The statistics acquire a certain flowing eloquence when stacked together and tell almost the entire story all by themselves – a Masters in Sports Science, certification in no less than 11 disciplines by the American College of Sports Medicines and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Sumaya Dalmia has not just created her oeuvre, she has taken it to levels unheard of at the time when she emerged as one of India’s undisputed fitness pioneers. We must mention here that the lady is also a trained Pilates professional from the Pilates Foundation.
It has been quite a journey and it crystallised after a slight detour on the way. “I was always athletic and have always loved sports,” says Sumaya. “In fact, I was a national level track and field runner so fitness was a way of life from a very young age for me. However, 22 years ago, following the mainstream was the norm – banking, economics, marketing etc. So, naturally, I also pursued a tried and tested path, that of Economics Honours at St. Stephen’s.”
It was while she was in college that Sumaya enrolled in a Master Trainer course and that set her on the path for what would eventually become her defining passion. “I realised how much I enjoyed training others,” she says. “Soon after, NDTV invited me to host a fitness segment on the very popular Good Morning India show as well.” Dalmia moved to New York after taking her bachelor’s degree for her Master’s course and continued her training there as well.
“While in NYC, I joined a gym and the trainer was excellent,” recalls the fitness expert. “I was impressed by how the training was customised to my specific body type and needs. I soon learned he had a Masters in Physiology and that inspired me to think out of the box. My college also offered a degree in Sports Science and I ended up doing a Double Masters. That was the actual starting point of my career in fitness.”
Sumaya’s extensive experience and expertise in fitness have given her routines an almost Zen-like quality where the workouts have a touch of spirituality to them. “Fitness can’t be followed mindlessly,” she says. “The quality of your workout, your breathing and other factors matter – it is a science and a routine practice must be followed and eventually that becomes almost like a spiritual practice.”
It is a quality most sought-after because most of us lead very demanding lives and it can only be managed if we keep ourselves physically and mentally fit. Sumaya Dalmia has made it her mission in life to help people achieve what it takes to thrive and be healthy and happy. The journey has seen her go through times when we didn’t have mainstream gyms and people were not really driven to keep themselves fit to now when fitness ranks very high on the agenda.
“What stands out most is an increase in how conscious and self-aware people have become in the past decade,” says Sumaya. “Technology and Google have led to an overload of information and it is important for trained professionals like my team and I to help filter and streamline the relevant information to our clients and make people understand that workouts are not one size fits all.”