They say personal trainers are not born they are made of a lot of snatches squats skull crushers and sweat. It’s a journey with a story here is mine
“Hey, King Kong,” called out my school crush with a boyish grin. Okay, so he had a funny way of giving me attention and conveying to me that his eyes were always on me.
Pulling my leg all day at school or even pulling the chair from under just as I would be about to park my voluptuous butt on it was hardly flattering, but he didn’t get it. This time he had gone too far. What followed was a blow from a slim and sporty girl hitherto addressed so.
Being an army ‘fauji’ kid, it was in my blood to be active and fit from the time I had come to my senses. A state-level junior skating champion and a jack of almost every other game, athletics and sport, I had not realised that adolescence would play havoc with my hormones and turn me into a plump fifteen-year-old teenager. And up to this point, I had not even noticed the podginess piling up. Therefore the instant-walloping. But that actually kicked it off, my journey to fitness which has now turned me into one of the coolest personal trainers on the lifting block.
I took to skipping and cycling in addition to dancing in front of the mirror and pretending to be Madonna. I cut out inspiring fit-as-a-fiddle models from foreign magazines and stuck them to the inside of my cupboard as my everyday inspiration.
In a while, I had changed school under some academic considerations that always come into play in senior school. I hit a thousand skips a day, cycling to school and everywhere else in the army cantonment where our family was posted.Six months of hard work and I transformed into my into my dream body statistics.
Not long after my crush from the previous school came visiting one evening with another former classmate. As I opened the door and sang out a chirpy hello, the guys just stood there, their eyes popping out. Then they simply swallowed, croaked a response, and said, “Boy, you look gorgeous. You have lost so much weight!” Music to the ears and feeling of absolute gratification and a fitness addict was born.
At a time when gyms were unheard of in India, I held on with dogged tenacity to the fitness track. The exception was college, when the new sense of freedom did end in the numerous outings with friends. The ice cream sodas, the endless coffees and shakes did get to my girth one more time.
I soon pulled myself right back on track. Hour-long walks or cycling 20 kilometres in the wee hours of the morning even before the sun rose and moving to Jane Fonda videos and I brought myself back to a state of ultimate fitness. Many a time during this time I felt I was a lone ranger on my fitness routines but I loved it.
Today I hold the records for longest plank hold, maximum push-ups, maximum weighted push-ups, maximum pull-ups amongst women in my city.
I am maniacal in my pursuit of fitness. I went for my early morning walk with a vengeance the very next day to my wedding. Four days after my first caesarean delivery I was walking again and I joined the gym six months after the second. There was no stopping the fitness freak in me.
As working and family got slotted I juggled crazy deadlines at work as a media professional, the meetings and engagements and my little babies at home, but working out had the definite slot. That hour and a half were sacrosanct and non-negotiable.
A knee injury pushed me to get my personal trainer to help me work on my upper body for six months. I took to weight training. For the next 5 years, I trained with a personal trainer pushing up my fitness levels as never before.
Co gymmers would stop and compliment the grilling training routines. The days I worked out without my trainer, co gymmers and friends teamed up to work out with me. Ladies formed small groups behind me on the floor and the gym was my happy world.
I moved out of the recession-hit job sector. Things had not been looking up for a while now, so I turned to freelancing. Meanwhile, I had been nursing a new dream, to become fitness pro and entrepreneur. Friends at the gym were convinced and propelled me towards that dream. I dreamed on and finally took the plunge.
For the next three months, I drove 50 km attending the Reebok fitness certification course that concluded with theory and practical exams. Now a certified Reebok fitness trainer and step instructor, I took on a ready list of clientele.
They were just waiting there to sign up with me as soon as I accomplished my certification. Word spread that Sapna Khanna had become a professional personal trainer and the list of those looking to learn from me swelled soon I became the busiest personal trainer in this part of the world.
I consider myself lucky for having got the opportunity to live both my dreams to the hilt, that of a credible and respected media professional and a much in demand fitness pro. I am 47 years old today but look half my age, so I am told. I feel no older. And owe everything I am today to a lifetime of fitness.
Fitness really is a way of life. Shirking and cringing from it is not going to make it less important for you. You don’t have to go my way at all. All I ask for from those wanting to train under me is that you give a little of your time to it every day.
With a personal trainer And it’s only a matter of time that you will go from feeling ordinary to extraordinary and flabby to fab fit. That, by the way, is my favourite F word and I give you my word on that.
Sapna Khanna is a Reebok certified fitness pro who uses her expertise in Bodyweight training, Pilates, Martial Arts fitness, Weight training, Stability Ball training and Calisthenics as a coach.