Mumbai: Fitness guru inspires morning walkers at Marine Drive to train under him
A fitness enthusiast's rigorous workout sessions on Marine Drive inspire morning walkers to opt for training under him
Vasudev Hembron takes classes on Marine Drive
It's eight o'clock on a Wednesday morning, and a fleeting sense of calm, which threatens to give way to traffic snarls, envelopes Marine Drive. Flocks of seagulls lift into the sky, specks of yellow, blue and red bob in the sea into the distance, and regulars walk, jog and run on the promenade.
Just then, next to the BEST bus stop facing the C Road junction, a young, athletic man breaks into a warm-up session. Barefoot, he uses the low bench for brisk step-up and step-down movements, makes 20-odd push-ups appear effortless, and keeps at his aerobic exercises until his they soak his T-shirt in sweat.
"Sir!" a morning walker waves at him, as he parks his two-wheeler. Quick calls are made, messages sent out and within 10 minutes, the man is leading an impromptu exercise group, cutting them no slack as he urges them to stick to the right form or hold a posture.
The young taskmaster is Vasudev Hembron, who arrived in the city from Ranchi eight years ago. And the one change he knew he was not going to make to the routine he followed in his hometown was the time he dedicated to fitness. "I have been physically active all my life. As a child, I loved to run and go swimming in ponds. So, when I came here, I started signing up for running events regularly. I would meet professional trainers in marathons, and seeing my enthusiasm, they would give me tips on how to improve my running," says the 28-year-old, who works at a local business establishment.
"I start from my Colaba residence and run to Mahalaxmi racecourse, sometimes extending it to the sea link. I often take a detour to Walkeshwar to run up an elevated path. I basically run for as long as I can," he shares. It was about eight months ago, after he started halting and exercising at Marine Drive while returning from his runs, that regulars started noticing his rigorous routine.
"Seeing him do what he does was inspiring. I asked if I could join him, and he happily agreed. But once he has eased you into the routine, he wouldn't let you be until you have completed your sets in the right manner," says Waseem Sheikh, who weighed 110 kg when he started training with Hembron and is now down to 80 kg. Marine Drive resident Kunal Shah agrees, "He focuses on the form and pushes you. I jog with him from the Hindu Gymkhana to Nariman Point and back. In the first one and a half months, I lost 6 kg." The group meets three to four times a week, and continues with its exercises even when "Sir" is away in Ranchi.
Hembron sticks to a simple diet of roti, sabzi, dal, rice and curd, with a strict no-aerated drink rule. While running, he recommends staying hydrated by just sipping on enough water to keep the throat wet. "For any form of exercise you do, it's important to sweat it out," he says, before returning to his class by the sea. "When it comes to exercise and sticking to your goals, the more your fitness buddies, the merrier."
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