A qualified pilot, an accomplished actor and a champion fitness model, Thakur Anoop Singh seems to be a jack-of-all-trades and also the master of them all. We got the amazing opportunity to talk to Mr. World 2015 and here’s what he had to say:
- You’ve had a successful career as a TV actor. How did you go from there to becoming Mr. World 2015?
Acting has always been my passion. The last show I did was Mahabharat in which I played the 125-year-old blind king Dhritarashtra. To look convincing I had to put on a lot of weight and I got so into the character that it became a part of my personality. I even started standing and walking like a king in day-to-day life. It was very evident on screen also in all the roles I portrayed thereafter. I had to break that image and that could have happened only if I transformed how I looked. So I started training with my friend Rohit Shetty, who is a professional body builder. Slowly I started seeing a transformation and around that time someone suggested I participate in the Bodypower Expo. Entertaining people is something I have always loved plus it was an opportunity to see where I stood compared to others in terms of my newly acquired physique. So I immediately said yes. I got an amazing response from none other than Kris Gethin. It was very inspiring and that’s when I started believing I could take it up professionally and compete at an international level.
- What was your training and diet like while preparing for Mr World?
In the fitness physique category you get 90 seconds to perform a routine and you’re judged on your flexibility, agility, expressions and how shredded your body is. I used to do empty stomach cardio in the morning, followed by weight training in the afternoon and a 30-minute cardio session in the evening. I used to keep changing my training style. On some days I did heavy weights and low reps while on other days I did high reps with light weights. I used to do what’s called slow motion training, where you do the repetitions very slowly. Mostly athletes competing in the Olympics do this. Before Mr World I was very stiff and I knew I had to work on my flexibility to win the title. So to work on that I hired a gymnast who taught me how to do backflips, handstands and somersaults.Before Mr World I wasn’t very particular about my diet. I was addicted to junk food. When I started training I went from a high carb to a very low carb and high protein diet. I was surviving on eggs, chicken and vegetables. I was eating 40 egg whites and 1.5 kilos of chicken everyday. And to get the exact look that I wanted I cut out my water intake for about 24 hours before the competition and just one hour before getting on stage I started loading on sweet potato, Nutella and chocolate sauce. It makes your muscles look fuller and bigger and at the same time gives you that shredded look.
- Fitness modelling is a profession that requires a lot of dedication and Discipline. Where do you get your motivation from on days you feel down and out?
For me it’s all about believing in yourself and channelizing your energies in the right direction.
I faced a lot of challenges while training for Mr. World. I was going through a financial downfall and no one was there to support me except my dad. I put in all my savings into my training and my diet. I was spending a lac a month just on eggs and chicken. At the same time I was also going through a bad phase in my personal life. But the biggest set back was when two weeks before the competition I injured my foot while doing a backflip. So I was almost broke, depressed and injured but I believed in myself and that’s what kept me going. I used to train on a wheelchair, with multiple bandages around my leg. All this just made me want to train harder! And of course, I was going to represent India. That itself was a big motivating factor. When life knocks you down, you can either give up or stand back up and fight harder than ever before.
- Is it possible to excel in this field without the use of performance enhancement substances?
When you’re competing professionally your goal is to win at any cost. And you’re up against some of the best athletes in the world and all of them use performance enhancement substances. Without using performance enhancers you can attain a basic physique but to reach a level where you can compete is not possible. However, it’s extremely important to educate yourself and you must use them only under expert supervision. Also, you have to train even harder when you take performance enhancers. It’s not a magic pill that you can just gulp down at night and wake up with a shredded body. And once the competition is over you should stop everything go back to your regular diet.
- Three fitness tips you want to share.
Do cardio on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. This way you will burn fat faster. If you’re hungry have a couple of almonds and drink a little water.
Second, avoid eating carbs in the evening and at night. Your metabolism slows down in the evening so chances of carbs getting deposited as fat in your body are high. Stick to high protein meals at night.
Third, train your abs and obliques every alternate day. And do not use weights when you’re doing side-bending exercises for your obliques. If you use weights the muscles around your waist will look fuller.
- Have you measured your biceps recently?
When I was competing my biceps were 16.5 inches and now they are 18 inches. That’s because you tend to become slightly bigger during off-season because you’re not strict about what you eat.
- What is your best bench press so far?
I have never trained to lift very heavy. The heaviest I have gone so far is about 250 kilos.
- One piece of advice to the upcoming fitness models and other fitness professionals.
It’s not just about your physique. It’s also about the way you present yourself. You will go through a lot of pain and will be constantly agitated because of the diet but don’t let it show on your face. Just be confident, go on stage and flirt with the camera.