Indian fitness industry has grown in recent years. It has changed from traditional front-back,
chest-shoulders to more modern, zumba, calisthenics and bodyweight training. 15 years ago, it
was hard to find a well-equipped gym nearby as compared to these days, where you find at
least one gym at every corner. As gyms are getting more advanced and well equipped and thus
the membership are getting costlier.
I remember when I first joined gym back in 1999, it was merely Rs.75/month :). In 2017, I pay
2500/month for the same. Obviously, those ugly dumbbells are replaced by shiny steel weight
plates and the rocking machines are replaced with more sophisticated ones. But sadly what still
remains unchanged are these fitness trainers. In the past, trainers had limited knowledge and
they coached based on their own experiences However, these days, many of the trainers are
what I call them “You-Tube Trainers”
I have changed 3 gyms in the last 10 months and somehow the trainers were responsible for
the change. It was a big loss in terms of money as I paid for 6 or yearly subscription and stopped
going to the gym.
While Internet is a great tool for acquiring great amount of knowledge, at the same time, it’s
pretty confusing when it comes to filtering and applying the right knowledge practically. In
fitness industry, you cannot simply apply same set of rules to varied individuals. There are
number of factors to consider from age, sex, weight, height, habits and health problems. But,
from what I have observed, these "Yo-Yo" trainers have premeditated same fitness plans for
everybody and they think it will work for everyone.
I will mention two of my recent experiences here.
Back in Feb 2017, I subscribed to one gym and discontinued in the very first week. On the very
third day, the trainer pushed me so hard that I was about to faint. I told him that I have not
lifted weight in years and I am 37. I just want some light exercise to start with because of my
increasing body weight and sedentary life style. He laughed and said, “Kuch nahi hota sir. Abhi
nahi to kabhi nahi!” I was surprised to hear this. As a trainer, you need to understand the
capacity of every individual. You cannot make great bodies in a week. It’s a long gradual
process. It has to be progressive and it needs patience.
I had a similar kind of experience at my new gym. I was approached by a trainer for HIIT (High
Intensity Interval Training) session. I agreed as I was quite interested in this new form of fitness.
The very basic rule of HIIT is to start with 30 sec high intensity activity. Gradually you increase
the time and different forms for max effectiveness. This trainer started with 2 min exercises and
he was kinda bossy on this. After 4th exercise, I wasn’t even able to breath. The basic
fundament of HIIT is to attain highest level of heart rate in a short interval and then maintain it
for a specific period of time. This will tap into your fat storage quickly and increase the HGH
secretion. After fourth form of exercise, I gave up and said I couldn’t do it anymore.
My trainer started yelling at me and was trying to push me hard. I was not in a position and not
even in a mood to follow his instructions. Obviously, it’s not fun to be in a near-to- death
situation. Trainers might feel this funny but it’s absolutely not funny for someone who is
suffering. It’s a common conception that you have to push to ultimate limit to achieve your
goals but at the same time, one needs to understand it’s a progressive step. You cannot just
push to limits without a proper training. I am sure this particular trainer had no idea about
‘Target Zone’, Heart Resting Period and things like that. Its utmost important to consider these
factors for the safety of individual and also the effectiveness of the exercise. Not to mention, it
was more like a punishment than an exercise and I never showed up for his sessions again.
I just hope gyms who are charging so much should employ certified trainers rather than
someone who has big arms and tight bellies. Also I never liked an idea of having a trainer on
your head. It shouldn’t be a compulsion. Even I take help of YouTube and internet for fitness
tips but mine is more researched one keeping an account of my overall health and my own
I love to go slow and steady and body building is never a target. It’s not like everyone stepping
into the gym wants to build big muscles and compete at contests. Most of them are there just
for the sake of fitness which needs a different plan altogether. Indian fitness industry still lacks
the needed knowledge and we tend to follow westerners blindly without keeping account of
diet and genetics. Hope this will change soon in near future and gyms won’t be a full of such Yo-