Lavina Mehta: Feel Good with Lavina, Health and Fitness

Sunetra Senior Wednesday 25th March 2020 13:02 EDT

Lavina is a personal trainer, fitness expert and wellness coach who has appeared on Sky News as well as various radio segments including the BBC. She recently won the SHE Award for Inspiration in Health and Fitness for 2020. Offering one-to-one sessions from a private gym and online training, she is now further spreading her agile wisdom via the media platform, having created the increasingly popular unique concept of Exercise Snacking. This is when one partakes in short bursts of exercise to “use as a treat” as Lavina specified, “breaking down a routine that might seem daunting.” She emphasised this as particularly helpful during the time of a constrictive viral outbreak: 

“We should be Working Out as well as working from home! Physical exercise is crucial in boosting your immune system and keeping you primed to fight Covid-19. You should try to keep moving. My exercise snacks hit the government guidelines of receiving 2 and a half hours of aerobic exercise a week e.g. I encourage having a ‘walk snack’ where you exercise in the garden or go for a walk outside with social distancing. The ultimate goal is that you manage to take brisk 30 minute walks 5 times a week, making this a habit after meals too. You could also work out within the comfort of your home where you ‘stair snack’, going up and down three flight of stairs, three times a day, 3 times a week: don’t get in a sofa slump! Working out manageably creates a massive improvement to cardiovascular health.” 


Indeed, Lavina is passionate about fostering health in the South Asian community, who have notoriously high rates of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. She has launched the Get UK Asians Get Fit campaign to especially address this: “There are alarming statistics that those of Asian descent are less likely to pursue active lives and this has been a key motivator for me. I wanted to raise awareness about the reducing health risks in an accessible, preventative way. The solution is at people’s fingertips and they just need the awareness: you can actually reverse Type 2 diabetes with the right regular exercise.” The eloquent coach also believes in accomplishing a holistic model of wellbeing where mental health is boosted too. “My mission is to help people feel good physically, mentally and emotionally,” she elaborated. “I don’t just look at weight loss or the sculpting of the perfect body on the outside but also what makes a person feel confident and happy within. Physical exercise reduces stress, anxiety and releases endorphins. Again, looking at its power at the time of the new Coronavirus, this is crucial in relieving loneliness and general unease.” Lavina’s speciality is also in strength training which has involved creative use of household objects at this difficult social time.

“If the fitness equipment you want has run out in stores, you can use safe household objects to exercise instead: you can use cartons of milk, tins or bottles!  As well as burning body fat and replacing it with lean muscle, the squats, lunges, press ups and planks you can do with these improve your mood, creating an anti-depressant effect.” You can follow Lavina live on Instagram, this week, to complete her Feel Good 7-day Programme running daily at 6pm, where she will focus on each part of the body to give people a digestible, interactive online medium through which to achieve domestic fitness through the nationwide lockdown. “I’ve separated the workouts into the upper body, lower body, cardio, core and even just stretches, using breathing to combat the stress and anxiety too. They are easy methods that will not overwhelm you, and speak to the whole family, being fun too.” She has also launched ‘lunchtime snacks’ at 12.45pm each day for just 10 mins only! Previously, Sky News had featured Lavina’s Instagram advent calendar, showing the different ways in which clients had incorporated workouts into their everyday lives during the Christmas period.

Here, Lavina offers an entire Feel Good Prescription where she accommodates a welcoming approach to fitness in general. “It’s about deeper well-being and so people must feel comfortable with what they’re doing: it’s important for my clients to choose the workouts that appeal to them and work for their bodies rather than pushing a one-size-fits-all approach. I want physical health to become a sustainable part of everyone's lifestyle.” Indeed, Lavina loyally extends this flexible ethos to healthy eating habits, having helped her mother, author of Feel Good with Food, write and compile the famous recipe collection. “I don’t believe in diets. I simply believe in healthy balanced eating.” Taking a literal leaf out of this book, the entrepreneur elaborated: “it’s as much about exciting, nutritious eating as it is foods that aid in weight loss. My mum actually possesses a degree in Biological Science, which means there is concrete biochemical reasoning for how certain foods help boost one’s health in the recipes e.g. Broccoli is anti-cancerous. Berries and simple Indian ingredients such as onion, garlic and Turmeric are anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. Many of the recipes are also centred on produce that is rich in anti-oxidants which is crucial in maintaining the immune system. These include fruit and vegetables, for essential minerals and vitamins.  I actually worked as a sous-chef as the book was made, informing my own journey into well-being.” 

Feel Good with Food contains easy recipes which will feed many in simply 4 to 5 steps. It is also designed to celebrate the joy in cooking: “We wanted to create a colourful plate, including the benefits of spices, where each individual one brings a different quality e.g. being anti-bacterial.” And so, successfully promoting her wise wellness brand, Lavina at once demonstrates the underlying formula to accomplishing effective fitness: being conscientious, consistent and caring over disciplinary to accomplish physical targets. As opposed to lapsing, this will preserve the desired outcome in the long run.

What have been some highlight moments?

Seeing everyone take a personal journey into their well-being: mums who’ve wanted to lose weight after having children, women trying to cope with menopause, older members of the Asian community who’ve felt stronger now than previously, suffering from painful osteo-arthritis. I’ve trained all age groups from children to the elderly. I’ve also enjoyed hearing the various benefits that have come of having a fitter and flexible body from better sleep to an enhanced general mood and changed positive behaviours within families. I always do a wellness check to keep connected with my clients.

What inspired you to start your business?

I worked as an IT project manager in the city for BP and advanced to a high level in that career. I would commute into Canary Wharf; travel globally and really enjoyed the job. However, when I had my third child, I wanted to give full attention to my family. Back then, it wasn’t as easy to fight for flexible hours to be both a mother and professional success. As a result, I began to use my spare time to cultivate fulfilment which came from being able to work out. It was my rock and a mental release. I later completed a course in Level 2 Fitness Instructing & Level 3 Personal Training and started using my private gym at home to train up other women and pass on the benefits!

Finally, what have been some proudest moments?

As well as appearing on SKY News to talk on Exercise Snacking, I have spoken about the importance of fitness in combating the likelihood of cervical cancer, appearing on New Year ’s Day to talk on this for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: just 30 minutes of exercise per week has the potential to significantly reduce women’s risk of developing cervical cancer. This is also very personal to me as I had my own scare and treatment at aged 26 which actually kick-started my relationship with wellness.

W: @feelgoodwithlavina “We should be Working Out as well as working from home"

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