Staying fit has never been a problem for Anil Kapoor. The 53-year-old star’s exercise regimen that keeps him looking much younger than his contemporaries in Bollywood has made news on several occasions. But for his debut TV show, 24, even Kapoor had to go the extra mile. And helping him achieve the required look — the actor who plays an anti-terrorist unit’s chief — was his trainer, Matt Howard.
“I have been fit, but for this physically demanding role, I needed to work on my strength and stamina,” says Kapoor. On strenuous days, when he felt he could no longer continue working out, his trainer would find innovative ways to motivate him. “Matt would show me photographs of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger to inspire me and say you can do it,” he adds, smiling.
Although Kapoor started exercising long before he began shooting for the show, his first challenge was to lose seven kilos in a month. “For the role, Anil had to look like he has been physically active his entire life. We needed him to have an athletic physique, a sharp jawline, toned arms and a flat stomach,” says Howard.
Since on certain days Kapoor was expected to shoot for 18 hours at a stretch, Howard had to make sure his stamina was topnotch, so he wouldn’t tire. “I didn’t want a bulky body, but I wanted to be fit enough for me to stay on my feet without getting tired. I needed to be prepared for the action and running shots,” says Kapoor, adding that at his age his energy level usually starts dipping after midday. His food intake had to be monitored closely too. “Fish became my staple diet, and now I’ve started liking it, though I did cheat at times,” says Kapoor, jokingly calling Howard “Hitler” as he controlled the amount of salt and oil in his food. The trainer even used special scales to measure the salt and oil in his meals.
Although the actor has been working out for decades, he does admit that staying fit is becoming increasingly difficult. He says, “There’s a reduction in the intake of food. Getting proper sleep and exercising regularly is also harder. But my motto in life is to be happy, no matter what. If you aren’t feeling positive, then nothing else will matter.”