(Nominated in the category of English Non-Fiction for the REC-VoW Book Awards, 2019)
Excerpts from the interview with Tarun Gill:
By Tanya Singh
You’ve written an important book to guide others into a healthy lifestyle and physique. When did you know that this book just had to be written?
I have been struggling with the problem of male boobs since early childhood. I always thought it was me who was special, who has this problem. But when I grew up, I realised there are millions of boys who have the same problem as mine. I tried every product and medicine to fix this issue, and it took me over fifteen years to finally find a solution which made me comfortable in my skin. I knew that the solution had to be shared with the boys, especially Indian ones, who are too embarrassed to talk about such things with their parents. Being India’s leading fitness influencer and author, I had the responsibility to share this solution with my social media following of over one million.
You quit your marketing career to become one of the most influential fitness instructors in India today. What was this journey like? Do you have any tips for our readers on how to gain social media influence?
Just follow your passion and the rest will follow. I started my fitness career in my mid-thirties. When people settle down with their comfortable jobs and careers, I made a switch which everyone thought was stupid. I knew I had to do something in fitness, but I was clear in my head that I could not be a fitness trainer. Not that I didn’t want to, but I didn’t have the skillset. So, here I was transitioning into the fitness industry, leaving a high profile job of an investment banker with an intention of not being a trainer or owning a gym. And, unfortunately, a fitness career in India is restricted to a trainer or a nutritionist. I wanted to do something different. So I started dabbling with the idea of creating content for YouTube – something I truly loved. In six months, I started getting traction and realised that I had now become India’s first full time fitness YouTuber. I didn’t know that I had opened up gates for many upcoming youngsters who were looking for a jumpstart in fitness, and helped paved the way to make YouTube as their go-to platform. I haven’t looked back since then. Now I am a TV producer – just finished a TV show for Discovery with Suniel Shetty that aired last year. This TV show also got me the Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award for being the Fitness Entrepreneur of the Year 2019.
Have you been a fitness enthusiast all your life? How did you do the research for this book, and more importantly, what does fitness mean to you?
I have been a student of fitness almost all my life. Being a fat kid and being bullied in my school days, I knew I had to lose weight. But, unfortunately, we had no internet back then. So, I had to do a lot of trial and error on my body to find a solution for what works for it. I totally understand what a fat person has to go through, which is not pleasant. I have interviewed over 200 athletes and most of them were fat in their early teens. Some even contemplated suicide as their way to end the body shaming torture. Now my role is to inspire people to take up fitness as a lifestyle. It’s not just about aesthetics but also how you feel from within.
Fitness is more of a mental game than physical. Right from waking up early in the morning when your mind tells you to sleep a little extra and miss your work out to indulge in junk food, which may not be healthy for your body. But if your mind is strong and conditioned you can never be unfit. The time has now come for us to train our mind over body. Tarun Gill is India’s powerful fitness influencer with a strong and effective social media presence. His honesty and uncanny knack of speaking his mind has got him over 7,00,000 YouTube subscribers. Tarun is the classic Indian example of how one can make a successful career simply by being honest and transparent on social media.
For the complete interview, log onto www.valleyofwords.org