Posted On Friday, April 20, 2012 at 02:42:31 AM
|Maharashtra Shree Suhas Khamkar will lead the state’s challenge in the Mr India event
Bodybuilding and fitness for now is akin to what fashion industry was for India in the early 90’s. The trend is clearly evident after India got opportunities to host some of the biggest competitions of world level significance. With Indian athletes making their presence felt at the world level, Suhas Khamkar can arguably be called the torchbearer for the sport in the country.
Khamkar, who shifted his base to Mumbai eight years ago, is the first Indian to win Mr Asia title in Bahrain and is presently ranked 6th in the world in the under-80 kg weight category. The 31-year old athlete will lead the state team in the 52nd Mr India Championship at Sanas Ground on Friday. In a career spanning 16 years, the Kolhapur muscleman spoke to Pune Mirror about the sudden boom in the sport.
• What is the change in bodybuilding as a sport compared to the era you started it professionally?
Bodybuilding has witnessed major changes in the last three-four years due to various competitions held in the country. Now, we see Indian bodybuilders like Gautam Kalita, Hiralal Singh, Laxman Reddy and myself doing well at the international level. The sport is in its golden period with more and more awareness about the right kind of diet, supplements and proper training. More youngsters are attracted towards fitness and I think the sport will grow even more in future.
• Last year, Mr Universe was held in Mumbai and now Mr Olympia will be organised this year end. Seeing India as a potential market, do you think it is a marketing gimmick by supplement companies to some level to get international competitions in the country?
Bodybuilding and supplements are inter-related and no doubt India is a big potential market for supplement companies. Like any other business strategy in other industry, we cannot rule out that it cud a strategy of these supplement giants to promote the sport in the county. But I also believe that it is helpful in the development of bodybuilding in India as Indian athletes are getting exposure to international level competitions.
• Protein is said to be vital for bodybuilding. What is your take on more and more youngsters driven towards protein supplement?
It is true, Protein is extremely important in building muscles and protein shakes (supplements) are the best way to increase one’s protein intake as they are easy to make and easy to carry. One scoop of supplement is equivalent to more than 10 egg-whites. However, it is important to consult a dietician expert and take the best brand of protein suitable to one’s body. Bodybuilding is not only about protein supplements.
I eat more than 35 egg-whites, 2kg chicken and fish, coconut water and a dozen oranges and lime daily. I take supplements to raise my protein intake which is vital in professional bodybuilding. Beginners in the gym, should avoid supplements till the time they understand their body and learn the art of weight training. For budding bodybuilders, dedication, commitment and patience holds the key. One should not attempt for faster results because in the process, you might damage your body.
• Bodybuilding is an expensive sport. How can a common man from a economically weak background sustain?
Bodybuilding is made an expensive sport by the bodybuilders themselves. Earlier, bodybuilders used to have natural foods but now because of competition and the availability of supplements one opts for costly supplements instead of solid meals. Even, I am from a middle class family and my father was a mill worker. I started taking supplements once I had the income for it.
• What is your workout routine?
I workout for eight hours everyday devoting 3.5 hours to weight training in the morning and evening. One hour, I devote to stretching. I make changes in my routine devoting more time to cardio or weight training depending on my on and off-season schedule.
• What will be your advice to fitness freaks and budding bodybuilders?
According to me, fitness enthusiasts who do not want to try their hand in bodybuilding can do without costly supplements. When I started, there were no supplements and we depended on natural foods. It is important to decide on your priorities and set your goals accordingly.