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Mustafa Ahmed: Ranveer wanted his physique in PADMAVATI to appear like Khal Drogo from GOT

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Ever since we saw Ranveer Singh in posters and trailer of PADMAVATI, we just couldn’t take our eyes off him. His beasty avatar has left every one amazed and asking for more. So in order to decode how much rigorous training went behind to acquire this beasty and terrifying physique of Ranveer we met his celebrity fitness trainer Mustafa Ahmed.

In an exclusive conversation Mustafa Ahmed, who has trained actors like Hrithik Roshan, Ranveer Singh, Sidhant Gupta and is also the co-founder of personal training studio AKRO, spoke about how he trained Ranveer for PADMAVATI and also shared the diet plan of the energetic actor which he had to follow in order to get into his character of Alauddin Khilji.

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Fitness trainer Mustafa Ahmed with Ranveer Singh Fitness trainer Mustafa Ahmed with Ranveer Singh
Fitness trainer Mustafa Ahmed with Ranveer Singh
Generally, what brief do the stars give you before starting their training under you?
They don’t give me a brief. I give them a brief on what I am going to train them on, because I have that rule that I do not want to train someone who is not on same page with me. So, with Hrithik I was very clear that I would train him to be extremely fit and the physique is just the by-product of that. With Ranveer there was little bit of brief because he was playing a character Alauddin Khilji. So he had to look very ferocious. He had to look like a warrior. His persona on screen had to be of this beasty ruler. So, we spoke about it and it’s funny that we both came to the character from ‘Game of Thrones’ which is Khal Drogo which we both agreed like that’s the look we want to go for. And that’s what I think we achieved actually. I think the trailer speaks for itself as Ranveer is looking amazing in it.

Did Sanjay Bhansali personally meet you and told you like how exactly he wants Ranveer to look like in PADMAVATI?
No actually Ranveer Singh knew exactly what he wanted and I think that Mr. Bhansali had trusted Ranveer that whatever he does will be like next to perfection. Because both of them have worked together in GOLIYON KI RAS LEELA RAM LEELA and BAJIRAO MASTANI, so he pretty much trusted him. And when Ranveer gave me the brief and we thought that he (Bhansali) would love the look and be happy so yeah it worked really well.

Tell us about the diet plan you made Ranveer follow in order to get into the character of Khilji
With his nutrition what we had done was that he had to give up on sugar part out of his food basically. The first day itself I told him that he cannot really have any sugar. The second thing we did was made sure that there was no processed food like salami or anything canned etc. He had only good healthy and fresh food. Obviously because of the way he had to look we kept him on a high protein diet but not way too high; we gave him between 140 to 160 grams of protein. We kept his carbohydrate very moderate. He was taking only about 15-20 grams of carbohydrate. He was also eating food that had fats but usually people are scared of fats thinking they will become oversized if they eat fats. So, I incorporated good amount of fats in his diet. I made sure that the food was cooked in ghee; he was eating almonds and good sources of fats. Even the carbohydrates were coming from sweet potato, so we made sure that everything he was eating was extremely healthy. For snacks we advised him to take mixed nuts, protein shake in between. May be when he used to feel hungry then he had bananas. Besides, he was allowed to have cheat days too just to make sure that he was not really in a point where he would just break down. Because a lot of times it happens that if you are too strict and constricted, then you go mad and all of a suddenly you want to binge. So I made sure that doesn’t happen. I was letting him go and have whatever he wanted to have and the good thing was Ranveer Singh loved his mom’s hand-made food. So that was best thing as it meant only ghar ka fresh and healthy khana.

And for how long you people worked to achieve the desired look?
We achieved the physique in about 3-4 weeks. It didn’t take lot of time but our real struggle was to maintain that physique because the shoot was done over a course of 5-6 months. So that was a very big challenge. Building a physique is not a problem you can do it in 4-6 weeks with good controlled diet and proper training. He was doing twice a day mobility and flexibility, high intensity training session in the morning and we were doing the weight training session in the evening. So we achieved all that in about 5-6 weeks because he is a very strong guy. But maintaining it was the biggest challenge. As we had to maintain that physique for next 4-5 months continuously making sure that he didn’t get off track. His work and travelling was bothering him so that was bit of a challenge.

Now that you have worked with him so closely so how Ranveer is in person? And how has your experience been of working with him?
Ranveer is a livewire; he is actually built like that. He cannot be boring, he cannot be just quiet, he cannot be not entertaining. It is his character. He loves making people smile, loves chatting with them who love him, his fans and everyone. Even if there are two people waiting for him to take his picture so before he gets into his car he will make sure that he meets them, hugs them and doesn’t bother how he is looking which is a very surprising thing for a person of his status. There’s no facade and there’s nothing fake about him. It’s exactly who he is.

Now that you have worked for almost a decade as a trainer which project has been the most challenging for you so far?
In terms of character obviously I think Ranveer’s PADMAVATI has been a very big challenge because obviously he has given literally his blood and sweat to this film.While shooting he literally was bleeding in one of the scenes as he was injured but he kept on shooting, you see that’s how he is. In terms of character and work PADMAVATI was the biggest challenge for me.
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