Push each other to better fitness

It’s a Tuesday morning. Sisters Aditi and Shivani Talreja have just had a breakfast of fresh fruit, milk and dry fruits at their Breach Candy home and are now driving to a gym opposite Churchgate station.

Dressed in T-shirts and track pants, they slip on tennis shoes before hitting the treadmill. Over the next 90 minutes, they will do weights, stretches, abdominal exercises and exer-cycling.

“We sometimes even work out on Sundays,” said Aditi, 24, laughing. “Our routine is five days a week, but we just enjoy hitting the gym together. There, we can chat and bond and feed off each other’s energy and drive.”

It started when Shivani, 21, returned from college in Singapore in April, carrying a graduate degree — and six extra kilos. Away from home, running from lecture to lecture, she hadn’t realised she was substituting junk food for meals.

She joined a gym to get fit, but lost interest and began skipping workouts.  “That’s when we decided to work out together,” said Shivani, smiling at her sister. “Now, on lazy days, she drags me out of the bed and onto the treadmill.”

It helps that Aditi has been working out for two years, with the discipline and commitment that this brings.

She had not stepped on a treadmill or lifted a weight before she launched her startup venture, an online food delivery portal, in August 2009.

But after a month of bingeing on cheesecakes and gourmet meals and trying samples all day, the former equity research associate at Morgan Stanley, London, decided she wanted to work off those unhealthy calories. “My high metabolism kept my weight level, but I live to eat now and I need to stay healthy,” she said.

A month after Aditi started her portal, she signed up at the Churchgate gym. Over two years, her goals have changed from building good stamina to improving overall fitness levels. Shivani is just aiming to shed the extra pounds.

“Though their goals differ, it is always a good thing for sisters to see each other work hard at staying fit,” said Selva, physiotherapist and head of fitness at gym chain Talwalkars, who goes by only one name. “It’s motivating, and it will give them the healthy competition of comparing their progress.”

Working towards their goals together also extends into their non-gym hours. If Shivani is heading to the fridge or eyeing one of the gooey chocolate dessert samples that often arrive at the house for her sister, Aditi steps in. “She always snaps me out of my chocolatey moods,” said Shivani, laughing. “All she needs to do is to remind me how hard I was peddling on the crossramp that morning.”

With sisters, said fitness expert Leena Mogre, you are living together and working out together, so you can have a constant system of checks and balances. That is the biggest advantage.

And drawbacks? “Well, your exercise schedule could definitely go awry if one sibling is not available,” said Selva.

For now, Shivani and Aditi are just enjoying their time together. “Our exer-cycle time is our chat time,” said Shivani. “Talking, gossiping and discussing work, we don’t even realise that it’s been 90 minutes and our workout is done.”


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