A SECRET weapon most celebrities use is a good personal trainer to help keep them fit, healthy and ready to take on demanding challenges.
One of the unsung heroes in Bollywood who trains stars like Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Alia Bhatt, Katrina Kaif, Gurmeet Chaudhary and Salman Khan is Rakesh Yadav. The martial arts expert and fitness trainer has helped stars shine brighter with his incredible skills, which has also included TV actors like Kushal Tandon and Namit Paul.
Eastern Eye caught up with Rakesh Yadav to talk about health, fitness, working with celebrities and tips for beginners.
What first connected you to fitness? As a youngster, I was unwell most of the time, so my doctor suggested exercises and then my dad made me join karate classes. Later, I started connecting to all other physical activities, since the age of eight.
What led you towards working with celebrities? I continued learning every other form of martial art and exercise. I practised regularly and one day Tiger Shroff noticed me doing the same on Juhu beach and we connected. After that, I slowly and steadily started connecting with other artists.
Which star has been the most enjoyable to work with? I enjoy working with Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani the most because my bonding with them has been great till now. We have a lot of fun with training, but they work hard and it feels good.
Do you have to forget that they are stars and be strict when working with them? I have been strict with most stars. When a person is willing to learn, I have to teach them and forget the person is a star. I treat everyone like a student. I am lucky because they learn with discipline and work hard.
Is there any stunt you enjoy the most? Martial arts known as Parkour has become popular in India. I am enjoying it a lot as it involves jumping from heights, running continuously and climbing without a break. It’s an art which is supposed to be done while running, so it’s fun to do. I also love gymnastics a lot.
Will you give us a fitness tip? Firstly, I would like to tell everyone to make time for health and fitness in their hectic schedules, even if it’s only an hour to train in the gym or at home. Running is an important exercise and should be done regularly. If you can’t run, then jog or walk. Make sure you stretch and don’t be afraid to train with weights.
A tip for a beginner… I would suggest flexibility exercises, having the correct technique and following a regular regime. There are plenty of tips on YouTube.
How much is fitness about the mind? Mind and physical fitness are equally important. If one is physically unfit, they would feel inactive. If anyone is mentally unfit, they won’t be able to exercise. So both are relatively attached to one another. Mental peace and a physically active body are equally important, so things like yoga and meditation can keep the mind and soul calm. Running for 20 minutes can make a big difference. Eating healthy and nutritious food will also help the mind.
What are your future plans? I want to work as an action choreographer for films. If I get an opportunity, I would want to work as an actor too, because since childhood I have had an interest in it.
What inspires you? I have always loved Chinese martial arts since childhood and started my training watching videos of Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, as I felt that if they can do it, so can I. Both of them have been my motivation and inspiration.
Why do you love your work? My dad wanted me to work in an office or do engineering, but I love to work with freedom. I can work how I want, and it also allows me to travel to different places. I spend time with actors, enjoy what I do and make a difference.