Celebrity fitness trainer Jeeth Sanghavi shares how she fought sexism in her male-dominated work arena to make a name for herself as a boxer.
You must remember Priyanka Chopra’s earnest performance in the Mary Kom movie. Did you know that behind her fierce blows and punches was national-level boxer and fitness trainer Jeeth Sanghavi, who trained the actor in boxing?
After the movie, offers came pouring in, and today, Jeeth is a celebrity fitness trainer. But becoming a boxer was never her original plan.
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Jeeth had always dreamed of becoming an Air Force pilot, but destiny had other plans. “I cleared the exams, but due to improper vision, I couldn’t get in. That was the first instance in my life when I realised how it feels to have your dreams shatter,” she says.
However, a few days later, a boxing coach approached her and asked her to try the sport, and she did. During this journey, another coach told her that she was “useless”. “I was told to just marry an NRI guy because I can’t do anything. That was my breaking point,” she recalls.
Eventually, Jeeth was selected for the National Boxing Team. This was when the Indian chief coach recommended her for training Priyanka Chopra, and she grabbed the opportunity.
Later, she was hired as a fitness director, but had to challenge gender bias at her workplace as the male trainers working under her weren’t happy.
“While working at different gyms as a fitness director, I always helped my male team members to be better. But they always had a problem. They would say I am a female, how can I be their boss,” she says.
To build a positive work environment, she started Boxxera, her own fitness studio. Today, she helps people become fit and accept themselves. “I train people with severe medical issues, who have been told that there’s nothing else they can do to improve their health. I help them and prove that this is not the end,” she says.
Watch Jeeth’s journey of knocking stereotypes out of the ring:
Edited by Divya Sethu