Anshuka Parwani; Photograph: Rohan Shrestha for Adidas
With inside-out beauty gaining momentum in recent times, we all know how important being well is to our glow. There’s no way we can give fitness the go-by. From boosted blood circulation to increased collagen production, the benefits to beauty of sweating it out are countless. We spoke to celebrity fitness experts Namrata Purohit – celebrity Pilates trainer and founder, The Pilates Studio; Anshuka Parwani – celebrity holistic health and yoga expert and founder, Anshuka Yoga; and Deanne Panday – fitness expert and health coach, about fitness and beauty.
What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?
Namrata Purohit: Beauty is about being your true, authentic self. I think there is beauty in everything and everyone.
Anshuka Parwani: To me, beauty is lots of light and positive energy. It’s about being peaceful, confident and full of love.
Deanne Panday: Beauty has different meanings for different people. For me, it’s always been very organic, traditional, pure and natural. And this applies not just to products, but also to one’s actions. Beauty is not only about aesthetics or the outer appearance, it is also how a person acts and thinks – it comes from within.
The connection between fitness and beauty: what’s your take?
NP: Working out and staying fit not only help the body but the mind as well. Through my fitness journey, I learned that working out and staying active not only obviously and visually helps the body, but also helps us accept and love our body for what it is and what it does. Other than the obvious health benefits of exercising (including improved elasticity of the skin), it builds confidence and makes us look and feel good.
AP: Being fit is a by-product of feeling beautiful and vice versa. The two work hand-in-hand because a fit mind is a fit body and a beautiful mind is a beautiful body and soul. It is true that beauty comes from within. Being fit and healthy inside will show on the outside. Ten years ago, people were all about looking beautiful aesthetically, without focusing on how they really felt inside. Fad diets and starving to fit into a dress, etc, were very prevalent. While these still very much exist, unfortunately, there is also a paradigm shift in the approach to beauty and fitness. Now, it’s more about feeling good and actually being healthy.
DP: Fitness is a big part of beauty and it’s the other way around too. You need to be fit to stay beautiful internally as well as externally. Your regimen and nutrition are as individualistic as your fingerprint; your workouts can be a compilation of many activities. Physical health is everything since it also influences your mental health which, in turn, could also have an effect on your beauty. Think dark circles, dullness and acne – they’re related to stress, PCOS and many more conditions. So, staying fit is key.
Tell us how the form of workout you specialise in helps one and all?
NP: Pilates is a mind-and-body form of exercise that works the entire body in and out. Anyone and everyone can benefit from Pilates as it is an extremely customised form of exercise that works on all aspects of fitness such as strength, flexibility, muscular endurance and more, while being safe on the joints. It can not only help people who have injuries but also help prevent them. Pilates also enhances the mind-body connection and improves concentration, focus, coordination and overall balance.
AP: Yoga is the union of the body, mind and soul. It’s an internal makeover or re-wiring of your system. It helps because it releases happy hormones throughout the day and not just when you’re practising. More importantly, it’s not just about building muscle, but about the mind-body connection, so you’re connecting to your deeper self and soul when you’re meditating and practising yoga.
DP: With workouts, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Workouts have to be customised according to each person’s needs. I believe that tailor-made workout and diet routines are the best since they could benefit each person in their own way.
Which aspect of beauty excites you the most?
NP: I do indulge in a self-care routine. I love using natural and gentle products. I don’t own a lot of makeup, but I love my scrubs, masks and body and hair oils. I make my own coffee scrub, and honey and oats scrub. I love anything that smells good and makes my body feel relaxed and happy.
AP: I enjoy beauty, of course, but I’m pretty balanced rather than indulgent. Skin excites me the most because it’s really a combination of what you put into your body, what you’re thinking, and how you move. My DIYs are all home remedies. Since I’ve grown up around my grandmother who is an Ayurvedic doctor, I’ve always followed at-home rituals. I apply fruit to my face. I have a home garden, so I have my own aloe vera plant and I truly believe that it cures everything. I enjoy good sunscreen and moisturiser. I use ghee and oil as moisturisers for my dry skin.
DP: Being more holistic, I prefer focusing on the health, workout and nutritional aspects. Beauty comes naturally to me given the lifestyle I lead. However, if I had to choose, caring for the skin excites me most. As I work out, surround myself with nature and stay happy, my skin glows automatically. I vouch for homegrown products and at-home beauty solutions any day. I like to keep it basic.
How do you tackle the hair and skin challenges the monsoon season brings?
NP: My hair is my biggest challenge in the rains. As I go out riding a lot, my hair often gets wet, and becomes messy and frizzy, but I find that easy home remedies such as oiling my hair and some hair masks help.
AP: Because I practise yoga a lot, I’m always sweating,
and the humidity can make my scalp really dry. I always make sure I’m doing the right things to lock in moisture. I wash my hair daily if I need to, using a milder, sulphate- and chemical-free shampoo. I think we tend to forget how important it is to keep the scalp clean.
DP: I struggle with frizzy hair. Dry hair and breakage are my monsoon pet peeves. Plus, with humidity-caused sweat, even though I feel like washing my hair often, I maintain a gap of two to three days between washes. A natural hair serum and organic coconut oil are saviours. I apply some of either, tie my hair into a bun and forget about the frizz. That this application also soothes a dry and flaky scalp is an added benefit.
What are some must-have products in your workout bag?
NP: My sunscreen, as I’m out and about quite a bit. My lip balm as I spend a lot of time taking classes in air-conditioned rooms. And one lip and cheek tint just in case I need it!
AP: My water bottle, so I can keep hydrated, and sunblock, moisturiser and lip balm.
DP: An organic deodorant (most important), organic face wash, face spray and sunscreen…
Your instant pick-me-up for hair and skin…
NP: My vitamin C face wash does the job daily, and a nice water-based sleep mask that I use once a week.
AP: Keeping your hair and skin supremely clean – that’s so important. For an instant pick-me-up, I use water and avoid dry shampoos. I might just tie my hair into a bun or a different hairdo; that feels better. I spray rose water on my face and that instantly refreshes me. I also have aloe vera and olive sprays that just wake me up.
DP: I carry dry shampoo, simply because I work out every single day. We all know washing your hair daily isn’t the best thing, so a dry shampoo comes in handy; it gives your hair a pick-me-up as well as keeps it smelling good.
What’s your fitness and beauty mantra?
NP: Keep it safe, simple and smart.
AP: My fitness and beauty mantra? Keep it balanced. What you eat, what you think, what you do, how you work out – with everything in your life, the key is balance. I truly believe that. Always remember that your body is as flexible as your mind. Just be yourself, unedited and unapologetic.
DP: Stay positive and healthy – the natural way.
Photograph: Rohan Shrestha for Adidas
What’s the one beauty tip you want to share with fitness enthusiasts out there?
NP: Natural is beautiful! In both ways, natural, nature-friendly products and being and loving your natural self!
AP: Don’t wear makeup when you’re working out. Keep your pores open, so that, when you’re releasing toxins, your pores are not clogging up. Know that the post-yoga workout glow is real. Give your skin a chance to breathe; hydration is key.
DP: Dunk your face in ice water or splash ice-cold water on your face; it refreshes and cools your skin in a jiffy. I swear by this.