Thursday, December 8, 2011

Arjun Rampal's Workout Mantras For a Sculpted Body In Ra.One

Superb villain Workout: Arjun Rampal sculpted his delicious body in Ra.One on the back of an injury. He lets us in on his workout mantras

For Ra.One, Arjun Rampal spent countless hours in the gym bulking up and chiselling his body to ridiculous perfection. But like a balloon that is happy to not be at its inflated best, Arjun says he has never liked the ‘body-builder look’.

Arjun Rampal's Sculpted Body For Ra.One

“The minute my chest goes to 42 or 43, I feel like I would need a bra (laughs). It doesn’t feel natural,” Arjun says, adding that one must understand what kind of a body they are happy with. “I can bulk up very fast. I can lift heavy weights because, like most people, I started off with heavy workouts. That’s stayed in my muscle memory.” Pinching his denims, he says, “I feel horrible when I feel my jeans are getting tight. Work outs peace me out.”

A skinny boy in his school years, Arjun was always an athlete and used to work out during college. “I think it is easier for thinner people to build on a frame once you get lean muscle. I get bored lifting weights at the gym and it isn’t enough as your body becomes stiff. So I train in different ways such as core training, cardio with weights, playing sports such as tennis, cycling, swimming and running 10 kms once a week.”

STOP BEFORE YOU DROP

Upholding a dizzying level of fitness hasn’t been injury-free for Arjun. He winces as he recollects the excruciating pain that slipped discs brought him on two occasions. “The worst was when I was squatting, about to lift weights. And as I bent… pop… my spinal disc popped. I felt a biting bolt of current shoot through my legs,” recounts Arjun, who was then shooting for Housefull. “I took painkillers and continued shooting. The lesson here is you must listen to your body, because it can go into a spasm otherwise.”

TRAINING DAYS

His regular workouts turn into relentless five-day-a-week ironpumping affairs once he is getting ready for a role. “When I was shooting for Raajneeti, Shah Rukh told me I should also start shooting for Ra.One. Some crazy training was on its way.” Training essentially means two unforgiving hours in the gym. About 40 minutes of various cardio, 10 minutes on treadmill to warm-up and then a specific body part. “I find 12 pm as the best time to work out. During training, I do two body parts a day: chestback, back-triceps or chest-biceps so that my body doesn’t get used
to a pattern,” says Arjun.

The gruelling schedule is followed by 20 more minutes on the treadmill and 10 minutes of calming down. “I always stretch before a workout and run a lot so that my heart rate accelerates. I do my lower back exercises so that my core
and back are warmed up enough because I am scared of injuring myself again. I work out very fast. I don’t take breaks and train non-stop for 80 minutes.” When Arjun does these body parts for three days, he doesn’t lift weights on the fourth but does only core, cardio and stretching. He says, “At times, I do Tabata, a high-intensity Japanese training regimen, in which I must do 20 seconds of a specific body part with 10 seconds of rest. This must be done eight times within four minutes. Your heart rate shoots through the roof but you burn a lot of fat.”

THE MAKING OF A SUPER-VILLAIN

To carve a lethal body for Ra.One, on the back of his injury, meant he had to start very slow. “No weights, no bending… only core training. It was very tough. But in 15 days, I worked out with a vengeance and made my core really strong. Zarine Watson trained me very scientifically because she had seen the seriousness of my injury in the x-rays,” he says. Freehand training and a lot of cardio with altitude training (wearing masks that simulate the effect of exertion at high altitudes) enhanced Arjun’s stamina and metabolism. “By the end of it, I was doing close to 2500 sit ups and 40 pound dumbbells while hanging from a pull-up bar. You push your body and it all happens.”

His diet had also switched to what he has in his "training mode’. Two whole wheat toasts, a dozen egg whites and a protein shake in the morning. Dry fruits such as walnuts and cashews munched on every now and then. “I would eat five small meals, as they increase my metabolic rate. For lunch, I would include some carbs. So it would be a roti or two with dal, tandoori chicken and whole wheat bread sandwiches.”

FOOD NO BAR

There is hope for even the most hardened foodies when Arjun agrees with their mantra — eat everything. “I am a foodie and I don’t avoid anything. I know guys who have an occasional kheer or chocolate cake and fall sick. Now that is ridiculous. I don’t ever want to be in that space.”A red wine connoisseur with an aversion to aerated drinks, Arjun hails salads as ‘essential food’ and recommends eating half an avocado a day, ‘because it contains good fats and burns your stubborn fat.’

Then of course is the golden rule — wrap up your dinner by 8 pm. “Avoid carbs because after 9 pm, your system shuts down. So dining late means everything you are putting in there will stay like garbage, with no nutritional value.”

SMOKES AND SHAKES

Puffing on his fourth cigarette of the hour, Arjun admits he needs to quit his ‘terrible habit’. “I think if I wasn’t smoking I would be running for the Olympics (laughs).” After making his profession an excuse for making it difficult for him to give up, Arjun points out, “When I work out rigorously, somehow my cigarette intake reduces. I can almost feel how each drag is undoing all the good I am doing to my body.”

And does he agree with the latest ‘health supplement’ fads? “I take only whey protein shakes. I haven’t ever tried amino acids or creatine, let alone steroids. I find playing with hormones very dangerous. Each of our body types are unique and special. So when none of us look alike, why should our bodies look the same?”

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