Living in a fast-paced and digital world, where almost everything is just a click away, taking care of your health and fitness has become even more important.
With the increasing sedentary lifestyle of individuals and the growing number of health problems, the need for sustainable and effective fitness programs becomes more critical than ever.
The Quad, a pioneering fitness coaching company in India, is changing how people think about fitness. When they started back in September 2011 in Chennai, more than 11 years ago, gyms were full of boring machines and workouts that were stuck in the past.
They revolutionised the scene by bringing the concept of strength & conditioning training to India, along with an all-new tool - kettlebells! Today, you see them across all gyms, but The Quad pioneered the use of kettlebells for functional fitness back in 2011 when they were unheard of.
Through their innovative approach and focus on long-term results, The Quad is significantly impacting the fitness industry and helping individuals worldwide make fitness a keystone habit in their lives by teaching them how to achieve long-term results.
The company also strives to build reputable fitness careers for trainers and coaches who value knowledge, expertise, and experience by raising the bar and setting high standards in the industry.
Since day one of their operations, they have prioritised the needs and well-being of their students (they call their members students and not clients because they join to learn how to make fitness a part of their lives, not just a phase!).
They don’t sell these 30-day transformations that you see all over social media because they believe that is just a brief window into a person’s journey - never the full story.
Their student-first approach, maintaining a non-judgmental and inclusive fitness space, proving that strength is for everyone, and redefining results by showcasing long-term progress in overall strength and fitness, cardiovascular health, pain relief, endurance, stamina, and quality of life are what makes them a pioneering leader in the fitness industry.
Arvind Ashok, co-founder and CTO at The Quad began his professional career as an IT professional in San Francisco but has played sports since he was a child.
A StrongFirst Girya and certified CrossFit and nutrition coach today, he was once the most unfit kid on his sports teams who struggled with traditional weight loss methods.
In the initial days of his fitness journey, Arvind lost some weight but lacked strength. He realised that he needed to focus on specific strength training, worked on building his understanding of what real fitness meant, and pieced it all together to achieve his goals.
Through self-experimentation and extensive research, he found his passion and joy in fitness and now shares his knowledge to help his clients and followers achieve sustainable, lifelong health.
As an athlete, Arvind has trained and competed in Olympic triathlons, marathons, and has played ultimate frisbee at the international level.
He has worked with professional athletes and amateurs in various sports, including long-distance running, triathlon racing, swimming, cricket, ultimate frisbee, and racquet sports.
He has even coached India’s first national women’s ultimate frisbee team as a fitness coach and continues to train many of them today. Arvind’s coaching approach emphasises the importance of listening to one’s body, being intuitive, and focusing on the mental aspects of training.
Raj Ganpath, co-founder and CEO at The Quad, started his career as a mechanical engineer who later worked in a medical devices company in New Jersey.
Raj’s life underwent a complete transformation when he decided to prioritise his health and fitness. Despite having a sedentary childhood and struggling with asthma during his teenage and early twenties, Raj’s shift towards improving his own life made him pursue health and fitness as a passion.
Eventually, passion became profession, and he is now a certified fitness and nutrition coach, specialising in senior fitness, Kettlebell training, CrossFit, and biomechanics, bringing a wealth of knowledge to his clients.
The experience of fixing his own asthma and weight issues through scientific nutrition and training ignited his passion to delve deeper into the world of health and wellness when he got himself certified to share his passion with others.
A dedicated coach and accomplished public speaker today, Raj inspires and motivates thousands of people with his simple and practical approach to health and fitness.
He challenges his clients with a safe yet rigorous coaching style that emphasizes proper technique and pushing beyond their limits.
Raj is also a frequently invited speaker and chief guest at various corporate and educational events, where he challenges people to change their perceptions about nutrition and fitness.
After experiencing personal success in fitness, Raj and Arvind set out to help others, and that’s when they met each other at a mutual friend’s birthday party.
Very quickly in conversation, they realised they had a shared vision to simplify fitness and clear up misconceptions about diets and supplements and their passion for understanding the “why” behind fitness led them to create their own fitness protocols.
After studying the science behind weight loss and fitness and learning from coaches around the US, Raj and Arvind wanted to bring this knowledge to India, to their home in Chennai.
