Turning fitness into entrepreneurial venture

Turning fitness into entrepreneurial venture
Muhammad Shafi, an MBA was working in a multinational company in Pune until he decided to do something for those involved in drug addiction in and around his vicinity.Special arrangement

With an aim of working towards drug de-addiction and becoming economically independent, Muhammad Shafi Bhat a young bodybuilder enthusiast left a lucrative private job to set up a gym centre and thus become an inspiration for others.

Muhammad Shafi, an MBA was working in a multinational company in Pune until he decided to do something for those involved in drug addiction in and around his vicinity.

After completing his Bachelors in Business Administration and later Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 2015 from Arihant Group of Institution a college affiliated with the University of Pune, Shafi got a job at Infosys Private Limited where he would draw a handsome salary.

After the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 across the globe, Shafi had to return back to their home where he remained idle for almost a year. He later applied for a job in the Gulf and got selected for a job in Damam.

During his stay at home for almost a year, Shafi noticed that a good number of boys were involved in drug addiction which encouraged him to do something concrete to bring them out of this menace.

Since I had developed taste in bodybuilding during my MBA days “So I thought of establishing a gym centre which could encourage drug addicts to de-addiction and could be a source of income for my family,” Shafi told Greater Kashmir.

“I discussed the idea with my father and elder brother; they did not agree at the first following which I had to make them understand for several days and later they did get convinced. They had no idea that a person can earn a good amount from a gym centre,” he added.

“I knew to establish a sophisticated gym centre; one needs more than twenty lakh rupees. I thought about applying for a loan but my father who had retired from government services last year offered me the required amount,” he said.

“In the month of September last year, I started ‘Handwara Gymkhana’ near the exit road of new bus stand Handwara by spending almost Rs 30 lakh over it. I bought all the sophisticated equipment and machines from Jaipur Rajasthan,”

Shafi is running his gym centre in a rented building and beside himself, he has appointed one more trainer for smooth functioning.

Over a hundred people get training round the year in Handwara Gymkhana. Adults have to pay Rs 900 monthly while students get relaxation of Rs 150. “I earn over seventy thousand per month which happened to be beyond the expectations of my family,” he said.

“I open the gym centre at 6 am in the morning and close at 10 pm. I remain in the gym till 12 noon and then another trainer joins in who trains people till 6 pm in the evening,” He said that the youth who undergo body-building training should resort to natural protein instead of manmade. “A bodybuilder taking manmade protein develops later severe health issues which could end up with kidney failure,”.

“Comparatively a good number of overweight persons come to the gym to lose weight. I feel really sorry to see young boys overweight. I give them training but exercise can only work if followed by a proper diet plan. I believe that seventy percent focus on diet and thirty per cent on exercise will certainly work for a person who wants to lose weight,” he added. Shafi holds the opinion that people should adopt a good lifestyle with regard to their eating to remain slim and trim. “All the health issues develop from a bad lifestyle so people should avoid such things which can hamper them,”.

He said that people in Kashmir are not as health-conscious as in other cities of India but the scenario is changing now steadily in Kashmir also. “It is not mandatory to join a gym centre but people can do exercise at home for forty minutes which would certainly do the job,”.

Shafi said that those educated youth who are sitting idle at home should start their small-scale business units by taking the help of different financial schemes being run by the government.

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