Fitness has always been a way of life for the founder of SOHFIT, though it wasn’t his initial calling. Sohrab Khushrushahi fell in love with cricket after watching Sachin Tendulkar weave his magic on the grounds, though his tryst with the sport was short-lived. He soon changed tracks to the legal world, where he thrived as a successful lawyer—but his heart was always set on the world of fitness. Ultimately, it was a little nudge and a great deal of support from his wife Daneesh Davar that gave him the wings to fly, and Khushrushahi founded SOHFIT in 2019. Two years later, the fitness programme enjoys quite the cult following, with Khushrushahi having been a trainer to prominent personalities like Alia Bhatt, Kiara Advani and Karan Johar. HELLO! gets candid with one of India’s most popular fitness gurus.
HELLO!: You’ve had a remarkable journey. Can you trace this for us?
SOHRAB KHUSHRUSHAHI: “In the 1990s, my father took me for my first nets session when I was about nine. That’s when I fell in love with the game of cricket. Growing up, Sachin was everyone’s idol. I started to picture myself playing cricket for the country. I worked hard and took it really seriously, till I got to Class 10, when my mom sat me down and told me that it was great that I loved sports but I needed to finish my education first. I slacked in Class 10. I gained weight, sat at home and did not play for an entire year since I was studying. I lost a year at the U-16, and after that, it was really hard to get back to it. Then life took over. I got into law when I was 19 years old, and cricket took a backseat. But I kept training and have been training ever since I was 14. I was obsessed with training, fitness, reading up on the subject, and experimenting with things.”
H!: SOHFIT is akin to a movement today, with a strong cult following. What do you think makes it so popular?
SK: “I don’t think it’s a cult. I think of SOHFIT more as a community one I really hope keeps growing not because of me, but because I believe people can help people. It works at some level. We’re a team; we don’t work as individuals. I stay up till 2 am or 3 am on most days. My team is ambitious. We aren’t people who will just be happy to be where we were six months ago.That’s what truly drives us all.”
H!: Has your experience in the legal space helped you in your current business?
SK: “My experience in law really helped me in understanding how to deal with people. I believe coaching is all about effective people management. For example, in football, I look up to Sir Alex Ferguson. He may not have been the greatest coach, but he was a brilliant man manager. He’d manage to get people to run through a brick wall for him. That’s the most important quality needed. If people trust you, they will do what you ask them to.
H!: How do you manage to make the brand accessible and affordable?
SK: “A year before the pandemic struck, as a team, we figured we wanted to reach more people. So we started with going online at a time when online workouts were at a nascent stage. We tried it out, and it really worked. We posted our workouts every single day on our social media for anyone to freely access. We want to make fitness as affordable as possible. You don’t want to pay money? That’s fine. We are still going to get as many people as we can and help them get fitter. This is why something like RFT (Raw Functional Training) is what I’m focused on, bringing it to India exclusively with its creator Da Rulk. RFT is an anytime workout and needs no equipment or infrastructure.”
H!: Most people hold onto careers they are unhappy with. How did you find the courage to break free and follow your own path?
SK: “It took me eight years to make up my mind. I can’t take the credit away from my wife, Daneesh Davar. If she hadn’t supported me, I’d not have been able to do it. She’s my backbone. She helps me on the business side and lets me do the creating; it gives me freedom to do that part and allows me to focus on the aspects of work that I like. Is it easy? No, it’s quite scary. If anyone thinks shifting careers to follow their passions will all be hunky-dory, they are sadly mistaken! What I do now is harder than what I did as a legal professional. At that time, I was responsible for just myself. Now I’m responsible for a lot of things. So it’s tougher, in that sense. What really helped me was that I didn’t come into it for the money; I genuinely loved the work.”
H!: Would you be able to pick your greatest success story in terms of their fitness journey?
SK: “I’d not categorise anything as ‘most successful’. Everyone is fighting their own battles. If they keep on working, that’s good enough for me. Someone even left for a year, only to return and get back to it again. To me, that is success. From a weight perspective, I can only think of Vikramaditya Kukreja, who went from 175kg to 90kg—a loss of 85kg!”
H!: Your most popular celebrity clients?
SK: “We work with Alia Bhat and Robin Uthappa. We’ve also worked with Kiara Advani, Karan Johar, Mahesh Bhupathi and Mira Kapoor.”
H!: Do you remember the first person you coached in a professional capacity?
SK: “That would be my mentor, Ajay Piramal. He was the person I spoke with when I wanted to make the switch in my career. When I told him what I was considering, he said he’d be my client. I trained him around 5 am. Those were fun days! We used to talk about fitness and how I’d be in the business. In a way, we trained each other.”
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s August 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!