Tone it up right

New age gyms in city redefine fitness regime, Jasmine Laldinpuii KC finds out

Gone are the days when mere jogging, walking or free-hands helped one lose weight and stay fit. Push-ups and pumping iron at gyms for muscles are passe. Now, new age gyms in the city have more to offer to help fitness freaks keep weight at check as well as have sportsman-like toned muscles.
The mushrooming of gyms in Shillong is a proof that more people, cutting across age groups, are becoming conscious about the way they look. It is not just about losing weight but also about overall fitness and getting the perfect stats. From Zumba (dance form), Pilates (fitness moves) to power punches, fitness gurus are recommending every form of workout to cater to the changing demands.
“Our workouts are designed and created with functionality in mind. So we can seamlessly include people from various fitness levels to our group classes,” says Kabeer Diddan of Flex Appeal Gym and Aerobics Studio at Lower Lachumiere.
Kabeer and his wife, Ilarita Kharbyngar, the proprietors of Flex Appeal, say their gym is the only one in the city that has an integrated aerobic and strength programme. It offers aerobics, step aerobics, Zumba, Pilates, Tabata (a form of high-intensity training), crossfit and combat, besides the regular instruments. “We also provide personal training to clients who might have special health concerns and specific goals. Our results speak for themselves,” says Ilarita with confidence.
Zumba, which involves dance and aerobic movements and became a part of the fitness mantra worldwide in the 1990s, is fairly a new concept in Shillong and is yet to catch gym-goers’ fancy, says Zarina Jyrwa of Eastern Dance Icons.
Satbir Singh, an instructor at Ministry of Dance, says the institute has been teaching Zumba workouts for more than three years now and his 100-odd students belong to all age groups. “We were probably the first in the town to introduce Zumba. Most of our students are women. We divide them into batches and personalise their training sessions,” says Singh, who was born and brought up in Shillong.
Zarina, who has got training in Mumbai, teaches both contemporary dance and Zumba. “Many people here are not yet aware of the benefits. It is one of the most effective workouts and can give a perfectly toned body,” says the 24-year-old trainer who runs two centres at Nongmensong and Police Bazar.
The dance form is a cardiovascular training and ensures core strengthening, muscle coordination, balance, stress relief, flexibility and muscle toning.
Pilates is a physical fitness system popular in western countries. This form of workout is all about controlled movements.
Combat is another new concept in the fitness world. It not only gives a toned body but also teaches one the basic methods of self-defence. Kabeer says most of the women prefer combat and aerobics.
Some people are going a step further to stay toned and agile and this is the reason why mixed martial arts (see Page B) is fast gaining popularity. However, Nasil Ali, the trainer at newly opened Gold’s Gym at Lower Lachumiere, says there are different stages of working out and one cannot jump into a random method. “There are different stages like cardio, strength (enhancement), flexibility, muscular endurance and ideal body composition. All these five steps have to be followed if you want to get a perfect body,” explains the expert.
Most high-end gyms in the city offer a comprehensive fitness package, which includes medical check-ups and diet suggestions. Karan Mordani, the co-owner of Gold’s Gym, says the state-of-the-art fitness centre boasts of a “fully equipped cardio centre, strength training zone, free weights area, group exercise studio along with qualified personal trainers, nutritionists, physiotherapists, a fresh juice and health snack bar”.
Kabeer of Flex Appeal says the instructors counsel clients and encourage them to lead healthier lives “but we do not offer any medical advice since we are not qualified to do so”.
At Synergy Fitness Gym in Laitumkhrah, there are different programmes and training ranging from weight loss to weight gain cardiovascular exercises, condition exercises and circuit programmes. The gym is also planning to start Zumba and Pilates soon.
“Fitness training is about improvising different methods of training. Other programmes like Zumba, Pilates and aerobics are relatively effective in other ways since they are free dance movements exercises. It is also fun actually,” says Arwin Rumnong of Synergy.
But the 32-year-old trainer says emphatically that these new age exercises are besides the
conventional and traditional physical fitness training.
Kettle bell training is another form of fitness technique that many gyms are adopting. Ilarita says Flex Appeal is the first to introduce kettle bell training in the city. But other gyms too are including it in their regime.
Deep Jyoti Phukan of Muscle Xcess and Fitness Gym on Jail Road says this training, followed by sportspersons, is gaining popularity and is the best way to tone up.
Fitness trainers, however, discourage individuals to stop workouts as that may lead to loss of muscle mass over time. “But one must understand these are slow and gradual processes. Progress does not come overnight, neither will muscle loss. A healthy diet even while not working out can certainly help slow down the process of muscle loss,” assures Ilarita.
Tina, owner of and personal trainer at Vitalstatistix, the first all-woman gym in Shillong, says it is very easy for one to lose weight but to maintain a healthy body weight is difficult. “So I do counsel in terms of diet but I only talk about portions and a diet which is not fad diet but something that one can maintain consistency. Even with exercises, it is more important to be consistent rather than amount of hours (of workout),” says the fitness expert.
The various training regimes offered by the city-based gyms come with a cost and one has to shell out between Rs 1,500-2,000 a month to get the best look. “But it’s a bang for your buck and you realise it after few months of training. Also, you get all facilities, including medical monitoring at some institutes,” says a fitness freak who is a regular at a city aerobics class.
“Fitness has never been easy to access in Shillong as it is now. With the advent of fitness apps and video sharing websites like YouTube and traditional institutions such as our gym, to which people have easy access, the fitness scene in our town has never looked more promising. It can now be looked upon as a serious professional option,” Kabeer sums it up.
(With inputs from Heather Cecilia Phanwar and Nabamita Mitra)
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