Apps, Insta Live Sessions & Custom Routines: Here’s How Comedians Are Staying Fit While Social Distancing

By Maanya Sachdeva 3 April 2020 6 mins read

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If you’ve had a hard time adjusting to work(out)-from-home, you’re not alone. The #CoronaPandemic has forced us all inside our homes, as India enters Day 14 of #Lockdown21. Having a routine, however, helps—and this includes setting aside a fixed time to get your daily dose of serotonin. India’s fittest comedians (and their trainers) will attest to it. So we asked them how they’re staying fit during #selfisolation and compiled the top tips for your pleasure (argh, pain?).

Now, drop down and scroll through this list:

How are you staying fit during lockdown?

Neeti Palta: I workout as often as I can anyway. I’ll go nuts if I don’t do anything! Currently, I’m doing a mix—one day is yoga, the next day is functional bodyweight training and then the next day is strength training; I have some weights at home which I use now. And a lot of it is playing with my dog!

Sonali Thakker: So I have been doing yoga for a while. I was a dancer and, six months before my wedding, I started doing yoga which I’ve continued ever since. I do yoga everyday, and was doing it even pre-quarantine. I follow the teachers that I used to go to, at Yoga House in Bandra, since they all have Instagram pages. All the teachers who used to teach there now conduct Instagram lives and I follow along.

Daniel Fernandes: You have to get innovative but there’s no reason you can’t stay fit during the pandemic. I also strongly recommend that people work out because it feels good. It’s definitely helping my mental health for sure.

I do split workouts where I target two muscle groups a day. Plan your workout at the start of the week. Here’s a sample of a typical training day:

Kaneez Surka: I’ve been doubling up on cleaning the house to stay fit. But it only works if you really engage your core throughout.

Punya Arora: One of the ways I stay motivated is just the thought of losing my progress that I made in the gym. And honestly? Jhadoo-poncha is a great warmup to my actual workout!

I follow pretty much the routine that I follow at the gym. So one day is upper body, one day is core and abs, one day is legs and then cardio and stretching. Rest and repeat! I don’t have weights at home (which I’m really upset about now) but I’ve got these toning bands and I’m using stuff around my house as weights. I did squats using a barstool the other day. I have these really big water bottles and I fill them up equally to use as dumbbells.

I also hula-hoop a lot! I try to hula-hoop for at least two hours a day. I find it very relaxing and meditative because, with the hoop, you have to stay in the zone, in the moment. The moment you get distracted, you’ll drop the hoop.

Where do you get your workouts?

Rohan Joshi: There’s an app called the Nike Training Club, it’s a free app. If you download that app, you can literally search for workouts based on your requirements. Do you have 15 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour? Do you have any equipment at home, do you have zero equipment at home? Do you want to train at an easy level, intermediate or advanced? You can enter those parameters and the app throws up a bunch of workouts.

I like one that’s called ‘Trunk and Branches’. It takes 15 minutes but it’s a 15-minute blast! It really gets your heart rate up, it really wakes you up. It’s got lower body, upper body, everything. So it’s kinda nice.

Neeti Palta: My yoga teacher has been sending my some asanas and I’m following one of the trainers I used to workout with. Prince—he’s been putting out some videos so I’m following him also.

My strength training routines are usually full body workouts, I never break it into upper body and lower body. This happened because I would inevitably be travelling so then only one part would get worked out. Now, whenever I workout, I just do the full body. It seemed more practical!

Sonali Thakker: I follow the teachers that I used to go to, at Yoga House in Bandra, since they all have Instagram pages. All the teachers who used to teach there now conduct Instagram lives and I do those.

Punya Arora: In the middle, I found this challenge that everybody is doing, Chloe Tings – 2 Week Shred, it’s really popular. I found it online and I died on the first day! Halfway through the workout, main marr gayi and I’m fairly fit. So I tried it but I gave up and went back to my own workout. (DA Notes: Only try this if you’re up for a challenge)

I have a trainer in the gym so I follow his workout.

Do you have a fixed time to workout?

Rohan Joshi: I prefer to get it out of the way early in the day because the energy boost really carries me through the day (as opposed to just randomly getting your energy up at the end of the day when it’s time to wind down).

Danny Fernandes: 7-8 PM is my fixed workout time.

Sonali Thakker: Aditya (Desai) and I workout in the evening, from about 6 to 7.15PM. Here both of us have something to look forward to in the evening, and it’s given us a sense of normalcy.

