Bollywood Body Transformations: How Bodybuilding Trends led to Unhealthy Gym Trends

By Neha Jha

Mar 6, 2018

Bollywood has put a lot of focus on fitness, bodybuilding and “getting in shape” leading to Body Transformations. While most yesteryear actors had natural hunky body types, both male and female actors these days need to fit into a certain mold, either for a role in a film or to get films. Things have changed drastically from the golden age to the current crop where, apparently, body image matters more than acting skills.


Bodybuilding Trend




Building body strength and attain a solid physique is, by all means, a healthy practice. However, it has to come with individual preparedness and body types. While actors like Dharmendra had natural stamina sans gym to stay fit, his son Sunny Deol did work out to get that physique. The 90s was when the bodybuilding trend began in Bollywood. Lean actors like Sanjay Dutt and Akshay Kumar too jumped on the bandwagon. And once Hrithik Roshan came in with his see-through top and abs in “Ek Pal Ka Jeena”, everything else was put to rest.




Today we see everyone, from SRK, Sunil Shetty, Jaaved Jaaferi and even Anil Kapoor slogging it out in gyms and trying to ace the fitness image. However, there is a thin line between being fit and resorting to extreme measures, like Randeep Hooda did or, more recently, Ranveer Singh had to do. He did not sport abs while playing Khilji, but the wrestling scene did require him to show a more relatable figure. It also forced him to eat a lot of protein with consumption of red meat.


Unhealthy gym trends




Many of these practices have an adverse impact on their health. Salman Khan was one of the first actors to sport chiseled body onscreen in his films. He continues to do that. That is his USP. However, the actor has complained of ailments related to health because of the same. Many actors like Kunal Kapoor, Randeep Hooda, and Aamir Khan went on stricter workout schedules to lose weight and then gain weight over the course of a few months. And that led to severe health problems for them. Rana Daggubatti, who had to work up a bodybuilder image for Bahubali was asked to lose it all for his next film The Ghazi Attack. When actors make these altering changes, they become more prone to injuries. Unfortunately, such unhealthy gym trends are on the rise.




Randeep Hooda’s nutritionist recalls the nightmare he turned into for his movie Sarabjit. In order to get into the body of a tortured prisoner, Randeep had to lose all his muscles and sustain on a completely low-calorie diet. The horse-loving actor would go for riding in spite of warnings. Though he did manage to look all starved onscreen and Sarabjit became one of his best performances, his health deteriorated. Randeep could not eat even after the shoots and his weight kept on decreasing. He had developed, what experts call an eating disorder very common in people these days, and had to be force fed. It was only after a month that Randeep Hooda was back to normal. His nutritionist swears she wouldn’t recommend that type of body change to anyone!


The Exceptions




Perhaps the only person who sticks to his inimitable style of fitness is our 90s favorite Milind Soman. He is more of an athlete and hence, is into cycling, swimming and running. No wonder he completed the Ironman Triathlon in Zurich. Milind Soman has never been to gyms! His workout is able and natural. The same goes for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who went to the gym only for 2 days during the shooting of Dhoom 2. Abhishek Bachchan recalls how he and Hrithik had to force her to go to the gym. But, the talented diva stopped after 2 days and sported that look with just eating right, something her hubby says is her habit.


At a time when body image and fitness are reaching supremely unhealthy levels, it is important to see where it takes our actors who work out with the right goals but risk far too much in the process. More than Bollywood, the society needs to adapt to the slogan – “To Each His Own” when it comes to bodybuilding.

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