When a bodybuilder breaks Shoaib’s record

Ace bodybuilder Gaurav Taneja talks on the art of bodybuilding, the malaise of doping, and of course his feelings after shattering former Pakistan cricketer Shoab Akhtar’s YouTube record.

He would never have dreamt of the one day when he would break the record of former Pakistani bowler Shoaib Akhtar. We are not talking about any other cricketer but a YouTuber, Gaurav Taneja, who set a world record by scoring a million subscribers in a day and one lakh subscribers in just 40 minutes. Shoaib Akhtar took 28 days to do the same. Excerpts of an interview with the ace bodybuilder:

Q. B.Tech from IIT, then pilot, then Vlogar and thereafter a bodybuilder—how did you feel when you broke Shoaib Akhtar’s record?

A. Literally, top of the world… Initially, I could not believe it. Dedication and determination are the only factors behind my success.

Q. Tell us about your bodybuilding mantra?

A. Nowadays, I do bodybuilding for the sake of fitness. I just want to motivate the youth to take up this sport, but I have stopped competing on the stage. Anyway, there is a strict routine of four to five weeks before any competition. Nowadays, I am associated with more people and that has also increased my responsibilities.

Q. How did the pandemic affect this sport?

A. After ten days of lockdown in March, Mr India Championship was scheduled to be held. Players from remote areas across the country were to take part as well. There were many players among them who spent three to three-and-a-half lakh rupees on their fitness to prepare themselves for the championship. Some of them even took loans, championship prize money being the main attraction for the players. Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the sport, shattered many dreams.

 Q. You mentioned in one of your vlogs that you kept a heater in the hostel room during your studies at IIT Kharagpur, on which you used to heat eggs. Wasn’t the buffet diet of hostel enough for you?

A. There is a difference between the fit body of a common man and the body of a bodybuilder. You will, unlike Maruti, put higher quantities of fuel in a Ferrari. Different bodies have different dietary requirements. Bodybuilding requires more diet.

Q. What tips will you give to a common man regarding his diet?

 A. Eat home-made food. Do not cook the vegetables too much. That destroys the nutritional values. Those who are vegetarians can take cheese, food supplements, and protein scoops but, it is important to note that exercise is very important; otherwise, you will put on unnecessary weight.

Q. There are many federations of bodybuilding in the country. All of them claim authenticity. Which one should a young player trust?

A. This is the problem that youth face. There is always a confusion about which federation is real and which one is fake. The prize money helps a lot to differentiate between a genuine and a fake one. For example, where there is prize money of Rs 3 lakh, the group is usually genuine. Whereas in many similar competitions, the prize money does not exceed Rs 30 thousand.

Q. With food supplements, there is a prevalent adulteration in the market, what is your take on that?

A. It is all about buying supplements from a genuine place. If you consume adulterated supplements, your body undergoes harm, and that is usually irreversible. So it is better to be careful to choose from the right place.

Q. Does the sport of bodybuilding often involve doping?

A. Everyone cannot become a dancer or singer. Similarly, not everyone can become a bodybuilder. If you are not good at cricket, then maybe you are good at cycling. One whose body is made for bodybuilding can get results in two months after working. You cannot accuse a hard-working bodybuilder of doping, it is wrong.