Rupal’s Yogasthenics. The catchy phrase I saw in a media article regarding celebrity trainers caught my interest. I emailed Rupal, the owner of Rupal’s Yogasthenics in Mumbai and within an hour we had decided to do an interview together. I have not yet met her in person, but she is so easy to talk to, and we chat on Whatsapp like we know each other. She trains some of the biggest names in Bollywood: Anurag Kashyap, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sharmila Tagore, Saif Ali Khan and many more. She has also trained Hollywood director of Shakespeare in Love, Penny Madden. So let’s see what this custom workout is and how Rupal her self looks like a million bucks!
- Tell us how you got into yoga and fitness and the transition into Bollywood ?
A: I was never too much into academics. When I was in school I saw my father doing yoga and how it helped him not only physically but mentally too. He introduced me to Yoga. And my mum pushed me to pursue it and said it’s the best way to channelize your energies and it was my ultimate, actually IT IS MY ULTIMATE AIM TO SEE EVERY PERSON PRACTICE YOGA AND UNDERSTAND ITS POWER. In the beginning I only practiced for myself. Later on I started training people to be teachers. Took up students. Went on a break for my wedding and again pursued yoga but this time with Functional Training. Yoga increased my performance and endurance so much. At the place where I worked out I met my first celebrity client and my all time favorite person, Anurag Kashyap. He asked me if I can train him and I readily agreed. On wards, I started training Zoya Akhtar and Harmeet Singh (Meet Bros fame) My best time was training Soha Ali Khan for Pre-Natal yoga and fitness. The results got me to Saif Ali Khan Pataudi and Kareena Kapoor Khan and then Riteish Deshmukh and Jackky Bhagnani.
And it just kept following…
2. How do you come up with “Rupal’s Yogasthenics” and what is the concept include?
A: After my wedding break, when I started training in Functional Training and yoga, the concept of calisthenics and yoga really caught my attention. It was the best thing that happened to me. The results for most cases became quicker and I started researching more on the subject and would prepare routines of Yoga With Calisthenics which was very effective. That got me the idea of RUPAL’S YOGASTHENICS. It bridges the gap between traditional and modern fitness training. This combination assured our bodies were supple and strong both at the same time.
I strongly believe:
You have to not consume limitations, you have to be obese in commitment, you have to be lean in self-doubt and you have to develop muscle in your soul. We are not a quick fix, it is a life long journey. Nothing will come easy.”
This went perfectly well with what and how I teach.
3. What type of yoga practice do you teach and what recommendations do you have (how many days per week, type of yoga etc) for weight loss?
A: I teach multiple styles of yoga. Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, Classical modified Ashtanga yoga and last but not the least RUPALS YOGASTHENICS, my brand of workouts. I train in Kettle bell and Flexibar too. These add to the practice and are a good rehab tool for people with injuries or ones prone to injury. Yoga is a way of life. It’s done 24×7. But physically, I’d recommend yoga 5 days a week. With breaks in between for the body to recover and it also depends on the persons background in yoga and fitness.. Three things I believe in during all my practices: STRETCH, SORE, ENDURE.
4. Surya namaskars are considered to be a full body workout. I have done many sessions with instructors from the Bharat Thakur yoga practice where the warm up is 108 surya namaskars in about 18 minutes. What are your thoughts on this and should this be done daily?
A: 108 suryanamaskars can be daunting to a yoga novice. But to many celebs and fitness enthusiasts, it’s an elixir for the mind and body.
Whether it’s a novice or a seasoned yoga practitioner, what’s important is getting rest in between sets of Suryanamaskars. I do not recommend this on a daily basis. Moderation is the key. If you overdo it, your body will start acting up. I believe that Suryanamaskars are the traditional version of a Burpee in functional training. Every yoga practice should compose of all sides of stretching to benefit better. Suryanamaskars are just one part of the vast yoga practice.
