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Sweat Nation, Innovating Zimbabwe's Fitness Industry

For those of you who haven’t already heard of Sweat Nation boot camp, if you live in Zimbabwe and want to live your best life. I suggest you look her up! In my opinion, Sweat Nation is the coolest fitness boot camp out in Harare that Barbra Founded and runs. It is a boot camp in every sense, situated in a bush setting for those who are down to get dirty, dusty and muddy. Everyone who is part of the Sweat Nation team makes no excuses and shows up for training under all weather conditions, putting in their personal best every time, and of course nailing their goals. When you join Sweat Nation in boot camp or under the various programs Barbra runs, it is a community of people who will support you through your personal journey. It’s the real deal.

At the age of 35 and a mother of three beautiful children! You would not believe the epitome of body goals that is Barbra Jambga. Having been happily married for thirteen years. Not only does that show her level of commitment, which is exuberated towards her craft as well. She is a dreamer, not afraid to work hard and fight for what she believes. Simply put, she is her word and believes with every fiber of her being that she is serving her calling.

It might sound like all fun and games, but before Sweat Nation had the trainers on board who help with the workload. It was a one-woman band; which she was able to run because of the vision she had been chasing for a while. Nonetheless, Sweat Nation is now rocking, however, Barbra still believes there's a lot to be achieved.

I asked Barbra about how it’s been being a woman in the fitness industry, and in Zimbabwe. Of which she had this to say; “There are two sides to it. I feel it has worked more to my advantage than not. I found my niche in the industry firstly as a woman and by being a black woman. I have a particular interest in women’s issues, but I am not a women’s only trainer. I have male clients as well. Disappointingly I have observed that Zimbabwean men are reluctant to be trained by women because of stereotypical reasons which make them perceive us to be weak, or unaware of what we are doing because we are women.”

Additionally, she had this to say about that issue raised; “The men I train also admitted to thinking this before joining me. However, my job requires me to be in people’s personal space, so 100% professionalism is required to earn respect from clients and observers. As a woman your dressing and the way you conduct yourself is scrutinized more in the fitness industry."

Some of you by now might be reading and wondering how and why Barbra started Sweat Nation in Zimbabwe. Well, she has been in the fitness industry for nearly 11 years, and four years ago she decided that she needed a change for herself, as well as did her clients. The mundane indoor gym scene was no longer cutting it. Therefore she searched for a way to still provide quality instruction and attention in a group setting while making training fun. Starting the boot camp in her back yard with only four clients, but now the numbers have grown, and so has the location switched up. She said this to me; “As much as we chase goals in training, it is also about the ‘boot camp experience,' so a lot of thought goes into planning the sessions and being extra creative. We have great weather and Zimbabweans love being outdoors and I feel the free aspect is a huge selling point to most.”

Of course, this had me curious to find out whether Sweat Nation is on the map in other African countries, and Barbra does not feel they have received enough coverage throughout Africa yet. She remarked; “I am hoping that when I launch my training app ‘Body By Sweat Nation’ then we will be able to reach and be known in Africa and beyond.” Adding on; “There is so much to achieve, and some of my ideas are steadily coming to life. The immediate plans are to open up more branches in Zimbabwe, launch my training app, grow the clean food delivery service, transform more bodies and change people’s perceptions of training.”

All this might seem like major dreams, but I had no doubt in her resilience and stature as she spoke of them. Barbra is someone who believes that passion is great and will take you places but also believes that education in a particular field is of equal importance. For her to have turned out as successful as she has been thus far in the Zimbabwean fitness industry, she studied and is certified by HFPA (Health and Fitness Professionals Academy) as a fitness professional (Personal Trainer, Sports Fitness Coach, and Group Fitness Trainer).

She commented; “Often time’s people think studying to be a fitness professional is learning how to exercise. In fact, it is a tiny part of the course. A year or two invested in learning about the human body, its functions, diseases, its responses to exercise, muscular and skeletal structures, exercise science, the study of movement (kinesiology) and so much more.”

Carrying on by saying; “There are biology and physics involved to some degree. I often wondered whether I was studying to become a physician sometimes. Passion is the other half. This profession is very demanding on the physical, emotional and mental. It can be very draining, and the only way one can last in this industry is if you have a love for it.” As if her achievement of being a black, successful fitness guru wasn't enough, I asked about other ventures she is pursuing and found out that she is often involved in school fundraising activities at her children’s schools. Despite being busy with work and clients, she ensures that she is present for whenever she is needed when it comes to her kids. She also believes in educating people when it comes to health and fitness, doing this by giving talks to women’s corporate and church groups. Last but not least, she is involved in identifying and nurturing talent when it comes to a sport she is passionate about, which came as no surprise when she mentioned it is body building.

It’s only fair to read a fitness article and go away with a takeaway, which Barbra so graciously gave us. These are three tips on the keys to exercising for maximum results;

  1. Always seek professional help, and remember there is no one size fits all when it comes to fitness.
  2. Find an activity you enjoy as this ensures continuity which is a key factor to reaching your goal.
  3. For maximum results make sure that you pair up your training with a clean and balanced eating plan.
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