Fitness with a twist

Outdoor workouts are catching on. Photo courtesy: Movement Inc.Fitness Pvt. Ltd.  

They don’t believe in treadmills or ellipticals. Predictable gym routines and Zumba classes are boring. Plain old yoga is just not enough. That’s where the new breed of fitness lovers comes in: kettle-bells and medicine balls are their best friends, movement, strength and agility are what they focus on, and there’s hardly a dull moment during their workouts.

Chennai isn’t new to the concept of boot camps or outdoor exercising (despite the temperamental weather), but several youngsters have ensured that the fitness scene in the city hasn’t remained stagnant. Over the past couple of months, they have been opening up new spaces that aim to make working out an integral part of lifestyles. It’s all about personal training and individual, goal-based workouts while simply having fun when you’re at it.

If you’re tired of your exercise regime or want to start your journey to being fit, check out these five new places with their alternative workouts.

Movement Inc.

Who: Adarsh Gopalakrishnan was always moving as a kid — cricket, tennis or swimming — and now, he advocates fitness as a state of being. After three years as an analyst, he was an Assistant Coach at The Quad, (a popular boot-camp in the city) for a couple of years before he decided to start out on his own. “Physical activity is at an all time low. Getting kids, let alone their parents, to do anything outdoorsy is hard in India. I’m doing my bit to make exercise a sustainable part of one’s life. There’s no lack of information when it comes to fitness or nutrition, but implementation can be hard. I’m here to help bridge that gap,” he says.

What: And so, Movement Inc. came into being on a terrace overlooking the Thiruvanmiyur beach. Ask Adarsh about the core philosophy and he says, “Strength is at the core but the means to it is an anti-philosophy of sorts. There is no one right way of doing things. The idea is to have fun with movement, adhering to the science and structure behind it obviously.”

At first, a new client spends eight to ten hours personal training: their nutrition, how they move, strength and other capabilities are nailed down during these sessions. Each client’s programming is defined through these sessions and they put it to practise in a group setting. “These are compound-joint movements. The focus is on doing every move right to ensure an injury free experience,” he explains.

The number of sessions of further personal training is based on goals and individual capabilities. Only five to six people train together in a group. “Each of them will be doing at least a couple of different things; not everyone should be doing the same routine, there is no one-size-fits-all workout.”

Cost: Rs. 13,700 for three months. “Three months is a minimum fixed commitment we ask as a first step towards cultivating a habit,” says Adarsh.

Where: 3rd Floor, Sri Chakra, No. 2, 1st Seaward Road, Thiruvanmiyur; Contact: , 98404 24684


Strength System

Who: Most people would not travel across 19 cities in the USA over the course of two months just to meet various fitness gurus. But that’s exactly what Prashanti Ganesh and Sandeep Achanta did earlier this year. They quit their jobs as assistant coaches at The Quad and set out to learn from the best in the field. Along the way, they realised that not everyone can or should train the same way, and based on that learning, they started Strength System. They have since been joined by Chezhiyan E., a former techie who shares their passion for training.

What: “All of us have a strength bias, and our workouts are geared towards that,” says Prashanti, who is a State-level gold medallist in power-lifting. Chezhian too is a power-lifter, while Sandeep is partial to parkour and body weight training. With the understanding that strength is subjective, they put together workouts that make sense for our population and are customised to suit an individual’s strength and capabilities.

The purple and white-walled space is well-equipped for power-lifting, kettlebells and resistance bands are aplenty, while a specially-made prowler sits on a turf strip. They also have a covered terrace space. “We take on only eight or nine people for each session, so we can provide individual attention,” says Prashanti. They prefer working out barefoot on the completely rubberised flooring; it apparently helps re-learn how to use your feet effectively.

Batches are fixed as per the convenience of the clients, and they’re open from 6 a.m. to 8.30 pm.

Cost: Starts at Rs. 4,800 per month for a Strength Principles class thrice a week and Rs. 14,800 for quarterly System Class. Open gym charges start at Rs. 2,750 per month. Payment options can be worked out with the team.

