We got a chance to speak with Pooja of Shape up with Pooja, Bangalore’s Aqua Aerobic and fitness coach. She talks about getting fit and the benefits of Aqua aerobics.
She’s an inspiration for all of us , as she shares her journey from being and obese and getting her weight on track.She shares her experience of doing all the wrong things to loose weight and then figuring out the right way and winning over her body.
You are Bangalore’s finest Aqua Aerobic expert and fitness coach; can you tell us about your journey?
My personal journey was always a fight to get fitter mainly because I was an obese child. When I hit puberty i was obese. I loved to dance at that point and I fell during a dance concert and I fractured my leg because of my weight. Post that it’s all been about doing things that I really love. It could be any kind of activity like dance, Run or Jump and whenever I would do that with that kind of weight, I would get injured.
Post having my child, one such injury happened and after my daughter I had gained a lot of weight. Till that time, I had never really thought about getting fitter the right way.
I was doing all the things that people do, crash diet, cutting out micronutrients or going on a crazy diet and I could never stick to them.
And after had a child I had a serious injury and meniscus tear and that had to be removed. And that’s when the doctor said if I would continue with this weight I would get Arthritis soon and I need to lose weight and strengthen my muscles. And that was like a wake up call because my child was around 3 and I was bedridden for quite awhile. That’s when I took it very seriously and I started to take care of my food first and understand the right way. I did not want to be ill or unwell and I was done with cutting out the macros in Starving because it was not working.
Food came first and when I recovered Exercise came in place. I did a lot of land workout for a year and got myself fit. I got my body fat percentage to really low, and I could do all things I really love to do and I could Run a bit. But then I started getting knee pain. And because of the knee pain I went to the same doctor and he was very shocked to see me and my transformation. That’s when he said all is good you have lost weight, but because of carrying a lot of weight all these years and losing ligament and lot of workout suddenly, you can’t really work out on land. That’s when I was heartbroken because workout has become my passion. That’s when I started looking out for other options. And I started looking for water base exercises and I found nothing in India. I got into pool myself and tried to do it on my own but it got me to nothing. That’s when I came across this place in Singapore which train trainers for Aqua aerobics. I went there to do it for myself and know how to workout. Then I got interested in training myself as a trainer.
With so many other fitness options available, how does Aqua Aerobics fare against the rest?
I would say it is like asking which language is better. There is no better language. There are just different languages. Your ultimate goal is to get up your muscle mass, better your mobility and increase your cardio, stability and power and get your daily activities of life improved.
For example, in a day you are not able to stand and work for so long or your energy levels were lower so after working out your energy levels should improve. So which exercise you pick you should see how much it is working towards you. What aqua does is, it has its own unique advantage of not adding impact to your joints. When you are buoyant in water, person would think that he is floating and he is not working out but because of the resistance of water and the weight that water pulls it increases the work. So it’s making you buoyant but Is also adding some resistance. So the calorie burn is quite high but its taking the weight of your joints and at the same time increasing the work that you doing. As a result your joints are safe.
Also it is a constant core engagement for an hour. Whenever you are challenging your stability you are always engaging your core. In water you are constantly engaging your core and that is how it is a constant core workout and it has more resistance and it adds to your calorie burn.
How can and more importantly, why should people mix Aqua Aerobics in their existing workout schedule?
A lot of people think aqua aerobics is only for older people or people who are pregnant or overly obese. It is also for people who are running cycling or are going to the gym. It helps to lean your muscle and also remove all the lactic acid buildup. So it’s a very good for Cross training athletes. That is why people should make Aqua aerobics as part of the regular workout.
As a fitness coach what are your 5 tips for anyone who is planning to get into a healthy shape.
Losing weight basically means toning that means regular workout and increasing muscle mass.
- Regular exercise. 1 hour every single day.
- Watch what you eating, reduce fatty food and cut out sweet because sugar messes up your complete balance of Hunger. The moment you would have sugar rush you feel good but you would feel hungry within half an hour and that would be a vicious circle.
- Add fiber in which perform it works for you. Choose food that have lot of fiber like vegetables and fruits. Because in our daily diets calorie intake we don’t really get the amount of fiber we actually need. Adding fiber to Indian diet is very important.
- Mix it up! in the sense do mind and body work. We should do yoga as it has Amazing effects. Pranayama and yoga both help your hormonal system and hormonal system is what Dictates metabolism.
- Sleep and be happy because that definitely helps.
What is your all round fitness mantra, for someone who is looking for weight loss
Weight loss is 20% fitness and and 80% diet. If you are on a weight loss program you think that if you are working out, you can binge on anything. Biggest misconception that people have is that they worked out quite a lot but they eat very less. Whoever comes for consulting to me generally says that I hardly eat. Because he assumes, we are surrounded by food and one is constantly munching.
I would say the best thing to do is micromanage your food. The best thing is to have a log write down everything. Even when we write it down we skip the muffin part. See what calories are needed for you everyday and it should not ever go below 1000.Because it would counter your metabolism. Eat the minimum calories that are required and mix it with workouts.
Create a balance of calories so that you start burning your fat.
For a plus size beginner, what would be your advice to start on a fitness regime?
I am glad that you asked this question because I was plus size and I did it the wrong way. I would love to share what is the right way to do it.
Build your stamina slowly. Do not punish your body by overdoing it. In the sense do not over do it by either crash diets or exercising a lot. Working out an hour a day is sufficient you don’t have to do a lot. So if a person has worked out for one hour and with the balance of cardio and strength training and core strengthening make sure your control calories not eating the wrong kind of food and that should be enough.
Don’t get into doing too much exercise because that is when my knees got infected and I had gone a little overboard. Doing exercise in a balanced way is very important.
And specially for plus size because you are holding that much weight and it would have that much impact.
Also, you would want to change your size but you should also accept yourself at that particular size don’t exercise just to change the way you look. If you start comparing your size with others, you would never be happy.
What is your inspiration for fitness and why?
What inspires me is the feeling that I get after workout and the feeling that I beat my laziness. Or when I lift more weight than yesterday or do more pushups then what I did yesterday. It inspires me to see my body do things that I could not do before.
Which is your favourite fitness wear brand?
Well I am in water all day , so I would say Speedo.
What is your favourite cuisine?
I am not a foodie. But I love a home cooked meal and specially anything cooked by my mother.
Any message for our readers?
Love yourself now, because this moment is not going to come back. I have done this mistake for most part of my life and I don’t understand, why do we beat ourselves up so much in our heads. Don’t let anyone body shame you and do not body shame yourself in front of anyone. You are not expected to laugh at yourself or let anyone to that.
Look around and see how many plus size athletes are there trainers are there. People do wonderful things in whatever size they have.
Love yourself with every size and shape you have.
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