Kingdom Fitness Savai'i, promoting healthy living
Kingdom Fitness in Salelologa Savai'i has jumped onto the healthy living trend by offering a platform for Savai'i residents to come together and exercise.
They have also started weight loss challenges for their participants to engage in and motivate them to keep exercising.
As a matter of fact, they are welcoming people from Savai'i to register for an eight-week challenge which will conclude on the Christmas week.
The mastermind behind the initiative and founder of Kingdom Fitness Savai'i, Pauli Tevita Tariu, said there has been an increase in the number of participants since their establishment.
He said it is something that keeps him and his fitness team motivated.
"Kingdom Fitness Savai'i started in 2018. I started this program after I participated in the Fika Fou program by TV1,” Pauli told the Samoa Observer.
"I learned a lot from that program and thought I would not only continue to exercise for a healthy living but was motivated to get not only my family engaged but also the people of Savai'i as well.
"And I thought of starting a program that will promote healthy living by exercising for us here on the big island."
Pauli saw that exercising was not so popular on the big island as it is on the main island of Upolu.
"The aim was to get people involved with exercising because that is something we hardly do here in Savai'i. Unlike Upolu, we hardly see people walking or exercising,” he added.
"We don't have fitness studios and gyms here in Savai'i and I saw that people can easily be motivated when exercising in groups instead of doing it alone. So that's why I started Kingdom Fitness."
Since 2018, Kingdom Fitness has been conducting "Zumbata" every Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Assembly of God [A.O.G.] Hall at Salelologa.
"So the type of workout we do is called Zumbata. It's a combination of Zumba and Tabata. So last year, we started to look at having weight loss challenges."
But because of Covid-19 and orders of States of Emergency for Samoa, they postponed hosting weight loss challenges, until August this year.
"So far, we've concluded two weight loss challenges for our participants and are now opening registrations for our third weight loss challenge.
"The first challenge started in August this year and it went on for six weeks. The winner of our first challenge lost 20.4kgs.
"The second challenge was also for six weeks and the winner lost 21.7kgs. The third challenge which is the one we have now will be for eight weeks and the prize-giving will be conducted on the week of Christmas.
“The prizegiving will be on the 23rd of December. The registration fee is $40. Every Tuesday and Thursday we do Zumbata, but those who have already registered for the challenge, they are required to workout every day.
“There were 26 people who participated in our first weight loss challenge, 27 for our second challenge, but by the looks of it, there is going to be a lot more people in our third challenge.
"We haven't finalised a list for the participants as registration is still open, but more people are interested to take part in our challenges."
Financial support and lack of sponsorship is the main obstacle they faced, emphasises Pauli.
"We don't have any sponsors, but for the last challenge we had, which was our second challenge, New Zealand Samoa Henderson Cars came on board and sponsor our challenge.
"We tried reaching out to local companies to sponsor our challenges, but no one wanted to sponsor our challenges. But we were fortunate to have the support of New Zealand Henderson Cars."
The program is open for everyone and anyone who wants to exercise, added Pauli.
"The youngest participant we had for the second challenge we conducted was 12 years old. There is no age limit to our programs, it is open for all ages and for anyone in Savai'i who wants to lose weight. But our main target is those who are obese and are at risk.
"We also trained the winner person who won the Fika Fou competition previously.
"We do our Zumbata at the A.O.G. Hall at Salelologa. We have a few types of equipment to assist us with our training, some of those equipment were supplied by New Zealand Henderson cars.
"We make good use of whatever is available to us for our training. Sometimes, we go out in the sea and do rounds of swimming to exercise, and also old tires to conduct our exercise."
Asked to explain how the name "Kingdom Fitness" came about, Pauli replied saying: "The name Kingdom Fitness was born out of our belief that in the Kingdom of God, there is no sick person. "There is no pain or struggles physically.
"We truly believe that a person's body is the temple of God, and we also believe that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.
"If you are healthy, physically, you will also be healthy mentally and physically.
"Moreover, here at Kingdom fitness, we do not only coach our participants to become physically healthy, but we also help them spiritually.
"Because there is no use to be physically fit and healthy when you are sick spiritually and vice versa."
Looking ahead, Pauli is hoping to expand its program and reach out to the wider community in Savai'i.
"We want to expand this and reach out to the wider population of the people in Savai'i.
"For the time being, because of the lack of financial support, we are focusing on the areas nearby.
"But we've had people coming from Palauli and Tuasivi to participate and take part in our challenges and also Zumbata every week. Which is something we see as motivation because more people are getting involved and are willing to change and are keen to live a healthy lifestyle.
"But that is something we are willing to do; to reach out and go out in the rural areas of Savai'i and get our program out there for our people who can't travel to Salelologa for our challenges.
"The plan is to seek financial assistance from local and overseas companies just to cover travel expenses then we will go out and set cohorts in each district in Savai'i.
"We are also looking at training people and send them out to do exercise and training for each district. That is our plan moving forward.
"But as I said, we are waiting for some more sponsors and trying to secure financial assistance so we can carry out all of our plans.
"Moreover, we are trying to finalise a partnership with the Ministry of Health so we could go out in schools and promote exercising and healthy living in schools on the big island.
"We have a fitness team that is made up of more than ten individuals from different villages in Savai'i."