New fitness fads Fast & Funtastic

From Animal Flow to Primal Pattern Novements and boot camps, sweating it out is no longer confined to gyms. The `1 lakh crore Indian fitness industry is waking up to new forms of exercise regimens.

Published: 08th July 2017 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th July 2017 06:01 PM   |  A+A-

Shivani Banerjee, a 37-year-old banker and mother of a seven-year-old, clocks over 12 hours a day in office. Once she’s back home, most of her time is spent half snoozing and tending to her child. The daily grind is showing its signs—Shivani is gaining weight and has severe joint aches. Despite knowing the importance of regular workouts to ward off lifestyle diseases, she hates hitting the gym as she finds exercise boring and monotonous. “But recently I came to know of some interesting workouts like Animal Flow and Piloxing, from my colleagues, which tickled my interest,” she says. Since then, she has been an avid fan of Animal Flow Movements and has lost more than six kilos in two months.

In these stressing times—lesser time for oneself with tight work schedule—people are beginning to realise that health is real wealth. They are turning towards fitness for a healthy body and sound mind. The fitness industry in India, including products and services, is worth `1 lakh crore, according to a latest study, and is growing at an annual rate of 16-18 per cent. According to a UN report, India has 365 million people in the age group of 10-24. This is a big positive for the fitness industry as youths form the primary target group.

A wave of new fitness regimens and workout programmes has hooked many people, who—like Shivani—used to loathe the treadmill, cycling and cross-trainer workouts in gyms. Workout plans such as Katami, Bootcamps, Kettlebell training, Animal Flow, Bioprint, Trampoline, Primal Pattern Movements and others have made indoor exercise more fun, interesting and motivating, and have drawn hordes of people who were ill-disposed towards working out in fitness centres.

A survey conducted by Reebok has revealed that 60 per cent of India spends more than four hours a week on fitness, with people from Pune spending the maximum time on exercising. While Chandigarh has ranked second, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad have scored the lowest. Nine of 10 respondents felt that fitness is extremely important, and over 80 per cent were motivated to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Working out with machines is passé now, with fitness enthusiasts trying new forms of exercise under the watchful eyes of certified trainers.

“We have no cardio machine in our gym. People used to ask, ‘Where are all the machines?’, but now they are liking it,” says fitness specialist Ronodeep Moitra who runs Endorphins, which has a 15-20 metre running track inside the gym along with monkey bars and climbing walls in Kolkata.
Vipin Chandran, founder of Human In Motion in Delhi, says, “Boot Camps are now in great demand among the upwardly mobile.” He believes that functional training improves coordination, balance, force, power and endurance, and helps enhance one’s ability to perform normal daily activities. 
Trainers believe the body shouldn’t get used to one pattern of exercise, so most advise mixing yoga with training.

“The Bioprint programme, which includes skin fold measurements (body-fat testing) and a detailed nutrition plan, is a hit among women,” says Kolkata-based celebrity fitness coach Anwar Wahab.
But doctors are sceptical. “I’ve had several young patients, especially women, who have ended up with brittle bones and severe joint pains after joining such intensive cardio fitness programmes. Without proper diet rich in calcium and B12, you end up doing more harm than good to your body by signing up for new trends,” advises Dr Sisir Kumar Mandal, veteran orthopaedic surgeon at Belle Vue Clinic, Kolkata.

Kettlebell Training
The Russian training tool was originally used to weigh farm production. It has the shape of a cannon ball with a handle. One can train their whole body with just one portable kettlebell—a one-tool gym. Most exercises involve working more muscle groups with each exercise, thereby getting more work done in less time. An ideal fitness programme for busy professionals, who don’t have much time. In 30-40 minutes, one can get a whole body workout. Also fun in groups and as part of outdoor boot camps.

Benefits: Helps develop a well-rounded physique and fitness level by building and enhancing strength, endurance, mobility and cardiovascular fitness.Cost: Kettlebells range from 8-32 kg. Generally sold in 4 kg increments such as 8 kg, 12 kg, 20 kg and so on. Price can range from `300-400/kg. `500 for an hour-long session with a coach.

Katami is based on the science of one-minute burst intervals. You’ll repeat each move—one high-intensity cardio, one lower body, one upper body, and one core—for one minute, then take 30 seconds of recovery before repeating the round four times. The exercises are basic—push-ups, lunges, and burpees—to ensure optimal effort and results. But it’s not for the faint-hearted. Katami can be done with body weight as well as some light dumbbells and kettlebells.

Benefits: Works the entire body and promotes high-intensity cardio in a compact exercise. Doesn’t require special equipment, and can be done from the comfort of your home.Cost: `500 per one-hour session.

A very popular form of fitness regimen all over Europe and the US. You are made to jump non-stop for about 30 minutes on a trampoline. It’s a high-intensity workout, where the heart rate shoots up. Not meant for the weak-hearted or those suffering from hypertension.

Benefits: Results in heavy calorie-burning, leading to speedy weight loss.
Cost: `500 per hour.


