Published: 04th May 2019
Be your own Hero: Here's how Nagpur-based ProHealth Foundation is promoting fitness and well-being
Dr Amit Samarth, pro-athlete and founder of ProHealth Foundation, trains athletes for marathons, cyclothons, the Olympics and more
For sure, playing sports is generally one of the best ways to improve your fitness and health. And that's exactly what this Nagpur -based non-profit, ProHealth Foundation is trying to work on. "Sports isn’t exclusive to athletes. It’s a lifestyle," says Dr Amit Samarth, endurance athlete and founder of ProHealth Foundation. Amit found himself thrust into the world of ultra-cycling in 2015 when his friends signed him up for the 2015 Deccan Cliffhanger, a 600-km cycling race between Pune and Goa, and he never left. The race let him qualify for Race Across America, a 4800 km transcontinental ultra-cycling road-cycling race held across the United States in 2017, making Amit Samarth the first Indian to do so in his first attempt in nearly 40 years. He later went onto finish the Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme in 2018, a 9,000 km race across Russia, from Moscow to Vladivostok — becoming the first Asian to do so.
In 2014, Amit, along with a few friends, founded Miles N Milers, a group that further founded ProHealth Foundation, an initiative aimed at providing athletes professional training for marathons, cyclothons and more. ProHealth specialises in providing personalised training and organises marathons and duathlons every year. ProHealth held the 10K Nagpur marathon in 2017, and the Nagpur Duathlon in 2018. They also conduct Triathlon Boot Camps, led by Amit himself. ProHealth has conducted marathons in smaller towns to promote sports and fitness. In 2014, Pro-Health conducted a marathon in Thirukattupalli (near Thanjavur) in Tamil Nadu to encourage athletes.
"The beauty of endurance sports is that there is no question of age; just advancing levels of training," says the 38-year-old, whose organisation trains nearly 200 athletes from across the country, including numerous rising athletes. This fitness-oriented nonprofit trains multiple pro-athletes for ultra-cycling races like Race Across America (RAAM) and even the Olympics. Nagpur based cross-country champion athlete, Prajakta Godbole is one such Olympic aspirant. Another star athlete at ProHealth is the 16-year-old triathlete prodigy from Nagpur, Tanvi Tarare, proving that one can never be too young to push themselves past their limits.
However, not everyone who comes to ProHealth is necessarily training for such highly competitive events. "We have people who come in to simply train or to lose weight because they might be obese as beginners with no prior experience in endurance sport. We generally start to train them with cycling, because it’s the easiest sport to master," explains Amit, who further details the kind of regiment they follow at Prohealth Foundation. Dieting is something that Amit strictly refrains from enforcing. The formula to a fit and healthy body is simple. "Train right, eat right," he asserts.
ProHealth does more than just train aspiring athletes; it advocates to create new ones by promoting sports, fitness and well-being. Here is where Amit makes extensive use of his Master’s Degree in Public Health from John Hopkins. "I believe promoting sports and a fit lifestyle is a matter of public health," he says strongly, further using his organisation to promote endurance sports training and activities in 'less active' cities across the country.
Amit makes it a point to be personally involved in the sessions conducted by his team. One might wonder how he manages to make the time between training others and training himself. "It can get difficult, but it’s my dream," he chuckles. The aspirations, however, don’t stop with his trainees. Amit himself is currently training for the Ironman triathlon happening in Goa in October, and the RAAM race in 2020. He intends to become the fastest man to complete an Ironman triathlon race.