Health and fitness Life & Style

Weight loss that matters

Purnima Mandava  

The new Wow (Wellness of Women) Fitness centre at Kondapur is gearing up with multidimensional facilities. As an extension of their indoor facility is an open-to-sky yoga studio and a synthetic workout track on the terrace.

Purnima Mandava, a basketball player and a fitness guide, prefers these open-air facilities to musty air-conditioned spaces. In her studio (now at Madinaguda and Kondapur; there are plans to expand to Himayatnagar and Secunderabad), women train differently each day of the week, encompassing functional fitness, zumba, yoga, a surprise session that ranges from a boot-camp workout to Bharatanatyam. Different regimens are available for sports conditioning, martial arts, cross fit and kick boxing as well. More than the variety offered, the holistic approach towards health and fitness merits attention.

The journey started eight years ago when Purnima wanted to shed 32 kilos she had gained during her first pregnancy. Despite having been an athlete and basketball player for a decade, she couldn’t brisk walk. “I was shattered,” she recalls. Irregular sleep cycles as a new mother, vitamin deficiencies and thyroid issues all contributed to post-partum clinical depression. She pulled herself up and shed the excess weight gradually. But the process got her thinking.

Health and fitness

She realised there were several women like her who needed help. She started Wow Fitness as a small facility in 2010. Working on a one-to-one basis in both Hyderabad and Vijayawada with her team, she has so far trained more than 15,000 women. Corporate and college outreach programmes have helped reach 70,000 women.

Today, anyone enrolling with Wow! Fitness is required to fill in an enquiry form that check for sugar levels, blood pressure, thyroid, PCOD, vitamin deficiencies and others. Reports are checked by doctors and programmes are tailored. Wow works closely with gynaecologists (including Padma Shri awardee Dr Manjula Anagani and team), endocrinologists, dieticians, psychiatrists and physiotherapists.

How it works
  • Don’t count calories.
  • Don’t go by the BMI (Body Mass Index), since it doesn’t account for muscle weight and fat percentage.
  • Address physical, physiological and psychological concerns.
  • Work with medical intervention where necessary.
  • Lifestyle tweaks and functional fitness.

Wow Fitness has created 80 prototypes so far. “A 30-year-old south Indian woman living in Hyderabad and having a night shift job, with PCOD and thyroid issues, will need a different programme from a north Indian living here. The programmes change depending on the nature of job (creative or mundane, hours spent, etc), age, hormonal issues, fertility concerns, pre and post menopause phases and pregnancy,” Purnima explains.

Corrective measures begins with the basics — ergonomics for those clocking in long hours at the desk, posture correction while standing and walking, lifestyle tweaks that include addressing sleeping patterns, meal guidance and then the fitness regimens. “When doctors ask an overweight woman with PCOD to lose weight, they’re referring to the visceral fat around the waist. This is tougher to lose than the subcutaneous fat that accumulates on the limbs. The visceral fat has everything to do with hormonal imbalance,” she points out.

Know the specifics

In 2010, Purnima found that 30 to 40% women who approached her have hormonal and obesity related issues. Today at least 70% of women who come to her have these concerns. “We consider the body type, work patterns, eating habits, how your body reacts to single polished rice or roti, etc. I don’t believe in low carb diets,” she says.

Weight loss that matters

Purnima also highlights the stress levels at home: “Having to fulfil family commitments that include attending late evening and early morning weddings and events can also be stressful.”

Women can join one of their 12-week programmes through which they assist the transformation that can result in reduced dependence on medicines. At the end of the programme, women are trained to be self-sufficient, though the team is willing to be a support system even later.

For those who cannot go to their fitness centres, there’s the Wow Fitness Live app developed by Purnima’s husband Raghavendra. The app, too, follows the protocol of medical evaluation and custom programmes.


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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 1:07:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/for-purnima-mandava-womens-fitness-is-more-than-running-on-treadmill-or-lifting-weights/article24736858.ece

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