Like his adrenalin-pumping action scenes, Akshay Kumar’s fitness regimen also comes with a disclaimer: These stunts are performed by a professional…don’t try them at home.
He has no trainer and has never lifted weights; his diet does not sound like a doctor’s prescription. Yet Akshay has one of the most enviably lean, agile and defined bodies in the business.
“I believe that an unhealthy and unfunctional body is an uneasy, unhappy way to live life,” says the actor who is only getting fitter with age. “It doesn’t mean you have to be a champion. Eat right, know when to stop, do enough exercise to use all your muscles. You must be confident that if you live on the 28th floor of a building, and there’s a fire, you will be able to throw your child over the shoulder and run down to safety effortlessly. There is no end to physical happiness.”
Akshay owes his outlook towards life to martial arts, particularly Karate. “In fact, my life’s ambition is not to become a huge superstar or actor,” he confesses. “Before I die, I want to see some form of martial arts taught in every school in the country and see it become a part of the curriculum. Children should not be given their board exam certification unless they study it for three years. Every child should have the opportunity to fight, defend and discipline. That’s how it is in Hong King, Singapore, Malaysia and other South-East Asian countries. It inculcates selfdiscipline and a sense of agility. Yoga and martial arts are the two oldest and the most complete forms of exercise.”
In fact, his wife and actor Tina (Twinkle Kapadia) and sister teach yoga classes for the children of their housing society to help nurture this culture in their community. Akshay sought permission from the society to set up a volleyball court and table tennis tables, and has rallied the residents to form teams and conduct tournaments. “Each one of us should try to do this much for our community. Nurture a small place for fitness and well-being,” he says.
It’s this sense of discipline that still runs the King Singh’s life. He gets up at 4.30 am and is in bed by 9 pm. “People who invite me to a party know that I will leave early because I have to be in bed. And let me tell you, I hate night shifts,” he says.
When he gets up, Akshay heads for his gym, which is more like his playground. He has no set routine and just plays around for an hour or hour-and-a-half. “I am an energy junkie. I live off positive energy and challenging experiences. Anything that can inspire and push my body,” he says.
So he climbs trees or a specially designed 30-foot indoor climbing wall with his son, practises yoga or Parkour or martial arts or hangs off a 13-storey building. “Please, please write that you should not try this without supervision,” he says hastily, “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if someone tried to replicate this because of me and got hurt.” He says he likes to test his strength and fears at every stage. “I like to have control over every muscle in my body. All of these activities develop the core. It’s so good to do something every day that pumps your heart out of your chest; makes you feel alive.”
Refreshingly, Akshay admits to never having the talent, gift or physical capability for sports or fitness, just a drive and interest to learn. His father was a wrestler. Martial arts hero Bruce Lee, who had the most agile body, inspired him to take up Karate. He only aims for functional training and development of the core muscles.
“In fact, science has proved that a six or an eight pack is not the strongest of stomachs,” he says. “Inner core strength is what you need to do anything you desire. A physiotherapist will tell you what core exercises are and very few trainers in gyms follow those. Gyms are one of the most irritating ways of exercising.”
Food for taut
With food too, he is as easy going as he is with his exercise regimen. “I am an Indian and I love to eat, but I am careful not to binge.” With no set diet, he follows three simple rules:
1 Simple home-cooked food
2 Light dinners comprising soups or salads
3 Dinner MUST be over by 7 pm
“We are what we eat,” he says. “There is no hiding it. I am a Punjabi and I was born to eat
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