YS Weekender caught up with Ankit Nagori, Co-Founder of CureFit, who loves cricket with a passion, but is just as zealous about integrating multiple health formats to help his clients.
A great day begins with great food, a power session at the gym and a quiet hour of meditation. Do one or all four, say the founders of CureFit, the health and fitness powerhouse, which takes a holistic approach to physical and mental well-being. With their philosophy, ‘Be Better Every day’, the centre is a one stop fitness destination for those who want to take small steps towards better health, lean bodies and pure nutrition.
So whether it is a simple change like adding a power breakfast of Tofu Quesadillas or a spinach omelette to your breakfast, or an hour of cardio and strength training to your workout, or just finding your happy place with a session of pranayama at home – they believe that even one small change will make all the difference to your life.
When cricket meets fitness
Ankit Nagori, Co-founder of Curefit, who is a cricket-crazy sportsman and a fitness enthusiast himself, says that it was always their goal to offer a multi-category health platform. “If people want to be healthy, it is usually very tough. They have to take care of what they eat, take time to exercise and look after their health. We realised that if we could make health easy by giving everything on one platform, it would really help people.”
Today, CureFit offers several options and is a holistic healthy-living destination. There is cult.fit for fitness, eat.fit for healthy meals, mind.fit to reduce stress and cure.fit to be your personal doctor. Whether you want to avail of a few options or all of them, your choices can change how you feel and look.
Ankit graduated from IIT Guwahati and founded a couple of startups in the Advertising and Social Media Marketing space. He joined Flipkart in early 2010 and played a leading role in launching and scaling key businesses such as Fashion & Marketplace. In his last role at Flipkart, Ankit managed the entire P&L as the Chief Business Officer. Ankit is very active in the startup community as an angel investor and adviser to some of the early stage startups.
When Ankit resigned from Flipkart as did Mukesh Bansal, who was head of commerce in the company, they decided to launch CureFit. Both of them were sports enthusiasts and as Ankit had captained the cricket team at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, he wanted to launch a startup in the area of sports and fitness. Mukesh, who was equally zealous about health, wanted to launch a business that had a massive market.
That was when the idea to set up a multi-platform health and fitness startup took root.
“Both Mukesh and I are very passionate about sports and fitness and that played a huge role in choosing this as a domain for our new company. Health and Fitness was an unsolved problem in India as everything is very fragmented. With CureFit and CULT, we are trying to solve that,” Ankit says.
Where it began...
Ankit’s love for cricket started when he was 10 years old. “I started watching and playing cricket as a young boy. The 1996 World Cup which took place in India was a huge influence on my life. I have been an ardent cricket fan, ever since,” he says.
Ankit started playing cricket at the age of 10 at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Delhi and later moved to Vijay Mehra Cricket Academy. “Post that, I continued to play in the IIT Guwahati team and I still play in some corporate leagues in Bangalore,” he says.
Starting off at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Academy was not without its own challenges. “The number of kids were huge at this academy and there was only one coach. It took a couple of months to even get a chance to bowl or bat. All we could do was fielding practice and running till then,” he recalls.
His cricket idol has always been Sachin Tendulkar for the sheer amount of hard work and passion that the famous cricketer has put into his work. “In the 90s, he was a huge influence on the overall sentiment of the nation. If he would score a century, people would be happy,” says Ankit.
Ankit is primarily a bowler, and he believes that specialisation is even more important than it was earlier. “In such a competitive world, one should really have deep skills,” he says.
Taking sports to the workplace
Ankit is proud to say that his company has a variety of sportspersons. “Given that we are in the business of fitness, we have a huge culture of sports in our company. We have runners, basketball players, and a football team. We have a cricket team also and luckily I am a part of that,” he laughs.
According to Ankit, sport plays a huge role in shaping one’s overall outlook. “Sports teaches a person how to deal with failures, how to work in a team and also how to come out of adverse situations. I have noticed that people who have played a sport, in general, are more resilient.”
Ankit plays cricket in corporate events quite often. “We play corporate tournaments and practise regularly. I like to watch IPL and Test series outside of Asia,” he says.
Changing sport, changing times
Ankit is delighted that cricket is slowly becoming a family sport. “IPL has brought cricket to Prime Time and has created a new industry all together,” he says. “All the world over T20 has emerged as a great viewer-friendly sporting option. Packed stadiums in IPL itself is a proof that T20 cricket is the present and the future. It is good for the game and also for the whole ecosystem.”
Life lessons with cricket
Ankit makes sure he keeps fit all year around by going to the gym and playing cricket. As to the life and entrepreneurship lessons that one can learn from cricket, he says,
“I think the biggest lesson is around improving on a regular basis. As an entrepreneur, you need to grow every year and face new challenges. In cricket too, one has to adapt and move really fast. Other important aspect is the ability to deal with failure and to be able to bounce back. Of course being fit and healthy helps in both, cricket as well as entrepreneurship.”
New trends take a bow
As to women getting into cricket now, Ankit says, “It’s fascinating how the women’s cricket landscape is evolving. Last year when the Indian women's team made it to the final of the World Cup, the entire nation was watching. Cricketers like Mithali Raj, Jhoolan Goswami and Harmanpreet Kaur are an inspiration for an entire generation. Smrithi Mandhana is performing so well in global leagues. The time is ripe for a Women’s IPL. This would open the floodgates and we will see many more girls take up cricket as a profession,” he says.
Cricket will always be a part of Ankit’s future plans. “I would like to continue playing corporate cricket for the next few years,” he says. “Also at CULT we have partnered with Six Cricket Academy at the 'Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence'. We provide fitness lessons to young budding cricketers there. Hopefully in the years to come, some professional cricketers will come out of that academy.”
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