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Sahil Pawa’s forte in physical health is as admirable as his style

by Mahmood Hossain

This fitness coach is fashionably fit.

The Italians call it sprezzatura – a term reserved for those who carry themselves, in whatever they do, in an incredibly effortless way. And this particular art of living is synonymous with fashion and style, something Sahil Pawa embodies in his approach to life, from training his clients, to how he carries his wardrobe in a way that assaults the commonplace. His fashion is understated, with fluid transitions, and places comfort as his first priority.

Waking into Drive Asoke, a newly-opened gym that empowers people of all ages to enhance their lifestyles and wellbeing, it was easy to see why Sahil made this establishment his operating base. It allows visitors to ease into the surroundings and its open space, complimented by its pristine dojo mat and a dedicated section for its gym equipment. Sahil is truly in his element.

Hustle Hard: In his element and building up a sweat, Sahil sports his ‘work’ uniform with a top from Adidas and Nike shorts.

As a fellow Manchester United supporter, which we unsurprisingly bonded over, Sahil has been physically active since he was a kid. He grew up watching and playing football until his newfound appreciation for working out and lifting weights came into the picture.

“It was always a hobby of mine,” reminisces Sahil, “I started lifting with my best friend back in high school. In addition to playing football, it became a habit; we were lifting a few times a week. I started from a ‘gym bro’, bodybuilding background throughout university, and I decided to join the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. I heavily invested my time and effort in researching and understanding the biomechanics behind it and the holistic approach to fitness.”

I sat down to talk to him further about his effortless style.

Off-Duty Swagger: A loose-fit tee from The Cracker, Uniqlo trousers, and white Nike Air Force 1s, are an example of how simplicity can bring about street sophistication.

After gathering essential knowledge in the field, where did the passion to help others come from?

In the process of learning, I found myself helping my friends at the gym quite frequently. Without knowing what I was doing, I was sharing my so-called expertise with them and helping them enhance their fitness. Soon enough, one of my cousins pointed out what I was doing and suggested I pursue this professionally. Fortunately, I knew the right people within the Indian community, they pointed me in the right direction, and I obtained the right certifications to accelerate my growth in the industry.

As for my clients, I want them to move and feel better. People come in and want to get into fitness for various reasons. In every session, we can get our mobility and flexibility throughout training, and how we set up and execute every exercise. The aim is to feel better and get that dopamine push in each session. This applies to style as well, there’s positive reinforcement in feeling better and looking better. We feed off each other’s energy. Seeing my clients’ progress fuels my own workouts.

Pitti Uomo in Bangkok: Sahil’s giving street style at Pitti Uomo – a summer annual international market for men’s fashion in Florence. Zara shirt, Uniqlo trousers, and brown leather shoes from a Terminal 21 shop.

You seem to have a knack for such things, just like your wardrobe choices. How did you develop your sense of style?

To be honest, it’s not something I put a whole lot of thought into. I wouldn’t say the way I dress is loud or flamboyant; it’s quite basic and toned down. Nothing too loose or too tight, just the right fit. Comfort is the main thing. I mean, I’m the guy who wore sweats and T-shirts to class every day at university. Now, it’s based on athleisure, as you have seen today. When I’m outside of that environment, I still put comfort first.

Are there any style tips you would like to share?

It’s similar to how I approach exercises. For a beginner or someone who is struggling to get back into fitness, I would begin with a question: “What have you not been doing that you should be doing?” The smallest steps matter. For example, if I were to ask someone, “How much did you walk yesterday?” They might say 1,000 steps. I would respond by asking, “Can you do 1,500 tomorrow?” That’s a 50 percent increase right there. These steps are so simple that you couldn’t possibly refuse them; it would feel so silly to turn down something so easy. And that’s already a step in the right direction. Similar choices can be made in style too; make subtle changes to have better outcomes.

Get to know more about Sahil through his Instagram @SahilPawa97

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