[Interview] Dinesh Ganesan @ Nash and his refreshing look at fitness

We, at the Guru, are always on a constant look out to increase the variety of information we can offer. Most of the times, I tend to use myself as a guinea pig and look at each upcoming article to learn something new for myself and my readers. Most of us Indians were usually pretty involved in sports during our school days.  I, for one,  lived and breathed field hockey for 8 years of life before I succumbed to injuries.  Most of us have our own reasons for losing fitness as part of our life. This is something we will regret for sure in the future should we fail to make a change in our life. As part of my search for fitness, it led to me to Dinesh Ganesan, better known as Nash, who graciously agreed to answer my questions.  Read on and Enjoy!!!



How did you venture into the area of fitness or was this something you were interested in all along?
Sports have always been my love ever since I was in primary school, having represented at inter-school levels. Being a track athlete, fitness was undeniably a huge part of the training regime. Years on, I picked up combat sports and strength and conditioning played a vital role during the trainings. It was through all these exposure to fitness that got me hooked to the lifestyle. Thus began the pursuit for knowledge, and the desire to help people developed along the way. And even whilst spending a good amount of my life in the events industry, I still found quality time in increasing my knowledge and started changing lives ever since then.

In a country where most parents expect a tertiary education and white collar career, how did your parents take your decision?
Any parent would want the best for their child. My parents had their concerns at first, since it involved starting up my own business. But they soon realized I was following their footsteps; mum has been, and still is, a classical dance teacher for the past 30 years, and dad was a former state boxer, and is running his own business as well. They knew I wasn’t prepared to be bound to a desk in an office, more like the extrovert who needed to move places and engage people. Support came in the abundance as they knew my decision was passion driven. Not only them, but so too from my wife and in-laws.

Having said that, I do comprehend the importance of the paper qualification. As that, I’m currently pursuing a degree from Singapore Institute of Management University, on a part-time basis.

Is this a career that you carved out from just experience?
It was my uncle who first introduced me to the ropes of fitness training. Having patronized the gym before, I wanted to know the right way of utilizing the equipment, for maximum benefit. Through him, I was introduced to explore the world of fitness training. However, like any other industry, paper qualifications were mandatory. And besides, no amount of reading and research alone was going to get you a place in the workforce. And so I started with the basics, in exercise and sports science, followed by a certified personal trainer course. I then went on to further my education in another personal trainer course, and wanted to expand my expertise in the areas of kickboxing, kettle bell training, trigger point therapy (deep pressure release and compression techniques), and fitness for ladies. I’m also currently pursuing a module in Fitness Nutrition. Such qualifications have brought me thus far, 6 years on, in helping to make goals realistic.  And it still is.


In your experience, how would you describe the general sentiment of the Indian community towards fitness these days?
I feel that there has not been enough outreach in terms of knowledge and education. Yes the words ‘exercise’ and ‘fitness’ do exist in the minds of the people, but the significance of it vastly differs. With the exception of the small numbers that make it a point to keep themselves in shape, the majority still fail to see the value of exercising and keeping fit. They feel that walking to and fro the washroom or kitchen is more than enough to buy a few more years on their timeline. And NO, housework does not constitute to exercising or keeping fit. Ive spoken to many Indians and its quite disturbing to see how such a phenomenon has been greatly downplayed in this society.

What was your proudest moment as a trainer thus far?
A proudest moment for a trainer would have to be one of his many success stories. One of such stories involved around a female client who was signing on to the Army as an Infantry Officer. She needed to attain a pass in her IPPT in order to move on to the next stages of selection. She had failed the 1st test, but was determined to reach her goal. I took on the challenge and wanted her to push for more. Close to 4 months later, she came back with astonishing results. She received Silver and barely missed the Gold by 6 seconds on her 2.4km run, having gotten 5 points on the other stations! To top it off, her body fat percentage dropped by nearly 5%. A happy lady who achieved more than what she asked for.

Whats your favourite physical activity and why?
Muay Thai. I was always passionate about fight sports. I started doing kickboxing and boxing, and eventually moved to Thai boxing. Nothing gets to me more than the intensity of an unarmed dual, and it’s the sheer adrenaline that’s kept me going. It thought me respect; both for myself and others. It thought me discipline when I was in my younger teens, and allowed me to channel all the mixed emotions in the ring instead of on the streets. It kept me in shape and that too boosted my confidence/personality. I began to see it as more than a sport and as a way of life instead.

Can an Indian stay true to his roots (Indian Food & Alcohol) and stay fit?
Too much of anything, is always a downfall. It is not impossible, but it’s definitely a challenge one has to not only face, but sustain as well. Our Indian food is high in carbs, and fats, and thus high in calories. Alcohol too contains some high amounts of calories. Calories are needed in the body yes, but too much cals mean you’re simply putting on weight and fat mass as a result. It’s always good to find a balance. If you know these two are unavoidable in your routine, then work around the numbers and include exercise in your lifestyle to help shed those extra fats and calories. Remember, only 30% of your efforts come from the gym and sleep/rest. The remainder of the 70% is made in your kitchen. So choose wisely/well.

As a fitness trainer, you must have your fair share of female attention at the gyms etc. How do you handle it?
(Hahaha) I feel that anyone who drills in the effort to keep in shape would garner the attention in the gym he/she deserves. As a trainer, it (the attention) allows me the opportunity to connect with the female population i.e. the ladies have come out of their shell and are willing to learn more in their quests to attain their desired physiques. And this further motivates me to want to share my knowledge and help them in their goals. They become more receptive of you (as a male trainer) and shed any inhibitions they harbor when it comes to the gym (and exercising).

With so many fitness magazines and work out videos, what is the role of a fitness trainer in the 21st century?
The advancement of technology has brought coaching and training online, via numerous fitness blogs and videos. You would then ask what the need for trainers is anymore. My question to you would be; what’s the role of such videos and magazines? What’s the significance to you? Do you literally stop the video, or put down the mag, change into workout attire, and start pumping those muscles? I do agree that’s possible, but for the majority, they still need and seek the motivation to break their first sweat. And that’s where we come in, to feed you the kick-start that you need to change your lifestyle. Not only does the trainer give you a reason to want to keep healthy and fit, he/she makes the journey more enjoyable, so that you look forward to walking through those gym’s doors again. On top of that, mags and blogs don’t help correct and work on your posture and muscular imbalances. This is another area you need someone to physically assess you. And how about correcting your exercise form, so you don’t get injured whilst working out? Or how about designing you an effective program based on your physical AND medical needs? The exercises and programs are based on what the MODEL can do, NOT based on what YOU can do. The list keeps growing, but im sure you’ve gotten my point thus far.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years time?
Life in this industry brings you places. Besides running boot camps and group classes on top of my personal trainings, I seek to take it to another level in terms of reaching out to the masses. The first avenue I’m gearing towards; seminars and workshops. What better way to reach out then to share my knowledge in hopes of educating the many minds out there. Linked to that, would be my interest in writing. This is one road not many trainers take, but I love the challenge. A column in a magazine or a section in a blog would be a dream to toy around with. And of course not forgetting the first passion ive had; Athletics. Im working towards becoming an athletics coach and a strength conditioning coach for athletes and fighters alike, starting with my Alma Mater. This is one way I can give back to the society that has brought me this far.

We thank Nash for his honest  words and we look forward to more sharing sessions with him in the future.

 

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