Mandira Bedi for Vivafit

“It doesn’t matter what you do, it is important to be active.” A health and fitness icon for women all across India, Mandira Bedi shares some insights into her personal fitness regime and breaks a lot of taboos and notions that people often have about maintaining fitness.

In an advert shoot for Vivafit held earlier this year in May, Last Eleven found an occasion to have an exclusive interaction with the Bollywood star and fitness enthusiast, Mandira Bedi. Now in her late forties, Mandira is as ageless and as fit as ever. When it comes to her personal health and fitness, she does not leave any stone unturned – from working out 5-6 days a week, maintaining an ideal diet to even working out during traveling, the actress has shedded any doubts and opinions that people have about busy schedules, post-pregnancy bodies and lack of time.

Be it a beginner or a builder, Vivafit brand ambassador Mandira Bedi is a role model. To anyone who is a beginner in the fitness journey, Mandira suggests to take small steps and set up small goals. “Don’t think about the ten kilos that you have to lose. Think about that one kilo that you will lose in a week or a few days. Once you lose that one kilo, think about the next one kilo. Give yourself small goals and take that fitness journey one kilo at a time,” says Mandira. Her second advice is to people who get worried over starting a gym, thinking that they have to get a new wardrobe or find a trainer. “Don’t worry over that. To get on the fitness track, start by walking. I think there is no better exercise to start with, than walking. Walking takes the least amount of time and starts the moment you finish tying your shoelace,” explains the 47 year old actress.

Being a fitness partisan, Mandira presses on the importance of strength training. Mandira mentions, “A lot of Indian women just use a treadmill or do cardio in a gym and leave. But cardio is not enough. Strength training is very important to be strong, fit and lean. People have this misconception that if you strength train, you bulk up. That’s not true. I strength train and I am strong and lean.”

Vivafit is a Portuguese chain of women-only boutique gyms. In the interaction, Mandira highlights two important reasons why she supports Vivafit. The first reason is to do with women’s comfort in a gym. We feel that Mandira speaks for the entirety of womanhood when she comments that women who go to gyms do not like working out in front of body builders and men. “They often feel shy and awkward. A gym should be a happy place, where a woman can workout happily,” expresses Mandira. The second reason why she supports Vivafit is because of their strength training routine. She affirms, “Vivafit is a brilliant concept. The really good thing about it is that it has a 30 minutes circuit of strength training in a group environment. For all those women who say ‘mere paas time nahi hai’ (I don’t have time) and ‘gym requires too much time commitment’, here is something that they can do in a group with similar like-minded women, under the guidance of trainers. I think that all women need to be educated about the importance of strength training.”

Mandira also talks about her pregnancy phase and her commitment to get back in shape post-delivery. She mentions that she was in one of the fittest phases of her life when she got the news that she was pregnant. “I was excited and looked forward to it but in the journey, I put on 22 kilos. A friend who had a baby and had lost the weight advised me that the sooner I get on the wagon of fitness, the sooner the weight will come off. She told me that If I leave it (the weight) for later, my body will get used to the extra weight. Post-delivery I had 19 kilos to lose and I did it exactly six months to the day. My son was born on 17th June and on 17th December that year, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight,” Mandira reveals excitedly.

Her dedication to fitness is remarkable. She recommends the same to all other women who have/are going through pregnancy stage. “I would like to say to a lot of Indian women who after marriage and child bearing say, “Ab humse nahin hota (Now it is beyond us).” That is no way of having an outlook towards your own life. You need to love yourself enough to give yourself that ‘me time’. You need to look out for yourself. Not just for cosmetic reasons, but because you need to be strong and fit for your own family. That is a responsibility that you have towards yourself and your family,” comments the pro-active star.

The fact that now women’s-only gymnasiums are coming up shows that it is not just men who are opting for fitness. In the recent times, there has been a great move towards health and fitness and Mandira believes that no woman should be left behind.