Indian Idol Junior: Singing their way to fame & fitness


By Papri Das

If you?ve been following the latest season of Indian Idol Junior on Sony TV, then you must be familiar with the tiny tots who have been winning hearts across the nation with their power packed singing. While these little singers have been getting vocal training to give their pro-like performance on stage, there?s also another training listed in their daily schedule. The contestants are undergoing a four week-long fitness program conducted by none other than celebrity fitness trainer Nawaz Modi Singhania!

Founder of Body Art fitness studio with over twenty years of experience in training celebrities in fitness and lifestyle, Singhania is a familiar name amongst the fitness fanatics in Mumbai. She not only excels at training one?s body, but helps one deal with stress related problems to bring out the best in them. With knowledge, experience and technique, there couldn?t have been a better lifestyle coach for the junior idols to groom their body and mind.

Exec Lifestyle caught up with Singhania on one of her sessions with the Indian Idol Junior constestans Niharika, Ranita, Vaishnav, Nithyashree, Nahid, Ananya and Moti to find out how her specially tailored fitness program for the kids, help them become a better performer on stage and in life.

Here?s an excerpt:

How important is it for the contestants to maintain their bodily and mental fitness?

It is really important that you stay fit and healthy so you can cope with the rigorous training and the pressure of competition. For that the fitness program, which I have specially tailored for the kids, and proper nutrition is essential. Ultimately their success depends upon them. I also give them certificates from The Body Art studio, which explains the reason behind them doing this program, what they have covered as well as how it enriches their health and their capacity as an artist. This holds true in other realms in life as well. The competition will end but it's important that these kids continue with their fitness sessions and nutrition to make the most of their lives.

What does the four week program you have tailored for the kids cover?

I work with them three times a week. The main aim of the program is to work on their voice, so the content also includes exercises for the throat, which makes the voice more melodious. A major chunk of the program deals with increasing the lung power through cardiovascular activities, which helps in increasing the diaphragm width and the mobility and flexibility of the rib.

Another important aspect that I look after is their body posture. It?s important that they have a good body posture on stage as it adds to their confidence and stage presence. Bad posture also limits one?s lung capacity, and thereby affecting their singing quality. So workouts, which are aimed at enhancing their body posture is also covered within this program. We also teach them a little bit of yoga, which can be a combination of asanas, pranayams and kriyas. It helps them focus and deal with stress better.

Is their diet also covered within the program?

After going through the data available to me on each one of them I have given them information on nutrition as well. I have also asked the production team to make changes in their daily food intake based on that. There are fruits and vegetables, which are good for immunity and their voice, and foods that increases their stamina. It?s important that they stay hydrated all the time.

To make sure that their voice is not damaged or hoarse, there are certain citrus and sour fruits, which need to be avoided. Additionally, too much sugar can cause damage to the vocal chords. Certain lactogenic foods need to be avoided, as they increase the chances of mucous in the glands. They are high on protein but not good for singers, especially the ones susceptible to cold.

How does this fitness program benefit the contestants?

The fitness program for the contestants has been made keeping in mind their Peak Performance Level (PPL). PPL in fitness terminology is the level at which you perform your best. If you are above your PPL, you are very high strung and worked up. You lose appetite and don?t get enough sleep, you probably even forget going to the toilet. All these things add to your mental frame and the way you perform on the stage eventually. You may become too nervous, you may forget lines or even freeze on stage. So these are the ill effects of exceeding the PPL level.

On the other hand if you don't meet your PPL, you may remain an under achiever. That means you are not too bothered, you haven?t prepared well enough and maybe aren?t even ready to face the stage. Therefore it is very important to be at that mid-level so that you can draw the best out of yourself, and you are fully in charge of yourself.  The fitness program I have created for them helps them reach that PPL.

The contestants are under constant pressure from being eliminated and rigorous voice training. How do you ensure that their fitness sessions with you don't add to the stress?

I consciously refused the organisers request for a five days session, as it's important to take those breaks in between to relax your muscles. Overtraining is a common mistake.

A few days before I was asked by the organisers if I can do a slightly shorter session with the kids, because they have been very tired and exhausted lately with late night shoots. So I switched the whole thing around. Instead of doing what I normally do with them, which is more body training like cardio vascular exercises, I focused on more stress management programs. There are various ways of achieving that. Things like visualisation, exercises that help in releasing stress on particular parts of the body, exercises that help endorphin release, etc are some of the methods. 

Last week, Ranita Banerjee, the youngest of the lot, broke her arm. So I strictly advised her to refrain from the normal exercises we do. I rehashed her exercise schedule with activities, which will not hurt her or stress her arm. Instead I added physiotherapeutic exercises that will help her recover sooner.

Have you become attached with the kids?

Working with these kids has been one of my best experiences because their energy is so great. It?s pure and unadulterated. And this is coming from someone who has trained celebs for years. One might think they are hard to manage but they are actually very easy. They lighten up the sessions with their jokes and masti, but as soon as we start, they are immediately focused. They are all very goal oriented and therefore serious with what they have at hand. I have a nine year old daughter myself, same age as the youngest contestant. Not getting attached to them would be the stranger thing.

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