Monday Mantra by Archana Walavalkar

In this week’s ‘Monday Mantra’, Archana, Creative Director and Co-Founder of StyleCracker traces her fitness journey with a special collaboration with Nike.

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While you yearn to get home, place yourself on the couch and spend the rest of the evening watching a sitcom, Archana Walavalkar does the contrary. “No matter how tired I am and no matter what time I finish shooting, I force myself to put in an hour of gym,” she says and boy, does it show! StyleCracker sneaked a peek in to her fitness diary in association with Nike and acclaimed fitness expert, Urmi Kothari. Here’s how to get fit and get moving according to Archana!

PHASE ONE

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“I have been doing pilates, altitude training and cross-fit on a daily-basis for years, while yoga has been an integral part of my life. Nike contacted me for a ‘fitness journey’ that they wanted to take me on. I literally jumped at the opportunity! The first step was to jot down any fitness goals that I wanted to achieve. My aim was to build lean muscle and be able to do an un-assisted pull up, eventually improving my form as a whole. I was escorted to a Nike Store, put through a technical assessment and was given the most relevant and useful Nike gear. I mentioned my fitness history to them along with the injuries that I had suffered from- only to identify challenge areas and work on them religiously. I had a tightness in my hip that I wanted to release too. Urmi gave me the best advice, “Minute alignments and form adjustments yield maximal results. It is not just about the number of repetitions, but about the quality of movement’. We started with breathing correction, core-engaging activities and spine and posture correction. The key was to follow Urmi’s instruction to the T and the results were almost instantaneous. I wanted to look leaner, so she helped me with a mixed bag of cardio- froggers, burpees, skipping and various types of planks, all non-stop for 45 minutes.

Urmi: The initial phase is always about getting familiar with techniques to lay a good foundation for intensive workouts in the second phase. It was a shorter one for Archana since she already had decent levels of general fitness.

PHASE TWO

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Once I had a routine worked out, Urmi started paying closer attention to my form and to smaller details. She also introduced me fitness lingo and workout terms that I had never heard before. We also started working out with free weights and suspension training. One of the most important aspects of fitness is warming up and Urmi insisted on a dynamic warm-up comprising of foam rolling (myofascial release) of at least 25 minutes and a cool down of yoga and stretches for 5-8 minutes! She also made me maintain a food diary, helping me make conscious decisions about eating clean and drinking adequate amount of water every single day!

UrmiThis was when the actual fun started. Well, fun for me since I got to drive her to work harder, while making sure she maintained good form. For her it was sweating it out! 

PHASE THREE

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Once I had got the basics from Urmi, I started working out on my own and also started paying closer attention to my mistakes. I have always hated running but Urmi made it fun by making me do my runs outdoors at Bandra and training with a friend. By now, I had dropped two inches!

Urmi: One of her goals was to start running in proper form. Outdoor workouts added a whole new energy to the workout and the ability to carry the app anywhere she went!

PHASE FOUR

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This was a really challenging phase because of my regular workouts I had gotten in to the habit of not skipping even one and unfortunately this was the time when I had to travel constantly for work. But this wasn’t about to stop me. I downloaded the Nike+Training App and would work out alone in my hotel room. Once you see the improvement, you feel motivated to keep going and that’s what kept me going!

Urmi: By now I was confident that she could do a whole repertoire of exercises/movements well and was easily able to recommend workouts to herself from the app. To make her independent was the eventual goal of the journey anyway. I was so happy with her progress and proud to see her results. Our hard work was showing and how! 

PHASE FIVE

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The best phase! Everyone I met complimented me and my transformation was undeniable! I recommend the Nike program to everyone and I feel there’s a huge similarity between StyleCracker and Nike- they’re both supreme combinations of fashion with technology and will help you achieve the best possible outcome!

Urmi: She was super-motivated and we became great workout buddies! I look forward to working out with her even though the journey has now ended!

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Archana: The right trainer makes all the difference. I have never witnessed changes like the ones I noticed through my Nike Journey with Urmi. This has been an incredible experience and has completely changed the way I think and feel about fitness today!

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URMI KOTHARI

Founder and Trainer at @kineticliving, Personal Handle: @uk.urmi

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