BRINGING FUN INTO FITNESS – Exclusive Interview With Zumba Master Trainer Shwetambari Shetty

Meet Shwetambari Shetty. She’s one of the few who was very lucky to be in the first batch of Zumba training that happened in the country back in 2010. She’s one of the 4 master trainers in the country. She is also the co-founder of the Tribe Fitness Club (now Cult Tribe) in Bangalore.

Here is an exclusive interview with her. Read on to know more about Zumba, fitness and her journey.

Tell us a little about yourself

I worked with HSBC for 7 years. It was all banking, finance and operations. I had a great 7 years. It taught me a lot about leadership, about handling people because when I was leaving that firm I was handling a team of 40 people so it gave me a great amount of learning. And from that sort of desk job I went into fitness and Zumba happened; it was an opportunity that came my way and I grabbed it. My first class had 1 student. That became very challenging but you don’t give up. But since I was one of the first few people who got certified, a lot of other studios started reaching out to me. So the next thing you know I had a full class that was going on and I was teaching everywhere.

Shwetambari Shetty

Zumba has become quite a craze over these last couple of years. Tell us more about the format.

Zumba started in Columbia back in 2001 and came to India only in 2010. It has many forms. The most followed one is the regular Zumba class. But apart from that we have Aqua Zumba, which is done in the pool. The participant is in the pool and the instructor is outside the pool because you need to show the movements. It’s an excellent cardio activity and a great toning activity because you don’t realize that you are working against the resistance. And it’s also extremely safe. You will not have to worry about any type of injuries you will see otherwise. Then we have Zumba Sentao which is done using a chair, then you have Zumba kids which is for kids. Then there is a separate program called Zumba gold which is for over 60 years of age, then you also have Zumba step which is done using a stepper. So there are lots of Zumba formats.

The beauty of Zumba is that you don’t get bored. Zumba brings fun into fitness. No matter how many classes you do, you don’t get bored doing it or teaching it. And the music is phenomenal. The format is very easy to follow and it’s giving you exactly the benefit of what a normal exercise routine must give you. Zumba makes exercising a disguise. You feel like you are in a party, dancing your heart out and not exercising. You just enjoy it.

Shwetambari Shetty

How many calories do you burn from a regular Zumba class?

You can burn anything between 500 to 1000 calories. It all depends on your age, your metabolism, height, weight and so many other things. It’s also the amount of work you put in a class.

How does the certification program go, for people who want to be Zumba instructors?

The certification is for two full days. We take them through a lot of theory and basic practical’s of how you teach a class and how you would format a class. We will then give them a manual and a DVD which they need to learn and then teach it in class. Everything is sent to us via the home office which is in Miami, U.S.

Every month they send us material so that there is a proper format. Even in class, the format of the song is high low which means that one song can be high intensity, the next has to be low intensity, then high intensity again. This is so that it’s not too much for the body and you burn the right amount of calories.

Shwetambari Shetty

Tell us about the Tribe Fitness Club

For us the idea was to ensure that the programs we deliver are all interactive with a trainer and not on your own. When you come here you are a trainer’s responsibility. Be it in a group of 5 or 30.

So we design our programs in the kind of way which will be fun, interactive and which will give results. For the results, you have Cardio activity, Strength activity, Weight training and Flexibility. Example for Cardio we have Indoor Cycling, Zumba or Body Combat; for Strength training we have Trx and Kettle bell; for Weight training there’s Body Pump, Cross Fit and for Flexibility there’s core Pilates, Hatha Yoga, Power Yoga and so on.

Currently both my partners are out and the stake is bought over by CureFit. CureFit is Mukesh Bansal’s company and under the banner of cure fit you have cult fitness. So Cult and Tribe are now merged. We wont be called the Tribe anymore we will be called Cult Tribe.

Shwetambari Shetty

When it comes to fitness, what do you think people are doing right or wrong?

Right is choosing the right kind of place for your workouts. Places that are reputed, have good feedback and have qualified and certified trainers. What they are doing wrong is being penny-wise and pound-foolish and choosing something that is cheaper with a trainer who probably is not even certified and that would mean that they are never going to be able to correct your form. And over a period of 6 months to 1 year not correcting your form would mean that you are going to hurt yourself, spend much more on your hospital bills and take a long time to recover. Every member who goes to a gym or a studio or any form of fitness class has the right to question their trainer and ask them if they are certified.

Give us some simple tips to stay in shape

So the only tip to stay fit, healthy and in shape is to get a workout at least 3 times a week. If it is 3 times a week then do at least 1 hour or if you are working out for 5 days a week, then 30 minutes is good enough. Also through the week, be cautious of what you eat. Don’t deprive, but incorporating small changes in your lifestyle will take you a long way.

Also if you have huge time constraints start by doing workouts at home. There are also a zillion apps out there, so look at the reviews and pick what works for you. Taking 10,000 steps a day helps too. There is a famous saying which is a recent development that says “Sitting is the new smoking”. You are either sitting at home in front of the TV, or at work in front of the computer or driving from one place to another. It’s very important for a human being to take at least 10,000 steps a day to be calling themselves healthy. So if you don’t exercise at least take 10k steps a day.

Shwetambari Shetty

Final thoughts

Everybody needs to make fitness a lifestyle. Not with an intention of being size zero but only with the intention of being able to age gracefully. Another important factor is nutrition which I personally thought was not rocket science for a long time, but then I came across Ryan Fernando who changed my perception about nutrition and he made me understand how much science there is behind nutrition and how each of our body is made so differently. I think everybody must go see a nutritionist and see if you have any nutrition deficiency and try to work around to fulfill them.

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