Hi Hari! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today! Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about how you got into the fitness industry?
I’ve always been an active guy right from childhood. I loved trekking and the outdoors- I could never sit at a desk and work 8 hours a day! I did my diploma, worked in the defence segment for two years and then did four years of engineering.
After working for about ten years, I decided to leave corporate in 2008. I returned to India from Germany where I was working and decided to start something of my own. That’s around when my fitness journey really started. Given my background, I took up a lot of widely recognised international fitness courses. Even now, I do at least one new course every year from anywhere in the world, just to keep learning!
I believe fitness is a lifestyle. A lifelong journey. So I don’t actually call myself a fitness trainer- I call myself a lifestyle coach.Hari
Could you elaborate a little on your role as a trainer?
I have been in the fitness industry in Bangalore for about 20 years.
I believe fitness is a lifestyle. A lifelong journey. So I don’t actually call myself a fitness trainer. I call myself a lifestyle coach because it’s been quite the process, understanding various perspectives of fitness. I’ve trained in pretty much most of the forms out there – Water Therapy, Cross Fit, Olympic lifts, Healing Yoga from Tibet, Strala Yoga from New York, Ashtanga Yoga, Pilates – you name it. I am a freelancer and outside of offering personal training in and around Bangalore, I also take classes for a couple of fitness companies here.
I’m also part of an education dance trust, Attakalari Centre of Movement Arts, where we run one of the most internationally recognised dance diplomas. I deliver a syllabus on body commission and injury prevention. People come from around the world to train here.
What is your training specialisation and who is your training ideal for?
A lot of my clients are businessmen; they don’t want to become body builders, but yes, by and large everyone wants to be fit, or rather, healthy, and everyone has their own lifestyle. So within that, as trainers, we aim to create a balance.
I would say my specialty lies in treating clients who suffer from chronic pain and those recovering from injuries or surgery. Usually when you go to a doctor, you receive symptomatic treatment. My approach is geared more towards addressing the root cause, “Why does this person have this pain and why is it coming regularly?”
That’s most of my client base. We don’t get to train athletes all the time! One of my clients is 76 and he stands on one leg on a Bosu ball!
How has this lockdown experience been for you?
Lockdown has been a very different ballgame for me. When you’re not working for a gym or a company, there’s a lot of uncertainty. I’ve seen a lot of people move online to market themselves; I myself have done a little bit on Instagram, given the need of the hour, but otherwise I have never really been an online guy, right from childhood.
Is online going to stay?
I think so yeah. Everything is moving online. There is the convenience of doing everything sitting inside your house. Although, I go around telling people to avoid sitting with these gadgets. They cause so many issues, especially down the line.
I attended a medical conference last year, where the committee said they expected an exponential boom in problems associated with the trapezium muscle, over the next 3-4 years.
It’s also know as the emotional muscle (back of your neck, at the base) – it works as per your mood. The whole concept of yoga, meditation and “stress management’’ is targeted at alleviating the pressure on this muscle. You hold a mobile or a bag- this muscle is constantly active.
Sit for hours on a gadget or your computer? Your traps is definitely active!
These become chronic pains and the muscles become weaker. So many problems can come from just poor posture. The human body is designed to move, climb, run. That’s why we say sitting is the new cancer. If somebody completes an intense workout in the morning, takes a shower and goes to work to sit at a desk – it’s like taking a well-serviced Ferrari and parking it in the garage!
How would you recommend we tackle this?
Do whatever little you can, given your circumstances. Just get out of your chair. Even just standing involves so many new muscles working compared to sitting. That is the main research backing the trend of standing work stations actually.
Food also plays a very important role. You can become healthier by just eating better. But to get ‘fit’ you definitely need to exercise. The journey goes from healthy to fitness. Everything is interrelated. Sleep, food and physical exercise. Not everyone needs to run 20km.
Also try and do any kind of creative work, like dance for example, where both your brain and your body is working. Simple sports like table tennis or badminton that aren’t too aggressive can work too. It’s not all about lifting weights.
People want a silver bullet, but it’s all in the lifestyle- you cannot copy what someone else is doing. See what works for you best.
Do you have any advice for new trainers looking to enter the industry?
I do train a lot of newcomers and guide them on getting into the industry. Again, it comes down to their goals. The moment you say I want to become a trainer you need to know – Who is your target? Do you want to train an athlete or kids? Like any medical professional, you need to develop a varied knowledge base but you then also need to specialise. Don’t try to master everything!
Another thing I would say is that throughout your career, you need to take everything that comes as a learning experience. I’ve had bad experiences, both in corporate and fitness. But the knowledge you gain is never a waste. You never know when it could come in handy.