Learning The Ropes
Behind every ripped celebrity is a coach that didn’t give up. Meet the fitness trainers behind your favourite celebrity’s biggest transformation
It takes an army to make celebs look the way they do. One of the crucial components of their entourage is fitness trainers, who not only motivate them to get in shape but are also instrumental in pushing them to achieve the look their role demands. We speak to some of the best in the business.
Trainer to: Ranbir Kapoor, Aamir Khan
CrossFit trainer and co-founder of ShivFit, Shivoham Bhatt got introduced to CrossFit training while working as a trainer in Australia. “We first set up our gym in Mumbai at Ayan Mukerji’s terrace before receiving our actual box sometime in 2010,” he reveals.
Bhatt is currently training Ranbir Kapoor. “With his new look (in Brahmastra) that will be revealed soon, everyone will realise this is the kind of body you can maintain. It is not difficult if you eat and train the right way. His is the type of body where no one will notice anything with a T-shirt on, but abs will be spotted once it’s off. If he has to look ripped or lose body fat, my training for him before a shoot would include workouts with some form of CrossFit style training. But the movement will be a little less complex, not including too many deadlifts and snatches, but incorporating a few muscle-ups, pull-ups,
rowing, kettlebell swings.”
Bhatt has trained Aamir Khan for his upcoming film, Laal Singh Chaddha. “When we started for Laal, he was around 92 kilos. He had to lose approximately 20 kilos. We did that over nine months with swimming, CrossFit, cardio, and weight training. Between Talaash [for which Khan had trained with Bhatt] and now, there has been a huge gap. The intensity was lesser, but we did a lot of movements he loved. He is disciplined, eats correctly, knows his body, and knows how much he can push.”
Robin Behl, Karan Sawhney
Trainers to: Arjun Rampal, Aditya Roy Kapur, Ishaan Khatter
Robin Behl, Karan Sawhney, and Anushka Nandani are the trio behind The Tribe India, and are perfect examples of birds of the same feather flocking together.
Behl has trained Aditya Roy Kapur for Rashtra Kavach Om. “We plan his workouts based on the movie he is working on, and the requirements for his looks and physique. Apart from the aesthetic goals, our training for him is mainly focused on his overall health. Aditya primarily works on his strength and weight training. We’re also moving towards the movement approach to ease his body. Aditya usually lets go once he completes a film. But ever since Malang, he has been able to maintain his physique.”
Talking about his Ishaan Khatter, Behl says, “He’s already a fit guy and is in complete sync with the needs of his body. He joins us mainly for calisthenics. He loves hanging around the bars, swinging, and doing pull-ups. So, for him, we fundamentally provide free weights and pure strength training.”
Trainer to: Ranveer Singh
Ranveer Singh can be a muscle man in Simmba and in no time, he can transform into lean Kapil Dev for 83, followed by the skinny Jayeshbhai in Jayeshbhai Jordaar soon after. The man responsible for his current transformation is Rajiv Mehra. He bulked Singh up, and then got him to his leanest.
Talking about training the actor in 83, Mehra says, “He is passionate about weight lifting. My biggest challenge was altering his mindset from an aesthetic to a performance goal. You have visual feedback after every training session when you follow an aesthetic goal. But with a performance goal, you will see the results when you actually step out to do a particular activity. For us in this case, it was bowling. It took about 3-4 weeks to build that trust, after which he completely surrendered. We worked together for nearly a year, of which about 3 to 4 months were spent shooting the film. It all went smoothly without any injury, which was Ranveer’s biggest worry, because then the entire shoot would come to a halt.”
Impressed by the result they got in 83, Ranveer asked Mehra to train him for Jayeshbhai. “He wanted to be thinner despite not having any bare body scenes, and for that, we needed to have a calorie deficit of 800-1,000 calories daily. The healthiest way to achieve this is to play a sport, it is much better cardio. We played football, tennis, basketball and badminton, and even asked Deepika to join in,” adds Mehra, who also trained Shahid Kapoor for his turn as a cricketer in Jersey.
Trainer to: Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt, Malaika Arora, among others
Bollywood’s yoga lovers all swear by Anshuka Parwani. She happened to be a substitute teacher for a class Kareena Kapoor Khan was taking, and since then, she’s been working out with the actor, among other names.
Talking about her experience training some of the country’s best actresses today, she says, “They have all been consistent and disciplined, whether prepping for a role or targeting holistic wellness. It has done wonders to their strength, mobility, flexibility, and balance.”
She also remarks that back in the day, women would gravitate towards yoga and men towards the gym. “People have realised that yoga is a ‘work-in’ rather than a workout. The approach to wellness has also become more holistic. It isn’t enough to have a skinny waist anymore. People want to feel fit, energetic and healthy on the inside. Yoga as a lifestyle is designed just for this.”
Trainer to: Janhvi Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan
Namrata Purohit became a pilates trainer at the age of 15. Other than the above-mentioned celebrities, her illustrious client list boasts the likes of Bipasha Basu, Malaika Arora, Jacqueline Fernandes, and Mansi Scott.
Talking about Janhvi Kapoor, she discloses, “She’s been training with me for nearly four years now. She came to me when she injured her tailbone and lower back while working out elsewhere. She was in a lot of pain and didn’t know what to do. A few classes later, the pain disappeared. We have worked with her to avoid a relapse. It has been an interesting journey as there have been times when she had to put on and lose weight for her roles, and we have done both quite easily. She is extremely focused and motivated, which makes my job easy.”
She also trains Sara Ali Khan. “Sara is one of the most hard-working people I know. We all know her history with her weight. She’s still trying to understand what works for her, how much she can eat, and how much she can let herself go. She has her ups and downs but has fought her battle well. She’s a true pilates girl. She works out 4-5 times a week, and will attempt anything.”
Purohit says it is a myth that pilates is only for women. In fact, Arjun Kapoor has a pilates reformer table stationed at his place. Varun Dhawan used it while shooting for ABCD 2 as he wanted a lean physique. “Pilates will give you lean body mass, which makes the body look like that of a dancer or swimmer but with the strength of a warrior,” she informs.