5. How do you combine weight training,cardio and yoga for your clients to see Results?
A: It’s when I practiced and analyzed for a year and a half I realized it’s the deadliest combination of workouts. That’s how I came up with my brand of workouts, Rupal’s Yogasthenics. Yoga is a form of cardio, as well as weights. I modified the strength postures of yoga to weight training like how you do a weighted squat or a lunge with weights. It gives you strength, flexibility, focus, it’s a form or rehab too. Yoga and weights can be done together to call it Rupal’s Yogasthenics and sometimes separately done to maintain the purity and essence of its individuality. I do a lot of Yogasthenics exercises with both Anurag Kashyap and Saif Ali Khan. They also do both separately. To know how, you’ll have to come and workout with me 😉
6. Let’s talk Bollywood! My absolute favorite who motivates me for years now to go workout is Kareena Kapoor Khan. Tell us how she got fit with you post pregnancy ? (Specifics or a weekly training split would be great info)
A: Kareena Kapoor Khan is the most gracefully stylish and highly ambitious a woman. I’ve never known someone so down to earth in the industry. She is highly motivated. I started her training after I’m trained Soha Ali Khan for her pregnancy. And she’s truly a star in my class too. Never says never. I combined light weight training and Yoga with lots and lots of cardio/ running. I make her do yoga postures and cardio alternatively. Weights and cardio alternatively.
She does a class with me every single day and all the sessions are highly intense. But again, she never says never. She will give me a look but eventually she will do it all with equal interest and passion. An example of one of my classes with Kareena:
Start with 5 reps of Suryanamaskar A & B
I start with 3 Variations of Squats 25x4sets
Ardhachandrasana 30secs hold -1min each side x 2sets
Quick step -30 sec x 2 sets
Utkatasana (all 3 variations) 30sec hold x 1set each
Kettlebell swings single hand 30-30 each side.
Garudasana – 30 sec hold each side x 2 sets
Samasthiti – 30 sec hold once
Ekpadpashchimmottanasana- 30sec-1min hold x1 set
Quick step – 30 secs x 2 sets
Natrajasana -30sec x 1 set
Yogasthenics Variation plank setsx 10 sets
Back stretches (good spine health)
Relaxation in diaphragmatic Breathing.
7. The ever graceful Sharmila Tagore is a client of yours. Given her age, what type of routine do you do for her and what benefits does that give her ?
A: Sharmila Aunty has only been as graceful by the age. I do a lot of stretching keeping in mind limitations and a tad bit of strength training that’s required to maintain the required amount of muscles in the body. I do sukshma vyayam with her. The idea is maintaining functional independence. A regular workout that includes strength and balance and flexibility definitely helps achieving that. To work out every day for 30-45 mins is what I aim for her when she’s in town and when we workout together.
8. Saif Ali Khan gained weight for the Netflix drama Sacred Games. Now he has an upcoming film Kaptaan which he has to lose weight for. As a male in his 40s how did he achieve that with you? How did you manage his outdoor schedules ?
A: Yes, he totally did! You will see that in his upcoming movie. We started training when he was halfway through the movie Kaptaan. As a male in his 40s his dedication, discipline and patience was very much required. He was very enthusiastic the first time we met to train. He trained every single day with me. We did tons of yoga postures and stretches. He made sure to do cardio every day and strength training every alternate day in the beginning.
I was traveling with him for his outdoor schedules and we would train twice a day and go for runs on his free days in between. I would go on sets too. He has outdone himself with his dedication and time management and motivates me to do more.
9. Every workout plan comes with diet as the main ingredient. What kind of diet do your recommend your clients and does it align with the principles of yoga and Ayurveda?
A: I follow the traditional diet and suggest everyone the same. The most nutritious yet cheap and the most simple yet tasty food comes from Indian kitchen. There are certain food habits I follow, two of my mains are:
- A tsp if ghee and oil is a must every day.
- Reduce the five whites in your diet; Sugar, Salt, Maida (White flour), White rice (Use brown rice instead), Milk.
- Have a minimum 8 glasses of water each day
- Consume 6-8 small meals instead of 4 large meals every day
Yoga and Ayurveda go hand in hand. We do follow that in the yogic Sattvic diet.
Some commoners like eat only seasonal fruits and vegetables, consume your last meal three hours before you go to bed etc.
10.What is your personal workout and diet plan that makes you so fit and balanced?
A: This is the nth time I’m asked this question.
