Remember when it was nearly mandatory for a Bollywood hero to have six-pack abs? Not too long ago, actors like Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt, and just about every other A-lister used to sport chiselled bodies in their films. This had even sparked a health trend of sorts with youngsters signing up for gym memberships to get that ripped look. But how feasible is it to use bodybuilding as a fitness option?
Is it for you?
"Bodybuilding is about building your body. Whether you do it to maintain your fitness levels, climb Everest, run the marathon or be a competitive bodybuilder is up to you. Competitive bodybuilding is a niche sport, but bodybuilding is for everybody," says Ronnie Coleman, a record-holding professional bodybuilder, who holds eight Mr Olympia titles. He advises beginners to start right. "Get proper training right from the beginning. It prevents injuries and avoids wasting your time with misdirected effort, which is what most people generally don’t understand. Give it your all from day one," he says.
True to form
Celebrity fitness trainer, Samir Jaura, who has worked with Bollywood stars such as Farhan Akhtar (on Bhaag Milkha Bhaag; 2013), Hrithik, Deepika Padukone and Rani Mukerji, says the bodybuilding fad is out in movies. "It’s because you look much bigger on the screen. Such bodies don’t work for dancing and action. Bigger muscles make flexibility difficult," he says. However, he doesn’t dismiss bodybuilding as an exercise regimen. "Hook up with a good trainer and nutritionist, and chalk out a plan," he says. Professional bodybuilder and Men’s Physique athlete Mihier Singh seconds his opinion. "Fitness training is a good option for amateurs if you follow a properly designed training program. It improves your body composition, increases resistance to injury and also increases your adherence to physical activity," he says.
It’s also important to focus on the way you train instead of trying to meet a certain goal, such as six-pack abs. "Perfecting your form and technique at early stages will go a long way. Don’t compromise on the big lifts — deadlifts, squats and bench-presses," says Coleman. Picking the right environment to train is also important. Jaura recommends working out in a gym as you can do variations there. "At home, you can only do skipping, spot running or jogging," he says. Coleman agrees, saying, “Get to a good gym with sound trainers and quality equipment."