The good conversation that Kompal Kapoor Gaur makes resonates long after that cup of coffee has been consumed. As she recalls her journey in fitness, lasting close to two decades now, the aura that she radiates is more striking than the air of confidence that she exudes. Her focus is so sharp that her flow of thoughts is not interrupted by a crying child or a loud storekeeper in Noida.
It does not take her long to express herself on two popular misconceptions. First is the belief that weight loss is the only reason for gymming. The other is that one has to give up food to achieve fitness and health goals. “It is not so much about losing weight as it is about finding oneself and knowing your own potential,” she says, clearly speaking with the benefit of first-hand experience.
She delivered twin sons 21 years ago after marriage and a shift to the National Capital Region of Delhi 23 years ago. And, she remembers that she lost all zest for life quite suddenly. Her mother suggested that it was a phase that would blow over soon, but Kompal Kapoor Gaur found no succour. “There was no life in life,” she recalls.
“It was going to be very tough to go back to pre-pregnancy weight. Marriage, motherhood happened but there was little else to look forward to,” she says. Born thin, she had not been exposed to fitness in her younger days and had no idea how to reduce. A year and a half after the twins were born, her husband Mayank Gaur suggested she join the gym with him. “It’s not my cup of tea, I told him!”
The gym was totally intimidating. The instructor also appeared disinterested in assisting her in shed post-pregnancy weight. “He told me to run on the treadmill for 15 minutes and cycle for another 15 and head home. I had no knowledge of fitness but I was wondering why he would not even ask me my background and what my goals were,” she says.
“So, from one depression, I walked into to another caused by doubts about my own communication skills,” she says. “As an advertising professional, I had been presenting to brands and talking to people and I appeared to have become tongue-tied before the instructor. The self-doubts were only growing.”
It was then that she signed up with another trainer, Maggie. “There was improvement and the myriad questions I had of her made her tell me to sign up to be a fitness instructor,” she recalls. It has been 16 years now and she has encountered success – both on the personal front, by regaining her zest for life, and on the professional front, by setting up a women-only fitness zone along the way.
“After securing the basic professional training, I started as an instructor in Noida’s Sector 15 A Club. It was on my husband’s suggestion that I started a women-only zone. We told the potential clients “Get back into your college jeans”, “Be a Super Mom”, “Feel electric all day”. The idea is to train families through women,” she says. “I felt at an elevated space when I realised that I could help others.”
“Everyone needs to find one’s own balance between working out and food,” she says, indicating that it has to be tackled smartly. “Each one is built differently and exercise has to be in keeping with their respective body shapes. This learning came from my own first experience in the gym where the trainer got me to be on the treadmill or the cycle without even a cursory conversation.
“Of course, I kept gaining knowledge over the years and understood the human body better,” she says. She completed a certification course from the American Council on Exercise and eight years ago, she attended the Asia Fitness Convention in Thailand. I met a trainer who was 60 years old and moved like the wind,” she recalls. “It got to me that age is just a number.”
Kompal Kapoor Gaur is justifiably proud that she helped her 80-year old father avoid a knee replacement surgery by getting him to exercise right. Just as she is about helping a software professional move from being someone who would not run beyond 7km to not only complete a half-marathon, but also quit smoking in the process.
She says she is blessed to have discovered that working on fitness keeps her happy, besides making her feel young. “More importantly, the aggression that was taking over my personality has vanished. I can’t be grateful enough that my workouts have helped me banish anger and aggression,” Kompal Kapoor Gaur says.
It is not as if she only preaches fitness as a way of life. She practices it herself. Well before she starts her training sessions, she finds her half hour to work out at home. “It is the me-time and there is no disturbance from anyone in the family. The 30 minutes power me through the day,” she says.
She stresses that while training for an hour is alright, how people spend the other 23 hours is important as well. “If I can help them plan and ingrain certain patterns of action to supplement that hour, I have done my bit. After all, the body is meant for movement. And we see the body beyond the mere physical with a high emotional quotient as well. Fitness is, in fact, a mind thing.”
It is in helping scores of women on their fitness journey that Kompal Kapoor Gaur finds a joy and satisfaction. With a clarity of thought and lucid expression, she makes the apparently complicated science of fitness – a combination of strength, flexibility, mobility and endurance – sound not only very simple but also fun, indeed.