It is that time of the year again when your fitness goals and resolutions are (hopefully) rolling in place. Well, it is indeed a perfect time for a book on fitness to hit the shelves! The Shivfit Way is a guide to functional fitness. The book stems from the Shivfit philosophy propounded by Shivoham, the trainer behind Aamir Khan’s muscular look in Dhoom 3, Sonakshi Sinha’s curves in Dabangg, Jacqueline Fernandez’s lean physique and Abhishek Bachchan’s fitness. The book is written in collaboration with Shrenik Avlani, a newsroom veteran with nearly two decades of work experience with leading newspapers.
If you love working out, but are wary of gym ‘machines’, The Shivfit Way is the right book to read! The book outlines varied exercises cardio, strength training and weight exercises for a full-body workout. Starting with eight basic movements of all exercises duly accompanied by pictures, dietary advice, detailed workouts and a section on the role of the mind and a nutritious diet in healthy living, here is a book that promises to get you back in shape!
Bookedforlife chats with Shivoham to know more about the Shivfit way and how fitness can be an integral part of our lives.
Many people have the misconception that one needs to use sophisticated equipment in order to exercise, and the book clearly dispels that myth. Can you elaborate more on the “Shivfit” philosophy?
Fitness today has a very vague and broad meaning in people’s mind. Earlier on, fitness was just about aesthetics and the way you looked. Hence only complex machines were used to achieve those results. Today fitness is not just about the way you look. It’s also about how fast or long you can run, how much you can lift, how smoothly can you get through your day without reaching home and falling flat on the bed or even how often you can play catch with your children. Today you see many more people out in the open in parks, on the beach or on the roads doing all sorts of different fitness activities which were never seen before. The Shivfit philosophy is that it’s not only about the body but also the mind. Use your mind to get rid of the stress and use your body as a machine to make it functionally super fit.
What motivated you to write this book?
I have always been more into the coaching aspect of training. Yes, I have been a national level swimmer and reached the regionals in the CrossFit games. But to me, to be able to teach people what I know and what I love is very satisfying. I run three gyms in Mumbai which have over 1000 members. But, what about the rest who want to be coached at our facility and cannot reach us? The book came at the perfect time. It is the best way I can reach out to all those fitness enthusiasts who have been wanting to learn what we have to share.
You provide an excellent exercise glossary and enough pictures and workout regime tables in the book. What suggestions would you give the reader who wants to use the book as a guide but may not be able to access any formal exercise program?
The movements shown in the book are the basic fundamental movements one should know to start a functional fitness program. The building will hold stable only if the foundation runs strong. The workouts given are for different categories: beginners, intermediate and advance. Once the person has completed the workouts given he is ready to start following my daily workout blog on www.shivfit.com. The workouts are random but still have a purpose- not adapting to the exercises. This continuous change helps build fitness at a faster rate.
The Shivfit Way highlights the role of positive visualization in health. Can you briefly talk about your views on this?
I was introduced to the mental aspect of fitness by Vrinda Mehta who has been in fitness industry for more than 20 years and has trained a score of Bollywood celebrities like Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Karan Johar, Kajol, Sridevi, Abhishek Bachchan, Tina Ambani and so on. She taught me how thoughts and emotions can be used to visualise all your goals. After using and tremendously benefitting from her mind program I realised how this aspect was the only thing missing in our approach to fitness today. Hence, together we started our program called Shivfit where we teach you not only how to remain physically fit but also how to remain mentally stress-free.
The mind is the most phenomenal yet the most neglected aspect of not just fitness and health but also our life. The awareness on healthy living has increased manifold. People are eating healthier and working out more. Yet there is more diabetes, more hypertension, more depression…! The main reason for this is stress. People are getting stressed but they are also eating healthy and training! This completely defeats the purpose.
Today science has proven that if you have stress of any kind you cannot remain healthy and fit for long. Simply put, stress is nothing but an untrained mind. The mind which does not know what to do with its thoughts and emotions remains a slave to ever changing circumstances and hence remains stressed. In the Shivfit mind program we teach how to align thoughts and emotions to visualise your goals in four main aspects of your life. We teach you how to remain stress-free throughout the process till those goals are realised.
I find the chapter Nutrition: You are what you eat, most interesting and different. While most books in this genre actually prescribe a ‘diet’, you say, “I have realized that there is no tailor-made diet for any of us-we need to figure out what works best for us and stick to it”. The chapter goes on to outline many popular diets and recommendations. What led you to take this approach while writing the book?
Nutrition is a very delicate and a very scientific topic. Not everyone can be a nutritionist but every individual however can be the best judge for their own body. I’ve tried the zone diet, paleo diet, intermittent fasting, the keto diet and also no diet. All the diets were at a different stages in my life and the situations were different. It was very easy to follow zone and paleo in Australia because of the quality of meat, fruits and vegies. I tried it in Mumbai, it was possible but very stressful. The zone diet worked well when I was working a steady shift but in Mumbai it was stressful! Meetings would come up any time. Clients would change their time and workouts weren’t happening at the same time each day. Also my goals were different. A person needs to understand that if diet itself gets stressful then what’s the point? Follow the basic fundamentals of less calorie intake equals weight loss and excess calorie equals weight gain. One needs 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight to maintain muscle mass and the carbs and fats will fit in according to your goals. Do a little bit of research, stay put with one diet for 8-12 weeks and then decide. But please do not follow anyone or anything blindly!
Well, no better way to start off the year than The Shivfit Way!
The Shivfit Way by Shivoham and Shrenik Avlani, 2017
Published by Penguin