Royal Ballet Company to Bollywood’s Boot camp Master: Cindy Jourdain talks about dance, fitness and Bollywood!
Ballet. Muay Thai. Functional Training. HIIT…you name it, its all at Cindy’s Boot camp gym in Mumbai, India.
I have been following Cindy’s Instagram posts for a few months now and loved each and every workout she posted. I even borrowed some of her moves to incorporate in my routine.
When curiosity killed the cat, I did some research on this expat who was toning some of the hottest women in India….and I found another surprise.
Cindy is a ballet dancer who used to dance for the Royal Ballet Company for many years. A dancer–and as many of you know, dancing is my passion. I wondered..how did she get from a prima ballerina to a fitness coach…From Europe to India?
So I sent her a quick note asking her if she would be open to doing an interview. Within a day she and I had connected and in less than a week, she had responded to all my questions whole heatedly.
Please join me in getting to know the very talented Cindy Jourdain:
1. Tell us how you got to Mumbai from Europe and what inspired you to open Cindy’s Boot camp?
Katrina Kaif is the one who flew me over From London to Mumbai to look after her fitness regime. Mumbai was never on the map but I’m very grateful to Katrina for the opportunity it gave me. Cindy’s Bootcamp started materializing in my head after about one year of being one and off in Mumbai. I immersed myself in the culture as much as possible and did some thorough market research before taking the plunge and settling here full time.
2. Your background in dance, theater, direction and fitness is impressive! How do you incorporate all these artistic forms into being a trainer and the owner of a boot camp that is so popular now in Mumbai? What exercises do you recommend that is inspired from all these forms into your current routine?
My background has forged a very strong personality, it is my credibility and what makes me different from everyone else here.
I wanted to be true to myself and use the experiences I had as an athlete, a performer and a woman to create something unique that made complete sense to me instead of joining another renowned fitness establishment for example. I’m likely to recommend sequences of movement just like a choreography in dance or flow in yoga, it’s the grounded seamless and yet powerful quality I’m after most of the time.
3. What type of routines did you have when you were in ballet? Being a professional ballerina requires hours of training and a special diet from what we have known from movies like black swan or reading up on it. Tell us about your routines in diet and training during that time.
Ballet is an incredibly demanding profession. There’s no in between. It’s all heart and sacrifice. That’s how I was brought up through the professional ballet schooling system even if I feel I grew up quite a balanced young woman with a real need for normality and a strong outside life.
A typical day for a professional ballerina with the Royal Ballet Company is ballet class in the morning for 1h30 to prep your body for the rest of the day and continuously work on your technique. The afternoon can have 2 to 3 rehearsals scheduled depending on the productions and the roles you are dancing. These rehearsals can be 1,2,3 hours plus….. Then it’s shower & make up time for the show usually at 7.30pm, you try and fit some food somewhere in the middle but everyday is go go go really and soon enough food takes a back seat if you’re not careful! The show comes down at 10.30pm and it’s late before you’re home. I have done these days over and over again for 15 years professionally. There’s no time for much but ballet! When it comes to ultimate health and being able to avoid injuries as well as sustaining a lean yet strong physique it’s a fine balance really, the truth is there’s very little recovery time or extra time for a good strength and conditioning program (which is always prescribed in sports for athletes along with their specific training), ballerinas also can’t rehearse on a full stomach, there’s a lot of snacking involved and most of us really end up over training! Is it healthy in the long run probably not but the body adapts and the mind conquers so…I think there’s much more awareness now though and both artists and management are trying to make the right choices when it comes to schedule, fuel, recovery and training
4. Today, strength and fitness is coming before weight loss and looking painfully thin. If someone has limited strength and wants to get to being able to do a pullup or gain strength, how does one even start? Any specific recommendations on a weekly routine? Does this vary for men and women? How long would it take?
I’m glad it’s going this way even if I’m pretty sure we’ll see the skinny frame back into fashion soon with the same industries backing it up, It’s the way the cookie crumbles, the world is after constant recycling of the same thing repackaged differently, redesigned, revamped, re branded, you get my point. I never give generic advice in interviews, there isn’t one person the same but what I will say is that everyone can get their first pull up or back squat their own body weight if that’s what their goal is. You start by identifying your weaknesses and addressing your bad lifestyle habits then you put a plan together which has to be thought through with the person responsible for the plan and implemented until the end.
5. You have some popular faces coming to your boot camp classes in all ranges of age. The current talk of town Sara Ali Khan (Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s’s daughter making her debut shortly) has lost lots of weight and is a regular at your classes. How did she do it and how did you train her to lose all the extra weight to become fabulously fit? Any specific routines and eating plan she followed?
Sara joined the classes recently and enjoyed the group atmosphere. She was eager to do well in class but the weight loss is a result of what she did before she joined so you would have to ask her that question. At the camp I saw an improvement in her mental focus, her form and general conditioning. The celebs or top influencers who join my classes let go of their profile as soon as they step through the door for that hour and train hard just like me, just like you.
6. What type of diet do you recommend your celebrity or normal clients? The bootcamp classes are quite taxing on ones body…can you give a sample meal plan you recommend in India for vegetarians?
One diet never fits all. The idea is to find nutritious food that suit people’s body and an eating plan that fits their lifestyle. After my classes people have to rehydrate and make sure that fuel gets back in. There’s a recovery day in between classes and I talk about anti inflammatory food often to contribute towards optimal health. India has a lot of superfoods and Ayurvedic herbal remedies available such as wheatgrass, chia seeds, flaxseeds, moranga & triphala powder to name a few which are really soothing to the body and packed with anti oxidants, raw proteins, essential vitamins and minerals suitable for both veg& non veg. Grains and pulses such as Dahl, beans & quinoa for example contain a decent amount of proteins and will suit vegetarian requirements however it’s more macro ratio, quality, quantity, timing & frequency that will make a difference when it comes to fuelling for training
7. What is something you personally have learned and have achieved since moving to Mumbai from Europe? Has the way you eat changed since you are in India now and a fitness instructor vs a ballerina?
I’ve learned to be more patient, I’ve learned to be more present and in the moment, I know that I can survive and thrive on my own anywhere in the world and that’s a big one for me!
Regarding my own diet since changing industry and moving to India, I tend to eat more healthy fat and less refined carbohydrates. I stay away from dishes full of sauces and try and stick to my mind & body beautiful mantra as much as possible which involve sleeping 8hours, drinking plenty of water, staying away as much as possible from wheat & dairy, alcohol, no caffeine & no nicotine.
There you go folks…a winning combination of art and fitness along with the determination to be the best. I definitely learned a lot from her and will be in her class on my next trip to Mumbai for sure;-) See a taste of her class here:
For more information on training with Cindy, see her details below:
He is known through India as Katrina Kaif’s trainer. The man who changed the body of one of the sexiest women in India also has a gym in England, trains his clients there and has time to be with Katrina Kaif 24/7.
He recently also took care of the fitness needs of the entire Dream Team Tour in the USA. In an extremely candid interview on the most natural way to train your body, how to view fitness, and all things Katrina Kaif, Reza Katani talks to me on Christmas Eve to gear everyone up for their 2017 resolutions! Please listen to the audio interview in the link below:
Further details on Reza Katani: