Dilpreet Bhattal, aka Little Tank, is a Punjabi Sikh woman from Toronto (Canada), who is on a mission to break stereotypes in the South Asian community when it comes to fitness.
She is a fitness entrepreneur, Founder, and Owner of Little Tank Fitness, Health and Fitness Coach, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, and Certified Trainer. With over nine years of experience in the fitness industry, Dilpreet continues to love it more and more.
Dilpreet’s Early Life:
Growing up, Dilpreet played sports, such as soccer, sprinting in track and field, and badminton. The seriousness of sports became prominent in high school from grades 9-12 because that is when she started to discover more of her competitive side. She won many awards such as:
– Sports Rookie of the year
– Sportswoman of the year from grades 10-12
– Vince Leah Scholarship
Being the first East Indian girl who had accomplished this at her high school left her feeling super proud and in hopes of paving the path for other South Asian girls.
To this day Dilpreet is very grateful that her dad encouraged her to be active and play sports. She has learned so much through sports such as leadership, teamwork, confidence, and hard work. But, when it came to 2nd year of university, there were no sports and she felt completely lost, with no sense of purpose.
Fortunately, Dilpreet discovered weight training in 2nd year of University and she instantly fell in love with the way it made her feel. She had been struggling with her focus, energy, and mood from the pressures of being a student, but when she started to exercise consistently in the gym and changed her nutrition (no longer feeding herself with candy, pop, fries, and lattes full of sugar!) it transformed her. Dilpreet’s focus was sharper, grades went up, confidence was higher, felt happier and empowered, more energized, and overall became healthier. This is where she started to challenge herself with lifting heavier and to see how much muscle she could build. Dilpreet says “I was proud of myself for having a tiny frame, being petite, yet lifting heavier than guys at the gym! There is nothing more empowering than you taking control of your life and creating the identity you are proud of.”
Entering the Fitness Industry:
Entering the fitness industry as a Punjabi woman was not easy and looked down upon. People in the community were not used to seeing an East Indian female participate in bodybuilding shows (at the time from 2013-2016); it was not considered “feminine” to lift weights and have muscle. Some of the things that Dilpreet and her parents heard were:
“This look is unacceptable”
“You look manly. Be more of a girl”
“Women are not supposed to do this bodybuilding stuff. We don’t wear bikinis on stage”
“No one’s going to marry you”
“You should be focusing on your studies and household chores”
Hearing these words shocked her and her parents. Dilpreet questioned herself at times if she was doing the right thing. But, the rebel in her kept going and didn’t stop, she didn’t let societal norms stop her. Exercise and eating healthy have helped Dilpreet not only physically, but more so mentally and emotionally. Dilpreet wants other women in the South Asian community to experience this, which is why she is on a mission to break stereotypes about women in weight training and having muscle.
Dilpreet competed in 7 shows from 2013-2016, where she won Miss Bikini Manitoba 2014, got 2nd place in the Canadian Nationals in her Bikini Fitness category, and other top 5 finishes.
She says the first few shows were tough with not having the full support of her parents. “What will people say? People are talking about us in the community”, but they came around and stopped caring about others because they were extremely proud and saw how hard she had worked. Her parents knew she wasn’t doing anything wrong and they have been her number one supporters for years now!
After a few of her competitions, Dilpreet had a Punjabi girl tell her that she gave her the courage to get into bodybuilding; she competed on stage! She said she was dealing with issues similar to Dilpreet, where people were saying negative things to her parents, but she didn’t let others’ words hold her back; she wanted to prove to herself that ‘the fat girl changed for herself.’ Eventually, her family came around and was supportive! Many other South Asian women and men have also reached out to Dilpreet and said that she has inspired them to go to the gym, get stronger and healthier, and follow their dreams that are not typically accepted by societal norms. Dilpreet had no idea that she would have such a positive influence on someone’s life. This is and continues to be a huge win in her life, knowing that she is making a positive impact in this world.
In university, Dilpreet became a personal trainer, a part-time job, to help pay for tuition fees and bills. She was applying to a Master’s program and didn’t get in due to the competitive nature. When she got rejected the first thing that came to her mind was that her parents are going to be so disappointed!
She was expected to get a ‘real’ job by society and relatives, such as a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, but she ‘rebelled’ and decided to become a fitness coach! This did not sit well with people in the community and relatives said –
“What are you doing with your life?”
“That’s not a real job. You should be a doctor or lawyer”
“You need a proper salary job”
Dilpreet loves helping others better their lives through fitness and helping them discover their deepest strengths, which is why she took the leap and started her own online fitness coaching business, Little Tank Fitness. After she launched the business, she moved to Toronto from Winnipeg (Canada) – all alone – in the middle of a pandemic. Some people thought the bold step wasn’t a good idea, but during this time she has been able to launch her YouTube Channel with videos in Punjabi, connect more with the South Asian Community through social media, and become more independent.
Dilpreet wakes up every day knowing she has the privilege to help change lives around the world and be a positive role model for the South Asian Community. Whether her client is in their 20s or 50s, helping them achieve their goals and make positive changes in their life leaves her feeling emotional, fulfilled and grateful.
One client’s transformation that truly touched her heart is of a woman in her 50s; she thought she was going to die at one point in her life due to her low fitness levels. Dilpreet turned her life around and now you can find her riding camels, hiking, driving ATVs, doing spin classes underwater, boxing, powerlifting… you name it! This woman is so inspirational and she is the epitome of the statement ‘Age is just a number!’ It is never too late to start your fitness journey and increase the quality of your life.
Dilpreet aspires to have a bigger impact and global reach with Little Tank Fitness, where she can host seminars and boot camps, and be able to help thousands of people (especially South Asian women) discover their deepest strengths and live their best lives through health and fitness. She firmly believes that Women need to have their own identity – not just known as someone’s wife, mother, or daughter – but as her own person.
Let your desires be greater than your fears!
If your parents or family members do not understand or accept that you want to compete in fitness competitions, lift weights or follow an untraditional path in life – that’s okay. It’s easy to get mad at them, but we have to understand that they come from a different generation and are not used to the ‘new.’ The people who love you will eventually come around – or they might not – but you have to remember that life is too short not to pursue your dreams. The only person who can make you happy at the end of the day is YOU. Be your #1 supporter and cheerleader, and ditch the limiting beliefs. If you can’t stop thinking of something you want to do – just do it.
It is such a wonderful feeling when you stop caring what others will think; this is where you truly become happy!
Occupation: Online Fitness Coach
IG & TikTok: @d_little_tank
YouTube: Little Tank Fitness
Podcast: For Health Sakes