CHENNAI: While fitness centres are upping the standards of equipment to make weight-loss process easier for clients, Jyotsna John, founder of The Unit, vouches for the traditional way to stay fit. “Human body was meant to carry heavy stuff, walk large distances, hunt, run and sprint, and not just sit on pretty chairs and move legs up and down,” she says. “In a gym, the equipment is designed to make your exercises easy. If you are doing squat, they will provide you with a machine that stabilises both ends of the bar so that the squat becomes easier. So in a gym, you wouldn’t do as much work as you would just picking up a weight from the floor all by yourself,” she says.
An ex-IT employee, Jyotsna started The Unit almost two years ago, after quitting her job. While sports has been her passion since she was a child, Jyotsna took up fitness seriously after moving to the UK for work. “I enrolled for many fitness certifications, but it was only after I took up the certification for functional fitness that I realised that it was what I wanted to do,” she says. Functional fitness is the concept of breaking down fitness into movements, something that you would do in real life, she explains. “Sitting on a machine and lifting just the bottom portion of your leg is not functional. There is no way it actually translates in real life,” she says with a laugh.
Instead, Jyotsna and her team of coaches focus on squats, lifting, pushing, pulling, twisting and bending. “These are the basic movements in functional fitness. There are several movements that spring from this. Like a squat can be a split — front or back squat. And, to add more intensity to it, weights are either held in hands, at the back, front or over your head,” she adds.
Jyotsna started with just four people, and now has 110 taking up the training in the Adyar, Alwarpet and the newly-opened OMR centres. Batches of 15 each, with people from age groups as diverse as nine and 60, gather as early as 5 am at an open ground to do the fitness moves. The centre offers both morning and evening classes on all days except Sunday.
Here, the motorised treadmill is replaced by kettlebells, barbells, pull up bars, large thick ropes, boxing gloves and pads, frisbees and skipping ropes, says Jyotsna. “But the hardest are the ones without any props, like jump squats. When you get an equipment, you get some recovery time putting it down and picking up, but you cannot do that if you are just managing your body weight,” she adds. Logon to their website the-unit.in for details.