Meet Guest Blogger Nikki; A Fitness & Outdoors Fanatic


My name is Nikki, and I’m an addict

Let’s get straight to the point…I have a passion for nature and for fitness. In fact, I think it’s bordering on the side of addiction. But hey, I’m cool with that. There are worse addictions!

So, hi! My name is Nikki, and I’m an addict!

As with any passion (or addiction), it exists, surely, for the primary aim of achieving happiness. And I am unbelievably thankful that I can very easily find this, every single day, by just walking out of my front door.

These passions have steered me from a very early age. I was the child who was always climbing trees, walking down streams, competing in many sports, and choosing to sit outside for as long as possible (even if it meant wrapping myself in a hundred layers, and under an umbrella!). I found school hard. Not necessarily academically, but because I found it a form of torture. For someone who has an addition to being outdoors and embracing nature, being trapped in a classroom for hours on end, just looking out the window at what’s on offer, is just plain cruel.

Growing into adulthood, my love of exercise and nature only strengthened, as I would spend endless hours watching the sea, taking photographs of wildlife and losing myself in countryside walks. The enormous amount of benefits that can be achieved from both physical activity and immersing yourself in the great outdoors, is well documented. It was therefore inevitable that I wanted to maximize on this and due to my sporting interest, I was to become involved in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years. I had found a career trying to help others achieve a similar level of addition! Perfect!

Or so I thought.

Despite my years of commitment of working within the health and fitness remit, I was not 100% happy. Sure, I was doing what I loved. I was training people and helping them to become healthier both physically and mentally. I was helping communities by providing them with sustainable activity opportunities. I was educating and encouraging children about the benefits of exercise. I was developing plans for new parks. I was writing obesity strategies for local government. I was running healthy eating programmes for families. But there was a missing part of the jigsaw. I needed to step away from the desk and get outside! And I wanted my clients to experience and understand the huge benefits of being outdoors, even if they weren’t being physically active. You see, I am totally passionate about encouraging people to explore the great outdoors more. Especially in Northern Ireland as we have amazing opportunities here, right on our doorstep, (and for free!), that many people are simply unaware of or just not utilizing!

There is a burning desire within me, to really support and encourage females and children to get outside and be active! For me it is one of the most important and fundamental issues in our society right now. (Oh dear, I can feel the passion in my belly bubbling up about this, so I shall step aside from this line of thought and leave that for another day!).

Despite my passion, addition, obsession, or whatever you want to call it at this stage; launching my own business, Tribal Fitness, was never on the horizon at all, and actually developed completely by accident and very much unexpectedly! But hey, you just gotta roll with the punches in life sometimes.

While on maternity leave I moved back to Northern Ireland, and me being me, I just couldn’t sit in and be surrounded by four walls and a mountain of nappies every day. I needed the walls to disappear and I needed to be walking on real mountains!

I mentioned in passing to other local mums that I was thinking of doing an outdoor exercise session once a week with my baby (I am a qualified pre/postnatal fitness instructor), just to keep me sane! Within ten minutes I had twenty names on the list. Alas, Tribal Fitness was born.

Within three years, I was saturated with demands and had to make the hard decision whether to scale back, scrap it all, or franchise. I franchised, and now have four totally amazing ladies running their own Tribes. And still looking for more!

This was fantastic! We were helping ladies through our female only bootcamps to engage in a realistic and fun way to keep healthy. Mums were also ecstatic as they were catered for with our Pramtastic sessions, which meant they didn’t need childcare to exercise in a safe group, and of course had the added bonus of meeting new friends. However, there were two more passions of mine that weren’t being fulfilled, and I had itchy feet again.

Children. I could go on and on and on forever about this, so I shall be extremely brief. I believe it is vitally important that our young children are not only educated, but also given the opportunities, alongside their parents, to embrace a healthy lifestyle, incorporating physical activity and a healthy approach to food. Thus, RunnerBeans Bootcamp was formed. (phew, I did well to keep that short.).

But my main itch was still the abundance of nature that was laying there, just waiting for these lovely ladies to discover. I was lucky enough that one of my best friends is a qualified mountain leader and activities instructor, and jumped at the chance of launching Tribal Fitness Adventures: an offshoot to the main company. We run regular day (and night!) hikes in the marvelous Mournes, as well as organizing trips away such as Carrauntoohil in Co Kerry, the highest peak in Ireland. All our trips are female only, so it gives women the chance to experience something different in a relaxed and friendly environment. A lot of ladies are under enormous amounts of pressure and often carry guilt about ‘taking time off’ from their role as ‘employee’ or ‘mum’ or ‘wife’ or ‘daughter’ but once they are surrounded by nature, the shoulders drop, the breathing slows and the worries are sent away in the wind. If just for one day. Many have commented that they simply would never had the experiences they’ve had if it wasn’t for Tribal Fitness. And that just makes me smile from ear to ear. 

So, you can imagine how excited and proud I am about taking a group of these amazing ladies to complete the Three Peaks next weekend! Yep, awesome eh! Most of these ladies had never set foot on a mountain a year ago. Some had a fear of heights. Others have overcome health and fitness issues. It will be a fantastic achievement for each and every one of them prepared to give this amazing challenge a go. And I am extremely thankful to TargetDry for supporting this event, and for their very kind donation of waterproof jackets for the whole team, which will no doubt enhance our experience.

I look forward to sharing our Three Peaks experience with you, as well as discussing topics such as Children in Nature, Exercising Outdoors, Family Activities, Attitudes to Exercise, Top Tips & Handy Hints, Outdoor Holidays and Adventures, Clothing & Clobber, and much more.

However, in the meantime, please remember that the great outdoors is there for the taking. It is on offer 24/7 for every single person on this earth. Embrace it. In any way you can. And look after it, in every way you can.

Until we meet again, step outside, and choose adventure!

Stay healthy!