Yashmeen Chauhan Manak is India’s newly crowned iron woman. The 36-year-old from Delhi has hit back at all her naysayers to become a national body building champion who trains over 300 people and has broken weightlifting records previously set by men. She now has two medals to her name and the title of Miss India 2016 after recently claiming top spot in the Women’s Physique and Women’s Body Fitness categories at an Indian Body Building and Fitness Federation competition.
Ms Manak, who began lifting weights as a teenager but only formerly pursued bodybuilding three years ago, says she had hesitations about entering such a male dominated field but enjoys continually pushing preconceived ideas about gender roles. “Normal is boring. I like to break the stereotypes,” she told the Hindustan Times this week, “I am already more muscular than many guys and love it.”
Running her own gym and training sessions haven’t come without their fair share of haters however, as she explains: “Initially when people came to my gym, they’d be shell-shocked... They didn’t have faith in me, and it was difficult to convince them. But I didn’t get disheartened. If a man can coach girls why can’t a woman train a man?”
Ms Manak will be putting her skill and determination on show again in September when she represents her country at the Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Championship 2016 which will be held in Bhutan.