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Fitness special: How to eat more and weigh less

Celebrity chefs, Saransh Goila and Kelvin Cheung, set fitness goals only to be able to eat some more!

brunch Updated: Jun 16, 2018 22:05 IST
Anil Sadarangani
Anil Sadarangani
Hindustan Times
Celebrity chefs,Kelvin Cheung,Saransh Goila
Both Kelvin Cheung (left) and Saransh Goila not just find great satisfaction in feeding people good meals, they also love to indulge themselves (Subi Samuel)

You might think it is a gimmick: two chefs who swear they are into fitness so they can eat whatever they want and still feel great. Kelvin Cheung and Saransh Goila find great satisfaction in feeding people good meals; they love to eat themselves, but given how much temptation lies in their paths, they knew they had to find a way to both stay healthy and indulge themselves. So they hit the gym, eat wisely, and voila, they’re healthy and can get away with the appetite of Obelix.

But how did they make their fitness decisions, and how are they doing it? Read on.

Like Jassi, Goila jaisa koi nahin !

SARANSH GOILA, 31, is known for feeding his fans rich butter chicken. But his running adventures, usually undertaken before a heavy meal, make him extremely popular on social media ( Subi Samuel )

“My mother used to call me Jassi,” guffaws Goila, recalling the turning point in his life. “It was the second year of college. I was a chubby kid and really frustrated because while I was a topper, I was a nobody. Then I thought, maybe if I changed my physical appearance by losing weight, I would be noticed. Sounds shallow, I know, but that actually happened. I didn’t go to the gym; I started to run and haven’t stopped since. And people were like, ‘have you met Saransh, the former chubby guy?’ It was like Jassi in the TV show Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, which was on air at that time. I was a total Jassi case, with a side parting, champi hair, and belt. My mom would have to have my jeans tailored because my legs were short and I was fat!” he laughs.

“In my second year of college, I was overweight and frustrated. Then I thought, may be if I changed my physical appearance, I would be noticed” — Saransh Goila

Pre-running, Goila was a happy kid. Post running, he was a completely confident kid. “Later, my cousin and my teacher at the hotel management school I went to inspired me to get fit. My cousin was chubby and he lost about 40 kilos when he decided to pursue acting. My teacher was also into fitness. He was against the stereotype of the fat chef and wanted me to be fit. I weighed about 93 kilos at five feet eight inches then. I lost 28 kilos over two years,” says Goila.

Professional fat kid

KELVIN CHEUNG, 38, runs Bastian in Mumbai and has gone from 112 kgs to 88 kg. His endeavours with weight loss make him even more endearing to his many fans from Bollywood and beyond ( Subi Samuel )

Cheung’s turning point came just three years ago. On a trip home to Toronto, he caught up with his former boss. “We were talking and suddenly I realised that he was hunched over, sitting in a very uncomfortable position. His back and knees were shot from years of no exercise, bad eating and sleeping habits, smoking, drinking and stress. He couldn’t sit or stand. I took his apron and ran the kitchen for him that evening and asked him to see the doctor. And I realised I wasn’t very far from reaching that state,” says Chueng.

Growing up in Toronto, he did play sports in school but never exercised beyond that. “I was always a big kid,” he shrugs.

When Chueng returned to Mumbai, a customer at one of his restaurants told him about cross fit training. “Some of my friends in Chicago were into it and I would laugh at them because, at that time, the routine seemed silly to me,” he recalls. But he attended his first ever cross fit class because he was soon to be married. “I was already nearing 40. I knew we would soon start a family and work would get more intense. I wanted to be healthy for my wife, my kids, my staff and customers,” he says. “When I got to the class, I was so unfit. A burqa-clad, middle-aged lady shamed me when she climbed on the bars and did pull-ups like a pro while I was puking all over the place from severe exhaustion!”

Why fit to eat

“I tell people that one vada pav is equal to half an hour of running. One vada pav is about 300 calories, which are burnt by a half hour of freestyle running on the road. If you are going to have three vada pavs, that is an hour and a half of workout. That is about 15,000 steps. Are you ready for that?” asks Goila. “But I don’t have that problem because I have been running all these years, so I can eat anything! That is what run to eat is about.”

Saransh Goila’s fitness goals reflect even in his food stories on social media

Kelvin also exercises to be able to eat what he wants, but his aim is to eat as healthy as possible so he can indulge when he wants to. “That is key for most people,” he says. “Of course, I have cheat days but because of my workouts, I am still making progress. You should not be deprived or not be able to eat what you want when you want to.”

“I am not going to call myself a motivator, but if I can show people that with hard work and determination you get somewhere, hopefully it can affect someone’s life for the better” — Kelvin Cheung

Simple deprivation does not work, says Goila. To be truly fit, you have to first get your mind adjusted to the fact that you want to change your habits.

When the going gets tough

Both Cheung and Goila swear that all it takes is the first step. “Saying you don’t have time is not a thing anymore. Look at your schedule and see how much time is spent on your phone, social media, etc. Whereas you take just 10-15 minutes to work out. And think: do you need to eat that bag of chips? If you slowly adapt, it is much easier,” recommends Cheung. Goila admits he gains weight very easily and it is a daily challenge for him to stay fit. “Now that I am in my 30s, it does take more time. But I won’t give up.”

Chef Kelvin Cheung’s Instagram account is the perfect balance between eating your heart out and sweating it out too

Miles to go

After three years of CrossFit and freehand exercises, Cheung feels there is still a long way to go. “But this is not about looks or six pack abs. This is about feeling and being healthy,” he says. If he needed validation for his fitness decision, a major sports apparel brand signed him on as an influencer recently. “Who would have thought Nike and me, right? I am not going to call myself a motivator, but if I can show people that with hard work and determination you get somewhere, hopefully it can affect someone’s life for the better,” says Cheung.

Goila recommends that people should adopt fitness as a life mantra. “And then you can have your butter chicken too, right?” winks Cheung.

From HT Brunch, June 17, 2018

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First Published: Jun 16, 2018 22:04 IST