Part 2/2: The Science of Training: Celebrity Trainer Santhosh educates on the science of building muscles and how he keeps South India’s superstar in shape
Sorry for the delay folks. We found out from Santhosh in Part 1 of this interview how to start out training depending on your body type and the detailed science behind getting fit at any age. We continue the interview with specifics and how Prithviraj stays in shape. For those of you that missed part 1 of the interview , please refer to:
5. Abs- Why are they the hardest to tone and lose fat from? Does more cardio help with getting rid of the belly fat?
Toning of the abs is exactly like toning of any other muscle in our body. But the visibility of those toned abs is bit harder. You need to work hard to lose the fat layer covered above your six pack. You need to work smarter and harder and give 100℅ effort into it. Let me say one thing first, doing 100s of crunches everyday definitely won’t work for your abs!!! Unfortunately, no cream, massage, vibrating machine, injection, pill, whirlpool bath, rubber pants or other gimmick only help you to tone your wallet, not abs! The only help is general fat loss, with a sensible diet and periodized regular exercise.
It depends lots of factors. Explaining each of those factors is beyond the scope of this interview. However, I can give you a rough idea about some magnitudes of a good body composition that leads to make jaw dropping Abs.
Nutrition plays an important role making bullet proof abs. When it comes in to nutrition it all starts with input and output of calories. The most important are:
*calories in & calories out.( calories you consume and calories you burn)
*Macro nutrient amounts(Carb, Protein, Fat)
You should consider these factors carefully without missing any single meal. Missing meals while your “busy” with life is one of the biggest reason for low Basal Metabolic Rate. So never miss a meal. Prepare your meals in advance or go for a meal replacements options in case of ‘no time’ situations
Now let’s have a look at the Anatomy of our midsection (let me tell you one thing I hate anatomy classes. Really! I don’t think all those internal organs exist inside of my body as per my biology teacher’s information about human body. For example, my clients used to call me heartless when I train them hard:-) But I know some basics of our abdominal anatomy because 99℅ of our general population ask a fitness trainer almost the same question! “How can I reduce my abdominal fat?”)
Now about the Ab muscle. The Ab muscle has two very close friends named External and Internal obliques. They exist on both sides of your 6 packs. As the name implies, internal obliques sit just below the external obliques. All of them are working synergistically when you do an Ab workout The real hero exists below all of this.
Now, about the cardio connection.
You should include some cardio in your workout routines. But never exceed the limits. I’ve seen some guys running hours on the treadmill to get six packs! Doing excessive cardio definitely won’t give any health benefits even if it leads you to six packs (happens mostly in skinny guys) but eventually that will cause more harm than good in your body.
I’m a big fan of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It is very effective for fat loss and muscle gain and takes you into a whole new level of strength and conditioning. If you are a person with no health issues, then I would recommend you to feel the benefits of HIIT. But be cautious about your current health conditions(like High blood pressure, diabetes, joint related issues etc etc…) Check with your doctor before you going to attempt any HIIT activities.
One of my favorite HIIT type cardio is sprint intervals. Especially on the beach as it is harder to move so this creates more metabolic stress than conventional track sprints. I would do a 100mtr sprint with 30-35sec rest 4-6 repetitions. For those who have lack of time to reach beach there are lots of options for you. For example; Try jumping over 2-3 steps into your apartment and repeat it 10-20times, horizontal jump over an obstacle separated by 1-1.5mtr distance. Try to jump 10-15 times at a stretch repeat 8-10times(easier one! You can use paper bundles or water cans as obstacles
The try it;
-60sec Mountain Climbers
-60sec High knee run
-60sec Squat jumps
If he wants to shred for a particular role, then I would recommend a diet that is lower in carb intake and maintain moderate fat and high protein. Carb sources are limited to oats, fibrous vegetables and fruits. All starchy type complex carbs will be given only around 2-3 hours prior to his workout time. Fat will be obtained from nuts, olives or ground nut oil. Whole eggs, chicken, fish, paneer or casien, blended whey and lentils are his main sources of protein. He hates red meat. If he want to bulk it up, then we will slightly increase the amount of slow digesting starchy type (complex) carbs along with moderate fat and moderate protein intake. Simple carb sources are only utilized to bump his glycogen source right after his workout.
