Power couple goals with Zaheer Khan and Sagarika Ghatge.(Shot exclusively for HT Brunch by Prabhat Shetty)
Power couple goals with Zaheer Khan and Sagarika Ghatge.(Shot exclusively for HT Brunch by Prabhat Shetty)

Here’s how Zaheer Khan and Sagarika Ghatge worked out together to become #FitToWed

Actor Sagarika Ghatge and cricketer Zaheer Khan worked out hard to look their fittest on their wedding day.
By Anil Sadarangani | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON NOV 25, 2017 10:30 PM IST

Weddings are all about chaos and stress. If I say there’s only excitement, I’d be lying,” says actress Sagarika Ghatge about the mood prevalent among the families and friends of herself and her fiancé, cricketer Zaheer Khan, as they hurtle towards their wedding.

Everyone knows how coordinating a wedding can make the putting together of a UN General Assembly meeting look like a walk in the park. At the centre of the chaos are the bride and groom, on whom everyone’s eyes will focus on their big day as they sweat it out on stage with smiles plastered on their faces for hours.

Between work, fittings and the gut-wrenching realisation that invitations have yet to reach some relatives, fitness, usually, takes a back seat.

But for Sagarika and Zaheer (or Zak as his fans know him), both serious about their health and well-being, fitness goals are at the top of their to-do list before the big day. (It helps that working out together leads to serious love and companionship goals as well!)

How to do plank claps: Both partners assume the plank position and they raise their right and left hands respectively to clap hands. (Prabhat Shetty)
How to do plank claps: Both partners assume the plank position and they raise their right and left hands respectively to clap hands. (Prabhat Shetty)

Zak: ‘Everyone wants to look good, so why not?’

Passionate about fitness, the left-arm pace bowler adds, “Don’t just be fit for an approaching occasion, always try to be healthy. You need not be the fittest, but you should definitely pay attention to your health and the choices you make. It’s not just about looks; it’s about being fit internally too.”

Sagarika: ‘I want him to work out more!’

As the couple begins its floor routine with plank claps under the watchful eye of trainer Leandi Van Zyl, sport scientist at Pro Sport fitness centre, Sagarika teases Zaheer, “The one thing I want him to do is come with me to the gym more regularly. Zaheer thinks I work out a lot.” 

Zak: ‘I think she should work out less’

“Yeah, I think she needs to control it,” says Zaheer. To which Sagarika retorts, “See, I love to eat and I’m a chocoholic – I can finish entire boxes of chocolates – so I have to exercise harder. Fitness has always been important since I was a kid. I don’t feel good if I don’t exercise daily. My brain cells start working. He gets worked up because if I’m working out, he has added pressure to go to the gym!”

Zaheer shoots back, “She thinks that’s the reason. I’m saying rest and recovery are the most important aspects of fitness. This is something I’ve learned over the years (Sagarika laughs). This is something I keep telling her.”

Sagarika gets serious, “That’s true. With Zaheer, even though he’s also a foodie, the level at which he has played and trained, even if he takes a break for two months, once he’s back to training, his body reacts within 10 days. I look up to him for all things related to fitness.”

How to do stability ball chest press: Balance your upper back on a Swiss ball. Bend your knees 90 degrees and place your feet flat on the floor. Take a pair of dumb-bells and press towards the ceiling until your arms are straight and then lower them back to repeat. (Prabhat Shetty)
How to do stability ball chest press: Balance your upper back on a Swiss ball. Bend your knees 90 degrees and place your feet flat on the floor. Take a pair of dumb-bells and press towards the ceiling until your arms are straight and then lower them back to repeat. (Prabhat Shetty)

Sagarika: ‘You need to show a little stress’

As Zaheer and Sagarika put on gloves and begin boxing, she says another reason for this pre-wedding fitness run is to de-stress from the non-stop big day planning. She laughs, “I’m stressing for both of us. He is completely stress-free. With the stress of putting the wedding together and my regular exercise, I think I will lose more weight than necessary. And with me, everyone around is also losing weight.”

Zaheer isn’t stressed, which frustrates Sagarika. “He needs to get a little hyper at least. He cannot be so relaxed in life! Sometimes I’m like, ‘this is an issue, you need to display a little stress.’”

“I can’t. I’m a bad actor!” Zaheer volleys back. “Thanks to playing at the highest level, you learn to deal with pressure, so this is something that comes naturally to me now. I haven’t even thought about the stress,” he says as he quickly ducks a face punch from Sagarika.

And the one de-stressing and bond-building activity they love is running. “I usually run round and round the running track but he showed me a different kind of run where he runs and then walks. We do that together for 45 minutes at a time. He tells me how my posture should be, where I should run, where I should hold my core tight. So he keeps giving me these tips,” says Sagarika, while Zaheer spots her doing chest presses on the stability ball.

How to do boxing: Assume boxing posture and for a warm-up do one minute each of jab and cross combo and left and right uppercuts. (Prabhat Shetty)
How to do boxing: Assume boxing posture and for a warm-up do one minute each of jab and cross combo and left and right uppercuts. (Prabhat Shetty)
Fun innings with Zaheer and Sagarika.
Fun innings with Zaheer and Sagarika.

Zak: ‘I’m surprised she can keep up with me’

Not amused that we refer to him as her ‘personal trainer’ (at which Sagarika guffaws), Zaheer says, “Running is something she also enjoys. I am actually surprised that she can keep up with me. Her athletic background helps and running is also a fun activity for both of us.”

What attracted them to each other?

As they exercise vigorously with the battle ropes, Sagarika says, “I would like to know this too. I like this interview!”

Zaheer says, “We are very similar in terms of how we look at life. She takes time to open up to new people, so do I. She has a very simple approach to life and we have similar values. Family is very important to both of us. We love our friends the same way too. These are the things which really attracted me to her.” 

Sagarika says, “I always thought he was very nice, well-mannered, well-spoken. These things impress me in somebody. You need to talk properly to a woman and he was all that. I think more than him and me, people around us saw a match. It was a very organic process and meant to happen.”

How to do mini hurdle runs: Sprint through the hurdles and while doing so land one foot between each pair. After clearing the final hurdle, dash to the finish line. (Prabhat Shetty)
How to do mini hurdle runs: Sprint through the hurdles and while doing so land one foot between each pair. After clearing the final hurdle, dash to the finish line. (Prabhat Shetty)

Happily ever after

They hope to continue to evolve in their relationship together. “I think when two people are together, it should be a flowing process. That is how the two of us are approaching life together. You don’t always have to plan. Things will happen,” says Zaheer.

Advice to other about-to-wed couples

Exercise 

Eat right 

Consume little to no sugar

Sleep well

Sagarika concludes his thought, “Because when you plan, somewhere you get disappointed. Sometimes, circumstances don’t let things happen in the exact way you had planned. It’s better to flow together and figure each other out.”

From HT Brunch, November 26, 2017

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