Imtiaz Ahmed / Guwahati
The time an average Indian woman spends grumbling about her health, shape, and figure each day, Guriya Tabassum Parveen aka Guriya Khatun spends the same in the gymnasium. Yes, one and a half hours every day is what Guriya spends in workouts to keep herself fit and healthy.
Probably the only Muslim woman professional gym trainer, Guriya has won sports model physique contests in the past couple of years. The bronze medalist of the 10th Federation Cup National Body Building Championships in Women Sports Model Physique event at Lucknow in April 2021, Guriya is the first-ever woman bodybuilder from Assam to bag a sports model physique medal at the national event.
Guriya eats like any other person but knows what, how much, and when to eat and drink. The premium trainer at the posh Gymaholic - The Fitness Bar gym in Guwahati, Guriya’s basic mantra of toning herself to be in good shape is to eat at regular intervals and burn calories through regular workouts.
Guriya Tabassum Parveen training at the Gym
“I do eat as anyone should. But, to maintain good health and fitness it is necessary to maintain a balance. One should never eat like a glutton. Nutrition is always necessary for our bodies. For that, we should eat at regular intervals in the right quantity and at the proper time. After all, it’s like filling a bucket with water. It’ll overflow once it’s full, and the same applies to human fat as well. When you replenish a body saturated with the necessary amounts of fat, it will lead to obesity. One should particularly never eat after 8 pm. Besides, I ensure that if the intake is 1000 calories, I should burn 1500 calories so that the balance is maintained,” Guriya said in a tete-a-tete with Awaz - The Voice.
Guriya’s love affair with the gym and its machines started in 2016 when she first stepped into one to lose weight. “I joined the gym as a trainee in 2016 when I became overweight. I lost the excess weight, but I fell in love with my workouts and continued with the regime and workouts. In due course of time, I started participating in local contests and started winning medals. Then I went on to participate in nationals and won a couple of medals over the past couple of years.”
Having gained the confidence of being crowned a winner in several contests, including Miss Kamrup, the gym trainer now eyes international honours. “I have not participated in any contest in the current calendar year. But, I am preparing for international events. I am also taking to financially strengthen myself for the international events. Bodybuilding is one sport which involves huge financial costs,” she said.
Guriya Tabassum receiving various awards
On being a Muslim, Guriya said, “It is not because of my religion, but because of being a woman, I did face problems. No matter how much we talk about gender equality, society is always critical about a woman’s rise in any field ... Although nobody dares to tell me anything, some try to influence my parents by pointing out my contest costumes. Instead of telling them that a bikini costume is the requirement of the sport during contests like any other sport, some would go to frighten them speaking about social and religious implications. But, I am not at all bothered about all those and am focused on my sport.”
“My parents are simple people from Dhubri district (western Assam) who have hardly any knowledge about sports, gym or dumbbells. They are also not very interested in reading newspapers or watching television. They only know that I am a trainer of some kind and also a participant in some sports. They have neither asked me to participate in bodybuilding contests nor have they ever opposed it,” she added.
Guriya Tabassum Parveen with the gym owner Neha Dey
Gymaholic’s proprietor Neha Dey Jain also appreciated Guriya’s dedication and professionalism saying: “She is one of the sincerest and most dedicated women I have come across as far as maintaining fitness is concerned. We have a lot of parties and feasts at our gym. But, Guriya is someone who would never take anything sweet. Not even a piece of cake! She has that kind of dedication. And, when it comes to participation in any contest, she does a lot of hard work to give her best. We always stand in support to her
Being declared a winner at a championship
“As a person, she is a gem! I always bank on her to face any challenging situation. She has been instrumental in shaping many clients as well as guiding them to lead a healthy life,” Neha added.
Guriya has a message about those planning to join a gym: “It is not about the gym where you do your workouts. It is sincerity and dedication that matter in achieving fitness. Besides, a proper trainer is essential in bodybuilding.”
To sportspersons, Guriya said: “Fitness is the basis of every sport. But it is not always necessary to work out in the gym to maintain fitness. Fitness can be maintained with the help of any activity. Even walking and cycling can help maintain fitness.”