My name is Shreen Aney. I belong to the town of Chinars, Bijbehara, Anantnag. I have a small family of four, my parents and a younger sister. Professionally I work as a Junior Engineer in the PDD department but my passion lies in fitness and gymming which made me a fitness trainer at ‘Anytime Fitness,’ Narwal, Jammu. In addition, I am involved in awareness programs on PCOD and body shaming. As a motivational speaker at these programs I consider it my responsibility to provide every possible help in my capacity in making this society a better place to live where we all be our own selves and not be judged upon.
You are an engineer by profession, how did fitness become your passion?
In Class 10, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This syndrome led me to gain weight, I weighed 90kgs. I had hair growth on my body, I had blood pressure issues, I suffered from migraine and hypoglycemia because of which I would faint very often.
To get treated I went to plethora of doctors across the country, but nothing worked. They gave me 8 to 9 medicine tablets a day, which had their own side effects.
On that people, even my own friends and relatives would tease and taunt me commenting on my body shape and hair, making fun of my health, they would call me a boy and tease me with names.
There came a point where all these health issues accompanied by the body shaming and bullying from people led me to depression.
But then you always have this inner conscience that pushes you to live life happily, so I decided to join the gym but this time with the firm intention of not quiting it. And here, I am! In a fit, healthy and happy body.
Tell us about the challenges that you faced as a fitness trainer? Did you get to hear comments like Lukh Kyah Wanan?
Yes, I did.
From men, I used to hear taunts that you are a Muslim you shouldn’t be doing this. Some where like you are a Kashmiri this is not our culture and some men could not bear the fact that Kashmiri Girl would be their trainer. Some of my brethren even used to say that girls like me are the reason for the atrocities in Kashmir.
From women, I would get to hear things like, she is working out like a man and wait till she develops a man-like body and then she will regret all this. And on top of that they would say “aemis seeth kus kareh khandar? (who will marry her?)” Aunties had already labeled me that I would never get a match for my marriage.
I am used to all this now. I listen to it but never really pay them any heed. I know that I had and will have back of my family and friends, they understand and recognize my love for fitness.
Why do you think fitness is important in today’s life? How can it change a person?
We all read in our schools that “ all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” What does a dull boy imply? It implies depression, anxiety, anger etc. and not to our surprise these things are very common in today’s time. On that people have become lazy and lethargic due to the blessing of technology and fast food in their lives. It is well said, ‘ We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”
Fitness is as important as food. Regular exercise is primary. It keeps you healthy, lifts up the mood and makes you feel more optimistic about our lives. That liberating feeling we havee post exercise, is just satisfying!
What is your view on body shaming?
It is true that although the world may have moved forward, but in many ways society has been discriminant with women all over the globe and are made to face body shaming gender inequality, bullying every day, be it at work or even at home. Talking about my personal I remember hearing taunts like ” Mardana” ” Gillete shave gel ” because I had hair growth on my face”. “Moti sand” because I had gained weight. “Itni bimar rehti ho mar kyun nahi jati” because of my health issues.
We women, are being monitored and judged by the way we dress, by the way we speak, by the number of abusive words we know, or even by the number of boys talking to us in any social event. Although women are now endorsing and demanding their social rights in both their virtual and physical realms. The truth is that even till this day, women do not receive as much respect or recognition neither at their homes nor even at work places.
What are your tips to people particularly Kashmiri woman on how to remain fit?
In our society, for women who are housewives, thinking of getting fit is considered to be a taboo. It is a very rampant that such women are just meant to stay home and cook food and care for her family. We all need to understand is that caring for yourself is also as essential. It is essential that housewives take care of their well-being as their bodies undergo many physical changes with age. 80% Kashmiri women suffer from BP related problems, diabetes ,thyroid. I know we cannot change it at once but we can start atleast somewhere. We should start with accepting the need to exercise and adapt to the idea of being fit.
Simple workouts done at home can not only help in reducing weight, but also act as stress busters for housewives. A simple workout routine at home can benefit in improved cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
One of the biggest concerns for housewives is finding a good gym near their residence, which is a genuine concern, however, it can be easily solved. There are many exercises that can fit seamlessly into our daily routine at home, these have been found to be equally beneficial as going to a gym.
Here are some stay-at-home workout tips to make a healthier and fitter you:
• Run up and down the stairs, this is equivalent to using the stepper machine in the gym.
• Brisk walking in the house will increase your heart rate, further helping in burning more calories.
• Do stretching exercises while cooking, ironing or other household activities.
• Become a Jumping Jack. Jump in the air with both your hands and legs apart with repetitions, this is equal to a cardio workout and helps in shedding weight
• Practicing Yoga. A few yoga asanas early in the morning will help in toning up the body and regaining posture.
• Cycle in the air while lying on the ground, sit ups and push ups This is another effective cardiovascular exercise which strengthens your abdominal muscles and reduces fat.
It’s never too late to start, all we need is will power, determination and consistency. Lastly I would like to say that, every happiness of yours can be increased and enjoyed better if you have a charged up and happy body. So, you go and exercise for your own self, because you deserve to stay healthy.
Taking this opportunity I would like to thank Anytime Fitness for recognising me and special thanks to Mr Sahil Choudhary, Mr Nitin Abrol, Mr Bob Chris( head trainer) and my coach Mr Sachin Kumar, who made me what I am. Mr Sachin, trained me as one of his boys and today I give competition to boys. So thank you all.