Train insane or remain same

Keshav Raina

Nishriin Parikh is an award winning fitness trainer, holds a black belt in Karate, amazing at Pilates and founder of Strength Yoga. What more? She also holds the record for being the oldest female to compete in the Asian Bodybuilding Championships in Seoul. We bring to you this amazing, 51 year old diva with 6 pack abs to disclose secrets of her fitness and more.

What inspired you to take up body building?

I wanted to do something that I have never done in my life. I have always been very fit and have been working really hard for it. So, if I sit back at home, no one will ever come to know. What’s the point? But if I step-up, so many women will get inspired. And I always believe what you give will come back to you. If I inspire women and they do well, I will also end up doing great! Therefore, I went to Delhi where a competition was happening. There we had to do a number of fitness tasks, you have to do a number of push-ups, planks, etc. There were like 6-7 fitness activities we had to do, I ended up excelling them.

So on my birthday, I stepped up on the stage and did all this. That’s how my journey started. The competition had just begun, a competition to inspire the nation towards fitness and health. I had been weight training for long time, but never thought of being a fitness model. It has been a lot of hard work and courage to do so.

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Nishriin Parikh at Indian Body Builders Federation

How does it feel to represent India at such an age?

It has truly been an honour to do so. I am really proud of myself for this. As I said I had already been weight training, but never thought of being on stage. But after my stint Delhi, I was even more confident. When I returned to Mumbai, there was a Bikini Diva happening, I decided to participate. All the contestant there were very young, probably my daughter’s age. There, I stepped up in a Bikini. I had loads of guts and confidence to step on the stage in bikini amidst all youngsters and look really nice and presentable. I am really happy to give a tough competition to all of them even at this age. Comming in the top ten proved that age is just a number. However, couldn’t manage a top 3 spot. That could be because of personality.

I am really tiny, I am not very tall plus I have short hair. Whereas a bikini body is generally stereotyped with tall girls having long hair. Also, I wasn’t that young either! So I kinda didn’t fit in that ideal bikini model image. Gosh, I was breaking so many stereotypes in one go over there. That’s how I am and I love to inspire change.

What is your daily fitness routine?

I am an early riser. At 5.30, I have the energy to run a marathon, maybe because of my diet in the evening. I do strength yoga which includes yoga along with strength training. I founded this. This is a unique concept that focuses on integrating body, breath and mind. It transforms its practitioners into strong, agile, injury free, and joyful individuals. I take a class for strength yoga at 7.30 in the morning.

Soon after that I am at gym with my trainer Tausif Kazi. He has been working hard with me over the years. He has been really helpful. Basically when I started off, I was in weight category of 56-57 kgs. With his immense dedication and my hard work, I have been able to get into this body that I have right now. I weight nearly 46-47 kilos now. But the majority of it is muscle mass. There is very little fat, about 16%. This isn’t possible easily and without proper guidance. I am greatly indebt to my trainer for all this. We do weight training for 2 hours every day.

Soon after the training ends, I rush home for some rest. It is absolutely necessary to take adequate rest after workout. This is followed by an hour long session of Pilates. After that, I again go for my strength yoga class in evening. This isn’t just a fitness routine, this is my lifestyle.

Are you able to eat everyday food or stick to a strict diet plan?

I have 6 pack abs because I have a very strict diet and fitness routine which spans for all 365 days. I am not in for competition on a particular day but I am up and ready for competition every single day.

I am off grains completely for 3 years. No roti, no rice nothing, not even substitutes like brown rice, ragi- absolutely nothing. I take only proteins, lots of fruits- vegetables and nuts. It’s very difficult to understand why should you take coconut oil in food when you can chew raw coconut? I can extract oil in my mouth by my saliva and into my body. Also with fibres and many more nutrients, it will be so much more advantage to the body. Why waste all that to have a more processed form. I prefer sookha (dry) coconut in lieu of coconut oil in my food. That’s the kind of philosophy I have for my nutrition and I am unapologetic about it.

I am a certified dietician myself. I cannot even think about foods like an oil laden samosa with all the calories and no health benefits. Everyone knows that but I don’t understand why people still eat so much unhealthy food. Just see what’s inside your food before it touches mouth. As simple as that.

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Nishriin during a workout session

What fitness idea would you share with women?

Go make yourself very powerful and fit. You are the giver, women of the house, you need to be fit. See, we have only one life, so we have to make most of each moment. You need to take care of your health and fitness.

Firstly, Eat well. Chuck those Gulab Jamuns, which will do nothing good for your health. You also know it, make a decision now. You wear best of makeup, visit parlour regularly, and cut your hair in the most recent trend. But, if you don’t have proper nutrition, will those hair last long on your head? Will they look good?

The second thing is: Go, follow a fitness routine. Women generally tend to do cardio, they are like, okay let’s book a class or just go for run. They don’t understand that Cardio workout is one part and training endurance is another part. What happens here, as we are getting old, we are losing the muscle mass. With age, we are definitely going to lose our muscles. So what is the next truthful thing to do if we think logically…build muscles!

How can you build muscles? You need weight training. However, to build muscles, you don’t really have to go to gym. But get someone who can teach you to do things correctly. Because, if you don’t do things correctly, you might end up hurting yourself, be in a lot of pain and give up. All over India, there are so many teachers. Why not have one of them?

But the problem remains, people don’t like to spend on trainers. Instead spending money on them, they prefer to spend money on buying buy shoes, bags, watches, and also to buy T shirt in which you would hardly go. Why are you wasting your money on them? Instead why don’t you invest some to get your body in shape?

I really want to make a change and encourage women to be fit. Why waste money on other things than fitness. Whatever watch you wear, rolex or any other, at the end it will only show time. Go and get in shape. Designers are forced to make loose clothes now to that unfit people can wear.

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Nishriin practising strength yoga

How do you keep yourself motivated to be fit?

I have a total fitness family, we all love fitness. My husband, Hitesh Parikh is a 4th Dan Black Belt. My two adorable children Aria and Karan – both are black belt in Taekwondo. They also love to do Gymnastics. I am also black belt in Karate. We are passionate about each other and fitness. We keep motivating each other. They are my strength, my motivation and the reason behind my passion for fitness. They are the ones who gave me guts to stand up on stage and gave a tough competition to all those youngsters out there.

What message would you like to give to people?

Train insane or remain same!

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