Train, teach, transform
The Muscle Movement’s recent offshoot, Unschool — run by Guru Siddharth — offers courses for trainers, making it south India’s first school of fitness
Guru Siddharth, an ACE certified fitness trainer stands on top of a piece of equipment, extends his arms, hinges his hips, slightly bends his knees, braces his core and grips a pair of handles. In a few seconds, he pulls the handles down in a fluid motion. It leads to the spinning of the equipment’s flywheel. “The faster we get the wheel spinning, there’s more resistance and this leads to burning more calories,” he explains, as he continues to pull the handles.
“There are only three pieces of this skier machine in India. There’s one each in New Delhi and Mumbai. This is the first such machine in south India. We imported this from the US,” he shares. The soft whirring sound of the flywheels continues to fill the room. As we look around, we find kettlebells, dumbbells, and plyometric jumping boxes, power rack, battle ropes and other quintessential exercises gear, all neatly arranged. However, the novel skier machine is enough evidence to prove that we are not at any run-off-the-mill gym. We are at The Muscle Movement’s Unschool, south India’s first school of fitness. Guru, the founder and MD of Muscle Movement, points us to a quote that is painted on his workspace’s wall in Anna Nagar: ‘Coaching is an art and training is science’.
“Not all fitness enthusiasts are equipped with the knowledge and skills to train another person. A person might have a good physique but that doesn’t make them a trainer. Here, as part of Unschool, we want to combine the art of coaching and the science of training in a balanced, holistic matter to enable individuals to reach their goals. While redefining fitness, our goal is primarily to improve the standards of (fitness) professionals and trainers in a highly unregulated industry. Here, through the courses we offer, we are trying to modify structures and break stereotypes that plague the industry,” he details.
Formally launched in July, Unschool offers an array of wellrounded certification courses to those who want to understand exercise science, fitness nutrition, human anatomy, the business of personal training, strength and conditioning, muscle training and bodybuilding, sports and nutrition, among other specialisations. The facility also offers workshops, internships and scholarships for talented individuals.
“Before the pandemic, only about 48-50 per cent of the people were into fitness. However, now that has increased by almost 20 per cent. The awareness of health and fitness, driven by healthy lifestyle practices have spiked. But we need knowledgeable professionals, who can offer proper training. This includes the ability to chalk, design and deploy custom fitness plans and diets to the clients based on their needs. We also want to focus on proper etiquette when it comes to training a client, appropriate touch while spotting, stretching and correcting postures,” emphasises Guru, who has over a decade of experience.
With several gyms and fitness centres shut, an explosion of personal training and online classes have become the norm. However, this hasn’t filled the gap between a growing clientele and quality trainers, opines Guru. “We have people from popular gyms from Tamil Nadu and outside coming here for training, and making enquiries. We don’t just teach the training techniques but also client management. Especially in a time where several have lost jobs, a well-rounded training in fitness and affiliated branches can provide self-employment opportunities, making it a mainstream career and not just an alternate option,” he shares, adding how support from Ramakrishna, the academic director of The Muscle Movement, has strengthened the vision.
The swanky facility houses two 10-seater classrooms fitted with LED monitors, and has a well-equipped studio that doubles as a practical schoolroom and a personal studio for Muscle Movement’s clients. “We have so far trained over 45 students here, providing them certifications in different branches of fitness. We wanted to keep our classrooms compact, ensure there is focused training and not compromise on quality,” says Guru. Unschool’s facility will soon be integrated with an in-house library to enable its students to further their knowledge on fitness through books and other resources.
The Muscle Movement has also tied up with the American Heart Association and TACT Academy for Clinical Training, to enable students and trainers to receive skill education on CPR/AED and first aid from experts from the organisations. “Another initiative, She Force, aims to identify, train and certify more female trainers in the industry. There is a high demand for female instructors and guiding them will go a long way in creating a change,” he shares. Currently, Unschool is training over seven women at its facility. “We are also identifying women who have the skills but cannot afford the courses and offering them training for free or at half the cost. To us this is more about forging a change in the industry and we are marching towards that goal, learning, unlearning and relearning,” he concludes.
Certified personal trainer course, 2 months: Rs 17,999
Strength and conditioning course, 3 months: Rs 24,999
Fitness therapy course, 6 months: Rs 35,000
Advance muscle training and natural bodybuilding course, 1 month: Rs 18,500
Sports and fitness nutrition course, 1 month: Rs 9,999
High-intensity functional strength training course: Rs 14,999
Workshops on pilates, sports nutrition core stability, office ergonomics, kinesio taping, diabetes management, women’ health: Rs 5,500 to 8,500
Note: Eligibility requirements for enrolment differ from course to course.
For details, visit: www.teammusclemovement. com Instagram @the_musclemovement