A few months into her pregnancy, Shweta Rai Bajaj started feeling the pinch of the kilos that she had inadvertently added on her 5’3” frame, thanks to her sedentary lifestyle. As a result, the Gurgaon-based new mother had to battle multiple complications including gestational diabetes.
“It was a traumatic experience for me. I had to go through the rigmarole of blood tests almost daily and take insulin shots to keep my sugar levels in check. The worst, however, was living under the constant fear of giving birth to a diabetic baby,” says the 35-year-old, recounting her weight issues.
Soon after delivering a healthy baby girl in March 2013, she knew it was high time to get rid of the bulge. She kick-started her battle to lose weight when her daughter Prisha was old enough to join a playschool.
“I signed up for a Zumba class in the neighborhood and started enjoying it a lot. I got certified, became a Zumba instructor and started taking one class a day while continuing with my usual corporate job,” she says.
Thus was launched ‘ReSculpt with Shweta’, which also laid the foundation of her entrepreneurial journey into the world of fitness.
Around the same time, she entered Fitness & Sports Science Association’s (FSSA) Ms Fitness India 2016 contest. To prepare for it, Shweta needed someone to help her with weight training, but she couldn’t a suitable trainer. So she took it upon herself to learn the basics. “There is so much information that is easily available on the internet, but there are also many myths around women and weight training,” she quips.
The learning kindled her desire to take it up seriously. “I had found my calling, and it was fitness. I quit my stable well-paying job and started focusing my energy on acquiring certifications and learning about fitness and its components,” she says, crediting her mentor Gurnit Singh Dua, CEO of FSSA, for teaching her everything she knows about fitness.
Shweta lost the title, but the best takeaway of entering the contest was that she ended up with certifications in strength training, functional training, nutrition for performance and weight loss, workout music instruction, and also CPR AED. Armed with these, she soon became a sought-after personal trainer in Gurgaon.
“For me, fitness is a lifestyle. It is not a short-term activity to achieve a short-term goal or a certain body type. It is the ability to be stronger than yesterday without any limitations or breaks,” she says, adding that her ‘fitness food’ includes grilled chicken, eggs and fruits. She works out five to six times a week with 80 per cent weight training, and remaining time spent on a combination of cardio and functional strength training.
She admits that women who juggle multiple responsibilities often treat health as the least of their concerns. “But 45 minutes a day spent exercising will not only make you healthy physically but mentally as well. Invest your time in your well-being. It is worth it,” advises Shweta, who was appointed national director for FSSA Ms Fitness India 2017.
Her fitness mantra is one to introspect on: “Be strong, not skinny. Work on your body because you love it, not because you hate it.”