Boot Camp: In this calisthenics training, body weight is used as a tool. A warm-up session is followed by main workouts, comprising five primary human movement patterns—push, pull, bend and lift, and single-legged and rotational movements. There’s a team game, including tunnel crawling, hurdle jumps, buddy workouts (carrying your partner and running), and making a human chain and not allowing your partner to come inside it.

A cool-down session consists of static stretching to improve flexibility components of fitness. You can join according to your level of fitness and medical backgrounds.Benefits: These programmes burn at least 600-700 calories in less than 45 minutes. Very effective for busy professionals with minimal time for workouts. Thrice a week is enough along with a healthy diet.Cost: `500-1,500 per person for an hour-long session. All you need is workout clothes, water, mat and sports shoes.

Animal Flow
The unique body weight training system mimics the physical behavioural patterns of animals. It was developed by the US’s Mike Fitch, who also came up with a unique mix of b-boying, martial arts, gymnastics and other bodyweight-based training movements. It can serve as a complimentary exercise to your main routine, whether it’s weight training or kickboxing or even track and field sports. It can also be your standalone fitness programme.

Benefits: Increased mobility and flexibility. Higher levels of endurance and work capacity. Enhanced neuromuscular coordination. Greater stability. Better balance.
Cost: An hour’s session can cost `300-500.

An advanced fat-testing method aimed at changing one’s body composition through identifying why someone is holding onto fat in specific areas of their body. It was developed by strength and conditioning coach Charles Poliquin, who uses the technique for his NFL, NHL, MLB and Olympic athletes. Bioprint works by identifying excess fat deposits throughout the body using a 14-site skin fold analysis. Each site represents a potential hormonal imbalance.

For example, fat stored around the stomach will correlate to an excess of the stress hormone cortisol, while excess fat stored on the pecs (chest) of a male indicates a testosterone/estrogen imbalance. Once a hormonal priority is identified, a specific protocol of nutrition, exercise and supplementation is recommended to address the balance. 
Benefits: The cutting-edge assessment is designed to improve body composition rapidly, effectively and safely. Cost: `24,000 for 12-session Bioprint workout.


For those who loathe anything even remotely associated with workouts and find it boring after a while, dancing their way to fitness can be a good option. A lot of new forms are making inroads in this form. Here are some new dance workouts.

Aqua Zumba
It has all the good effects of zumba and doesn’t harm your joints. It’s safe for anyone, especially those suffering from osteoporosis or weak legs or bones. Participants stand in a shallow pool, preferably with water till the chest, and practise dance moves to music.
Benefits: Helps strengthen all muscles. Increases flexibility, builds strength and helps tone the muscles.
Cost: `400-500 per person for an hour-long session.

This new trend has about 50 certified trainers in India. Inspired by yoga, pilates and Tai Chi, it stresses strength building, correct breathing and toning of muscles. It begins and ends with an oxygen check comprising breathing exercises and holding your breath, since most ailments occur due to incorrect breathing. Each position is practised with custom-made theta music waves soothing the mind.

The dance forms begin standing and end lying down, and are performed in a circle to keep the energy flowing within the group. Requires no equipment. Benefits: Great way to detoxify your system and build muscles. For best results, do Nirvana three times a week.
Cost: Around `300-400 per person for an hour-long session.

“Nirvana also increases your focus. To get the best results, supplement this with a few cardio exercises.”
Natalie Pote Shaw Certified Nirvana fitness coach, Kolkata 

Popular in the West, especially the US and Europe, Bokwa comprises making numbers and letters while dancing to fast electronic music. This extremely high-intensity cardio form works out different groups of muscles at the same time.
Benefits: Helps immensely in losing weight; one can shed 700-750 calories on an average.
Cost: `400 per session.

Founded by Swedish fitness trainer Viveca Jensen, the non-stop cardio fusion of standing pilates, boxing and dance has 1.5 million daily participants in 92 countries. It has its own style of music available only with officially licensed instructors. Has a strong flavour of boxing. Don’t do piloxing for over thrice a week—the high-intensity workout wears down the body. 
Balance it with brisk walk or swimming.Benefits: Builds muscles and stamina. Due to a great amount of stretching involved, it develops flexibility and increases mobility. Because of the boxing element, you build a lot of strength and lose a lot of weight at the same time.
Cost: `350 perperson for an hour.

“To get maximum benefits, one must learn the correct postures of squats, lunges, technique of arm for boxing, and technique of hip rotation from a certified trainer.” Ryan Shaw Licensed piloxing instructor, Kolkata

“Most of the new fitness trends like Crossfit are pure gimmick. A year ago, it was a rage. Now, people have discarded it. So, in a way trends come and go like fashion. Traditional fitness methods like cardiovascular conditioning strengthening remain irreplaceable and are the core of any exercise.”
Chinmoy Roy Fitness coach, Board of Control for Cricket in India

Circuit Training
It’s a lower-intensity option when compared to its non-stop work counterpart. Typically, 10 exercises are chosen and completed one after another in a circuit with rest between each exercise. Then, the circuit is repeated. For beginners who want to get in a workout but find high-intensity interval training intimidating, circuit training could be the answer. This form of training can be done on your own or at gyms with more specialised equipment.
Benefits: Cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, strength training, friendly environment (you enjoy this workout with friends as it is a group activity) and body composition. 
Cost: `500 per hour.

