I was born and raised in a small village in India, I came from a very simple and traditional family. My father died when I was 10 years old and my brothers were younger than me. My uncle was quite educated, so he made sure I received a strong education. Because of his support, I went to university and earned my Master’s Degree. After that, my life took a 180-degree turn. Kal was visiting India for his uncle’s wedding, and one of my aunts arranged for us to meet. We met close to my village, in a small restaurant (Dhaba), with our entire family present. We were ‘permitted’ to talk with each other for 15 minutes. That 15-minute conversation became a lifelong commitment. We not only got married in the same week but also went on our honeymoon.
Within 6 months, I received my visa, and I moved to Canada. I left all my family and friends back in India. I still remember Kal taking me to a Canadian gym for the very first time (it was also my first time inside a gym- ever). I was not happy at all, to say the least. I was nervous, scared, and shy. I gradually started learning about exercises. Around that time, I also became pregnant with my daughter. After giving birth shortly after, I became pregnant again with my son. After two C sections and gaining about 80 pounds, I was determined to lose weight. I not only lost the weight but also got into the best shape in my life up to that point.
At that moment, I thought about competing in the bikini division at a local fitness competition. I completed some basic preparations a few months out of the contest and stepped on stage. I did not place well. I prematurely came to the conclusion that competing is not for me; being a mom and living in an extended family felt so impeding. Prep was the hardest thing, and I didn’t think I had the fortitude or the appetite to do it again. That is until two years ago. After training hard for 3 years, the burning desire and flame to compete were re-ignited. I completed my preparation, and I stepped on stage. I placed second in 2 categories, making me eligible for one of the largest pro competitions in Canada, the Van Pro.
Talk about your husband Kal. Please share the amazing things you are doing in the community for our kids
Kal and I strongly believe in contributing to the betterment of the community as a whole. We both grew up in traditional Indian families, which espoused powerful values and virtues of giving back. In Sikhism, this principle is known as Seva (unconditional and selfless service of others). We all possess a social obligation and moral responsibility to work together as a community to create a better future for our children. It takes a village to raise a child. Kal is an active-duty officer with his respective law enforcement department and he founded and runs the KidsPlay Foundation, a registered charity dedicated to providing high-quality educational and sports programming to youth, absolutely free of cost, as a deterrent to entering a lifestyle of drugs, gangs and crime.
Congratulations on your website launch Fitbloom.ca. What are your plans and inspiration for this?
Recently, I have started receiving so many requests for online training and these requests are from all over the world. Moreover, training has been tremendously satisfying and rewarding when I am able to help my clients to achieve their goals. This online fitness platform will meet all their exercise, nutritional and overall health and wellness needs!
It is a cost-effective way to discover the health benefits of having a professional personal trainer that can guide and mentor them to achieve their goal:) I am super excited about this new journey
In your opinion, is weight loss more of a fitness issue or a health issue and why?
Obesity creates hypertension and multiple other diseases. It can also be a leading cause of various mental health issues and increase morbidity rates. Therefore, I believe it is a health issue. Losing weight will decrease the chance of adopting serious internal health issues.
If you have 100 tokens in total and you could apply them to the following categories, how many would you apply to each?
- Fitness level: 40
- Health level: 60
The majority of the public wishes to live a healthier lifestyle, some of whom have been prompted by personal health issues to take up exercise. I believe health and fitness are deeply intertwined. Once a strong health foundation is established, that’s when the fitness journey starts
Thoughts on HIIT, Powerlifting, TRX, Yoga, bodybuilding, others?
HIIT: I personally love HIIT training, which translates into less time and more explosive movements. It’s the perfect mix of dynamic movements.
BODYBUILDING: Bodybuilding is all about routine. Day in and day out, it gets you into great physical shape, with a lean, hard, sculpted look.
TRX: It is a body resistance workout. However, I am not a big fan of TRX because clients find it extremely discouraging to transition and adjust to this type of program.
YOGA: Yoga is the best for breathing, stretching and overall health and an excellent source of flexibility
POWERLIFTING: Powerlifting is raw strength whereby you lift heavy weights, most of the time one rep with max strength with longer breaks in between sets. It is heavily technique-oriented and is a great way to stack thick muscle on your frame.
Can you tell us about yourself and your fitness journey?
I never in a million years would have imagined my life changing so drastically with fitness. Growing up in a traditional southeast Asian family has historically meant adopting traditional roles. I was never encouraged to stay fit and play sports. However, gaining 80 lbs after the birth of my second born, I realized I had to make some major changes. These changes were simply not cosmetic, but rather a matter of life and death as far as I was concerned. Staying healthy for my sake, and the sake of my family was of paramount importance. Getting fit became a journey; witnessing the results fuelled and encouraged me to seek my full potential. Now, as one of the handfuls of South Asian representatives in the fitness industry, I feel the obligation and pride of representing my community on the international stage. I want every young girl to know that they can achieve the greatest heights only if they believe in themselves.
How was the Van pro for you? What is your future stage goal?
The Van Pro was an absolutely amazing journey. It pushed me to my limits, and forced me to grow, literally, mentally, and as a person on the whole. I am grateful and humbled to have won my respective categories. However, the work is far from over, and it’s back to the drawing board. My future plans are to step on stage soon at the Toronto Van pro.