Yeah it is a bit difficult to track his nutritional strategies while he has long day/night shoots or is traveling. I always make sure he doesn’t miss a single meal. We have lots of meal replacement options for that. For example, almonds,whey shakes, whey along with peanut butter spreads in toasted multigrain breads, meal replacement protein bars etc. Whenever he is gone through a hypo caloric(caloric deficit) diet for fat loss, I would give him branch chain amino acid supplementation throughout the day to prevent muscle loss. That would be 20-30gms of BCAA powder diluted in 3-4 liters of water.
He has a pair of dumbbells, an additional barbell and weight plates in his personal trailer. That’s helpful for a ‘on the go’ workout or ‘quick pump’ for fight specific scenes.
I don’t think the new trend of cleanses or detoxes can help to reduce your fat or weight. But it may refresh your body. Yes, I do recommend some cleansing method in your daily routines. I wouldn’t recommend any kind of supplements or medicines for detox. That will make you even more toxic. Any kind of products or services that are called cleanses or a detox is only effective to cleanse your wallet not your body. I’m serious…!
Probiotic foods like yogurt and fibrous vegetables are the best options for gut health. Avoid eating processed and fast foods. Too many medications are also detrimental for your gut because it kills gut bacteria. Drink lots of water. I would suggest to drink 250-400ml of water when you get up in the morning. Its all about elimination. Or drink a cup of hot lemon water. Lemon has in increasing alkalinity nature.
Why not? I love vegans because their skin is far better than non vegans and they are always have lower health risks induced by bad eating habits compared to non vegans. They have rich antioxidant sources than non vegans. The problem for a vegan diet, (not a big problem if you are serious about muscle building) is protein selection. Again, it depends upon what type of vegan you are. Lacto-vegetarian and Lacto-Ovo vegetarians have wide variety of protein sources.
Part 1/2: The Science of Training: Celebrity Trainer Santhosh educates on the science of building mucsles and how he keeps South India’s superstar in shape
1. Tell us how you got into training? What pushed you to do it as a profession?
My journey into the fitness world started from childhood and still continues at a good pace. I always loved everything related to sports, was an athlete and learned martial arts. My ambition was to become an Indian navy officer. I went to the Navy when I was 17 years old, but unfortunately I wasn’t selected because of color blindness. After that, I turned my career into fitness field! I did three major certifications related to fitness and I’m about to finish my sports nutrition course.
2. Give a detailed sample example for the following: a common man or woman have a busy life and don’t have 2/3 hours a day to workout. Some times eat on the go. Might work long hours. What sample weekly workout and diet chart would you recommended in general (even tho everyone is different )
Let me start this question with one of the most famous transformation specialist Kris Gethin’s quotes:
“I’m sick of hearing “I’ve a harder job, I work longer hours, I don’t have time, I don’t have the money for a trainer, my genetics are sh#t, I’ve pain when I train“
Shut up already! I’ve seen taxi drivers, lawyers, mother of 5 with 3 jobs, actors who work 16-hours days with no weekends, builders who have to climbs ladders for days to accomplish amazing body transformations
Why? because they wanted it. On the other hand I’ve seen others with easy jobs, all the money in the world, no family commitments, amazing genetics and access to the best gyms and looks the same year after year. Why? Because they make excuses day-in, day-out! If your are one of those people, either harden the f#ck up or get another past time.”
Let me make this clear: you don’t need all those happy hours, all those fancy ‘fitness studios’ packed with “entertainment” equipments like a bosu ball, swiss balls or colored dumbbells. You may put hours of “hard work” into training but it does not count if not done correctly.
If you have a strong mindset about what you want to be then its not a big thing to bring your fitness to the next level! I’m talking about the strong mindset! When you say ‘No I don’t have time to workout. My days are harder than you think!’ I would reply “shut the f#ck up!” There is always a way to train, to rise above, to conquer and crush obstacles. You will see big changes in your success when you have the right the mindset! Your body can achieve whatever your mind says!
OK! Let’s talk about that hour in your day. Look at that hour like this:
I have seen many guys coming to the gym and posting on social media, texting, talking to the guy next to him, taking selfies and those guys are wasting that one hour in the gym. It does not count.