They believed that by speaking the language of those who were lost and confused in their fitness journeys, they could help them see the light they saw in achieving sustainable and lifelong health.
Together, Raj and Arvind launched their company, The Quad, in September 2011 with the aim of helping people who were open to trying new approaches to fitness.
Till today, they remain a fully bootstrapped, cash-positive company with zero external funding that continues to prioritise their members’ results and experience over brash growth.
The journey of building The Quad was exhilarating but not easy for Arvind and Raj, with many setbacks; however, they overcame each one with determination and creativity.
One of the biggest obstacles for them initially was finding the right kind of coaching talent, so they built coaches from scratch! In their community of members, many were inspired seeing them to pursue fitness and strength coaching as a profession.
So they began to train and mentor these people and build careers for them, and the end result is a 40-member team that aligns with the company’s values.
The Quad primarily offers a personalised format of group training, which is a redefinition of traditional group training where a single instructor shouts out a workout to a group of people without specificity or personalisation.
They split their group classes into smaller pods with different levels of experience, allowing them to provide personalised coaching to each individual in the group setting.
Their innovative approach to training, including pioneering kettlebells, outdoor training, and redefining group training with a scientific methodology and fun vibe, is what differentiates The Quad.
As India’s largest kettlebell gym, they offer a variety of in-person and virtual services that prioritise personal attention and scientific, results-driven training protocols.
But what truly differentiates them and what we don’t get to see anywhere else is the loyalty and trust their students have for them - people train with them for the long haul, with hundreds of people who have trained with them for more than 5-8+ years! The Quad accomplishes this by not only creating quality fitness talent and coaches but also by prioritising safety, emphasizing a long-term approach to sustainable health and fitness, and not falling for short-term trends and fads that plague the fitness industry today.
From their four centres in Chennai, they offer both in-person and virtual training services to clients from over 25 cities in India, as well as other countries such as the US, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Dubai.
They also provide asynchronous training programs that allow clients to watch recordings of classes or follow customised programs at their own pace.
However, the core of their services is fitness and lifestyle coaching, which helps clients make fitness a habit and achieve transformation in various aspects of their life, physically and mentally.
At The Quad, they refer to their clients as students and focus on teaching fitness. The team teaches and mentors their clients about various aspects of health and wellness, such as sleep, stress, nutrition, and exercise, and works with each individual student to design a program that fits their specific needs and goals. Raj shares,
Arvind explains they use an In-House method to assess their student’s fitness levels and determine their general physical preparedness (GPP). This involves assessing their strength, power, endurance, and mobility.
He shares, “By identifying their strengths and weaknesses, we design a personalised program to improve their overall fitness and achieve balance. This method helps guide our training team and students towards the same goal.”
Coaching is at the centre of the student’s experience at The Quad. They are not a gym with a bunch of machines where clients are supposed to figure out what to do, but a fitness coaching service that provides high-touch mentorship and guidance towards leading a strong life, inside out.
The coaching provided at The Quad helps students take control of their journey, resulting in successful outcomes both physically and mentally.
Raj shares, “At The Quad, we don’t expect our students to rely on motivation as it is a limited resource and can be external. Instead, we focus on habit formation, which is the sure-shot way to long-term success. We encourage our students to make showing up a habit.
The coaches plan everything for the students, so they don’t have to worry about what exercise they have to do, what weights they have to work with, or anything else; all they have to do is show up.”
They also work on habit formation with respect to nutrition, sleep and exercise, and they encourage their students to work on it slowly, little by little because it is a long-term process.
Arvind discussed how people often approach diet and nutrition goals with an all-or-nothing mindset, similar to how they might approach quitting a bad habit.
However, he points out that this approach often leads to failure, as it’s difficult to sustain such a substantial shift. Instead, he suggests a more gradual approach, where people focus on making small improvements over time.
He says, “Rather than trying to make drastic changes all at once, break down your goals into manageable steps. By focusing on doing a little better each day, people can make meaningful progress over time.”
