by Swatee Jog
I’d been hearing about him for long. As he sat there in the Chairman’s office, I mistook him for a student. Anybody would, for that matter. He later clarified that most people presume him to be a PUC student. How lucky, I thought! Meeting Martin was like a whiff of fresh air. Introducing him to the students was just as pleasant. A thoroughbred Belgaum lad, he studied at St. Xavier’s and then completed his Masters in Physiotherapy from KLE.
His demeanor and attitude belie his age. He is well known as a Trained Pilates instructor and is a personal trainer to many ( he refers about his training sessions, interspersed with anecdotes, but like a thorough professional, never once mentions a single name of his patients/clients, neither gives away hints that one could identify with). And surprisingly, he is open to admit that he earns a fortune, but hastily adds that he has risen the hard way. Martin is your regular Belgaum boy, dreams in eyes, fire in the belly ( and a lean physique to go with it!) , with the usual insouciance writ large on his face that merits someone who has found his way the hard way and is now enjoying his moment under the sun.
Strangely for someone whose profession would otherwise demand utter secrecy of signature exercise forms, steps, health tips and myth-busters, he is extremely open in sharing it with students. As he extolled the virtues of fitness and cleared doubts about certain exercises, he looked completely at ease in sharing them with students, never once thinking that he is giving away his art or skill. What Martin extolls about, Pilates, is basically a form of physical fitness system developed in early twentieth century by German born Joseph Pilates. Mostly heard in the context of film stars and celebrities who swear by its virtues, Pilates is all about balance, concentration and breathing and to derive energy from the center of one’s core, the powerhouse.
Martin studied physiotherapy but being a personal trainer-Pilates instructor would have been last on his mind. He was inspired by his sister who is a trained Pilates Instructor and has Pilates studios in Hyderabad. After some unsuccessful turn of events at grabbing a plum job, Martin decided that he would strike it on his own. Today, his work day begins at 6 and ends at 11, training, treating and guiding people from Belgaum, the fitness way. He credits his stamina and energy levels required to sustain this demanding routine to Pilates. My students asked him what he had for food and he said whatever his Mom prepares, coupled with milk and a steady dose of water throughout the day.
The moment he entered the class, he smiled and connected with the students. His first giveaway was that Gravity is the most beautiful gift man has ever received. I interrupted him to ask why he thought so and Martin quipped that it was what keeps him down to earth! That’s Martin for you. Asking questions, scribbling stick figures on the board, demonstrating postures for the back, legs, arms, neck, etc. and basically making it all sound so simple and fun. On the way he busted some myths about fitness. Watching him motivate the volunteer who doubled up as his model was a revelation, something which can only come to a person who has to constantly motivate people to just push themselves one extra bit, to persist, to overcome fatigue and boredom and take them along the way of sustained fitness. He said that it needs 90 days of persistent efforts and motivation for one to go along the fitness path. I have met people who vouch for his postures, which though easy to perform in the first set, become more difficult by the time one has completed three. It was evident when the student volunteer, a regular gym goer and a healthy lad, was literally shaking while holding certain easy looking postures.
What followed was a slew of questions from students, about neck pain, lack of concentration, wrist pain, etc. Martin, typical of him, asked that specific student which game he played on computer and explained that each type of game had specific adverse impact on the wrist, forearm or eyes. As a Physio, he rattles the names of muscles as though they are his friends. But at the same time, he explains it with the ease of a teacher. So typical of a Belgaum boy studied at Xavier’s, he frequently completes his sentences with the word ‘man’, which sounds really endearing. Martin’s father had, for some part of his life, taught at Bharatesh Homeopathic Medical College and he was thrilled to be speaking at the same institution after years.
Over coffee later that day, Martin spoke about his life, his deep love for his mother and sister and about life in general. Did I tell you he also mentioned that he reads faces? This was the other side of Martin whose depth of thought and his ability to overcome adversity had been mistaken for insouciance. Here was a level headed youngster who was unwillingly relocating, who has clear ideas about the way his career will shape up and who has dedicated himself to fitness. That appears just one part of what is Martin, whose sum of parts exceeds the whole. If you know him more, or know anything more about him, keep me posted!
About the author: Swatee Jog is the Training and Placement Officer at Bharatesh Global Business School ( MBA Program). She has an experience of 6 years in the media and 4 years in academics. She has written extensively in the English and Marathi newspapers on Career, Technology and Management topics. She has spoken at various forums as a resource person and has published several research papers in management journals as well as 2 books.