Varun Sood: I have never looked at celebs for fitness inspiration - Hindustan Times
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Varun Sood: I have never looked at celebs for fitness inspiration

ByKriti Kambiri
Apr 20, 2024 02:49 AM IST

Actor Varun Sood, who went from buff to lean for his role in Karmma Calling, talks to us about his fitness journey and being at his physical peak.

Actor Varun Sood shot to popularity with his stints on reality shows like MTV Roadies, Splitsvilla and Ace of Space and later with his appearances in Jugjugg Jeeyo (2022) and Selfiee (2023). Now, his physical transformation in the web series Karmma Calling has grabbed eyeballs and made headlines. The 29-year-old tells us all about his fitness idol, achieving a unique on-screen persona and shares his fitness regimen and the challenges of intense workout sessions.

Actor Varun Sood opens up about his fitness regimen, internal fitness and physical transformations.(Photo: Manoj Verma/HT)
Actor Varun Sood opens up about his fitness regimen, internal fitness and physical transformations.(Photo: Manoj Verma/HT)

‘Was at my weakest with a six-pack’

Speaking about how visual fitness is very different from internal fitness, the actor explains, “A healthy body has some body fat and one that has a six-pack is probably at its weakest. While shooting for Karmma Calling, I was very ripped, had a six-pack and was down to 8% body fat. I didn’t drink water, didn’t eat salt or carbs and was on a calorie deficit. Even though I looked very muscular, internally I was very weak. On the other hand, for Call Me Bae (his upcoming web series), I had to look like a Delhi boy and needed to look bigger so I lifted very heavy weights and reduced my cardio.”

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Actor Varun Sood(Photo: Manoj Verma/HT)
Actor Varun Sood(Photo: Manoj Verma/HT)

‘Inspired by faujis, not Bolly celebs’

“I’ve seen my dad be fit all his life and I grew up with fitness as a day-to-day activity. So for me, it is not about looking a certain way. I just enjoy being fit,” shares the actor. “Because I’ve lived at the Delhi Cantonment for most of my life and have grown up around faujis, I know what internal fitness is. I’ve never looked at any Bollywood celeb said, ‘Oh, mujhe aisi body banani hai’... I want to be fit like a fauji,” he adds.

Actor Varun Sood(Photo: Manoj Verma/HT)
Actor Varun Sood(Photo: Manoj Verma/HT)

‘Fitness is purely trial and error’

While the actor works with MMA trainer Nitish Yadav and weight training coach Sandeep Yadav — whom he credits with being “extremely fit” — he says he has found a trial and error system that helps him find his fitness rhythm. Ask what works and what doesn’t and he says, “Recently I tried a crash diet, where you don’t eat for 16 hours, then eat for four. I felt that was not working because in one go you can eat for a maximum of 45 minutes. But I was still hungry! I do a lot of trial and error with diets that I think might work for me. But I don’t think every diet works for everybody.”

Actor Varun Sood(Photo: Manoj Verma/HT)
Actor Varun Sood(Photo: Manoj Verma/HT)

‘MMA is a humbling sport’

It’s not just the gym that gives him those muscles. Sood is also a runner, basketball player and an MMA (mixed martial arts) junkie. He tells us, “Every time you think you’re fit, MMA breaks that idea completely. It’s one of the most difficult things that I’ve done. I think it’s a very humbling sport and that’s why I got into it.” Another fitness venture the actor has recently picked up is yoga. “If I have to go back and talk to my younger self, one thing I would say is ‘stretch kar lo!’ I tried yoga classes with people my age but they are far superior than I am. I’m either with kids or with older people who haven’t done it at all. Bahut mushkil hai yoga ” he quips.

‘I want to be fit like Akshay Kumar’

Sood is cognisant of how drastic physical transformations can take a toll on the body. Citing the examples of actors Randeep Hooda and Joaquin Phoenix, he shares, “It’s not healthy but it is justified. If a normal person were to try it, I’d say don’t do it because your job doesn’t require it. If a role requires it, you get it done. But an actor has the resources to come back to their normal self.” Who’s an actor he feels has done a great job of maintaining their physique? Pat comes Sood’s reply: “Akshay Kumar. Even at the age of 56, he is doing a film like Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. I would like to lead a fit life like him.”

Actor Varun Sood(Photo: Manoj Verma)
Actor Varun Sood(Photo: Manoj Verma)

‘At my peak’

Through a system of trial and error, Sood has finally found momentum in his fitness journey. “A lot of people say that when you’re approaching 30, your fitness declines. But I went through a mad body transformation and stuck by it. My fitness journey (at this level) began two years ago when I was 27 and I have absolutely been at my peak ever since,” he wraps up.

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