So lets consider an intermediate client with no injuries.
Monday: upper body
Tuesday: lower body
Thursday: chest & back
Friday: shoulders arms & calves
OR if you have time issues with your job and want to maintain your current fitness level or want to lose some extra fat, Then try this
Monday: Upper body
Tuesday: HIIT cardio*
Wednesday: lower body
Thursday: moderate intensity cardio**
Friday: Full body
(*For example; Try 30sec intervals of fast cycle sprint @resistance 10 with >120RPM. Be cautious about your health conditions. Consult a doctor before you attempt HIIT
** Example; Incline walking on treadmill @your 55% – 75% MHR
I’m strictly against a diet plan that consist of only specific foods in a specific time intervals. That’s an old fashion theory and its not healthy. Eating the same foods everyday will make you nutrient deficient. Your diet somewhat should be flexible and it must comes with lots of healthy options rather than a “chicken and broccoli only” type diet. But it doesn’t mean eating crappy foods along with good food options.
I always prefer to make a lifestyle changes in my clients rather than simply educating them about diet and exercise. This way, they can find healthy ways to eat in all conditions. Remember, in my point of view, there are no foods in this world named as unhealthy but it only become unhealthy in the way you handle that food. Quantity and quality matters! The main problem with a ‘paper prescribed’ type diet is, it won’t work for a long time. Trainees would easily derail from those type of diets. In an athletic perspective it is OK because those types of diets are created under scientific evidence and for maximal performance. Even those may only last as long as the end of the season.
For example, a bodybuilder’s in-season diet may have a huge calorie deficit to cut down extra body fat. And when the post season comes they will start eating normal again.
3. Realistically how quickly can one Lose weight/fat? What are the differences in this between men and women?
Fat loss happens in each and every individual at different rates depending on their hard work and dedication towards exercise and diet. But it won’t be “quickly” as you mentioned in the question. It takes time, effort and consistency. Remember, please be patient because perfection takes time. No matter what, do not get derailed from your path that leads to your goals. There is a theoretical limit to how much fat can be released from the fat stores in a single day and this is inversely proportionate to how lean we are. If we go over this limit, we will lose muscle mass, regardless of whether we keep our protein intake high. This is very important.
Fat loss also varies according to the gender difference as far as the exercise is concerned. Men tend to use more energy from carbs during the period of exercise while women rely more on fat source for energy during the period of exercise. In other words, men burn more fat at rest and women burn more carbs at rest That’s why I recommend women must exercise! Regardless of gender differences, stress has a huge impact on human metabolism which can inhibit fat loss. For women, there will be weight variations according to their periods and hormonal changes.
I wouldn’t recommend any rapid fat loss program at all. Check any rapid fat loss program details, they don’t provide information on how you are losing weight. You know weight loss happens in these ways: Pure fat loss, lean muscle loss, dehydration. I’m dead sure that they won’t tell you which weight you are losing. Pure fat loss is the tricky part.
If you look at the science, the maximum rate of fat loss that can realistically be achieved for most people is around 1-1.8 lbs (2.5 may be 3.5lbs) of fat per “week”. There is also some special cases, If you are already lean or even average body fat level then you cannot lose fat that quickly. Because you cannot create that much of a caloric deficit without sacrificing muscle mass. So don’t do it. I’ve seen some programs claiming ” A pound a day” or “7days 7kilos” BS programs. Never ever fall for them. There is no science to support claims that extremely fast fat loss on a scale with a huuuge pound or even a kilo of fat per day is possible for anyone but extremely overweight subjects.
4. To get good Muscle definition in the upper body, what are the best exercises for shoulders biceps triceps ? Does it differ if it’s a man or woman ?
Let’s consider deltoid muscles, as I said, in your chest day its very easy to hit them because its already pre-exhausted. While doing a bench press, most of the deltoid muscles’ anterior portions work. Then for the next 2-3 sets of Dumbbell or cable front raises is enough to bring the true failure for the anterior portion. Then the medial portion of deltoids: hit them with dumbbell lateral raises or cable lateral raises. Remember not to swing while you raise your hand. Its called Cheating! Stand firm and slowly complete your reps. Cable lateral raises gives you continuous tension on each point of the Range Of Motion. At that point, the posterior portion of the deltoid. Bent over lateral raises, Inclined bench lateral raises in pronated position or standing cable face pull work well for posterior deltoids.
