Zipping around on his Royal Enfield Café Racer-Continental GT, Prem Mehta shuttles from one address to another. His mission: to bring fitness to the doorstep of every Mumbaikar. THE TEENAGER TODAY caught up with him to get tips on how teens should approach fitness.
TTT: Hi Prem, where are you off to right now?
PM: I’m off to my client’s residence for a training session. She is 83 years old.
TTT: Wow! Can somebody train at that age?
PM: Age is no barrier to begin your fitness regime. My youngest client is 8 years old. All you need is a desire and the perseverance to adopt a fitness routine and stick to it.
TTT: When did your tryst with fitness begin?
PM: My interest in fitness began when I was a teenager, around the age of 15 or 16. A number of my friends suddenly got interested in fitness and joined a local gym. Coming from a vegetarian Gujarati background, I didn’t think I had the genetic make-up or the strength to sustain a fitness regime. But I turned that into a motivating factor. I was the only one who turned up every day and worked extra hard at my routine. Very soon, this hard work started showing results and I began to appreciate my body more. I became more conscious of my lifestyle, eating habits and other aspects and chose to adopt a healthy way of life that respected my body.
TTT: How did you turn your passion into a profession?
PM: I began helping out friends who had joined the gym with me but who were now struggling. I updated myself on the science of fitness training and the current trends through books, magazines and the internet. I completed a training course from K-11 Fitness Academy and was awarded a Personal Training Certification. Seeing that I was now qualified, my friends insisted on paying me for my sessions! Before I knew it, these friends had recommended their family and friends and suddenly I was training around 15 to 16 individuals! I upgraded my training skills through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certification programme. I joined Talwalkar’s Gymnasium, handling sales and setting up a branch for them in Surat, and handled the entire gym in Mumbai.
TTT: Your advice to our readers especially those who have not yet started on a fitness regime.
PM: I would advise a first-timer that whatever form of exercise they opt for, whether swimming, gymming, kickboxing or martial arts, they need to do so under the supervision of a trained instructor. Today, kids have access to all kind of information on the internet and they feel that they can learn the right techniques by reading these articles. This is highly dangerous. Again, youngsters at this age face a lot of peer pressure. Everybody’s body is different, everybody’s diet pattern is different; the time taken by one person to show results will differ from others. Peer pressure often leads youngsters to take undue risks which may result in severe and sometimes permanent damage to the body. A trained instructor understands your body type and only then recommends a fitness regime that suits your body type.