The Bellyrina Diaries

The Bellyrina Diaries

Fitness | Travel | Lifestyle

Recent Posts

Old Town Hostel, Kotor : The Place To Be!

Old Town Hostel, Kotor : The Place To Be!

I recently spent a glorious 3 weeks in Serbia and Montenegro. While we stayed in multiple hostels, my favourite was the Old Town Hostel, Kotor. Here’s why!

Getting Fitter With Aaptiv

Getting Fitter With Aaptiv

Working to get fitter means always looking for something new to try, or to help boost your workout. Lucky for me, I discovered Aaptiv, a fitness app that features audio guides for everything from running to yoga and HIIT routines.

Gym vs Home Workouts: Which One Should You Do?

Gym vs Home Workouts: Which One Should You Do?

TwitterGetsFitter started because I wanted to share easy home workouts and routines with people who, like me, struggled with fitness. Early in the movement though, I started hearing the question “Gym vs home workouts — which one’s better?” More than a year on, and I’m still asked that question fairly often. Well, here’s my opinion…

Every workout has its own kind of benefits — Yoga helps flexibility and peace, running helps improve cardiopulmonary health, and so on. But does where you do it really matter?

While it may not be a make-or-break factor, it most definitely is a factor. I’ll explain why in further detail in this post.

Let’s talk about gym workouts first. You’re surrounded by (more often than not) very fit people, who are lifting heavy weights, running marathons on the treadmill, or box-jumping into outer space. There’s also plenty of equipment, dumbbells, barbells, benches and whatnot.

Gym Workout vs Home Workout | Indian Fitness Blog | Bombay Bellyrina | The Bellyrina Diaries

For a lot of people, the gym provides a plethora of options to work with. The equipment you find in a gym can help you target different muscle groups, and allows you to go pretty intense. Having trainers around can be very helpful too. They can show you new moves to try out, or help you perfect and improve the ones you’ve been doing.

Moreover, joining a gym can be a great place to meet new people with common interests. Take it from me, a lot of great friendships are forged in a Zumba class, or while alternating on the leg curl machine. (Hey, Manisha

Now for the negatives.

For some, all the above factors could be less than thrilling. Particularly for a fitness newbie, having to walk into a gym full of fit, toned bodies can be very intimidating. And I speak from personal experience, as well as anecdotes I hear from dozens of my clients.

“I go wearing the baggiest t-shirt I own, and loose, shapeless pants. I keep my head down and try not to make eye contact. I can feel them judging me.” – TwitterGetsFitter participant

This is a common sentiment that people share, particularly those just starting out on their fitness journeys. While most do manage to move past it as they focus on their own workouts and progress, there are several who prefer to opt for home workouts that allow them to exercise in private, or among friends.

There’s also the matter of travel time, prep, etc that can play a part in killing the enthusiasm to head to the gym. I mean, it takes some serious commitment to willingly brave 30-odd minutes of traffic snarls to then sweat it out at the gym… before dealing with another 30 minutes of traffic on the way home. Home workouts, on the plus side, require minimal preparation. What’s more, once you’re exhausted from a good workout, it’s a lot less effort to crawl back home!

Home Workouts | Indian Fitness Blogger | Bombay Bellyrina | The Bellyrina Diaries

Next, the equipment. For some, the plethora of equipment in a gym can be daunting. There’s stuff to pull, push, squat, jump on… Gah! There are plenty of people who are far more comfortable with just a mat (and maybe a resistance band or something).

On the other hand, there are some (like me) who really enjoy the equipment. I get quite a kick out of lifting weights and galloping along the treadmill or spinning the hell out of a stationary bike. It challenges me and adds an interesting dimension to my routine.

Gym Workout | Stationary Bike | Indian Fitness Blogger | Bombay Bellyrina

So what’s truly “better”?


That’s right, neither is “better”. While each has factors working for and against it, neither form of workout is, in and of itself, “better”.

It’s like nutrition. There’s no one-size-fits-all for diets, right? Someone needs more protein, someone else needs to go super low carb. That doesn’t make either diet “wrong” (though I imagine a diet comprising mainly donuts and pizza is probably pretty “wrong”).

Similarly, no workout is inherently good or bad. It’s important to recognise what suits your needs and your personality. The “right” workout for you is the one you can do correctly and consistently, and which makes you feel energised at the end of it. Whether that’s running, yoga, weight training, Pilates, or even just playing with your dog, you do what you gotta do. 🙂

The “better” workout is the one that works for you!

Psst… Are you following me on social media yet? I post about my personal fitness journey, as well as share my favourite workout moves. Find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

My Journey With Endometriosis

My Journey With Endometriosis

Endometriosis affects more women than we realise. Far too often, it goes undiagnosed. I myself went undiagnosed for nearly 15 years, until I found the doctor who changed my life. Here’s my story.

