Hrithik Roshan: When I was selected for Kaho Na... Pyaar Hai, I trained diligently with Salman Khan
Each time Hrithik Roshan crumbles under a debilitating injury, much like his superhero avatar in cinema, he emerges stronger. He tells us how he does it
You have to sort of be a Hrithik Roshan fan-cum-fitness fanatic to even attempt to make sense of the actor's fitness journey. In the two decades since he made his industry debut, Roshan would talk about the injuries he sustained owing to the occupational hazard of being an actor with such nonchalance that he made vulnerability seem charming.
Even then, placed before the camera, film after film, he flaunted his athletic prowess with a flair that could render notions of him having suffered a double slip disc, torn ligaments and debilitating back injuries, laughable. The stimulus to go from broken to buff over and over again came from different motivators. Sometimes it came from his urge to be 'worthy' enough of playing a superhero (Krrish). On other occasions, it came from the dismay of being perceived as perpetually 'tired', after his son posed a question (reportedly: 'Are you too tired to play with me?').
Roshan with kids Hrehaan and Hridhaan
Roshan apparently often argues that he isn't among the fittest in the industry. The prowess of his War co-star Tiger Shroff makes him look like 'sh*t', he had recently said to a magazine. But what is unquestionable is his ability to set an example after being broken, repeatedly.
Evolution of fitness, for Hrithik
"I would consider [the phase] before my debut film, Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, a turning point, when it comes to fitness. When I was selected for it, I trained diligently with Salman Khan, and haven't looked back. Dance has been my passion since I was a kid, and that is primarily what I would do to stay fit [back then]," says the actor, who amped up his routine when introduced to fitness entrepreneur Kris Gethin, before the filming of Krrish 3.
The actor with mother Pinkie Roshan
Roshan had turned to Gethin to seek aid in transforming his body after the injuries he had sustained — a double slip disc — when filming Bang Bang. "When I started training with Kris, I learnt that functional training makes for an integral part of your fitness routine. It helps you become athletic, and increase your stamina. One can't just go to the gym and lift weights. It will help you bulk up, but not reach your full potential. We'd mix functional training with my regular workouts, and I could see changes, both, physically and mentally."
Gethin relieved Roshan from a lifestyle of unchecked consumption of unhealthy food and a voracious appetite for smoking. "Working with him was an eye-opener. We would incorporate CrossFit and other kinds of functional training routines into my regimen. We finished a three-month transformation course two weeks early, and the results were astounding," says the actor, particularly citing the Zero Momentum Rep method as one that helps him regain strength post injury. "It also rehabilitates me. The method helps me push my limits. But, when it comes to shooting, I don't have an ego. If it comes to my stunt doubles executing dangerous scenes, I take calculated risks. The priority is more on acting than on an actor doing the stunt."
Hrithik with Rakesh Roshan before the latter's surgery. Pics/Instagram
Light at the end of the tunnel
Even though he confesses that his physical injuries took a toll on his mental health, Roshan says that making lifestyle changes is always demanding. "I won't sugar-coat it. It is hard to adapt to a healthier lifestyle. It drains you before you can start feeling better. In the interim, you will want to quit. But, if you are able to push through, the changes can easily become [a] permanent part of your life. Staying fit and active is not limited to working out; it is an all-round activity that includes a healthy diet too. The real challenge lies in being able to maintain the physique without stressing the body. I make sure that I always eat right, and rest enough, so that I don't fall sick."
It runs in the family
Looking at the Roshans, it's easy to say that the family that trains together, stays together. If mother Pinkie often sweats it out at a Bandra CrossFit box, father Rakesh Roshan had spent the hours leading up to his cancer surgery, getting in the reps at the gym. Roshan's sons Hrehaan and Hridhaan too punctuate his Instagram pictures with their headstands, cycling or hiking endeavours. "Fitness has always been part of conversation in our family. It was in 2013 that my trainer and nutritionist for Krrish 3, Kris and Marika Johansson, got my parents actively involved in functional training. There has been no looking back."
Mentor turns 'mentee'
Roshan credits current trainers Swapneel Hazare and Prasad Nandkumar Shirke for making him ready to match Shroff, stunt for stunt, in War. Even as the latter has always upheld Roshan as his idol, Roshan admits that tables have turned. "For War, Tiger motivated me to push myself beyond what I have ever done in the past, especially after I had so many cheat meals during [the filming of my last film] Super 30. He is among the fittest actors in the country. Working with him made me want to reach newer heights of fitness."
Zero momentum reps
Celebrity trainer Sahil Rasheed says zero momentum reps is a regimen that involves handling lighter weights with almost no momentum. "There is minimal use of any accessory muscle. The focus stays on the primary muscle being recruited. So it reduces the risk of injury," he says. As per his Instagram post, Roshan suggests one repetition could last a minute.
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