Sure we’ve all heard our gym trainers say those four magical words “You can do it!” but, all bodies are not equally equipped with muscle strength and stamina. Boot camps and high intensity interval workouts which have been the rage in Chennai for a while now, however, offer their clients just what they need; a little bit of tough love (or maybe a tad more) and personalised training that everyone cannot do.
Trying to motivate yourself to get out of bed each morning is a hard task, let alone trying to find your mojo when it comes to your perfect fitness routine. While gyms are considered the best place to get back in shape, the idea of ‘machine rentals’ can be a major turn off, only providing the illusion of exercise to the uninspired.
This was impetus enough for Jyotsna John, Founder of The Unit. A basketball player and a fitness enthusiast, Jo turned her passion for fitness into a career. “I love what I do, and my goal is to get people to fall in love with their strength,” she says.
The Unit, now 3 years old, holds their outdoor boot camp sessions every day at 5 am, 6 am and 7 am, while their indoor classes are scheduled at 8.30 am, 9.30 am and 10.30 am. For those who cannot make the morning sessions, The Unit has an evening session at 7.30 pm. Training sessions at The Unit will set you back
` 10,000 plus taxes for outdoor sessions, while personal training is a tad more expensive.
Jyotsna says she met her 5 instructors because of her love for Ultimate Frisbee. “All of us have common fitness goals and we share a passion for Ultimate Frisbee. Zahra Kheraluwala, one of our coaches, is on the first ever Indian Women’s team to play at the WUGC 2016,” Jyotsna says with a hint of pride.
Today, The Unit is running at full capacity with 120 people signed up for the Boot camp. Each class is divided into groups of about 15 people, with one coach per 5. “We try and keep things as personal as we can. In the end it is quality that matters and we are here to help get what you need,” the head coach tells us.
With this fast paced life that we all lead as professionals, carving out time for fitness is never thought of as a necessity. “You should fight for your body at all times. It is never too late to get fit” Jo reminds us.
Uday Dhanda, who has been a regular at The Unit for a year and half now says what makes The Unit different is that the workouts are never the same boring routines. “We are put through a different regime each day. Thaqt is not to say that we don’t have a workout plan, but The Unit mixes it up giving you a wholesome workout. Your entire body works as a ‘Unit,’” he expplains, amd we smile at his wordplay.
Everyone at The Unit believes in the ideology that a workout should not be for workout’s sake. “One size does not fit all. But we stick to the base movements which are – push, pull, squat and hinge. However, we don’t push people beyond their capacity,” Jo says. However, we wonder if this “go at your own pace” affects goals, to which Udya answers. “I have seen myself transform. I have achieved in a year at The Unit what would have taken me a couple of years at the gym.”
With fitness trends changing The Unit has about 45% women. “Women think they will turn muscular if they strength train. I personally love power lifting. Lifting weights makes for great cardio, in fact,” she laughs.
Sharing her two cents on crash diets and other diet fads, this head coach is brutally candid, “You cannot go the rest of your life without a cupcake. I suggest you eat the cupcake but continue with your workout regime. Consistency is key.”
Those who gather for the boot camp at The Unit are generally in their 30s we are told. Clients are put through different training regimes depending on their end goal. The Unit provides training plans for general fitness, power lifting, body building, athletics and rehab. While the powerlifting plan includes lower reps of more weights, the general fitness is strength training and conditioning at its best.
With very many options for the outdoor workout like battle ropes, kettle bell swings, boxes and tyre flips, most clients prefer this kind of training. The Unit also receives rave reviews about their rehab therapy, which is indoors.
Lavanya Krishnakumar, who is in rehab with back trouble says, “This fitness regime works for me. It helps me manage my pain. Jyotsna makes your body work its best for you. Here it is not just about the inches.Jo deciphers fitness and makes it work for every individual. We all love her as a trainer,” she gushes. Probably the reason that The Unit has its fair share of celebs likes Trisha, Suchitra Karthik Kumar and Ramya Subramanian, to name a few.
Jo gives us a run-through of the entire team which includes Zhara, Vishnu Das, Karthik Chidambaram and Prassanna – all Ultimate Frisbee enthusiasts.
Motivated by the trainers who also share a laugh with them, clients turn up week after week… and the results are showing. “We have all come a long way,” Jo grins.