Neha Mohanty, our E- Sports Manager of Domyos (The Fitness Brand) was in an interview with the 25-year-old Harshitha Raviraj, an engineer from Manipal Institute of Technology. She chose to follow the path less travelled and break out from the shackles of a comfortable corporate life.
She is now a freelance Zumba Instructor and here we share her story of grit and perseverance.
Neha: Share an experience where you stepped up and fought it out?
HARSHITHA: Having been underweight and very weak for the longest time in my life, I started to notice that I barely had any energy to make it through the day. I used to have fainting spells and terrible lower back aches for a couple of years. After feeling unhealthy and frail for too long, I decided to help myself and put an end to it.
I stepped up and fought it out with the decision to start strength training through Crossfit.
Neha: Did that help you rise higher?
HARSHITHA: It definitely did. My body was exposed to a myriad of movements that it had never seen before. It was embarrassing, in the beginning, as I was barely able to lift an empty child’s bar. Undeterred, I continued, embracing the soreness and calluses with equal aplomb. I started to notice changes in my body, my shoulders and my thighs got wider. I couldn’t fit into several old pairs of jeans and my shoulders became too wide for my shirts.
For the first time in 10 years, I started to put on weight. The number on the scale increased but that was positive for me because I had never felt more healthier or stronger before. Fitness had changed my life for good.
Neha: Tell us something about yourself.
HARSHITHA: I consider myself to be a hard-working person driven by passion and dedication. Since fitness training had a huge impact in my life, I really wish to help other people in their wellness journey.
I believe that fitness is a commitment that you make to yourself and it’s a way of life rather than a passing phase or a fad.
Neha: Take us through a day in your life.
– My day begins at 06.00 am every day.
– The first thing I do is to hydrate myself.
– That is followed by a small pre-workout meal such as a banana and a slice of bread with peanut butter.
– After that, I do an hour or an hour and a half of strength training that involves different muscle groups.
– At the end of the workout, I consume a protein shake.
– My breakfast is usually scrambled eggs with 4 egg whites and salsa, 2 idlis, a fruit and a glass of milk.
– I try to dedicate some time to reading everyday, either in the morning or evening.
– Next, I quickly whip up a small salad that I consume during lunch.
– The next few hours of the day go into searching for music/routines or perfect choreographies for my Zumba classes, or circuits to perform in functional training sessions. I pull out a set number of hours on a weekly basis for this purpose.
– Next is lunch where I eat the salad that I whipped up earlier.
– Then I compile the playlist(s) to be used in the evening classes.
– I generally have a class or two to teach every day.
– After class, I consume a thick shake with fruits.
– My dinner usually comprises of a bowl of high protein salad and a small bowl of rice once I’m back home and had some time to unwind before I go to bed by 10.30 pm every day.
Neha: What gives you that strength in Zumba?
HARSHITHA: Good sleep at night (7-8 hours) is an absolute necessity. Proper rest and recovery time between classes along with fueling my body with whole and nutritious foods play an active role to keep me motivated for Zumba. Also, 3 sessions of good and calculated strength training through the week that revolves around barbell and kettlebell training gives me immense strength.
Neha: Your favourite Kettlebell exercise?
HARSHITHA: Kettlebell snatch : It’s a dynamic and explosive movement in which all your muscle groups should work in one unit.
Safe and effective execution revolves around hip strength , deep bracing of the core, engagement of several muscle groups forced together to work as a single unit.