Drew Neal is a Kickboxing champion who has been training many Bollywood celebs (Including Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar and many more) toning them to be actively fit to any screen in any desired role. Started as a Kick Boxer at the age of 7, Drew Neal carries many international titles to his name. In the later part of his career after retiring the combat sport, he got finesse in fitness training and coaching to some high-end clientele. Sharing more insight about him and Indian fitness cult, Drew Neal talks to Abhinav from Sportz Business.
Q. You are counted as one of the leading personal Trainers amongst Bollywood celebs; tell us about this wonderful journey?
Always been into training myself, in fact when I was 5 years old my journey began in Karate and have trained ever since. Because of my chosen sport, kickboxing, fitness was just a way of life and I gained so many wonderful experiences that it was inevitable I would make a career from sport and coaching.
In 1998 I started personal training and i shifted from a variety of different gyms working as both a trainer and often as a manager while still heavily competing and teaching seminars all over the world. By the time I retired from fighting I had my own gym and kickboxing school where I coached my own students and was selected as the national WAKO Kickboxing coach where I produced many champions, both nationally and internationally.
Q. What made you to head to India?
What made you to head to India? While working at my gym I was asked a number of times to travel to India to train various actors. This wasn’t really something that I saw myself doing so kept saying no. Then I began to wonder why I was being asked and maybe I should explore the idea. So an opportunity came about where I would train a new actor for his debut movie. The contract was for 3 months and yet 5 years on I am still here.
Q. Being in India for so many years, how do you find people’s awareness for the fitness here in India?
Fitness is always evolving so everyone in the world will always be playing catch up with the latest trends and research. The knowledge and awareness in India in the amount of time that I have been here has increased dramatically. There is of course a way to go and this is the case across the world but I am super excited to be in a country where people are becoming more and more passionate about fitness and a variety of different sports.
Q. How much supplement essential for someone to live a healthy life?
Supplements are just that, they supplement someone nutritional intake if there are any deficiencies. Of course there are benefits to some supplements and a necessity also, but one thing I can say with certainty is there is too much focus on supplementation and people looking for shirt cuts that don’t truly exist.
Q. How do you see Indian Fitness industry in next 5 years?
If it’s anything the last 5 years then I see an influx in good quality and knowledgeable trainers who in turn will be helping a far reaching audience. More and more gyms will inevitable crop up but I think the trainers inside the gyms will become more and more of an asset to the gyms success. I think gyms that invest more in their trainers education rather than the gym equipment will stand the tests of time here in India.
Q. What do you suggest for those young fitness coaches who want to make their career in the same? What actually they need to do to build their brand value?
Simply they must live and breathe what they do and of course love it. I fear that being a trainer can look very glamorous and exciting but the truth of it is, it’s a hard work. It is such a profession where you only truly get good at your craft after years and years of experience, making mistakes and educating yourself.
I am a firm believer in continually educating and evolving with the fitness industry. That’s not to say every fad and trend should be followed and changed when the next one comes, but it is important to see how the market is developing and only opt to using training methods which resonates with the trainers core philosophies and beliefs.
Q. How combat sports like Kick-boxing, Boxing and others help in attaining fitness goals of an individual?
I often use the joke stating that there is a real motivation to be fit in combat sports because if you don’t you will get hit in the face. But joking aside I have first hand experience with how combat sports can help with individuals fitness goals. All angles are covered and more often than not people don’t necessarily want to get in the ring and fight but the diverse and fun element of learning fight skills really attractive.
Q. Why all of sudden, Indian fitness industry is witnessing an influx of Personal Trainers? Why it is suggested to go for a personal trainer?
As I have previously said, that the profession of personal training can look attractive for whatever reason that is for individuals, the salary, the look, the non-conventional working hours. But also I think people are seeing that fitness is becoming a daily habit for more and more people and this of course means more clients so much more opportunity in an evolving industry.