Welcome to our interview with Fittr Coach Sreejata Mukherjee. Sreejata is a certified fitness coach of Fittr, an online platform that provides personalized fitness coaching, nutrition plans, and support to help people achieve their fitness goals. With a mission to transform lives through fitness, Sreejata has helped thousands of people worldwide achieve their fitness goals and live healthier, happier lives.
In this interview, Sreejata will share her journey to becoming a fitness coach, the philosophy and her approach to helping clients achieve their fitness goals.
JaanoAndSeekho: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you became interested in nutrition and fitness?
Sreejata: Hi, initially there was no interest in fitness and that’s why I landed up in Fittr, then SQUATS at 88kgs, “just to lose” some weight!
I am Sreejata, with a mass communication background, having worked in content writing for over 16+ years and mostly written as ghost author. Since I had a writing job that made me sit on my laptop for hours I never realised when I started piling on weight. Thankfully Fittr happened and my life changed for good.
JaanoAndSeekho: What experience do you have working with clients to help them achieve their health and fitness goals?
Sreejata: I have trained hundreds of clients now with fittr and even before getting on boarded as a fittr coach. I have served different clients like fat loss, muscle gain, postpartum weight loss, medical issues like thyroid, pcod, diabetes mellitus, elderly and the teenage bracket of the society etc.
Health and Nutrition
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you define a balanced and healthy diet?
Sreejata: the word diet comes from a Greek origin actually, “diaita” that essentially means “a way of life” similarly when it comes to my diet or client’s diet, I like to educate, bring awareness, and follow an approach where diet does not need to be rocket science or too difficult for common masses. It’s the way of life that is compromised in today’s sedentary life with ultra-processed foods and ordering out at the drop of a hat. Once that is taken care with an awareness that food is fuel and nourishes our body and soul to put our best foot forward, it becomes easy! It’s easy taking care of yourself. People just need awareness.
JaanoAndSeekho: What do you think are the most important nutrients to include in a healthy diet?
Sreejata: All the three macronutrients, protein carbs and fats are important. The trick is matching the right ratio as per a client’s goals. Also, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and daily take care of a person’s micronutrient needs too!
JaanoAndSeekho: What are some common nutrition myths you often come across and how do you address them?
Sreejata: I come across these through clients mostly who have enrolled previously with non fittr coaches outsides, or heard some myth in friends, family or gym circle. I try to reason with them with logic and back it up with science. See if they hear a negative that sounds like a rumour and counter it with a positive, that is backed with science, in most cases a mindset change is possible. Every weekly call I talk to them and in the process, make sure when they are done with the enrolment, they at least have a basic knowledge to carry on for the rest of their life.
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you work with clients to develop personalized nutrition plans that meet their specific needs and goals?
Sreejata: Customised meal plans… This line has a problem. People think it’s all about the coach giving me what I want to eat and how much ever I want to eat. But that’s not true. Customized part is only when it caters to client’s ethnic group, the type of food they have been born and brought up eating or making small doable, realistic changes and tweaks that are needed for them to attain their goals. Because at the end of the day if they are enrolling with a nutrition and fitness program, they do have a personal goal to attain. It’s a health investment.
Schedule Management and Personal Care
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you help clients incorporate healthy habits into their busy lifestyles?
Sreejata: I have a specific set of tasks and goals that I give to each and every client depending on their goals. They report to me daily if they have been able to do or not do. That gives a clarity on accountability and after every week we get on a call and discuss previous weeks troubleshooting and the weeks ahead plan out.
JaanoAndSeekho: What advice do you have for managing stress and self-care?
Sreejata: each and every person has stress. Now there is no competition as to who has it more than another. Some by the strength of character deal better with stress, and some don’t fare very well with it. Stress is not an ally to fat loss, as elevated levels of cortisol can actually slow down the entire fat loss process, despite everything being perfect. So, each person in their own ways needs to find what works for them, what de-stresses them, or calms their central nervous system down. Some supplements help too, if the right dosage and timings to take are known. I try to teach the same logic to my clients, some may feel refreshed after a pedicure, some by playing with their puppy, for some a temple visit works, for some a yoga class works wonders, writing journals to nature treks, whatever sails your boat, you should do it!
