It’s a brand new year. And we’ve made brand new resolutions. Except that old one, which we’ve made every January, every year: to get fitter. But how do we go about it? By renewing the gym membership, surely.
Gyms have read your mind. And surprise, surprise, there are ads everywhere for ‘50 per cent discount on annual membership’, and other permutations of the same. Sounds like a good deal? Except, gyms know that not even half the people who sign up now will actually last the year. Or even six months. Shraddha Sheth VP, sales, operations and marketing, Gold’s Gym India, tells us, “The motivation to join a gym is highest in January. We see a 20 per cent increase in new memberships, and another 10 per cent of the old members rejoining; there are 10 to 15 per cent more people on the floor.” But how many of these motivated gym-goers follow through on their promises to themselves? “About 30 to 40 per cent of the total members stick to their resolutions to get fit over a long period,” Sheth says.
If 2015 has taught us anything, it’s that fitness need not be your ball and chain. It can actually be a whole lot of fun and not monotonous or repetitive. The year saw the boom of the fitness apps — Fiticket, Fitternity, Orobind, to name a few — which allow you access to multiple gyms in your vicinity, and mix and match workouts. So, if you’re bored of cardio, you can switch to Kalaripayattu or Krav Maga — all with the same membership.
Take it outside
Workouts aren’t restricted to the gym anymore. They have moved to public spaces. The Tower Run, held in November, at World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade, saw participants climb 30 floors and a total of 689 steps. And that wasn’t it. In December, Fit Fest transformed the main square at Phoenix Marketcity, a space you associate with entertainment, into a fitness zone. There were Zumba sessions, self-defense workshops, and even a session on physiotherapy and injury management by cricketer Zaheer Khan. These new ways to work out have caught on in popularity because they are “different from your regular gym routine, which makes it a lot of fun,” says fitness trainer Vijay Alva. There’s also Devil’s Circuit, a military-style endurance run, set to debut in Mumbai this year. Adnan Adeeb, its founder, says that interaction with other participants, as opposed to regular weight-training or cardio (largely a solitary affair) is what makes it exciting.
November also saw the first #Dawntrekker event at Colaba’s Radio Bar, promoted as a ‘fitness party’, where participants turned up at 6.30am to practise Zumba and power yoga to energetic tunes, with juice shots thrown in. “This is an attempt to make the most of the urban spaces and facilities we have access to, like parks, gyms and eateries. It’s also a way to let people know that fitness is a part of life, the same way eating and drinking are,” says Hitesh Keswani, director, Silver Beach Entertainment and Hospitality, which organised the event.
Gyms, however, aren’t falling behind when it comes to innovations. Gold’s Gym recently introduced a DNA-based workout and diet routine. “The diet and workout schedules are tailored-made according to your DNA test. This will give customers a higher rate of success in knowing and achieving their fitness goals. The test costs between Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000. Open so far only to regular members, from this month, we are opening it up to for others as well,” says Sheth.
Fitness at your fingertips
But when it comes to innovation, the biggest game-changer in fitness has been wearable technology and the numerous apps that help you stay fit. Fitness trackers keep you aware of how much you exercise, track the number of steps you take and calories you burn. A fitness band is increasingly threatening to usurp the space taken up by watches on urban wrists. According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s trend predictions for 2016, the interest in using wearable technology will overtake conventional activities like body weight training and interval training. Another big way the internet has changed the fitness revolution is through online challenges. Publicly committing to fitness, and sharing your daily progress on social media, is keeping netizens motivated. So, you’re no longer just commenting on your friends’ selfies, but also on the distances they walked or cycled in a day. Also, it makes you belong to a much larger community of fitness enthusiasts, so that achieving your fitness goals is no longer a solitary crusade.
While you might have several options to choose from in 2016, Sucheta Pal, Zumba education specialist and trainer, advises that you try different formats, but eventually stick to one or two that you enjoy: “Don’t run after the latest fads just because your friend is doing it. Only if you enjoy your format will you stick to it. And only if you stick to it will you be a regular. And only regulars see long-term results.”
Unique workout options
Zumba it out
* Aqua Zumba: Every step is more challenging since water creates natural resistance. This low-impact, high-energy exercise also helps tone muscles.
* Zumba Toning: Uses dumbbells to do squats, lunges, bicep curls, chest presses and overhead presses to get toned arms and abs.
* Zumba Sentao: Uses a chair as the gym machine to do push-ups and salsa.
Where: Gold’s Gym, Pali Hill, Bandra and House of Wow, Hill Road, Bandra | When: Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 7pm to 8pm
Call: 98333 63065
With French-Caribbean music in the background, this African dance form is a perfect cardio workout.
Where: House of Wow, Hill Road, Bandra (W)
Call: 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
Call: 98336 99965
Price: Rs 4,000 (for eight classes a month)
Fuses traditional Bhangra with some Bollywood moves.
Where: JG’s Fitness Centre, Santacruz (W)
Call: 93242 46680
Price: Rs 3,435 (thrice a week, for a month)
Surf board workout
Mimics the movements of an actual surfboard, but within the four walls of a studio.
Where: Surfset Fitness India, SV Road, Santacruz (W)
Contact: 98216 64444
Price:Rs 3,000 (for one month, 12 classes), Rs 25,000 (for one year, 12 classes a month)