All those ‘Yo, Mamma’ jokes just don’t apply to this strong-willed woman. Sonali Swami is a fitness extraordinaire, an Asian Championship medallist and most remarkably a mother of two.
Sonali’s extraordinary journey into fitness began when she was 38 after having trouble shedding the baby weight she had put on after her second child. Sonali despairing about her unfit self, decided to go to the gym and since that day she hasn’t looked back. It only takes one audacious step for a person to gain the courage to shed the baggage that holds one behind. For Sonali going into a free hard-core training session was that audacious step. While most other mothers and women hesitated to walk into the intimidating room that built and created this muscled beauty, Sonali just shrugged and went ahead. She laughs and says, “None of the women would step in there, and I just went for it and did that one session. It was pretty painful, I was sore and I loved it.”
It’s only when you’re on the National team do you realise the responsibility of representing one’s country.”
Today this 41 year old is a proud medal holder, a fitness athlete and a freelance consultant on diet and fitness. She is also certified in Zumba, Bokwa, Bollywood Aerobics and many other dances. Sonal has also had her share of stardom in fitness reality shows in India and internationally, with Muscle Mania in India and Spartan X in Hungary. It was her win in Muscle Mania that motivated her to represent India internationally. She says, “It’s only when you’re on the National team do you realise the responsibility of representing one’s country. You realise how real the competition is, with athletes from everywhere, preparing in nearly the same way and going through the same emotions. It just motivates and encourages you to do your very best.”
But how does this mother of a 13 year old daughter and a 10 year old son keep her training and family life in a straight line? To which Sonali says, “Three years ago when I decided to take this turn, my husband was with me all the way and throughout. I didn’t struggle and face challenges that way. Every time I am out competing or training, someone was always there at home to take care of my children.” She says that she is blessed with her family and they have had her back all the way. They would also cheer and support her during their visits while she was training for Muscle Mania. Though she solemnly says that she feels gratified that her children are proud and impressed of what she has accomplished with her hard work.
The goal is to let, older women, married women and moms know that it is never too late to get into fitness. You have to take care of yourself and your health so that you can take care of your loved ones.”
Sonali is a celebration of what all women should aspire to be, that is, to be bold. While training Sonali says she often notices that she is always the oldest in the group, while most are ranging from mid 20s to late 30s. She expressively says that the age of the women doesn’t matter; all they need do is shed their barriers. Sonali says, “The goal is to let, older women, married women and moms, know that it is never too late to get into fitness. You have to take care of yourself and your health so that you can take care of your loved ones.” Her aim today apart from training for the World Championship in December this year (for which she has been training since July, 2015) is to conduct more workshops to encourage women into fitness.
Keep yourself physically active. You need not become a member of a gym to get physically active. You can do a lot of home work-outs. The most important thing is to take care of your diet and stay positive and you will be more than fine.”
From her first big win in Muscle Mania, to her first international competition, Spartan X, to training herself rigorously to represent India on the World stage, Sonali is breaking barriers for all mothers shying away because of their household responsibilities and their weight issues. She from the beginning has been an ardent motivator not just for married women and mothers but also for men. She says, “Keep yourself physically active. You need not become a member of a gym to get physically active. You can do a lot of home work-outs. The most important thing is to be physically active and take care of your diet and stay positive and you will be more than fine.”
Sonali now does online training as well as personal training sessions, while also giving diet consultations. She is also associated with a fitness app called fitblink. With so much on her plate, Sonali feels that she is going to slow down a little and concentrate on her children for now. Though she wouldn’t be withholding her training, she says that she would like to watch her children grow for now before making any big future decisions.
A genuine case of an all-rounder is Sonali Swami – a woman who should be celebrated for taking an extraordinary step out of her ordinary life. As we celebrate this brave lady, let us also take a moment to celebrate her family’s unrelinquishing support, especially that of her husband’s. In this case, I would stand to say that behind this successful woman there was her unwavering rock solid husband.
Now is the time to shed the stereotypes and join the group of the bold and unwavering ones. Take the bold step, it’s never too late, as proved time and again by Sonali Swami.