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you motivate clients to stay on track with their goals and make sustainable lifestyle changes?
Sreejata: The daily accountability part helps! as I get to pinpoint the problem areas and give them suggestions, tips and tricks as to how to make it work better. But the ones who stay silent and don’t respond to any messages at all are the challenge truly. I have to poke them continuously almost feeling like a nagging person ha-ha to get the job done!
JaanoAndSeekho: What do you recommend for clients who may have a family history of high-risk diseases like cancer or cardiovascular disease?
Sreejata: Awareness: these people like myself should forever understand that they are in charge of trying to stop the circle at their level and not let it trickle to the next generation. Exercise is the most underrated form of medicine when it comes to dealing with any lifestyle disorders. I suddenly remembered that meme, that “it’s not diseases that run in the family, it’s that no one runs in the family”. Running here is a symbolism of any kind of physical movement, though for cardiovascular diseases it’s actually great!
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you work with clients who have been diagnosed with high-risk diseases to create a nutrition and fitness plan that supports their health and recovery?
Sreejata: At fittr every plan is customised. Whether it’s a diet plan or workout, it’s supposed to suit the client in question to get better in weeks ahead. We have an extremely well qualified internal team of doctors who help with advice, case study and sitting together to get the best plan for the client in concern, that helps not only them to get better but keep it off that way if followed regularly later in life.
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you stay up-to-date with the latest research and best practices in disease prevention and management?
Sreejata: I have a subscription personally to some of the best research hubs and the team and we have one to one related with many international coaches, groups and team members who help us stay UpToDate. Our internal team sits in meetings at least twice or thrice every week discussing and brainstorming different topics, researches that come in world news and case studies that sharpens every participant’s knowledge.
JaanoAndSeekho: How can nutrition impact cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension and high cholesterol?
Sreejata: There are two angles to this. One that happens due to genetics. In those cases, we try to inculcate healthy habits and awareness to arrest the condition then and there but we can’t much change the genetic code. On the other hand, most lifestyle diseases happen due to a gap in their lifestyle. either poor eating habits, sedentary job profile, sleepless binge watch or habitual foodie who comforts stress with eating. Those need habitual changes very slowly so that the whole process becomes a second skin to them. These clients usually take 6 plus months to transform.
JaanoAndSeekho: Can you explain the relationship between diet and fertility? What are some specific nutrients that can support reproductive health?
Sreejata: A controversial topic. There is no magical food or herb that will suddenly make someone fertile. it’s a long standing right eating habits and exercise that truly stamps one with good health. Having said that diets rich in unsaturated fats, whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, fish, basically to get folate, zinc, vitamin B12, Iron and Vitamin D is essential.
JaanoAndSeekho: How can diet and nutrition be used to manage or prevent polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
Sreejata: Polycystic ovarian syndrome is the symptoms that indicate that a person may or may not get PCOD, that is the disease part. The matter of concern is if PCOS is not controlled it may result in diabetes mellitus 2 later in life. Both are components of insulin resistance at work. Management has a lot of steps in it, mainly by controlling carb intake, working out daily as resistance training primarily, and having a grip on stress and sleep. It cannot be much prevented if it’s inherited from gene pools, but if it’s due to faulty lifestyle it needs to be corrected asap!
Exercise and Age-related Issues
JaanoAndSeekho: What types of exercise do you recommend for clients of different ages and fitness levels?
Sreejata: I don’t restrict my clients in any specific type of exercise, as not everyone tries to be powerlifters. Having said that, a regular pattern of resistance training has innumerable health benefits in the long run and should be done by everyone. Those who have other passions like swimming or attempting a marathon, or love dancing, a combination of both types usually gets the best of client’s results. It all depends on the client’s goals truly!
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you help clients stay active and motivated as they age?