How did your passion for fitness start? And what was the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey?
Started from the bottom and now we are here…this journey of self-exploration has been nothing short of liberating. As someone who had never seen the inside of a gym prior to my 20s, the experience of becoming physically fit has been empowering and ignited a passion. This passion translated into becoming a personal trainer so that I may inspire others to achieve their fullest potential. The biggest challenge was working on my prep, all the while living in an extended No one knew I was competing till show day, with the exception of my husband.
Share your unique training/coaching methods?
I believe being mentally resilient is equally as important as being physically fit. An injury or a personal setback in life can have a devastating impact. It is important to develop the right mental attitude to deal with many obstacles in your path. I always tell my clients that if you fall down at 7, you get up at 8.
5 days of lifting and 3 days of cardio.
Focus on whole foods, cut down processed food completely, limit sugar and salt intake, reduce daily dairy intake or switch it with almond milk. Drink 4 litres of water and eat a protein-based source with every meal.
Multivitamin, Omega 3, Vitamin D, Aminos, Protein, Greens and Collagen.
Please describe the importance of mental health?
Mental health is extremely important. As the world continues to cope with covid, social isolation, gym shutdowns, and so forth, maintaining a positive outlook can be difficult when everything is doom and gloom. Exercising is a great way to release endorphins, and stay fit at the same time. Not to sound naively optimistic, but always looking at the bright side is very important. There is a silver lining in any cloud.
Take us through a typical day in the life for you?
I wake up at 5 am, make lunches for my kids, and then start work at 6. I work till 2 pm, but slide a 90-minute workout in between. Afterwards, I pick up my kids from school. I arrive home with the kids, prepare a snack and then we head to wrestling practice. After wrestling, I come home, prepare dinner, put the dishes away, and then pass out.
What separates Status from other fitness magazines?
Status is community-based and finds a perfect balance between showcasing fitness industry superstars and those in the early stages of their journey; a testament to Status magazine’s ability to embrace everyone equally and promote a culture of inclusivity. Status also takes time, invests the energy into examining issues that impact fitness, and explores training methods, foods, and supplements that can optimize performance. In other words, this magazine is the best!
If you could ask Status Fitness Magazine Editor in Chief Rodney Jang any industry question, what would that be?
What inspires you to get out of bed every morning?
Status Fitness Magazine runs model searches across North America including the largest one at the Arnold Classic for the Status cover. As part of the Status family, you will receive a special participation invite. How excited are you for this opportunity?
I am extremely excited. Being the cover would be a dream come true for multiple reasons. First, it would firmly entrench the legacy I wish to leave behind for my children because I believe parents are the best role models for their kids. Second, it would be a remarkable testament to my journey; that despite all the obstacles, adversity and challenges that came in my way, it flagpoles my achievement. Lastly, it would be an honour and a privilege to represent my community, and a salute to all moms, that if I can do it, so can they.
Describe your coaches and the impact they have on you?
My coaches are a major source of inspiration. They had belief in me, even before I had a belief in myself. They push me to challenge my limitations and push my envelope of comfort. They believe I can do better, and this motivates me to work harder and achieve greater things. If you set a low bar for yourself, you won’t disappoint. Comfort and complacency are where dreams go to die. I have heartfelt gratitude for my coaches.
Can you share with us your goals for fitness and life?
My goals include continuing to compete until I receive my IFBB pro card. That is the ultimate height of achievement in my framework of goals. In life, I wish to be the best personal trainer that I can be. Helping others to help themselves is an equally great achievement.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
It’s not how others perceive you, but rather how you perceive yourself that matters.
5 most important attributes you see in a person?
Integrity, Hard work, Volunteer work, Positivity, Grateful.
If you could inspire one person, who would that be? And why?
As a mother, I am fulfilling my responsibility to give my daughter values of kindness and compassion. But I am equally responsible for empowering her with strong and fierce principles to stand tall so that she is equipped to face the world.
Who inspires you? And why?
I am inspired by my husband, Kal. His passion to give back through his job and his community work absolutely selflessly, and without expectation of benefit. It is this passion that has become my driving force; to pursue something with as a labour of love.
What is your number one tip for people on their fitness journey?
Set small goals for yourself; get through the week, and then focus on the next week. Before you know it, a month will have passed.
What does success look like for you?
I am eternally grateful and blessed to have the opportunity to achieve my physical goals. Every goal I achieve inspires me to train harder and establish new goals. When I see a change in my body, it’s exciting and motivating. This becomes even more transparent when I’m competing. The competition in this industry is intense, which forces me to sharpen my focus and tighten my commitment. There is no better feeling to step on stage and stand beside the best athletes in the industry. They amplify the feeling when I win a competition and inspire other women.
What is your favourite quote to live by?
“I have always been successful since the beginning. It’s like we come with success. We don’t get success, we come with it. I am successful myself, that is where success is “ – Bob Marley.
Connect with Sandy: IG
Photo By: David Ford
Stage Photo By: Twixpix Photography
I think that is an interesting point, it made me think a bit. Thanks for sparking my thinking cap. Sometimes I get so much in a rut that I just feel like a record.