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Body Mantra
Skip that run-of-the-treadmill gym routine for some hip and exciting new workouts. Verve shows you how to tap your body power

Monotonous one-hour workouts in the gym are passé. People are tiring of pumping weights and sweating it out on the treadmill. The most satisfying fitness routines, they are discovering, work the mind as well as the body. Verve frontlines five new-age power workouts taught in Mumbai which promise to do just that. From the ancient capoeira to the exotic belly dance and krav maga, from the wild zumba to the rigorous boot-camp regimen, getting a fabulously toned body has never been so easy. Lets get physical!

CAPOEIRA: grace under pressure

Tribal beats resonate through the small studio as Reza Massah sways from left to right, crouching, flexing and lunging towards his opponent. I understand what he means when he says, “A Capoerista has the coordination of a dancer, the endurance of a runner and the beat of a drummer.” Fast, yet graceful, controlled, yet free, Massah aka Baba and his pupil indulge in a game of acrobatic play, the rules of which have not really been altered since their creation by enslaved Africans, way back during the 16th century. Only recently has this ancient Afro-Brazilian discipline caught the attention of popular culture. New rules have been added into its structure to accommodate the great responses it has received, making it a sport that is still evolving.

Proclaiming his life’s mission to spread Capoeira across his homeland, Massah, a chef by profession, shut shop in Israel and returned to India fully equipped to teach this martial art dance. Starting with just three people, his class has grown to over 40 regular students in about a year. They come together at the day’s end to spar and sing to the beat of an unusual instrument called the berimbau. Setting the tempo of the game, Baba believes, music is an integral part of the routine. That Capoeira sculpts your body to perfection is quite evident, but what is more important is that it alerts your mind, leaving you in a state of constant awareness of your surroundings. Very intense, Capoeira teaches you to read your opponent and anticipate his every move. Be it at his class in Khar, or a studio in Japan or Brazil, the principles are the same, making the sport a unique international language by itself. Minor injuries, like any athlete will tell you, are common, but they ultimately help you understand your body and know your limits.

KRAV MAGA: fight or flight

In Hebrew, it means contact combat. And this system of self-defence and hand-to-hand combat is the newest among all forms of martial arts. Developed in Israel in the 20th century, Krav Maga is based on human reflexes and is the official system used by the Israeli defence forces. “In fact most SWAT teams and paramilitary forces all across the globe use Krav Maga. What’s interesting is that the Japanese SWAT team trains in this form as opposed to karate,” says instructor Mehul Vora who holds classes at the Mehul Vora Extreme Martial Arts Studio at Vile Parle. And when you consider that you can lose up to 700 calories per session, it’s easy to see why this has become popular among civilians as well. In addition to losing weight, increasing stamina and gaining muscle, you learn how to protect yourself and others around you if necessary.

“We teach you how to deal with the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome. Essentially you need to know how to judge whether you should flee or stay and fight when faced with an attack. And if you have to fight, you need to know how to get the better of your opponent,” says Vora. The course is modified for civilians. For instance, how to use a gun and detonators is not part of the training. But various attack sequences – protecting yourself from mob and knife attacks, how to be safe during the day or night, learning to fight in places usually targeted by attackers like parking lots – are part of the course.

img BELLY DANCING: hips don’t lie

Shakira may have popularised the graceful hip rolls and sensual pivots of this dance recently but belly dancing is an ancient dance form that goes back more than 2000 years. From the gypsies in Rajasthan to the tribal childbirth rituals in the deserts of Morocco, where pelvic and belly rolls help during labour, this exotic dance style comprises several schools of thought and traditions and has various connotations in different countries. In Lebanon it’s used more as entertainment, where they focus on the commercial aspect of the dance while in Egypt, it has a more sacred focus, where it is the custom for a bride and groom to hire a belly dancer for their wedding, and to take a photograph with their hands on her stomach alluding to ancient fertility rites.

“Indian women are made for belly dancing. They have the waists and hips for it,” says Veronica Simas de Souza, who has been dancing since she was five and now hold classes at Zenzi at Bandra and the Arts in Motion Dance Studio at Sion. After learning about the history and origin of belly dancing, you start working on three main areas, the chest, the belly and the hips. “The challenge here is to learn how to control your movements. In the beginning, I teach my students how to move one body part at a time- for example, moving just one side of their hips while keeping the rest of the body absolutely still. After they have mastered this, we move on to the dance aspect,” she smiles. The benefits are plenty. From being a great stress reliever to toning and strengthening your abs, hips, arms, burning tons of calories, all that shimmy-shaking can leave you with a wonderfully toned body.

ZUMBA: into the Groove

What do you get when you take a bit of salsa, reggaeton, flamenco, hip hop and samba and give it a nice mix? You get an energetic, fun workout that combines interval and resistance training which ensures a complete body workout. One that is especially good for the legs, the hips and the abs. Zumba is a fusion of Latin and international dance steps put together in an aerobic workout that fluctuates between high and low-intensity moves accompanied by peppy Latin American music. “Anyone can take this class as the moves are simple. There are no high-impact steps but yes, it does help if you have a good sense of rhythm and beat. This will help you pick up the steps fast,” says Shalini Bhargava, owner of the JG’S Fitness centre, Santa Cruz.. In addition to increasing your stamina and toning your body, it’s a great stress reliever and you can lose 500 calories in an hour. “Also, I make sure the exercises are individualised for each student and we have people from ages eight to 60 coming for the class,” Bhargava says. “The fun aspect is what draws people to this dance form. It’s not a monotonous routine but an exhilarating one.”


