Buff enough for Bollywood

With one eye on muscle-bound Bollywood megastars, young Asian men are increasingly hitting the gym in pursuit of the body beautiful.

Deepak Harbias from Hounslow is typical of the trend.

“I come to the gym about five times a week, I don’t have any fast food any more. I’m taking protein shakes and protein bars,” he says.

“After I left college I was at home for 10 months and put on weight. I knew I had to do something.”

Bulking up

One of the UK’s biggest suppliers of training supplements, Essex based Bulk Supplements Direct, says it is seeing a massive rise in the number of Asian men taking them up.

From January 2008 to December 2008 the company saw an average 21% increase in business month on month from the Asian community, owner Kunel Patel says.

And after a very busy start to 2009 he expects that to rise even further.

Personal trainers, gym owners and sports supplement suppliers all claim it is the ripped Bollywood hunks who are the Mr Motivators behind the trend.

“I think it’s all to do with influences from the Bollywood film industry,” says Mr Patel.

“Young Asian men see megastars like Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan doing so well with their image that they want to get the same results.”

That theory is shared by others in the industry like Sheraz Yousaf, personal trainer and owner of the Vista Health Club in Hounslow, West London.

He has seen a huge rise in young Asian guys trying to hone their bodies to resemble those of the stars.

“All the actors – they’ve got to be in good shape, they’ve got to look good and be lean,” he said.

They won’t like to admit it – guys don’t like to be compared to Bollywood actors – but, like it or not, that’s what they’re seeing and that’s what they’re trying to emulate.”

Get ripped

For 18 year old Rizwan Pinjara from Slough, hitting the gym has been life-changing.

“I want to reach 11 stone of full muscle and be ripped,” he said.

“About two years ago I weighed 13 stone and I was about five foot, so I was pretty chubby.

Before, I only used to wear hoodies and baggy tops. Now I have a full eight-pack and chest and it feels good to wear a tight top. It feels really good not to be the fat kid anymore.

I can see why people are looking up to Bollywood stars – people like Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan have come out with their six-packs and the girls are impressed.

I also look up to Arnold Schwarzenegger. He brought bodybuilding into fashion.

Now I look back at pictures of how I was in year 11. That’s what keeps me going – gives me the drive to come and train.”

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