Sreejata: Sarcopenia is scary. it will eventually happen to all of us due to aging. Every day we are walking a step closer to death, and fitness is the biggest anti-aging treatment you can give your entire being. not only skin and hair but internals, externals, muscular structure and the way you perceive life. For elderly people, adequate protein for retention of muscle mass and resistance training is a must. Additional rehab works for whatever bodily pains, aches or discomforts they may experience. you will be surprised of all the elderly clients that I have trained, they are the most motivated lot. They have a lot of enthusiasm to continue to the best of their life.
JaanoAndSeekho: What advice do you have for clients who may be recovering from injuries or health conditions that limit their ability to exercise?
Sreejata: Healing is the most important aspect in injured clients. I had a leg injury when I joined SQUATS and my sole goal was to get better feet wise so that I could exercise like a normal person. Fat loss happened as a by-product of what I was doing correctly. but physiotherapy and rehab exercises should be continued for a long time along with strengthening exercises that will help you get better. It’s a game of patience and perseverance and haar kar jeetne walon ko hi bazigar kehte hai!
Importance of Health and Personal Background
JaanoAndSeekho: What inspired you to become a nutrition and fitness consultant?
Sreejata: The ripple effect: When I joined, I not only found the right path, knowledge, accountability but a community and family on whom I could depend, make friends, share my ups and downs and it did not make me feel alone and struggling in my journey. I however still saw many like me clueless and directionless, and a natural inclination came to help them. to extend the ripple effect. Monetary means of making a full-fledged profession came much later, but I used to tell myself “Even if I can make one person believe in themselves, not give up and get better in life, I will be a happy person” that itself pushed me in this profession!
JaanoAndSeekho: has your personal background influenced your approach to health and wellness?
Sreejata: Yes definitely. My mom has had diabetes since I was in std 1 and when I was diagnosed with PCOD everyone told me I will not be able to conceive, lose weight etc and I am going to be unhealthy later. The insulin shots my mom used to take scared me a lot. I never wanted that to happen to me. I was petrified. So, I thought, the only way I can change my future is to act in my present about it. That’s it.
JaanoAndSeekho: What do you think are the most important benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
Sreejata: Avoiding medical bills, able to spend time with kids or pet easily playing as per age and not getting tired, able to do basic chores like lifting a gas cylinder or suitcase in flight without a male member aiding me, managing my mental health and hormonal health and live a fuller life.
JaanoAndSeekho: What experience do you have working with clients in different age groups and with varying health conditions?
Sreejata: Many, I have worked with seniors, conducted workshops at kid’s schools, handled many medical conditions, and the ones where I am confident, I have no prior experience, either passed the client to a more knowledgeable colleague or given a refund.
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you adapt your approach to nutrition and fitness coaching to meet the unique needs of each client?
Sreejata: the world does not work in black or white, but different shades of Grey. grey matters, this one line has been hammered into us from INFS when we are doing our certifications. We are not robots or AI and we deal with humans who come from different backgrounds and lifestyles, needs, demands and goals. We have to constantly play good cop, bad cop, friend, coach, accountability partner or mentor with only one goal, to bring the best out of each client by the time they are done with us.
JaanoAndSeekho: Can you share a success story of a client you helped achieve their health and fitness goals?
Sreejata: If it calls for both health and fitness goals, I have this client who came to me with an extreme condition of endometriosis. She was extremely obese given her age and height, and by the end of the year, yes she is still enrolled and its more than a year she has lost more than 30 kgs and her medical condition is way more manageable now. She used to be a plus sized model and now she is so unrecognisable in terms of weight loss, her complaint is she is not getting “plus size modelling contracts” any more.
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you approach working with clients who have pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure?
Sreejata: Like I said before, in both cases there are two kinds of approaches. If it’s genetics or a faulty lifestyle. Lifestyle corrections are given accordingly.
JaanoAndSeekho: What advice do you have for clients who want to make lifestyle changes to improve their health, but feel overwhelmed or unsure of where to start?
Sreejata: be part of a community. be open to learn new concepts, surround yourself with people who have common goals, dreams and aspirations. If you stay with a bunch who have neither interest or motivation to do better in life, you will let life flow and not do anything about it. Try one step at a time. One healthy meal, a few conscious steps of walking daily, cutting down on outside meals from monthly 5 times to 3, every step matters. Make one change, stick to it long enough to make it a habit and then make another one. If you still feel stuck, reach out to me or Fittr 🙂 we would be happy to help professionally!
