New Delhi: There is no denying that Taapsee Pannu is one of the fittest actors in B-Town. But behind that lean physique goes tremendous effort to stay active and eat in a controlled way. It is not surprising when the actor shared that she did not take any steroids to build an athletic body for her role in Rashmi Rocket, and instead had to “overcome a bad metabolism.”
Detailing the same is Yuktahar (available in audio format on Audible), a book by celebrity nutritionist Munmun Ganeriwal which mentions Taapsee’s exemplary physical transformation journey along with a “10-week holistic program that encourages a gut balancing lifestyle, consisting of season-wise meal plans, recipes, exercise routines, sleep hygiene tips, and yoga practice”, Munmun told indianexpress.com.
In a candid chat with this outlet, Pannu, who acted in films like Thappad and Pink opened up about her fitness journey, diet secrets, favourite meals, and fitness. Edited excerpts below:
What comprises a perfect diet?
Something that tastes good and digests quickly. I prefer something that doesn’t make me put on weight unnecessarily, even when I’m working out.
What is your fitness mantra?
I prefer a combination of a good diet and exercise because I’ve always been an active person. I do not enjoy sitting at one place for a very long time. Even as a child, I was more of an outdoor person who loved to play different kinds of sports; hence, I like the combination of both.
Amid your hectic schedule how do you make sure to eat good and healthy food?
First of all, nothing happens without prioritising yourself. Jobs will come and go but if you are not really in the best of your health, I don’t think you can enjoy all that money that you’re going to make. That being said, I don’t really think that the kind of diet plans I’ve ever been given have been that difficult to maintain as they are basic, comprising dal, roti, and sabzi; but instead of aate hi roti, I have one made from jowar. I also have things like biryani, dahi, and kichdi, smoothies with fruits or honey, and roasted paneer with salt and pepper, which are rather easy to make.
Hence, it’s not been a challenge and I have been able to easily follow it for years now. But, it it was something that was adding stress and pressure to my work, which is already so all-over-the-place all the time, I would not have been able to sustain it. So, I believe a healthy and good diet is very easily maintainable if you want to make the effort of keeping yourself fit.
Do you follow the same diet when you have late-night shoots?
The only time when I get stressed about my food is when I have late night shoots — which I hate. Not being a late-night person, I don’t really enjoy eating (late) at night. I sleep by 10 o’clock; so when I have to work from 6 pm to 6 am, I usually have small things to eat which get digested quickly and give me instant energy — like smoothies, paneer, and some kind of soup.
Do you believe in cheat days? If yes, what is your go-to snack on such days?
My diet plan has no cheat days as it has everything in it. It has space for chole bhature, kachori, and gelato ice cream to cakes, even though I do not have a sweet tooth. I also have malai gehwar whenever I go to Jaipur. So, it is just about when and how much you are eating; one should not go overboard.
I’ve never avoided anything in terms of food, but having said that, you cannot eat such food every day. So choosing one day in a week to savour your taste buds is perfectly fine.
What is your favorite meal of the day and why?
I really enjoy a full-fledged lunch because I can have whatever I want — from pav bhaji, chole bhature to dosa-sambhar, with least restrictions.
Your go-to healthy snack?
I have really developed a fondness for ghee-roasted makhanas sprinkled with salt and pepper.
How would you describe your transformation journey for Rashmi Rocket, and what are the challenges you have faced?
It was a very ‘by the book’ process. Since I had very less time to build my body for Rashmi Rocket, I didn’t have the option to slack. I did not want to take any steroids to fasten the process; so I had to push myself harder at the gym. Another difficulty I faced at the time of shooting in Haridwar was that there you cannot have non-vegetarian food so I had to get all the protein required to build my muscles from vegetarian food. Also, I rectified my metabolism and built the kind of muscles I did for Rashmi Rocket without taking any steroids.
Also, I had to get up at about five o’clock in the morning to hit the gym or the track at six. After two hours of workout I had to be ready on set by 9 o’clock, from where I got free at 9 pm leaving one hour to go back, unwind, freshen up and sleep because otherwise, my body would not have recovered to be ready again to do that kind of rigorous training. So, everything was too rationed—including my time.
What does your fitness routine look like?
I work out six days a week which I have spaced it out in the sense that I don’t do everything at once. For instance, one day I will only do lower body exercises, and the other day I will only do upper body moves. I set aside one day for just core and cardio and then I repeat that three-day plan for the next three days. I have tried to divide it so that it’s not doesn’t overstress me.
Any health tips you swear by?
When people ask me about maintaining a healthy lifestyle apart from doing physical activity, I tell them that you have to sleep. I love sleeping for eight hours as it really helps me restart my day. Also, don’t eat too late at night, eat your last meal by 7 pm. Also, do basic things like staying active, eating your food on time and have a good eight-hour sleep.
How do you motivate yourself on days you don’t want to work out or eat healthy?
See, it’s not necessary to work out every day. Also, you must listen to your body. But when I am not able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I motivate myself by changing my mood and being more positive, optimistic, excited, and active. I do this because it really changes the way I feel from inside and that helps in taking away the negative feeling.