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:
Many of you know I have been traveling for weeks away from home, eating out and staying in hotels. This can take a toll on the health, the diet and the waistline. It is so easy to give in to a moment of being on the high of being in a different place, on an expense account and amongst colleagues who love to eat nice meals. I have been there the last couple months. But if you want to preserve your healthy mind and body, you have to have the discipline to pick and choose the best you can. This series will chronicle different aspects of how I do this whilst on the road. I have had years of practice and a lot of help to be able to do this. I still have a lot of nutritional guidance.
Here I am now, in Europe, a vegetarian and trust me, it is not always easy (this week is already difficult and its only been a day or two!). My first step is always to have a plan. Start with planning out your meals. I know how to pick and choose on a menu the best thing I can eat, but in certain places, its been difficult when the salads are not the loaded American salads, but a plate of lettuce and tomatoes with a block of cheese. Not ideal to fill the stomach. So, for me, I am lucky to have a nutritionist friend who plans my diet charts keeping the location in mind. One thing I am still learning and coming to terms with is: to lose fat, you must eat fat. The right kind. Through the next 30 days, join me in learning how to pick the right foods off a menu, how to plan your meals and how can you workout during the long days of working and socializing.
If you have your own tricks, please do share with me! I always want to learn new things…one thing I refuse is to starve. I need to eat or I cannot function. Or sleep. I will be posting my favorite go-to snacks and meals int he different countries I visit; my favorite workouts and how I fail and pick myself back up. It is never easy, but for me..the first step is planning out that I eat well. 80% of the battle is food. 20% is working out. Stay tuned for videos, posts, tips and lots of fun in the coming days and weeks! I may not write posts every day but follow me on instagram: reshie2000 and you will see some of my fitness tricks I have been using to keep wellness on the top of my priority. With that, I say in German: Guten Tag!
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:
I met Kristen at the gym I workout in, Lifetime Fitness in Johns Creek, GA. My old trainer pointed her out to me telling me she competes in national level competitions. I was intrigued since then. I had a few training sessions with her and was so impressed with eh way she pushed me and kept the training sessions fun yet functional. My travel schedule didn’t allow me to have a proper routine with her but my curiosity increased on how she works all day and finds time to compete in national level competitions and how she pushes herself to do her best time after time. I was so thrilled when she readily agreed to do the interview for my blog! Please be super inspired like me of Kristen’s journey and advice on fitness:
- What motivated you to take part in the national level competitions and how have you progressed over the years?
I grew up in a very athletic family and that has always been a way of life since I can remember. Over the years I’ve done just about every sport, but have been drawn to endurance sports for the last 17 years, specifically running until an injury at 31. I started cycling since the run injury needed 6 months lay off to heal. My brother and father do triathlon and encouraged me to pick up the sport since I was cycling and soon would be running again. My first year competing I was 32 and did very well on a regional level so I hired a coach after my first year and I’ve seen nothing but progress over the past 7 years. As a fitness professional I understand the importance of having a smart progression plan. Even moreso a knowledgable coach who can see things you as an athlete cannot or will not. I also love the idea of having to perfect 3 sports. I’m never bored and LOVE the challenge each training session brings.
2. What specifically goes behind training for the different competitions? Specifically, what changes in your diet (example plan?), training regimen and how you handle doing this around daily lifestyles (does this change during training periods?)
The difference between someone who is just getting in shape for general fitness versus a competative athlete is quite different. Our annual training plan is based on when we peak for our “A” race(s). usually you can be in top form about 1-2 times a year. Doesn’t mean you cannot perform well in other races, but to be in peak shape, the training plan is quite intense and there’s a lot of volume, especially the longer the distance. First and foremost, I eat from the ground 90% of the time. I do enjoy chocolate and my wine, but I keep it in moderation. My nutrition cycles around my training regiem. At the end of the day, it’s important to be metabolically efficient and organic in my approach to food. Metabolic Efficiency is paramount for anyone who is looking to improve the way their body functions, competative or not.
As I stated earlier, I am a fitness professional so I am on my feet a lot during the day. Finding a coach who understood my lifestyle was huge because your training is only going to be benefitial if you recover properly from it. Finding that balance between work, training, and performing to my abilities took a few years and several coaches till I found what worked. Most weeks I’m training 8-10 hours a week, but when I start building towards my “A” race, it can increase to upwards of 13-15 hours a week. And the intensity also increases. The only change I make to my diet is I add more food as the duration, volume, and intensity goes up to make sure I’m not starving my body.
