By Aarti Kapur Singh
He is a model, actor, owner of a soccer club, but the role John Abraham cherishes the most is that of a fitness icon. “I am more of a fitness fan, than an icon. But if my commitment to fitness motivates people, I am happy with that too!” quips John.
John Abraham’s body type is ecto-mesomorph, which means he fluctuates between lean and muscular. Ecto-mesomorphs mostly tend to have broad shoulders, narrow waists, ankles and wrists, and a “V” shape of the torso. “Initially I was rather lean and had to work very hard to become muscular, and most importantly, maintain it,” reveals the actor, adding, “The most challenging part of my body type is that it is easy to gain weight on the joints rather than the muscles, and that means I have to constantly keep working out or be involved in physical exercise to help my muscles put on the bulk, rather than other parts of my body.”
John firmly believes fad diets don’t work and says, “What works is burning calories, not controlling them. So eat right and eat well. Starving only makes you bloat up.”
The hunky actor has good advice for us. “There are three main aspects to being fit – good food, good sleep and good routine. A lot of us have a benchmark for how well-toned we must be. I had a very high benchmark, and therefore I work myself that much harder,” he confesses.
John also believes that there are no shortcuts to success and working out is the benchmark of having a good physique. He says he has never indulged in growth hormones or steroids, and doesn’t want others to do it either. “The use of unnatural substances is unacceptable in getting a body. Not only is it not right, it could have serious side effects like hair loss, high blood pressure, mood swings, loss of libido and enlarged glands. Stay away from the short cuts.” he warns, while adding, ” I take protein supplements or multi-vitamins to recover and heal muscles, but that is about it.”
What you eat is what you are. And this adage holds true for John as well, who gives equal importance to eating right and working out in achieving an ideal body that is fit. “I burn about 5000 calories per day and consume a lot of high protein and carbs. I begin my day with a cup of green tea or milk before hitting the gym. My breakfast comprises of 4 egg whites or a potato or sweet potato and some brown bread to fulfil the carb intake. Post my workout, I have the whites of about 6 eggs with a protein shake,” reveals John.
For lunch, John prefers traditional and simple meals. “My lunch usually comprises two chapattis made of wheat flour, yellow dal, spinach and some stir fried vegetables,” he admits.
John also confesses to continuous munching on something, but he ensures that it is light and healthy. “For the kind of action and work I do, I need to energise my system every couple of hours. When you are active, it is okay to munch on something in order to give you enough energy and keep your metabolism active. A handful of almonds, or a banana, or a glass of fruit juice are my favourite snacks,” he says.
Overall, John’s diet consists of 50% protein, 20% carbohydrates, 20% fibre, 10% anti-oxidants and essential fats. Discipline is also paramount to being fit. John does not eat carbs after 5 in the evening and ensures he has his dinner by 8pm.
Talking of working out, John’s schedule involves working on two body parts a day – a big muscle followed by a small muscle. “For instance, I work out chest and triceps one day and shoulder and biceps, the other. Legs are worked out twice a week. I also make sure I sun for about 20 minutes after each exercise. For those that want to bulk up and build muscle size, the way to go is to do weights first and then do cardio at the end. You get a much better endurance training effect from running after lifting weights,” he advises.
Sounds like a great plan, any takers?
John’s workout plan
Chest – Flat bench press, incline dumbbell press, decline pull over, cable cross over
Shoulder – Barbell shoulder press, dumbbell Arnold press, dumbbell lateral raise, front raise
Biceps – Barbell curl, dumbbell alternate bicep curl, concentration curls
Triceps – Dumbbell tricep kickback, close grip bench press, cable pushdown
Forearms – Barbell wrist curl, palms down dumbbell wrist curl
Back – Barbell dead lift, pull ups, wide grip lat pull down, cable seated row, one arm dumbbell row
Legs – Barbell front squat, leg press, seated leg curl, calf press, leg extension
Cardio – treadmill running & walking
Abs – Exercise ball reverse crunch, hanging leg raise, plank, leg raise.