COVID-19 times: Fitness in quarantine

Anugraha Rao
Thursday, 7 May 2020

Trainers Brian D’Souza and Reema Vengurlekar share how they are helping celebs keep up with their workout regime and give some easy tips to follow at home.

Marathi fitness trainers Brian D’Souza and Reema Vengurlekar, who train celebrities like Amruta Khanvilkar, Tejaswini Pandit, Spruha Joshi and several others, are making sure that their clients are keeping up with their fitness schedule through virtual fitness classes amid the coronavirus lockdown.

“This is very new for all of us. In the first week, we were clueless. But later, we decided to come up with online sessions. At first, it was challenging as you cannot guide your clients about correct posture and technique as you would in a regular session. So in the first few days, we learnt and understood everything together,” says D’Souza who trains both celebrities and regular clients.

Vengurlekar says, “The process of training a celeb and a usual client is generally the same. But what we have observed is that celebrities are more goal-oriented and fitness-focused because it’s a job demand.”

That said, every individual is different, and so are their fitness needs and limitations. So, workouts are designed according to individual goals. 

“Stars also have different choices like some of them like to go for yoga, whereas others like functional training. Normally, celebrities have goals like weight loss, fat loss, getting flexible, stronger abs, getting leaner. Their goals keep changing as per their project requirements,” adds D’Souza.

The duo also has a fitness studio, WOD (Workout of the Day) in Mumbai where D”Souza teaches functional training and Vengurlekar teaches Ashtanga yoga. Before launching the studio, Vengurlekar was a PR professional, and D’Souza worked with Raymond’s Retail India.

Sharing more about their journey, D’Souza says, “We were very passionate about fitness; hence, we decided to quit our jobs and follow our passion. 

This decision wasn’t easy, but somewhere we had faith that we are on the right path. So the first few years were challenging as we were also learning and things were not moving fast enough. But eventually, things started falling into place. Slowly, celebrities started coming to us, and yes, that was a great achievement.”

Vengurlekar, who is an expert in Ashtanga — a traditional form of yoga, says, “We try many new things like opening up back and hip or introduce fun things like headstand and handstand. However, it is a little difficult to train people online as you cannot correct them as would in a regular session. The other challenge is to ensure their safety. So we started off with basic exercises,” she says that both physical fitness and mental well-being are essential, especially in these difficult and testing times.

Yoga asanas can help you stay physically fit, and breathing exercises or pranayama keeps the mind calm. It has multiple other benefits.

D’Souza says that opting for any exercise can keep the body active and the brain sharp.

“For example, exercise teaches you discipline. Once you start implementing this discipline in your daily life, you see a whole lot of improvement. Your thinking becomes rational, understanding increases, and you also develop healthy bonds with your family, friends and partner.”

COVID-19 and the lockdown have compelled the world to function remotely through online platforms, and this mode of functioning is likely to continue until we find a cure for the disease. 

“Yes, we will continue our online training. This is a new medium of training that we learnt during the lockdown. That said, it is also giving us the liberty to move beyond the geographical boundaries of our gym. Online training has its own limitations, but it helps us connect with our clients from all over the world,” says D’Souza adding that lack of physical presence and dependency on the internet are the only limitations.

Working from home could be taking up most of your day. Even a 30-minute workout may seem possible. Giving some tips on how to work out for 10-15 minutes effectively, Vengurlekar says, “The majority of people have sedentary work; therefore, Suryanamaskar is the ultimate exercise anyone can start with. It helps in weight loss, improves digestion, releases stress and anxiety, and helps detox the body. Also, Pranayamas can help with mental peace.”

You can start with Pranayamas like deep breathing and Anulom Vilom. People who cannot exercise or practise yoga in the day can do it before going to bed. It will relax your body, mind and will set you for the next day.

For functional training, D’Souza suggests squats, push-ups and sit-ups to start with. These exercises will strengthen your legs and hands, improve posture, and give you better balance, strength and flexibility.

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