Q. When did you first think about starting your career as a fitness instructor and how did it finally happen?
A. I have always been active. I danced, played squash, football and equestrian sports. When I was 15 I had a bad fall. I injured my knee and had to undergo an immediate surgery. Post the surgery, I was told I may never be able to play squash again, or do some of the other activities that were literally a part of me. Around the same time my father Samir Purohit was hosting a Pilates course in Mumbai and I asked if I could be a part of it. Few days into the training my knee pain was completely gone. It was like magic, I had done physiotherapy and strength training and I did get better, but after doing just a few sessions of Pilates I had no pain. I even got back on the squash court and my coach thought I was more stable now than even before my injury. This is when I thought of spreading the magic of Pilates.
Q. You started out quite early, in fact as a teenager. So what has kept you going?
A. The change I see in people’s body and life is what keeps me going. It feels fantastic to be a part of someone’s fitness journey and to know that in some way you have influenced the way they perceive themselves and fitness. I also feel great when someone with an injury comes back to me and says, “I have no pain.” It is really my clients that keep me motivated and keep me going.
Q. You train celebs from many fields: actors, sportspersons, businessmen and businesswomen. Is it challenging to design a fitness regime for any particular category?
A. Every single person has a different body type, different goal, different lifestyle, and in order to design a regime one must look into all these aspects. I wouldn’t exactly say it is challenging, I would say it’s different and the fact that everyone is different is what makes what I do interesting and keeps me on my toes.
Q. You have a fitness expert in your family itself: your father. How did he inspire and shape your interest in this profession in your early days?
A. My father Samir Purohit has been in the industry for an extremely long time. When I was in school he encouraged me to play every sport and would take me for my squash training regularly at 5 a.m. and would always ensure that I maintain good gait and posture. Dad, too, played a lot of sports. He would play squash with me, he would play cricket regularly and would also go to the gym. His passion for fitness and just staying fit definitely rubbed off on me. He is my biggest inspiration, his knowledge about fitness is immense and just talking to him teaches me a lot. His encouragement and support while I was starting my career in the fitness field has been crucial to shaping my path.
Q. Celebs are often body-shamed. What are your thoughts on it? And how do you perceive the growing obsession with body size these days?
A. I think it is extremely sad. What we all must understand is that celebs too are human. They too could go on a holiday, like any of us do, and end up binging and putting on a few kilos. They, too, could have health issues, hormonal imbalances, or simply a set of lazy days that could hamper their weight loss or maintenance journey. Yes, they are constantly at the forefront and we do look upto them for motivation and encouragement. So yes, they do work hard to stay fit but everybody falls off the bandwagon sometimes and we need to understand that it could happen to them, too. Unfortunately, a lot of people perceive being fit just as looking thin. Being fit definitely does not mean being thin. Fitness is about being strong, flexible, having balance, stability, endurance, coordination, stamina and more such aspects. So although we all want to look good and be in shape, we must understand our body type and work towards our best in the right way rather than being skinny.
Q. Kareena Kapoor Khan’s postdelivery weight loss has become the talk of the town. Since you are her trainer, I would like to know from you what is the secret behind that, and how is she to work with?
A. Kareena is a proud Pilates girl. She is extremely regular with her Pilates workouts and manages to come for training at least 3-4 times a week. On the other 2-3 days Kareena does cardiovascular exercises. Pilates has really helped shape Kareena’s body. She is amazing to work with, she’s fun, extremely punctual, regular, ready to push herself, keen to learn more about fitness and ready to try different and challenging exercises.
Q. One advice you would like to give to people struggling to lose weight?
A. A lot of times people are doing too much. Find a balance between the amount you work out and the food you eat. Eating well is as important as working out regularly. Also find a workout regime you enjoy as this is the only way you will be regular and look forward to your workouts.
Q. How do Pilates add to your overall fitness, in addition to helping control the weight?
A. Pilates is the safest form of exercise that works on building strength, improving flexibility, endurance, lean body mass, stability, balance, mind and body coordination, as well as concentration. It takes care of fitness as a whole and ensures you get the best body in the safest and smartest way possible. There are more than a thousand different exercises one can do, so it never gets boring, you are constantly challenged and always learning something new.
Q. Since you work with a lot of popular faces, any particular client you are fond of and enjoy working with, and why?
A. With the risk of sounding cliched, I think I have been extremely lucky to be training some extremely fun people. I enjoy training and working out with each of my clients, everyone is different, their workouts are different. I regularly work out with each of them.
Q. What is your fitness mantra? Also, what is the importance of healthy eating habits in addition to exercising right?
A. KISSS: Keep it Safe Simple and Smart, is my mantra to keeping fit. Exercising right and eating healthy both go hand in hand. In order to be fit you must ensure you work out regularly and eat enough and nutritious food.