Keeping fit has never been cooler. Whether you’re a newbie or a gym-junkie, a fun fitness class feels like a godsend. Meet Amal Sarwar, a bright young instructor at Studio X whose classes are anything but run-of-the-mill. From Bokwa to boxing, this is one gym instructor who knows that variety is the spice of life.
26-year-old Amal built on a personal passion for fitness, taking classes in the UK to become a certified fitness instructor. She started with a foundation course in group instruction at YMCAfit and is now also certified for Kettle Bell classes, Bootcamp instruction, Bokwa and boxing.
“I’m particularly proud of my Ricky Hatton Boxing Academy certification which enables me to give both group classes and one-on-on instruction. I’m also the only certified Bokwa instructor in Pakistan.”
Bokwa originated in LA, like many fitness crazes, and is a cool blend of hip-hop dance and step moves. The creator has roots in the Zulu tribe and Bokwa is a form of dance-fitness based on Zulu dance steps. The moves involve tracing the alphabet or numbers on the ground, making it easy to follow even for beginners. As you get more comfortable you can add your own shimmies and free-style moves.
“Bokwa is a great dance-based class because its much simpler than Zumba, which can be quite intimidating for some, and because it encourages people to really let loose and enjoy themselves.”
While Amal teaches various classes at Studio X, you’ll have to be up early to catch her because she also has a pretty cool day-job. She’s the creative lead at Erly Stage Studios, a start-up gaming studio that develops gaming, mobile apps and graphic novels for educational purposes.
“It’s a start-up so the hours can get really crazy but we have an amazing team. I still find time to work out myself and to teach fitness because it’s something that’s been a big part of my life since I was 16.”
Amal started working out to look good in a sari at her school farewell, trying to get rid of puppy fat. She started off with just running on a treadmill but by the time the farewell was over, she’d caught the fitness bug. She moved on to working out at Shapes, adding strength training to her routine and never looked back.
“I really think everyone should add some weights to their routine. Strength training boosts your metabolism, improves your endurance and makes your bones stronger.”
As you might guess she’s also a big fan of adding variety to your workouts. One of the reasons is that boredom is always a danger: if you’re doing the same routine day in and day out, it easy to lose enthusiasm. Adding something new keeps your mind challenged, giving you more motivation to wake up and get to the gym.
The other reason for mixing things up is that your body tends to hit a plateau. You may be working really hard, sweating buckets in your workout and still not see a change. Varying your exercise routine can shock your body into changing and is a great way to see results.
Next up, Amal is saving for yet another YMCAfit certification - this time in Personal Training.
“Once I get the personal training certification, I’ll be able to offer to advise my clients on nutrition and tailor-make individual regimes for my clients.”
Until then, she’s adding plenty to Karachi’s fitness scene. If you’re tired of the 42 day challenge or power yoga, maybe it’s time to try out Bokwa or boxing?
Until then, here's four easy ways to jet-start a fit lifestyle:
1) Early dinner! Try eating your last meal of the day by or before 7 pm. Your metabolism slows down considerably by the end of the day.
2) Never skip breakfast; a cup of tea does not count!
3) Start using stairs and try to do your own little everyday errands, like dumping clothes into the laundry or going to get yourself a glass of water. The key is to stay active.
4) Snack healthy. Keep a bag of almonds at the work desk or maybe even a bowl of bananas and apples on your dining table. Remember not to binge-eat snacks, even if they are healthy.