Bollywood’s Fittest Moms Reveal Their Secret To Stay In Shape

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On one floor of Neetu Kapoor’s Bandra home are scattered plyometric boxes, gloves and suspension trainers. It’s here that she indulges in a high-intensity functional routine. Right before meeting us, she has wrapped up a workout session. She is still working her way to her original fitness level, after a short London trip set her back a few notches.

An egg snack is served to her, and she laments the staffer’s forgetfulness. He should have eliminated the yellow.

Show business is demanding on A listers, but it expects just as much from their parents. While some resort to stringent diets, following in the footsteps of their famous kids, others escape to international spas and willingly endure a ‘detoxification’ that whips a few kilos off them in weeks.

 

neetu singh

Image courtesy: mid-day

For a select few, it’s about sticking to a devoted fitness routine, specially-curated meals and surviving an unrelenting trainer.


A conversation with Neetu Kapoor is enough to learn that she has worked hard towards encouraging a healthy lifestyle among her children. The role model discusses daughter Riddhima Kapoor Sahani, who is mother to a six-year-old. “She is so fit! Now, she encourages her daughter to adopt the same lifestyle,” Kapoor, 58, says.

Her husband, though, hasn’t been an easy student. Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor likes his drink and meats. Marrying the “always chubby” Rishi was a trigger to adopt an active lifestyle. Back in the day, when fitness hadn’t developed into a culture, Kapoor was mindful of including an hour of vigorous activity into her day. She experimented with Jane Fonda’s routines and even Zumba. On days when she couldn’t do much else, she’d ensure she had walked 10,000 steps.

Her slender frame is deceiving. Unlike Ranbir, who she says finds it “tough to gain kilos”, maintaining her weight has been a struggle. Ageing, she says, doesn’t make it any easier. “I’m not genetically slim, don’t have an athletic body and cannot eat all I like. Yet, if exercise is a constant in your life, you will get fitter by the year.”

A tweak in diet has played a vital part in keeping her in shape. “Rishi and I eat the same home-cooked food, which is always healthy. Of course, when he goes out, he goes berserk and is never sensible with ordering. But at home, I control what he eats,” she says. On a dinner out, she is likely to pick a light wonton soup or stir fried vegetables. “If I’m headed for a big party, I eat at home before I leave. Even if I’ve not eaten, I return home and have biscuits and nuts. At a big wedding with a buffet, you’ll never see me with a plate.” While Kapoor stays away from oily fare, she does have a weak spot for sweets – caramel pudding in particular and chocolates. A city-based chocolatier is on call to deliver specially-curated dark chocolates. Ask her how often she indulges in them, and she says, “Two pieces every night.”

Fitness Routine

High-intensity plyometric work dominated by exercises on suspension trainers. Stability work is another dominant aspect.

Fittest best

50 TRX knee-tucks in 1 minute

Favourite routine

Kick boxing, because it helps her vent frustration

Fitness tip

“To all new mothers, I’ll I say it’s essential to lose the weight you put on during pregnancy, within a year.”

Ladies’ lunches, no thank you

Soni Razdan, 60, describes her fitness journey as a relentless search for the “right form of Yoga”. There have been times she has fallen asleep in the midst of a session, especially the traditional sort that lacks tempo. This isn’t surprising given that as a child, she had rather upbeat interests. Aside for training in ballet for 11 years and harbouring an interest in modern jazz, Razdan is also an active swimmer.

 

soni razdan

Image courtesy: mid-day

Credit it to her active lifestyle, or good genes, but the mother-of-two often struggled to gain weight. “I had a blessed youth. I was naturally thin and never gained weight, despite eating everything. When I was Alia’s age, I was so skinny that I didn’t need to exercise. If I had worked out, I would have lost a kilo overnight,” she says.

