Neighbourhood gyms provide first step to health and fitness

July 2nd, 2008 - 12:10 pm ICT by IANS  

By Shilpa Raina
New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) Pounding music, toned bodies straining on steppers or pumping iron, groups of people honing their aerobic skills - all this and more is visible at hundreds of small and big gyms that have mushroomed across the national capital in the past few years. It’s an indication of the increasing attention middle class denizens of this metropolis of 15 million are paying to keeping fit and healthy in an era where rising stress levels are taking an increasing toll.

Not surprisingly, the gyms, which first made their appearance in upscale neighbourhoods, are today to be found even in the congested by-lanes of east and west Delhi. Of course, the facilities these provide are a far cry from their bigger brothers - but at least they are there.

No reliable estimates exist on the number of gyms in the city since there is no umbrella organisation that caters to them, but their numbers are believed to be in a few hundreds.

As for their earnings, here too there are no reliable estimates but with the majority of them charging in the region of Rs.30,000 for an annual membership and staying open for upwards of 12 hours a day, it’s anyone’s guess what their turnover is.

For instance, the Barbarian Power Gym in Sunder Nagar in central Delhi is spread over 13,000 sq metres in a two-storied building. It opens from 6 a.m. in the morning till 11 p.m. in the evening.

While pointing to its latest equipment and facilities, its business development manager Akshay sounded a word of caution: always exercise under the supervision of a trainer or you could injure yourself.

“We have our own certified training programme. All our trainers are put through our main branch located in Mumbai,” he added.

According to Aamit, a trainer at the AZ Body Mantra in suburban Noida, “people have misconceptions about developing their bodies or losing weight by coming to a gym.

“So, it is very important to inform them and guide them properly and only an experienced trainer can do this,” he added.

It’s another trait of gyms that most of their trainers prefer to be referred to by a single name.

Aamit maintained that the size of a gym and its equipment did not really matter.

“A good gym is one that has qualified and experienced trainers,” he contended.

Dedication is another aspect gyms focus on.

“People have motivation but they lack dedication. What we give them is a mix of focus, concentration and dedication to get the best results,” said Aashu, a trainer at FX Zone that is also in Noida.

According to business executive Abhinav Sharma, who dedicates one hour to the gym every day in spite of his hectic working hours, “the gym is like an addiction.

“Initially you will give a thousand excuses for not going there, but once you are addicted to it, you will find a thousand reasons to go daily,” he added.

Diet too plays major role in fitness.

“People tend to overeat after exercising and then complain about gaining weight. So, fitness is a blend of exercise and diet,” said Aamit.

Gyms are good for health, but they are also heavy on the pocket - depending on their location and the equipment they offer.

For instance, Sunder Nagar’s Barbarian charges around Rs.30,000 annually, while Gold Gym in Noida charges around Rs.35,000 annually. The cheapest that one can hope to exercise for is Rs.5,000 in some gyms in east and west Delhi.

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