After training the stars, Shivoham's on a mission to get India in shape
Deepesh Bhatt, better known as Shivoham, is one of Bollywood's most sought after fitness gurus. Now, the fitness expert, who has trained stars like Aamir Khan and Kangana Ranaut, is making his methods accessible to the wider public with his new book. Titled The Shivfit Way (Ebury Press), the book was conceptualised by Shivoham and written over the last year in collaboration with veteran journalist Shrenik Avlani. In it, Shivoham chronicles his own fitness journey, while also sharing fitness tips and tricks to get readers in shape.
In this conversation with Catch, Shivoham speaks on his journey into the world of physical fitness, the fitness problems faced by Indians, and shares some advice for people looking to get in shape. These are the edited excerpts:
Jhinuk Sen (JS): What inspired you to move towards fitness full-time? How did it begin and is this what you always wanted?
Shivoham (S): I have always been into some form of fitness and sport since I was a little kid. My parents put me into swimming at the age of five, when I participated in my first competition. From there I eventually went on to represent Maharashtra in swimming at the national level and was the captain of Jaihind College's water polo team.
Academic studies were never my strong suit, and as a kid, growing up in an era where there were no phones and no internet, playing sports was the only thing that we loved to do in our free time.
I moved to Melbourne to study animation, but realised that it wasn't for me. I switched to sales for a fitness brand, and then to personal training. That day I realised this was it, coaching and training people is what i want to do for the rest of my life.
JS: If you weren't a trainer, what would you be doing?
S: I would be living blissfully in the mountains. working out myself.
JS: What do you think is the biggest problem when it comes to fitness in India today?
S: Incorrect education regarding the subject amongst the people. People need to be made aware very early in life that physical fitness and mental well-being are deeply entwined aspects of a healthy lifestyle.
Fitness needs to be understood as a necessity, rather than being just a means to look a certain way or a corrective measure to overcome some physical ailment. Today, people only consider getting into a fitness routine when their health is suffering, or something in their life has gone upside down or they have to get themselves into shape for a wedding. This attitude about fitness being just a means to an end needs to be corrected at a very young age.
JS: For anyone who is just starting to work out, how does one make sure that they don't lose interest and momentum?
S: At some point of time or the other, most of us have joined the gym and then have given up after a point. Help!
We start by saying fitness is not an option, it is a necessity. When we realise that our physical and mental health determines our success in every aspect of our life, we will understand its true importance. Then you yourself will find ways and means to keep yourself motivated and driven.
JS: When it comes to how people train, what's the best advice you have to offer to make sure they don't mess up?
S: Most importantly, make sure you give as much importance to mental well-being as you give to your physical body. Be very aware and realistic about your goals and be consistent. Don't just blindly follow something which is trending. Do your research on diets and training programs and know that no two people are the same, and what works for your friend won't necessarily work for you.
Listen to your body, it will never misguide you. Don't judge your progress just by the weighing scale. How you feel on the inside is just as important as how you look on the outside.
JS: How hard is it for Indians to train right, especially when all of us do not have access to high-end nutrition & supplements?
S: Good fitness levels can be achieved by eating a healthy, nutritious diet without additional supplements. There are enough low-cost natural foods which can give you the benefits of high-end supplements to some extent.
People were equally fit, if not fitter, when no supplements were around. Yes, supplements do make the process easier, but in case you don't have access to them for some reason you can still achieve your goal with diet modifications after doing proper research on the net.