Is fitness really for all? Here’s the challenges faced by a mother in her choice of staying fit – the story of Simran Agarwal VS Society

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With a new gym popping up in random corners in the city, it is safe to say that Kolkata is bitten by the fitness bug. Take any college going guy or a young office-goer. You’ll find them all hitting the gym, posting selfies of work outs and what not. Not taking away credits here, but technically, all that people generally have to do to go to the gym is fight laziness or as we call it ‘lyadh’.

Now imagine, every time that you need to work out, you need to keep your daughter engaged in an activity, explain to your family how it is important for you to stay fit and fight a war with ‘society’ to make your way to the gym. Imagine having to do this every day, every time you need to work out. Yeah, seem like a Herculean task doesn’t it?

Well, such is the story of this Salt Lake woman – a mother, a doting wife, a sanskari bahu, a biker and a certified Sports Nutrition Specialist. We caught up with ‘Kolkata’s fittest mom’

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Q. At the phase of life – after having a child – when most women stop caring how they look, what made you take up fitness?

A. Well, after my marriage I got sucked into the rut of everyday business. And given the lifestyle that I was into then, in no time I gained a huge amount of weight. Then during my delivery I was a good 40 kilos over weight.

I remember we were at a marriage ceremony and that is when the ultimate blow came for me. A woman, noticeably much elder to me addressed me as ‘aunty’ in the gathering and that is when I decided to take control of things. My daughter was barely 2 years old then.

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Q. How would you manage to take out time to work out having to take care of a newborn?

A. Initially it was a crazy roller coaster ride. I remember I would often wait for Lucky, my daughter to go off to sleep or ask a family member to take care of her to manage a quick visit of the gym. Then as Lucky joined school, things became a little more streamlined. I would drop her off to school, quickly hit the gym and pick her after my work out.

This is where the biker in me came useful. I used to and I still do ride to the gym and all my places of work. My daughter has been riding pillion with me from the time she was 3 years old. My good old steed makes all the time management possible.

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Q. Sadly, our typical society doesn’t really accept a mother/wife/daughter-in-law taking out time to pursue their dreams. It’s almost as if the ‘me-time’ is completely gone. How did you cope with that?

A. I agree completely about the backlash from ‘society’. I remember initially I would have to convince even the remotest of relatives how fitness is important to me. And, even today, I’m often asked by my daughter why I have to go visit the gym every day.

In all these years, I have learnt that it’s not only about my personal fitness that I fight for every time I make my way to the gym, I believe I fight for every mother/wife/ bahu who has the desire to reclaim her life but is stopped by ‘society’. This is what gives me my strength.

 

Q. Coming from a Marwari family, how did you manage your nutrition?

A. Well, it’s no new fact that the typical Marwari cuisine is very rich in fat with obsessive doses of ghee, dry fruits and sugar. It’s a proper suicide mission if you ask me. Managing my diet was a small hurdle, convincing my family of the harmful effects of their diet and why I shouldn’t follow it was (rather still is) a bigger task at hand.

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Q. People often get into fitness, lose a desired amount of weight and then let go. What was it that kept you going?

A. I believe my own transformation is what kept me going always. I realized the amount of attention my body deserved. I started to love myself, taking care of myself. I realized that I needed to stay fit for a healthier, longer and independent life. And I believe that keeping fit won’t ever make me a burden on anyone and will help me lead a longer, better life.

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Q. Have you inspired your daughter too?

A. My lifestyle choice has hugely inspired my daughter. I have already started training her and I hope to see her participating in the Olympics soon.

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Q. What would be your message to other mothers?

A. If you can cook every day, take care of your family every day, have time to visit the beauty parlour and browse through Facebook, then you can manage some time out for your fitness too.
Take it as a personal investment for a better future!

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So You Think You’re A Gym Buff? Wait Till You Meet ‘Kolkata’s fittest mom’ – Simran Agarwal!

 


On account of International Women’s Day 2018, we went around the streets of Kolkata asking people about the most special woman in their lives. Here’s what they had to say.

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