My workouts are a variety of forms. I do my Rupal’s Yogasthenics Workouts and combine it every day with a 5km run in the nights... I’m also a flexi-bar and Kettlebell trainer. I have trained in Crossfit. I enjoy the best of both or you can say all worlds 😉
I never ever skip my yoga practice each time I do any form of workout. I suffer from sciatica so I do a lot of strengthening and stretching. When it comes to diet….
I eat everything from my kitchen and outside I indulge once a while in my favorite roadside Paani Puris and Pav Bhaji, you can call that my cheat meal.
I definitely watch my food when I’m at home.
I start my morning with a glass of water(sometimes warm) and a fruit or a soup and fennel tea.
Mid morning I have a nice Gujarati breakfast with Green tea or dry fruit tea or lemon tea. Late morning a juice or Coconut water. I carry lunch that consists of A portion of vegetable curry and rice and a portion of salad. Evening snacks consist of sandwiches, sometimes seasonal fruits. Dinner is salad or soup, and if I’m too hungry lentil curry Khichdi.
Well folks, how empowering was that? Yoga and Weight training combined is a way of life and Rupal definitely can get you to a whole new world!
To learn more about Rupal’s Yogasthenics Workouts visit:
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!
As many of you already know, I am training for a 10K and am trying to stay on the straight and narrow for that. The run is coming up in 2 weeks and a couple days now.
I noticed some interesting things in my training the last few weeks. Last month, I got to a point where I seriously had noticed some results and feeling fit and toned. Then came a couple down weeks and last week I started training and eating better. However, I ended up trying something different than the past weeks. ..just because of how I felt (in other words, I had not really planned how I was going to complete my workouts, just that I would complete a workout daily). And I feel this new way of training did not help me much….even though I did more days…it did not feel as effective. I had a pretty social week last week.
So, let me talk about the 2 slightly different ways I did the workouts. Work out 1 is the one I felt did me more justice (and I had more fun I think with that one):
Original Intention for the week: The weekly goal was to get in 5 days of working out a week, including Yoga, Strength training, 2-3 running sessions in varied mileage, cardio 5 days a week for at least 35-40 minutes. And BANG on with my diet chart (outlined in my earlier post).
What really happened?: I ended up doing only about 4 days due to soreness+ 1 day just walking, but the workouts seemed more intense (not sure if they really were more intense or not). Here is what I did:
2 strength training workouts with my trainer (about 30-40 min) and then 45 min of the elliptical at a medium to low resistance
Couple yoga workouts to ease the mind (Hot vinyasa or ashtanga yoga)
Cardio Days: I did 1-2 classes at the gym that were intense like Cardio Kickboxing and Triple Cardio (which ended up including body weight exercises too). Those were 60 minutes. I also went for a couple walks in the evening, which included a lot of steep hills and flat ground. (that ranged from 60-75 min).
I only got in about 2 days of running, if not just one day. (ranging from 30-50 minutes) and then stretched.
Average workout time/day (not including my walks): 75-80 minutes.
Original Intention for the week: Get in 6 days of working out for the week, not necessarily care about yoga. Strength, running.
What really happened?: I did 6 days of gym, but I was not very sore until probably day 5. That was when I started feeling maybe I was not doing as much, but I convinced myself it was OK because I was going to complete 3 runs. I did indeed complete 3 runs.( 2 miles, 3.5 miles, 4.5 miles), which was different. But then I was starving and craving food at night at the wrong times! Of course the more you run, the more your metabolism boosts needing more calories, which is fine, but it was getting me to crave wrong foods.
2 strength training workouts and 1 reformer Pilates session(about 30-40 min) : no cardio on these days at all
Cardio Days: I only did 3 days of cardio, all running days. And it got somewhat stressful on my knees and joints.
Average workout time/day (not including my walks): 40-45 minutes.
So at the end of the week after Workout 2, I didn’t feel like I had made any progress by working out 6 days a week of moderate intensity workouts. I think this is a great example of how individual body types and structures respond to different types of workouts. I experimented a little and figured out what is best and what is working for me. That and some mental determination in eating healthy, clean food most of the time.
