In today’s sedentary lifestyle everyone’s morning routine starts with rushing to office while squeezing in time to have a healthy and fulfilling breakfast. In continuance with having a healthy start of the day, people have crammed gym into their hectic lives. These health-conscious souls include not only professionals but also home-makers, who, after rushing their kids off to school, hit the gym. Thus, gyms have become a part and parcel of our daily routine.

Yet gymming in India largely remains a male-dominated concern. A walk to any nearby gym is all it takes to know the difference between the number of men and women registered at such facilities. Be it a gym with high-quality exercising equipment or a small gym with basic equipment, the gender ratio is always skewed towards men.

“I don’t need a gym. I prefer following exercise lessons on YouTube at home.” This could be any middle-aged woman in India. Or indeed any woman in her 20s or 30s. The main reason most women in urban India are not keen on visiting gyms is that in our cities most gyms are unisex. Even in the national capital, there are few gyms that cater exclusively to women.

One among such facilities isVivafit, which started operations in India in 2010. After opening their centres in several countries, they set up shop in Delhi in a bid to meet the growing demand for an all-female gym here.

On 7 May, Vivafit, a Portugal-based global chain of boutique gyms only for women, announced actress and television presenter Mandira Bedi as their brand ambassador. The event was held at the Embassy of Portugal in New Delhi.

Vivafit India is currently on a rapid expansion mode, starting with a strong focus on north India. They plan to gradually extend their footprint nationally. To better connect with their target audience, they have roped in Bedi as the brand ambassador.

The 46-year-old actor has in the past decade emerged as a health and fitness icon. At the Delhi event, she emphasised the importance of  incoprporating a fitness regimen into one’s life, and said,  “I firmly believe that out of 24 hours, we can easily take out 30 minutes for exercise. Exercise can empower women beyond weight loss and shape.”

“I want to break the misconception among women that strengthening will bulk you up. Under right guidance it  will tone up your body. I wish to inspire women to take up fitness for a healthier and happier life. With Vivafit, women can no longer give excuses for staying at home. The workout programmes by them are only 30-minute  long, which is perfect for a busy woman,” Bedi added.

Pedro Ruiz, founder, Vivafit, said, “Mandira is not just a famous Bollywood celebrity, but when it comes to fitness, she ‘walks the talk’. She is Vivafit in India. We are working closely with our partners in India as we believe India could be the most important market for us in the world, given the market potential here.”

Manisha Ahlawat, CEO, Vivafit India, said, “Mandira is a wife, mother, actor, model, TV presenter and entrepreneur. She has proven that women can stay healthy and fit while taking on multiple responsibilities and roles. She is the perfect fitness icon for women over 40 in India and abroad. We are delighted that she is representing our brand…”

Recently, Bedi posted a picture on Twitter showing off her biceps. However, people on the Internet were divided on her muscular avatar. Her post, which was meant to be an inspiration for fitness enthusiasts, got trolled. While some graced her with comments like “Beauty with muscles” and “You are an inspiration to both men and women. That’s awesome…”, there were also posts like “Bodybuilding participant representing India!!” and “Repulsive”.

In conversation with Guardian 20,  Bedi talked about how she reacts to such negative comments. She said, “There used to be a time when I would get offended with such a response and would hit back. However, now I have started ignoring them as these comments are made by faceless and nameless people.”

Vivafit is the leading brand in the female-only fitness segment in Portugal. It offers complete workout solutions—including 30-minute training circuits with hydraulic machines, and group classes like pilates, yoga, zumba, HIIT and others. It has designed exclusive workouts like “Burn It”, “Sbarre” and “Flex”, keeping in mind female-specific health and fitness goals. Their whole approach is result-oriented and they also offers personalised workout modules for women of all age groups.

There are currently three Vivafit centres in Delhi-NCR and a fourth one is due to open in Gurgaon in June 2019. The brand plans to expand its footprint and aims to have 50 fitness centres across north India by the end of 2020.

Vivafit’s business was given a boost in India with a significant investment by entrepreneur Ajay Jain. He said, “The wellness industry is a multibillion dollar industry in India, with fitness being a major chunk of the business. The fitness industry is poised for massive growth. Vivafit fills the current void of quality fitness services for women in India. By investing in Vivafit I am putting my money on the fitness revolution that will take the market by storm.”

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