CHENNAI: What is the key to lasting fitness? Physical exercise is the simple two-word answer. But, the bucket list of methods is aplenty. From yoga to gymming and the increasingly popular zumba workout and aerobics or plain old fashioned running, the list is huge. However, fitness should not be the end product, but a byproduct attained by acquiring toughness, according to Yohannan John.
This is the principle behind Oval Crew, a boot camp style fitness training session conducted by John, a Budokai Karate expert, along with his two colleagues, KN Sudhir Rao and Kay Schuemann, who is a German national. The session is conducted in the open, near Neelankarai beach at Kapaleeswarar Nagar. Ropes and weights alongside military backpacks stuffed with sandbags are but a few things that will strike you first. Enthusiasm is key, says John, who during his time with the Budokai Karate Martial Arts Association also trained NSG commandoes. “We are not in the business of making you feel comfortable. We want to make you tough. The training will require you to slug it out. The result is that you will be able to build yourself like a tank,” says John, who is a piling contractor by day.
There is no place for those who want to work on six pack abs or add muscles to their physique, say the trainers. That is also a reason why people who once frequented gyms have instead approached the trainers.
“The training you receive here, you can go on and extrapolate into activities such as marathon and long distance cycling and other endurance sports. But, each session is also tailored weighing into account the person’s capability of doing the drills,” says Sudhir Rao. He underwent a non invasive procedure to restore some movement post an accident and later a routine cricket session busted open his quad muscle. But, for a 47-year-old with a history of medical complications to go with the serious injuries, he stretches and climbs the rope with the same ease as a 20-year-old recruit in the Indian Army. Schuemann, who is employed in Siemens and works on the Chennai Metro Rail Project, devises the daily training regime. The key is that no regime is repeated the next session.
“This way, the body doesn’t know what to expect. But, it builds up your endurance,” says Schuemann, who is also a certified CrossFit trainer, an American fitness programme, and a one-time professional American Football player in the German leagues.
(For more details on how to join Oval Crew, contact Yohannan John at 9840120111)