So this week, I will go back to trying out Option 1. However, due to my 10K being SOO close, Rashi and Kim (my trainer, who gives me stuff for the road) have asked me to cut down on sugar, alchohol and processed foods and ensure I get my workouts. My stamina has definitely increased.
My longest run this week is supposed to be 5 miles, but I think I will do 5.25-5.5 miles if possible. This will get me ready to run 6 miles next week so when I do the 10K, I have been pretty close to having done one.
Rashi got me onto a new diet chart for the next 2 weeks, including my weekend home options and also the options for on the road (I have gotten a request to detail out how to find the right things on the road; It will be a blog topic!). This time, I gave her the liberty of almost giving me everything she wants with no input from me other than if it is do-able. Except—I refused a protein shake as my meal 1. I knew I would always try and skip that!
15 days Diet Chart:
Meal 1 (within 10 min of rising): 12 almonds and 6 prunes (B complex and B6)
Meal 2 (10am): 1 whole avocado with salt/pepper and seasonings
Meal 3 (12:30pm): 6 Tablespoons rice + 3 cups dal (Indian lentil soup) + subzi or Cheese sandwich+ veges (Omega 3 and 6)
Meal 4: (4pm): 2 cups of steamed veggies with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (carbs)
Meal 5 (7pm, post workout): 1 scoop protein powder with water
Meal 6 (Dinner): 1 chapati (roti) + paneer or 1 slice of whole wheat bread + minestrone soup.
Bed time- Calcium Citrate
Important: Water: 3 lts/day
What am I bad at? Taking my vitamins! It is a must now. My goal for the next two weeks!
So..that is the weekly update. Next week, stay tuned for workouts and eating on the road. Plus, hopefully a very special interview session.
I thank all my new followers as in the last 10 days, I have gotten a lot of new followers on my blog. Also, it looks like readers from Bahrain are really hitting the site! If you are reading this and from Bahrain, I would be very interested to know where you found my blog from and any feedback/comments.
I am very excited for the upcoming weeks, cuz as soon as the 10K is over, we will talk more about new ways of working out as I am going to kick up my running shoes for something new!
Until then…the show must go on…at the gym!
I met Rebecca when I moved to Atlanta in 2008 and joined Lifetime Fitness. My mom had already started her yoga classes and had so many praises for the way she teaches and her nutrition and yoga AND meditation techniques, I just had to meet her. At the time, I was also going through a tough time personally and was looking for ways to calm myself. I had also started researching the benefits of yoga and staying fit. And trust me, Rebecca’s classes and her advice was not just the praises I had heard from my mom and several other members at the club. Her advice on a day to day life, how to handle stresses in your life and how to really use the techniques practiced in yoga in daily life has really stayed with me. Not only a yoga teacher but she became a friend as well.
Today Rebecca will talk not only about her yoga and nutrition experience but a little secret I stumbled upon by the ways of google: Rebecca was in a fitness competition during her college years! The training and dedication it takes to compete is mind-blowing. And so my respect for Rebecca’s dedication to her craft and career grew even more. Here is one person who has gone through the trials and tribulations of getting a perfect 10 body.
Rebecca Thieneman Yoga and Nutrition professional is based out of Atlanta, GA and currently works as an instructor at Lifetime Fitness. She is also pursuing further certifications in yoga in India. To contact Rebecca, please see the end of the interview:
- What made you want to turn towards yoga and nutrition as a career option? How did all this start?
I have always been passionate about health, and believe that while there are many ways to live, the only way to thrive is by sharing your passion with the world. I took my first yoga class at 16, and studied nutrition on my own until I was able to enroll in a university and study it more formally. Throughout college I taught fitness and nutrition classes in dorms, for sororities, at the campus recreation center, in local fitness facilities, and for various events and organizations in the community. I wrote for various health and fitness publications, and I had the privilege of teaching an Undergraduate Science of Nutrition course for several semesters while I was completing my Masters degree. I have for as long as I remembered sought out ways to share my passion as often and with as many as I could.
2. Yoga is a very talked about topic for weight loss these days. Many people are confused what yoga to do when. Can you talk about some of the different types and how to incorporate them into goals such as weight loss, meditation, peace of mind, depression, bouncing back from an injury, etc?
