Arjan Bajwa is one of the fittest actors we have in B-Town.
At 44, Arjan can make youngsters half his age drool over his shredded form.
The secret to his ageless looks is his disciplined workout, and diet.
“To maintain six-pack abs is very very difficult,” Bajwa tells Rediff Contributor Prateek Sur.
“You have to be very strict with your diet, and with your workouts,” he adds.
As an actor, how important is fitness to you?
Being an actor is equally about physical work as much as it is mental and emotional.
It not just involves your mind to be put at work with your acting skills, but the kind of timing and strains you get exerted by, physically, is beyond comprehension.
It is absolutely important to be completely fit.
When they say, a healthy mind to a healthy body, a healthy body is also going to create a healthy mind.
Plus, when you are selling your physical appearance in front of the camera — if that is the profession you have chosen — how can you not be physically fit.
What’s your daily diet like?
My diet starts with a cup of coffee. I have to have that in the morning.
Also, I am not a person who eats a lot. I will eat 4 to 5 times a day, but my portions are small.
I do not fill up my plate.
I make it a point to eat a balanced diet because it is very important. Towards the evening, I try and avoid carbs and heavy food as much as possible.
Not only for digestion, it also helps one sleep better if you have eaten light.
I don’t eat spices, spicy food or chilies. Also, I avoid too much salt or sugar.
So, that has been my palette forever.
It is not that I cultivated it. I have always had that kind of diet.
It helps me maintain my workout regime as I know I am not going to overeat anytime. It doesn’t go well with my system.
What’s your workout schedule like? Do you have a leg day, a chest day, a biceps day, etc?
Yes. You have to divide your workout days in accordance with the portion or parts of your body.
I do have separate days for legs, chest, arms, everything. But, I try and make it a combination.
Like the day I do legs, I make sure that since your core is involved a lot, you pay more emphasis while the muscle is already active and kicked in.
I try and do abs also rigorously on that day.
I try not to become too bulky, because I feel it can make you look a particular way. (As an actor), you have to be more versatile looking.
A physically fit torso with good legs is good enough to wear clothes, to quickly change your body shape rather than bulking up and then taking a lot of time to cut it down.
So, I divide things.
I do my Taekwondo training to help me in my cardio.
It becomes a replacement for cardio which is like running or probably a little bit of aerobics. I do my abs at least 4-5 times a week.
Do you also do yoga and meditation?
I have too much of a hyperactive mind to do yoga or meditation, to be honest. I will not lie about it.
Yoga is beneficial for physical strength and fitness because you are stretching your body and holding different positions, as there are different kinds of asanas.
Meditation is obviously relaxing your mind, and I think for me it is relaxing your mind and at the same time channelising your mind, and not getting distracted by multiple thoughts.
When I am working, it is a kind of meditation only, because you forget everything else around you. You are oblivious of the world, and you just are busy with your work.
That is also a kind of meditation only, I feel.
How have you been trying to keep yourself fit amidst the lockdown when gyms are mostly shut down?
Yeah, it is difficult to keep yourself engaged in physical workouts as the gyms are shut. I just hope that they open up soon.
It is not just that you want to bulk up your body, which is called bodybuilding and weight lifting.
It is the strengthening of your body in many ways which is important in your everyday life.
Training is not about your body looking big. Strengthening of the muscles is also very important. I am missing all of that.
But the good part is that, if the gyms are shut, at least I am running and walking.
I walk/run at least 4 km to 5 km in a day and that is kind of keeping the excess or the wrong weight from accumulating in my body.
It keeps your face looking fresh and stretched. Of course, it keeps your heart rate also high. So, your stamina remains intact and doesn’t drop.
When the time comes and the gyms are open, we get back to our regular routine of mixed workouts which is weight training, cardio, and everything else.
Do you have any preferred home workout for days when you’re not feeling good enough to go to the gym?
Yes. I actually do a mix of many things.
I live on the 23rd floor. I warm up, and then I go to the ground floor and climb up to my apartment on the 23rd floor, at least twice.
I climb up once and reach the 23rd floor, take the lift and come down, and then climb again after some time. That is a really really rigorous workout of climbing 23 floors twice.
If I don’t feel like doing any of the regular heavy training, I try and do stretching and abs.
