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Fitness trainers who keep Indian billionaires in shape

Last updated on: March 12, 2014 16:05 IST

Fitness trainers who keep Indian billionaires in shape

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Ranjita Ganesan and Aabhas Sharma Mumbai and New Delhi

Billionaires pay trainers up to Rs 5,000 per hour to keep them in top physical shape.

The authors list some of the most sought after fitness experts.

Rujuta Diwekar

Celebrity fitness trainer

Rujuta Diwekar, celebrity fitness trainer, has worked with Anil Ambani "on and off" for the last eight years calls him one of the most disciplined man she has met.

He is always committed and doesn't matter if he has had late night flights or meetings, he is up and about early and ready for his workout.

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Image: Anil Ambani
Photographs: Reuters

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Ambani, a marathoner, is known to run about 100 km a week. Either he is running on his treadmill or running out on the streets of whichever city he might be in.

Diwekar has written two books on fitness and says that keeping fit is the mantra for most industrialists these days.

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Image: Kareena Kapoor and Rujuta Diwekar.
Photographs: Courtesy, Rujuta Diwekar
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Fitness trainers who keep Indian billionaires in shape

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Her regimen for every client differs and is customised to what they need. "Training with such people also keeps you motivated as you might feel that they won't be too disciplined but it surprises you how enthusiastic and disciplined they are," she says.

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Image: Rujuta Diwekar.
Photographs: Courtesy, Rujuta Diwekar
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Mustafa Ahmed

Celebrity trainer and health consultant

Cannot disclose clients; is said to have trained members of the Piramal family

Mustafa Ahmed left his mortgage banking job to become a trainer at various gymnasium chains before going solo.

Through his network, he learnt of rich businessmen looking for fitness instructors. He currently trains three to four multi-millionaires, whom he cannot name as per provisions of his contract.

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Image: Mustafa Ahmed.
Photographs: Courtesy, Mustafa Ahmed.

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"As industrialists hit the 40s and 50s, they become more concerned about health and agility," he says.

"So they like to get workouts plans even when they are travelling and take chefs along."

Some of his clients even choose to walk to office. Time constraints mean all workouts have to be precisely designed.

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Image: Ajay Piramal.
Photographs: Reuters
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Ahmed trains them in their personal gyms, although occasionally industrialists are willing to step into professional gyms and try out new machines.

He usually makes them do 25 to 30 minutes of functional or lightweight training and 10 to 15 minutes of stretching and cardiovascular exercises.

"The perception usually is that money can make people lazy. But in my experience, I find that many industrialists are active and passionate about staying fit."

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Image: Mustafa Ahmed.
Photographs: Courtesy, Mustafa Ahmed
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Huzefa Lokhandwala

Fitness expert and managing director of Muscle N Mind

Has trained billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla and other industrialists, including Yash Birla and Shaw Wallace's Niranjan Thakur in the past

Huzefa Lokhandwala, who has been a trainer for 15 years, says the need for fitness among corporate leaders has been growing.

Many are careful about how they appear in conferences or newspaper photographs.

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Image: Huzefa Lokhandwala
Photographs: Courtesy, Huzefa Lokhandwala

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"Top bosses are always meeting delegates and partners and fitness is important for a good first impression. If they are not fit, people will wonder if they can run a company successfully."

For some industrialists, fitness is also an outlet for stress. Lokhandwala makes them focus on a different kind of routine each day - conventional training, cardiovascular and functional workouts, stretching and flexibility exercises.

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Image: Kumar Mangalam Birla
Photographs: Reuters

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He recommends that they maintain a diet of five meals a day which include clean carbs and protein. One cheat meal a week is allowed. While Yash Birla preferred to train like an athlete, Lokhandwala says Kumar Mangalam Birla had a more flexible approach, training for an hour either in the morning or in the evenings. The private gyms of billionaires are spacious, uncluttered and include the best equipment, he adds. They usually have a spa or massage parlour as an extension.

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Image: Yash Birla and Avanti Birla.
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

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Mickey Mehta

Wellness expert and founder of Mickey Mehta Health Beyond Fitness

Cannot disclose clients but is known to have trained Anil and Nita Ambani, the Ruias and the Birlas

Veteran wellness trainer Mickey Mehta despises terms such 'fitness.' "Going to the gym and worrying about upper body and lower body weight is superficial and mechanical." His approach is holistic, says Mehta.

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Image: Mickey Mehta.
Photographs: Courtesy, Mickey Mehta

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It focuses on "evolution and freeing the spirit of fears and phobias." Rather than conventional training spaces, he prefers to work anywhere and everywhere.

His methods include yoga, meditation in water, walking in green gardens, hugging trees and encouraging clients to indulge in music and poetry.

He shares findings from research on topics such as how cycles of the moon and tides influence health. While these techniques are unique, most industrialists are open to it, he says.

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Image: Tina and Anil Ambani.
Photographs: Reuters
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He tells trainees to switch high-octane workouts and fad diets with natural exercises and basic local food like roti, sabzi and dal. However, Mehta recalls one young billionaire who insisted they go to a gym for more energetic exercises.

"Some businessmen are still lost in the whirlwind, struggling with aggression. The wiser ones don't let the pressures of time touch them."

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Image: Mickey Mehta.
Photographs: Courtesy, Mickey Mehta
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Leena Mogre

Personal fitness trainer

Personal fitness training, according to Leena Mogre, has become a specialised and goal-oriented activity.

"There are trainers only for power yoga and the needs vary from individual to individual," says Mogre, who has been a trainer to Anil Ambani. Personal training as a fad caught on in the early 2000s, and Mogre says that they do a fitness assessment of their clients which is an in-depth report and then customise an exercise schedule.

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Image: Leena Mogre.
Photographs: Courtesy, Leena Mogre

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"Some might want power yoga and we focus on what fits the client and accordingly give them a diet as well," she adds.

For instance, Ambani is known to avoid wheat and has bajra or jowar.

Trainers say that it's the discipline which sets the billionaire guys apart from their "lesser" clients.

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Image: Leena Mogre.
Photographs: Courtesy, Leena Mogre
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"Sometimes you might have an actor or actress who will slack off but none of the top industrialists ever does that," says Mogre, who runs a company called Leena Mogre Fitness.

She has been in the business for close to two decades now and says that most top honchos realise that they need to personally remain fit in order to run their multi-billion dollar business. In this case, fitness begins at home, literally.


Image: Priyanka Chopra and Leena Mogre.
Photographs: Courtesy, Leena Mogre
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