Fit & Fa­mous

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS - HARSHA AD­VANI

Gul Panag re­veals her ad­ven­tur­ous sand fit­ness-con­scious side…

Un­like any other Bol­ly­wood celebrity, Gul Panag is known to be a free-spir­ited per­son. She rides bikes, climbs moun­tains, goes white-wa­ter raft­ing, drives from Mum­bai to Leh (on va­ca­tion), shoots ri­fles, runs marathons, flies a plane, has trav­elled to around 70 coun­tries, and the list is end­less… How does she man­age to pack in so much? In a free­wheel­ing in­ter­view with us, Gul tells us all about be­ing an ac­tor, en­tre­pre­neur, pro­ducer, pi­lot, au­to­mo­bile en­thu­si­ast, biker, ad­ven­turer and more… Read on, for some adren­a­line-driven in­sights...

FROM A MISS INDIA TO AN AD­VEN­TURER

“Win­ning the ‘Miss India’ pageant changed my life, and helped me live my dream… I was al­ways a multi-tal­ented and multi-faceted child, and this I would say was cour­tesy my army up­bring­ing. Grow­ing up, my goal was clear - to do ev­ery­thing in life! “I was never into mod­el­ling in col­lege, but when I saw the ‘Miss India’ pageant on TV, I thought I should give it a shot. I thought it would give me the op­por­tu­nity to ac­com­plish my goal - I could travel the world, make a dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives, and be a dif­fer­ent per­son ev­ery sin­gle day (as an ac­tor). And it so hap­pened that I ac­tu­ally won the pageant!

“I started my ad­ven­tur­ous jour­ney us­ing my crown as a plat­form to have ev­ery­thing that I have in my life to­day. The gen­eral per­cep­tion af­ter win­ning the crown is that you get into Bol­ly­wood, but that’s only one as­pect of win­ning. I too be­came an ac­tor but be­com­ing an ac­tor was not the end for me. It was an open­ing to big­ger things in my life. “My act­ing plat­form helped me pur­sue my love for trav­el­ling and go­ing on ad­ven­tur­ous trips, all of which to­day have be­come work op­por­tu­ni­ties for me.”

AL­WAYS FIT­NESS-DRIVEN

“But what has re­mained con­stant right from the be­gin­ning has been my ap­proach to­wards fit­ness. I have not lost weight just to get into a bikini for a movie, nor have I gained any for that mat­ter. A lot of peo­ple work out rig­or­ously and do heavy work­outs, but are not reg­u­lar. But I be­lieve it’s con­sis­tency that shows pos­i­tive re­sults. “Even to­day, my fit­ness rou­tine mostly in­cludes a game of ten­nis, run­ning or swim­ming. The rou­tine is not fixed but the com­mit­ment to work out ev­ery day is fixed. And what­ever I do, I in­cor­po­rate en­durance and strength train­ing in it. “Even when I am trav­el­ling, I make sure I in­cor­po­rate ex­er­cise in my rou­tine. When I am at air­ports, I never take the moving walk-ways, I al­ways pre­fer to walk. Peo­ple usu­ally com­plain about the long walks but I welcome them, be­cause if it’s a 15-minute walk from my air­craft to the ter­mi­nal, then one quar­ter of my day’s goal of move­ment is al­ready achieved. We should find ways to in­cor­po­rate ex­er­cise in our day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties, rather than avoid it. “Look­ing good is a very small as­pect of ex­er­cise, the main rea­son is longevity. The rea­son we should stay healthy is that even when we turn 65 years, we should have a body that is as func­tional as it can be.”

FIT­NESS IN­CLUDES DIET TOO

“An­other part of be­ing fit is be­ing con­sis­tent about what you eat be­cause diet is a ma­jor as­pect of be­ing healthy. I never fol­low a diet rou­tine. I eat all kinds of food, just that I di­vide it into nu­tri­tion and in­dul­gence. We all know that nu­tri­tion is home-cooked food or fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles. When you are not eat­ing this, ev­ery­thing else is in­dul­gence, or emo­tional sup­port food. “I con­sider my body a ma­chine I need to keep full with the right kind of fuel. A samosa can never re­place the value of dal and sabji. Di­ets don’t work. You just have to re­alise that the main pur­pose of food is nu­tri­tion. Once in a while if there is some garbage in your body, it’s fine, but if you put in garbage daily, think of what will hap­pen?”

RUN­NING TO BE FIT

“Run­ning marathons have also been part of my fit­ness ap­proach; they were never a fash­ion state­ment. I started run­ning in Pinkathon with Milind

So­man to help and sup­port Milind launch it. “But I be­lieve it’s very im­por­tant for ev­ery woman to fo­cus more on her health and fit­ness. Women pri­ori­tise the health of their fam­ily and

DIG­I­TAL DE­TOX IS IM­POR­TANT

“My day starts at 6.30 a.m by writ­ing in my diary ev­ery­thing that is to be ac­com­plished for the day. I plan my strate­gies, post which I go for my ex­er­cise. I do not waste time on smart­phones and What­sApp. “I go on a dig­i­tal de­tox very of­ten. At least once or twice a month, when I visit my farms, I dis­con­nect from my gad­gets and re­ju­ve­nate my­self. It may be hard for peo­ple to be dis­con­nected like this but I am not ad­dicted to my phone. “To­day, we are over-com­mu­ni­cat­ing and are over-stressed. There are peo­ple who send me an email, then a mes­sage and a What­sApp, in a span of half-an-hour, fol­low­ing up on the email sent just 30 min­utes back. Us­ing our time smartly is some­thing we all need to un­der­stand, be­cause at the end of the day we all are multi-taskers and have a lot to com­plete daily. And I be­lieve liv­ing a fit life­style helps in achiev­ing that.”

chil­dren, but not their own. When women are fit­ter, they are more pro­duc­tive, can take bet­ter de­ci­sions and be­come more proac­tive.”

