Stepping inside the studio of Surfset Fitness India, you realise that this is probably the closest you will come to surfing in Mumbai. The walls are covered with wallpapers of waves and there are 12 to 15 mounted surfboards. Videos of (real) surfers play on LCD screens, and there’s the standard fitness-zone upbeat music.
Surfset Fitness is the brainchild of Mike Hartwick, a former US-based professional hockey player. No, he wasn’t a professional surfer. But his workout did shake things up, literally, by mimicking the movements of an actual surfboard. Out with the treadmill, in with the surfboard, and your cardio gets a whole lot more interesting.
The franchise has now been brought to India for the first time by the husband-wife duo of Kajal and Deepak Tejsinghani. Deepak says the routine directly works your core muscles, because you’re constantly trying to balance yourself. “It's called isometric isolation, and it works on different body parts at the same time, whereas, at a gym, you work on one body part at a time,” he explains, adding that the routine is suitable for children as well.
With Kajal as our instructor, we mounted the Surfset board, and found that regular exercises were twice as difficult to perform on a surface that rocks so much. We tried some lunges and squats, and the board shook vigorously every time we tried to stand upright or switch movements. According to Kajal, that’s an indication that our core wasn’t strong enough yet. Falling off the board seemed like a scary possibility, but we’re told, during an actual class, there are assistants placed, fielder-like around a tail-ender batsman, to catch you. While a regular session lasts 45 minutes, we were left panting in barely 15.
For those brave souls willing to do the whole 45, the benefits are many, as Kajal points out: “You're working on your balance, flexibility, stamina as well as agility. So, you end up using a lot more of your muscles.”
Right now, their clientele comprises state-level football and hockey players, models and, surprisingly, groups of kitty party ladies. They also offer yoga on the surfboard (we’re told the board shakes very lightly when sitting or lying down).
The founders don’t discourage people from visiting a traditional gym and recommend Surfset Fitness as an add-on to your fitness routine. And for those looking for a fun new workout option in the rain, this might just do the trick. If nothing else, it’s a welcome break from the treadmill.
The franchise has now been brought to India for the first time by the husband-wife duo of Kajal and Deepak Tejsinghani. (Pratham Gokhale/HT photo)
Surfset Fitness India, Swami Vivekanand Road, Santacruz (W)
Contact: 98216 64444
Price: Rs 3,000 (taxes extra) onward, for 12 classes a month
Other offbeat workouts
With French-Caribbean music in the background, this African dance form is a perfect cardio workout.
Where: House of Wow, Hill Road, Bandra (W). | Contact: 99302 46031 | Price: Rs 600 (drop-in class), Rs 2,500 (for eight sessions)
Sign up for Aditi Deshpande's Aerial Silk classes, which involve being suspended from a special type of cloth (called, well, aerial silk) and performing acrobatics.
Where: Sitara Studio, Lower Parel. | Contact: 98336 99965 | Price: Rs 4,000 (for eight classes a month)
Where: Masala Bhangra fuses traditional Bhangra with some Bollywood moves.
JG's Fitness Centre, Santacruz (W) | Contact: 93242 46680 | Price: Rs 3,400 (thrice a week, for a month)