Want to look like Milind Soman?
Six tried and tested tips for getting fit and looking good.
He’s impossibly good looking, but his bigger achievement is how he’s transitioned from handsome hunk and poster child for countless advertisements to fit-and-handsome middle aged actor-producer-entrepreneur. There’s no tell tale beer belly, flaccid muscles and middle age spread. Milind Soman is closer to 50 but looks 25! So what’s his secret youth elixir?
Find the time
Talk to many overweight, unfit men and you’ll be regaled by stories of how they were athletes in their youth. But unlike them Soman never gave up his healthy habits, key to staying fit in your 30s, 40s and beyond. A national level swimmer when he was younger Soman discovered running in his 20s. Today, at 48, he finds the time to run at least twice a week. And there in lays the key to fitness. Most men complain they are over stretched (“No time to exercise yaar”) yet it doesn’t stop them from sprawling in front of the TV for hours. There’s a logical disconnect here; if fitness is a priority, you just have to make the time.
Find your calling
Soman says pounding the treadmill doesn’t equal fitness. In an interview he once said, “If you’re into building biceps, do weight training for at least an hour-and-a-half every day.”On the other hand if you’re looking to get fit, aerobics or circuit training is great for building stamina. Meanwhile, the best way to unclutter your mind after a tough work day is a long brisk walk in the neighborhood garden. Learn to mix it up to find your true calling like Soman did because you’ll never stick with something you don’t like. After all, it’s got be fun and enjoyable for you to want to keep doing it.
There’s no magic bullet
According to Soman that there’s no magic mantra to fitness; “I try and eat healthy and stay active,” he says. As in life there are no quick fixes for success. Liposuction, hot yoga, diet pills, meal replacement smoothies, none of them work long term, and we’re not even talking about the harm they do to your body. Slow and steady wins the race.You want results? Be prepared to slog, and above all, learn to enjoy the journey.
Set yourself challenges
If jogging gives you a high, join a group that runs. Marathon man Soman regularly joins a group of runners who egg each other on. He says his years asa competitive sportsperson, participating in swimming and running competitions helped him to focus and work towards his goals. “New challenges spur me on and I was determined to try the full marathon this year,” he says of his 42 km full marathon earlier this year. Studies show that people who set themselves new challenges—from lifting more weight, doing more reps or running farther—keep improving their fitness levels and stamina.
Fuel up right
Soman doesn’t follow any particular diet. He eats everything but in moderation. “I only avoid cheese and eggs because they don’t suit me. I’m not fond of sweets but love chocolates. I also drink plenty of water. While Soman eats anything from vada pav and biryani to burgers and Chinese food, he enjoys simple Maharashtrian fare: roti, rice vegetable, daal, and curd. His dinner is much the same but ideally long before bedtime so that it has ample time to be digested.
You probably already know it’s impossible to out train a bad diet. Eating fried, fatty foods regularly forces your digestion to work harder, making you feel sluggish. Indulging regularly will lead to higher body fat and less energy. So watch your calorie intake and steer clear of pushy trainers who want you to glug protein smoothies. A high protein diet isn’t necessary. In fact unprocessed carbs—thinks oats, millet, jowar, bajra and brown rice—are far more beneficial for athletic performance.
Like Soman, keep going for as long as you can. Of course in your 50s and 60s you might want to slow things down a bit, do less intensive workouts, but never let age—or lack of time—be a deterrent. Always put fitness right up there with all the things you can’t do without, and you’ll soon find you’re better at everything you try your hand at.