fitness experts interview© HelloIndia

5 Fitness Experts On Healthy Living & The Most Effective Workouts

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Nayare Ali

HELLO! catches up with five health experts who are reshaping the very face of fitness in India today.

What happens when five fit and fabulous personalities come together? There’s plenty of chatter on health and well-being, debates on the most effective workouts and, most of all, tremendous inspiration to get moving for those around them. These experts are en route to transforming the face of fitness as we know it in India, with some of them heavily responsible for how incredible a few of our favourite celebrities look.

HELLO! brought together celebrity yoga instructor Anshuka Parwani; star fitness trainer and mindful movement practitioner Namrata Purohit; fitness coach Pareesha Ruia; and trainers Anisha Shah and Saniya Jaiswal for a one-of-a-kind shoot that left onlookers feeling motivated like never before.

Pareesha Ruia (Fitness Coach)

HELLO!: How did your interest in functional fitness evolve?

Pareesha Ruia: “I’ve always enjoyed movement in all shapes and forms. I used to be an amateur gymnast in school, danced professionally in my early 20s, became a Pilates instructor and eventually got into strength and conditioning. My current training style is an amalgamation of all of these different forms of exercise that I’ve practiced.”

H!: What exercises form a core part of functional fitness?

PR: “I think any well-rounded functional training programme will include exercises that are variations of pull, push, squat, hinge, lunge, rotation and carries. These are the basic movement patterns that the human body is designed to perform.”

H!: How often do you workout and for how long? Do you experiment with your routine?

PR: “I train six days a week. My workouts vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on what’s been programmed for the day. Yes, I do enjoy experimenting with them, as it’s important to keep things fun and exciting. But to excel at anything, repetition is key, especially when it comes to creating efficient movement patterns in the body. So I think it’s important to find the balance between consistency and variety.”

H!: What makes functional fitness such a popular form of exercise?

PR: “Functional fitness improves the quality of your life. It enables you to do all the things that your body has been designed to do at its full potential. Apart from making you physically fit and aesthetically appealing, it gives you confidence, is a huge mood booster and increases your mental threshold and grit.”

H!: How important is a good diet to complement a workout routine?

PR: “Taking care of your body’s nutritional needs is non-negotiable if you want to optimise all the hard work you put in while training.”

H!: Your favourite fitness quote:

PR: “Workout because you love your body, not because you hate it.”

Namrata Purohit (Pilates Instructor, Mindful Movement Practitioner & Sports Nutritionist; Co-Founder, The Pilates Studio)

HELLO!: How did your interest in Pilates begin?

Namrata Purohit: “My journey in Pilates started at 15, when I injured my knee after a bad fall from a horse. Soon after my surgery, I went on a quest to find a way to get back in form, be pain free and be able to do all the things I love. After trying various forms of exercise and rehab, I finally stumbled upon Pilates, as my father Samir Purohit was hosting a course in Mumbai. I begged to be a part of the course, and just a few days into it, I was absolutely pain free for the first time in a year. That’s when I felt the magic of Pilates. I thought if this could help me so much, it could definitely help a lot more people out there. I began to learn and practice more, and there’s been no looking back ever since.”

H!: You call yourself a mindful movement practitioner. What does this mean?

NP: “Mindful movement is a way for us to check in with our bodies and get moving in a way that not only makes us stronger and fitter, but also helps lower stress, release stagnant energy and strengthen our mind and body connection. It emphasises on being completely present in the current moment and moving with a focus on one’s breath. When one engages in mindful movement, not only does their body feel better, but their mood is uplifted, too, and they have more energy for the rest of the day.”

H!: To clear the confusion that many have, how different are Pilates and yoga?

NP: “Pilates and yoga both focus on the breathing pattern while performing the movements. While Pilates can be done on a mat, it’s primarily practiced on equipment like the reformer, cadillac, chair or ladder barrel. It works with your body weight as well as resistance. One has to experience a class to really understand what it’s all about.”

H!: Can Pilates help you lose weight?

NP: “Yes! Pilates can help you lose weight and inches. Practicing Pilates will help increase your lean body mass, which in turn can help increase your metabolic rate.”

H!: Was becoming a sports nutritionist a natural progression of your love for fitness?

NP: “Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand to achieve a healthy body. I wanted to understand nutrition better and hence decided to pursue a sports nutrition course. It helps me better understand what’s going on in the body and makes it easier to work with clients towards their fitness goals.”

H!: You have many celebrity clients. Who’s the most dedicated of the lot?

NP: “I think some of the most dedicated actors I train are Sara Ali Khan, Janhvi Kapoor, Pooja Hegde, Kangana Ranaut, Rashmika Mandanna and Kajol.”

H!: Your favourite fitness quote:

NP: “There’s one by Muhammad Ali that I love: “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” You’ll also often hear me say: “KISSS: Keep it safe, simple and smart!” This is also my principle.”

