I was lying face-first on the dark Astroturf-like gym floor that smelled like a mix of feet and sweat and wheezing like an asthmatic granny when I realized… I was having fun.
I’ve written about Studio 60 previously, the boutique fitness studio I frequent, but if you’d told me even two years ago that I’d be this person I’d have LOL-ed while draining my margarita glass. I’ve never been athletic, on a sports team, or particularly in favour of any sort of heavy sweating that wasn’t linked to morning-after malaise. I’ve had, at varying points, a regular yoga practice, a pilates habit that worked well in taking baby steps toward my then-primary fitness goal (ass like J.Lo?), and while I didn’t hate working out, I certainly wasn’t prioritizing it over anything else.
I am now.
All of Studio 60’s trainers are great, and all have different areas of expertise, but I think Naresh Sharma’s is to push you to the outer limits of your capabilities, and then push some more until you find yourself somewhere you haven’t been before.
His classes are a trip. They’re accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels, as long as you’re not afraid of a little intensity. Expect to feel a little overwhelmed and lot despondent about your fitness levels your first class; I was wheezing at the end of the warmup, and I remember thinking ‘I will actually die if we haven’t begun yet’. Expect, also, to feel a sense of overwhelming achievement only months later when you see your fitness, agility, and general competence levels go up several notches to the point that the warmup barely registers.
In the 60 minutes of any class or training session led by him, you’ll find yourself entirely and deeply rooted in your body, in a way that rarely happens these days. All of the cyclical mental chatter is blocked off by the immediate need to focus on whatever insane circuit or exercise is at hand. I stop thinking about work-linked schedules and think instead, about how my arms are on fire. You’ll find yourself longing for really basic things: the ability to take a full, unfettered breath, or a sip of water (both are hard to come by in Naresh’s classes). But you do it because, when you’ve actually pushed through one of those ‘no-fucking-way’ circuits you feel like you can do pretty much anything else.
He probably isn’t the trainer for you if being shouted at upsets you, or if you’re looking for a gentle workout, but it is ideal for fitness fiends, for those who want to be quicker on their feet, or just for anyone looking to bust out of a fitness rut. A session with him is likely your ideal training scenario if you’re competitive, a type-A achiever, or have a short attention span, but like anything, you won’t know until you’ve tried it once. He is entirely as nuts as he sounds, but the same sweaty, red-faced people muttering “crazy” under their breath as they push through an hour will queue to get their slots in his next class. His nickname (‘tiny terror’) is well-earned.
Sharma is no stranger to fitness, coming from a professional sports background (before he went into training full time, he was an all-India athlete, and competing on global platforms like the Asian Games in Doha). That sports background is also why he values being light on your feet, quick responses, and working out outdoors (on a recent rainy morning he had us running through the streets of Delhi). Good trainers push you to your limits (while keeping you safe and injury-free), and with a militant focus on form, you can expect to improve on all counts, without strained shoulders and thrown-out backs.