At 9 am thrice a week, costume designer Shirley Daver, 35, makes her way to her fitness class in Santacruz, Mumbai. She changes into tracks and warms up before instructor Lavina Khanna begins a pole-dance workout. “It’s like dancing, and you don’t even realise you’re losing weight,” says Daver.
“In level one, I teach techniques of pole dancing, and then move on to erotic movements... Waves, booty, diva pops and hip roles not only give the legs and stomach a good stretch, it also gives you sex appeal,” says Khanna, who currently has 15 students in the pole dance class at Pulse Studio in Santacruz, Mumbai. The fee is Rs 3,000 for 12 sessions.
Neha Vashisth, 22, also dances —albeit more conservatively — her way to weight-loss at Mélange in east Delhi. “Merengue, Salsa to Jazz are some of the dances we use to tone and lose weight. It’s so much fun that I look forward to it every day,” said Vashisth, who is preparing for MBA entrance exam.
With fitness centres sprouting in every neighbourhood, trainers are on their toes to think of ways to keep regulars hooked. “We alter group routines frequently to keep the sessions interesting,” said Seema Dhingra, general manager, corporate communication, Ozone Fitness ‘n’ Spa in south Delhi’s Defence Colony.
Ozone’s newest import is a German technique to tone abdominal muscles that uses an equipment called kettlebell. “Kettlebell has replaced floor exercises as the favoured technique...” says fitness manager Dhiraj Singh.
Another popular workout is the zumba. Nimisha Gajakosh of Sunergy Dance Studio in Borivli says it’s all about letting your hair down. “I combine Salsa, belly dancing and hip-hop in my zumba class. My students hate missing a class, and that is enough to say they are enjoying it,” says Gajakosh, who charges Rs 2,000 for eight turns.
For many like Mumbai’s Sharmila Ambwani, 42, out-of-the-box workouts have done wonders. “I have a three-month gym membership, which I have not used a single day. I attend hot yoga sessions at Pulse Studio, and at my age, I know it is safe. I’m having a blast,” said Ambwani, who is a doctor. The fee is Rs 2,000 for 12 sessions.
“We do asanas in temperatures above 23°C. This is a great way to detox, as during class my students consume more than one litre of water. At this temperature, muscles are protected and chances of injury are almost nil,” says Khanna, who includes Tibetan, astanga, power and kundalini yoga in her sessions. Currently, she has 15-20 students.
Hot yoga has caught on in Delhi too. “I borrowed the concept from Mumbai and now we run yoga classes in saunas with high temperature which helps them lose weight and detox,” added Navneet Singh Arora, managing director, OxyGym in Greater Kailash-II.
“It’s easy to start exercising, but you need real motivation to go on. Mixing and matching gives us something to look forward to,” said Gaurav Mitra, 30, a Delhi-based lawyer, who has been gymming regularly for last five years.
Agrees Abhilasha Y Ganeriwal, Director of Pulse studio: “Everyone who comes here wants to lose weight or stay fit, but unlike the gym, they have fun.”
A new pilates-inspired workout is the Legs, Bums, Tums. “This helps tone the body and full of core strengthening exercises. The unique thing here is the dance movements added to keep the flow,” says Lavina, who uses a lot of bollywood songs for workouts. “We’ve already finished Sheela Ki Jawaani and now are grooving to Patiala House’s number,” says Khanna. The classes cost Rs 3,000 for 12 sessions.
“Pilates is preferred by women as it helps shed inches faster. If done regularly, the technique can make one lose up to three inches in just two months,’ said R B Singh Thapa, a fitness trainer at OxyGym.