Sandesh Palungwa Limbu is a certified professional fitness instructor, founder of RAGE Fitness and specialises in mixed martial arts. Unarguably, Limbu has made a mark in the fitness sector in Nepal with his unique coaching style. B360 quizzed Limbu about leadership and fitness. Excerpts:
How pivotal is physical fitness for a healthy mind? How important is it for managers and CEOs to be physically fit to handle leadership roles?
When we talk about mind and body it may be perceived as two different entities but in reality it’s an integrative function of the body. Fitness is a very powerful tool to increase your body’s work capacity. Whether its physical, mental, emotional and physiological, fitness efforts caters to it all.
Being part of an organisation is a collective as well as individual effort despite the role you play. Your personal ability in terms of a healthy and strong body translates to wellbeing of your mind. This in turn allows a person to function optimally at all levels whether in professional or personal life. Exercise inculcates discipline, resilience, consistency, enhances your ability to push yourself in challenges, perform better under stress and improves decision making abilities. If you can manage your body well, it will definitely help you manage people, time and work better.
What would you list as the conspicuous differences between the roles and responsibilities of a CEO of a large-scale business and of an entrepreneur/owner who runs a small-scale business?
The basic essence and principles of running a business stay the same, the difference is only in scale and ability to take risks. I believe that whoever leads a company whether large, medium or small, whether owner or employee, has to have the right values and prerequisites of discernment, positive discrimination, ability to take timely decisions and effective implementation among other qualities. The work itself entails a mechanical aspect which includes operations and procedures, and a human aspect which allows the leader to connect with his employees and customers in the best possible ways. Large scale businesses have more units and responsibilities than small businesses but both can’t deviate from the single objective of customer satisfaction. As a leader you have to clearly understand the common thread that strings every aspect together and maintain its strength.
When you give instructions on nutrition or prescribe a workout to your clients, has your authority ever been challenged? How should a trainer tackle the situation or how should a leader handle such a situation?
I know it to happen, however I have ensured this doesn’t occur with me. I strongly believe that you don’t follow the guru (teacher) but the gyan (knowledge). There is also a proper way to impart knowledge. It requires the trainer/ leader to understand the capacity and mindset of the receiver and transfer knowledge in such a way that it is effectively understood and implemented. The participants are there to learn and the trainer needs to be emphatic as well as firm in his/her instructions and guidance. You have to be well-versed in your field of expertise and be able to deal with any problem with the right tools. Creating a healthy rapport, building trust, taking responsibility for client improvement all count.
How do you deal with clients who give up on their committed session or a boot camp in the middle —just because they think that they can’t do it? How do you motivate them? What role does motivation play in catapulting the performance of an individual?
Motivation is extremely valuable but it cannot always be imparted or enforced. A person must understand why they are doing what they are doing and want to do it bad enough. Externally applied motivation only works to a limited extent. We are basically trying to change a negative habit and belief pattern. It is not always easy for the trainer or the participant, but consistent effort and interest to keep the participant engaged is essential. A lot also goes into understanding the participant’s psychology and working with him/her. The old saying, ‘different strokes for different folks’ is true to motivation. We help find what clicks and helps sustain the individual. We use behaviour modification techniques to change their approach. We use practical customised goal setting, group and individual counselling, reminders, visualisation and meditation techniques to keep the motivation fire going.
You are a leading figure in MMA in Nepal. What kind of leadership role have you played to promote MMA in Nepal?
Mixed Martial Arts is a global sport today and has a growing interest and participation at Rage Fitness as well. We are the first and possibly the only organisation to offer this discipline in the country. I have been doing MMA for close to 20 years and am deeply passionate about the art.
In terms of promoting it, in addition to running regular sessions, we invite experts and champions from across the globe for seminars and workshops. We encourage national level players and coaches of different martial arts to participate in the MMA introductory programs. We also run a King of the Mat feature that allows our trainees a feel of real competition. Additionally I myself offer seminars in India on ad-hoc basis besides writing articles and using the right channels to create awareness.
What leadership traits have helped you to make Rage Fitness a name synonymous with fitness in Kathmandu?
It takes immense effort and passion to run any business. I think I may have gone a little beyond in terms of offering an edge to our clients in terms of personal attention and high level of excellence in the programs we offer. Our signature programs are at par with and sometimes even exceed global standards. We have a healthy mix of national and international clientele who feel a part of Rage Fitness once they are with us.
When we came into existence, the fitness industry did not function on parameters of professional business. Today, we have set industry standards and are the forerunners simply because we understood the subtle and tangible demands of what a professionally run fitness organisation should be like and what clients need.
It’s not been easy as it wasn’t a formal sector business. We do a lot of work with training our staff, ensuring that right information is put out, updating and constantly keeping up with global health and fitness data, etc. We all understand that foremost we are our own biggest competitor so we work consistently as a team to better our systems, techniques and information to ensure that the clients benefit. We also tend to stay away from fads and trends and quick fix results. There is no shortcut to success… in business, lifestyle or health. It is exercise science tailored to individual needs.