Raj emphasises five key factors - sleep, nutrition, daily movement, exercise, and stress management for achieving and maintaining good health and wellness. He shares,
“A growing number of people are not sleeping enough. Focus on sleeping better, no matter how healthy your lifestyle is; if you’re not sleeping enough, your health and wellness will suffer. Nutrition is important, not just for weight loss, but for good health and vitality in life. Movement, in the form of activities of daily life - like walking, standing, and lifting weights around you, is necessary since we have been stuck in sedentary lifestyles for a long time.
Exercise is also important to strengthen our muscles and keep them from wasting away. Most importantly, managing our stress is critical since chronic low-level stress is always there and affects our overall wellness and health.”
To further elaborate on the perspective related to this, Arvind suggests focusing on a long-term mindset rather than short-term goals. He shares, “Consistency over intensity is key, even if you can only do a little each day. Don’t worry about perfection or measuring progress every month. Just focus on consistently making good choices and accepting that mistakes will happen.”
“We also often make the mistake of overlooking mental health, an important aspect of overall wellness. While physical health is important, mental health is equally essential for a person to feel truly well. The connection between mental health and stress or anxiety highlights the need to address both wellness aspects,” Raj adds.
Raj shares, “Virtual training is a clear trend in the fitness industry, likely due to the post-pandemic world we live in.” Many organisations are offering fitness solutions delivered to your home, including live coaching, recorded sessions, and subscription programs. Virtual coaches are also becoming increasingly popular. Raj believes that this trend is likely to continue to grow as our relationship with technology evolves. However, with so many training programs available, it can be difficult to know which ones to trust. Strength training is also becoming more popular and is no longer just for big muscular men - it’s for everyone. Raj says, “The talk about fitness is shifting from weight loss and eating less to eating right, mindful eating, movement, functionality, and time-efficient training.”
“Apart from the ones Raj mentioned, the other two big health and wellness industry trends are anti-ageing and the rise of wearable technology,” adds Arvind. The rise of biohackers experimenting with supplements and other methods to optimise their health and wellness brings a potential danger of taking supplements without understanding their long-term effects or without proper regulation. The wearable space is also growing, providing more information for people to improve their health, but the challenge will be translating that information into actionable steps for individuals - this is where coaches like us are important. Arvind says, “In the future, we will likely see more personalised recommendations rather than expecting individuals to become experts in sifting through overwhelming amounts of information.”
When asked about the biggest misconceptions they see, Raj and Arvind highlight the following:
The belief that short-term changes will yield lasting results when in reality, consistency over a long period is necessary.
Labelling certain foods as good or bad, leading to guilt or overindulgence. Diets are also often viewed as having magical formulas or special powers when they are simply a set of restrictions meant to reduce overall calorie intake.
Women should not lift weights or do strength training - this is far from the truth. Building muscle and strength is important for both men and women and can help improve joint health and maintain independence as we all age.
“Be selfish and prioritise your own health and well-being, as it is important to take care of yourself in order to be able to take care of others and succeed in your work or other activities,” shares Arvind. Raj adds, “To maintain a healthy lifestyle despite a busy schedule, several key strategies can be helpful. Prioritise sleep, as getting adequate rest is essential for overall health and well-being. Prioritise health in general, and reduce the number of activities you try to focus on. Practise good time management, as even those who are not particularly busy, can get caught up in activities that consume a lot of time”.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a health coach, according to Raj and Arvind, is being able to make a difference in people’s lives.
They share, “Seeing individuals go through a transformation and improve their health and fitness is extremely satisfying. Creating a team of coaches who are respected as teachers and professionals in the industry has also been very rewarding for us as founders.”
The fitness industry used to be perceived as a blue-collar job, but now, coaches are seen as educators who provide valuable knowledge and expertise.
Providing a career that improves people’s lives in multiple ways, including health, respect, education, and making a difference, is something that Arvind, Raj and their team at The Quad have created in the industry.
Arvind and Raj have plans to expand their virtual suite of services to keep up with the evolving fitness industry.
They recognise the convenience and effectiveness of virtual fitness and are scaling their solutions to include group-based sessions, 1-on-1 personal training sessions, on-demand training programs, and nutrition and lifestyle coaching programs.
By leveraging technology, they aim to deliver these services seamlessly and effectively to thousands of Indians worldwide.
Additionally, they also plan to build top-notch certification programs for trainers raising industry standards and creating profitable business opportunities for coaches.