Here are exclusive interview with this renowned mother of one who made it to Asia’s Bodybuilding Championship and created a history:
Ms. Jinnie, after earning three master’s degree and a long career in Education, the 39-year-old, mother of one, has represented India in physique sports in the World Championship and Asian BodyBuilding Championship. Alongside coverage by the media, she is a regular columnist for many magazines. She has authored few educational books and edited many. She has also been featured among the Top 5 Fittest Moms in India by the Indian Bodybuilding. Jinnie is the new Ambassador for FitIndia campaign and is looking at a bright future in Fitness and BodyBuilding.
Q. What encouraged you to take a leap from a career in teaching to one in Body Building?
I had been a teacher for 10 years, and I was accustomed to the safe environment and I loved my students. But I quit because teaching was a career that my parents chose for me and I wanted to do something of my own.
During this time, I decided to join the gym. I have always been very conscious about my fitness and fortunately my body responded well to the physical regimes. After witnessing my progress, as a sheer coincidence I was chosen to try for the World Championship.
And as shocking as that sounds, I decided to go for it – just like that. From then the hard part began – the phase where I had to go through extremely intensive physical training and in just six months, I was on the world stage.
Q. Taking the monumental decision to try out for the World championship, what sort of doubts plagued your mind?
I had never been to the gym before this, in my life. Body building was drastically opposite to my career path so far. So naturally I had a lot of apprehensions. It required a lot of courage to go ahead with the photoshoots, and it was indeed a bold decision to get into this because I decided to enter fitness at an age when most women retire!
The routine was not tough to keep up with, but I was habitual of a long and harsh routine and I also had the habit of waking up early and having an early start, thanks to my teaching years.
Q. How did you manage to keep up with the stress of intense physical training as well as juggle parenthood?
My daughter has been a major support throughout this journey. She has always been enthusiastic and has pushed me to do better and better. She is 10 years now, she was 8 years old when I first ventured into fitness. The physical journey has been very challenging for me, but my daughter and my husband have always stood by me.
Time management wasn’t very tough as my schedule never clashed with hers, she is off to school when I train.
Q. How did rest of your family react to your sudden change in career path?
Honestly, I made sure to fulfil all my responsibilities at home and as a parent which ensured my family’s support.
Reaction from others were not so encouraging. My parents thought that it wasn’t the right step, leaving my teaching career to go do something as different as Body Building. It was hard-hitting because I had to face a lot of negativity from many known associates and society in general. But I never let the negativity affect my efforts.
After the World Championship, I was covered by Hindustan Times and I began writing as a regular fitness columnist for many magazines and newspapers. Watching me succeed, my parents’ perception gradually changed and they became more accepting and supportive.
Q. Is it difficult being a woman in the Body Building Industry?
Fitness is age-free and bias-free, in my opinion. You can stay fit and have a toned body at any age and gender, certainly, has nothing to do with it.
I have seen my ups and downs but I have never lost my passion to continue, never felt that I should be conscious of the fact that I am a woman in BodyBuilding. I have never let that sort of negativity affect me and always believe that God has chosen a path for everyone.
If nothing else, I have always felt confident and my education has helped me there. I am a rare combination of education and fitness in the industry. Due to my rich academic background, I could research and then write more about body building which has, in turn, benefitted me in my journey.
Q. Being a regular columnist on fitness, what perception do the masses hold around fitness according to you?
After I had spent some considerable time working out, I decided to study, in-depth, the human anatomy. As I read and gained more information, I realised a proper combination of the right diet and the right weight training can do wonders for your body. This is when I began writing about the topic too.
As a columnist, I get several queries and most of them are reflective of only one fact – lack of awareness.
Most of the people follow improper exercise regimes, which are often unsuitable for their body type. So, the problem with an Indian audience is lack of awareness about fitness and the type of physical routine that will suit their needs.
Q. If you could give one message to all the fitness enthusiasts out there, what would it be?
Follow your passion because the most important thing is your happiness. I was doing very well as a teacher, but I knew I was made for something more. This made me want to do something of my own and I have never been happier!
Do what makes you happy and forget about age, gender and restrictions.
Even now, my former students send in very encouraging and lovely messages – this always makes my intense journey worthwhile. One last thing that I would like to mention is – stay away from demotivation.
If you believe it, go for it – don’t let someone else’s negativity affect your growth.