Her desire to take to the ancient Yoga practice had to do with her metabolism taking a hit post-pregnancy. “I felt there had to be a kind of Yoga for people like me, who are restless and have a lot of energy. That search came to an end when I was introduced to Ashtanga Yoga. I love it. You’re either constantly breathing strong, or moving. In 15 minutes, you drip sweat,” says Razdan, who is learning the form from Suveer Balvi of the Mysore School.

Razdan speaks of the form with obvious admiration. Yet, it only comprises one component of her extensive fitness routine. Like her daughter, Razdan is an admirer of Pilates, which “focuses on lengthening muscles instead of bulking them”. “I train with Swapnil Naik at a nearby studio, and also introduced my husband (Mahesh Bhatt) to it. He has been doing it for the last year-and-a-half, but it has worked very well for him. Now, we both have this wonderful place where we can pour out all our energies.”

Contrary to what one might assume, Razdan doesn’t spend time at social gatherings. Her absence from the circuit benefits her, given that she skips calories usually associated with meet-ups. “When I’m not shooting, my days revolve around fitness, and food. That’s a good day for me. So with all due respect, ladies’ lunches, I’m not interested in.”

A thyroid condition she acquired at 50 made her more watchful about what she ate. Instead of curbing cravings, she chooses to cheat, but carefully. It sounds ironical, until she explains, “On a vacation, I may indulge in wine and dessert together, but I’ll eat healthy for the rest of the day, avoiding heavy food altogether. I’m watchful while cheating too. I’ve been to several nutritionists, and have learnt along the way. When Alia had to lose weight before Student Of The Year, I was able to help her because of my understanding of nutrition. When people trained her, I also learnt from that,” she says, adding thatthe family has always been careful about its health.

Fitness Routine

“On one day, I swimming and do Pilates. On the next, I do yoga and go for a 4-kilometre walk,” says Razdan.

Fittest best

Nabbing the Scale Pose in Yoga

Favourite routine

Pilates and Yoga

Fitness tip

“Don’t let age hold you back. Start, and see where you go. Everybody’s fitness is an individual journey. You’ll eventually do things you never knew you could. When I do yoga, I feel 18, because my body’s movements amazes me.”

‘I started being known as the ‘lady who can deadlift that much’

WHEN we had met Tiger Shroff for an interview earlier this year, he said Bruce Lee was his idol. The young actor however isn’t the only member of the Shroff family to admire the Hollywood action icon. “As a kid, I was obsessed with him. I had his posters in my bedroom, and even cut my hair like him,” says Ayesha Shroff, mother to 26-year-old Tiger, who adds that her love for Lee inspired her to take up martial arts forms like Taekwondo.

 

ayesha shroff

Image courtesy: mid-day

Fitness for the 56-year-old mother-of-two took a backseat when she had to raise her children. “I would hit the gym, but I was like just another aunty working out,” she smiles. Even though her own regimen was hit, Shroff emphasised on the significance of a healthy lifestyle, specifically the importance of sports, for her kids. “I had Tiger train in martial arts since he was four, and Kishu (Krishna, daughter) being his little tale, tagged along. Sport plays a vital role in every child’s life. I’ve seen how it’s developed my son,” she says, adding that though he isn’t a sportsman, his training has helped him become a disciplined individual.

Her own routine took an overhaul when she was introduced to Nitesh Sharma six years ago. “When Tiger started weight-training at 17, I was motivated. A few years later, Nitesh came into our lives and he made me feel I’m capable of more. I felt there was someone who took me seriously, saw me as more than just a mom to two kids, and wife to Jackie Shroff.

He reminded me of how fit I was as a child, and got me addicted to weight training. Eventually, I started being recognized as the ‘lady who can deadlift so much!'” she says.

A health-obsessed family, like this one, one might assume, may indulge in a defined dietary chart. But Shroff disagrees. “We’ve all been through a food intolerance test, which highlights the items that do not work in enhancing our individual performances. These might not make us sick, but may affect how well we are able to train. So, our diet is healthy, but we follow individual charts. For instance, I love milk, but am not tolerant to it. Tiger, on the other hand, can’t eat almonds,” she says, as Sharma credits Shroff’s chefs for enabling them to adhere to their routine. “They simply have to specify the proportion, in grams, of the components (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) they need, and it’s delivered to them precisely that way,” he says, adding that his own meals are provided for by the family.

