Everyone is talking about the real Dangal sisters, the movie has indeed opened our eyes. There are many women out there, leading a difficult life and fighting against all odds. One such woman is Ashwini Waskar.
Ashwini Waskar is India’s first competitive female bodybuilder! Ashwini belongs to a normal middle class family and never expected such a name and fame in this field. And today she is a star and idol of many female bodybuilders. Stylewhack team got candid with her and here is an excerpt –
How did you enter the world of bodybuilding?
At one point Ashwini was tired of being overweight and wanted to get back to good health. Thus started her gym journey and weightlifting. She soon got interested in bodybuilding and rest is history as they say. She confidently admits, “I always like to follow a path which is less traversed. Doing Masters in Fisheries was one such step, where people said girls don’t make a career in this field. Same was the case with bodybuilding and I took it up as a challenge.”
She further added, “Fitness training has many categories. Bodybuilding is the most hardcore and muscular type. And I like challenges.”
How did you fight against the gender stereotyping?
Ashwini never looked at bodybuilding as a particular gender’s sport. What provoked her was the strong sense of duty to keep herself strong and fit. Ashwini says, “Being fit is mandatory for both men and women. I never worked out to be on stage. I just wanted to lift heavy weight and eat proper diets. The result of which is the body that can stand on stage!”
What does a typical training session in Ashwini Waskar’s day look like?
Ashwini trains one body part per day. Legs, chest, shoulders, arms, cardio, back, deadlift are her workout days in a week. Out of those, legs and deadlift are her favorite since they indicate how powerful and flexible one can be. Ashwini talks with a glint in her eyes, “Each exercise is of 6-8 reps maximum. This means if I can finish 6-8 reps of one weight, I move on to the higher weight until I can no longer do the 6 reps.”
Ashwini also highlights the mental strength that is critical for bodybuilding, “Focusing on my breathing helps me to calm down. I also indulge in visualization. To illustrate – Being a foodie, I try to control my diet by visualizing myself on the stage. This visual makes the unwanted food unnecessary and helps me focus on my training.”
Any message to the men/women out there wanting to be the next Ashwini Waskar?
Ashwini Waskar strongly believes that there are many untapped sportswomen in our country who need a helping hand. Women who want to shine but don’t have the support from their families and especially the men in the family. Ashwini says she has been very lucky to have a supporting father who even sponsored her at so many competitions. She says, “My father sold a gold chain to support me. He even let me wear the clothes which were required for this sport. If you have a sportsman in the making at your home, please support them.”
Ashwini would love to impart her knowledge, “Girls are coming into bodybuilding and some women are being inclined towards fitness. I would really love to train a girl who comes up to me with a wish of participating in competitions.”
Do you think you have been an inspiration to the next generation of bodybuilders?
Ashwini thinks that only competing and winning doesn’t make one inspiring enough. What really matters according to her is, “Using my experiences to guide and mentor newcomers is the real reputation. When I see gratitude in the eyes of the newbies, that sight and feeling is truly inspiring. The results which the judges declare may inspire a few, but what lasts in the long run is the acknowledgement and gratitude of my fellow bodybuilders.”
Ashwini Waskar is a true story of a girl from a village defying all gender stereotypes. She is a inspiration in the real sense. We wish Ashwini all the very best for her future endeavors. May we have more Ashwini Waskars in our nation who can say out loud, “I am a proud Indian girl!”