Doctor, Engineer and then there’s HER

Akriti Jamwal. Updated: 10/12/2017 3:47:10 PM We the Women

When she was a little girl who knew that chubby and foodie Monika would become a fitness instructor one day; who knew that the overweight girl would help others to shed their weight once she grows up. Born to Manohar Lal and Meena Manohar, Monika’s family was a typical of our society in which kids were expected to be Doctors and Engineers. Monika was an average student but an all-rounder during her school days. Having started her schooling in Poonch her native place, she shifted to Jammu with her family later in her teen years. Unlike her elder sister who pursued Medicines and her elder brother who opted for Engineering, it was which caught her fancy leading her to enroll in GCW Gandhi Nagar before she went for Masters degree in English Literature from Jammu University. So when and how did the idea of being a fitness instructor came into the mind of this exuberantly budding entrepreneur? Let’s find out.

For Monika her elder sister Manisha was someone she used to look up to. So for little Monika that meant doing everything Manisha would do. But that did not mean that Monika didn’t have her own affiliations, interests and mindset. Because of her sister from her early age Monika found her interest in dance but her passion was induced within herself. “Basically I have been dancing ever since I remember. I did my first stage show at the age of 3. I would copy my elder sister’s Bharat Natyam steps and irritate her with my wrong moves. School days were more about stage performances and less about studies” reminisces Monika. She has been passionate about dancing and fitness, even when she was not doing anything in this direction.

Monika started practising Aerobics back in 2009 with initial goal of losing few pounds but soon the passion kicked in. “My sister and mom have always been fitness conscious and they were searching for some aerobics classes. They even tried couple of places but nothing worked out because most of such places were distant” shares Monika. Monika somehow managed to take her classes and learn all she could but even for her continuing that was not very feasible. So after around three years of on-and-off practising Aerobics, on being suggested by her mother and sister, Monika started instructing both of them as her clients. “I was idle, waiting for my MA result. So I thought that it could be a good idea to give classes and it worked out. I had my first real client in a week and 15 new clients in the very next month” boasts Monika. She further adds on, “By end of three months I was working with 35 ladies and was able to rent a hall to take classes.”

But was it as smooth as it sounds? For Monika’s father such classes were supposed to be part-time and temporary and Monika was expected to continue doing so until her result was out. But while Mr. Manohar dreamt her daughter to be a civil servant or pursue Ph. D and become lecturer, Ms. Manohar was living her dream being the boss and Aerobics instructor at her classes. “I faced his disappointed glares for a while until he realized that I was establishing and growing strongly into this field. Parents are concerned about you but once they realize you are secure and happy, they get happy for you” expresses Monika. Monika points out that it was basically her father in the first place who stimulated the bug of being fit in her when he suggested her to refrain wearing certain clothes because of the weight she had put on.

“Pursuing a passion which is not very common among the masses is challenging. At the outset it was difficult to convince my dad. But you tell me what is easy in this world? All I knew is ‘Nothing Is Impossible’ and Hey! I love challenges” claims Monika.

Today it has been five years since she started her classes with the name ‘Women Alive’. “Women Alive is a manifestation of my family’s belief in me and my abilities. I picked the name because I observed that practising aerobics pulled my clients out of the confinement of their houses as well as their mundane life. They not only used to feel better due to aerobics but also because they used to get chance to interact with other women. In short they used to feel alive” gushes Monika

It takes different sets of capabilities to be an instructor and entirely different one to be an entrepreneur who has to convince others that they need what he/she is selling. Doesn’t it? “It was difficult to convince females who use to come to enquire about fitness classes, if spending few bucks and sparing few hours can actually help them and that they need it. Many of them used to doubt my capabilities because I was a girl. I decided to give free trial classes to convince them and it worked remarkably well. All the hard work paid off” shares Monika. For years altogether, fitness industry had been male dominated; therefore it is not hard to imagine the scenario of the field back then. Monika says, “It was difficult to convince women to come out of their shells back then. Also, there were very few fitness centers so convincing women that fitness is as important to women as it is to men was another difficult task. Things have changed now. After working with more than 500 females, I am happy to see positive changes in our society.”

That was not all as Monika wanted to expand her horizon, which led her to start professional fitness courses. Today she is a certified functional trainer, Booiaka instructor, Bokwa instructor and also a certificated Ashtanga yoga instructor. She also has a master’s degree in Kathak dance and B. Ed. Degree too. “My mother is my role model; she is also a fitness-freak and is doing aerobics from past 6 years now. She and my sister are biggest strength and critique. My brother, Manish has been pivotal in this jorney; he comes up with new ideas and helps me I my events. My father is also very supportive and understanding” shares Monika, emphasizing how important it is to have a strong support system to climb up the ladder of success.

This budding entrepreneur now wants to franchise branches of ‘Women Alive’ all over India and even across the world to help more women. “We are body transformers and I am hoping that we will be transforming more and more ladies all across India and who knows even world, soon” boasts Monika. She expresses, “It feels awesome to be known among so many women, to help them achieve their health goals and seeing them transforming not only physical but mentally too. This is a way I believe, I can contribute towards society.”

For Monika her biggest achievement has been her fitter and healthier self. She also takes pride in being independent. For this young and independent woman, “Empowered women are independent, strong both mentally and physically, and most importantly comfortable with themselves irrespective of their physical appearances. They are the one who encourage, support, uplift and celebrate each other.” To every dreamer out there Monika’s words are, “Please ignore what people say or think and go for what you believe in. Believe me ‘log hamesha kehte rehange’ and for those who want to be fit, start working out to get fit and stay healthy.” She adds on, “I love it when people are particular about their health, especially the ladies. I think it’s very important especially for females to spare at least an hour from their hectic life and use it as their "Me Time", be it for Mediation, Dancing, Aerobics or anything that makes them happy. Because you can spread happiness only if you are happy and healthy.”
Updated On 10/14/2017 3:47:12 PM

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