'There is no age for fitness'

Health freak

'There is no age  for fitness'

For Shwetambari Shetty, fitness is not just a passion — it is a way of life. Her life revolves around it and there is nothing more important to this bubbly 35-year-old, who can talk about fitness for hours. Having been titled the 5th fittest woman in India in the latest ‘CrossFit Games Open 2016’, this fitness expert talks to Tini Sara Anien about the journey and the importance of staying fit.

 
What made you get into fitness?
I’ve been an athletic person since my childhood, as my family is quite athletic. I did yoga with my father since the age of 6 and ran with him. During my college days, I concentrated a lot on dance and drifted away from sports. But it was after quitting my job of 7 years and joining a health club that it all came back to me. I took zumba classes and got a good response and this gave me a bigger rush.

How did CrossFit and the title happen?
My partner and I started ‘The Tribe Fitness Club’ and we opened a CrossFit box. To own this, one needs to have a CrossFit L1 license and also pay an annual license fee to continue it.
 This was a niche and included Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and other functional movements. This is when I decided I wanted to do much more. In the last 6 months I gave it my all, and that’s when I participated in the ‘CrossFit Games Open 2016’.

We hear that it’s a gruelling process...
After around 5 crazy weeks of competing, the leaderboard announced the title. For those who couldn’t lift the actual weights (the RX), a scaled version was marked. But since I had been doing this for a while, I did the actual weights. When I look at all the people who participated in the Open, I realise my zumba background helped a lot. Many looked at me and remarked, ‘Oh, but you’re a zumba instructor?’ Most people do not believe that zumba is a workout. People were quite shocked when I was adjudged. My cardiovascular stamina was amazing and combining it with weights helped me a lot. It was hard but not impossible.

How do you feel now?
Since I’m in my 30s, to compete with 20-year-olds and get applauded for something I love, was very encouraging. I wouldn’t say I wasn’t surprised, since I know I am capable of more.

Zumba and CrossFit are very different...
They are very different in form. But when it comes to fitness, there are varied combinations. I could last much longer in the Open as I has great cardiovascular capacity, thanks to zumba. Muscular fitness means a lot of weightlifting and that, to anyone, comes with a lot of practice. People, who are taller and bigger, are capable of lifting bigger weights compared to smaller and petite people.

Does fitness come with an age?
The truth is that the younger you start, the better it is. But, I have seen 40 to 50 year olds make things turn around. It might be a little harder, but it’s not impossible. It will take some more time, but it will happen if one is persistent. I believe that there is no age for fitness.

When not on your fitness routine or at the club, what do you do?
I go for a massage twice a month. Apart from my sleep, nothing helps me recover. I sleep 8 hours a day. I do not TV binge, unless sometimes on a Sunday.

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