What do you think of Hyderabad’s attitude towards fitness considering its laidback nature?
On the fitness front, Hyderabad has grown leaps and bounds. When you look around today, there are gyms popping up in every nook and corner. When I started out 25 years ago, there were only four gyms in the Twin Cities. Now, there are four in a by-lane. When you see that as more than a business, it’s because of demand. People are more conscious about the way they look, which helps them feel better. You’ve been in the fitness business for 25 years and have helped many people get their dream physiques.
Why did you start, and what keeps you going?
I’ve been a fitness buff since I was in school; I loved to play sports and decided to join a gym. One day, I happened to see my trainer, a big guy, looking around and laughing at people who couldn’t lift weights. His focus was on showing his body off, not on helping his clients. That’s when I decided to start a gym and reach out to everyone.
When you give personal attention, you don’t need to go to the customer; he comes to you. When you train them the right way and see them get fitter, you see their body language change along with their approach to life. It makes you feel much, much better. It’s not just from a business perspective; it’s the personal satisfaction you get when you see someone feeling and looking better.
If a client walks into your gym and wants to train, how would you determine the appropriate fitness programme?
First, I’d leave the person to train the way he wants to but under my supervision. That gives them the feel-good factor and makes them comfortable with the gym. Once they’re comfortable with their surroundings is when I step in, to give them personal attention while they train. Each person’s body is different, so a session that might do good for Mr. A won’t suit Mr. B. A person needs to be monitored over the first few days to see what suits them and what doesn’t. Depending on that, we start focusing on them accordingly.
What is more important: weight loss of fat loss?
If you want a person to lose fat, you need to get them to lose weight. My approach to weight and fat loss is more about inch loss. When there is inch loss is when a person feels the results are showing. That’s what brings them to push themselves to the next level.
How important is nutrition?
Training and nutrition go together; it’s about 100% of both. You need to eat a balanced diet, drink a lot of water, cut down on sodium (unless you have low blood pressure), and balance your food instead of going on a crash diet. That will give you quick results but they won’t last, and their side effects are a different ballgame altogether.
There can be no shortcut to fitness. Slow and steady wins the race. I tell all my customers not to starve themselves, not for anything else but for the energy to work out. I suggest they have fibre in the morning, a bit of carbohydrates in the afternoon, and protein at night. You can binge once a week; it helps improve your metabolic rate.
Where do you draw the line when pushing a client to his limits during a workout?
To know where to draw the line only comes when you have personal interest in each client. Only when you know them personally will you understand how much more they’re capable of taking. You also need to keep in mind their medical background, individual requirements, and physical conditions. If a person is obese, we take it slow. If a person has an injury, we work on rectifying it before going to the next level.
Be careful to not over-train as it can cause serious harm. We have people who come to us ready to almost quit eating and work out that much extra, only to get results. In those cases, they can achieve what they want, but they’re very short-lasting.
..... as told to Anahita