Aamir Khan's fitness plan for 'Dangal' decoded
Aamir Khan's trainer for wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat's biopic 'Dangal', Rahul Bhatt deconstructs superstar's fat to fit transition in just five months
Rahul Bhatt and Aamir Khan
"This was plan A," says Rahul Bhatt, as we scroll through his phone, scanning the diet chart that whipped a 97-kilo Aamir Khan into an athlete with a 9.6 per cent body fat, for his wrestler-biopic, 'Dangal'. A list of healthy delicacies is generously sprinkled with what the average fitness enthusiast would refer to as 'bad' food – breads, poha and pulses.
"We didn't cut out carbohydrates, because then, he'd [Aamir] be thinking about food all the time. Besides, given his activity level, he needed the energy." Rahul also shows us a Plan B that would have been put into use, had the actor been unable to benefit from the first chart. "This would have been completely devoid of carbs. Fortunately, we never had to use it."
Bhatt helped Aamir shave off 30 kilos in a span of five months for the portrayal of Mahavir Singh Phogat in the Nitesh Tiwari-film. However, while the actor's fans have applauded him for the transformation, others suspected that a transformation of this nature couldn't have been executed without the use of steroids. "When we didn't even need to use a stricter diet plan to produce the results, why would we need steroids?" questions Rahul. "Aamir's transformation was a result of sheer perseverance and sweat. There is no substitute."
Steroids, agrees Rahul, may be resorted to by those who want to look great, irrespective of the follies in their regimen. "Aamir was aspiring to look like an athlete, and so, trained like one. He put in close to five hours a day training ," he adds. Highlighting the actor's daily routine, Rahul informs that Khan's days would usually commence at 4.30 am, with an exercise routine that comprised compound movement and cardiovascular activities. "There was an AM workout and a PM workout. In addition, there was almost an hour of wrestling practice," he says, adding the actor would also play squash and tennis.
Rahul also incorporated weight training with functional movement. "Aamir needed to build his body for aesthetic purpose. In order to enable his muscles to look bigger, we made him execute multiple sets of the exercises with six to 12 reps."
After mathematical analysis, the "magic number" of 2,400 calories was arrived at for Khan. "We'd alter this number depending on his activity level each day. Also, Aamir took a keen interest in the science behind the training. Once he understood the process, he fully cooperated. He can squat twice his body weight, press one-and-a-half of it and lift thrice as much," informs Bhatt, who is currently working on developing his own chain of fitness studios. "I want to bring the guru-shishya culture into fitness training.
Applying scientific techniques to methods used by the pehlwans in the villages, I wish to revive old-school regimens in today's time." Prod him for a name for the chain, he pauses for a moment, and as though having just arrived at one, announces, "Akhada!"
It may be recalled Rahul met David Coleman Headley at a gym in Mumbai when the latter recced the city for terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba's masterplan for 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Along with journalist Hussain Zaidi, Rahul penned a book named Headley and I, talking about him and his love for Indian women and Armani clothes.
> Workout twice a day totalling five hours; included compound movement and cardiovascular activities
> An hour of wrestling practice
> Squash and tennis sessions
> Healthy eating without eliminating carbs
Video: Sit with Hitlist - Aamir Khan decoded in an exclusive interview with mid-day