A fitness icon, DJ, mountaineer and entrepreneur, Kiran Dembla, a resident of Hyderabad, wears many hats. However, 10 years ago, things were very different for her. Her story is one of grit, determination and hard work. She shares her journey with NT KURIOCITY from being a housewife and mum to a bodybuilding champion and celebrity fitness trainer, who has trained Tamannaah and Anushka Shetty besides other Telegu cinema stars.

Maria Fernandes | NT KURIOCITY

A blood clot in her brain when she was 33 years of age turned Dembla’s world upside down. A mother of two children, she thought she had it all and was living a good life but fate had other plans for her. “My husband and I were too shocked when it happened. That was when I started looking at myself closely and what I saw in the mirror was a very far cry from the person I was ten years ago,” she says. The entire stress of her condition along with her post pregnancy weight made her obese and she found she could not focus on anything. “I weighed 75 kilograms and looked like nothing from the time I was in college. I had no idea what I had done with my life even though I was a postgraduate in music. Believe me, it was not a good place to be in,” she adds.
Today she is 45 years old and a bodybuilding champion and fitness trainer who sports a six-pack body. She has also represented the country in the World Bodybuilding Championship in Budapest besides trekking to the Mount Everest base camp thrice.
So how did she do it? Exercise, a strict diet besides never giving up in the face of adversity, she states. “After I recovered from my illness in 2007, I joined swimming and then yoga classes which piqued my interest and I soon joined the gym. Initially I was too shy as everything was very alien to me. I would sometimes go in my salwar kameez and try to be invisible, hiding behind the equipment.” So determined was she to lose weight that she would wake up every morning at around 4 a.m. and was there even before the gym instructor. With a single-minded focus and sheer hard work she lost about 24 kilos in about 6 to 7 months. “I was over the moon. Not only did I feel light but also much younger. Of course the sacrifices were many, especially giving up various food items and even the afternoon siestas,” she adds.
An enterprising woman, she then studied to become a gym trainer and the next year opened her own gym in Begumpet, Hyderabad. Since then, there has been no looking back for her. In fact every few years she continues to set new goals and finds satisfaction in achieving them.
In 2012 she decided to have a six-pack abs because she believed, building a fit body just wasn’t enough. Following a rigorous and disciplined regime, within eight months she was able to sport the six-pack. “I had to face a lot of flak as people commented on my biceps and called me manly. Others said I was taking steroids while some even criticised the kind of clothes I wore for the sport.” A tough nut to crack, she did not let anything stand in the way of her goal, not trolls, family resistance or even the social media bullying and in 2013, became the only woman to get a direct entry into the World Bodybuilding Championship which was held in Budapest in Hungary.
For the championship she had a big challenge to face and most may think it was the training but in fact, it was wearing a bikini. Coming from a conservative background, it was a major hurdle for her. “I checked with my husband and tried to convince him to let me participate in the event, but he did not utter a word. However, I had also become stubborn. I told him that I am definitely going to participate, come what may,” she says. After four months of rigorous training and following a strict meat-based, high-protein diet, she represented India at the championship. “I stood sixth and also won the title for the most beautiful body,” she states proudly.
However, along with her fitness training, today she is also a DJ known by the name DJ Belle. “As I had done my post graduation in music, I thought it was time I took my passion seriously. I attended a six-month course and did my first show here in Hyderabad. DJing now keeps me quite busy,” she says.
Dembla has proved that age is no deterrent for doing what you want to achieve. She is using her achievements to inspire women the world over. “I am like any other woman. I have a home and family to take care of but I always mange to keep some time for myself. I have learnt that you need to love yourself and learn to balance everything. “