It could have been the end of Rajiv Ambat’s entrepreneurial dreams when his ed tech startup failed miserably before it even took off. A bout of depression overcame him as the future looked uncertain. But it was only the beginning of his story, as events afterward would show. Today he is a successful entrepreneur who has found his own niche in the ever-rising field of health technology. The Kochi-based young engineer-turned-entrepreneur’s transformation from amateur ed-tech experimenter to professional health-tech researcher has been phenomenal. Today he is one of the most sought-after lifestyle and fitness experts in the city and elsewhere. His company NuvoVivo, which he founded in 2019 after eight years working in IT and finance and an unsuccessful bid at ed-tech, offers an online platform where a team of experts helps its customers to overcome or reverse various diseases of civilization.
Ambat, 37, delved into the previously unknown world of fitness and exercise a few years ago to overcome the depression caused by his failed entrepreneurial bid. As he overcame his struggles, he also saw the scope of combining his newfound knowledge of health and fitness with technology and expertise to revitalize his business in a new form.
Ambat follows and promotes what he calls “medical fitness”. His recently published book entitled Midriff Crisis, which explains his approach, has been appreciated by a number of medical professionals.
“There’s no point in living every day for tomorrow and never living for today. Eating healthy is not a punishment; it doesn’t mean eating boring and tasteless food or not eating rice. You should learn to treat yourself occasionally and still stay healthy,” explains Ambat, 37, of his philosophy of nutrition and life. Midriff Crisis goes into the details of this philosophy with practical examples explained in simple terms.
Medical fitness is a sustainable and scientific approach to getting healthy. Their goal is to improve their own blood counts and eventually help the person reduce their medication, Ambat writes in his book.
Using the example of a diabetic, he illustrates his approach. Reducing carbs, increasing protein and fiber in your diet, and getting plenty of exercise are simple approaches to fitness. It might work for a 20-25 year old person, but not for a diabetic person in their 30’s. The medical fitness approach decides how much protein to consume after checking creatinine, urine albumin levels, kidney health, and other necessary parameters. This is because chronic and uncontrolled diabetes can affect the kidneys and increasing protein intake in such a scenario can significantly worsen health conditions.
“We create an individual nutritional plan based on our customers’ cultural eating habits, preferences and medical conditions. In most cases, the diet is no different from current eating habits, keeping sustainability and long-term adherence in mind… The plan is usually given for a period of 1-2 weeks, with substitutes mentioned for each meal. For example, 25 grams of cottage cheese or paneer or a slice of cheese can be substituted for a whole egg. This makes dieting non-boring and easy, flexible and sustainable,” Ambat writes in his book. These meal plans are regularly revised based on parameters such as weight difference, waist size and blood tests, if necessary.
Ambat’s company offers its clients 3-month online programs that enlist the help of a team of doctors, nutritionists, fitness trainers and follow-up assistants.
Ambat’s book has been praised by top doctors for its simple presentation of facts without compromising on scientific evidence.
“The highlight of the book is the careful attempt to tease out the accurate information and present it in such a simple and informal way. Unlike many books of this type written in the past, the author has been extremely careful not to make controversial and non-evidence-based claims just to grab headlines,” writes Dr. Arun S. Menon, Principal, Consultant Endocrinologist, Lisie Hospital, Kochi in his foreword to the book. dr Padmanabha Shenoy, Center for Arthritis and Rheumatism Excellence, Kochi; dr Manu Mohandas, Renai Medicity, Kochi; dr Madhuja Gopishyam, City Hospital, Kochi; dr Vinod Thomas and Renai Medicity are among the veteran doctors who have praised Ambat’s book.
Ambat is a Certified Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator and a member of the All India Association for Advancing Research in Obesity (AI-AARO). In addition to his engineering and business administration (MBA) degrees, Ambat also holds a certificate in human physiology from Harvard Medical School. After eight years in IT and global finance companies, he ventured into health tech entrepreneurship. His company NuvoVivo has offices in Kochi, Kuwait and Dubai.
He is a lifestyle and nutritionist at several hospitals in Kochi. He was also the fitness and nutrition coach for the Kerala Police Team which recently competed in the Nehru Trophy Boat Race.