International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March, and we’re hella excited. There are so many stereotypes that surround women, especially when it comes to fitness, along with being looked upon as weak. But we’ve got news for you, these three women, are taking fitness and wellness to the next level and shutting down all those haters.
Say hello to Vidya Malvade, Karuna Parikh and Sucheta Pal, who help you get a better understanding into how a woman can balance her home, work and gym life. Read excerpts from our interviews with these #Queens.
Vidya Malavade or as we know her for her brilliant portrayal of Vidya Sharma in Chak De! India, is a true believer of wellness. While never missing her morning routine of yoga and soaking in some Vitamin D, she tries to give her body what it needs in terms of her workouts. She explains, “I do either 1 or 2 yoga practices at least 5 days a week, but it all depends on what my body and mind is craving. Sometimes it’s a gentle yin- flow and other times its full on yang- strong and intense practice.” The trained kathak dancer tries to do a variant of workouts like kallari, swimming, ballet and even contemporary dancing.
She defines her fitness ideology as, “Fitness is an integral part of my life and it doesn’t only mean physical. It’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual to combat any untoward situations life throws at you. It’s about being strong, balanced, flexible and rooted in your body mind and spirit. Some form of physical exercise is very important to keep your body supple, agile making it strong and energetic.”
When asked what she thought about women’s mindset on fitness in this day and age, she said, “We want to be on top of our game, we want to be CEOs/run businesses, be mothers, nurturers, we want to hit the gym, we want to meditate, we want to work super hard and party super hard. And we do all that with great aplomb-with or without the help of a man. We want to get back to our pre-pregnancy bodies after we have had a baby; we want to look after ourselves-mind, body and soul. And I think we have started listening to our bodies, there’s a definite shift and it’s incredible.”
Karuna Ezara Parikh has dabbled in writing and editing, and today her film “Kaash” debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, while she travels the world hosting her travel show. This fit and fab model-turned-host spends majority of her time shooting in exotic locales and basking in the sun at the beach, so you know she’s got to keep that bikini bod on point. So in conversation with her, we asked her what an average day in her life looks like, and let us tell you, her answer has given us #goals. She says, “No two days in my life ever look the same. Some days I'm traveling across the world, catching a flight or racing across an airport. Other days I'm home in Calcutta writing.
Sometimes I'm shooting in a magical corner of that city, other times I'm at The Burlap People workshop. Or I'm in Delhi, with my parents. Honestly I have no set schedule. The one thing I try and keep consistent in my days is an early start.”
She defines fit as “Strong. Able. Comfortable in my body.” And she loves practicing yoga, because it fits into her hectic life. She could be in the South of France or in Faridabad, she takes yoga with her everywhere she goes. She believes it’s the little things that matter, like taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
Karuna too has seen the shift in the sentiment of women towards training and fitness as well. She says, “I see more women making fitness a regular part of their lives. I see more options for women's fitness. It isn't just Bollywood dancing, light yoga or a gym as options. You have Zumba, you have Krav Maga, you have ashtanga, aerial and yin yoga. You have hula hooping. It's wonderful to see. Because no two women are the same.”
Her battle against depression and discovering happiness through Zumba is an inspiring journey. Meet Sucheta PalZumba Education Specialist, is someone who we can all learn about how unhappy we can be without even realizing it and how to find happiness within ourselves is more important than looking for it outside. It goes without saying that her fitness levels are off the charts, so we had a tête-à-tête with here and picked her brain on what she thinks of fitness. This is what she had to say, “Good health means I can one day see my grandchildren dressing up to go to a nightclub, but to be "Fit" in my dictionary would mean that I’m bringing the house down with my grandchildren at that very same nightclub.” She cracks us up!
Her fitness and diet ideologies really had has giving her a . She says, “Fitness levels can only be enhanced never maintained. One has to grow stronger each day and there is a shortcut to it, which is called hard work. One has to simply show up day after day and the results soon will make it a happy habit. So I show up everyday at my gym and not a single meeting or event takes away from my number one priority "My workout ".” She doesn’t believe in maintaining fitness levels; she’s always looking for ways to elevate them. But she’s not one to shy away from a cheat day once in a while. "My soul needs two bites of carbs day" she calls them!
All these women have different fitness ideologies, but they’ve all spent a considerable amount of time working on their bodies. And they all hear the same stereotypes about women and fitness. It’s that “women shouldn’t lift weights”. The words “bulky” and “manly” also came up. And this is a stereotype we must break in 2017. Better metabolism, body image and self esteem are by products of lifting weights, and women of today need this kind of positivity in their lives.
Strength training has been studied, and the results are nothing short of stellar. The studies prove that burning belly fat, getting stronger mentally and flexibility are all the end product of lifting weights. Bone strengthening, easing joint pains, fortifying your heart are all the benefits of lifting. So don’t let anyone tell you you can’t.
For every woman out there who has felt the eyes of people looking at her or heard that she’s being called manly because she’s into strength training, haters gonna hate. You do your thing girl!