Back in 2019, he was moved when a mother was crying helplessly for her drug addict son. The mother was waiting in a queue in SSP’s office and wanted to seek help for her son to get rid of the drugs.
“Her son was on drugs and he used to harm his family too by attacking them. Her tears moved me and I couldn’t sleep for 2 nights,” Bhat recalled.
Hailing from Rajbagh area of Srinagar, he thought that to make people’s life better, he needs to do something for himself first and what better than being a fitness trainer. Today people fondly call him ‘Fitness wala dost’ or ‘Aariz Bhat’.
Currently working as a fitness trainer in Anytime Fitness Club Srinagar, he said, “People may not share anything with their trainer but with a friend they share everything. I approach people as a friend and we together change things that take them towards a better life.”
Belonging to a middle class family and with the limited resources, it was difficult for him to pursue a career in the field of fitness.
He, on the suggestion of his seniors and cousins moved to Jammu. “They told me here you can’t learn the discipline and responsibility which a trainer has to learn,” he said.
He joined the Anytime Fitness Gym- a franchise of health and fitness clubs extended across the globe, and for the first five days, he worked on a shift of 10-12 hours without rest. His dedication impressed the head trainer and owner who hired him.
To get a certification course in fitness, he went to Delhi where he came to know more about fitness. Soon he took up a job as a fitness trainer and worked for more than two years there.
During the time, he came across two drug addict kids- one from Srinagar and another from Jammu and trained them.
“While training those kids, I had to deal with a lot of things. Sometimes they had mood swings and sometimes they would behave rudely but today I feel proud that both of them are living a good life today. I think it’s my achievement in my training career,” he said.
In 2021, he came back to Srinagar and started training people including many government officers which got him in good contacts with them.
Recently a functional training workshop was conducted with Gold Gym Fitness Institute Mumbai with the help of J&K Police and SSP Srinagar Rakesh Balwal. The training workshop was provided to the youth free of cost.
“My next plan is to get a free of cost certification course for 50 fitness enthusiasts who want to pursue a career in the field of fitness. With this course, they can be adjusted in any fitness chain and earn good money,” he said.
His future plans also include setting up a fitness academy in Kashmir where training can be offered to gym trainers.
He said that with the initiatives taken by him, the youth of Kashmir can make a career in the fitness industry without going out and paying a hefty amount to get the certification course.
“With this, more fitness enthusiasts will come forward and can change the lives of other people. Also people can open their startup and can motivate other people to stay fit,” he said.
As some of the people consider gyms and fitness centers associated with body building only, he said that gyms can help in keeping mental and reproductive health better.
“Even doctors advise people for gymming and exercises. Your cardiovascular system gets better and your weight remains proper. It increases your strength,” he said.
He feels that there is a requirement of professional coaches in the gyms. He said that the field where one can have injuries and fractures always requires a coach to be around trainees. The exercises should be done in a systematic way and as per the recommendation of the trainer.
“People often avoid gymming because they have to pay the trainers but the trainer tells you how much exercises are needed. With the help of a fitness trainer, you will be motivated all the day and also the injuries will be avoided. Entering the gym, you have to warm up first and follow all the techniques. Before doing any activity, warming up is a must,” he said.
Talking about the career opportunities in the fitness field, he said that there are a lot of opportunities to avail outside Kashmir and people earn a handsome amount.
While stressing over the sponsorship from the government he said, “If government sponsors the fitness centers in Kashmir, we can have a lot of opportunities as well. People can work as coaches and this will open up the doors of employment.”
He further said that the lifestyle of most of the people in Kashmir is lethargic which has given rise to a number of ailments. Obesity, hypertension, diabetes, PCOD and PCOS are some of the disorders related to inactive lifestyle which can only be controlled by staying fit.
“People of 80 years old outside Kashmir maintain their physical activity and have good stamina. As compared to Kashmir, there is more culture of fitness outside and the trainers are always on toes,” he added.
Talking about how to stay fit during Ramzan, he said that the best thing to do is walk for 15-20 minutes after eating. “Half an hour before and after iftars can be a good time for doing a workout,” he added.
Belonging to a middle class family, Bhat has done a junior artist role in Haider movie and believes fitness has played an important role in shaping up his life. Also he had started his event management company where he organizes events for special children, artists and works for drug de-addiction.
“Currently my father is unwell but I am doing what I was supposed to do. Any obstacle in your life should not stop you but make you stronger,” he concluded.