“Take a leap of faith as the finest steel goes through the hottest fire”

Blog by: Rohan Joshi

Success is ideally measured by the number of lives you change. Prema Rajaram, a famous runner and a tennis player from Kolkata, has changed many lives. She has transformed people’s bodies by helping them achieve their maximum potential. She is an inspiration to many runners and has made sure that people fall in love with fitness training and holistic wellness. In an email interview, she replies to our questions in great details.

1. Briefly describe yourself and your current profession.

I have been a journalist for around 11 years and currently I am a senior correspondent for CNN News18 which involves a lot of physical work at odd hours. It also involves a lot of stress and mental fatigue with news gathering information and keeping abreast with news in West Bengal.

2. What was your first step towards fitness? Were you maintaining an active lifestyle prior to that step?

I played tennis in school and then in college. I started walking and jogging at the lakes in Southern Avenue in 2008 and would do yoga as well. I injured my back and was asked by the doctor not to jog for a year but still keep my weight in check. That was a turning point. I joined the gym in 2009. After 7 years of gymming and 2 years of yoga, which I rejoined later, I got addicted to running 10 km almost every Sunday. There was no looking back after that. I wasn’t maintaining a very static lifestyle, though yes, I didn’t look and feel as good as when I had started exercising.

3. What was your first run/workout? What was your duration on the first day?

My first run was in August 2015 and I ran 10km. Before that for a brief while I ran in March at the Lakes for about 3-5km, but didn’t have any record of it.

4. Please share the experience of your first run/workout. How did it feel post run/workout?

Gymming on the first day ended with aches and pains but since the doctor had told me to keep my weight down due to my back issue, I was determined to exercise. My first run of 10km was a great feeling though it ended with sore muscles and taking a Calpol (Paracetamol tablet) in the evening.

5. How do you maintain your fitness levels despite being a journalist?

I wake up early and go for a run and try fitting in other forms of strength training exercises, cycling and yoga. I try to sleep early to get adequate sleep. The days I have to leave for work early, I go for a short run. When I am travelling for work, I carry my running attire and make sure I run there. If I travel to smaller towns for work, I avoid running but do strength training exercises like squats, lunges, sit ups and skipping in the room.

6. Please tell us more about your daily fitness regimen and diet.

I wake up around 5-5:30am for a run and post that I do strength training or yoga as well. Some times  I skip running and take a break, and just focus on yoga, cycling or strength training. Diet is mostly about eating every two and a half hours with my last meal by 8pm. The most important thing is to hydrate well.

7. What have been your achievements since you started running?

1. Calcutta Swimming Club marathon, 2016- First in 10km guest category.
2. TCS 10km run in 2016- Stood 3rd.
3. Sohra Cherrapunji Full marathon- Stood 3rd. This was my first full marathon.
I have also helped new runners and my aim is to build the running community in Kolkata and to make it stronger and get more people fitter.

8. Future plans and what lies ahead for you?

Keep running, focus on strength training in 2018 and improving on pace, even if it means running shorter distances. Eventually want to take on bigger challenges like a Ladakh marathon and an ultra marathon. When I am better at running, I will attempt triathlons too.

9. What’s your inspiration and motivation both in fitness industry and otherwise? Which sports icons do you idolize?
My inspiration is normal people like myself who have respected their mind and bodies and come this far.
My sports icons are Sania Mirza and Sachin Tendulkar for their focus and determination.

10. Anything you’d like to say to novice runners and fitness enthusiasts?

Keep running but go slow on the number of miles you increase. Running is bound to give you injuries if you are not systematic as we have not been athletes for years and our bodies are not used to running such miles. So respect your body and gradually increase the miles.

11. Final quote.

It’s always hard to get out of your comfort zone. But it is harder to accept the regret that you decided to stay within your comfort zone. So live the most of the one life you have got and take a leap of faith as the finest steel goes through the hottest fire.

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