“One should follow mobility drills such as spine stabilisation, scapular mobility and hip flexor so that joints and muscles are ready for workout.”Rishabh Telang Crossfit Level 2 trainer, strength & conditioning coach, Bengaluru

Functional Fitness
Primarily for senior citizens, who are weak and can’t carry out day-to-day activities due to illness; and busy corporate executives, who lose the ability to carry on the daily normal functions due to a sedentary lifestyle. The programme mimics human body movements. Free weights and other functional fitness modalities such as Vipr, TRX, Bosu, kettlebells are used, plus mind-body training such as yoga and pilates. Each session lasts 30-60 minutes. After taking initial posture, form and technique training, one can perform these exercises with ease at home.

Benefits: Enables an individual to perform daily activities independently and free of pain. Beneficial for those struggling with balance coordination and cognitive dysfunction. It is often used in clinical programmes to help with rehabilitation.  Cost: `1,000-3,500 per session, according to the trainer’s experience. Prices for equipment that are portable, requiring minimal space: `10,000-15,000.

Mixed Martial Arts
Popularly known as MMA, it is the fastest-growing sports fitness programme in the world. It’s a combination of the most effective elements of combat sports and martial arts. It takes the punches from boxing, kicks from kickboxing, throws from judo and wrestling, and bits of jujitsu and ground fighting. The session begins with a warm-up and supplementary exercises such as cartwheels and burpees, yoga and calisthenics. Then the skills and techniques of MMA are taught followed by cool-down exercises and stretching.

Primal Pattern Movements
Primitive people moved in certain ways to perform their daily tasks and defend themselves against nature and wild animals. The movements helped the joints and bones function at an optimal level, keeping them healthy and strong. Primal pattern movements mimic the seven basic motions of a human being—squatting, lunging, bending, pushing, pulling, twisting and gait. This can be done with your own body weight, or with added weights. These movements have been developed and patented by fitness expert Paul Chek of San Diego, US.

Primal Pattern Movements
Primitive people moved in certain ways to perform their daily tasks and defend themselves against nature and wild animals. The movements helped the joints and bones function at an optimal level, keeping them healthy and strong. Primal pattern movements mimic the seven basic motions of a human being—squatting, lunging, bending, pushing, pulling, twisting and gait. This can be done with your own body weight, or with added weights. These movements have been developed and patented by fitness expert Paul Chek of San Diego, US.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of metabolic conditioning. A high-intensity movement is performed, followed by rest. The heart rate alternates between high and low. This can be achieved by performing many types of exercises—one can do burpees for a minute and then rest for 30 seconds and do it alternatively thrice. HIIT shouldn’t be performed for more than 18-20 minutes.
Benefits: By taking heart rate at higher levels through performing intense cardios, one loses fat and builds lactate level—endurance and stamina. Also, the capacity to hold oxygen increases a lot.
Cost: `300 for an hour-long session.

Mace Training
Exercises with a mace are in vogue now. The unisexual exercise is good for the upper body and for shoulder-strengthening.
Benefits: Reduces tummy fat, improves muscle strength, balance, speed, delays muscle loss, increases testosterone and growth hormones. Prevents osteoporosis. 
Cost: `450 per session.

Flexibility & Mobility Drills with Rollers
Foam rollers that offer more deep-tissue massage action have become popular in the last few years. These tools, which come in smooth or raised-bump cylinders, improve circulation and relieve muscle tension. Self Myofascial Release works well when postures go haywire due to stiff muscles. Hardened muscles lead to aches and pain in the lower back, hips, knees and shoulders, and are often mistaken for osteoporosis. The muscles develop tiny knots, which are the epicentres of the pain. When foam rollers are pressed, these knots are dissipated, thereby alleviating the pain. One doesn’t need any formal training to use roller foams.

Benefits: Due to its high-intensity, one loses great amounts of calories and weight, and tones down the muscles. It pushes one beyond the comfort zone every day and creates a mind-body connect by calming down the mind.Cost: `5,000-6,000 a month. A five-day programme is enough to keep you in shape.

Quite similar to Crossfit training, Grappling is gaining ground as a new form of body weight training. It includes hanging, climbing up ropes and workouts with tyres and sand bags. There is a lot of kickboxing, pull-ups and chin-ups involved. An hour’s session thrice a week is more than enough to get good results.Benefits: Since you are working with your own body weight, you don’t injure yourself. It takes you back to your roots, since the drill includes rudimentary training forms.
Cost: Membership cost at Rush Fitness Centre in Kolkata is `6,000 per month and `36,000 
per annum.

“Mace training is very popular with women in Kerala as  it works the body and reduces tummy fat. HIIT and functional fitness are also in demand.”Sharan Kumar Kettlebell and strength trainer, runs Muscle and Fitness in Thiruvananthapuram

Benefits: Myofascial knots are released enhancing blood flow in muscles, reducing their tightness. It helps in decreasing joint pain tremendously.
Cost: Rollers come in varied sizes, priced between `1,000 and `3,000.

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