Decoding Deepika Padukone's Fitness Regime | Exclusive - Farhan Dhalla

When it comes to the fittest female A-list Bollywood actor (and by fit, we don't mean thin. It clearly means being healthy, strong and agile) Deepika Padukone of those few female actors who leads the pack. With abs and shoulder cuts to die for, folks can't stop obsessing over her hot bod. The actress has been a national level badminton player and swears by regular physical exercises. Actors often change their exercise routine to suit the requirements for a role, especially if it demands a lot of physical exertion. We've all been treated to some stunning stills from Deepika's upcoming (and first) Hollywood films - xXx The Return of Xander Cage, and we can't stop going gaga over her sexy avatar in the film. While the actress began her preparations in Mumbai with trainer Yasmin Karachiwala, she also had to undergo special training during the shoot, for which her team zeroed in on a popular trainer based in Canada.

We recently came across videos of Deepika's workout regime and were quite blown away by her dedication (and that awesome-sauce routine). The man behind Deepika's transformation for her hollywood debut is none other than Farhan Dhalla, one of Canada's best fitness instructors. In the past, he has worked with some of the world's greatest athletes, including Canadian Olympians and other world class athletes, many of whom have won gold medals and are world record holders.  In an exclusive interview with Diary of a Dancebee, we got chatting with Farhan to understand Deepika's regime and quizzed him on all things fitness!

How did you come on board to train Deepika Padukone?
Deepika came to me as a referral from her trainer, Yasmin Karichiwala and my cousin Zeena Dhalla from Los Angeles. The two of the them together wrote a book in pilates titled “Sculpt and Shape - The Pilates Way” and are close friends. When Deepika was coming to Toronto, she inquired if either of them knew of any trainers in Toronto. Zeena suggested my name, as I’m not only a trainer, but also a former physiotherapist.  Everything fell into place after that. We had our first session with Deepika on April 1 and our last on May 20 in Toronto (for the film). Then, June 21-26 in Madrid (for IIFA).

What was the brief given to you for her look?

The focus wasn’t so much on the look, but the emphasis was really about helping Deepika with the physical demands in the scenes of the film. Deepika would describe to me what was required of her and then, I created a program to best prepare and optimize her performance. The benefits of this training secondarily resulted in her achieved physique. Though there were definitely no complaints about her results! 

What kind of changes were brought about in her regular exercise routine, for her look in the film?
Our primary focus was on active stability, endurance and timing. Active stability is where we create a joint that is strong and flexible. It is for joints to function through full range of motion. Endurance was important to allow her to work and function with sufficient energy and minimal fatigue. And timing also refers to how well a body is coordinated to carry out a task efficiently and effectively. Since she is also a dancer, I created exercises that were like choreography. This worked best in helping her connect to what we were doing. It really made me step out of my box and tap into my creative side. It’s also one of the reasons why I love what I do. Every client is different and you have to be able to treat each one as such.

Were there any changes in her diet during this period?
 My main concern with most clients is that they don’t eat enough food! But, Deepika's diet was pretty solid. So, we didn’t need to make any changes as such.

What was Deepika's exercise routine like?
A typical workout suggested by me begins with meditation and grounding exercise. We would then move on to mobility warm up exercises, in order to help her prepare for the workout. Deepika's workout in particular blended yoga, a bit of pilates (from physiotherapy principles), conditioning with weights, agility and dynamic exercises based on what she was shooting that day or week. Finally, some mediation to allow the body to assimilate and integrate the workout. 

How would you describe your experience of working with Deepika?
What I noticed most about Deepika is that she has a mind set and focus that is very similar if not better then many of the athletes I’ve worked with. Her ability to focus and deliver whatever I asked her to do was quite inspiring and motivational. She is an absolute joy and blessing to work with. 

The Dancebee

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Priya Adivarekar

Priya Adivarekar - Founder and Creative Director at Diary of a Dancebee. She is also a renowned Voice Actress and award winning artiste, with serious passion for dance. When not working round the clock, she can be seen reading, enjoying a movie-binge or listening to music.
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