A best-selling author, fitness guru, and wellness entrepreneur, Goa-based Luke Coutinho has cultivated a huge following across the world, amassing 554k followers on Instagram thanks to its honest help tips and motivational advice. As the founder of Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems, Preventive Healthcare and Disease, YOUCare Wellness Program, India’s first ethical food and lifestyle platform, and LSI – Education, Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, he recently appeared at Soneva Fushi’s 10-day SOUL Festival – an ode to pioneering wellness ideas and mental and physical health. He sits down with Near+Far to talk health and fitness travel trips and his love for Goa.
What’s your road most travelled?
Where are you based now?
I am based in Goa, where I also spent the majority of my childhood. However, my practice is global, and we have patients from all corners of the world, including Dubai, the US, UK, Australia, Africa, and Europe.
If someone were to spend 24 hours in (insert the city you’re based in), where would you spend them?
It would be Goa’s local beaches and shacks for local food.
What can you not travel without?
Sleep is my lynchpin, and so I can’t travel without my nod pods. It’s a weighted eye mask and it really works for me to sleep deep.
Tell me about Soneva’s SOUL Festival. What key wisdom did you impart?
The festival was fantastic. I love the initiative of bringing people from all over the world, belonging to various fields of wellness, together on a beautiful island with amazing food and beautiful people. A great staff and everything put together in a fantastic location make it even more special.
Guests gained valuable insights on various subjects in the realm of holistic health and wellness. Topics ranged lifestyle medicine to emotions and stress, with fantastic conversations between Dr. Bruce Lipton and me on the power of the mind, the subconscious mind, the honeymoon effect, and the role of chemicals in our emotions. Much of the knowledge that I shared is rooted in both science and extensive experience of 13 years in the field of integrative and lifestyle medicine.
What did you love the most about visiting Soneva?
I loved the sun, sand, and reconnecting with the staff I met on my last trip. The resort perfectly aligns with my teachings in terms of the way food is prepared, the quality of food, the holistic therapies they offer, the integrative and functional medicine doctors and treatments they provide, and, of course, the ideal location with sun, sand, sea breeze, ocean waters, and all the wonders of nature.
Do you have any tips for staying fit while travelling, when people are out of their usual routine?
I believe that it’s all about dedicating time to yourself and effectively planning your day. Personally, I place great importance on the art of time management, and I find that I can accomplish so much during the day because of my focus on managing my time efficiently and being aware of what might be consuming it unnecessarily.
When it comes to workouts, it’s crucial to adopt a practical approach. Sometimes, it might not be feasible to engage in a full one-hour workout session. However, you can make smaller, more manageable efforts. For example, you can do 4-5 rounds of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) in your hotel room, which is entirely achievable. Many of us tend to follow an “all or nothing” approach, which can often lead to inaction. It’s important to do what you can with the time and resources you have available.
Even a 15-minute walk after meals can make a significant difference. If you manage to take a 15-minute walk after breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you’ve effectively achieved 45 minutes of walking in a day, which is a meaningful contribution to your fitness. Ultimately, it all boils down to priorities. If staying fit and engaging in regular workouts are not high on your list of priorities, there will always be excuses and other demands that take precedence.
You are a lifestyle ambassador and champion for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Fit India Movement, what does that entail?
Lifestyle is very close to my heart, and it brings me immense happiness to be recognised as the Champion for lifestyle and wellness within the Fit India Movement. Lifestyle is inexpensive and, at times, even free. It simply requires people to know what to do and when to do it. In my role, my focus is on educating people about simple lifestyle changes they can incorporate into their daily routines for the sake of prevention and overall wellness. Many individuals today believe that sickness is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right lifestyle choices, there is ample room for the prevention of various lifestyle-related diseases. We have examples of senior citizens in their 80s and 90s who are healthy and free of ailments because they have taken care of their lifestyles.
Do you have an in-flight ritual?
Yes, I stretch a lot and stay well-hydrated. I also enjoy watching many movies, especially during my long flights.
As a frequent traveller, have you had a recent travel discovery?
Yeah, the fact is that everything related to travel has become significantly more expensive. Additionally, I have learned how to make time for myself even during the busiest trips and spend more time doing things I’ve never done before, such as visiting cafes and immersing myself in nature, whether I’m in a hotel, resort, or outdoors. I’m really enjoying this because it feels great to be able to carve out some personal time for myself, especially given my busy schedule with patients.
Where’s next on your travel list? Also, where do you think are some destinations you’ve visited to promote fitness/a healthier lifestyle?
My next destination is New York for work and consultation with my patients, and Africa is where I’d like to organize a lifestyle retreat and I have already started to plan and visualize how I’d like it to be.
Tell me about your Luke Coutinho Signature You Care Wellness Program. What are the key bits to know for someone interested in joining/knowing more?
The Luke Coutinho Signature You Care Wellness Program is a holistic, integrative medicine and lifestyle program designed around YOU. This program revolves around bio-individuality, your medications, your goals, and the nutrition necessary for your well-being. It combines these elements with guidance on movement and exercise, sleep optimisation, and equips you with the tools to cultivate robust emotional health and overall wellness. Our program respects and acknowledges all forms of medicine and is not considered alternative medicine. While it places a strong emphasis on managing the potential side effects of any medications you may be taking, it also incorporates an integrative lifestyle approach aimed at gradually reducing or discontinuing medication under the supervision of your doctor and our team. Beyond medication management, the program empowers you to create a personalized strategy for a healthier YOU.
This holistic approach is applicable to all health conditions, from common concerns to rare syndromes and cancer. In this program, individuals have access to a team of highly skilled professionals, including nutritionists, clinical dietitians, allopathic doctors, yoga therapists, life coaches, and certified emotional counselors. The assignment of these experts is tailored to the individual’s specific condition. This forms an integrative approach that guides and supports one on their journey to wellness and a healthier YOU.