Actor’s trainer lets us in on how he brought about his dramatic transformations — from his hefty frame in Brahmastra, to a lithe look for his next romcom, and a beasty avatar for Animal
While most fitness trainers encourage their clients to be as physically active as they can, it is the inactivity that was enforced by the pandemic that worked in favour of Ranbir Kapoor. Tasked with gaining a substantial amount of muscle mass for his upcoming film, Animal, Kapoor had the opportunity to minimise energy expenditure when locked in at home. “Since he was not shooting or travelling, he could sit at home and ensure he was getting adequate rest to recover. He was on a good nutritional plan, and so, the exercise sessions that we were on, bore results. If he was also working, it would have been tougher for him to gain muscle mass, because his energy expenditure would have been higher. For someone with [a high BMR, like him], we need to minimise energy expenditure, and reduce the cardio component. Coupled with nutritionally dense foods that were rich in calories, and good quality, and quantity of sleep — both of which he gets — the process became easier,” says Shivoham, who helped the actor gain 11 kilos of muscle mass for Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s film.
Functional to weights
It wasn’t an arduous task, given that the actor had already acquired a chiselled frame for Tu Joothi Main Makkaar. “He needed a beach-body for that film, and had to look ripped. We depended on functional training routines for it, because we wanted the muscle definition to be visible for the bare-body shots. While moving onto Animals, we needed to first think of adding muscle mass. In that case, addressing definition was [secondary],” says the trainer, who subsequently switched his programme to include heavy weight-lifting exercises. While a well-constructed exercise regimen is crucial, Shivoham says carb-cycling also plays a crucial role in bringing about desired change. “Since the muscles could need glycogen when the body is put through a tough regimen, we’d put him on a high-carb diet for a day or two. On other days, he would consume less carbs.”
Over his decades-long career, Shivoham has learnt that understanding a client’s temperament during training goes a long way in creating a programme that appeals to them. For Kapoor, he likes to stick to a rep range of seven to eight. “When it comes to building muscle, the idea is to stress it. And there are several ways to do that. By increasing the amount of weight that one lifts, we adhere to [a principle] called progressive overload. One could also alter the amount of rest between sets, or increase the range of motion. So, there are several ways in which you can stress the muscle. We could either do single exercises, or circuits. We also included some amount of functional movements, like thrusters, snatches and ring pull-ups. But because we didn’t want the muscles to be depleted in the process, we made him lift heavy weights, even during those movements. But, remember that during exercise, the muscle fibres are actually broken down. The process of building the muscle occurs during rest, and so, nutrition and rest play crucial roles in their development.”
Also Read: Doing small things right
Always on the edge
Across his recent releases, the actor has undergone notable physical transformations in limited intervals of time. Ask the trainer how he brings about such alterations to his physique, and he lets us in on an industry secret. “The idea is to always maintain a middle-ground weight. A bulky look at 83 kilos will not suit every film, so, we make him acquire a weight of 77 kilos. Thereafter, as long as he continues to be in good shape, and trains well, it’s easy to reach any extreme with small tweaks to his regimen. We either bulk up, or reduce muscle mass, based on the kind of look he desires.”
Weight Kapoor gained for Animal
The Cheats: Yami Gautam
What’s your cheat meal: Rice and rajma, or pizza
How often do you indulge: Once a week or in 10 days.
Cheat meal vs cheat day: One single meal.
Do you compensate for it: I used to do so, but don’t anymore. We cannot look like we do [on screen] 365 days of the year. So it’s fine to eat [what one desires]. You have to be your fittest self, but you can’t go crazy. I can’t look good with an unhealthy mind. I’m not harsh on myself.
In Mahesh Shetty's Fridge
Fitness tip that works for Katrina Kaif
Keep your meals light after 7 pm, and avoid deep fried foods, and refined sugars. Another thing that works for me is creating a balance between functional training and light weight exercises like yoga or pilates.