Bollywood’s fitness fanatics: Sonam Kapoor needs all the energy she can get when in front of the camera

Published: March 6, 2013
Sonam Kapoor

Sonam Kapoor, a fashion icon for millions of young fans, says that fitness is a way of life for her because her parents are avid exercisers. Str/AFP/Getty Images


Ever wonder how Bollywood’s top stars stay in such great shape? Well, you can stop wondering because Shama Bhagat of the Hindustan Times was able to sweat out some fitness tips from four of the Indian entertainment industry’s favouite stars: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, Anil Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor. In this article, Sonam Kapoor describes how she loves weight training and why she switches up fitness routines.

Sonam Kapoor, a fashion icon for millions of young fans, says that fitness is a way of life for her because her parents are avid exercisers.

“I have played sports and danced throughout my childhood and adolescent years,” she says.

But the actor really began taking fitness seriously at the age of 18, when an overdose of junk food caused her to gain weight, creating health issues. And by the time she was 20 and had entered the film industry, Sonam was on a fitness regimen for life.

“By then I was back at home with my parents, where I got good, nutritious home-cooked food unlike the junk food I lived off while I was in boarding school in Singapore,” Sonam explains.

“I exercised daily (Bharat Thakur’s artistic yoga and spinning being my favourites), and took control of my well-being. When you are that young, inches start to drop off instantly and I realized how much better I looked and felt, not to mention how much better my clothes looked on me!”

“Make your exercise routine something you love. This will ensure you stick to it. Fitness is all about lifestyle changes and doing things in moderation.”

As for her regimen Sonam begins her day with cardio and weight training.

“I love weight training!” she enthuses. “My cardio is usually the recumbent bike as I have a knee injury, but the weight training has strengthened my lower body so I have been able to get back to jogging at intervals.”

Sonam doesn’t stick to just one kind of workout, however.

“That’s to make sure my body doesn’t hit a plateau,” she says. “My trainer, Radhika Karle, makes me do pilates on the reformer for core strength and gives me flexibility, functional training and interval training where I am made to do two-three minute bouts of high-intensity cardio in the middle, yoga, and even swimming, which keeps me from getting bored. The routine also changes based on the goal I have to achieve for the film I am shooting for at that time.”

Whilst training, she makes sure that she does the warm-up and cool-down exercises.

“My warmup is either a 10-minute walk, surya namaskars or foot work on the reformer. For the cool-down sessions, I start with standing stretches, followed by seated stretches, and then on my back, where my trainer, Radhika, stretches me out as I yell in pain!”

Sonam’s top-most fitness goal right now is to stay healthy.

While travelling for her shoots, Sonam Kapoorr adapts her fitness regime to what she has available around her. Str/AFP/Getty Images

“And I need to tone my body for better stamina. I have long working hours (some days 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.) and I need all the energy I can get to look and feel good in front of the camera.”

While travelling for her shoots, Sonam adapts her fitness regime to what she has available around her.

“Swimming, jogging, switching from reformer pilates to mat pilates for core work, and using my body weight instead of regular weights — that’s what I do,” she says, smiling.

But at the same time, she does go easy on her body when she is not shooting.

“I don’t stop, I just work out at a lower intensity,” she says, adding that taking care of exercise-related injuries is also vital.

“I get massages, I stretch my muscles after every workout and I do pilates on the reformer, which relieves pain and strengthens muscles to avoid further injuries,” she says.

In terms of diet, Sonam begins her day with a good breakfast consisting of half a fruit and three-fourths of a cup of her favourite whole grain cereal with a cup of low fat milk, followed by multivitamin and mineral supplements.

“I drink water throughout the day, but warm water is only for my green tea and black coffee,” she says.

At midday, it’s fruit again, with protein shakes, whole grain bars, or chaas (buttermilk). Lunch is most often a multigrain sandwich when she is on the set, and dinner is always light — a soup, salad, or grilled fish and vegetables.

Sonam ends her day with a hot shower and a good book. And she makes sure the room temperature is at a comfortable level so she can sleep well.

“Sleep is very important,” she says. “Exercise without recovery can do more harm to your body than help it. A good night’s sleep makes me feel and look refreshed.”

As well, “it’s important to tone and moisturize. I don’t leave home without under-eye cream and sunscreen.”

Her favourite skin and hair products are White Perfect Laser by L’Oreal (a moisturizer), L’Oreal’s UV Perfect sunscreen, L’Oreal Pearl Perfect (for cleansing), and L’Oreal Fall Repair 3x shampoo and conditioner.

“I wash my hair every two days and do spa treatments once a month,” she says.

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