From Fat to Fabulous – One woman’s journey #BeLikeHer #ZPFitnessProgramme

From being obese once upon a time to being a fitness trainer today, Pooja Bhatia Arora has transformed herself from being on one end of the spectrum to the other. She is your role model for the possibilities out there if one is inspired, committed and consistent in one’s efforts.Her Personal JourneyPooja was always obese. As a child she was not very physically active and did not participate in physical fitness activities. This continued right until the time she had a baby. At that point her BMI (Body mass index was very high) and she had Osteo arthritis (a degeneration of the joints causing inflammation and pain). One day, she had an accident and tore a ligament in the leg. It was a simple stumble which was exacerbated because of her weight. This was a wakeup call for her to get into shape. She realised that she wanted to be a fit mom for her child and she needed to take drastic steps to achieve it.Her CredentialsWhen I asked her how she decided to certify herself to become a fitness trainer she said that when she was getting in shape and working out, she had a lot of people who approached her and asked her how she lost weight etc. which is when she realised that she would love to be a coach to all those who struggle with weight and health issues. She decided to arm herself with the education to be a coach. Pooja is an ACE certified trainer (American Council of Exercise), an ACE certified health Coach, a CrossFit trainer and a FISAF (Singapore) certified Aqua Aerobics Instructor. She engages in varying fitness activities but her favourite is aqua aerobics because she sees it as an activity that can be undertaken by an 18-year-old and a 65-year-old.


Not Just a Trainer, but a Coach So why is Pooja not just a trainer but a Coach? She says “Motivation, and staying on track are the toughest thing for most people “– So she not only just prescribes diet and an exercise routine for her clients, but she also constantly stays in touch with them ensuring that they stay on track. Her clients call her if they are in situations where they need to eat out, or are at an event and she prescribes alternatives that they could eat in the situation that they are in. She even has clients abroad whom she coaches on what to eat depending on what is available where they live. When it comes to weight loss, Pooja says “70% of weight loss is focussing on diet” which is where her health coach expertise kicks in. You could burn about 800 calories in one of her aqua fitness classes, she says, but if you go home and eat a bad meal, all that hard work would be washed away in one meal, so watching what you put inside your body becomes critical.A big part of being a coach is also understanding the client’s background. One cannot prescribe a nutrition plan blindly without considering the cultural and behavioural aspects of an individual she says. She offers a highly individualised plan which would work for the specific person. She says it is extremely rewarding for her when a client writes her a big letter thanking her for the life altering impact that Pooja has had on their bodies, minds and outlook to life in general.She said sometimes she is approached by women who need a drastic weight loss in a very short period of time because they are getting married or have a very important event to attend. Pooja gives them a realistic feedback that such results are unhealthy and unsustainable. A conscious change in lifestyle, eating habits and exercise is the only way to achieve that.


Her words of wisdomHaving been on either side of the fence, Pooja recommends that women focus on health and staying active rather than being thin or a particular size.  She says “I meet beautiful women who are unhappy with how they look and are looking to either gain or lose weight”. “Love your body and accept yourself” “Everyone cannot be a Deepika Padukone” she laughs.  She believes that “Strong is sexy” – and that women need to focus on eating right and making fitness a habit, which would automatically bring them the results they desire, along with the confidence to carry themselves well. Amen to that. Pooja conducts classes at the Hilton-EGL and in Whitefield. You can check out Pooja’s work at