3. Once you have seen your ranking in a particular race, how do you change your training plans to place higher in the next set of competitions?
I don’t know my final rankings until the season is over. I don’t really focus on that as the end goal because that can really take away from the reason I got into this sport to begin with; to have fun. My main focus each race is to do the best I can. If I get a personal record and I place 20th, I’m stoked. My moto going into every race is this: You are already in a world of pain so dig deeper into the well and goin after a reward.
4. How does one start from a novice to even begin thinking of doing a trialthon and/or a national level race?
Anyone can do a triathlon. I think there is a misconception about the sport since most media coverage only shows Ironman which is the longest distance. But a sprint distance takes around 60-90 minutes. My recommendation is to hire a coach. Get a good training plan set and then you can work on your weaknesses should you find yourself wanting to grow into the sport. And age isn’t a limiter. My father is 66 and does them.
5. What kind of strength training do you do to keep stamina and strength for these races?
This is an excellent question that I think a lot of endurance athletes don’t take serious enough. It plays a big part. In endurance sports, you are doing 1000’s of repetitions so it’s very important the the core and stabilizing muscles are strong and flexibilty good. Without that, you run a higher risk of injury. Each year I’ve tried different forms of strength training to see how my body responds. This year, I found that a mix of pilates, yoga, and weights worked magic. Beyond that I would say the resistance training I have in my cardio workouts preps me for the type of race I do. So, for instance, if it’s a hilly bike course, I might add in lower gearing workouts or go ride hilly courses to build my leg strength.
6. You are one of the best personal trainers keeping your clients engaged with different exercises to build strength and lose weight or gain muscle. What are your top favorite routines that are different from the norm of going into a gym and just lifting weights?
Thank you, that’s very kind of you to say. I don’t necessarily have a favorite per say. I follow NASM guidelines for progression, but it’s all based on the body I’m working with. I am very passionate about what I do so I like the challenge of working with all ages, genders, special needs, people with past/present injuries, etc. If the person is motivated, I’m going to do my part as a professional to help them reach their goals. And when that happens, help them identify new goals to keep them going.
7.What is the next goal for you? Olympics?
The next goal is prepping for Age Group Worlds for 2017. I am also really considering doing Off Road Triathlon next season. I’ll keep doing this sport until I loose interest. I hope that never happens, but if it does, you’ll still see me somewhere in the fitness relm.
I have thought a lot in the last few weeks, and I feel like I have hit some sort of mental stagnation with my food. So, I messaged my ever so favorite dietician who I have been faithful to for years now, Rashi, and we came up with a mutual agreement of letting me handle my own diet charts (after all, I am an expert now!) for a certain time period. I also need to create a long term goal (i.e. want to get down to say 19% fat) and get as far as I can, then have her help me get to that extra last bit.
So, the first step to that is starting on a proper self created diet plan. Now, this is more fun than I thought. But, I am a person of structure, and I need a plan, so I have to create one on paper and stick to it. What is motivating me is that I now also have my own clients who I am helping through THEIR journey of eating well, getting more energy through a proper diet, and losing inches and weight. Now, if I am doing that for others, then why not myself!?
I thought about my schedule for the next one week, and realized being at home had its advantages..and so does being on the road. I always go back to Rujuta’s philosophy “Think global, eat local”. So I thought of the summer season, where I would be and what my surroundings will be. For example, at home, I should eat the fruits of the season, the veggies cooked Indian style that I had growing up, the breakfasts I was used to growing up, etc.
While I am in NYC, I can skip the traditional NY style pizzas and go with the fresh summer soups, summer salads, plain cold yoghurt, fresh peanuts on the street, and all kinds of organic foods without missing out on the NY experience.
When I am in Illinois, then I do the basics which the Midwest provides for vegetarians : Cheese sandwiches, bean and guacamole bowls, tofu stir fry,sushi etc.
So, I will be posting my own plans (these are specifically catered towards MY body type, my metabolism and my schedule and goals) that I have created on a weekly basis.
My plan this week will be:
(within 10 mins of rising)9:00 am Handful peanuts and B complex and B6
Baked beans and slice of bread
Hummus + veggies or daal and veggies Flaxseed
2:30pm Bowl of fruit mixed with yogurt
430pm Slice of cheese
630pm 1 banana and soy milk (post workout)
Evening primrose oil
830 pm Grilled paneer and daal
Paneer chaat salad
I can basically make this plan work wherever I am. and I know I can stick to it. I don’t plan to go nuts working out this week much because I have a very hectic week coming up. The workouts will be sporadic (not non existent) and will start consistently next Monday (Aug 12).