– Namrata Purohit
Any fitness routine is only as good as the trainer by your side, and to that end, Namrata Purohit has transformed countless lives with her peppy disposition, back-to-basics approach and her infectious energy that has found a fan in the likes of Kareena Kapoor Khan, Malaika Arora Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez, among others.
We read an article which said you were told to stay away from sports. Can you tell us more about your success story and how you overcame that?
I have always been an active person and loved being outdoors, working out and always being on the go. When I was 15, I fell off a horse and injured my knee. I had to undergo an immediate surgery and was then asked to stay away from my sports, something that I could not accept. I tried various forms of exercise, and although the pain had reduced it never went away. Around that time my father was hosting a Pilates course in Mumbai and I asked if I could be on the course. I managed to get on and get through the course. Three or four days into the course for the first time in months I had absolutely no pain in my knee and even started playing squash again. That is when I realised the magic of Pilates and thought that this magic should be spread.
As being of the first few people to make Pilates accessible to the masses, how have you changed the nation’s opinion of that matter?
The awareness of health and fitness in general is being spread in the country. When I had just started training I realised everyone worked out only to lose weight or only to look good. Today I can see a shift in this mindset and more people are working out to be “fit” and not just look good, which is great. Additionally I have finally started seeing more men in India trying Pilates as there has always been a huge misconception about Pilates being only for women. Surprisingly, it was started by a man for men at war, and today I can see more men giving it a chance. There has also been an increase in general awareness about Pilates, what it is, how it works and things related to the form of fitness. I think Pilates is slowly being understood better.
Who was your first celebrity client and how did you manage to get them on board?
Manasi Scott was one our first celebrity clients. She just called and came to the studio one day, wanting to experience Pilates, and there has been no looking back ever since.
Can you explain how Pilate helps in sculpting the body and what are its benefits?
Pilates is a full body exercise, working not only the superficial muscles of the body but also the deeper minute muscles of the body. Pilates improves the lean body mass and aids in inch loss. Working not only the show muscles but also deeper muscles helps give the body a more defined lean, long look, with good posture and length in the body. Pilates benefits include improved strength, stability, flexibility, coordination, concentration, stability and balance.
What according to you is the most effective Pilates exercise and why?
There is no one exercise that is the most effective. Pilates as a form of exercise is extremely effective, and ensures that all muscles are getting worked. Pilates is an extremely customised form of exercise ensuring each person gets the maximum benefit out of their workout.
In your opinion as a fitness trainer, why is Pilates so important to the world of fitness?
I think Pilates is something that every person must do, regardless of what other form of exercise they may want to do or follow. This is because Pilates ensures you get a well-developed balanced body. It is an extremely safe form of exercise that not only helps people who have injuries but also helps prevent them in the long run. Pilates focuses on every aspect of fitness.
Pole fitness is a new fitness trend these days? How effective is it?
The one word I associate Pole fitness to is fun. I find that Pole fitness principles in general are very close to that of Pilates. One has to work through the core, work on stability, flexibility, balance and of course strength too.
How would you motivate men to start pole dancing as a lot of men feel shy, as they feel it’s basically meant for women?
Pole dancing or fitness is derived from Malakhamb, a fitness form of originating from India and is primarily done by men. Men do tend to feel shy, but the second you try it you realise how much effort goes into it. There are so many men world over who practice pole fitness.
Pilates is mostly popular among women. Can you tell our male readers why they should give Pilates a try?
Many times we find that men have unbalanced muscles, which are not very flexible or have weak stabilizers, and their smaller deeper muscles tend to be almost inactive. This is usually due to the part by part approach to muscular development which often occurs in weight training and not working the smaller, deeper muscles of the body and instead only focusing on the big show muscles in the body. However Pilates emphasises moving from the centre of the body, the core which is the powerhouse, thus developing core strength and working the deep muscles that help strengthen and stabilize the body and also protect the back. Pilates ensures that you work inside out, that each and every muscle in your body is strong and stable giving you a more balanced body and not only a good-looking body but also a fit one. The kind of training done in Pilates makes it an excellent full body workout, increases body awareness, and also helps improve form and helps build your foundation for other kinds of sports and exercises.
You are among the top Pilates trainer of the country, what is it about your training that makes you so unique?
Honestly I just focus on each individual I am training. I always assess them before setting a routine for them, certain specific things like their body type, injuries, goals before designing a routine for them. Above all I feel it is very important to make working out fun, interesting but yet challenging.
Do you believe in calorie counting? What are your food choices and recommendations?
I do believe in eating healthy and balanced. It is important to watch what you eat, but at the same time I keep reminding people that it isn’t about eating less, but about eating right. I eat 3 main meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner and 2 small meals in between. It is important to eat everything which also includes good carbs and fat as well as protein. Balance is always the key.
What are some of your food rituals? Do you have a cheat day? Is there any food you try to avoid?
I start my day with drinking warm water in the morning. I ensure to have my fruits, vegetables, lentils as well as dry fruits. I always have something in my bag in case I ever get hungry while I am on the go. I don’t have a particular cheat day, but if I ever really crave something, I might have it and then balance it out after. I don’t avoid anything but I refrain myself from eating much of refined sugar or fried food.
What do you do when you aren’t training?
I have always been an active person, if not training I am always on the go. It can be dancing, singing, horse riding, learning Spanish, playing squash, a wide spectrum of activities. I also believe that meeting friends and spending time with parents is very essential too.
What’s the favourite part of your job?
I get to meet so many people from so many different walks of life. When someone comes to you and tells you how they feel fitter, stronger, pain free,in case of injury, it is the most satisfying feeling. Knowing that somewhere you had a little role to play in that journey gives me immense happiness.
We learned that you have been taking classes of various dance forms. Can you tell us more about it and which one you enjoy the most?
I absolutely love dancing. Contemporary, jazz, bachata, salsa and jive are my favourite forms of dancing. Dance social nights are something I look forward to, where I can dance on latin music with different people. I feel everyone just seems to be in a good mood when they dance. Back at university my friends and I would travel all over UK going for different dance get togethers. I also represented my university, Loughborough University, in salsa as well as bachata.
Having started her career at the age of 16, she went on to claim the title of the ‘Youngest Trained Stott Pilates Instructor’ in the world. In a tête-à-tête, she reveals some of her no-nonsense tips on getting fit.