For a very long time, In India, physical fitness has always perceived as something pursued by actors, models or sports persons only. It is only in the last 5-7 years, I have seen a slow but sure change happening in that thought process. Gradually, people are realizing that physical fitness is not just for the Olympic champ but for the everyday Joe as well, to cope with the mounting preassures of personal and professional life.
I have been on the GYM circuit for close to 2 decades now, practicing as well as writing about fitness, and have seen the market for fitness and related products evolve from its very primitive, crude combination of a bunch of dumbbells, free weights and treadmills (quite often with nobody to tell you what to do with them), to the modern day lifestyle fitness centers.
While the concept of such Fitness Clubs is relatively new, but it is surely catching on because of a reason – To the uninitiated, the word “GYM” almost always conveys an image of BodyBuilding and weight lifting and rigorous sports. And it is this very reason that scares away many people from accessing professional help to get fit. But a fitness Club, certainly tones it down a notch and makes the whole experience, more accessible.
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity of visiting one such fitness club, “FitnessFirst“, that has recently opened in Bangalore. They have 2 centers: one in Eva Mall and one at the Oasis Center, Koramangala. Among several good things that I noticed here, the one that stood out is that they do not sell a “one-size-fits-all” approach to physical fitness. They help the new member understand and identify his/her goal for getting fit and what exactly he wants to achieve. Examples: Sports Fitness; Strength Training; General Health; Get back to Shape etc.
I was shown around the Oasis Center, facility by one of the membership counselors, Mr. Devashish Singh, starting with the first step of counseling and getting started. The whole process of interaction, aims at demystifying the fitness enigma.
Some of the features about the Facility are:
1. Both Group as well as personal training facilities.
2. Trained and certified instructors
3. Ample space (this was a striking feature – since more often than not, commercial gyms are stuffy & cramped for space)
4. The gym is segregated into well appointed sections for Cardio; strength training, RPM studio and a very big hall for group aerobic workouts.
5. A very well appointed members lounge area.
6. While the above features are more or less common, one of the sore point in most gyms are the changing rooms/rest rooms. I’d give full 5 stars to Fitness First for taking care of this basic hygiene need. Their locker rooms / shower area and rest rooms are simply world class.
They have a good variety of services catering to people of different fitness levels/goals/interests. Some of their programs are:
BODYPUMP is a revolutionary weight training workout that strengthens, tone and defines every muscle in your body. All the benefits of resistance training in one action packed class. The world’s fastest way to get in shape.
BODYBALANCE is a fantastic mind/body class that integrates Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, Flexibility and Core Training set to uplifting and inspirational music. This class will leave you feeling refreshed and renewed with a sense of well being and calm.
BODYVIVE is a low-impact 55-minute class. Using BODYVIVETM balls and resistance tubes, it integrates aerobic exercise for heart, resistance training for strength and stability, stretching as well as mobility work. This program suits all participants, as such it is a perfect entry level class!
RPM is a fun, athletic, cardiovascular cycling class— the ultimate calorie killer.
BODYCOMBAT raises your fitness levels with a knockout workout incorporating moves and stances from a range of disciplines including Karate, Muay Thai, Tai Chi, Kickboxing and Tae Kwan Do.
Step is a popular fat burning class which uses simple choreographed combinations and routines and also adjustable platforms to increase intensity.
Oh, and how can I forget, TRX, a suspension based body weight training that is inspired from the Navy Seals, with focus on the core.
Overall, I think FitnessFirst, provides a complete package with proper training, counseling and nutrition guidance and at a competitive price. It is certainly a good platform for people willing to change their lifestyles and incorporate physical fitness as part of their everyday routine.