Yoga of any kind has benefits for all of the above. There is not a single person on the planet who would not benefit from this practice. That being said, Vinyasa yoga is a very active form of yoga, great first thing in the morning or any time during the day when you need a little pick-me-up. For a practice more focused on deep stretching and relaxation, yin or restorative yoga may be more appropriate.
3. What kind of nutrition plan do you suggest to your clients? Any foods that you recommend nutritionally that are perceived as “fattening or high carb” but actually have a high nutritional value?
I recommend as many whole foods as possible. With the low-carb craze fruits are often discouraged however I encourage my clients to include them daily. I also encourage vegetarian meals whenever possible, reducing the volume of animal-based foods, and instead focusing on plant-based proteins and healthy fats such as hemp seeds, chia seeds, legumes, beans, and nuts.
4. What are your thoughts on a “yoga” diet plan? Some yogis stick to very basic foods, right? Macrobiotic?
Yogic eating does include foods that are sattvic-or pure-in nature. It also includes paying attention to how you eat. Mindful eating is a great example of how the practice of yoga can become a way of life: being in the moment, and experiencing things one bite at a time.
5. We talk a lot about women and their weight loss struggles. Let’s flip the switch for a minute and talk about men. What would you suggest to a man wanting to lose weight? What is different for them vs women?
Some common factors I have noticed when it comes to men are their eating schedules and the lack of concern they have with their food choices. Often eating is an after thought during the workday, and meals are put off until arriving home in the evening. This creates an unhealthy balance of caloric intake throughout the day. Women seem to be more concerned with food factors such as organic vs. inorganic, brands, caloric content, nutrition integrity etc. while men seem to be more driven by taste and convenience.
6. What would you suggest to a man wanting/needing to gain weight? What is a sample diet chart?
Eat, eat, and eat some more! The amount of calories needed to gain weight is as significant as the amount of calories avoided in losing weight. To get the calories in, I generally recommend 3-4 solid meals with nutritional supplements in between.
7. I came across you one day in my Google searches being in a women’s fitness competition. Can you tell us about how you decided to take that on and what type of commitment it took?
I have always enjoyed fitness. As a former dancer and marathon runner, I appreciate challenging activities that require discipline. During my freshman year of college there was a local competition that I decided to channel my long hours in the gym towards. While I didn’t expect to win, this outcome led me to compete in quite a few more advanced competitions in the years that followed. Getting your body composition into peak condition is as much about diet as it is exercise-if not more. The combination of extended training and strict eating can be exhausting at times. That being said, I think it sharpened my character, and helped me endure my college years with more ease.
8. What was a sample diet you had to follow for a day and how many months did you stick to this?
Generally, the diet I followed was very calculated. When it came to carbohydrates, I focused on minimal sugar intake, though I did eat low glycemic fruits and natural sugars until several weeks out of the competition. Other common carbs were brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, non-starchy vegetables of all kinds, and whole grain cereal. I also prioritized lean proteins and avoided condiments, and processed foods of all kinds as much as possible.
9. What was the workout plan like for the week training for the competition?
First thing in the morning on most days I would do low-intensity cardio for an extended duration. Later in the day I would do high volume weight training, a short bout of high-intensity cardio, and have routine practice.
10. Can you suggest a sample plan for anyone wanting to lose weight? Does working out 3 hours a day help?
When it comes to nutrition, I suggest focusing not just on calories but the volume-the actual space-the food fills. There is evidence that volume contributes to satiety, the feeling of fullness and satisfaction. This means non-starchy veggies, fruits, and naturally high-fiber foods top the list. Protein is another nutrient that can help you feel fuller for longer, and also requires more metabolic energy to digest. Including a vegetable and/or fruit at every meal along with a lean form of protein is key. I also recommend using an online food journal such as thedailyplate.com, sparkpeople.com, myfitnesspal.com, etc. to keep track. The additional accountability and awareness this activity can provide makes a significant impact.
11. Tell us about what you do to keep fit and healthy?
I practice yoga daily, and run 3-4 days per week. I follow a vegetarian diet and always keep an open mind towards new foods and new types of physical activities.
Rebecca Thieneman: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100002418570752