College aspirants in the city are taking some serious crash courses — not in studies, but in losing weight. A month before Delhi University’s new session begins, gyms report a flood of membership requests from youngsters in the 17-19 age group, and dieticians, too, say their diaries are full.
“We’ve seen a 15% increase in the number of 17 to 19-year-old members in the past month. All they want is to look thin. Some are even willing to take unhealthy crash diets,” says Ritesh Shikhawat, owner of the The Gym in Model Town. At the Greater Kailash branch of Gold’s Gym, these youngsters currently make up 35% of the clientele. “There’s a huge rush of 17 to 19-year-olds. They want to perfect their physical appearance. For them, it works as a major confidence booster, and is like a prestige issue (before entering college),” says Pratigya Subhramaniyam, the nutrition head at the gym.
Some of these fitness centres have also introduced special packages for students. “Every day, 4-5 youngsters visit us for membership. They first hog on junk food during the holidays, and then realise they need to shed all the flab,” says Ashim Pal, manager of the Revital Gym and Spa in Punjabi Bagh, which, like many other fitness centres, has introduced a special discounted package for students. Diet experts, too, report a sudden rise in young clients under peer pressure. “5-6 teens visit us every day. They want to become super slim in the minimum possible time,” says Dr Nidhi Sareen, senior nutritionist at Fortis La Femme.
Teens say it is a crucial time for them to shape up. “I gained weight during the board exams. I can’t wear clothes of my choice. So, I’m gymming and do an all-day fruit diet twice a week. Anything to look good on the first day of college!”, says Muskaan Khanna, 17, a resident of Lajpat Nagar. For Anjali Batra, 18, a DU aspirant, it’s much more than embarrassment. “If I don’t look presentable on the first day of college, how will I make friends? I don’t want to be alone in college,” she says.
Fast fitness is not healthy
Experts dissuade students from resorting to extreme measures to shape up, and instead suggest a consistent diet and fitness programme. “These crash courses and diets are like selling the moon to kids. It’s almost impossible to lose something like six kilos in a month in a healthy way. All that weight is going to come back,” says Dr Shikha Sharma, diet expert.
Gyms cash in on the craze
At Gold’s Gym, the special offer for students includes a free month of gymming with a quarterly membership, and another deal offers a 40% discount
Fitness Freaks Gym and Spa is offering a ‘1+1 free’ membership to students
The Gym is offering freebies such as a stylish bag as part of their student deal.