AS FAR as New Year’s resolutions go, you’d be hard pressed to find a list that doesn’t have earnest allusions to hitting the gym, with weight loss or muscle gain goals that are about as grounded in reality as the Interstellar script. Like actress Nia Vardalos, of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame, once joked, her to-do list always begins with “the desire to lose between 10 and 3,000 pounds” in the new year.
Which is why it’s pretty encouraging when I spot an outlier fitness startup that doesn’t hand out silver bullets for six-pack abs, but takes the more balanced view on physical exercise, like FIT I AM. For founder Dinesh Kumar, fitness isn’t about doing a ridiculous number of crunches or bench pressing the weight equivalent of a Tata Nano. Instead, he’s been steering the conversation towards functional fitness, where getting in shape is really about feeling good about yourself, as opposed to compulsive scale watching, or the self flagellation that follows not being able to drop three trouser sizes in as many days.
There’s no denying just how sedentary city lifestyles have become and FIT I AM’s primary goal is to get people who have no real inclination for sports or exercise off the couch.
Instead of working out isolated muscles, the onus is on developing stamina, pushing back against lifestyle diseases like obesity or sometimes, the sheer enjoyment of a good post-workout endorphin rush. The modus operandi is to take physical exercise out of the gyms and into the great outdoors, whether it’s their obstacle course fun runs through forests in Kanakapura or all-inclusive family sporting events, like mini triathlons.
The trend of fitness groups that are swapping cross-trainers and dumbbells for proper outdoor activity is fast catching on. There’s Namma CrossFit, who have sessions on footpaths, skywalks and parks. Like FIT I AM, they’re encouraging community workouts, where people meet up to get fit in a comfortable social setting, instead of putting on earphones and doing isolated hamster-wheel treadmill routines. Stop by Hyper Monkey Fitness, where you’ll get to try a whole bunch of activities from zumba and yoga to what they call ‘monkey madness’ — workout session where parkour meets gymnastics. Plus, there’s no paucity of startups like Fitness Fight Club that teach mixed martial arts, where self defence skills are the added bonus to your daily fitness regimen. For people like me, who’ve long thought that they were allergic to physical exercise, the rise of the Average-over-G.I Joe gym startups is certainly welcome.
Freelance writer Paul Dharamraj brings you the latest start-up
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