Ever since my sports show Extraa Innings went on air, how I look has suddenly become the talking point everywhere. And, believe me, it’s difficult to live up to images which are larger than life. Being in the world of showbiz, looking good is obviously a major concern. People expect you to dress in a particular way. When you go to different places, you cannot always wear a salwar kameez. So you need to keep fit and stay slim. But for me that doesn’t simply involve donning the greasepaint. It has a lot to do with staying fit and feeling good. But hectic work schedules can very well play havoc with anyone’s fitness regime. Due to my schedules, I cannot always follow a routine training programme. There is no daily fitness regimen that I follow, but I try and exercise at least four times a week. I go out for a walk or a jog and after I come back, I do some light weights.
Well, lifting weights is not all that I do. I have a personal trainer by my side to help me stay fit. My trainer comes home and teaches me Kung fu for an hour or so. Kung fu, the king of martial arts, is known for its advantages. It helps to strengthen the body structure and clears breathing. The exercises comprise animal movements such as the snake, monkey, panther and other postures. It also involves meditation that helps to increase concentration and restore inner strength.
I’m a fitness freak and have been so throughout my life. Years ago I was into aerobics. Later, I started practising yoga twice a week. Until a few months back, I used to exercise at ZAF Fitness Zone, a popular gym in suburban Mumbai run by fitness guru Talib Khatri and Dr Atta Khatri. I chose this centre because it offers a holistic approach to lifestyle training. Here I got to train on state-of-the-art bio-mechanically tested machines. ZAF also has a spa offering steam, a sauna and a jacuzzi along with oil massages. As I prefer going the natural way, I had a great time with the beverages offered at the juice bar there. I was given a customised package, keeping in mind my body structure, composition and medical history. I was also offered the services of expert trainers, dieticians, in-house doctors and a nutrition counselling centre. Here, I did a lot of cardio-vascular exercises and thrived on food that was instructed on my diet chart.
Not anymore, though! My tight schedules don’t permit me to frequent the gym. There are times when I work from eight in the morning to 10 at night. But I make it a point to spare enough time to tone my body. The choice of gear one uses while working out is pretty important. It should be comfortable and at the same time, make for a fun workout. I prefer to wear a pair of track pants and a T-shirt.
A well-balanced diet should complement one’s fitness programme. While I used to work out at ZAF, I used to strictly consume only low-cal diet food. Fresh fruit juices, protein shakes, soya products and nutritional supplements were all that formed my daily diet. But these days, I seem to have changed my preferences when it comes to food. I do not follow a fixed daily diet or a particular dietary pattern. I eat almost everything. But there are certain self-imposed restrictions. I try to cut down on foods that are fattening. I have a sweet tooth and a tendency to put on weight very fast. So, I need to take care. I think rice can be conveniently avoided. Even potatoes are quite fattening. It would be great if you could cut down on them. Sweets are also a problem. With them, you could gain a lot of extra calories. I personally feel that the best type of food ever would be dal, roti and sabzi. With that kind of simple ghar ka khana, you can never go wrong. My formula to stay fresh is drinking lots of water and lots of fruits. This helps me to be in high spirits throughout the day.
I’m a firm believer in the old adage: ‘A healthy mind dwells in a healthy body’. I feel that mental well-being goes hand in hand with physical fitness. Though we all make certain mistakes in life, we must try to be happy and live life in the best possible manner. For young people who are into strenuous exercise and body-building, my advice would be: “Don’t start too early in life”. Using weights is a good thing but one should maintain a certain degree of consistency, or one tends to get flabby.