Quantifying each meal, lifting lighter weights, and focussing on functional movements and callisthenics, says Shetty, has enabled him to retard the process of ageing
I cannot stop it, but my aim is to retard the ageing process,” says Suniel Shetty, whose latest outing, Dharavi Bank, is a testimony of sorts to his efforts. To play the part of a 63-year-old man in the series, Shetty, 62, had to don prosthetics to look aged; older than his actual age.
Shetty’s name has been associated with physical fitness since the onset of his career, but his command over all aspects of his professional life — films and business — appears to be more pronounced in the last few years. He admits that the success in all spheres of his life traces back to his fitness routine. “I am who I am, due to fitness, and it is because of this that I have stayed relevant even at this age, despite not acting for 10 years. The media kept me alive. While I may not be active on other social media platforms, I am active on LinkedIn, because that is a reflection of me,” says the actor, who has acquired an enormous fan following on the platform for his deftly penned posts that speak of family, films, entrepreneurship, and success.
The actor’s knowledge in the sphere of fitness isn’t restricted to his understanding of himself alone. He has studied movement patterns and techniques that have worked well for athletes, body-builders, and the layman. “Strength, stretch, callisthenics and functional routines are what I practice to slow down the ageing process. The first signs of ageing is the dragging of feet in individuals. So, balance work, hip movements, and leg raises are what I practice. You’ll notice that ageing people have drooping shoulders and hunched backs. To avoid it, I train my back [intensely], and adopt back exercises in my warm-up and cool-down routines. Remember that a person in his 60s wasn’t designed to look a certain way. People choose to believe that they have aged. But you need to understand what is needed, and if you don’t understand it, ask the experts. I consult a lot of them.”
Shetty adheres to the principle of carbohydrate recycling. On the days that he has a physically active routine, he ups his carb-intake. When his days are not dominated by too many activities, he ups his gym session, and reduces his carb-intake. “I have a lot of water, and greens, which keep my gut in good health. I also keep sufficient gaps between my meals, which helps me digest food better. Everything that I eat is quantified. I give a defined amount of food to my chef [for my consumption], including the quantity of oil and salt . The maximum amount of sugar that I eat is 15 grams. One can fill their individual boxes with the required proportion of food, and stick to it. It’s as simple as that.” Not one to source exotic groceries, he says the abundant options available in India are his staple.
The actor focuses on lifting lighter weights. His 45-minute exercise bouts aim to help in body-sculpting instead of building muscle size. “I am not embarrassed to lift 30 kilos if the person next to me lifts 200. This is what works for me. I want to be leaner, and my waist to be smaller so that clothes look good on me. Today, I do half [of the exercises] that I would when I was [younger], but I am looking fitter. Only when you are in the right mental space can you train well, and enjoy it. Yoga helps me with that.”
The Cheats: Amyra Dastur
What’s your cheat meal: Chilli cheese naan and dal makhani.
How often do you indulge: More often than not, it is once in a week, and usually on Sundays.
Cheat meal vs cheat day: It is a single portion. I would feel too guilty to [indulge] all day.
Do you compensate for it: I usually do not train on the day I have a cheat meal. I would only do 15 minutes of cardiovascular work before the meal. The next day, I will train a bit harder.
In Mithila Palkar’s Fridge
Fitness tip that works for Sonam K Ahuja
Anything in a package must be avoided, as must refined foods like flour and sugar. I love packaged foods, but I find substitutes, or make my own [healthier] version.