6 fitness entrepreneurs on the habits that keep them healthy and grounded
When working out is work
Happy hours, traffic, work deadlines, sheer laziness — the list of enemies of the state (of your fitness) runs long and in the midst of a hectic week, they often win the argument. How do you convince yourself to wake up an hour early to bust out some asanas when your bed is basically the centre of the universe right now? Maybe channel these fitness entrepreneurs who’re leading the charge on India’s wellness revolution.
Like Aneesha Labroo, founder of active wear brand Kica Active, who doesn’t limit her heart-pumping activity to the gym or yoga mat. “Being active means taking the stairs, finding a hiking trail on holiday or even finding a community to learn a sport with.” Or Nirali Mehta, co-founder of yoga wear label Stretchery, who’s employing an arsenal of Pranayama and meditation to battle the effects of Delhi’s air pollution.
Since working out is part of their actual work, these fitness entrepreneurs need to pay special attention to their skin and diet. Mallika Tarkas Parekh, the mom of two who brought cult favourite Physique 57 to India, is a serum junkie. “I use them in the morning with eye cream and sunscreen, and a heavier serum at night followed by moisturiser.”
And for those days when time is bounding away from you like Usain Bolt at the Olympics, go with Stretchery co-founder Jeenie Madan’s trick: “As a new mom, it’s hard to find time to experiment with new face packs at home and that’s when sheet masks come in handy.”
Clean up your act with advice from these 6 female fitness entrepreneurs
Aneesha Labroo, founder – Kica Active, an activewear label
Her skincare regimen: “In the morning, I start with a cleansing wash, followed by a vitamin C serum, and sunblock (SPF 50). At night, I’ve recently been obsessing over using the Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel wipes every alternate night.
With sensitive skin, I react pretty easily to new products, but these wipes have been a game changer. They do a super job for uneven toned skin and enlarged pores. On other nights, I use a cleansing wash, followed by Azelac serum that brightens the face and helps with pigmentation. I then use a moisturiser right before going to bed.”
Her fitness formula: “Being active to me doesn’t only mean going to a gym or going for a run. To me, it’s picking the stairs over an elevator, finding a hiking trail on holiday, discovering a new studio to try bouldering or even finding a community to learn a sport with. Workouts are my time to focus on myself and my body.
My goals are constantly changing, for now that’s improving my flexibility and strength through yoga and becoming a better football player by working on my mobility and agility.”
Her daily diet: “I believe in clean eating, that then allows you to eat what you want on the days that you feel like doing so. I avoid certain foods that irritate my skin or stomach. I honed in on the triggers by writing down my meals and noticing when things bothered me.
I eat a well-balanced diet of protein, fats, carbs, and fibre in every single meal. Over the weekend, I definitely go off-track, but I don’t allow it to be more than a meal or two. The main reason being that I feel pretty shit if I go overboard.”
Puja Borker, founder – Juru Yoga, an eco-friendly yoga accessories label
Her skincare regimen: “Drink a bottle of water first thing in the morning and always use natural aloe vera gel, be it in the morning as a screen or evenings before bedtime. It has been a while since I have switched to natural red sandalwood soap for both face and body cleansing. Apart from this, practicing pranayama and meditation has really helped in maintaining healthy skin and also prepared me well for accepting the visible changes with age.”
Her fitness formula: “Yoga, walking, and core workouts. I practice Vinyasa yoga thrice a week and go for 30- to 45-minute-long walks thrice a week. I also include a high-intensity workout at least once a week which doesn’t require any equipment. I had learned Kalaripayattu for a while, so I continue to practice some of the core exercises when possible. I try not to miss out on daily pranayama and meditation time which is usually in the mornings.”
Her daily diet: “Being a vegetarian, I have my Juru Yoga warrior energy drink one hour after my workout. I don’t follow any particular diet but stick to having a small glass of homemade green juice with amla, cucumber, and other greens twice a week, beetroot-carrot-apple for the other two days and stick to warm jeera water or pepper water for the rest of the week. Before bedtime, I usually consume green or white tea with lemon.”
Mallika Tarkas Parekh, founder and director, AMP Fitness LLP, Physique 57 Mumbai
Her skincare regimen: “I love serums. I use vitamin serums in the morning with some eye cream and sunscreen and a heavier serum at night followed by moisturiser.”
Her fitness formula: “My fitness routine is mostly Physique 57 three times a week, along with staying active with twin toddlers. Physique 57 gets my cardio, strength training and stretching done all in one workout, and lasts no more than an hour.
It’s tough to balance with work and family life, but if I can get those 3 hours a week in for myself, I find that I’m more productive in all other aspects of my life as well.”
Neha Motwani, founder and CEO, Fitternity
Her skincare regimen: “I don’t follow a particular routine but I do ensure I use a face wash twice a day and moisturise, especially in cold weather.”
Her fitness formula: “My daily fitness routine consists of waking up and getting myself a glass of warm water with amla and aloe vera juice. Post that, I start my workout which alternates between functional training, yoga and running about 4-5 times a week.”
Her daily diet: “As a fitness enthusiast and entrepreneur, I believe feeling healthy and fit from the inside directly reflects on how you feel and appear on the outside. I eat a healthy and balanced diet, with adequate protein and fibre content.
Work hours being extremely long and unpredictable, I try to target at least 7 hours of sleep daily.”
Nirali Mehta, co-founder and creative director — Stretchery
Her skincare regimen: “I follow a very basic homemade skincare routine, using local and natural ingredients. I begin my day with cleansing using anything that I can get my hands on in the house from aloe vera to tomato, a homemade lemon, honey and gram flour scrub or a potato peel.
I use a mild face wash followed by sunscreen no matter where I am. Skincare is not just for the face but the whole body, so a body lotion is a must for me all through the year, and in winter months, it’s usually replaced by oils.
For my under-eye area, I either apply almond oil or I burst open a Vitamin E pill for direct application.”
Her fitness formula: “I like to mix my routines from a jog to yoga or outdoor gyms. But after moving cities and sustaining cartilage damage a few years ago, I went back to one of my original passions: swimming.
I try different routines to work on various muscles, it’s therapeutic and helps me feel good and focus like nothing else. Since the last month, I have been doing Pranayama at home—especially with the bad air in Delhi, I think it is a must.”
Her daily diet: “I need my dark chocolate after a meal and I love my coffee, so I try to balance it out in the best way. My diet consists of nuts, some essential fats, fruits, a mix of protein and carbs and three litres of water. I try to eat homemade, locally available and fresh food.”
Jeenie Madan, co-founder and artistic director, Stretchery
Her skincare regimen: “Hydration is key—water, water, and more water. I also begin and end my day with the CTM steps: cleansing, toning, and moisturising. I make sure to wear SPF every day. As a new mom, it’s hard to find time to experiment with new face packs at home and that’s when sheet masks come in handy.”
Her fitness formula: “Yoga has had a massive influence on my life since starting my practice over 15 years ago. When I get on the mat, I feel like time stops. It allows me to connect to myself, and I feel that stillness in my body and my mind. It keeps me healthy, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.
Currently, I practice heated yoga about four times a week and occasionally go for a Pilates class over the weekends.”
Her daily diet: “I’m a strong believer in having a balanced diet. I love nuts—soaked almonds are the first thing I eat every morning. Sometimes, they also make for a quick face mask with honey and milk. Clean eating, smart snacking and no caffeine are a few things I live by.”
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