Goodbye treadmills and harsh diets. Hello kettle bells and nutrition. A two-coach team shows the fun way to getting fit
These guys are hard-core. Tough, firm and unrelenting. They don't bother with politically-correct speeches or sympathetic hand-holding. So, it's entirely appropriate that they run a boot camp. But, they're hero-worshipped by the very clients they're relentlessly whipping into shape. Stockholm syndrome? It's not that simple.
Raj Ganpath and Arvind Ashok are on a take-no-prisoners mission to redefine fitness in the city. Oh sure, you've heard that before. We all have. Every fortnight someone comes along to ‘redefine' fitness. What's different? Their clients are seriously addicted. Snooping on a 7 a.m. session, I watch girls swinging kettle bells steadily, while Arvind eggs them on. During the 30-second break, they gasp: “These guys are awesome!” Later, a couple of guys, sweaty from push-ups and pull-ups, say the same thing, panting between gulps of water.
The Quad's BootCamp is an outdoor training programme set on the campus of Bamboola Play School in R.A. Puram, between Jungle Jims and swings the colour of candy. You could call this the anti-gym. Instead of cardio, loved by what Raj calls ‘elliptical-loving-fatties', there's resistance training (yes, he said elliptical-loving-fatties!). This is fitness based on what they call ‘real foods' and honing four physical abilities — strength, speed, endurance and mobility. Getting into those skinny jeans is just a by-product.
“I was a sick child,” says Raj, “Overweight, asthmatic, weak.” In his blog he calls himself the “little boy who got diagnosed with acute sinusitis and asthma at 10, the 16 year old who went on a starvation diet of roti and onions to lose weight, the young professional who thought exercise was for weirdos...” Then, as an engineer in California, he found ways to heal himself with nutritious food and intelligently-tailored work-outs.
Arvind's journey was very similar. “I played every sport, but I was still a really weak kid. As a teenager, I went to the gym six times a week, followed every diet rule for 11 months, and I didn't see results… I blamed it on myself. My genes.” Working as an interaction designer in Silicon Valley, he came across new ideas on fitness. He was hooked. “Something that never made sense all these years suddenly made sense.”
The two met at a party. “We said ‘we've made every mistake. We've learnt so much… Let's put together all we know, and figure out a plan that works',” says Arvind. So, they put together all their information and experience. (They're both NCCA-accredited fitness trainers. Each has certifications in various other areas: fitness nutrition, functional movement and kettle bells etc.)
Being the change
Next came the plan to move to India. Specifically, Chennai. “We wanted to make a change in the way people look at fitness. We were doing very well in California,” says Raj. “The fitness industry has so many people who just don't know what they are talking about. Low fat, low carb… We just say eat good food, move smart. We want to help people who are into fitness, but don't get results. All we tell our clients is: ‘Get ready to work hard. Show up and we will take care of everything else'.”
Says Arvind: “We know our clients personally. And, we work towards their end goals. You don't want to be an athlete. You don't want to be a model… We work towards getting you fit, agile and injury-free.”
The Quad's most seductive promise is the fact that they ask for just three hours a week. “You have a life. You have a job. So, you want to put in the least amount of effort and time for maximum results,” says Raj. “Also, we don't do diets. We teach people about nutrition instead.”
Each boot camp lasts three months, during which time every client works on improving his / her physical abilities. “If you're not progressing, you're just wasting time.” The work-out involves free weights such as kettle bells, besides unconventional training tools such as sandbags. “We're reinventing the boot camp,” says Raj. “We come with a transformable gym every day. So, people never know what to expect… They tell us this is the best part of their day.”
For details, visit thequad.in or call 96000-96575 / 98840-11213.