A square answer to fitness

Updated: 08 December, 2019 09:32 IST | Ela Das | Mumbai

A SoBo fitness enthusiast is using a grid, limited space and generous imagination to offer a new workout that's so many things rolled into one

Sunday mid-day writer Ela Das tries her hand at the Penalty Box Training routine with Bhavna Harchandrai at her Malabar Hill gym. Pics/Ashish Raje
Sunday mid-day writer Ela Das tries her hand at the Penalty Box Training routine with Bhavna Harchandrai at her Malabar Hill gym. Pics/Ashish Raje

I've been a health-conscious person ever since I can remember," says fitness trainer Bhavna Harchandrai, while reminiscing, "I was the sports captain in school." This enthusiasm for sport continued through her career in the fitness industry, when she headed Gold's Gym, Moksh and Pure Energy.

Harchandrai now runs a studio at her sea-facing Malabar Hill home, where, as a cross-training instructor, she conducts classes ranging from aerobics and pilates to cardio-boxing and zumba. The latest form of exercise she has introduced is called Penalty Box Training.

Sunday mid-day writer Ela Das tries her hand at the Penalty Box Training routine with Bhavna Harchandrai at her Malabar Hill gym. Pics/Ashish Raje

This one-hour functional training workout uses a Penalty Box, which acts as a four-square agility grid, when laid flat on the ground, and doubles as a jumping hurdle when pulled up. "The routine comprises one exercise every minute; and within that minute, if you displace the hurdle or grid, it's counted as a penalty," warns Harchandani. "You can't be kicking [the box] around—you have to respect the grid. Just like you wouldn't kick a dumbbell."

Penalties include a quick round of five push-ups before immediately getting back on track for the next exercise. Being conscious of working out within the space of the grid or around the hurdle helps with developing correct form, focus and discipline.

Sunday mid-day writer Ela Das tries her hand at the Penalty Box Training routine with Bhavna Harchandrai at her Malabar Hill gym. Pics/Ashish Raje

At the start of the class, Harchandrai sets the mood with an uptempo, energetic playlist and begins with a round of dynamic stretches in front of the full-wall mirror. While these may look relatively easy, you could feel like you lack rhythm next to her graceful flow. But slowly, you start to get into the groove as she repeats her movements till you get the exercise right.

The penalty box turned out to be a small package of big surprises. The easy-to-follow class, which can be tweaked to anyone's level of fitness, had exercises ranging from agility and speed drills to plyometrics and core strengthening. For those familiar with physical training exercises and footwork drills in football and tennis, it will be intriguing to see how most of these outdoor athletic-performance workouts can be done within a designated space indoors.

Within the hour, you'll notice yourself being more conscious of your core, stability, form and balance—if you've not lifted your body off the ground enough, the Penalty Box immediately gets displaced or tips over, acting as a quick report card.

Harchandrai advises injecting some spice in your life with fitness. "You need to do a mix of exercises to engage all the muscles and joints in your body, and working out for at least an hour a day is a must. If you can't manage a chunk of time, break it up into intervals of 10 minutes of being active through the day. Little things like getting up to get your own coffee, running tasks and errands yourself, taking the stairs or walking to someone's desk instead of calling them can be incorporated as a habit. It's the bare minimum you can do for healthy circulation in the body, which is valuable given rising levels of pollution."

What: Penalty Box Training
Where: Bayview, Malabar Hill
Call: 9869550376
Price: Rs 3,000 per session

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First Published: 08 December, 2019 09:26 IST

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