Updated: June 23, 2021 9:54:01 am
Five months ago, Chirag Barjatya received a phone call from a 36-year-old woman IT worker, who was in the habit of stress eating while working on the computer. There was always a bowl of nachos or chips near the screen, which had become a problem since the lockdown prevented her from going out or exercising. Barjatya did not ask her to remove the bowl from her desk.
He merely insisted that she fill it with low-calorie bhel or makhana and keep munching. “In 18 weeks, she lost 10 kg,” he says.
Barjatya, who was appointed ambassador of Fit India movement five months ago, is the head of a bootstrapped Pune-based fitness startup called TeamChirag. It’s approach to nutrition and healthy lifestyle revolves around the mantra of sustainability. So, when a Punjabi client approaches them, he is advised aloo parathas everyday. “But, we give it to him in a specific quantity, which he can enjoy throughout his life without feeling deprived,” says Barjatya, who is working on a campaign for Fit India revolving around the Olympics.
Barjatya started as a freelance fitness coach in 2019 and acquired several clients on social media. TeamChirag was founded in April 2021 with seven coaches including himself to provide nutrition counselling as well as online fitness coaching. He has coached 1,450 clients from India, Vietnam, the US, the UK, Canada and Denmark.
“Because of Covid, people have become very concerned about fitness. They realise the importance of immunity and are ready to work towards becoming healthier. Though immunity takes time to build, getting fit is a start,” says Barjatya. “In two years, our aim is to coach more than 20,000 clients and provide employment to 30 coaches. We are looking to provide more values to smaller cities in India because that’s where people are suffering the most due to lack of awareness,” he adds.
The company is taking on some entrenched malpractices of the fitness industry such as tablets, devices and quick-fix slimming solutions. “I have seen people going to slimming centres just before their wedding to shed several kgs. Yet, the moment they get back to regular life, they put on the weight. A better approach is to develop a healthy lifestyle and never put a timeline on weight loss. Our fight is also against use of steroids and drugs that lead to quick results. We are spreading awareness that these shortcuts might lead to long-term organ failure and there is a better way to be fit for life,” says Barjatya.
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