Next, triceps one of my favorite after legs. Remember, if you want to maximize your arm size your concentration should be more on triceps rather than biceps. Look at your upper arms it should be like this: 70% triceps and 30% biceps. Close grip bench press hits all the three heads of the triceps. other exercises include: cable push down and over head dumbbell extension are my next favorites. Hit them hard.
King of Six Packs in Bollywood: Prashant Sawant celebrity trainer talks about Shah Rukh Khan, the common man & all things fitness
He was Bollywood’s answer to 6 packs for the number one super star of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan. Today, he has transformed Shah Rukh’s 49 year old body to an 8 pack of abs, trains the new heart throb of Bollywood Varun Dhawan and helps our own Singham Ajay Devgn maintain his buffed up look. How does Bollywood’s top stars stay so fit through age? Read on to find out from the trainer himself., Prashant Sawant.
Tell us how you got into training Bollywood celebrities. Your background includes working hard to get where you are. Tell us how you broke into Bollywood ? I worked at a gym in Bandra and used to train there. Eventually, one day Shah Rukh Khan happened to drop by at our gym and I trained him. He liked my way of training and we got along. He then asked me to accompany him on shoots and that got us started and paved my way into Bollywood.
A common busy man who has a good percentage of body fat, works 8-9 hours a day, has a family and travels for work. How can the common man as such go from unfit to fit ? What can they do to go from fit to 6 pack? (In general as everyone is different and custom. Please give a week’s specific workout and sample diet) A Six pack is the ultimate level of fitness, first start from going from unfit to fit and then strive your way to a six pack. Six packs are visible when your body fat is around 6-7% Fitness requires minor to major steps depending on your current status of fitness. A healthy diet and increased physical activity are the key to getting fit. I suggest you start with baby steps: start taking the staircase instead of the elevator, walk a stop to your work, move in the office whenever possible, do stuff on your own rather than ordering someone to do it for you. You can also start with the basic home workout , I also have the 8 minute workout planned which you can easily incorporate in your daily life.
Shah Rukh Khan was with you a few years back for his film Om Shanti Om (2008) and achieved a six pack. Last year he achieved even better (an 8 pack) for his film Happy New Year. This is impressive for someone very close to 50. What do you think is the change in him between his OSO days and HNY training? What sets him Apart to get this done at this age without “photo shop” as was speculated? Do you incorporate any yoga or Pilates ? Is cardio important? When we trained for “Om Shanti Om: it was something new for us, as SRK was very hesitant in showing off his body so that was something holding us back When we trained for HNY we knew exactly what we were looking for as we had to set a benchmark from Om Shanti Om and the goal was to get a better body than the previous one. We strategically planned his workout and even after all his injuries we kept it consistent and worked towards it. The diet too was planned to help him achieve the look. We only do hardcore weight training, functional training coupled with cardio.
Varun Dhawan is the new kid on the block. We all know he is hard working and works out early morning. What is his diet chart that makes him have flat abs? Does he do any yoga or Pilates ? Varun follows his workout and diet very religiously and that’s the key of his flat abs and chiseled body. He also does a lot of dancing so yoga or pilates is not really a part of his regime. His diet keeps changing depending on his physical activity and also the kind of look he wants.
Mostly we keep his meals in a predetermined ratio of carb, protein and fat depending on his needs. For example:
Breakfast : its more energy dense to help him kick start his day eggs and oats or bread along with a glass of juice Snack: We make sure that the protein isn’t compensated so as to not lose the muscle mass green tea + a fruit + protein shake/bar
Lunch: it’s a whole meal chicken and brown rice /quinoa along with vegetables
Snack: some essential fats along with protein to accompany protein shake with flaxseeds
Dinner: high protein low in carb to keep the hunger pangs away to avoid late night binging chicken/fish and salad and vegetables.
What is the difference in training a Varun in his 20s and a Srk or Ajay in their late 40s? What do you do differently between the two ages? (It’s harder with age) Age is no bar to achieve fitness; the determination and dedication is what matters. I plan the workout personally for my clients and I see no equal results. VARUN is more energetic but SRK and AJAY DEVGAN are no less; so it all depends on the kind of workout and diet you do to achieve your goal and how dedicated you are.
