Fatima Sana Shaikh talks about moulding her body as she jumps from being a wrestler in debut film Dangal to learning archery and sword fighting for Thugs Of Hindostan.
1. Routine, no routine
My sports training has been defined by my film choices, but, when I’m not on the job, my workout routine is based on things that excite me. I can’t do the same thing every day. Apart from functional training, I practice kick-boxing three times a week, and, on other days, dance. I don’t have a particular routine, even though I train regularly. I’ve stopped pushing myself. I just want to be excited about exercising. When kick-boxing, I train with boys. Because I am competitive, I enjoy competing with them.
2. Dangal V/S TOH
Unlike in Dangal, where the movements were more grounded in nature, I needed to have explosive movements in Thugs Of Hindostan (TOH). So, while a lot of weight-training was incorporated in my routine in Dangal, when training for TOH, my sessions were primarily based on functional training, which included tyre flips, burpees and battle-ropes.
3. Picking up archery and sword fighting
For TOH, I’d train daily. If we shot at 6 am, I would wake up at 4 am to train. When shooting at FilmCity, I’d run from the bottom to the top of the venue, as part of my training. Apart from 45 minutes of functional training, I had to incorporate two hours of training each in archery and sword fighting. As for my fitness routine, I had to be agile. I didn’t struggle when learning archery. I had to essentially work on my posture, and enhance my shoulder strength. But sword fighting was tricky. A sword needs to be like a part of the body. The movements have to be fluid, yet strong. Also, the sword should have some weight in order to achieve that. It’s tiring to train with it, because you are using only one hand, and repeating movements again and again.
4. Dealing with a low BMR
During Dangal, I was on a 2,500 calorie diet. When the film wrapped up, I stopped training as much. And since I have a resting metabolic rate of 1,100 only, I gained a lot of weight after the film. For TOH, I lost three kilos before we began filming, but I lost a lot of the muscle mass I had put on during Dangal. Hence, despite training heavily for both, my body looks significantly different in either film.
5. Battling an eating disorder
I was on a calorie-restricted diet for TOH, and it was tough to follow it. For me, counting calories doesn’t work. The moment I leave my job, I stop counting calories, because when I do so, I develop an eating disorder. When I was given a calorie-goal, I ate lesser than permitted in a bid to achieve the results faster. Then when I felt hungry, I would end up binge-eating. It was stressful, because I couldn’t see results, despite training hard. It was a cycle — starve, then overeat, and then binge-eat. I confessed to a friend about my concern and realised it was emotionally traumatic. I would cry, look at my body and think I was ugly. It was like going into a hole. That’s when I decided to take control. Now, I don’t count calories.
6. Sweets, no thank you!
From being someone who ate food from restaurants all the time, I’ve finally ensured that my taste buds have adapted to enjoy healthy meals. I love ghee and malai, and consume both daily. But I don’t crave sweets. In fact, I even avoid consuming [artificial sweeteners]. When I crave sweets, I have fruit.