The holidays bring lots of cheer, delicious 😋 food and often consequently weight gain. We needed some inspiration for leading a healthier lifestyle, so we at The Chai Press looked to Amir Khan. In his several decades in Bollywood, Amir Khan has had some pretty incredible transformations. He has essentially become the Indian equivalent to Christian Bale. From Ghajini in 2008 to his most notable recent transformation for Dangal, a film based on the story of Mahavir Singh Phogat, Khan has stunned us with his incredible performance and realistic portrayal as a dad and a young wrestler. In Dangal, Khan transforms to tell the true story of a former wrestler-turned-father who trains his two daughters to become India’s first professional female wrestlers.
In order to prepare for this role, Khan initially had to gain approximately 65 pounds to represent Phogat as a father only to lose it again to depict a younger Phogat as a wrestler. During the course of five months Khan’s body fat percentage went from 40% to less than 10%! Naturally we set out to find out specifics of his diet & exercise regimen.
Initially to prepare for this role, Amir Khan gained 65 pounds. Although he throughly enjoyed himself (eating pretty much anything he wanted), he did note that this was actually pretty difficult for him. “Putting on the weight was fun as I could eat and drink whatever I wanted. I had a ball, I have to say but it was uncomfortable.”
When it came time to lose the weight, Khan really struggled. His food habits were causing lethargy, shortness of breath and general lack of stamina while exercising. The path to 150 pounds was not easy, but he documented the process so that others could learn from it.
Khan notes first that this weight loss was extremely regimented. He had solicited the help of a dietician and doctors, to help determine his diet based on his specific body. According to Khan, this helps tailor their recommendations based on “other health issues like thyroid, diabetes, heart problems, cholesterol, high BP, or anything else, then a good doctor will, through the diet, address your health issues if any AND reduce your weight.” He also noted how underrated and overlooked rest can be when trying to reach health goals.
Besides this, Khan also really refutes the idea that eating less can help sustained weight loss. He relates that in his personal experience, eating less results in his body entering “famine mode” where fat gets stored rather than used thereby increasing weight. For Dangal, Khan’s diet included eating small “correct” meals every hour to help fuel his metabolism for his workouts and prevent energy crashes.
Water, water, water. Khan stressed how important drinking plenty of water can be in weight loss. During the filming of Dangal, Khan drank 3-4 liters (about a gallon) of water a day which helped clean, replenish and renew his body & muscles. Additionally, drinking water can help control and stabilize one’s appetite.
WHAT KHAN REALLY ATE
Khan’s meals were extremely regimented – both timely and macro focused. During this time, Khan consumed 8 meals beginning early in the morning at 4AM and continuing every 2 hours until 6PM. His 9th and final meal occurred at 7PM to allow him plenty of time to digest before sleeping. His exact meal plan is below:
MEAL 1: 1 whole egg omelette with onions, tomatoes, cilantro and green chilies
MEAL 2: 1 protein shake
MEAL 3: 150 grams of fruit (no banana allowed)
MEAL 4: 50 grams poha with onions, tomatoes, cilantro and green chilies
MEAL 5: 1 slice of bread and 150 grams of tuna
MEAL 6: 100 grams of two different vegetables each, 50 grams of rice, 15 grams of dal, 200 grams of yogurt
MEAL 7: 150 grams of fruit (no banana allowed)
MEAL 8: 1 slice of bread and 150 grams of tuna
MEAL 9: 100 grams of two different vegetables each, 50 grams of rice, 15 grams of dal, 200 grams of yogurt
HIS EXERCISE ROUTINE
For the filming of Dangal, Khan’s exercise routine was extensive. As soon as he woke up, Amir Khan would do 45 minutes of cardio on an empty stomach. This included swimming, tennis, or running/jogging on a treadmill. After two meals, Khan continued his daily exercises with weight training. Later the same evening he would follow up with light cardio. Khan’s trainer for Dangal, Rakesh Udiyar, estimated that Khan was collectively working out about 4 hours a day.
Khan’s weight training schedule was as follows:
Day 1: Legs
Day 2: Shoulders
Day 3: Back
Day 4: Chest
Day 5: Small Muscle groups
During this schedule, Khan was using heavy weights (290 – 375 lbs) for most of his major muscle group exercises (i.e. bench pressing & deadlifts). Within five months of this program, Amir Khan lost the additional weight and drastically decreased his body fat percentage from 40% to 10%!
THE MOST IMPORTANT PRACTICE TO LOSING THE WEIGHT
Positivity. Khan noted just how hard and how far gone he felt after gaining the 65 pounds the negativity very often would be half the battle. “When I started, I thought I won’t be able to do it – with 97 kilos and 38% body fat. There were times when I thought it was a mistake and to gave up,” but constantly trying to stay positive really helped Khan power through each day.
SUGGESTIONS TO OTHERS
Rakesh Udiyar, Khan’s trainer for Dangal, notes that this regimen is unrealistic for most since we can’t afford to work out 4 hours a day. Instead he suggests for similar weight loss results, the average person “can accomplish the same in a year by just doing a 45-minutes of empty stomach cardio in the morning before going to work and weight training in the evening after work” while implementing Amir Khan’s diet above.
Please note to always consult with your doctor, dietitian, and/or nutritionist before embarking on an extreme diet or exercise regimen like the Amir Khan’s above. We hope this helps anyone else that is looking for inspiration. Here’s to working off those extra holiday pounds. 👊🏽 💪🏽