Both Ajay Devgn and Shah Rukh Khan are self-admitted chain smokers. How does this impact training? I have been training them for years and frankly (though I don’t recommend smoking due to its obvious health hazards) neither of them haven given me a reason to complain given their physique and the results needed
What do you think about these new fad cleanses? There are the smoothie cleanses, aloe Vera cleanses, lemonade detoxes where you eat very little and survive on different liquids and supplements. Do they help? You need to have a holistic approach to health. Correct nutrition involves eating adequate and healthy; the fad cleanses may work for some and it may not for others but it isn’t something that you can rely on for achieving fitness and the long term goals you have set for yourself. Proper workout, diet and supplementation is what will help you in the long run.
Becoming Vegan is more and more popular now. Can you become muscular and get a six pack on a natural no meat/no eggs /no protein shakes diet? Yes, you definitely can, but it make take time. . Also with the now available vegan protein supplements and the natural permissible protein, you can achieve the look you desire. A correct workout too is a must along with the diet.
I know as a woman, for me, my stomach fat is the biggest issue. How do you target this? Can you drink alcohol and still get results ? So you train any woman celebrities in Bollywood ? How do they achieve results (give sample diet please) The metabolic rate is different in every individual, also the testosterone level is low in women but with correct eating and a proper workout you too can achieve flat abs. You just have to follow the rule of correct eating and a proper workout to reduce the fat If you indulge in alcohol you have to make sure you compensate for the additional calories and workout accordingly We’ve trained PRIYANKA CHOPRA for her film “Mary Kom” where she trained to be a boxer and also ALIA BHATT, SHRADHHA KAPOOR AND SONAL CHAUHAN. They too follow the same rule of diet and workout to achieve the look
What celebrity in Bollywood would you like to train if you could and why? I’d like to train everyone. Whom ever needs my help I’ll be happy to cater to them.
If you had to pick one strength training exercise that is the most effective what would that be and why? No specific exercise is more effective than the other, it’s just the combination of various exercises depending on which body part you are working on that will help you. Well, there you have it. The secret to the common man’s flat abs revealed by Prashant Sawant. Now if we can all just follow the routine and diet! For more information on Prashant, please visit his web site for his gym Body Sculptor: http://bodysculptor.in/ Thank you for such a candid interview Prashant!
6 months back we started the 66 challenge group on Facebook. It started with my friend Sunil and some of his friends and some of mine. 6 months later, not only have I gotten off my butt and started to actually workout, but I have made friends from this group that I never would have met unless they were also part of this group. Whilst we all agreed no one really (except maybe one member we swear has gotten the packs) made a 6 pack, its great to see how much knowledge we all shared with each other and motivation everyone got from this group. We have decided to extend this 6 pack in 6 months challenge to 3 more months, or as Sunil called it “the 69 challenge” 😉
Below are the testimonials from people who participated in the group that shared their progress of their fitness journey:
“Given my hectic travels, constant business lunches and dinners, my goal was consistency!! It’s been a long journey of almost 14 years for me from 250 lbs to 185 lbs, from a 44″ waist to a 36″ waist! I am just glad that I have been able to hover around that 185 mark for nearly 2+ years now. Thanks to all of you, I continue to push towards my ultimate goal of 175 lbs weight and a 30″ waist. What worked best for me was never rapid diets or protein diets or any of that. Rather the same everyday food in controlled proportions. Always trying to keep myself around the 2100 calories a day of food consumption. You guys all rock!! Seeing the success stories that all of you have shared is truly inspirational.”
