Sameeksha Gandhi, a 46-year-old fitness trainer and bodybuilder from Assam, has been qualified to participate in the ‘Sheru Classic’, a prestigious international tournament, which is scheduled to take place in June 2023 in Delhi. Some of the world’s best men and women bodybuilders and fitness athletes will participate in this event named after Sheru Aangrish, Asia’s second professional bodybuilder, who transformed the bodybuilding scenario in India.
This was something unimaginable eight years ago, when a 38-year-old Gandhi had been facing cervical issues, thanks to her long working hours as an MNC executive in the national capital region of Delhi. She needed the support of a lumbar belt for her back and a collar belt for her neck. That’s when the former sportsperson— in Lawn Tennis, Gandhi was India’s No 5 in the U14 group and held the No 2 rank in Assam for seven years in a row—decided to take things into her hands, quite literally. A back injury with a slipped disc had cut short her sporting aspirations forcing her to settle for a desk job.
Determined to regain the fitness of her sporting days, she headed straight to a gym, though with a lot of scepticism. Because of her age and health conditions, she was uncertain how effective the gym rigour would be for her. But in just six months, her determination and training by a seasoned coach helped her make great progress.
She enjoyed her training so much that she quit her comfortable MNC job to pursue the dream of becoming a certified trainer (certification of Golds and ACSM). She now uses her online and offline training programmes to help people all over the world achieve their fitness goals.
And she wants her story to bring meaningful changes to the society. She hopes many more girls will take up bodybuilding as a professional sport. “There is a myth that women who go to the gym gain big muscles and start looking like men. There are categories in bodybuilding where you don’t have to grow big muscles. We do not need to do so much training but must be focused on the cardio activities,” Gandhi told India Today NE in an exclusive conversation.
Besides bodybuilding, she also started running marathons. “Running and bodybuilding go hand-in-hand,” says Gandhi who ran her first marathon at the age of 44. Her first ultramarathon was the Pagdandi Ultra Run, where she finished second, and her first track race was the Winter Delhi Marathon, where also she finished second. A mother to a 16-year-old, she has inspired her son also to run marathons.
However, she knows that the next eight months would be extremely difficult and challenging. For an impressive performance in the global tournament, she will need to not just work hard with an unwavering commitment but will also have to make several sacrifices. But that’s a price worth paying as Gandhi believes her story can inspire people, who think age is a barrier to fitness, or women, who think bodybuilding is only for men.
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