Standing out from the (slowly burgeoning) crowd of certified strength and conditioning specialists in India, one way to grab attention is by cutting a niche for yourself through a specialisation. For Huzefa Talib it was sports, having worked with golfers, cricketers and swimmers. Certified by the National School of Strength and Conditioning in the US, his training involves posture, techniques, progression, nutrition, sleep, rehabilitation, and supplements.

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With experience of working with professionals, Huzefa has earned a niche in Bangalore and has co-founded The Outfit, a gym or training studio with unique techniques, good space for workouts and trainers with great experience.

What was it like starting out before your gained professional experience?
I faced several challenges when starting. Firstly, there was the lack of knowledge offered at gyms. There was no one to tell you what works and what doesn’t. Then my parents treated this as an expensive hobby, and didn’t see a professional future in it, and I couldn’t spend too much on supplements etc.

What has turning to fitness full-time given you?
Crazy confidence! I can eat junk and get away without putting on too much weight, because I know how much to workout to burn those calories. I also get good sleep. And it is my bread and butter, which is great!

If you could tell beginners or amateurs something no one told you what would it be?
Do not copy anyone or other individual’s routine. It’s not a one-size-fits-all deal. Secondly, leave your ego out of the door. For those doing weights, I would say lift the right way. And finally for all, the barriers are all in the head. You can achieve it with hard work and time!

Five things you avoid (habits, food, etc.)
Deep fried food; late-night partying on training days; alcohol and smoke; using the elevator; and staying stationary for long hours.

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What has been your training experience? Does it differ from sport to sport?
By and large basketball is among the most demanding sport: players are sprinting, jumping, changing directions continuously Football and boxing would also come in this category. A marathoner and swimmer, on the other hand, have different energy needs and would require different conditioning.

What does your training provide for the athletes?

It’s all about conditioning. Repeating actions without losing power, and building an efficient energy system in your body. This can happen by increasing VO2 max and achieving quick lactic clearance, and a higher lactate threshold.

How do you learn about new diets or workouts?
I keep improvising from my previous workouts. As a coach improvisation is the thing that will keep you in the market. And I try most of the diets myself before recommending to others for better performance. This keeps me interested and invested in what I do, and tell others.

What do you eat before, during and after your workouts?
An hour before the workout, I  eat my breakfast or good carbs. While I am doing the exercise, it’s about staying hydrated, and post the workout, it’s solid carbs with high-protein food or shakes with supplements.

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Do your friends or family complain about your fitness-first lifestyle?
Initially yes, because my mom had to cook a separate meal for me, which would suit my fitness lifestyle. It is very important when starting out. Then my friends had to choose restaurant as per my eating habits, I put an end to late night movies. They also had to put up with my work-in-progress selfies and to my workout stories. Over a period of time, I got everyone proud with the results and now everyone follows it regularly.

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