“My fitness journey started several years ago when I decided to take control of my cholesterol and turn around my lifestyle. But in the past 6 months, with you all as my motivational factor.. I put in a lot of discipline and effort to take this to a new level. Of course 6 packs is a nice to have and surely an aspirational goal for all of us but I always wanted to have a really good set of arms. I did some research on techniques, effective workouts and a few months back had posted a routine for triceps.. This is the rest of those workouts and of course thanks to all the positive energy and motivation coming from this group”
“My challenge was my baby belly and even now just two pack barely may be lol but ate everything in small proportions only if it was cheat food I Zumba-Ed dropped to expected body weight then now into low weights training with the Dumbbells I have now started body sculpting my arms use to be very flabby but now I feel some tone and dropped body fat gained in muscle. I incorporated squatting routines too”
” I had gained about 20 lbs in the last 2 years with absolutely no motivation to keep consistent with a workout plan. I had an amazing nutritionist (Rashi) who would try her best to motivate me to eat better, but to no avail. I was frustrated because I was the person who would be at some gym or yoga studio at least 5 times a week and eat pretty well. Eventually, I realized I was mentally frustrated with life in general and it was spilling over to my lack of motivation to go to the gym. I thought to myself “What’s the point?”. This group was helpful because I had started this group, yet here I was watching so many people post their progress and watching them workout, and I was sitting around reading the posts. I started feeling embarrassed. Come October, I started training with Yasmin Karachiwala, one of the BEST trainers and gyms I have ever worked with in my life. Thanks to the 66 challenge and the group of people, I lost 7 lbs in 1.5 months and decided to start training for a half marathon. I have the best group of seasoned runners in this group who are giving me the best advice every time i ask for it.”
“I know I am late for this bit I owe it to you people. My journey started 2 and half years back when I came across Reshma’s blog. I got motivated and started eating right and exercising 4 or 5 times a week and lost lots of fats and dropped 3 sizes. It came to hault when I got pregnant. And started eating all junks and sweets. When Reshma started this group I requested her to let me be in even though I was pregnant. Since then I am eating right. And from mid October sterted hitting gym. After 2 months I lost 3 kgs and 2 percents of fats. All thanks to you people and special thanks to Reshma Radia. She is the best. Always ready to help”
For all of you who want to join a similar group..stay tuned…I am thinking of starting a “Challenge for Mom’s New and Old”.
We women don’t always give time to ourselves after having kids!
This post will talk all about the 66 challenge and all the prep work needed form YOU prior to the start date of July 1, 2014.
What: The 66 challenge was inspired from an interview done with my friend Rashi Chowdhary who took part in a similar challenge with a group of people from her gym. The goal is to get a 6 pack in 6 months. The focus is NOT on weight loss but on fitness and inch loss and how strong you get. During this time, once a month, we will ask for volunteers to submit their story to be published on my blog who felt they have made significant progress or overcome a hurdle to get where they are.
Who: Anyone who is committed to become fit and want a team environment to support their efforts and look amazing in 6 months!
When: July 1, 2014 to Dec 31, 2014
How: Sunil and I will be posting various diet plans for different lifestyles (Veg, Non Veg, Vegan, Indian) as well as monthly workouts for those who would like a workout planned for them. It is not necessary to use what we are saying. If you know how you would like to do it, please go ahead.
Everyone’s body is different. Some will have to workout 6 days a week, some only 3. Some will need to do extra cardio while some need to ensure they don’t do cardio. The first few weeks will be a learning process for all of us of what works for our body. Anyone needing encouragement or help can post on the 66 challenge group on Facebook, or emailing either myself or Sunil privately with your questions/concerns.
The following is home work prior to the start date of July 1, 2014.
- Measure yourself. Complete the following with a measuring tape and keep it somewhere safe. This will be your initial measurements:
a) Shoulder to Shoulder:
b) Around Arm:
d) Under Chest (for women, under the bra strap)
e) Wasit (at navel)
f) Lower waist
h) Around thigh
- Get on the scale and write down your weight. Choose a time and scale that can be used as a benchmark for the rest of the times (try and make it the same scale if possible)
- If possible, get to a gym and have your body fat % calculated. This will be the biggest clue on how fit you are getting since we are going to be concentrating on fat loss and strength.
- Take a picture of yourself (and your abs) and keep it for yourself as your “before” picture”. For those wanting to submit themselves along the way to show progress or win the challenge, we will ask you to share. But for the most part, these are for YOU to see how far you come!
- Lastly, get a pair of pants that you want to fit into. How your clothes fit is the best way to determine you are getting fitter. Weight can fluctuate especially when you are lifting (muscle weighs more than fat, water retention, etc) so if you want to get down 2 sizes, go get those pants and see how much you can get into them today!