Every new recruit knows that rigorous programmes, hectic schedules and challenging exercises that test limits to the hilt are part of army training. But what started as hardcore military training has now become one of the most popular forms of exercise in recent times. There are modifications, of course. With no torture rituals and less stressful routines, this exercise style is perfect for those looking for an intense yet simple workout, where you don’t have to deal with any complicated choreography or moves. Though like in the army, you can’t escape a sergeant-like trainer yelling out instructions at the top of her voice. “I lose my voice whenever I take a boot-camp class,” laughs Shalini Bhargava.

Continuous movement is the most important aspect of this class- you are simply not given time to relax between exercises. So you switch from doing push-ups to jumping over hurdles, lifting weights, doing lunges, squats, crunches or jogging, all within a span of a few minutes, even seconds. All this is accompanied by fast energetic music to help you stay pumped. Often the class is divided into teams that then compete with each other to see who can finish the exercises in record time. “This work-out is very intense so you burn up to 400 calories per session. Plus, you work every single part of your body. It’s perfect for people who want to feel sweaty and tired after a great session and be assured they’ve had a strenuous workout,” sums up Bhargava.

Ms. Madhuri Dixit Nene :

Shalini is truly an excellent trainer. She is the perfect combination of tough and soft, She is skilled, thoughtful, sensible, and a pleasure to work with and talk to. She knows just how and when to encourage and when to push, and when to take a step back. Owing to her combination of diverse training methods, individualized exercise programs challenging yet achievable goal setting, a simple to follow diet plan and personal efforts, I am stronger and more flexible, I have better balance and endurance and most importantly, working out has become fun.

Dr. Shri Ram Nene :

Knowledgeable, Competent, Professional and Dedicated are what I would say for Shalini. She is quick in understanding individual goals and hence forth providing advice and varied programs. She uses a holistic approach, incorporating flexibility, strength, posture, balance, endurance along with promoting a healthy eating regime. She is encouraging without being “soft” and a great motivator. Most importantly – she ensures that the moves are done correctly and reinforces how it will benefit . Her professionalism, extensive knowledge and enthusiastic commitment to her work and ultimately her clients, provides the perfect scenario for success and sets foundations for a new healthier lifestyle! Highly recommendable!!!

Dr Dimple Shah :

I joined JG`s gym for ante-natal exercise and probably this was one of the best decision during pregnancy. Anupa, my trainer, exactly knows the regime a pregnant woman needs to follow. Her exercises kept me fresh through the day and my fitness improved post joining the class. She is very attentive and motivated me on days I felt tardy. Her flexibility with timing allowed me to go to gym when I was in comfortable doing exercise - this is a serious plus during pregnancy. Thanks a lot Anupa!

Dr Gitanjali :

JGs is a fantastic gym and work out centre.It`s is not only clean and hygienic , it`s ambience is very inducive for a good workout. The trainers are friendly and very motivating. In addition , there are a variety of group workouts which make it all the more interesting and I`m never bored working out. It`s been 3 years and am still going strong. I have not only attained my desired weight but I have also become physically stronger , energetic and well toned. This has really boosted my self confidence especially when I have to dress up.

Dr. Sanjay Sharma :
Director Asian Cancer InstituteProf. Surgical Oncology Lilavati & Bombay Hospital, Mumbai

JGS is heaven on earth for all fitness lowers and motivates those who desire to do so. This Centre and its management provides such an unbelievable environment which gives so much positive energy & makes you addicted to stay there longer.

It has meaningful, wonderful, newer equipment and above all class very professional, helpful trainers who guide you to do targeted, correct energizing newer exercise regime which no gym that I have visited in India and abroad provides.

I have myself got absolutely fit increasing my lean weight, shedding my flab which I never achieved in previous stints at other places, this in spite of my spending limited time here due to my busy professional schedules, this improved fitness has allowed me to concentrate more on my longer surgeries without getting tired.

I would strongly recommend everyone to stay fit & happy, please join JGS.

Dr. Priti Modi :

10 years and still going strong! My journey has been of a person who prior to 2006 did anything besides exercise to lose weight, to a person who wants to exercise everyday to kickstart a healthier day, for a healthier life. My sister in law, Reshma pushed me to join (thanks to a free 1-month trial coupon) and the JGs team members ensured that it becomes a part of my life. All the trainers are superb at JGs but my major experience has been with Anupa, Shalini, Sangeeta and Vijendra. Shalini has ensured that her dedication to fitness has rubbed off on all her team members. Each one of them is as dedicated and as strict as her in ensuring that we are regular and give our best while exercising. I always share with my family and friends that I just need to reach the gym, after that the trainers ensure I give my best. JGs has also been hugely instrumental in transforming my son, Nihar, from a chubby kid to a 20 year old with 6 pack abs. Thanks Shalini and team JGs, super job, well done, keep it up.

Rohan N Gajjar, Tennis Player :

“Very Good facilities and equipment with expert trainers.Friendly and fun environment to work out in”

Sneha Jaisingh :

I have been regular at JG’S for the past 2 years. Whether it’s the Group X or the gym, they offer something to suit everyone. The energy of the trainers is absolutely infectious. You wouldn’t want to miss a day at the gym because Shalini and the team have a way of getting you addicted to workout and a healthy life.

Sandeep Soparrkar, Choreographer :

'JGS is a gym for complete health & fitness activity. Their friendly trainers guide you at every step and help you fix a healthy goal. I am really happy to be a part of JGS and recommend it to people who are looking for serious fitness'

Gopi Kukde, Advertising Guru :

"A gym is a gym. But JG's is different. It got something that makes people comfortable. More than ten years of my association with JG's says it all!"

Kishori Kukde, Advertising Guru :

" The systematic, rhythmic and thoughtfully designed workout; is what I love about JGs. The atmosphere there is kind of "feel at home". I have been a member of JGs for more than 10 years and even today I have same enthusiasm towards JGs. The credit goes entirely to JGs for it`s 360° wholesome Fitness programs.