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you support clients in making sustainable changes to their diet and exercise habits to improve their overall health?
Sreejata: Most Indian specifically vegetarian households lack protein in diet. That’s one major change that is actually a game changer. Movement as a form of an activity also does not come to people naturally. Once whatever simple is added, their bodies show what is called in bodybuilding language as “beginners gain”. working with so many clients I can confidently say, people are indeed unaware of what wrong or right they can do or not do to their body. I wish basic nutrition and encouragement to do physical activity goes back to grass roots, school level initiative. so, every adult tomorrow would have been a responsible one.
JaanoAndSeekho: What advice do you have for clients who struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle due to social pressures, such as eating out or drinking alcohol with friends?
Sreejata: I only ask a simple question to them. Imagine you have a huge medical issue. How many of these friends will land up in the hospital with you? okay first day, first week, first month even, after a few weeks? Everyone will carry on with their own life. you will suffer alone. so, either you pay the bar bill
(alcohol) or bar bill (barbell in gym)! you owe it to yourself!
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you help clients find balance between their personal and professional responsibilities, while still making time for self-care and healthy habits?
Sreejata: Staying fit is not difficult at all. you have to put in very little but honest effort in order to get fit. have realistic expectations and a time frame in mind, and slowly just keep working on it. Now if you want a 6-pack ripped physique you have to act like it. You can have an ambassador, a Honda city or Mercedes, whatever is your budget. In every case the car will still move, transport you. but how much you can give or shell out will ultimately decide what you get.
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you address common lifestyle issues that may impact a client’s overall health, such as lack of sleep, stress, or sedentary behaviour?
Sreejata: By making it a habit. Until and unless people absorb it like a habit, the results won’t be long enough. rebounds happen. we brush when we wake up. We wear chappals the second our feet land from bed to ground. We comb our hair before going out of the house. These simple acts have been drilled by our parents so many thousands of times from childhood again and again that they have become part of us. you don’t look at the key holder to grab the keys of your car before heading out. it comes naturally. till fitness comes naturally tell it to yourself like a nagging parent k karna hai!!! There is no other way. just make it a habit. one day you will feel it missing if you don’t do the things right, like you feel when you don’t brush your teeth.
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you help clients manage their time effectively to fit healthy habits into their busy schedules?
Sreejata: Making a schedule. Remember when we were in school and we had proper time to follow a particular subject till the bell rang and another subject started? That’s prioritising 5 subjects in a day to fit in. In life too we have subjects. work, health, family, social commitments, miscellaneous etc. just make a daily schedule and follow it like a school time table. Don’t flow with the day as and when whatever happens. keep that chill mode for weekends to unwind. But for the week follow your table and make room for all the subjects in a strategic way. That’s it.
JaanoAndSeekho: What strategies do you recommend for prioritizing self-care and making time for exercise and meal prep?
Sreejata: Self-care comes in different ways. In our world though it’s an act of self-love and hence diet and workout both fall in its place. You cannot pour from an empty jug. As adults we are dancing puppets to meet society’s expected norms of responsibilities in our daily roles of life. But we cannot function optimally if we are constantly exhausted, burnt out, fading from work or faring badly in poor cognitive skills. We have to stand strong both physically and mentally so that we can take care of those who look up to us and also our own self. So, exercise should be taken as a basic self-care/physical hygiene means. Meal prep not only saves time but reduces the chance of eating out, and opting for easy methods to give in to temptations.
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you help clients stay on track with their goals despite unexpected schedule changes or disruptions?
Sreejata: Life happens! it’s not or never going to be linear progress in fitness journey. There will be family vacations, office trips and tours, weddings in family, someone’s ill health, injury, surgery, or even death and examinations that can pause someone’s journey but never pause it altogether. You have to remember one thing! you cannot be 100% perfect at all times. But the days you can give only 40% because your life is completely haywire. You gave your 100% in that way and it’s still better than not showing up at all. Fitness is not seasonal. you will never find the perfect time that way. You have to intertwine your fitness in your daily life and that’s how you grow. Some days you can be the cheetah, and some days the snail. As long as you keep moving, there is no harm done!
