“The things you are passionate about are not random. They are your Calling.” Sitting in front of a desktop, about 14 years back, I used to wonder when I would find my actual calling, that which would want me to look forward to Mondays, give me joy. Very few are fortunate enough to find “It” and pursue it too. I can very happily say, I have been one of them.
I was born in Delhi, brought up in Gujarat and Kerala, did my college in Chennai and got married and settled in Bangalore. After taking Science in my school, I was really hoping to do Nutrition and Dietetics in Chennai. Unfortunately, or as luck would have it(cause life has its own plans), I ended up doing English Literature and pursuing my NIIT course.
The obvious transition was getting into the IT Sector. I started my career as a Quality Assurance Assistant, followed by being a Graphic Designer for an MNC, and then jumped on to becoming a Technical Writer in Bangalore. I went to work, trying to convince myself that I am loving it and genuinely look forward to Mondays. But heart of hearts I wasn’t that convinced. I would constantly question myself, is this what I am supposed to do for the rest of my life?
I got pregnant and promptly quit my job by the end of my term, primarily because I wanted to enjoy this phase of my life and also because what I was doing was not exciting me so much. Our first born came into our lives in 2004 and I got busy with him and the house, putting my career on the back burner, except for occasional projects. I was still looking for my Eureka moment.
My second bundle of joy arrived in 2010. This time, I thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy too, piling on weight with the “licensed” eating. I was around 95 kilos when my son was born. After that started the joint aches and pains and inability to move freely due to the added mass on me. I used to always enjoy working out, so I decided to restart where I had left off. Finding it difficult to lose weight, I sought guidance from someone to train me, but back then there weren’t too many trainers to help ladies like me. That got me thinking, maybe I can train myself to train people who need that extra push, that extra guidance.
The mere thought of it charged me up, and within 6 months of my delivery, I joined the Reebok Certified Group Instructors Training program. Still struggling with my weight, I put in my heart and soul into the training. I saw the kilos shedding with proper lifestyle changes, diet modifications and exercise. With that, dawned the realization that maybe this is what I am meant to do…this is my calling. I was meant to make people feel the way I felt when I started getting back into shape. That was my Eureka moment. And there has been no looking back ever since.
I started taking Aerobics and Step classes in 2011. I would travel a distance of over 20 km at 5 in the morning to take two back to back classes for a mere 300 Rupees. That was my starting. I always remind myself of that, it helps me stay grounded and thankful. The same year, I happen to stumble upon a Zumba Fitness Certification happening near my home. Since we needed to constantly upgrade ourselves, I thought I might as well attend the course. Without attending a single Zumba class, I completed my certification, and there I was, in love all over again. I fell harder this time…. Completely loved Zumba and started taking classes in studios and communities ever since.
I constantly like upgrading myself, so during these 8 years of my journey as a Fitness professional, I have done a lot of certifications, which I use on a daily basis for my clients. I have certified in Zumba Kids and Zumba Kids junior and take classes for kids between the age group of 4 to 11. The other certifications include Zumba Toning, Zumba Sentao, Jukari Fit to Flex, Cardio Kickboxing to name a few. I also certified as a Personal Trainer from the American Council on Exercise(ACE) and started taking Personal training sessions for clients.
I completed my Sports Nutrition Certification from ACE and was able to handle the diet requirements for my clients. I have also done my Nirvana Fitness course which is a form that concentrates on correct breathing and includes Yoga and Pilates set to soothing meditative music. This helps to heal internally and destress and detox the system. I am currently pursuing an Image Consultancy course from ICBI, so that I can assist my clients with looking and feeling good inside out. I love baking too and have done a couple of orders for birthday parties.
In the midst of all the work, I wanted to do something which challenged me, tested me to the limits. I attempted the Everest Base Camp trek in November 2017.. 12 days of trekking, under extreme climatic conditions and basic amenities made me appreciate what I had back home. It most importantly made me realize that once u set your mind on a goal, it can be accomplished, no matter how tough the path is. I intend doing more such treks in the future, time permitting.
My biggest achievement in my life so far has been the smiles I have bought into people’s lives. Be it with an insanely crazy Zumba session, or an intense body conditioning class, be it a relaxing Nirvana session, or guiding my girls with what colours or hairstyles suit them. Nothing compares to the satisfaction that comes from them coming into class, with those wide smiles and glint in their eyes, and going back feeling good at the end of that one hour.
My next venture is starting a studio where I can bring all that I have to offer under one roof. Group classes, like Zumba, Nirvana, and Body conditioning, which will be a holistic and rounded approach to Fitness. Nutrition counselling, Image Consulting counselling and Mind Body workshops will be a part of it too. Very soon, it shall see the light of day. One more secret wish is to be able to start a Baking Studio. U can come bake your cake, eat it too, and then work it all off!!
All this has been possible because I waited for my Eureka moment, and pursued it. My super supportive family has been my backbone, helping me achieve my dreams all along. Every obstacle that I have faced, I have been able to take it up as a challenge and overcome and move ahead. Like someone very rightly said, “It never gets Easier, you just get Stronger.”
8 years of hard work, 8 years of utmost satisfaction, 8 years of bringing smiles to faces, 8 years of meeting amazing people I am in touch with even today.. 8 years of learning and building my knowledge about Food and Fitness, 8 years of inspiring people to become trainers themselves.. 8 years of unadulterated joy doing what I have always wanted to do. It’s time to bring it all under one roof. Not an entrepreneur in the true sense, but almost there. Many more years of changing lives lie ahead of me, and I am rearing to go. Like they say, “Every day is another chance to get stronger, to be the best version of YOU.. cause YOU matter…”
Pooja Menon conducts Zumba and Nirvana on-premise classes. She can be contacted on email at firstname.lastname@example.org