Kudix Mug Holder of the MonthSix pack—beer or abs, both work for this guy. Say hello to Nikhil!

At Toit, our customers have always been our primary focus. They’re the ones who bring life to the place, create memories and end up giving the place its familiar, friendly vibe.

And there are so many different kinds of people who come through our doors daily, that we wanted to get to know their stories.

The Kudix Mug Holder of the Month is our little way of celebrating our customers, and their unique stories.

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Say hello to Nikhil, our Mug Holder of the Month, whose passion for fitness is rivalled only by his passion for beer. Sort of.

We ask this of every Mug Holder—why do you think you were selected?

My hangover explains it right? *laughs*

I love the beer here.

Are you here really often?

Yeah! Almost twice a week at least.

Are you from Bangalore?

I’ve been here for the last ten years. Before that I was in Hyderabad and Mumbai.

What do you do?

I manage a couple of gyms. I run two Gold’s Gyms. One is on Old Madras road and one is on Richmond road.

Have you always been a part of the fitness industry?

Actually, I started out with the physical fitness industry and then landed back in this industry.

In between, I worked in a corporate company, in tactical operations. I managed a lot of Six Sigma projects…

What happened in between?

In between, I worked in a corporate company, in tactical operations. I managed a lot of Six Sigma projects and it was the same old corporate job. I used to handle the scheduling of some 35,000 people and it was pretty hectic.

But it wasn’t something I could connect with—I’ve been a sportsperson from my childhood. I was involved with a lot of athletic events. Plus, I was a national level basketball player.

So, I started in the fitness industry as a sportsperson, but professionally I started with a very low profile job.

I was an office boy, then I became a salesperson, then I became trainer, and then I became a manager.

I switched domains because I got a management opportunity in the field of fitness, and from a bigger brand.

But what made you switch out of fitness in the first place and do a corporate job?

Sometimes we have to keep our parents happy. *laughs*
I started working straight after school.

A major chunk of my education was done in Kerala, Delhi and Indore.

Tell us a little more about sports in your life.

It’s a long story! Alright.

My father and one of his five brothers’ played for the Ranji Trophy. They were both cricket players. So, I have been playing cricket from before I can even remember.

I was also into athletics because the sports gene follows, right? I was in 6th standard when I got selected for nationals training.

I was an office boy, then I became a salesperson, then I became trainer, and then I became a manager.

This was for cricket?

Yes, for cricket. I used to play with a lot more senior people. But there was a lot of politics. Two-three years of professional cricket and I left that.

I couldn’t get into any of the teams and stuff like that. So I started playing basketball instead. And I got good at it quickly. It suited my temperament better, more than cricket.

During the time I was playing my districts, I used to be very underweight. Because of all the practice.
Morning, 5 am -7 am we had drills—running, climbing rope, tricep pushdowns. A lot of workout in the morning.

Then, I was the Sports Captain in my school, so I would sign in and be on the ground the whole day.
From there, straight to the stadium, to teach the small kids. Then, I would play myself.

My workout was 12-13 hours a day. And my coach introduced me to the gym…

My workout was 12-13 hours a day. And my coach introduced me to the gym and asked me to increase my weight so that I could play nationals.

Within three months, I increased my weight and got into nationals. So, that’s how I was introduced to the gym. I never knew it would become my profession eventually.

How long did you play basketball for before you decided to take up a corporate job?

For three years. Actually, I was living a dual life, given how it is in our country.

Everyone had to be a Doctor or an Engineer. I was pushed towards engineering, I tried to take a year off but I couldn’t clear the entrance exams. I was pretty disheartened and had a lot of fights and left my house.

I went and joined a gym in Mumbai, learned a lot over there, starting from scratch and worked my way up. My parents still wanted me to try a corporate job. They had relocated from Indore to Hyderabad.

But again, corporate life and my workout was suffering. I was losing my mindset.

Hyderabad had a good IT sector, so I gave a few interviews and got selected in one of the most prestigious companies in the world. I learnt a lot over there and got promoted twice in the first 6 months, which is very rare in such companies.

I was good at it, and I was enjoying myself. But again, corporate life and my workout was suffering. I was losing my mindset. See, fitness for me is a mindset. More than the body, it’s in the mind.

I switched to another job, which I finally quit, and I decided to go for a trek. I’ve been trekking every year from the age of 18. I got my certification from NIM and I go every year.

So I did that, stayed in the mountains for 35 days, and when I came back from the city, I had an offer from Gold’s Gym. It’s been 9 years now.

What do you enjoy the most about what you do?

Passions grow. It started with my own fitness but now it’s not the same.

Step by step, we keep learning. I started learning from different people, got different certifications, got my mind involved with nutrition, advanced physiology and anatomy. Understanding on a deeper level, basically.
I did a few lectures in colleges about sports nutrition.

And now, my passion is something different.

My passion is how I can help people learn a healthier way of life.
When clients come to me with six to seven medical problems, and five different medicines to take in a day, I design their workouts at a scientific level and they slowly come out of medicines and learn a healthier way of life.

My passion is how I can help people learn a healthier way of life.

Fitness is one of the last priorities in our country. There is a lot of satisfaction when you see a person’s doctor come and say “I never thought this could happen.” It’s amazing.

Plus, there are a lot of people who come for fertility training and diets. A large number of women are struggling with polycystic ovaries, especially in our country.

The best method is not medicine—it’s exercise and diet.

Today I see couples who have been part of the programme for 4-5 years, without any medication, conceive in a healthy way. When you see them with their child, it’s very fulfilling.

I think that’s the best part of my job.

In the last few years, there’s been a huge increase in the interest in fitness.
It’s become fashionable even. What is your take on that?

That’s nature’s way of fighting back. Somewhere people are realising that what we’re doing with our bodies is not right. Working long hours, eating wrong food, sleeping less—my own peers who were great athletes are unfit now.

Fitness is one of the last priorities in our country.

I think this drive is nature fighting back, as a response to diseases and this lifestyle. That’s where the awareness comes from. It’s become a necessity.

Young people today are very aware about their fitness and asking realistic questions. They’re not coming to the gym just to gain muscles and six-packs and impress someone. They’re there asking if their workout and practice a healthy lifestyle can help them avoid the BP or Diabetes their parents are suffering from. They see the struggle and they realise it’s not an easy life.

This change is being driven by the newer generation.

How does beer fit into this fit lifestyle?

I don’t consider alcohol unhealthy. I train hard for it. I drink beer but I don’t have a beer belly. I train hard enough to use upto 5000-6000 calories a day.
My appetite is generally the average appetite of three people.
So, I just eat for one person and drink for two! *laughs*

I don’t consider alcohol unhealthy. I train hard for it. I drink beer but I don’t have a beer belly.

But I love the culture at Toit. I’m safe over here, and I’m comfortable bringing my family here as well. You can also get your pets! When someone gets their dog, I love playing with them. My grandmother used to have 14!

What are your top three exercises?

My favourite three will remain the favourite three of all time—squat, bench and dead. And the fourth one is a combination, proper clean and press.
There is nothing like lifting raw weights on a barbell.

In conclusion—any quick fixes for people to start making immediate changes in their lives?

Fitness is a lifestyle. Not a one-day job. And it’s specific to each person.

There are some basic ground rules though, on which fitness rests. The five pillars—exercise, diet, sleep, hydration and discipline.

And fitness is a journey. Not a destination. Always.