That her husband is “constantly surrounded by beautiful women” makes Shroff want to work harder in the gym. “I don’t want to look like an elephant next to them, after all. You want to look good for the people you love,” she says, but adds that she’d be devoted to fitness even if her family wasn’t in the show business. “I don’t want to be a burden on my family, or be stuck in the hospital. My health is good, and I intend to keep it that way.”

Like her actor-son, Shroff too is an admirer of sweet foods, especially ice cream. “I may not have them very often, but I do have something sweet every day. This might simply be a fruit, though Nitesh isn’t in favour of that either.”

Fitness Routine

“Weight training with a focus on improving flexibility and mobility. We use the TRX suspension trainer in routines. The focus is on keeping her happy, stress-free and motivated, especially given her heart condition. Her form, especially while lifting, is extremely good. It’s like poetry in motion,” says trainer Sharma.

Fittest best

225 pounds deadlift for 10 reps

Favourite routine

Weight-lifting

Fitness tip

“Eliminate sugar from your diet, and eat in proportion.”

‘I may have jaggery, but I never add sugar to my meals’

When Jacqueline Fernandes led a group of 1900 women – athletes, students and homemakers and – to hold the abdominal plank position for 60 seconds last November, approximately 300 participants failed to complete the task, falling before the minute-mark. At 78, Usha Soman, with her ability to plank for 80 seconds may outshine them. In an era where carbohydrates, fats and proteins are carefully curated into your diet, with athletes, and aspiring ones, making bottles of protein shake their best friend, Soman is testimony to the fact that the good ol’ wellness tricks your grandmother reiterated, work best.

 

milind soman mother

Image courtesy: mid-day

“I eat a lot, but only when I’m hungry. Maintaining my weight has never been a struggle, because I’ve always lived an active lifestyle, walking wherever possible,” says the biochemist and former teacher, adding that she’d walk from her Shivaji Park home to Dadar station, and from Charni Road station to Wilson College when teaching.

On the days she intends to feast with her friends over dinner, Soman swaps her lunch, which she describes as her “main meal”, with lighter foods. “You adjust,” she says, adding that basic principles have enabled her achieve commendable feats.

“I have been walking five kilometers every day for the last 20 years, and cover the distance in 55 minutes. I am fit enough to cover 10, if someone told me to do it,” she says. Soman actively took to walking at the age of 60, when retirement minimised physical activity. In its truest sense, she might be the epitome of fitness, putting her body to test in trying times, without preparation. During the Mumbai Oxfam Trailer walk in 2014, she covered 100 kilometers within 48 hours, without any prior training. “We just wanted to see if we could do it, and we did. We weren’t competing for time, and hence, it was not difficult.”

Soman’s former model-actor son, Milind, has several triathlons to his credit, and is arguably among the fittest in the industry. But the desire to raise children who are health-conscious, was never a deliberate one. “It was just the lifestyle we led back then. You stayed active, and ate home food. Yes, I did encourage my kids to swim and play sports, but we did not have a continuous discussion about it [like parents and kids do today].” Maintaining weight, she says, is no secret. “The Indian diet is well balanced, I believe. Don’t eat [processed meals like] Maggi, don’t eat out, or at least, eat at home more often. I don’t eat sugar. If I want to add sweet to my food, I’ll add jaggery. People say, ‘I don’t eat much’, but they actually eat a lot of outside food. Unless you suffer from a physiological condition, maintaining weight shouldn’t be difficult.”

Fitness routine

Five-kilometre walk daily

Fittest best

90-second plank

Favourite routine

Walking, and trekking. She would like to go for a trek to Machu Picchu.

Fitness tip

Eat home-cooked meals

 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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