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    Two new gyms in Alwarpet rewrite fitness rules and activity charts for kids.

    On the heels of the recent spurt in sport-centric enterprises for children, we now have health and fitness joining the trend. With two new centres opening in the city and both in Alwarpet, we decided to pay a visit. At The FitRoom and The Little Gym of Alwarpet, little ones are offered a fun and secure environment and activities ranging from martial arts and yoga to cooking.

    The Fitroom Madras
    Launched five months ago, by city-based Saraswathy Venkataramani (41), the courses here are designed to offer a healthy lifestyle that encompasses physical activity, right nutrition and a focussed mind. Venkataramani brings her expertise of being a yoga instructor and a former preschool teacher to the fore on designing the courses. “My passion to work with children and imbibe in them a habit of ‘healthy living’ inspired me to start the studio. We offer a variety of unique and fun classes and workshops, with an aim to kindle a passion for fitness and mindfulness,” she begins.
    The Fitroom currently works with six partners (trainers) who actively take part in not only training the children, but also designing and customising programmes according to the needs of the young clientele. “We have programmes for the body and mind such as Aikido, a Japanese martial art, Cardio Dance Fit, Urban Tumblers, a unique gymnastics programme, and yoga for kids, which has been designed to improve focus and mindfulness. For nutrition, we have workshops where kids learn to prepare healthy snacks,” shares Venkataramani. She adds that the cooking class is conducted under the guidance of dietician Nandi Shah, the founder of re:store, an online store for macrobiotic food. Shah is also available to interact with parents about children’s dietary needs and food choices.
    Venkataramani plans to add a programme that will conduct activities for parents and children together, to attempt to bring better understanding between them. “We are starting a Mom and Me programme which we aim to launch in the next quarter. However, all our clients’ parents regularly witness the progress of their children in a structured manner,” concludes Venkataramani.
    Three to 16 years.
    Rs  1,500 onwards. Details: 42139222

    The Little Gym of Alwarpet

    Graphic designer Divya Gopinath— born in Calicut and raised in Singapore—hopped many cities before settling down in Chennai. What she missed here was a nurturing space for her child, which led her to tie up with The Little Gym, a US-based franchise, in January this year. “I have an eight-year-old son (Aryan) and I was looking for sports activities for him, I came across The Little Gym in Bengaluru and fell in love with the concept. I felt Chennai needed a safe, secure and nurturing environment where children can have a balanced and fun learning experience,” she says.
    The centre offers programmes ranging from dance (hip-hop), karate, summer/winter camps to play dates. For the first time, The Little Gym has introduced a new concept called three dimensional learning, which  includes Get Moving (focuses on physical prowess like flexibility and overall balance), Brain Boost (thinking abilities including listening skills) and Citizen Kid (for leadership qualities and moral values). Here gymnastics is used as a confidence building tool.
    Currently, the centre has seven instructors. “We select them based on several criteria. They have to be good with children and have experience in teaching them. They must be able to entertain kids as well as be firm enough to hold their attention. Once an instructor is selected he/she will also undergo training in The Little Gym way of teaching,” explains the 30 something, who adds that ballet is on the cards next.
    The centre also conducts parent and child classes, where the former are trained in baby sign language to help make communication easier, besides other activities. Offering classes for different age groups, Gopinath says, “Every child is different and will not develop the same way. Our instructors take note of all this and help each child reach his or her potential by giving them positive feedback and encouraging them to keep trying.”
    From four months to 12 years. Rs 19,630  plus tax (for a 40 week
    programme). At TTK Road.
    Details: 42326111

    —Saloni Sinha

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