A major challenge for training and transforming actor Farhan Akhtar’s body for the film “Toofan” was that a specific sport (boxing) was to be kept in mind at all times. And the fact that it does not enjoy much popularity among Indians did not really help. “Boxing is strenuous and demands a lot of patience and dedication to understand its intricacies. But I enjoyed the overall transformation process as it was extremely challenging, something I always look forward to,” says celebrity fitness trainer Samir Jaura, who trained the actor for the film streaming on Amazon Prime.
Jaura, who has been training Akhtar for all his films for the past 17 years says that whenever the latter gets into his work zone, he gives everything. “I have known him for almost two decades now, but the fire and passion he exhibits towards his training and work is still intact.”
Considering he has trained major celebrities including Priyanka Chopra, Shahid Kapoor and Southern star Mahesh Babu among others, Jaura maintains that it would be unfair on his part to say who he has enjoyed training the most. “Look, every actor is different and their body types and requirements are peculiar. Well, I have spent a lot of time with Farhan, so I am bound to have a special place for him.”
Stressing that Indians’ attitude towards fitness has undergone a major change over the past two decades, he feels that more and people now understand the importance of fitness in their daily lives. “People are joining gyms or doing some sort of exercise at home. Considering Indian diets contain a lot of carbohydrates, many are switching to healthier options. But let’s not forget — though a lot might have changed over the years, much work still needs to be done. I really hope that in the near future, Indian become fitter people.”
With a large population buying bicycles during the pandemic and gyms witnessing a membership overdrive as soon as the lockdowns lifted, does it take a crisis for fitness to become a priority for us? “Hardcore fitness regimes were mostly followed by actors, models and enthusiasts before. Yes, it is sad that we needed a pandemic to wake us up on the reality of what fitness can mean for the immune system. It has become a matter of survival now,” he says.
Insisting that physical activity is important even for mental well-being, Jaura says that those who do not fancy going to a gym should opt for yoga, basic home exercises, cycling, walking or playing a sport.
For someone like himself, who hits the gym five days in a week, the heavily advertised physique enhancing supplements are not really the answer to a fit body. “One might get a muscular body after taking supplements, but when it comes to strength, they just won’t work. Only taking supplements and avoiding working hard on the body is a very incorrect approach. If your workout is intense, proteins can be taken, but only after consulting the trainer.”
Adding that rising obesity among Indians is a real worry which can lead to serious diseases, the trainer feels that as a beginner, it makes sense to start off with basic stretching and then move to a higher level. “If you can’t exercise, at least walk or jog. Control must be exercised when it comes to food — moderation is the key.”
(Sukant Deepak can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)