It’s the word, ‘bootcamp’ that does it, conjuring up visions of military-style misery, but the message here is simple: don’t be daunted. Cindy’s Bootcamp is an hour-long class at Beyond Studio and it is less cruelty and more camaraderie, evidenced by the gang that are in attendance, most on a first name basis, and all game to pitch in and bolster anyone who starts to flag.
On a recent trip to Mumbai I found that if you’re not in Bandra, Juhu, or Andheri, you’re pretty out of luck when it comes to finding classes. There is no shortage of great personal trainers in the rest of the city, and no doubt a wealth of great little studios that I’m as yet unaware of, but for the most part I found that all the classes I wanted to do, all the yoga studios, the buzzy new Crossfit boxes or pilates sessions recommended to me were all clustered around Bandra and Juhu. Of course I was at the other end of the city, at Napeansea Road, and so spent an inordinate amount of time in monsoon traffic slowed down to snail’s pace to make it to most, but make it I did.
Working out is a celebration of the things your body can do, not a punishment for something you ate. To enjoy movement instead of dreading it, creating a consistent routine of practice is key, and this was never more evident to me than when I went back to movement after an injury that necessitated a period of complete rest. Basically: complete and entirely irrational fear about movement that was, until only a month ago, second nature and also something I looked forward to. There’s also this accompanying sense of carrying layers of insulation, and of awkward thanks to only a month of not moving, but whether you’re coming back after some time off, or just beginning for the first time, know that this acute awareness will start to physically shift as you move, literally sluicing off with sweat, and that it will guaranteed leave you feeling freer and lighter than before you began. Guaranteed.
I’d heard a lot about Cindy Jourdain, a ballerina-turned-trainer who is responsible for whipping a fair number of Bombay actors, models, stylists and general public into good shape, but on the weekend I went to Cindy’s, Cindy wasn’t actually there. Still, she had Nike Trainer Kunal there in her place, leading her crew through what was presumably a similar class.
There’s a little something for everyone, from light cardio and HIIT to straight-up conditioning with kettlebells and weights and bodyweight and isometric exercises like push-ups, burpees and all those other bits. When Jourdain is in attendance, I’m told the former ballerina also puts the barre that lines one end of this mirror-walled basement studio to good use. What’s good? There’s a sense of sweat‐as‐friendship that’s cool to see, from the people in attendance through to the trainers, who know everybody’s name. That same “all in this together” approach lends the whole affair a sense of community, and as we worked our way through a warm-up and then into the day’s workout with kettlebells, Kunal walked around correcting form and making adjustments where necessary. There were about 15 of us in there that Saturday, all with varying levels of fitness, but morale was universally high, and that’s an appealing sort of vibe for a workout on a weekend morning.
The Space in Juhu, where I went to the bootcamp, is a sprawling affair, particularly by Bombay standards. It’s right by Juhu’s JW Marriot hotel, and there’s a high ceilinged room that’s home to aerial silk classes, there’s also pilates, yoga and other conditioning classes, all of which draw a pretty devoted following. Cindy has since moved to her own, incredible studio (address below), and if you’re in Mumbai, go. If you’re in Bandra, lucky you, but even if you (like me) have to make the schlep all the way from town, it’s worth at least a weekly trip.
Beyond Studio is at 36 Mount Mary Road, next to Island Heights building, Bandra West, Mumbai. For more information on the schedule, on class timings and on prices, visit their Facebook page or call 0091.98336.18640.