The online fitness community has significantly grown in the past year or so. Back in 2020 as gyms shut down for months at end, fitness instructors and enthusiasts across the country made a swift shift to virtual fitness. Suddenly everyone had a ‘full-body fitness routine’ that you could follow to lose all the quarantine weight and get the perfect abs. But is that all? Is fitness just about weight loss, a perfect body shape, and size?
“That’s absolute crap,” says Sohrab Khushrushahi of SOHFIT. For him, fitness means having fun which includes how you feel while working out. He is not your average, everyday trainer who’d ask you to give it your all and work out till you just cannot. Nope. According to Sohrab, fitness is a lifestyle that you enjoy and not tolerate, gyming should not feel like a punishment, and the weighing scales do more harm than good. As he says, “It is all about enjoying the process. The results follow.”
Always passionate about fitness, Sohrab left his career as a professional lawyer to start SOHFIT in 2017. The vision was simple--to transform the general attitude about fitness and make it more fun for his clients while keeping it fuss-free. The approach clearly works given that his illustrious clientele includes the likes of Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Mira Kapoor, and Lara Dutta.
In a recent interaction with POPxo, Sohrab talked about how real fitness goes way beyond the number on your weighing scale and dieting culture, the biggest scam of all time. Excerpts below.
In 2017 when Sohrab tried venturing into fitness as a career, he noticed a huge gap. Back then the hustle culture was in its prime, everyone was eyeing the goals, and clearly, no one was enjoying the process.
He adds, “I believe that anyone should be able to do it and they should have fun while doing it. If you have 15 minutes then workout for 15, if you have 20 minutes work out for 20. There is no fixed defined schedule, there is no fixed defined time cap. You just have to have fun. That's how I started.”
At the same time, Sohrab also felt like the sense of community was missing. He wanted to build a community of like-minded people who can push each other to pursue healthier lifestyles. “I wanted to build a community of like-minded people, people who want to work on themselves while working together and having access to each other.”
These were the two things that Sohrab felt were lacking in the Indian fitness culture and he targeted the problem through sustained programmes at SOHfit. They now conduct 21 and 40 day-long workshops where their aim is to target the overall lifestyle of an individual.
The biggest push for Sohrab to make a career in fitness was the growing misconceptions about the workout culture in India. He was worried about how the country was looking at the entire idea of fitness and how it could only lead to a bigger crisis. Here are three of the biggest misconceptions that he has been challenging all this while:
According to Sohrab the need to work yourself towards exhaustion is not always a great idea. “You need to come out of the mindset that you need to work out until you feel like you are going to die. The purpose of the workout is to make you feel better because one thing that everyone needs to understand is that your body is not made in one day or one workout. It is working out over a period of time that will give you the body that you want and you really need to enjoy that for it to become a sustainable practice.”
Excess of cardio leads to muscle loss and compromised strength. However, we often tend to do more cardio so as to speed up weight loss and according to Sohrab, that's exactly where the problem lies. He says, “First of all, stop worrying about the weight. Think about getting better, getting fitter. You can control the effort that you put in, you can't control the result. Work on what you can control, work on the process, work on your strength."
Women tend to think that they shouldn’t lift weight because if they lift heavy they will become bulky. “I have seen this with a lot of women. They don't want to lift weights because they want to be skinny. I think skinny is overrated. It is important that women lift weight because they need to build strength. Women should stop running away from weights. And no they are not going to get bulky” says Sohrab. In fact, it is high time that we realise that women tend to put muscle mass at a way slower speed than men and that's why you aren't going to get bulky with your normal weight training sessions.
When it comes to sustainable fitness habits, Sohrab believes that it is the small things that count. We don't need to overwhelm ourselves in pursuit of our fitness goals. In fact, the journey is the goal and that's why we need to cultivate habits that can be sustained and are enjoyable for us throughout life. According to him, here are five fitness habits that can transform the way you look at your everyday workout sessions:
Stop looking at the weighing scale because no good is coming out of it. Think of it this way: you have worked out for an entire week, you check your weight and realise that you haven't lost anything at all. Now, won't that leave you extremely demotivated? Again, what if you see that you have actually dropped a few hundred grams or even a kg. More often than not, it might make you go lax in your efforts. How much you weigh is not the concern. How fit you are, is the real deal!
From keto to paleo, the most important question that you need to ask yourself is your diet is sustainable enough. The honest answer is "No." The Keto diet for example removes carbs from your diet which happens to be one of the five basic food groups that you need for your body to function properly. How can you spend your life without having carbs? The need is to cultivate cleaner, healthier eating habits and the truth is that you can eat everything as long as it is in moderation.
Don't worry about the end results. Fitness is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy that jogging session while you are at it. Find out what works best for the body. Try new, healthier recipes. Enjoy the process, the results will follow.
The biggest excuse that people give on days they ditch workouts is that they didn't have the time. But wait--who said that you need to pull in an hour-long workout? You don't really need an hour session at the gym, to see results. In fact, even 15-20 minutes is enough as long as you are consistent.
Working out is not all about what you do at the gym. Movement is equally important. Try to squeeze in at least 10,000 steps per day along with your workout. And no, you don't have to do it all at once. You can start your day with 3000-4000, then try covering 1000 steps after every meal and then finish the goal with an evening walk.
Lastly, it is important that you go easy on yourself while you chase a fitter lifestyle. As Sohrab says, "the only goal is to enjoy the process."
Featured Image Courtesy: SOHFIT