Personal Trainer Rahul Bhatt speaks to Monarose Sheila Pereira about his passion for fitness
How did you begin your journey into fitness?
I am a man of many dimensions. I am an author and personal trainer. I grew up as an obese child. One day I decided I had to change. I just snapped when I was around 15 years. I decided fitness is what I want to do. I am an autodidactic person i.e. self-educated person. You have to decide what your passion is. I believed in the three Ps – passion, perspiration and perseverance. You have to observe people and absorb the different facets from people. Schools do not teach you about life. Schools only conform to the rules and conformity leads to mediocrity. And our society is full of mediocre people because you have to be like that prototype. When I realized this I began my journey of self discovery. You learn from experience. I started by walking for one hour and followed a healthy diet. With discipline and perseverance, you can achieve anything. I put in the proverbial 10,000 hours. I learned from the internet, traveling abroad, training, and through voracious reading. Your only wealth is your health. I am a work in progress. Knowledge never ends. You are continually learning.
Which were the first gyms you worked in?
I worked as a personal trainer in gyms like Moksha and Inch by Inch.
How long does it take to become a professional?
It took me ten long years to make my mark. I have helped many people including film stars, police officers, lawyers and many other professionals to train and get fit. Today I am a brand and enjoy celebrity status thanks to my appearance on the reality TV show Big Boss. I am more into consultation. I am the brand ambassador for Kaizzad Capadia’s Gym. He is one of the leaders in the field. The ‘Parsi sincerity is there in him and he is very dedicated to his profession. His institute K11 teaches both theory and practice. They not only give you the science of fitness but also hands on practical training.
How important is experience in this field?
Experience is everything in this field. Learning theory is not enough. Life has taught me many things. You learn many things from the hard knocks of life which schools and institutes do not teach you. Institutes teach you the science of the subject. In the real world you have to combine that with art – the art of doing things, the right techniques and the skills. Experience comes only with practice.
How did your family support you?
My biggest support has been my mother. She is responsible for what I am today. You have a choice - to be a victim or victor. I believe a woman can bring up and teach a man to be a man more than a man can do so.
How rewarding is the field of fitness?
I have clients all over Mumbai. I get about 20 enquiries a day from my website and I make it a point to reply to each and every one of them. About 50 percent of these convert to my clients. I train personal trainers and also people who come to me with fitness goals and weight loss requirements. My first client fetched me about Rs 6000 a month. Today a good trainer charges about Rs. 75 thousand to a lakh per month for about 3 sessions a week or 12 to 16 sessions per month. I do not train more than three people a day because I believe in giving my best to the client. Today the actual money is in consulting. I provide that option to the client. I analyse their requirements, and assign a trainer to them. My job is to provide a safe blue print to give the client best results and keeping goals realistic. My biggest job and reward comes from seeing my clients achieve their goals. Their joy is my joy.
What are some of the difficulties you face?
A major difficulty is that everything is Bollywood centric. Everyone wants to be like Bollywood icons. Their myths are perpetuated through the media and people have wrong expectations. Their reference point is Bollywood and not their own body. As a trainer it is your job to educate your client about what they need to do and not what they want to hear. My clients include industrialists, film stars and common people too. I find that it is the rich people who haggle over rate cuts. Another sore point is that fitness is a non governed field and therefore there are many disparities, charlatans and low standards. It is important to go to the right mentor. Wrong people give you wrong mentoring because there is no regulation and no control.