Aiming For The 'Liger' Body? Trust Vijay Deverakonda's Trainer To Guide You Through
Aiming For The ‘Liger’ Body? Trust Vijay Deverakonda’s Trainer To Guide You Through

“For beginners, I would say go slow and listen to yourself. Every body type is different, so your results will vary”

Credit where it’s due. Vijay Deverakonda’s gorgeous, ripped body transformation is possibly the best thing about his recent outing, Liger. The actor plays an MMA fighter in the film and looks every bit the part. And the credit for this, apart from the actor’s hard work, goes to a leading fitness coach and a certified ACSM, CSCS, TRX, and IKFF trainer, Kuldep Sethi. The duo had started training in January 2020, but the planning for the same began a month prior to that. They first began with strength training to add muscle mass. Eventually, as the program progressed, hardcore, plyometric, and agility exercises were added to enhance mobility. In a candid chat with MW, Sethi aka the man behind VD’s jaw-dropping MMA fighter body shares details about how he ensured the actor developed a body of an athlete and not that of a bodybuilder. Excerpts:


What is the ‘Liger body’? Kindly list three tips for beginners who’re starting out on their fitness journey


A Liger body is that of a lion and a tiger. A lion is like a massive mass of strength, and a tiger is more about agility and mobility. For beginners, I would say go slow and listen to yourself. Every body type is different, so your results will vary.



What was your key focus area while prepping Vijay to play the role of a UFC fighter?


When the movie was signed by Vijay, and when it was established that he is playing a UFC fighter, I told him specifically that we have to focus a lot on his lower body, as actors usually don’t focus on that. Being a UFC fighter, you have to majorly be in your shorts or trunks, so you have to focus on your weaker points.


Three things that helped Vijay through the process?


First is the mindset. For any fitness regime, or anything that needs to be achieved, having the right mindset is crucial. We had a fitness plan that we stuck to, no matter what, be it lockdown or anything.


The second is nutrition. Nutrition was always up to the mark and whenever Vijay would feel a little down or dull, I would give him a cheat meal or change his nutrition plan completely so that it fits his commitment.


Third, was the programming. It plays a vital role. It should be done keeping in mind that one is not getting bored and also seeing some kind of result—in the span of three/four weeks– if you keep seeing some results, it motivates you to stick to the plan and achieve more.



What are Vijay’s key strengths in the gym?


Number one, staying consistent and being regular at the gym. The second was not saying no to any exercises and just being committed to the intensity and whatever I used to give him, and the third was to turn his weak point, i.e. his lowers, into his strength.


What were his weaknesses?


His weak points were his lowers, back muscles, and shoulders (Vijay has had one or two shoulder injuries). But, we have overcome those weaknesses.


One exercise that Vijay absolutely crushes?


His lowers became his strong point. He really crushes his lowers!


Three fitness mantras Vijay follows that everyone else should, too?


The right mindset. The commitment to hit the gym regularly. And the commitment to follow the nutrition plan all through the training.


What are the most crucial aspects of any training process?


The most crucial aspect is the programming. Then, you have to see that your nutrition goes in tandem with the programming. You should have smaller goals as well as medium and longer goals so that you stay motivated. If you’re achieving smaller goals, then you are motivated to achieve the bigger goals.



The other aspect of it is to listen to your body and know what is going on. This will help you focus more on the weaker points and in turn, help you improve. It will also ensure that you are in it for your body and not for an ego boost.


A fitness trend you were a fan of before it went mainstream?


I was a national-level athlete and I have always believed in leading a good lifestyle. Shortcuts never help. You have to train hard; you have to eat smart and have to do whatever is necessary for the game/project. The main focus should be the lifestyle and that’s what I always believed in from my childhood.


One fitness trend on social media which is an absolute sham?


The liquid diets. If you are doing it for one or two days it’s fine; if you are doing a 24-hour thing, it is okay. But if you’re doing a liquid diet for 10-15 days, I think it’s absolutely stupid.


What’s the one thing one should consider before jumping on a fitness trend?


Before jumping onto any fitness trends, just see what your goal is and the region you’re living in. The latter is crucial. For example, a lot of people try to do a keto diet. But in India, it doesn’t really work. This is because in India, every region is different and so are the food habits. It is certainly not a ‘one platter fits all’ country. Every region has a different body type and you have to make sure that you know what your forefathers and your ancestors did, and what you are doing and it has to complement that.


One Bollywood actor you’d like to train with?


In Bollywood, I think Hrithik Roshan. Simply because he’s always been into fitness and looks like a Greek god.



Your personal fitness role models?


My personal role model in India has always been Dara Singh because my grandfather was a wrestler too, from Punjab. As far as global icons are concerned, I adore Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. These three people have always been my inspiration apart from my grandfather.

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