FLY­ING HIGH

When Gul posted her pics of fly­ing a plane, it broke the in­ter­net. But it also proved that if you want to achieve some­thing, no one can stop you…

“I al­ways wanted to fly; it was on my wish list. I took fly­ing

classes and worked very hard. My hus­band gave me his full sup­port. And to­day, I am a hobby pi­lot. Of course, I have a PPL (Pri­vate Pi­lot Li­cense) which means I can only fly for my­self and not charge for my ser­vices or fly with any air­line. “So as of now, I rent a plane when I want to fly, and I take out a cou­ple of hours ev­ery month to fly. It makes me feel amaz­ing and this is some­thing that I re­ally en­joy. Very soon, I plan to pur­chase a sin­gle en­gine plane with my hobby pi­lot friends.”

SPEEDING AWAY

(on be­ing the first woman to drive the Formula E car) “I have al­ways been into sports cars and have driven an elec­tric car for around two-anda-half years now. Re­cently, I was in­vited by the Mahindra Rac­ing Formula E Team to train and drive on their host track where they prac­tice with those cars. The ex­pe­ri­ence was amaz­ing, and I drove at a speed of 280 kms per hour. “I have al­ways been an au­to­mo­biles en­thu­si­ast and I have just loved that ex­pe­ri­ence. Again, to ride a sports car, a per­son needs an ex­tremely fit body and the heart of a marathon run­ner.”

ON TURN­ING A FIT­NESS EN­TRE­PRE­NEUR

“The idea to start a com­pany ac­tu­ally came up be­cause of so­cial me­dia. My con­sis­tent ap­proach to­wards fit­ness, over the years, has made me an ad­vo­cate of fit­ness to­day. And, be­cause of who I was, when I would post my work­out im­ages, peo­ple would start con­tact­ing me. To­day, I have a very loyal and fit­ness-fo­cused com­mu­nity on so­cial me­dia. And that’s how the idea gen­er­ated - if I can help other peo­ple to get up and pur­sue fit­ness, then I can do much more. “Th­ese peo­ple would ask me why I didn’t launch a DVD, but I felt watch­ing a DVD was go­ing out of your way to watch and do some­thing. I wanted a so­lu­tion on the mo­bile de­vice, which is al­ways handy. Gourav Jaswal, founder, Mo­bi­efit, and I came to­gether to start a com­pany with many fit­ness apps, be­cause one app can­not do jus­tice to all body types or fit­ness en­thu­si­asts. We came up with Mo­bi­efit to cater to dif­fer­ent kinds of peo­ple.”

PO­LIT­I­CAL DREAMS

“I was very par­tic­u­lar that when I looked back in life, I wanted to make sure that I made a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety. Ev­ery­one com­plains about all that is wrong in so­ci­ety, I didn’t want to be one of those who just tweet and rant. I am very po­lit­i­cally com­mit­ted, and I be­lieve it’s im­por­tant to be heard and I think I am for­tu­nate enough to be in a po­si­tion to do that. “And though I lost an elec­tion, I do not see it as a fail­ure. To fight an elec­tion with a start-up party (AAP) with no in­fra­struc­ture and walk away with one-fourth of the votes was a very big achieve­ment. The amount I learnt in that elec­tion I could have never learnt with an es­tab­lished party.”

MAR­RIAGE MANTRAS

Gul, how­ever, has al­ways man­aged to keep her per­sonal life pri­vate and away from the eyes of me­dia - be it her wedding en­try on a bike or any pa­parazzi pic­tures with hubby Rishi At­tari… “Even the me­dia re­spects the fact

that we like to keep our per­sonal life pri­vate. If you are in show­biz in India, then your per­sonal life is un­der scru­tiny but if you want to keep it pri­vate, you can. “Of course, as far as my fit­ness and health goals are con­cerned, I be­lieve that hav­ing a sup­port­ive part­ner is very im­por­tant for a happy re­la­tion­ship. And what makes my jour­ney so com­fort­able is my part­ner’s sup­port. Staying healthy might feel like a one-per­son job but it’s only pos­si­ble if your part­ner sup­ports you, be­cause I have seen peo­ple who want to be healthy but their part­ners forc­ing them to in­dulge (diet wise), be­cause of which no­body ends up be­ing fit. “I feel it’s very im­por­tant to have a part­ner who un­der­stands the health choices you make, and your vi­sions in life. Both of us are par­tic­u­lar about mak­ing sure that we are healthy in the years to come. “Ev­ery­one has those days when you just don’t want to ex­er­cise or do any­thing, but he pushes me say­ing some ex­er­cise is al­ways bet­ter than noth­ing. I am blessed as my fit­ness strug­gle is un­der­stood by him. “Look­ing back, I can­not re­call a sin­gle fail­ure in my life, be­cause I haven’t seen any per­son­ally. So I would only say that my jour­ney is full of suc­cesses.”

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