We started training him up very carefully and, after 3 months, he started noticing a difference. Last summer holiday he was able to walk for a full day in Florence without having any real pain.
Another client had not been active for at least a decade. After 6 sessions, he told me that it felt like his muscles had woken up, which was great to hear. He started to be more careful about his diet and has noticed a big improvement in his overall energy levels as well as shape.
ILQ: Is there a diet plan that people should follow while practicing fit20?
MW: fit20 isn’t a dedicated weight-loss program, so we don't recommend a specific diet plan – but, if people ask, we recommend a low-carb Paleo diet. It’s important to eat sufficient protein for muscle recovery, and add healthy fats such as nuts, fish, avocado, etc.
ILQ: What would you say to someone to encourage them to come give fit20 a try?
MW: I know fit in 20 minutes per week almost sounds too good to be true, but wouldn't it be great if it really is possible? We’re training over 10,000 clients in over 100 studios in 4 countries, and we know that our concept works – we’re so convinced that we guarantee results. So come and try us out!
Want to learn more about fit20 Qatar, or book in your very own consultation and session? Visit the fit20 Qatar website here. Also, we'll be checking back in as the ILQ team takes on our very own fit20 transformation -- so stay tuned for our results!
Tell us how you stay active and fit by dropping us a line in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to like and share this article – it keeps us going!
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