In a year and a half of imparting fitness training to the people of rural Maharashtra,Parag Mhetre has had a number of interesting experiences. This year I did a training camp for free for 400 warkaris during the Palkhi. After our two hour session ended,I was sitting there for three more hours talking to the pilgrims,and they were telling me about problems in their bones,knees and lower backs,and the way to get rid of them by doing simple exercises at home.
Mhetre specialises in training people to use the kettle-bell,which looks like a cannon ball with a handle. This,he says,can help anyone achieve a complete body workout,providing both the cardiovascular and muscle-building aspects of exercise. The kettle-bell works on the body muscles and heart. It also helps in conditioning the central nervous system, Mhetre says. A 20-minute home workout is equivalent to one and a half hours in the gym. It helps achieve weight loss,and also helps in metabolic conditioning so that people don’t feel tired after training.
In order to understand the proper usage of the kettle-bell,Mhetre had to undergo a level two strength and conditioning certification course from Athens,Greece. Last week,he completed the course,becoming the first Indian to do so. For me to train others,my knowledge has to be extensive. Or there’s no point in doing it, he says.
An engineer by education,Mhetre moved to fitness training after seven years in the IT industry. So far,he has conducted 20 camps across India and three in the rural areas around Pune. The problem is acute in rural areas where people don’t know anything about fitness training. In urban areas,people pay for gym memberships but end up not going. For most,it is not about leading a healthy life but just about looking thin and in shape. That is the mistake they make, he says.
Mhetre plans to make kettle-bell training more accessible to people in rural areas. Perhaps next year I will be able to give around 10 to 15 kettle-bells free of cost to some pilgrims, he says. My aim is to ensure that people from rural areas are fit. No matter how small my effort is,it will eventually grow big. I am not going to give up, he adds.