CosmicFit Fitness bootcamp is one of those small contenders that quietly grows into a juggernaught. I have been acquainted with its founder, Esvaran, for a few years now, even when I myself was a bootcamp coach. I was aware of how he, as a solo coach with only the support and backing of his wife (who is a fellow Manasa teacher – this is how I knew them), grew his fitness enterprise into something anyone would be proud of.
As part of my Malaysian fitness business series, I decided to feature Esvaran and CosmicFit, so that all of us can learn from his amazing growth.
How long have you been in the fitness industry? How did you get started?
It has been five years since my certification as a personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and five years since my outdoor bootcamp, called Cosmic Fit, was initiated. Prior to that, I was actively involved in individual training in private fitness centres.
Were you always doing fitness?
I graduated with a degree in Information Technology. It was expected that I would continue my work life in that field so I was in it for 17 years. It was a rigid long-hour job, and it became routine for me: early morning traffic jams, business meetings and late nights to meet deadlines were my lifestyle.
Could you describe what challenges you faced in your fitness business?
From an IT background to outdoor fitness training was complete opposites. Financial sustainability was the biggest risk that I had to face. Would you believe if I said that my camp started with only four clients? I was offered a place as a full-time trainer in one of the notable outdoor bootcamps, but I turned it down, as I wanted to grow a bootcamp that featured of my own originality and hard work.
With perseverance, patience, faith and a strong belief system, my bootcamp has now grown into a successful outdoor fitness and health programme. I relied heavily on word of mouth among my clients to obtain more clients, as I believe it is the best marketing tool for growth. Obviously, social media had a role too.
What is the best thing and the worst thing about being a boot camp coach?
Helping my clients in changing their belief system, transforming their bodies and, along the way, finding happiness, is the best feeling I would say as a coach. Knowing that I had played a role in changing one’s life to a higher level is the best gift I could ask for.
Fitness is my passion and having a job in this field is of the utmost happiness for me. I have time on my hands and I am able to play with my free time. Seeing clients of mine picking up injuries and dropping off from bootcamp to allow rehabilitation is upsetting. Of course, when there are clients who only exercises to collect ‘bonus points’ for their cheat meals is disturbing, as I feel I have failed as a coach in educating them on what a healthy lifestyle is all about.
You also do personal training. What is the best thing and the worst thing about being a personal trainer?
I choose clients with special needs for personal training. Each of them come with their very own complications that always keeps me on my feet, being alert and constantly on a learning curve. My clients are my textbooks and they teach me how to grow further in this line. Last minute cancellation on sessions, change of timing and no show can be disturbing as it affects my routine, exercise programming and delays results.
If you had to choose between the two, which would you prefer doing, group or personal training?
I like training people. These are just 2 different platforms for me to help one to achieve their goals. So there isn’t a really a preference. There are good and bad in both.
What are the challenges faced as a fitness business owner in Malaysia?
I’m sure you are aware of many other outdoor bootcamps in the Klang Valley. Clients will compare notes and choose their preferred bootcamps. Therefore, sustainability is always a question. CosmicFit being an outdoor bootcamp has the risk of weather unpredictability, availability of location and poor location maintenance. More bootcamps are mushrooming up and they, at times, lack “professional consideration”, when they operate their camp right next to an existing bootcamp.
What is the best thing about being a fitness business owner in Malaysia?
Fitness is a growing trend in Malaysia and being one of the pioneers in this field allows me to grow further and journey through the untamed grounds.
What would your advice be for young trainers hoping to become a boot camp coach?
Fall in love with fitness. Invest yourself with education and certification. Don’t expect quick monetary returns. Be flexible, patient and be encouraging. Do something new, unique and different in your bootcamp routines. Be different!
Why do you think Malaysia is the most obese nation in this region?
Good health is a fine balance between a clean diet and being physically active. The variety and also the 24-hour availability of food in Malaysia make this country a food paradise. Food that is high in sugar, simple carbohydrates and trans fat has become a staple among us. Working families tend to cook less and increase their processed and fast food intake.
Being sedentary accelerates this further, as Malaysians do not see their health as an asset for themselves. There is a need for change and the change needs to start soon.
What would your advice be to people who want to start losing weight / get fit?
Focus the mind and stay on course. Don’t give up and you must believe that it is possible. It is a long journey and hard work pays off. Work towards health rather than a quick fix. Stress management, good quality sleep and adequate hydration are important factors towards a healthy lifestyle. The path will clear itself once you have made the decision to change.
Do you enjoy sports? If so, which do yourself play / practice?
I was very much into racquet sports and martial arts. Following a knee injury, I knew I had to choose another activity to cater to my fitness needs, as I was afraid of injuring my knees further.
In which sports arena do you think Malaysia can excel even more?
The athletes in track and field have a great potential to bloom. They have good assistance by experts, equipment and the right technology to push themselves to a higher notch.
How does your current workout look like?
On average, I exercise five times per week, with each routine lasting no more than 75 minutes. On a busy day, I squeeze in a 25 minutes workout as I believe something is better than nothing. As I’m an advocate of bodyweight training, most of my workout consist of this and external load training.
What does your typical meal consist of?
My meals are just like your everyday person’s meal. As I’m always on the go, I eat out most of the time. My meals are nothing fancy, easily-prepared and, most importantly, affordable. My trick is simply choosing wholesome food and also practising portion control. Yes, I do need my rice as I’m simply a Malaysian.