Drink Clean With The nkd Pod+ Water Bottle

Drink Clean With The nkd Pod+ Water Bottle

Fitness isn’t just about exercise and external health. A great deal of true fitness is what you put in your body. Good food and clean water play a massive role in determining your overall health. Which is why I’m currently in love with the nkd Pod+ water bottle.

Working Out In The Water : HydroFit at JW Marriott Bengaluru

Working Out In The Water : HydroFit at JW Marriott Bengaluru

I’ve been super lucky with trying new kinds of fitness routines in 2017. Remember that intense bungee workout session I tried? Well, I thought I wouldn’t find a workout quite as exhilarating (and intense) in 2018 — or at least, not quite so early in the year. But along came the new HydroFit water workout at the JW Marriott Bengaluru to change that!

The delightful people at Speedo invited me and other select bloggers in the city to the launch of this fun new workout. So of course, the first stop was a Speedo store to find me some stylish swim gear to splash about in. While the store had several options in black and pink — the signature colours of TwitterGetsFitter — I opted for this fresh jade number instead.

Speedo India Swimwear | HydroFit Water Workout | Fitness | The Bellyrina Diaries

And then it was off to the JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru for an evening of HydroFit. Take a look at that gorgeous pool! As tempting as it was to just laze on a pool chair with a fruity cocktail, we were promised a fun workout, and to be honest, I expected an easy hour of frolicking in the water.

HydroFit workout at JW Marriott Bengaluru with Speedo India | Fitness Blog | The Bellyrina Diaries

Man, was I in for a surprise!

At the venue, I was the first to arrive (All hail the Princess of Punctuality!) and got to meet and chat with our instructor, celebrity trainer Pooja Bhatia Arora before the session. This delightful lady is a petite powerhouse, as I was soon to learn. A certified personal trainer, health coach, and AquaFit master trainer, Pooja has a wonderfully holistic approach to fitness and health. And she teaches 3 sessions of HydroFit a day, so you can only imagine how mind-blowingly fit and strong she is.

Pooja Bhatia Arora | HydroFit water workout | Fitness Blog | The Bellyrina Diaries

As we chatted, Pooja told me about the various benefits of the HydroFit workout. Much like swimming, this water workout is zero-impact, i.e. there is no stress on the joints. This makes it ideal for pretty much any age group, as well as those with joint weaknesses or injuries. It also makes a great workout for someone who’s just starting out on their fitness journey. By reducing the risk of joint injury, but still working every major muscle group, it makes for a fun and effective starter workout.

HydroFit | Water Workout with Speedo India | The Bellyrina Diaries

But wait, don’t go thinking this “starter workout” will be a splash in the pool. HydroFit isn’t just swimming, it’s a mix of HIIT, Pilates, and plyometrics, all performed in the water. There’s even weight training with a twist. The workout program uses special dumbbells and barbells designed for the water. Oh, and don’t be fooled by their peppy pink colour — when those beauties meet the water, the combination of weight and resistance ensures your muscles feel some serious burn!

HydroFit Water Workout with Speedo India | The Bellyrina Diaries

Once everyone arrived, we got into the pool and started a few quick moves to get our muscles warmed up. This included high knees and other fast moves to get our heart rates up. Needless to say, this came with quite a few splashes!

HydroFit workout | Speedo India | Pooja Bhatia Arora | The Bellyrina Diaries

As the workout progressed, Pooja expertly guided us through more intense moves. We started off with the aqua dumbbells, performing moves like chest presses, quick punches, jogging punches, and even star jumps! We could already feel our core, shoulders, lats, and arms begin to burn. All the “splashing about” was burning some serious calories.

From there, we moved on to using the aqua barbells. We used this to do barbell curls, half in and half out of the water. This move worked my arms like regular weights never have — the combination of the barbell’s weight and the water’s resistance challenged my biceps on the way up, and my triceps on the way down. We also tried a fun rowing move, very similar to how one might move when kayaking. Once again, the resistance of the water added an incredible dimension to the exercise, and I could feel my shoulders and arms burn.

Hydrofit workout with Speedo India and JW Marriott | The Bellyrina Diaries

The last piece of equipment we used was the docile little pool noodle. Ah, but the moves Pooja had us try were anything but docile. Noooo… We did battle ropes!

That’s right, Pooja had us pair up and do battle ropes. Beneath the water. With pool noodles. My arms still haven’t forgiven me!

HydroFit Water Workout with Speedo India | The Bellyrina Diaries

We finally wrapped up with a series of stretches. Of course, this was my cue to show off and be a ballerina in the water. I’m a doofus like that. (Seriously, I don’t think I’ve got the hang of “adulting” yet).

