As one moves from Manav Chowk in Sector-15 Rohini towards Sachdeva Public School in Sector-13 Rohini, one can see number of banks and fitness centers along both sides of the road. Among these centers is The Blue Gym and Spa, a modern well equipped unisex fitness center spread across a decent 1800 sq. ft. on the first floor of a building in Sector -15, Rohini. The staircase is full of motivational pictures of amazing fitness figures, teasing and inspiring you at the same time.
At the reception, a junior trainer introduced me to the owner Mr. Ashish Dahiya, a 33 year old fitness fanatic and an aspiring athlete himself. After a brief introduction to Thumbbell, he agreed to be interviewed. During our candid conversation Mr. Dahiya says “if you want to become great, first do it for yourself and then for the world”, this becomes very clear on what he means as he narrates his own story.
Q: When did you start this center? Do you have other branches for the same?
A: We started back in September 2012 with a pre-opening registration of about 200 clients. As we progressed we saw great traction among all age groups. We inaugurated another branch in Pitampura in December 2013, as we saw people from other areas register with us despite having to commute. It was a great boost to our business and our brand.
The Blue Gym and Spa, Rohini
Q: Tell about your membership criteria like those of age, gender, height, weight, background, etc? Do you track the medical background and conditions of the individuals?
A: Like you guys at Thumbbell, we believe that “Fitness is for everyone” thus we are open to anyone and everyone who cares about their health. Of course, depending upon the age and individual needs we create a different schedule for everyone. For example, we only entertain under 13 years with parents accompanying them, for the age group of 14-16 years we have a strict no weight training policy and for 16-38 we suggest weight training according to a individual’s physical conditions.
Yes, we enquire about the medical background and conditions of every individual whether a kid or an elderly person. It usually takes around two weeks to get anyone accustomed to a routine. The very first week is of basic exercises and we diligently observer each member during this time. The second week is more focused on training schedule, diet planning and nutrition needs. We keep records and track every member’s progress.
Q: What’s your story behind getting into this industry that finally concluded in setting up your brand? For our readers’ benefit, would you shed some light on your own personal fitness regime?
A: Initially, I used to work with my family run business in rubber industry. Fitness was like an addition to me for as long as I can remember. It was for the love of fitness that I ventured into this industry. But in reality it all began when I suffered from a SLIP DISC in L4 and L5 vertebra column, back in 2013. The doctors told if I want to avoid being paralyzed from the lower abdomen, I shouldn’t even think of workout anymore. I cried not in pain, but despair and helplessness, as for every doctor I visited gave me the same answer. I was heartbroken and depressed but never did I let my spirit and determination die.
Ashish back in 2013 and now
After 6 long months on the bed, I decided that this was not how I wanted to live. I started training again, specially concentrated on my lower back to strengthen the muscles. You can see what I was and what I have become now. Since this episode I firmly believe that “if you want to become great, first do it for yourself and then for the world”.
As of today my personal fitness regime incorporates twice daily workouts. The morning begins with cardio and body weight exercises and in the evening you can see me pumping iron. My diet currently constitutes of high proteins intake and salads. I do not have any kind of oily and junk foods, any sweets and very limited spices.
Q: Wow! That’s amazing. Going through all this and recovering isn’t easy. Surely you are a man on mission and we all know people like you have a dream and an inspiration. Would you mind sharing it with our readers’?
A: Well thanks! Yes, you have got that right. I am a man on mission. My biggest dream and challenge is to win at Arnold Classic and my guru, guide and inspiration is Mr. Suhas Khamkar, one of the greatest professional bodybuilder that India has. He is the first Indian bodybuilder to become Mr. Asia in 2010.
Ashish Dahiya at a recent competition
Q: What is your belief about the techniques to train and motivate people to stay focused and not lose hope? How have you been dealing with such situations?
A: I have a simple theory, “I can’t force you to eat if you aren’t hungry” and same holds true for your fitness. Every now and then we see people lose faith and hope very quickly when they don’t see results. I simply ask them, “Do you want to be like this for rest of your life?” and mostly get “NO” for an answer. Still after a while, in generality 3 months they won’t come back. Sometimes even a pat on the back works and other times nothing works at all.
Ashish after a workout at his gym
To me it’s all about passion and perseverance, “the longer you stick the better you’ll get”. We have been trying all sorts of schemes to motivate people, even to the extent of telling my own story. Some buy others don’t. Some of the members even come up and say “Ashish Bhaiya! All we want is to have a physique like you. You’re our idol.” For me it feels good to be someone’s idol, but more important is to live up to it”.
Q: As per you, how well is the fitness industry in terms of its business? Personally, do you feel that your own brand has realized its full potential?
A: Well, every industry has its pros and cons. This industry is good in terms of inflow of business, especially centers operating in the range of 1700 to 1800 sq. ft. with an initial investment between 30 to 50 Lacs and ROI’s are good as an entrepreneur or investor. Our biggest challenge remains to retain customers and we are trying hard to do so.
As far as the Blue Gym and Spa is concerned, we are always trying to do new stuff and introducing new techniques and fitness forms for our members. We are foreseeing an expansion in terms of franchises soon.
Q: Last but certainly not the least, what do you think about what Thumbbell is trying to do?
A: Well, first of all it was so nice of you to come by and interview me, thanks for that. It is time that someone started something for locally prominent brands. We do need exposure and publicity just as any other industry or business does. We have a lot to offer, but have been missing a platform which can highlight that. This is something that has been long due for this industry and my instinct tells me that we would cherish it.
P.S. – Editor: Well that was flattering indeed and even the team at Thumbbell wishes all the best of luck to you and your brand, The Blue Gym and Spa. May you achieve your dream and make us all proud. The Blue Gym and Spa has exciting and mouth water offers that one can’t resist. We at Thumbbell are hungry for more but are you.