29 October 2010
By Neha Madaan
Dump the workout, join the party
Dance, Music And Defence Techniques From Across The World Combine To Beat Stress, Shed Weight
While the treadmill and the early morning jogs have their own legions, new forms like zumba, krav maga, taebo and capoeira are fitness routines many in the city are taking to. However, traditionalists maintain that there is nothing to beat the benefits of talim–based training.
Promoters of these Indian gyms that have produced wrestlers of repute say that once one trains here, the effects last a lifetime.
A look at what some of the fitness regimes are.
This dance–based fitness is climbing the populate charts, according to Smeeta Shitole, director of a Pune–based fitness institute. " It is a high–energy programme with music and dance moves, drawn from salsa, meringue and other Latin steps and free–form styles," she said.
"It integrates aerobics, resistance and interval training to tone and sculpt the body, burn fat, maximise caloric output and benefit your heart and mind," she added.
Studies say that interval training burns nine times more calories than moderate but steady forms of exercise like walking on a treadmill for 45 minutes, Shitole said. "Zumba is known to burn abdominal fat quite efficiently. Interval training can lead to lean muscles, burn calories, fat and work neglected muscle fibers," she said.
The routine burns approximately 900 calories an hour. "It is a dynamic core workout, which helps you get a defined torso. It burns more calories and gives one a well–sculpted body," said Shitole, Zumba’s licensed trainer in India.
The other forms include Zumba Basic 2, Zumba Aqua, Zumba Gold, Zumba Toning and Zumbatomic and a Zumba Express Diet that can help lose weight faster, she said.
"Celebrity fitness trainer Beto Perez stumbled upon the concept of Latin–inspired dance–fitness in his native Cali, Colombia in the 1990s. One day, he walked into his aerobics class and realised he had forgotten his aerobics music," said Subhash Dhang, creative director of a citybased dance group.
Perez then pulled out whatever tapes he had in his backpack. "They had songs he loved, Latin salsa and meringue music he had listened to all his life. It was a challenge to improvise a whole class on the spot using non–traditional aerobics music. His last–minute improvisation brought a revolutionary new concept in fitness," Dhang said.
Archana Jana, consultant anesthesiologist, lost seven kg in two months through Zumba. "The workout increased my stamina significantly. It constantly gives you a feeling of well–being. Zumba exercises those body parts that are not normally in use while one does other exercises," she said.
Krav maga is a battle–tested and reflex–based system of self–defence and combat tactics, developed to help the Jews defend themselves against the Nazis, said Sensei Sadashiv Mogaveera. He is the chief instructor at International Krav Maga Federation (IKMF), Maharashtra.
"It is the official hand–to–hand combat system of the Israeli defence forces, including the Israeli police and elite counter–terrorism units. It is also taught to intelligence and counter–terrorism units in the US and other developed countries. Since last year, it has been a part of training for IPS probationers in India. Krav maga is 50 per cent fitness and 50 per cent self–defence," he said.
The technique is ideal for weightloss, building cardio–vascular strength and endurance. "Many who suffered from asthama, obesity, bronchitis and blood sugar noticed positive changes after a few weeks of training. Krav maga is a self–defence cum cardio cum weightloss workout. It helps build a fit, strong body," he said.
He said that the technique had gained popularity after the terror strikes on 26/11 in Mumbai. "Krav Maga needs a fit body before one can learn to fight well. Therefore, it is an excellent workout routine which helps students gain cardio–vascular power, endurance, and functional strength," he said.
Why Krav Maga
Mogaveera said that it gave one the toughness to face a difficult situation. "Conventional martial arts help because they are form–based, and it takes years of training before one can gain the confidence required to apply them correctly. Krav maga is situation–based and is developed around what situation you might face on the street and how you can defend yourself. Very often, students who had originally joined the class to learn fighting realise that their body fat has reduced while stamina has improved dramatically," he said.
People of all ages from 18 to 50 can be found standing in two or three files as the class begins. The first half of the class is all about fitness. Self–defence techniques without fitness are futile. After running and warming up thoroughly, the students pair up against each other and do the ‘360 defence’.