What are you doing to keep yourself mentally fit during this pandemic?
As much as it is important to take care of yourself physically, it is also very important (to take care of your mental health) because these are the times when you are at home.
You are strained and stressed in every aspect of your life.
I know it is very easy to say that — keep a positive attitude and think positive. But we are all human beings, and it doesn’t happen all the time.
You can’t be happy and upbeat about life at all given points. You will have your mood swings. You will have negative thoughts also.
You will have really bad moments in your day also. But all that cannot become a pattern. It has to stop at some point.
You have to really really properly tell yourself that ‘It’s OK, fine’ if you had not had a good day but stop and try to carry on with a little bit of a positive attitude for a while.
These are the things that are in your hand. You have to give yourself some emotional time in the day.
After all, we are human beings and we cannot shy away from it. We are not machines.
But it has to shut off at some point. Also, you have to channelise your thoughts and think about the positive side of life.
You’ve to think about your blessings and count your blessings.
You’ve to think about the well-being of yourself, and your loved ones, and the state you are in. It is very important. That is what I practice. There is no other way out at the moment, to be honest.
What are your other interests?
Working out in a gym has become synonyms to just weight training and it doesn’t happen like that.
I run, walk and mix everything. Say about 4 to 5 km in a day. I do climbing.
I try and swim, but in the last one-and-a-half years, the swimming pool in our apartment complex has been closed because of the pandemic. But yeah I train for Taekwondo as well.
I am into martial arts. I have been a black belt in Taekwondo. That is also a part of my fitness regime.
How important is sleep for you?
Even a machine, which is designed to work for hours non-stop is switched off for a couple of hours because it heats up.
Human bodies are not designed to work 24 hours a day.
Our body is designed to be in a complete state of the rest as well.
Whatever work you do, however you train, whatever your profession is, you need to charge your batteries and sleep.
It is the most important thing in the life of all living beings.
It is not only beneficial for your mind, but for your physical self as well.
Even when you do weight training, all the development of your muscles which you have strained will get all the nutrition to grow during your sleep time.
So sleep is like meditation and it is the best way to relax.
A good night’s sleep is very important for. It does depend upon my day and what I have been up to, but I try and approximately get 6 to 7 hours of sleep.
I am a light sleeper. So if I get 6 to 7 hours of non-stop undisturbed sleep, it is a blessing.
Getting a toned bod is a dream for many. What’s your advice to someone aiming for a six-pack abs?
Abs are just another part of your body.
You just have to pay attention to your core, because the core is the most important part of your body. It’s everything.
We don’t pay attention to it, and that is why all the backaches and injuries happen. The core gets involved in everything that you do.
When you are lying down on your bed and trying to get up, it is your core that gets involved.
Even when you are walking or sitting — basically, everything that you are doing, the core is always involved.
If you pay a little more attention to those muscles they get developed and start showing off. Of course, when they start showing, you look more fit.
It is absolutely amazing to get the 6-pack ab look. Just like any other part of your body that you pay attention to, in order to show off your physical fitness, abs are very important as well.
It is difficult so it takes time to grow. Plus it is a very defined muscle.
You have to really really work ahead to get the proper definition. But if you have a strong core, a really rock-hard stomach, or a flat stomach and your abs are not really showing or well defined, that is OK.
To maintain six-pack abs is very very difficult. You have to be very very strict with your diet, and with your workouts.
If you let it go, then it disappears. And just like that, your stomach will be hanging out in no time.
A fitness tip for our readers
We should watch what we eat.
Whether you are able to work out in a gym or not, if you are moving around, if you are walking around all through the day — that is also good enough physical exercise.
At least you are not sitting idle and not moving around. Keep moving your body, so at least your muscles, bones move and there is blood circulation.
But the most important thing is diet and rest. So you have to give yourself that much rest for your body to recover and recharge for the next day.
At the same time, you have to control and watch what you eat.
From the outside we can build our body. We can make it look the way we want to by weight training, (making) cosmetic changes. But what is happening inside you, you don’t know.
Be careful as to what you put inside your body because that is how your body would react on the outside as well.
A healthy mind will lead to a healthy body and vice versa. It is a combination of both.
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