TRAINING THE BIG APPLE: BINAYA SHAKYA
BINAYA SHAKYA IS A CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER WHO HAS BEEN WORKING AS A FITNESS TRAINER IN NEW YORK.
It’s highly unlikely that you will find a Nepali personal fitness trainer in Wall Street, New York… highly unlikely. Meet Binaya Shakya. Hailing from an average family in Kirtipur, he is a certified personal trainer by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and has been training some of the biggest players of the Big Apple.
Binaya was hired as a floor trainer while at college, but he did not have the proper certification to become a proper trainer. Determined to pursue his passion of fitness, he took a 22 week class and finally received the certification of NASM. After some time at the gym as a trainer, Binaya took a new path as a personal trainer.
Apart from being a personal trainer, Binaya is also a bantum weight bodybuilder and has an extremely sculpted and well conditioned body. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding fitness, answered by someone who has been in the business in one of the busiest and most developed cities in the world:
TNM: What’s the difference between Nepal and US in terms of fitness?
The way people look at even slightly chubby people in the US is very different from how it is here. So, for most people there, fitness has become a way of life. Working out for most people in the US is like waking up in the morning and going to worship for us here. And it is catching on here, which is a good thing. But people still perceive mass as a form of good fitness in Nepal, regardless of the muscle quality. Being big is considered a sign of good health and fitness, regardless of it being a high percentage of fat. The perception here definitely needs some change.
TNM: Are bodybuilders more fit than other gym goers?
Bodybuilding is different from general fitness. Bodybuilding is judged on the basis of muscle quality, body symmetry etc. Usually, bodybuilders have a low body fat percentage, usually below 7% is considered good. And bigger size does partially constitute for more strength. However, it does not necessarily reflect optimum fitness.
TNM: How do you stay in such good shape?
I try to do at least one show a year, which is usually during the summer. I also keep up with online videos, and I try to stay healthy and in shape. When competitions come closer, I have a more strict routine. One week before the show, I only take protein and a day before, I load up on carbs.
I am also completely natural, which means I do not take steroids. Steroids really put a dent on the beauty of the game of bodybuilding. Naturally, you can gain a maximum of 5-10 pounds of muscle mass a year… and that’s if you follow the routine to the line.
Also, my profession keeps me in good shape. As a personal trainer, it is my job to get people into shape, and in order to do that I have to keep myself in the best shape possible.
TNM: What 6 basic exercises would you recommend someone to do at home?
You can’t really confine fitness into a few exercises, but the basic things you could do are a warm-up, pushups, sit-ups, leg raises, knee raises and pull ups.
TNM: What advice would you give for someone who tires out quickly when they do pull ups?
It may be that the person has the strength but lacks proper stretching. Stretching before doing pull ups, might be very helpful.
TNM: How many reps would you consider a good number when it comes to pull ups?
If you are going to set a certain number of repetitions, it would vary from person to person. A heavy weight person may be able to do fewer reps while a lighter person may do more with less effort. However, when it comes to pull ups, you just have to keep at it and try and increase the number of reps as you build your strength.
TNM: People usually focus more on upper body strength. How important is leg day?
The quads are the biggest muscle in your body, so you need to warm them up. The hamstrings and leg biceps are also the biggest muscles of the body. The legs are the trunks of the body,
and keeping it strong is crucial. Working out the lower part of the body is also important to maintain symmetry in the body.
TNM: As a trainer, what are the most common mistakes you come across?
It’s necessary to balance push and pull exercises to bring symmetry. But more than that, not balancing the pulling and pushing exercises may mean back problems or improper posture.
Another mistake is the lack of warm-up, stretching and cool down. Active stretching, dynamic stretching and static stretching are all very important. Warming up and stretching are crucial in preventing injuries.
Finally, compromising proper posture while about lifting heavy is a major issue. It’s not about how much you lift, but how you actually lift. No swinging or bad posture.
I AM ALSO COMPLETELY NATURAL, WHICH MEANS I DO NOT TAKE STEROIDS. STEROIDS REALLY PUT A DENT ON THE BEAUTY OF THE GAME OF BODYBUILDING.
TNM: Is it possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time?
It’s not impossible but it is very difficult to balance. To burn fat, you don’t have to eat less, you have to eat right. The same is the case with building mass. So, in order to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time you have to be very peculiar and loyal to a proper diet. You also have a different set of workouts which also have to be strictly followed. It isn’t impossible, but it is definitely not an easy task to accomplish.