Barre-ing It All: Mallika Parekh

Barre-ing It All: Mallika Parekh

Congratulations. You’ve made yourself a priority and committed to a regular exercise routine. However, with such a vast variety of fitness workout choices available today, it can be slightly overwhelming to know which one is the best fit for you. To ease things up, we chat with the founder of Physique 57, Mallika Parekh for a clear cut knowledge about barre workouts and how this boutique fitness studio can help you become fitter and leaner. Edited excerpts.

From New York To Mumbai, when did you start your journey with Physique 57 and how did the idea come into existence?
I started my fitness journey with Physique 57 in 2011. As a double masters in Medical Science and Public Health, I was working on a healthcare venture in India when I quickly learnt that fitness was a growing industry here, but there was a gap in the market as far as boutique fitness was concerned. Physique 57 caters to all individuals, including those with injuries or bone density issues, which are common amongst the Indian population. With the brand being born in New York City, I convinced the founders, Jennifer Maanavi and Tanya Becker, that there would be a demand for this method in India as well, and thankfully they trusted me to bring the franchise here.

What makes the fitness centre unique amongst so many other kinds of gyms and Pilates centres available out there?
What makes Physique unique is that it covers cardio, strength training, and stretching, all in one comprehensive 57-minute workout each and every time you come. In under an hour, you get a full body, personal training experience in a group setting. The instructors who have trained for over 300 hours under the global training team in New York City are all fitness experts who have a background in professional dance. So, they are extremely well-versed with precise form and alignment to prevent injury. The facility we have built is to serve as a state-of-the-art escape from the madness of this city, all the while keeping you energised and reminding you of the investment you are making in yourself.

You were one of the first people to introduce barre workout in India. Could you throw some light on why it has become such a popular workout routine?
Barre workouts have proven to prevent injury, strengthen your core, improve balance, and work out muscle groups you didn’t even know you had. We specifically incorporate a proprietary method is known as interval overload, which works your muscles to the point of fatigue and then stretches them immediately for relief. It incorporates both isotonic and isometric movement so that you see results quickly. Our method incorporates the barre as an apparatus, but also uses light weights and your own body weight for resistance.

Physique 57 claims that one can transform their bodies in just eight classes. Have you ever come across a situation where this goal wasn’t achieved? And, what did you do to overcome this challenge?
Physique 57 claims to see visible results within eight classes—you would need more classes if you’re looking for a complete transformation, although we have several mind-blowing, tear-jerking transformation stories that clients have shared with us after practising barre workout over time. We can honestly say that we have never come across a client who has done eight classes with us and not totally believed in the effectiveness of the method given the visible physical results that they see and feel almost immediately.

What should Indian men, in particular, be doing to live healthier lifestyles? What common diet and fitness mistakes do you find them making and how can they correct them?
Indian men have followed a culture of fitness that has promoted bulk muscle building, and of late, boot-camp type workouts, which are incredibly damaging to the joints, although they may see their muscles get bigger and their fat trimmed down. However, if you speak to many of these men, you would know that those types of workouts aren’t sustainable, and certainly aren’t possible to do with injury. Once you have a strong core and strong supporting muscles, occasional weight-lifting is safer than if you jump directly into heavy weight- lifting without paying close attention to strengthening your full body, which can quickly result in injury. As for diet, for women and men alike, we recommend a balanced diet with nutrition intake from all food groups including lean protein, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat.

There are endless celebrities and even Victoria’s Secret models are talking about barre workouts and Physique 57, how do you wish to scale things up and expand the services all over the nation?
We have some exciting plans in the pipeline to expand throughout Mumbai as well as in other cities across India. While we so know that traffic is a major deterrent, we firmly believe that to understand and truly grasp the method, one must visit the studio for an optimal experience. We are
working hard to open studios throughout India for everyone to try out, so stay tuned in the coming months.

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