JaanoAndSeekho: What is your approach to helping clients form new, healthy habits and break old, unhealthy habits?
Sreejata: Start slow, unlearn to relearn, come with a blank canvas and keep working on one habit at a time and move towards the next! Use what you have, do what you can and grow the right way. Old habits take time. hence some people take just a few weeks or months’ time to learn and change while others can never untie the shackles of belief, habits and means they have followed all life and give up too soon, calling the whole process “unsustainable”
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you help clients overcome common challenges to habit formation, such as lack of motivation, willpower, or accountability?
Sreejata: I believe every coach has their own trade secrets that change from client to client when getting our job done. You will see some call me an angel, some may call me devil, believe them both as my strategies change as per client’s mental ability and prowess. it’s not a one size fits all process. It changes from time to time 😛
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you help clients create realistic and achievable goals for habit formation, and track their progress over time?
Sreejata: Our enrolment is 12 weeks minimal. That is not because one will get a stunning transformation in that magical time frame, but a realistic time to change habits and create a better you, and get a hang of how things are done and how to carry on. Most intelligent clients stay more than 12 weeks and get amazing results. Like I have said previously, tracking of data and accountability is done weekly and daily and I stay in touch with clients closely during my official work hours.
Communication and Education
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you communicate and educate your clients about nutrition and fitness topics in a way that is clear and easy to understand?
Sreejata: A lecturer of mine had taught me this. you always talk to clients not in technical jargons and scientific terms flaunting on how much you know. But talk to them like you would explain your 80-year-old grandmother or 5-year-old niece. In the same easy language, giving examples, similes, and relatable stories, I explain pressing topics and doubtful corners every week over weekly calls.
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you address common misconceptions or myths related to nutrition and fitness with your clients?
Sreejata: As and when the client asks, I explain to them the right way.
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you ensure that your clients have a strong understanding of the science behind nutrition and fitness to help them make informed choices?
Sreejata: It’s a long process, mistakes made, rectifications given, knowledge shared and I believe in giving them responsibility to choose what is right and wrong for them to do. It helps them in being well informed individuals.
Professionalism and Ethics
JaanoAndSeekho: What is your approach to maintaining a professional and ethical standard in your work as a nutrition and fitness consultant?
Sreejata: I am not a solo coach. I work with a company that runs with a client centric view, extremely strong professional regard, excellent customer care and internal systems. So staying professional is a mandatory matter at Fittr. Also, fittr is pretty ethical in its practices, no coach including me would do something unethical or that might cost us our job!
JaanoAndSeekho: How do you address conflicts of interest or potential ethical issues that may arise in your work with clients?
Sreejata: We have an extremely good customer care team that looks both into the coach and client side of the story, provides solutions and helps us whenever we are in need. So, situations like these do not happen in Fittr.
JaanoAndSeekho: What steps do you take to ensure that your advice and recommendations are based on the best available evidence and are in the best interest of your clients?
Sreejata: isn’t it supposed to be a team effort? This question is very absurd, because if a client transforms it’s not only the client’s joy but a coach’s as well. It’s both of our hard work. And all the solutions at fittr are evidence-based science that always is backed by research papers. But the truth is we rarely get clients who can follow things as per science and have mind blowing transformations because most of them are tied by social behaviours, habits and other obligations. so, we rarely get to use the science-based evidence-based work that would actually give us quite a professional job satisfaction if we could.
JaanoAndSeekho:We express sincerest gratitude for taking the time to participate in our interview. Your insights and expertise in the field of fitness coaching were truly enlightening, and sure our readers will find your perspectives both informative and inspiring.
Your dedication to helping people achieve their fitness goals through personalized training, nutrition plans, and support is truly remarkable.
Once again, thank you so much for sharing your time, knowledge, and experiences with us. It was an honor to speak with you, and I look forward to staying in touch.