Sonali is the director and coach of Body Plot: one of the most compassionate yet efficacious fitness programmes available online. Co-founded with her partner in life, Shafraz Hasnani, the budding company focuses on emotionally holding its clients through custom-fitted physical routines as their primary objective: “we are unique in that our physical health programmes aren’t a generic one-size-fits-all policy,” Sonali explained. “We cater to the differences in people, and acknowledge that everybody is an individual. What diets and exercises you require are always going to be unique to you and your lifestyle. I also schedule many of my sessions through video chats to provide that 360 degree assistance and immediate, caring approach. I do however meet clients face-to-face if that’s preferred. We just lead such hectic modern lives so that whether you’re a jet-setter or a stay-at-home mum, that special guidance and extra understanding is crucial. Women especially lead incredibly challenging lives, wherein they’re trying to balance their career with their roles as mothers and the generally increased social stresses too - such as body image! They are doing so much emotionally, and there’s often no one there to provide for them!” Here, the business side of the team, Shafraz, interjected to say: “that’s really what makes the difference; having someone to talk to, whatever the obstacles may be - from the pragmatics to allergies and personal issues clients can confide in Sonali. Body Plot works through problems to ultimately mobilise and give people that positive feedback and celebrate weight loss success. In that sense, the journey is also immersive and very fun and invigorating! We have a graduation pack, for example, and a Body Plot community feeling, including fun competitions to enter!”
Sonali’s numerous qualifications include Nutritional Therapist, Personal Trainer, and Pre and Post Natal Specialist in Fitness. “Diet and lifestyle are just as important in the Body Plot plans,” the young trainer added. “It’s part of a wider, holistic approach. Many physical fitness coaches forget that. You might get recommended these fad diets, including particular protein shakes etc. and intensive work outs that work in the short-term but are simply not sustainable, and quite frankly also unhealthy. With Body Plot, we consider the whole picture; from the best location for you to work out - from the gym to the comfort of your own bedroom - to the most appropriate exercises and your blood sugar levels, when and what you eat and your sleeping pattern. We are so thorough that once you have a Body Plot plan, you’ll never need to re-think your physical health routine again!” Thus Body Plot doesn’t just reshape one’s body, but the faulty attitude to physical fitness itself: ‘it’s not just about losing the weight,” Sonali aptly summarised, “it’s about long-term functionality. There needs to be a routine that boosts and slots into your future plans, not one that squeezes your life and impacts on you adversely.” To this end, Body Plot’s sensitivity even extends to catering to physical illnesses, such as IBS and abdominal pain, which Sonali herself has personally conquered. Body Plot really does put health first, counteracting the superficial norm.
Tell us a bit more about how you and partner Shafraz founded Body Plot?
Once I completed my own weight loss journey, I was able to identify the succeeding factors - including the moral support of Shafraz. It was definitely also about maintenance and not a one-track focus on slimness and a calorie deficit, and of course, very good nutrition. As an Indian, I do come from a background of rich food e.g. oily curries, and eating copiously is a huge part of our social culture! When I went to University I put on a lot of weight cooking for myself. It’s actually what happens with a lot of young girls too. I learnt from that. I first tested out my insights on a group of young women, just because I enjoy helping and giving back to the community, and it really worked! There was a mother of two, who was just stuck at 21 stone and felt very defeated. She would lose the weight but feel miserable, putting it all on again anyway. Under Body Plot, she lost six stone and kept it up.
Sonali, do you have a favourite workout?
Ones undergone outdoors. You can be anywhere – in the park or on the beach – and just make use of the natural or incidental equipment! For example a swing or a swathe of sand.
How exactly do you write someone’s body plot?
It’s always collaborative. I am a coach and counsellor – the initial consultation can take up to 3 hours so that I’m getting the individual client’s plan right.
Shafraz, do use wearable technology?
It’s definitely on the horizon! Having got the ideological core of the programme in place, we can now move towards digital trends, including developing an app.
Is there a highlight moment in Body Plot’s Journey?
Yes: in 2015 we took part in a very challenging climb up Mount Snowdon, Wales. At this early stage, we were still discussing the direction of the company, and upon actually having reached the top, we knew the company was going to the top too! It was a really positive, personal achievement.
How much of your company’s success is determined by online presence?
Basically 75%! Sites such as Instagram are apt for a physical fitness company, showing the results tangibly and in real time. That goes hand in hand with Twitter/FB and YouTube too. Sonali creates these great blogs on topical issues, such as going on holiday and how to have a healthy lifestyle during holidays such as Ramadan. We are growing and gaining more followers every day: the goal is to make an integrated website to increase accessibility to all people and age groups.
Please give us some useful social media tips?
Keep attentive to particular issues; for example knowing right now that a huge portion of the population is observing Ramadan: it’s more about content than the number of blog posts or features. Also make your site educational and motivational – people want concise and interesting information.
Another aspect is authenticity. There’s a lot of generic material out there – e.g. ‘just eat bananas!’ But because Sonali’s experienced the journey herself, she can provide advice that really resonates with clients. She’s always learning from each individual consultation too.