Straight Talk with Kabir Uppal
Kabir Uppal asks all the right questions on his podcasts. “How do you stay consistent?” “What’s your favourite cheat meal?” These are burning questions most of us would want answers to, especially if the guest in question is a fitness professional. Or, a creative professional who lives to up their fitness level—and has an enviable life to boot. On ‘The Pursuit of Wellness’, Kabir’s fitness-centric podcast series, these and a slew of other inquiries into the fitness, nutrition and wellness space emerge organically. It’s much like listening into an easy conversation—for fitness enthusiasts like us, podcasts such as these are relevant, motivational even, and not in the least tedious or preachy.
Kabir himself is a creative professional, a fitness enthusiast and an all-around spark plug. Professionally, he leads strategic partnerships at an influencer marketing company called AdfluenceHub. At his consulting firm Red Team Partners, he consults and advises early-stage companies, even as he manages PokerClassified, a media venture focussed on the Indian poker industry. All this, as he records ‘The Pursuit of Wellness’ podcast with a media company called Muncher Media.
But, when Kabir recorded his first podcast in 2018, things were a little different. In Season 1, he recorded at co-working spaces, a bedroom and a storage room. On board were guests such as squash player Gaurav Nandrajog, Vrinda and Yadu Bhageria of Boulderbox, nutritionist Tahira Kochhar, and marathon coach Nakul Butta of All In Running, among others. Now, well into Season 2, he’s been recording at the Muncher Media studio and has even turned the podcast into a video series. There are interesting guests on the roster yet again and relevant brand partnerships to boot.
At Tego, listening to podcasts has become something of a fixation, one that we keep going back to. Give us a good podcast and we’re hooked. When Kabir reached out to us, we knew we’d want to get him talking to dig deep into this fitness media venture. We imagine you’d be kicked about it, too.
Your podcast ‘The Pursuit of Wellness’ stems from your passion for fitness. Tell us more.
I started playing basketball at the age of 12 and joined the school team. I ended up playing very seriously in school and also represented Delhi. It was almost six years of early morning training and fitness. I have always had a passion for fitness because of my time playing basketball while growing up. When I moved back from the US in 2013, a very dear friend of mine invited me to help him build a fitness business and that's where I really got interested in the business and service side of fitness. I had the good fortune of meeting all sorts of stakeholders in the wellness space here in India. I learned a ton from certified trainers and nutritionists and business owners on how the ecosystem was building and how people were benefiting from it.
What motivated you to centre your podcast series around fitness?
We started the podcast in early 2018 and took a couple of months to put together the foundation. I was motivated by my old school friends who run Muncher Media to merge my passion for fitness and the small network I had developed in the ecosystem and channel it into a podcast. As someone who was listening to all sorts of podcasts, I was really excited and wanted to try it out. Also, it gave me an excuse to interact with more and more people in the space and learn from them and give them a medium to share their journeys with other people who may benefit from their knowledge and experiences.
Tell us more about the journey of your podcast.
Muncher Media is run by two guys I went to school with. Vikram Aditya Singh and Vidur Singhal gave up other careers to pursue building a media company focussed on creating content through podcasts. They have since branched out and are also doing video content. I was their first show with someone besides the two of them and they convinced me to come in and create ‘The Pursuit of Wellness’.
They are super fun to work with and really know their space. I would have never explored creating content like this on my own and am blessed to have all the support they provide from a creative and operational standpoint. What I love about working with them and the team they now have at Muncher is that they aren’t afraid to take risks to explore different strategies in terms of production and distribution of the content we create. I am excited about building this out with them and hope to add value on other aspects of their venture as well.
You’ve already hosted a slew of interesting people from the fitness and nutrition world. Any takeaways in this regard?
I think there is so much to learn from all the great people that have taken the time to share with us. I would urge everyone reading this to give our podcast a listen. I can’t pinpoint anecdotes, but if there’s anything I have learned from all these great people it’s that everyone’s journey is unique. You will have a ton of ups and downs and be put in situations where you can't see the light. This may be professionally, personally or specific to your health. The only way is to move forward and keep trying different paths, different workouts, different combinations of nutrition until you find the right mix of things that make you happy and help you achieve your goals. Also, I now more than ever understand that fitness, good health and success aren’t a destination at all. They’re an ongoing journey that requires time, effort and dedication.
Who’s that one person you’d love to have on ‘The Pursuit of Wellness’?
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson for sure. I’ve been a huge fan of his for years, but I think what he has achieved with his body and his career fits the kind of things we are focussing on in this podcast.
What, in your opinion, differentiates your fitness podcast from others in the similar genre?
Well, more and more, we’ve realized that we want to make this podcast and the content created relatable and useful to our audience. We started off keeping things kind of serious and general in nature. We’re now experimenting with keeping it more fun and focussed on topics in each episode. This also allows us to bring back guests that really enjoyed being on the show and have them talk about other awesome areas of their knowledge. I don’t know how much this will set us apart, but I am hoping our current audience enjoys it and our listening fam gets bigger.
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