Hrithik Roshan: Training is a part of my lifestyle and not just a career necessity

The actor talks about what it takes to have a fit body and mind, the work he puts in for physical transformations in his films, and training the smart way.

Harper's Bazaar India

Zeus, Poseidon, Ares, Apollo, Hrithik Roshan. Surprised to see the last name on the list? You shouldn’t be. The actor is nothing less than a Greek god, and we haven’t stopped loving him since we saw him in his debut film Kaho Na Pyaar Hai. That was 23 years ago. Fast forward to today; he looks better and he is much fitter. He has made our jaws drop with his charisma, washboard abs, and bulging biceps, and continues to redefine what fitness represents today. 

Going full steam ahead to make the world a better and fitter place, the actor recently inaugurated the first flagship store of his fitness brand HRX in Mumbai. And he is set to open 12 more this year. There’s simply no stopping Roshan. 

The actor, in an exclusive interview with Harper’s Bazaar India, speaks about pushing people to stay fit, his responsibility as the face of a fitness brand, learning to keep his body in top shape, how rewarding the training process feels, and much more. 

Harper’s Bazaar: Over the past 10 years, how do you think the brand (HRX) has changed with regards to motivating the audience to stay fit?

Hrithik Roshan: The genesis of HRX is rooted in the idea of giving back and is visualised as a platform for bringing like-minded people together. Over the years, it manifested into a community driven by activities. Today, HRX has its own marathon event, running, cycling, calisthenics, and football and yoga groups across cities, and we take immense pride in being able to touch people through these activations.

HB: What have you learnt over the past 10 years that will make HRX better than what it is today?

HR: If I factor in the pandemic, it was a huge learning curve. At that time, while everything else got nullified, we only focused on people from the health and fitness community. HRX started as a digital brand, and we were most accessible to people. We constantly churned out activities to meet up virtually and stay connected. The journey has been dedicated to catering to the needs of people and empowering them to lead a healthy lifestyle using our products and activities. This relationship is only going to grow deeper and stronger from here on.

HB: When it comes to a fitness brand, the responsibility is way bigger than being the face or the star. How do you deal with it?

HR: HRX is not me. It isn't the face or the star factor attached to the brand. HRX stands for a set of values and beliefs that I look up to. It's a mechanism to empower not only others but also myself. I agree, it's a monumental responsibility considering the upswing in fitness as a lifestyle in the recent past. I take this responsibility very seriously and look at the brand from the lens of a consumer. What are my needs and wants? What are the tools and equipments required? At HRX, we ask these questions to ourselves and then work towards solutions. It has to be realistic and achievable. So the responsibility is very personal to me, and I deal with it with the same passion and care as I abide by for myself.

HB: How do you ensure consumers are getting nothing but the best?

HR: It’s a non-negotiable for me and is the cornerstone at HRX. Every category and product passes several surveillance lenses and strict quality checks before being introduced in the market. At HRX, I promote products which personally believe in and propagate messages which are guiding principles, too. If I don’t believe in something, it gets tough to convince me to project it. HRX is my purest intent and the team also works with the same ethos.

HB: What is the answer to: ‘How do I get a body like Hrithik?’

HR: There is no shortcut, no cheat sheet. It's a lifestyle I adopt. Discipline, perseverance and hard work—it’s doing the same thing over and over again, persistently. Also, I don’t shy away from asking for help. I love hiring experts, specialists, and people who have dedicated a lifetime to one aspect of the human body which I could benefit from. I love learning and being a student.

HB: While undergoing a transformation for a film, how rewarding is it to know that you’re indirectly improving your overall health and lifestyle in the long run?

HR: Balancing my health while catering to a character’s requirements has been a recent learning for me. For the longest time, I focused on my films and gave it my all by working for longer hours, alternating between diets to fit the physical frame of my characters, not sleeping enough, and working like a machine. It's only since the lockdown that I got more conscious of my sustained health, my unhealed injuries, and sleep cycle. Today, being fit is not only an on-screen requirement but a lifestyle I subscribe to. The process is no longer restricted to the duration of a film shoot. It's a long-term objective to stay healthy and fit for life.

HB: The roles you play require you to have an intense workout. What happens after your wrap up the film? Do you experience adrenaline fatigue?

HR: Irrespective of the character I am playing, I train almost every day. But the idea is to train intelligently. I should know when the body needs an off from a particular kind of training and when to switch it for steady state easy cardio or taking a full day off. Training is a part of my lifestyle and not just a career necessity. I am a believer of the goodness that fitness and training brings to one’s mind.

HB: Does your age have an impact on the intensity or type of your workout? 

HR: Considering my age and long-standing injuries, I exercise more. More doesn't mean physically taxing, it means being more mindful and investing more time and energy in keeping my body healthy and fit.

HB: But the silver lining to this would be you learning how to optimise your body to the best of your abilities?

HR: Exactly! I have recently discovered the wonderful benefits of bio hacking and how some very small changes can yield exponential and salubrious spikes in one’s health.

HB: What are the things you do to ensure your body recovers better and faster?

HR: I’ve learnt that in order to recover, it’s important to take a step back and slow down. Getting seven hours of sleep is also a must. Last, but certainly not the least is meditation. All of the above has to be combined with eating right.

HB: Are you choosing roles that tend to keep you in shape? For example, an action scene makes you jump out of your seat?

HR: No. The characters that I play and the films I choose depend entirely on the script and subject. I don't sign films basis a scene or the physical requirements of the character; it's the overall story and how it impacts my mind creatively as an actor.

HB: Your next film Fighter is touted to be India's first aerial action film. How important has been the recovery process after every intense workout?

HB: Rest and recovery is as important as working out to stay healthy. I chart out my workouts and exercises giving each part of my body a suitable amount of time to recover. Post every workout I do muscle release exercises and take hot-cold baths which help with any soreness there may be. In addition, I meditate to keep my mind and body calm.

HB: Lastly, what's on your to-do list that you want to tick off this year?

HR: For this year, I aim to be more social. With close to four months having passed, I think I'm doing pretty well on that front.