Never Back Down: Urmi Kothari
Urmi Kothari, the founder of Kinetic Living has a strong sense for helping others and the required experience for turning negatives into positives. And this goes to the very heart of body transformation. Regardless of how extreme, a body transformation requires professional intervention from the one who has both the experience and the passion to truly help, to make a difference and to facilitate positive change. This is what separates Urmi from the pack and makes her an expert. Edited excerpts.
How did you formulate your passion for fitness into the profession you have today? You also own a gym, Kinetic Living, what made you take the entrepreneurial road?
My journey with sports started during the first eight years of my teenage and young adult. I found that playing a sport engaged my body and mind completely, plus my focus, concentration, and confidence in academics and personal life shot up. It was then that I knew it was for life, whether it will be as a fitness freak till I finished my MBA or as a professional dancer, or as a coach. I was very clear about not wanting to go back to a desk job again. So after my stint as a professional dancer for three years full time, I began Kinetic Living because I wanted to share my knowledge and experience about how people can take charge of their health and well being.
As far as training goes, do you have a specific approach for people who want to gain muscle mass or do you design each schedule based on the individual’s personal requirements?
The central approach of my training is that of functional fitness – building strength, endurance, speed, balance, and control to help with the movements and activities of one’s everyday life. At Kinetic Living, we use bodyweight, kettlebells, barbells, suspension training, mat pilates, animal flow, yoga, and running as part of the mix. The proportion of exercises varies depending on that month’s focus. Even though the mix is very unique, even in our small group sessions, we cater to every individual’s needs by modifying the main workout for beginners - so that they can still challenge themselves equally without getting injured, and for the advanced students - a progression where they feel as challenged.
Confidence in the gym is something that can be harder to come by for people who are new to that kind of exercise. What do you like to say to people who are struggling?
I would really want anyone who is new to this, to understand that it’s completely okay to start from wherever you are. We encourage people to be the best version of their own self and not the person next to them. Everyone has their own story and journey that brings them closer to their goals. So, just show up every day, and do your best, even if it may be 10 per cent effort on some days. Action will lead to motivation, which will eventually get you results and boost your confidence.
You train celebrities and common people as well. Do you take a different strategy when training celebrities in particular?
No. None whatsoever. My style of the programming focuses on enhancing the body and mind depending on the energy at which the person takes it. Their fame has nothing to do with how I would look at posture, goals, and design plans. Be it an everyday individual or celebrity, my personal training clients enjoy equal benefits and tailor-made workouts.
What is your take on people who become obsessed with the way they look and their exercising discipline in general?
If you are only stuck to certain aesthetic parameters, you will not push yourself out of your comfort zone after achieving your goals (like a certain fat loss per cent, or waist size). You would probably spend all your time worrying about maintaining that waist or those abs or constantly staying at that body fat per cent. How can you enjoy life like that? Instead, if you keep challenging yourself with certain performance goals, you will automatically not only have to stay disciplined, but you will also enjoy the challenge and the mental and physical engagement required by that goal.
What should someone do if they are really interested in becoming fit?
Take the first step – it could be something as small as taking the stairs to go home or something bigger like starting to train for a marathon. Getting started and taking action will motivate you and also teach you a lot – about your own physical fitness, what works for you and doesn’t, about your mental well being – what motivates you and makes you feel good.
Tell us about some of the misconceptions people have about exercising and getting in shape and how should they emerge from it?
One of the biggest misconceptions that I think people have is that weight and aesthetics equal to fitness. Ask yourself, what is it that you want your body to do? And how is it that you want to feel in your own body? Becoming aware of the benefits that getting active can bring you goes beyond weight. Find a sustainable and healthy goal that will positively drive you to become more active.
Imagine a client is discouraged during a training session. How do you keep that person motivated?
My motive is also to make any client that walks into the gym feel safe and motivated, not intimidated by the environment around them. I encourage all my students and always let them know that whatever level they are at is okay. Positive reinforcement is what I strongly believe in. If someone is having a bad day, by just moving and working up a sweat, they will know that if they can do it on a bad day, they have rewired their mental makeup.
What’s the one exercise move you swear by to instantly feel better and more energised?
Pilates warm me up, and for the main workout, I like deadlifts and pull-ups. This is followed by a yoga cool down or an 8-10km run. All of this with some great music and I’m ready to roll.