Conventional workout regimes like weight training and cardio are passe. Fitness gurus are doling out offbeat fitness programmes to help enthusiasts tone up, lose weight and meet new people
AALOK BHARADWAJ doesn’t call himself a fitness instructor. He’s a ‘slacklining evangelist’, who has been promoting the lesser-known sporting activity in Bangalore for close to two years now. “I have been trying to build a community of people who love slacklining and we are actively involved in its promotion. So, there are no students or classes here,” says the 33-year-old adrenaline junkie, who helps enthusiasts of slacklining try their hands (in this case, legs) at the city’s landmark Cubbon Park every Sunday morning. Slacklining is a balance sport that involves walking on a one-inch- or two-inch-wide tightrope-like nylon webbing tied between two anchors.
Bharadwaj is one of several fitness gurus in the country who are trying to offer offbeat and fun activities to help enthusiasts tone up, lose weight and meet new people in the process. His adventure store, Feet Off Ground in Bangalore’s Church Street, comes alive everyday with fitness enthusiasts who get on to the slacklining set-ups in a bid to ‘know their body better’. “As a group, we meet at Cubbon Park once a week where we have multiple slacklines tied between trees—short ones, long ones and high ones,” says Bharadwaj, an engineer with a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Australia. While the sessions at his store come for a price (R1,000 for 10 sessions valid over two months), “anybody can join us at Cubbon Park free of cost,” he adds.
It’s a coincidence that another engineer (electronics and electrical) by education, Sucheta Pal, decided to pursue her true calling after having worked in the IT industry for close to five years. This took her to the US, where she was exposed to the ‘zumba’ phenomenon for the first time in 2009. “I was hooked on to it from day one and soon decided to take up training for a licensed instructor. I taught in the US for two years before the company, Zumba Fitness, decided to make me a zumba education specialist or master trainer. My obvious next step was to bring it back to my own country,” says Pal, 32, who operates out of Mumbai and Chennai, but holds classes across various cities, including Hyderabad, Bangalore and Pune.
Zumba, explains Pal, is a fun workout inspired by international dance