Anshuka Parwani (Celebrity Yoga Instructor & Holistic Wellness Expert; Founder, Anshuka Yoga)

HELLO!: From where did your interest in yoga stem?

Anshuka Parwani: “Thanks to my mother, who was also a yoga teacher, I’ve practiced breathwork and Pranayama since childhood. But yoga changed my life profoundly when I was healing mentally and physically from a near-fatal bike accident. I experienced first-hand the magic of yoga and how it’s capable of transforming a person’s life holistically. I haven’t looked back since.”

H!: What’s the best time to do yoga?

AP: “One can yield the maximum benefits of yoga during what’s called the twilight time, which is right before sunrise. But that doesn’t mean you won’t reap its benefits any other hour.”

H!: You’re also a holistic wellness expert. What does this entail?

AP: “When you talk about wellness, it’s not just about being free of diseases. Wellness is about your well-being and feeling good from the inside. It includes a plethora of things like your mood, quality of sleep, hormones, fitness level, etc. It’s about being balanced all through our body. Yoga covers your mental, physical and spiritual state of being and works towards striking that balance.”

H!: How often do you work out. Do you experiment with various forms of exercise?

AP: “I practice six times a week — my asanas, meditation and breathwork. I also do FlyFit, which is my amalgamation of aerial fitness, aerial yoga and aerial Pilates. I’m still very much a water baby and love to swim whenever I get a chance. I listen to what my body needs and wants to do and follow that.”

H!: How important is a good diet to complement a workout routine?

AP: “Nutrition is a very crucial part in your wellness journey. What you eat and how you move go hand in hand. Your food intake has a direct impact on your hormones, sleep quality and, in general, on your quality of life. So to really feel well, one must work out and eat right at the same tine. What you eat, how you move, how you think, what you feel… Balance is key!”

H!: What are your other interests?

AP: “I’m a foodie, and I love to travel. I love seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and eating delicious food while I travel. I’m a complete adventure junkie, which explains why I’m a commercial pilot, too! Anything to do with outdoor activities like skydiving or deep-sea diving is my jam!”

H!: Your favourite fitness quote:

AP: “Stay bendy! You’re as flexible in your mind as you are in your spine and body. Keep it balanced!”

Anisha Shah & Saniya Jaiswal (Fitness Trainers, Physique 57 India)

HELLO!: What made you choose barre workouts as fitness trainers?

SJ: “Barre, which is a blend of yoga, Pilates, and ballet, can be easily adapted to meet the needs of different clients, making it a versatile option for personal trainers and fitness professionals like us. Whether a client is looking to build strength, increase flexibility, or simply get a good workout, a well-designed barre routine can help them achieve their goals. This is what keeps us motivated, both on and off the barre!”

H!: Have you always been health conscious?

AS: “We have both been dancers for most of our lives. It’s common for dancers to be conscious about their bodies and physical fitness, as the demands of dance often require a high level of physical ability and control. As a result, we engaged in a variety of fitness activities, such as strength training, cardio and stretching, to constantly maintain and improve our physical capabilities. This focus on fitness can become an unconscious habit, as we continually work to maintain our bodies in top condition for our craft. Additionally, being physically fit can also enhance a dancer’s overall performance and help prevent injury.”

H!: Do you remember your first time working out? How did it feel?

SJ: “Surprisingly, my first workout session was with Physique 57 India, when I was auditioning to be a trainer. It was challenging, but the workout left me feeling empowered. It’s something I had never done and was willing to try again, even if I hadn’t made the cut as a trainer. But I did, and it’s the best thing that happened to my life!”

H!: How many clients do you train every day? What’s the best aspect of training as your job?

AS: “At Physique 57, we offer group sessions that accommodate up to 25 clients at a time, as well as semi-private and private classes. The most fulfilling part of my training is seeing clients show up consistently and watching them transform not just bodily, but also as people!”

H!: How often do you workout? Do you enjoy experimenting with your exercises?

SJ: “I workout five days a week. I strongly believe one should spend enough time understanding the foundation of the workout they choose, as it only shows results with great form and understanding of the movement.”

AS: “I workout four to six times a week. At Physique 57, we offer a plethora of classes that range from our more signature formats to specialty formats that target the different needs of our clients. And because no two workouts are ever the same, the variety keeps it fun and engaging and derives results.”

H!: What are your other interests?

SJ: “I love fashion! I love styling my outfits and even my workout gear. I never underestimate the power of a good outfit!”

AS: “I’m a scuba-diver. I feel blessed that every once in a while, I get to connect with my inner mermaid!”

H!: Your favourite fitness quote:

SJ: “If you want to change your body, you have to change your mind.”

AS: “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.”

This has been adapted for the web from a story originally published in the April 2023 issue of HELLO! India. Get our copy of the latest issue right here!