Where: Second Floor, No. 5C, Sriman Srinivasan Cross Street, Sriman Srinivasan Salai, Venus Colony, Alwarpet; Contact: 9884753314, 9884675583


Viscosity Dance Academy

Who: With no formal training except practicing what he watched on TV, Jagadish Kumar was considered a naturally talented dancer when he auditioned and got selected by Swingers Dance Studio. He was 15 at the time. After a few years of training, he worked as an instructor for seven years. A chance to study for six months at the Broadway Dance Centre in New York earlier this year meant he could study more styles and perfect them. Back in Chennai, he has launched his own studio, with a dance fitness routine that he has devised himself.

What: With 70 per cent dance moves and 30 per cent cardio, Jagadish’s workout, as he says, is about “fitness, fun and toning the body while losing calories.” He combined body art, pilates and yoga along with high intensity dance moves to make the programme. “Zumba is more of repetitive steps and leans towards Latin forms. I wanted my programme to be about flexibility, strength and focus, and it works for dancers and non-dancers,” he says. Apart from that, just learning contemporary, hip hop and jazz styles can be a workout in themselves. “The house style is the most effective one, with it’s high energy music and movements,” says Jagadish.

Cost: Starts at Rs. 1,300 ; Where: Old No.17, New No.31, MG Road, Second Avenue, Sastri Nagar (Below Mast Kalandar); Contact: 4359 6133


Zorba - A Renaissance Studio

Who: Sarvesh Shashi got into yoga because his dad paid for a class and then didn’t have time to attend. In just a month, he was hooked. Now, it’s a way of life. He started Zorba, which focusses on happy, and not just holistic, living. He has launched the third centre at Anna Nagar recently (two other studios are on Anna Salai and Harrington Road) and with it, aerial yoga.

What: Zorba first introduced hot yoga to the city as part of their Happy Course. “It’s similar to Bikram yoga but it’s not just the 26 poses that go into that. It’s done in a heated room that increases perspiration and aids in faster weight loss,” says a chirpy Sarvesh. With each centre, he wants to introduce something new, and this time, it was aerial yoga.

Introduced as anti-gravity yoga by a gymnast, aerial yoga aims at increasing strength and flexibility. Working out on the hammock is not for the faint-hearted: 10 minutes of that is equivalent to 40 minutes of normal yoga according to Sarvesh. An assessment will be done before a client is signed on for aerial yoga and a basic knowledge and practise of yoga should be there. Gymnasts or dancers can probably adapt more easily.

Cost: Rs. 4,000 per month for two sessions a week for aerial yoga (available only in Anna Nagar); Rs. 5,000 per month for hot yoga (As part of the Happy Yoga course, available in all three centres) Where: Kimberly Towers, Y222, 2nd Avenue, Anna Nagar (Next to Starbucks) Contact: 98406 99223


Revive –Physiotherapy and Wellness Centre

Who: Keshav Tantry always wanted to be a sports physiotherapist. “Probably because my father owned a gym,” he says with a laugh. After getting a master’s degree in the subject, he worked with a doctor for a while before opening a physiotherapy clinic. He noticed that several people would come for therapy and then discontinue the training, causing the pain to return. This inspired him to start a space where the gap between rehab and training was reduced.

What: The idea behind Keshav’s functional fitness training programme is that weight loss, weight gain or muscle strengthening is done based on the client’s goals. After an initial period of cardio, stretching and strength training, they move onto the high intensity interval training. “This includes plyometrics, agility drills, using cones and ladders, balance training and more. There will be no repetition of exercises at least for 10 days, so there’s barely a chance to get bored of repeating the same thing. Besides, the body will get used to repetitive movements and so will work lesser after a few days; here, we eliminate that problem,” he says.

His team of six are all trained sports physiotherapists and will ensure that the workouts are done with proper form to prevent injury. They take on not more than 10 people a slot, and are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost: Inaugural offers are currently on. Annual packages at Rs. 20,000 and monthly packages at Rs. 4,000. Where: New No. 4, Old No. 181, F-Block, 4th Street, Anna Nagar East; Contact: 9962344888

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 7:35:15 AM |

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