Zumba trainer Shwetambari Shetty’s Instagram feed is proof of her passion for and dedication towards fitness and healthy living. The new mother — who welcomed a baby girl last year — regularly shared updates during her pregnancy journey, and continues to address various questions new mothers may have, including post-pregnancy weight.
In an exclusive interaction, Shwetambari, a master trainer at Cult.fit’s four-week Belly Burn program for fat loss, shares more about her journey, tips to burn belly fat, and why fitness is for everyone.
Tell us about your journey.
It was a happy accident. I was wondering what to do after my long employment at a bank. It was then that I chanced upon Zumba, took up the course, and started teaching. That one student who participated in my first class, said so many wonderful things after class that it made me believe I was born to do this. I was here to change lives, to make people fitter, healthier and happier. Then there was no looking back.
What role has Zumba played in your fitness journey?
Zumba is a great dance fitness format. To me, it is also so much more — it changed my life. Zumba introduced me to the world of fitness and taught me how to make fitness fun.
What does your daily routine look like?
I had a baby a year ago, so it is different now compared to how carefree it used to be. I delivered a baby in July 2020, during the peak of the first Covid wave and started working out a month after. I lost 10+ kg that I gained from pregnancy working out at home. I had my dance fitness for cardio and then got myself dumbbells for my strength training and did yoga twice a week.
I wake up to feed, play, bathe, again feed, and get her to bed for her first nap by 10 am. Then I either hit the gym or get on work calls. I have my lunch at 1.30 pm, feed her, and get back to work calls.
After I wrap up work by 7 pm, my time after that is my daughter Yona’s. We are mostly in bed by 10.30 pm. So, my life currently revolves around her, workout, and work (in that order).
What about fitness inspires you?
Just so many things:
*It boosts my confidence
*It makes me look good
*It gives me energy to do my daily activities well
*It makes me happy
*It makes me healthy
*It helps me change lives for the better
*Above all, it helps me age gracefully.
How do you see the awareness regarding fitness and immunity amid pandemic?
To me, it looks like India is finally ready to make exercise a necessity. Until now, it has been a luxury. Indians are coming to understand that regular exercise and movement help one become fit and healthy, and can have long-lasting benefits. Maintaining good health also means good immunity and makes us stronger overall to fight certain illnesses and conditions. So, people are now more aware of why everyday movement and fitness are key. It is not, ‘I have a special occasion and need to drop some pounds’ anymore. It is about making fitness a habit.
What was the idea behind relaunching the Belly Burn program on the Cult.fit app?
Everyone wants a flat stomach, washboard abs, six packs. While this is totally possible, it will take a great deal of effort and hard work. The Belly Burn program does not promote spot reduction because that is not possible. It aids in building a strong core and as we exercise for a strong core, a lot of that belly fat will go away. The program also promotes HIIT – these are workouts that alternate between high -and low-intensity. The powerful bursts of energy use more fat as fuel and the rest periods in between to help flush out waste products from muscles.
It focuses on burning full body fat and strengthening the core. And people who experienced it in its first run did just this. We had 30k+ people participating and engaging actively with us to get fitter using the workouts, meal plans, and group discussions.
How do you see weight loss?
Weight loss is fat loss. We need to lose that unnecessary fat in the body. Fat is the reason for many health conditions. Higher abdominal fat poses several health risks: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes, heart disease etc. To protect ourselves from these conditions, we need to burn that visceral fat which is the fat found around the organs.
The other type of fat is subcutaneous fat or fat that is beneath the skin. It is the kind that we can pinch and hold with our fingers. Its accumulation in the body often depends on genetics and lifestyle. And small amounts of subcutaneous fat are usually harmless.
Not only belly fat, but overall fat loss means good health. You can have workouts, tips, and meal plans straight from some of the best in the field, but nothing will help if you are not consistent. When you are regularly exercising, eating right, moving, sleeping well, the by-product is weight loss/fat loss.
Fitness myths you would like to bust?
Fat makes you fat.
No, good fat is needed for fat loss (like coconut, nuts, avocado, olive oil etc.)
You need a high-intensity workout to lose fat.
This is incorrect because you can even brisk walk and cover 15,000 steps every day to burn fat.
Weight training makes women bulk up.
No – women do not have the testosterone to bulk up like men. You will only protect your joints and muscles with weight training and age more gracefully.
Any tips for beginners?
Online fitness or fitness-at-home is truly a great starting point for beginners. All those people who have been intimidated to step into gyms – this is what you need! Train at home, in your comfort zone, in your “no judgment area” and get to your fitness goals. There is no risk of injury if a beginner starts slowly and steadily, and follows all the trainers’ instructions and trains with a qualified fitness coach.