Do you hunger for a fit toned body or maybe some inner mental strength or perhaps a healthy happy combination of mind & body strength? Well if the answer is yes, then ‘District 16’ could well be the place to feed your hunger. The name is no co-incidence; District 16 was created from inspiration from the Hunger Games Trilogy; the character of Katniss Everdeen; her core inner strength of never giving up and an example of how physical and mental strength can prevail even at the toughest times.
It all sounds a bit intriguing, but District 16 is no magical potion for fitness and health – it’s basically boot camp; an easy equation of working hard to achieve mind and body strength, to learn to draw from resources you didn’t know you had, to tap into that inner strength and equally importantly to learn team work. It is the brainchild of Captain Nabil el Nagdy the former Chief Trainer of the Egyptian National Kung Fu team and Hala el Henaway a local Sharm resident responsible for all District 16’s Sharm activities.
Hala grew up in the UK; when lots of people were leaving Egypt after the revolution, Hala decided to return and moved back to Cairo in 2013. She was always a track and field sports person, but when a group of Cairo friends from various fitness and survival trained backgrounds dared her to try cross-fit, she took up the challenge as she knew it was different. Initially it was tough and some of the challenges she thought were insurmountable but with dedication from herself and encouragement from her cross-fit colleagues she found she had a new mental and physical strength. She is now a strength and conditioning fitness coach, nutritionist, trained leader of boot camps, certified Kung Fu coach for kids and about to partake in the USA ‘Sealfit’ challenge which has a 45 minute plank – OMG.
District 16 is located in the Nabq protectorate at Sharkey ‘ s Ecological Camp; this amazing desert and coastal area is perfect for the ethos of her boot and survival camps. It’s all about training as a team in natural surroundings; in clean fresh air, using what nature has given us (you won’t find any dumb-bells here; just logs to lift and sand to run in).
There are various training programs to suit all levels of ability from beginners to experienced boot campers, designed for adult and children. If you are a resident you can sign up for two hours of training for a minimum period of two weeks, five days per week. For full results these programs require 100% commitment. It may seem a lot but the results are clearly seen in the faces of the first District 16 group – it is not only physical fitness, these District Sixteeners have vitality, self esteem, confidence and that ‘gun-ho’ attitude that the is no such word as can’t and everything is possible.
The camp based in the protectorate has a training arena, obstacle course, archery and a horse riding academy. In mid March they will also have hut accommodation for intensive week training, where candidates will live on site and train with a controlled diet every day using physical and mental problem solving tasks. A typical day would begin with a 3km run to warm up in the desert, followed by core strength training, stretching and finally group challenge tasks to achieve team building skills. Archery, Martial Art training and horse riding will also be incorporated. So at the end of a week or course you will be an all singing, all dancing Katniss Everdeen or her equivalent.
Children from 7-14 can also sign up for holiday camps. Hala is a mother and believes that children are far more comfortable in natural surroundings rather than in a closed gym environment. Children can benefit from this playful discipline, learning how to problem solve with their team and also how to not give up. These skills are very important life skills and will be used time and time again when life throws its little challenges at us in adult life.
District 16 is a revolution in fitness training – it will continue to evolve and aims to provide the toughest survival training for those who have completed the first boot camp level. The trainers work with local Bedouins to teach desert survival, where to camp, how to live in nature, herbs to use and how to survive in this tough terrain. Hala is indeed Sharm’s very own Katniss – she is not giving up and she is going that extra mile to put Sharm on the map as the best destination both spiritually and physically for cross-fit, boot camp training. So sign up and ‘may the odds be ever in your favour’.