India is a fitness blogger who was born deaf and is campaigning for better accessibility in gyms. She talks to Sundried about how her journey began and what life is like as a deaf fitness enthusiast.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
I went through a nasty break-up and was left heart broken. I turned to health and fitness as a way of making myself feel better. My passion kept growing and I was getting leaner by the day, and people around me started to notice and comment on just how lean I was becoming. I got the idea to start a fitness Instagram account for other deaf people to learn more about fitness. I started to realise how many accessibility issues there are in gyms, such as the class studios being too dark to be able to lip read the instructor. Some basic sign language would be really helpful. Trainers are constantly moving around which is another way that makes it difficult to lip read, and copying the person next to me can mean I end up doing it all wrong. I know that a lot of other deaf people feel that paying full price for a class that is not accessible is not very fair.
When I first started my fitness blog on Instagram, I was at rock bottom and had very little confidence. But my journey has been a lot of fun and I've been going round gym classes in London reviewing their accessibility for other deaf people on a fitness journey.
What are your training goals now?
I'm doing Tough Mudder in September and I'm looking to increase my strength and fitness. I do 3 or 4 strength and conditioning classes per week as well as a couple of HIIT classes.
How does being deaf affect your fitness journey?
My journey is only about fitness classes in gyms. In these classes, it's difficult to lip read the instructors so it's difficult to know what to do. It's also hard to stay in time with the music when you can't hear it.
What can gyms and personal trainers do better to make their services more accessible for deaf people?
To be more visual, more hands on, keep eye contact at all times, and to keep it simple. Also to make sure that they don't talk too fast.
What advice would you give to people with similar disabilities who are on the same journey?
Don't be afraid to let them know that you're deaf, they will be more prepared to give you better accessibility when possible.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
I don't have a food plan. I just make sure to eat a lot of protein and balanced carbs, I've learned so much about nutrition throughout my journey.
Talk us through your training regime.
I don't really have a routine. I want to push myself more with strength training, though.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Avocado and poached egg on toast.
Why work with Sundried?
Sundried make elegant sportswear that can be used as part of my everyday fashion, and its simplicity means I know it won't ever go out of style. It also fits to perfection and doesn't chafe or ride while I'm working out.
What's your favourite fitness quote?
"You have to love yourself before you can love someone else."