Kunal Rajput's 'The Movement' will blow your body to it's true capability
Fitness trainer Kunal Rajput has designed The Movement with the aim of turning your body into a temple
Working out with Kunal Rajput is as much an exercise in holding back swear words as it is in physical drill. A certified coach with Nike Training Club, he has designed a six-day fitness regime called The Movement, in which he pushes you to the hilt with every sprint, squat and plank. He sincerely believes, "You have no idea what your body is capable of."
Rajput's own beginnings to his current lean and mean shape were humble. "I was a sickly child: asthmatic and skinny. Because of that, my mum pushed me to do things out of my comfort zone. I went for swimming, skating, karate, basketball, athletics, track and field. Eventually, I grew fond of it, because who does not fall in love with sports?" After falling off the bandwagon in his teens, Rajput began pumping iron again, because, girls. "Like every 18-year-old guy who starts gymming for attention." His father, Daya Rajput, was a bodybuilder and owned a couple of gyms. "So, I got exposure to that kind of training, but it got repetitive at the same time. [The training for both] bodybuilding and kettlebells had a lot of gaps, so I started pursuing different training methods."
Rajput, 26, designed The Movement as an "amalgamation" of these training methods: powerlifting, weightlifting, CrossFit, bodyweight training and calisthenics. Each discipline packs a punch on its own; together, they deliver a body blow. Over six days, he puts the body through its paces. "On Mondays, we do a strength-based workout, in which we focus on the big three lifts: squat, bench and deadlift. Tuesdays is sculpting- and hypertrophy-based. We break down muscles, and let them recover to get bigger. Wednesdays is power training: sprints, box jumps, death jumps and other explosive movements. Thursdays is HIIT, which is a killer workout, and Fridays is an endurance workout. Saturdays is a conditioning workout, which is a little bit of everything we've done over the week." He also teaches football to adults as a "bridge between training and sport."
At The Space in Juhu and Beyond Studio in Bandra, where he conducts his classes, he admits that no one comes for six straight days. "There are many who have tried, but it's just one human body. People are doing this as a recreational activity. And, you need time to recover from movements like these. We recommend three to four days."
The first session we attend is HIIT. "It's also called Burn. You'll understand why," he says. It involves three ball-busting rounds of a sled push, sit-ups, hollow holds, Russian twists, mountain climbers, plank-to-toe touches, ball slams and half-burpees. As kaccha limboos, we do the light version, but there's no letting up for the rest of the class. Akshata Pai, 28, a TCS consultant and a runner, says, "When I see the strength in myself, it feels amazing. I can see it translating in the other activities I do. I've been able to lift heavier weights. My form and stamina have improved. Because there's variety, I don't get bored. There's so much energy in the class, it feels good to return."
We return as well for the strength workout, "a polar opposite of HIIT." It includes five loops of squats, deadlifts, Pendlay rows and strict presses in the first half and three rounds of floor presses, banded rows, bicep curls and tricep presses in the second. Rajput has his eye on every move, and when we cheat in a squat, he says, "You saw that twerk? That shouldn't happen." As we troop out of The Space with groaning muscles, its 32-year-old owner, Gigi Bedi, convinces us to try our hand at football as well, by saying, "You should always be open to new things."
Along with futsal player, 23-year-old Umar Bajaria, Rajput included the beautiful game in the training because, "No one teaches football to adults. You see people in their most vulnerable state; they are trying so hard to kick, but it isn't happening." On an artificial turf at Podar Sports Academy, the two have divided responsibilities into a power workout, sprints to work on acceleration and deceleration, and football drills, such as instep-outstep. Finally, the 25 people are divided into five teams for a few practice matches. Even though there's little footwork on display, strategies are discussed with game face on. When a player gets ready to take a penalty shot, an opposing teammate heckles, "Left maregi, right maregi, ya khuda, yeh to seedha maregi." For one shining evening, it felt like we're back in the '90s, under our buildings, kicking ball, skinning knees, fighting over scores and learning new swear words.
Where, When and Cost:
. The Space, Opposite Chin Chin Chu, AB Nair Road, Juhu; 6.30 AM and 10.30 AM; Rs 9,000 for
. Beyond Studio, 36, Mount Mary Road, Bandra West; 7.15 PM; Rs 8,500 for 12 sessions
. Football training at Podar Sports Academy, Linking Road, Santacruz West; 8 PM on Tuesdays; Rs 500 per session
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