It is hard to be a female in India, especially when you do things that are not ‘normal’ and considerate according to the society. However, things are changing slowly for good where women now doing things which are important to them first.
One such woman who has achieved her dreams in spite of all odds is 35 years old Yashmeen Chauhan Manak and her inspiring life story of beating illness and overcoming troubled childhood to build herself up, mentally and physically.
If you happen to meet Yashmeen on an average day, you would be mistaken by her appearance of a woman interested only in motorcycles, traveling and adventure sports.
But that’s not the only thing that makes her unique. To cut things short, here is the list of accomplishments she has under her belt. She is a…
1. ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
2. IKFF Certified Kettlebell Teacher
3. Reebok Certified Aerobics Instructor
4. Has 16 years of hands-on experience in the field of health, fitness and sports nutrition
5. Is into fitness related TV shows
6. Team Neulife – Cellucor Athlete
7. Best Body Award Winner, Gladrags Mrs. India 2005
8. The owner of “Sculpt Gym” in Gurgaon, India.
On her website, Yashmeen has been open about her childhood days struggle and how that affected her to become the person she is today.
Most of the people I meet in my profession believe that I was born with the body I live in today.
Unfortunately, I was not like what I am today.
Born on 21st march 1979, I was brought up by my grandfather, a retired colonel and pampered by my loving grandmother. I suffered from typhoid when I was in 7th grade. The ailment got detected late and doctors had to give steroids to revive me. As a side effect, I lost most of my hair, got severe acne and started to put on weight.
Mine was a joint family. My cousin sisters were thin and pretty. Social life became hell for me. At school or at home, everybody used to tease me for being fat and having a face full of acne. Well, I thought my face and the acne is something I cannot do much about, but my body is up to me how I want to shape it. While in school it was impossible for me to be consistent with my exercise. During that time there were hardly any gyms. Still I used to try to do something or the other by reading or watching here and there but with no results. I made the same mistakes which most of the people make even today like skipping breakfast, eating only two meals, etc. There was nobody to guide me right. Once I was out of school, I joined a local gym, worked out hard like crazy, felt better but did not lose much. The reason was no proper guidance. In my quest of obtaining knowledge, I enrolled myself for a basic Aerobics course with Reebok. I received my certification for an Aerobics trainer but I did not restrict myself. I kept on reading, studying, enrolled myself with advanced courses on exercise prescription, nutrition, various exercise methods, kept on attending national and international seminars and workshops, experimented with my knowledge first on myself and then on my deserving clients and here I am today.
I have struggled to achieve a fit body. It’s not a gift to me. I have earned it !!
We recently had got a chance to talk to Yashmeen about her life goals, motorcycling passion, and career choices.
1. What made you start riding motorcycles? and how long have you been riding?
I was holidaying in Goa in December 2011 when my friends rented a few bikes for themselves. Something I can’t describe…rushed inside me and I asked one of them to let me ride. He sat behind and I went crazy on the roads of Goa. That was my first time on the bike. I always hated being a pillion rider. I love to take the lead….Be it riding or driving.
I have been riding for 4 years now.
2. Do you own any bike(s) currently?
I own a Desert Storm 500cc.
3. What is that one thing you discovered about yourself after you started motorcycling?
I discovered that my riding stamina was far better than guys ;). We rode non-stop till Manali and Udaipur (from Gurgaon ) with just small tea breaks in between. The guys used to get tired and complain time and again. hahaha…
4. Being a certified fitness expert, how important it is you think, especially for females bikers, to take care of their health and to be fit?
If I talk about just aesthetics, it means a lot, to me at least. I have not yet seen any ”in shape” Indian woman rider yet. How empowering and impactful it is going to be actually if you see a fit, ”in shape” woman in a fitted riding gear, riding a bike. Just imagine 😉
Keep aesthetics aside, it is of utmost importance that every woman (rider or non-rider) should exercise. Firstly, it shows how much she loves herself which is extremely important. Secondly, the muscular strength and endurance acquired as a result of regular exercise/training makes one a better rider. The body can handle the long ride stress so well.
5. Also, being a lady you must have been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism/negative feedback from the society and people in general, for what you pursue as your career and passion (i.e body building and riding bikes). How you tackle that?
As far as my husband and close friends are concerned, they have been always very supportive.
On my face, nobody dares to utter a word of criticism, such is my aura. Behind the back what cowards say I do not care and am unaffected always. People who feel safe writing negative comments behind their desktops are the people who need help. I really pity them. Just because they themselves do not have the balls to fulfill their own dreams, they satisfy themselves by spitting venom sitting on their asses. Moreover, there are some men who get intimidated by a woman who is more successful than them in a field which was once upon a time dominated by them. So I understand their emotions well and just do not bother.
On the other hand, I am blessed to have so many fans and followers who encourage me, praise me and treat me like a queen So….always count your blessings, rest nothing else matters.
6. What keeps you motivated in life?
This is one question I have no answer to Still…lemme try…
I am very passionate about whatever I do in life. I have my extremes to everything I do. Either I will give it my all OR do it not at all. I can never ever give up onto whatever I want to achieve just because I cannot see myself giving up. That is not me.
Why I am like this….maybe the hardships I have faced since childhood or maybe I was born like that.
7. What message you would like to give to all the youngster out there who are struggling to live a healthy life.
I don’t understand why does one has to ”struggle” to live a healthy life. I believe that health is everything. If you are healthy, you can achieve anything in life.
It is really sad to see youngsters falling prey to bad habits and no physical activity and hence suffering from diabetes, hypertension and what not. At times, I am shocked to see young girls and boys who look double their age just because they are so much out of shape. Damn !
To all the youngsters, taking out just an hour for your own self, for your body, is not a big deal if you plan ahead. It is very important to stay fit and healthy for a great life. You can enjoy all the riches you have efficiently if you are fit
Earning a fit and healthy body is the biggest of all the riches in this world!
8. Lastly on a lighter note, do guys even dare try hitting on you? If yes, what’s the best or worst pickup line you have ever heard?
Some guys do try to do that but never ever face to face. They try to hit on me via messages. Hahahahaha. Best pick up line – Yet to hear !….. Worst pickup line – All have been bad actually and the worst one was ” You don’t know me but you will love me when you will get to know me and I think we will enjoy” Grrrrrrrr.
All Images are from Yashmeen’s Facebook page
Have something interesting to add to this story? Comment below and let us all know.