'For us, fitness is a lifestyle choice'

Healthkart founders Prashant Tandon and Sameer Maheshwari on the passion for health that drives them.
Anindita Satpathi        Print Edition: March 15, 2015
Prashant Tandon (left) and Sameer Maheshwari
Prashant Tandon (left) and Sameer Maheshwari (Photograph by Shekhar Ghosh)

The shared business motto of Prashant Tandon (35) and Sameer Maheshwari (38) may appear elementary, but beneath the veneer of a yuppie online shopping portal lies sharp business acumen. Leading a creative and very young team of professionals, the Healthkart founders find inspiration in unlikely places. The seed of the idea was planted when they were dabbling in the untapped niches of a bloated market. Soon enough, they decided on a business plan that balances the paradoxical needs of a nation that wants to be fit but scoffs at the idea of hitting the gym. Prashant and Sameer reveal their health and lifestyle choices.

HEALTH ROUTINES OF CHOICE

Prashant: I am an active sports enthusiast, and team sports are more my thing. I'm not crazy about sweating it out in the gym; I prefer the heady thrill of competitive sports instead. My favourites are basketball, badminton and squash.

Sameer: I used to be a regular at the gym, but age has caught up with me (laughs). I wouldn't call myself a fitness freak because I'm actually more of a health enthusiast. I love to work out because it lends focus and clarity to my lifestyle. I am particularly fond of lifting weights and running. Though I am not very strict with my fitness regime now, I make it a point to work out a few times every week.

DIET PREFERENCES

Prashant: I maintain a reasonably healthy diet that comprises light, home-cooked meals. Though I don't restrict myself to any hardcore one, it helps that I don't have a sweet tooth. What's more, I don't like deep fried stuff either. I start the day with a heavy breakfast. My breakfast is typically an oatmeal porridge or toast with milk, followed by fruit.

Sameer: Since I work out regularly, my diet reflects a high protein component. I take protein supplements once in a while (typically the ones we market here). To supplement my workouts, I have to be careful about binging. Therefore, I have chosen to forsake the occasional laddoo. I start off with a heavy breakfast and follow it up with small meals.

NOT JUST ABOUT MUSCLE

Prashant: It's time we stopped looking for the magic cure to weight issues. You don't miraculously get a six-pack in three months. It's when you take an undertaking for a healthier lifestyle that your mindset, the places where you hang out, and your daily habits become important. For example, I walk whenever I'm talking on the phone. Keeping fit doesn't necessarily have to be about gruelling workouts. For a lot of people, yoga and meditation equals about half an hour of cardio.

Sameer: Fitness is a zone of dedicated patrons. These people spend a lot of time talking to like-minded people, sharing ideas and figuring out the right routine. We have a lot of people in our own team who are keen on fitness. It's been heartening to witness their transformation in terms of physical as well as psychological levels.

FITNESS AT THE WORKPLACE

Prashant: The vibe of the brand is very youthcentric. Young professionals can be very passionate about their work even if they have unconventional roles in a sector they like. We also have a group of seasoned thirty-plus people. We are in a fun sector and people enjoy being part of that kind of change.

Sameer: A company like Healthkart doesn't evoke the typical image of a corporate man. We're surprised by the amount of talent these youngsters with international experience have. When you combine cutting-edge technology with a dynamic and fun-loving workplace in an industry like fitness, you pave the way for creativity.

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