Punya Arora: My workout happens at around 8:30PM. It just works best for me, among all the timings that I’ve tried and mera trainer bhi ussi time free hota hain. Everyone says this is the worst time to workout but because my routine is quite hectic, it tires me out.

Any other tips?

Danny Fernandes: It’s not just the actual workout but it’s also about your diet. I make sure I’m still sticking to my diet plan of six meals a day, on time. So eat on time. Do your workouts at a fixed time and stick to the fitness goal you had set for yourself before this began, as much as possible.”Lastly? Rest days are important.

Sonali Thakker: Yoga is a great way to relieve your anxiety, relieve your stress. It’s also that one hour where you just don’t look at your phone. It keeps my anxiety under control.

Punya Arora: One of the things that I do and would recommend to everyone—it’s a very simple task—is to get a meditation app. I meditate everyday because I believe mental fitness is very important. I use the Headspace app and it’s been life-changing, to be honest. It really makes you calm and centered, and meditation helps me get things done.

Instagram accounts you recommend for #fitspo:

Neeti Palta: Prince J Singh (@princejsingh), Aashita Chopra (@the_yogaconnect)

Danny Fernandes: Michael Vazquez (@michaelcvazguez), iheartgymlife, Sophia Rose (@sophiarose92), Eric Leija (@primalswoledier),

Sonali Thakker: Phoebe Baskett (@phoebebaskett), Diksha Lalwani (@yogabydiksha)

Punya Arora: Supriya (@hoopwithsupriya) is teaching a full basics workshop online. So she’s doing 21 days of hula-hoop videos and they’re all the basic steps and tricks that somebody would need to learn.

We Asked The Experts

Urmi Kothari, Kinetic Living

We asked the founder of Kinetic Living (who also trains Rohan Joshi, Sumukhi Suresh and Kaneez Surka) to breakdown their training routine. She came back to us with a 15-minute full body routine that you can do at home:

First, familiarise yourself with these three movements:


Cat stretch: 10 repetitions
Downward dog hold for one minute
Bridge hold for one minute


Modified negative push up: 8 x 3 sets
Jump squat heel tap: 15 x 3 sets


Lizard leg in plank: 15 on each side
Jumping jacks: 50 repetitions

Do these two exercises for 15 minutes, as many times as possible and take a 30-60 second break between each circuit.

Coach Urmi’s tips for boosting immunity:

1. Eat five-six portions of green, leafy and colourful vegetables and seeds, and one portion of fruit. (Having vegetable juice is a great way of increasing vegetable consumption.) 

2. Add Vitamin C and Vitamin B12 supplements as well as herbs like Ashwagandha and Neem, to your diet.

3. Get enough Vitamin D (by spending time on your rooftop or balcony)

4. Include turmeric, amla, ginger in your diet in some form or the other every day.

5. SLEEP! This is crucial for boosting your immunity, fat metabolism and optimum cognitive function.

6. Lastly, MOVE! You can only listen to your body’s signs when you are in tune with it, and that can happen when you learn body awareness.

And, lastly, if you’d like to train Coach Urmi style, here’s some exciting news! The celebrity fitness trainer has just launched her very own app, combining Kothari’s approach to nutrition and fitness. Kinetic Living is available on both Android and iOS, and has a whole bunch of dynamic workouts from Functional Training and mind-body movements like Pilates, Yoga and Animal Flow, as well as podcasts, tutorials and good-for-you recipes.

Check it out here.

Venancio D’Souza, V’s Fitness Gym & Studio

If you follow Kenny Sebastian, Abish Mathew, Danny Fernandes or Naveen Richard on Instagram, you already know they work out with trainer Venancio D’Souza in Bandra. So we called him up to find out how he’s training his clients during lockdown and his answer was simple. Instagram Lives, of course! D’Souza hosts workout lives everyday at 6PM, and all of these guys follow along from their own homes.

In case you can’t join Venancio’s live workouts on Instagram at 6PM everyday, he recommends doing this quick 15-minute routine at home, no equipment necessary. Here’s a quick demo video to make sure your form is perfect (and to minimise the risk of injuries).

10 x Mountain Climbers

10 x Front Step (on either side, for a total of 20)

10 x Oblique Curls

10 x Front Step Through (on either side, for a total of 20)

10 x Bear Squats

10 x Tricep Dips

Repeat the entire circuit six times or for a total of 15 minutes, whatever is easier for you. Remember to listen to your body; stay safe and stay fit.

Note: A previous version of this story wrongly identified Venancio D’Souza as Venancio Fernandes. This has been rectified and we apologise for the error.


Maanya Sachdeva


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