Fitness not restricted, says Shwetambari

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A top fitness expert explains on home workouts, major fitness mistakes and why everyone wants a flat stomach

At-home fitness has become the new reality for millions across the globe, and according to fitness experts like Shwetambari Shetty, who is one of the fittest Indian women and a trainer, it is here to stay. The expert says she has witnessed people dropping weight, losing fat, gaining muscle, looking lean and strong, and becoming the best version of themselves using at-home workouts.

Shwetambari Shetty in conversation:

As a coach, how do you think the pandemic has impacted India's fitness levels?

To me it looks like India is finally ready to make exercise a necessity and a way of life. Until now it has been a luxury. People are understanding that regular exercise and movement helps one become fit and healthy. Maintaining good health, also means good immunity which makes one stronger overall to fight certain illnesses and conditions. So yes, people are now more aware of why everyday movement and fitness is key. It's not 'I have a special occasion and need to drop some pounds' anymore. People are making exercise and fitness a part of their daily routine.

Online fitness sessions and classes have seen a boom. Do you find them as effective as sweating it out in a gym or a physical group class?

I have witnessed people dropping weight, losing fat, gaining muscle, looking lean and strong, and becoming the best version of themselves using at-home workouts. We would have never known this could be possible if it wasn't for this pandemic. So while we love the adrenaline a group class brings in at the gym, the conclusion is home workouts can be just as effective as a gym workout.

Many beginners who would otherwise be intimidated to step inside a gym due to many reasons, including body shaming, have resorted to exercising at home as they feel that is a "no judgement zone". They have lost weight, gained confidence, gained good health and high energy. There is no risk of injury if a beginner starts as a beginner, slowly and steadily, and follows all the trainers' instructions and trains with a qualified fitness coach. To help all our beginners, we have ensured that we have multiple beginner-friendly workouts across all formats and age groups via the offering.

Personally, how have you been working out during the COVID era?

At home! I delivered a baby in July 2020, during the peak of the first COVID wave, and started working out a month after. I lost 10+ kg that I gained from pregnancy by working out at home. Now I have started going to I had my Dance.Fitness for cardio and then got myself dumbbells for my strength training and did yoga twice a week.

Where do most people go wrong when it comes to achieving any fitness goals, say fat loss or belly burn, or toning the body?

Consistency! People are not consistent and not regular with their workouts. As soon as a goal is achieved, people take a break. Do we stop eating? Do we stop sleeping? NO! We don't because our body needs this every day to function properly. In the exact same way, our body needs exercise and movement daily to function well and keep that unwanted fat at bay.

Your top three fitness tips would be…

One, breathe deeply and think positively. Your mind has a powerful impact on your body. Two, exercise regularly and Eat nutritiously. Consistency is the key here. Three, move often and sleep well. Stay active but ensure you rest well.

What is the one fitness trend that the industry could see in a big way in the coming time?

Exercising itself will be trending. People will choose a barbell over a bar. Given the importance of being and staying healthy for each of us being more pronounced than ever, the biggest trend that is coming is just the need to exercise and build it into your lifestyle. Apart from this, having a healthy mind along with a healthy body is also a key trend that has come up and will continue to gain momentum.

You are a trainer at Cult.Fit, and there's massive uptake of your 4-week Belly Burn course. What do you think is the reason for this targeted preference?

Everyone I know wants a flat stomach, washboard abs, or six packs. While this is totally possible, it will take a great deal of effort and hard work. The Belly Burn program, thus, does not promote spot reduction because that is not possible. It aids in building a strong core and as we exercise for a strong core, a lot of that belly fat will go away. The program also promotes HIIT - these are workouts that alternate between high -and low-intensity. The powerful bursts of energy use more fat as fuel and the rest periods in between to help flush out waste products from muscles. In a program like this we have the perfect combination of burning full body fat and strengthening the core. And people who experienced it in its first run did just this. We had 30k+ people participating and engaging actively with us to get fitter using the workouts, meal plans, and group discussions. We think the success of a targeted preference like this lies in the fact that a lot of people have specific goals in mind - such as fat loss, improving strength, increasing flexibility etc - and they want an organized and guided approach to help them attain it.

For people taking this course, what is your advice?

My advice would be to stay consistent. Don't give up in the middle if you want to fulfill your goal. If it gets tough, take a breath and come back. Take it at your own pace. You can also engage actively with other members that sign up to ensure you stay motivated.

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