This is typical in Krav maga and not found in any other self–defence or exercise routine. Students build their reflexes, endurance and conditioning. In addition, there are some basic kicks, punches and body defences, followed by other techniques, he said.
In The City
Nivedita Dhage, a 20–yearold student, loves her Krav Maga sessions. "It is the right blend of fun and exercise. It is self–defence coupled with beneficial cardio–vascular workouts, which help tone one’s body. The threehour programme is energetic," she said.
Capoeira is Brazil’s national sport, a martial art that combines fight moves, dance, acrobatics, music and Afro–Brazilian culture, said Mumbai–based Capoeira trainer, Reza Massah.
"It was developed by slaves who were brought to Brazil. They eventually used it to rise against their masters and run to freedom. Capoeira is the fastest growing martial art in the world today," he said.
According to Massah, the Capoeira world has something to offer everyone.
"One might be amazed by the high–flying acrobatics, while another might get enamoured with the flexibility and control gained by the form’s slow and graceful movements. Some could be fascinated by the African instruments and Brazilian music, while others may want to explore the history and culture of Capoeira and Brazil," he said.
Capoeira as a sport, is played in different ways, the two most common being Angola and regional."Both have defence and attack moves that are accompanied and led by the music and songs played and sung by the master and his students," said Massah.
He trained in Israel for six years under the Cordão de Ouro (CDO) group. "The form improves flexibility, coordination, strength, agility and has been proved to be a great stress buster for many," he added.
Cardio Kickboxing Or Taebo
It is an aerobic exercise routine– a non–combat, martial arts–based fitness programme, said Taebo trainer Tanish Sanvatsarkar. "Each class is choreographed on stirring and energetic music, accompanied with high intensity cardio exercise useful for losing weight. It has been found beneficial in toning key muscles. The technique involves steps effective self–defence techniques," he said.
According to Sanvatsarkar, "It attracts those seeking new forms of exercise. Women seem to like it since my class has 70 per cent of them. It is now gaining momentum among the corporate sector," he added.
Taebo involves punches such as jab, cross, hook and back fist, along with thrust, roundhouse, side and hook kicks. "Moreover, it has high, middle and cross–knee strikes, apart from horizontal, upward, downward and smash–up elbow strikes," he said.
It was developed by taekwondo practitioner Billy Blanks in 1976 by combining dance with elements from his martial arts and boxing training to form a workout regime. "It was one of the first cardio–boxing programmes to enjoy commercial success. The workout makes one burn 700 to 800 calories and lose 400 to 500 g fat per hour," added Sanvatsarkar.
Techie Mansi Deo began Taebo last February. "It gave me flexibility. It is a good change from the regular exercises and a powerful self–defence tool ," said the 30–year–old.
Then, of course, there is little to beat kushti and mud wrestling. Those into it say its benefits are long–lasting.
Kaka Pawar, founder of Antarashtriya Kushti Kendra in Ambegaon, has been a ‘pehelwan’ and wrestled for over 12 years.. "Kushti and the exercises one does lead to all–round development of an individual, while exercises in modern gyms concentrate merely on toning one’s body. This sport cannot be taken up by those who would break down in the face of rigorous practise sessions. We have 150 children in our talim and they undergo at least eight hours of exercise and practice a day," said Pawar.
The benefits, he feels, are ever–lasting. "One lapses into the original body structure soon after he stops exercising in the ‘new–age’ way. Practice in talims remains till the end. We have 80–year–old wrestlers here who would give youngsters a run for their money," he added.
Modern–day weight maintenance regimes are for the affluent, said Hindkesari Yogesh Dodke from the Hindkesari Yogesh Dodke Kushti Sankool in Chandni Chowk.
"The food that wrestlers eat and the practices such as zor, baithaks and mud wrestling do wonders. It is a combination of the exercises we teach and the diet these men follow–from desi ghee to butter to several litres of milk to almonds, mutton and chicken. The wrestlers have no compunctions about the food they eat. They eat everything and stay fit. Modern day exercises lose their sheen once you quit going to the gym. Kushti is for life," he said.