- Meet Shubhangee Shelke, a Technology Audit Management Professional and a Bodybuilding Champion.
- She became a fitness enthusiast to shed a few pounds but it turned into a lifestyle.
- By 2020 she was training for bodybuilding competitions while handling her role as a Vice President at a Global Financial Firm.
- Wondering how she manages it with a hectic job schedule. Here’s how.
I started my fitness journey when I was a residential student at my B-School.
As I was overweight, I started hitting the gym we had on campus. But slowly I began enjoying it.
As I continued different questions popped into my head, “What is my body’s natural potential?” “How can I become a better version of myself?” “What do fitness models eat?” “How do they work out?”
Knowing I couldn’t achieve my fitness goal in just a week, I started taking baby steps.
Irrespective of my college schedule I religiously went to the gym and started mindful eating. And after a while, I could see the visible differences in my body, as well as in my energy level.
It felt good and I decided to pursue and learn about it more.
Over the years it became my lifestyle. So much so that after my B-School wherever I worked, the first criterion was “Does my office have a gym?”
Becoming a female bodybuilder in India
I joined one of the top Global Financial Firms as a Technology Audit Management Professional in 2019.
There is no doubt that Covid 19 pandemic made everyone reflect on their lives, and I was no different. I began wondering, “You are going to the gym, and working out, so what next?”
(When you reach the position of gymming consistently, the next step is to have the physique of a bodybuilder.)
That’s why I said, “Why not explore bodybuilding professionally?” and it started.
There were not many posing coaches available specifically for female bodybuilders. Youtube was my source of information, be it learning about a bodybuilder’s dietary plan, or presenting myself in front of various judges.
I used to practice in front of the gym’s mirror to figure out what part of my body needed more muscle definition.
The entire year and a half that I worked from home, I focused on my career and bodybuilding. It started paying off… I was enjoying this phase.
Fast forward to 2022, I participated in my first-ever bodybuilding competition in June 2022.
I started as a street model, then became a sports model, and eventually became a bikini athlete.
So far I have won five titles back to back from June 2022 to December 2022 and I have no intention of slowing down.
On the work front, I was recently promoted from Assistant Vice President to Vice President, and I am excited to take on the bigger role.
Juggling my new role and bodybuilding is anything but easy, but being disciplined is the only mantra.
Having a religious family, they taught me not to eat any food other the vegetarian meals.
At first, I was a bit scared of telling my family that I was turning into a non-vegetarian. But miraculously they turned out to be cool with it and supported me throughout.
Another challenge was having to decline social invitations, or not go out with my colleagues for a bite because of food choices. My social life did take a hit.
I stayed patient and over time people around me learned about my lifestyle, and started to appreciate my bodybuilding journey.
In India, it’s not culturally appropriate to wear a bikini in public. This can be a challenge for many women, but I choose to look at it differently. I dress for the job I’m doing, whether that’s wearing office attire for work or a bikini for bodybuilding competitions.
I consider bodybuilding to be my second job, and I compete with people who do it full-time. There is a dress code for that, just like there is for any other job. There’s nothing wrong with it and there’s no reason to be ashamed of it.