Adithya Shetty has worked with actor Shah Rukh Khan as fitness trainer during the making of Bollywood blockbuster Chak De! India, and has put cricketers such as Glenn McGrath and Virender Sehwag through their paces while training the Delhi Daredevils in the first edition of the Indian Premier League in 2008. Now, as co-founder and head, sports medicine, of the 30,000 sq. ft luxury health and fitness club Zela, Shetty is aiming to use some of this learning to fashion a daily fitness programme for members. In conversation with Mint, he points out that there are no short cuts to fitness, no escaping the hard grind. But the setting and the services can be luxurious. Edited excerpts:

Customized health: Join a gym if you do not have access to a park where you can take regular walks or jog.

What is the luxury element Zela is offering? How is this compatible with fitness, which is a necessity?

We are all about a balanced life, so while we advocate hard work in staying fit, we also want people to enjoy the process and have quality facilities to unwind after a workout. So the luxury is in the form of the customized fitness regimens that we will offer to each member, professional trainers and group exercises from global specialists such as Les Mills, a New Zealand-based international brand that specialises in group fitness exercises, and accessories and fixtures, etc., for changing rooms from European brands such as Duravit and Grohe.

What kind of people should opt for memberships of health clubs?

Any urban Indian who lives the current metropolitan lifestyle and does not get enough exercise should join a health club. That is, if he cannot design a fitness programme around daily activities or use public spaces such as a park or neighbourhood playground, he must join a health club.

In what order should a person use the facilities (swimming pool, gym, sauna, spa, etc.) in a gym?

Swimming is considered an exercise by itself; therefore, a good workout. An exercise in the form of swimming or cardio or strength training, followed by a massage or spa treatment, (then) sauna and finishing off with an invigorating shower will have you set for your day. After a rigorous workout, a good massage will help you wash out the lactic acids and accumulated waste from your body and will help in minimizing injuries.

What is the optimum amount of exercise one should aim for?

Exercise is completely dependent on an individual’s fitness levels. An optimum exercise routine depends on the person’s fitness ability to handle varying workout intensities. In general, an exercise programme should last for a maximum of 45-60 minutes, three or five times a week (to) help maintain optimum fitness levels. However, this should be customized to the individual’s fitness levels to avoid overexertion. But really, more people in India have died from lack of exercise rather than from overexercise.

How does one avoid injuries in the gym?

Correct technique and form is essential to minimize gym-related injuries. Sudden increase of exercise intensity and volume from what you have been doing routinely should be avoided and a professionally designed workout will help avoid exertion and minimize injury. Never compete with anyone while working out, always remember your body is different from the others.

What are the new trends to look out for in fitness regimens?

Current and future fitness trends include equipment such as vibrating plates that help increase muscle strength, functional training, incorporation of elements of sports-specific training into general fitness training, among others. However, I belong to the school of thought that believes you need not wait for any accessories or machines to attain a good fitness programme. No doubt they add fun and make your exercise routine interesting, but in the absence of access to these, I still strongly recommend a rigorous walk or jog coupled with a few stretches and exercises such as push-ups, squats and crunches that will help maintain fitness.

What is your personal fitness regimen?

My personal fitness regime is quite simple. I work out for about 30 minutes to an hour every day and do about five-six sessions a week. Typically this includes three units of strength training focusing on two body parts and three units of cardio training. My favourite cardio activity is running on a treadmill. I would love to run in a park, but with the current state of Bangalore’s urban infrastructure, I have no choice but to use a treadmill. My flexibility training is incorporated in my warm-up and cool down.

Zela is scheduled to open in Bangalore in mid-February. Membership fees at Zela are around Rs3,000 per month. For details, call 080-65463261 or log on to

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