Fitness trainer to the star - in other words, he is the one who helps Bollywood celebrities keep looking as great as they do on screen. Himself a fitness enthusiast, he started the luxe Body Sculptor gym in Mumbai in 2003 and there has been no looking back. The Telegraph online Edugraph got into a candid chat with Prashant Sawant to bring aspiring fitness trainers an insider insight into what it takes to make it as a fitness trainer.
1. Tell us what made you decide to be a fitness trainer? How did your journey start?
When I started, fitness was my passion and I wanted to build my body and be in shape and I started it as a part time job. But slowly, I witnessed people reacting to my work out process. All This made me think that maybe it's a good career to choose. I started with a mere 2.5k salary per month. However, when I started getting more clients and more money, I decided that rather than working for somebody, I should open my own gym and make more money myself.
2.What are your insights about the fitness industry in 2022 and what does a full time career in the field look like today?
The fitness industry in 2022 has become a part of everyone’s life. I believe everyone wants to understand how the human body functions and the overall approach has become more scientific since the Covid-19 pandemic - people understood how important workout and breathing is to remain healthy. So, the health industry in 2022 has become more of a niche product, more necessity than luxury. I think if somebody wants to enter the industry today, its a great career pathway because the industry is growing at a higher rate than ever before. However, anyone entering the industry should understand that learning about the human body and its physiology is very important and in the long run, this commitment is what will bring you recognition.
3. You say that people’s approach to health and fitness became more scientific during the pandemic. But we have also seen that as cases increased, gyms were the first thing to be shut down. For a newbie then, how certain or uncertain is the field, considering the present Covid-19 situation?
In the pandemic gyms didn't have a very good time all over the world. But I don't think this will continue in the same way for long. Nowadays more people are enrolling at gyms, even people who have never tried a single workout in their life. So, gyms in the near future would be like theatres, people will still come. Furthermore, online training is another fast-growing option. For instance, I started my online training some 8-9 years back and at that time the number of queries I used to get was quite low when compared with the situation now.. So, people have taken that route now and hence the industry is bound to grow.
Prashant Sawant provides one to one personalised solutions to fitness savvy individuals Source: Prashant Sawant
4. But you have carefully built up your experience and reputation in the pre-pandemic world. What about a newbie wanting to enter the industry at this stage. How can he/she establish themselves?
See, I believe if anybody wants to be a trainer, the first thing they need is passion and the second thing is the willingness to work on their own body. Moreover, they have to pursue a very good course to educate themselves about fitness and they have to work somewhere to get hands on experience of dealing with clients and their requirements.Another thing is that they have to understand that it may not start with a good salary.
But in today’s time social media has become a very good platform. People have started doing their own videos and they are approaching clients in that way as well. So if your technique, knowledge and strategy is good and your clients are getting the results, then undoubtedly you can do well in the field. After all, more people will know about you through word of mouth.
5. You highlighted the importance of educating oneself about fitness. What is your advice to newbies about staying up to date?
I have been in this industry for more than 25 years now, and once one starts understanding the human body and which muscle is connected to what and how does a combination of exercises work, there is no looking back. However, as a fitness professional, you will have to keep learning everyday. And that excitement keeps me going as I am passionate about it. There are of course a lot of articles and other sources of knowledge that one needs to keep reading. This is what will allow you to keep a better grip on the field and deliver more fruitful results.
6. How do you track your client’s fitness goals? What is your style of keeping them motivated and encouraged?
I keep tracking my clients’ goals via fitness assignments. We keep conducting fitness tests at our gym to understand better where the client is at the moment. We set different goals based on our findings, a measure of their strength and how much they are able to do at the gym. I believe in measuring everything - from fat percentage to skeletal muscle mass. And I encourage my clients by sending their results and reports to them.
Prashant Sawant following his regular fitness schedule Source: Prashant Sawant
7. But what about a client who finds it difficult to stick to the goals. Do you have a different strategy to motivate them?
I keep sending them old pictures, and motivational messages. I talk to them. I believe in making things easier for them. When somebody is not in the mood and is giving up for the day, I try to understand their reason. At such times, I have even let them go and then I have seen the same people get motivated when they see the difference in how they are treated.
8. Now a bit about the actual training. How do you determine the best training program for your client?
I believe in firstly understanding their journey and where they are coming from, what and where they want to reach. A client should first train their mind before they are training their body. I have always followed the strategy of preparing my clients before they enter the field. I also start by laying out a roadmap for them so that they get comfortable with it and can pick up pace as we proceed further with each passing day.
Prashant Sawant with Varun Dhawan Source: Instagram
9. Having trained Bollywood celebrities like Varun Dhawan, Abhishek Bachan, Priyanka Chopra and Ajay Devgan. What is it like working with their schedules and lifestyles?
I understand their lifestyle and I know how to get the best out of them. So planning accordingly helps me to reach out to them and help them achieve their goals on time. I don't believe in really putting pressure on any of them. I basically plan and take a lot of responsibilities so far as their fitness is concerned, including preparing their diet charts. And steadily we meet our fitness goals as a team.
10. As far as the case of these public figures are concerned, for different films their bodies have to look different and that too in a very short span of time. How do you deal with that?
By now, I understand the camera and how they look on screen. And their workout is planned accordingly. Actually, it is more a case of strategising based on the film’s requirements to ensure that the plan works in the correct direction. It is usually a combination of things like diet, exercises and supplements.
Prashant Sawant with Shah Rukh Khan Source: Prashant Sawant
11. You gave SRK his Pathan look! Tell us a little about that…
I think for the Pathan look we had been working out for more than 3 years and it was an example of teamwork. It was a proper strength training plan which was developed and practised each day. The Pathan look is very different from any other normal individual. We gave ourselves more time, and it required more knowledge and hard work than usual.
12. What would you say is the most important thing to ensure you achieve the fitness goals for a client?
I think it's always teamwork. Whenever we train, we discuss a lot till we come to an agreement. And then I work to keep them on track with the proper workout and that's how it goes.
13. Is it difficult to keep their diet on track? What about cheat days?
I believe fitness is a lifestyle. If clients follow it like a lifestyle, where they eat right and they follow the plan, they will also enjoy the workout process more. I also don't really put a lot of pressure on them. I go a little easy on them, and that actually makes it easy for me to get results.
Prashant Sawant is well known go-to person for abs and celluloid pecs based in Mumbai Source: Prashant Sawant
14. How do you retain your clients?
With my results! I believe in respecting my clients’ comfort zone and providing them with a plan. When they see positive changes, they automatically want to continue further.
15. Lastly, what is that one tip that you would like to give to upcoming gym trainers and enthusiasts wanting to make a career as a fitness trainer?
I always advise young enthusiasts that knowledge is the key to this field. Work on your appearance and discipline. When someone is entering the field of fitness they have to be disciplined and their body has to be in great shape. They also need to have an in depth knowledge of the human body as well as an understanding of how to handle it.The psychology of the client also plays a big part in fitness. So, I think budding gym enthusiasts must also know how to support that to excel in the long run.
The fitness industry is an ever growing field with a plethora of job opportunities that await those who are interested in it. However, it is also a highly competitive space, and one that thrives on passion and commitment. But as Prashant Sawant says, if you have the passion, the dedication and the knowledge - then this is the right option for you.
Check out the top 5 skills you need to master to be a fitness trainer here