Aqua Fitness with Speedo India | The Bellyrina Diaries

Now deliciously sore and exhausted, we were treated to some fantastic coffee and sandwiches by the lovely people at JW Marriott Bengaluru. You could tell how effective that workout was by how quickly we all scarfed down our food!

After a relaxing hot shower in the hotel fitness centre, I made my way back home. And allow me to say, Bangalore traffic can really kill a post-workout endorphin high. And being a Saturday night, the streets were rather packed.

Thankfully, all I needed to do was go home and curl up in bed. A good workout makes for really restful sleep, after all. I’m pretty sure I dreamed of more HydroFit sessions, though. Must go back and do this more often.

HydroFit with Pooja Bhatia Arora | Fitness | The Bellyrina Diaries

For those interested, Pooja teaches 3 HydroFit sessions at the JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru every weekday (Monday through Friday). The first session is from 0630hrs to 0730hrs, the second session from 0900hrs to 1000hrs, and the final one from 1430hrs to 1530hrs. The fee for a month is INR 6500 plus taxes, which includes a one-hour session, as well as use of the lockers and shower facility. To register, you can get in touch with the JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru. 

Questions? Feedback? That’s what the comments section is for! 

My Diary

My Fitness Journey (So Far!) – Part 1

My Fitness Journey (So Far!) – Part 1

“How on earth did you put on so much weight? Aren’t you a dancer?”

“I thought dancers were supposed to be fit.”

“And they say belly dancing makes you lose weight lol.”

These are just a few of the many hurtful (some intentionally so, others not so much) comments that were directed at me over the past couple of years. As someone who has always struggled with weight issues and body image, I can tell you that they were all equally painful, intentional or not.

To give you a little background, I gained a tremendous amount of weight — 15 kilos — over the past couple of years, owing to health issues (which I am in the process of having remedied). Losing the weight has been an uphill battle, to say the least. Weight gain that’s associated with illness is also generally a lot more stubborn than the sort gained from overeating — hormones and stuff get involved, and it’s really tricky to battle those! And that, in itself, destroys the will to even try to get fitter. After all, if it takes 3 months of intense exercise and diet control to lose a glorious 400 grams, why bother, right?

Via Giphy

And that’s what I did for a very long time. Not bother. But thankfully, I have a family (specifically, a husband) that won’t let me simply feel sorry for myself, and instead pushed me to get back on track. And thus began my fitness journey.

I started cutting out all the junk food that I would hug close as I watched TV on the couch, and replaced it (not entirely, but for the most part) with fruit, nuts, and other considerably healthier options. I would head out for a walk every evening, getting a solid dose of fresh air and activity for about an hour. I would Google various home workouts and hop about each day, trying exercises I didn’t know existed.

My fitness journey needed me to make healthier snack choices
My fitness journey required that I make healthier snack choices

J (the husband) was often greeted by a sweaty, out-of-breath mess when he got home each evening. And while he wouldn’t hug me until I had showered (I really don’t blame him, I wouldn’t have hugged me either!), he was always cheering me on, telling me how proud he was that I was doing something to fix my fitness.

The problem, however, was keeping myself motivated. It’s a Herculean task to have to push yourself to workout, and yes, you’re bound to fail every now and again. I needed a buddy — someone who would make sure I stuck to my workouts, and didn’t fall off the wagon too easily.

And so, like I usually do, I took to Twitter (read more about how that happened in this post) to find me some workout buddies to join me on my fitness journey. And so, #TwitterGetsFitter was born!

The premise is simple — we keep each other motivated, and accountable. We were on this fitness journey together, and we were going to do everything we could to make sure nobody hopped off the bus!

And you know what? It works!

Not only has #TwitterGetsFitter changed my life, and the lives of 70+ other enthu cutlets, it has grown into a tribe. The WhatsApp group and email lists are forever buzzing with activity! People share their workout updates, talk about what they’re eating, and even share ideas for ‘reward meals’. And most importantly, we shared insecurities. We were all united in our quest for fitness, some of us by body image issues — and it didn’t matter. Here was a place with no judgment, no negativity, no bullying.

TwitterGetsFitter celebrates each other as we continue on our fitness journey
The group is always buzzing with energy, and cheering each other on

The movement saw far more traction and interest than I had ever imagined. What’s more, they didn’t want it to stop! While the initial plan was for everyone to get fit in time for New Year’s Eve, about 90% of the group requested that the program continue into 2017. And so it has! And I’m thrilled to report that enthusiasm levels haven’t waned. 🙂

Watch this space, as my fitness journey — and the fitness journey of over 80 other amazing people — continues! You can also catch everyday updates on my Twitter and Instagram.

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