It’s the peak of the 2020 Carnival season and scores of people are flocking to gyms around the country to get ready for the road.
At Bush Mountain, it is no different in this regard, but according to the Managing Director Courtenay Rooks, they want to set themselves apart.
Firstly, Rooks said, while his facility is catering for the so-called Carnival crowd, he wants people to take it one step further.
“But generally, what we are trying to convince people of is yes come here and work out for Carnival but look at your life afterwards. Don’t put on 30 pounds between March and December and then try to lose that 30 pounds between December and next Carnival.”
For Rooks it’s personal. “I am diabetic. I am type two diabetes and I know it 7 years now.”
He said the aim of the Bush Mountain is to foster healthier lifestyles and friendships, not just provide a space for exercise.
“We have seemed to come under the impression that fat is okay. Hell no would I ever want to body shame, anyone, because I have been there; I know it, but we have to accept the reality that we are amongst the worst in the world when it comes to obesity. We are among the worst in the world for diabetes.”
He said citizens in this country had gotten accustomed to eating the wrong things and being sedentary.
Rooks, also known as Bushman, explained this is one of the main reasons for the concept of his business.
“We consider ourselves not a gym but a health and wellness facility.”
Bush Mountain is mainly located outdoors in St Anns.
One of the main areas is called ‘the cage’ and is outfitted like a boot camp where members can undertake military-style exercises, for example, flipping tractor tires and battle ropes. It is all outdoors.
“You are breathing this wonderful air, this is not the savannah where you’re sucking in the fumes of every car and truck and maxi that passes, this is good healthy air in a healthy atmosphere.”
Another element to Bush Mountain is a 3-kilometre trail which Rooks said took 4 months to build.
Along the trail they have set up ab machines, monkey bars, pull up bars and there is also a yoga centre.
The facility opened its doors in July 2018 and Rooks said it has shown slow growth, but the focus has always been and will remain to get people healthy.
He said it is not about “looking hot in an outfit,” although if you get that it’s fine, but adapting proper habits in your daily lives.
Rooks got the idea for Bush Moutain from spending 28 years as an eco-tour guide, in addition to doing many outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, bird watching etc.
He said in the future Bush Mountain plans to implement new activities such as rock climbing, repelling and zip lining.
On a visit to the facility, a group of about two dozen people were getting their workout in, among them was Kellee Spicer.
She joined since May after working out alone at home for some time.
She used to be an athlete and decided to continue a work-life balance. She said health is also very important to her.
“I actually feel the difference in my day to day life when I am consistently gyming as opposed to when I stop.”
She said she loves the outdoor concept and the motivating factor with the group.