If you think you’re too busy to work out and stay fit, you can take inspiration from industrialist Yash Birla, who heads 20 companies in various sectors but never loses sight of his fitness goals.
“What started off as simply wanting to stay in shape has now become a lifelong passion and commitment to me,” says Birla. “Today, after training for over 15 years, the awareness of how my body has changed is enough to keep me motivated. I don’t need to look for inspiration elsewhere. There are days when I don’t feel like working out, which is totally normal, but I don’t let myself slip for more than a day, and that day doesn’t come too often either.”
Birla, his personal trainer Jivesh Shetty testifies, likes the idea of staying young for as long as possible, and works hard towards that.
“He has developed a passion for making sure his body is in great shape, which is admirable,” says Shetty. “He enjoys wearing clothes that show his body off too, like fitted T-shirts and shorts that show his calf muscles. What works for him is that he’s a very organised person and sticks to his schedule.”
Birla has five carefully calibrated meals a day and, three or four times a week, works out after work at the terrace gym in his Malabar Hill ho me, focusing on weight training to help maintain his physique. He also does a cardiovascular workout twice a week, either a brisk walk or an hour of cycling at Marine Drive.
“Yash Birla has an aesthetically fit body,” adds fitness expert Leena Mogre. “His routine is sound and he adjusts his meals to suit his workout. Exercising at night is not an issue, as long as you don’t have a heavy meal after your workout.”
“Birla exemplifies what we call an ‘ideal body composition’ in the fitness industry,” says Kaizzad Capadia, director of the K11 Fitness Academy. “What works from his diet is that he lays emphasis on breakfast and pre- and post-workout meals. A pre-workout cup of coffee is actually a great idea, since caffeine is the best central nervous system stimulant. The discipline with which he takes care of himself is something to learn from.”
As Birla’s profession demands frequent travel, he finds ways to incorporate his fitness regime into his schedule. “I either try to find the time to walk or work out while travelling or, if that isn’t possible, I compensate by working out extra hard before. So if I’m going on a four-day trip, I’ll train for eight days before that, so it balances out,” he says.
While his diet is generally strict, Birla does like his share of ‘cheat meals’. “I think it’s important to shock your body once in a while,” he says . “The additional calories keep your body guessing and keeps you happy because you’re not left craving anything. But binge in moderation, of course. I eat sparingly at parties if something appeals to me, but I don’t drink or smoke.”