Kanchan is a unique sort of role model, representing athletic beauty in the 21st Century; one that empowers women through self-belief and pulling mightily from within. The popping public figure has wowed at several body building competitions, including U.K. Ultimate Physiques where she won the theme wear round for Bollywood, as well as founding her own online fitness service, KaurEnergy. The vivacious – and cross-culturally stylish - Kanchan refers to herself as a ‘bikini athlete’, and says she wants to show women from different backgrounds that “there is no superior way of looking good. As long as there is a positive focus on health and shedding weight, there is no ‘one picture. You need to eat and exercise in a smarter, nuanced way: for example remembering to start off small if you’re new to working out, and making small nutritious changes such as swapping white bread out for brown. You can do and eat what you want; it’s just about being mindful of how you incorporate it in your life. Fitness can’t be measured from the outside; it’s about your inner attitude and how you lead your life.”
Indeed Kanchan’s social media shine and strong muscular figure is as much a reflection of her resilient life story as it is a rigorous gym routine. “The KaurEnergy journey began back in 2006 after I had my second child and was facing interconnecting health and weight issues. There came a point where I just thought ‘I have to take charge of my life.’ I began to go to the gym more and run for different marathons and races – I actually went to Paris all by myself and ran that marathon there, one of my proudest moments – and so the conversion to fitness coaching naturally emerged that way. It came out of a positive mantra and my re-discovery of a love for life!” The 37 year-old stunner is also pushing age boundaries alongside the gendered and ethnic ones, named brand ambassador for the fresh gym clothing company Gymmonkee, and proudly sponsored by protein supplement company BPI Sports. “It’s not just that beauty is about fitness,” Kanchan aptly summarised, “it’s that the focus is on progress not perfection. It’s your ability to grow as a person. I’ve survived divorce, homelessness and being a single mother, and come to be admired from both the Brit-Asian and wider international community - that’s all because of mental discipline and a gritty emotional fortitude. I’ve got this post on my Instagram about women being both a ‘beauty and a beast’ and that fleshed out sense of self is what it’s referring to. Also, as both a professional instructor and competitive model, my diet and physical technique are also fiercely on point!” Thus Kanchan not only lifts the weights literally but sets that bar for a freer femininity.
What are some other proud achievements?
All of my running medals, simply by virtue of the fact that I participated! My first ever 5 K marathon was a great achievement. There was a time when I thought I couldn’t do it.
What does KaurEnergy offer?
Online training and diet planning. I offer a tailored approach as everybody’s physiology is different. On a symbolic front, it stands for motivating and inspiring women and showing them that happiness is possible with a just a bit of exercise and a controlled diet.
How did you get started when you were at your lowest?
I concentrated on simple goals and exercise at first, and the rest was a self-feeding cycle. Exercise releases the ‘happy’ hormone, or endorphins, and that gradually turned my mood around! When I finished my first marathon I was elated! It also set such a good example for the kids. It is so rewarding by the end. Now, as a body builder, I train every day for 2 hours a day. A positive attitude has become the default way of life. It’s taking that first little step and pushing yourself out of your preferred comfort zone.
What’s been a highlight of the bikini competitions?
I feel as if I’ve got many highlights, but just being there in front of thousands of people and that buzz is irreplaceable. Having that fear, but pushing through anyway! It’s incredible to have that stage presence and keep outperforming yourself. It’s been great having my family support me too, especially as an Asian woman; they’ve been backing me and circulating images on social media. My sister-in-law, who is a fashion designer, actually made the Bollywood-style bikini that won the UKUP ultimate physiques fitness model theme wear round back in October 2016. Another incredible aspect of it all is that I’ve had no negative remarks. I truly believe when you’re being genuine, the world wants to welcome you.
And do you enjoy fashion as well as fitness?
Yes, I love experimenting with make-up, and Indian and western fashions.
Tell us a bit about your off-season training?
It’s sort of reverse dieting and developing your muscle strength. That said, it’s important to re-charge yourself and not over do it but to concentrate on building your weak areas and developing. My Training plan is a lot different compared to competition style training. That is when it becomes sport specific you see. Having a good base before the next competition cycle is what I'm concentrating on now.
What was the hardest part of launching your start-up, KaurEnergy?
Just taking that leap of faith onto Instagram. Now I’ve got so many followers within the online community – it’s incredible. If you’re fit and healthy and beautiful on the inside, it really does show. I’m enjoying the momentum and am excited to see where life will take me.
What advice would you give to women to begin practising daily fitness?
You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym; you can do so much from home: from following YouTube tutorials and DVD workouts to going for long walks. If you’ve got children, just get the trampoline out and jump with them! Develop your cardio vascular health and lung capacity. Just exercising three times a week for thirty minutes can help kick-start you. Then you can start introducing higher intensity training.
In terms of food – cut out the wrong types of sugar and fats.
What’s a common misconception people have about healthy food?
One is thinking that having high-sugar cereals are good for you in the morning. Swap it out for what’s more beneficial and clean: oats! Also, when cooking Indian food just control the amount of oil you use.
Finally, you are a big social role model; do you have your own inspiration?
Simply the concept of women inspiring each other. I don’t really compare myself against other women – I focus on what I can do for myself and in the process for them. And you know, the support is always reciprocated.