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How Mukesh Bhatt stays fit at 62: exclusive interview

As I walk into the gym, I see producer Mukesh Bhatt doing stomach crunches with his trainer, Navendu Sawant. At 62, Mukesh is the oldest member of the IThinkFitness gym in Bandra amongst the many 24-40 year-olds who come there to work out. Mukesh Bhatt says age is all in the mind. He talks about how a proper diet and fitness regime has kept him super fit and healthy for the last two-and-a-half years.


How it started
In 2012, I suffered a strong viral attack and lost 14 kgs within 40 days (I was 69 kg at the time), which was very alarming. The doctors feared the worst and made me go through all the tests. I was hospitalised immediately but luckily there was nothing major. But in that illness, apart from my weight, I lost all muscle mass and became a bag of skin and bones. That was when I realised that my body couldn’t cope up with my mind. It was like the mind of a Ferrari with the body of a Santro, which was very disturbing. I needed to put on some muscle, so I started doing weight-training on my dietician Rutuja Divekar’s recommendation.

‘My trainer changed my life’
That’s when my rendezvous with this gym and Navendu Sawant started. I didn’t know that at the age of 60 he would mentor my life so beautifully. Now I give two hours to myself every day. You owe it to yourself. I have become more agile and positive, my energy and drive has picked up. My whole pace of life has changed. I move as briskly as a 24-year old boy. I am the only senior citizen in the gym and I am very proud of it.

Addicted to workouts
What is amazing about my gymming, it’s my addiction now I am so hooked onto it, is that every morning I start my day at 6 am, I work out daily from one-and-a-half hours from Monday to Saturday and walk every evening for 45 minutes. Walking for me is a must apart from weight-training. Sundays is a break from the gym but I walk for 45 minutes. Now, the emotion of feeling low disappeared from my life. I feel so motivated every morning after doing my workout.
When I travel, I make sure I only stay in those hotels which have good gyms, so I don’t miss out my morning gym in any part of the world. My morning gym is a must as it sets my day. I don’t ever feel drained, rundown or tired. It is something I have now got used to and don’t want to deprive myself of.

Normal work-day schedule
I wake up at 6 am wake up, work out from 6.30-8.30 am at the gym, 8.30 am I come home and have a shower, do my puja, have my breakfast and by 9.30 am I am at the office. My staff comes at 10.30, but that one hour, I have to myself alone without anybody disturbing me where I complete all my creative work, paperwork vis-à-vis my own company and the guild. By the time my staff comes in, I have everything lined up for them to do through my dictaphone. By the time it’s lunchtime (12.30 pm) I am done with the day. After lunch it’s only meetings. At 4 pm I have a small snack. Every evening at 6.30 pm, I walk about 8-10 km a day in Joggers Park. By 7.45 pm I have dinner and go to sleep by 10.30 pm. I don’t believe in late nights.

Eating healthy
I am very particular about having no fried things. Though I am not diabetic, I don’t take sugar. I have a high-protein diet, even if I have carbs which are required for the system, I have the good carbs like muesli, oats or brown rice, I have jowar rotis. I am a vegetarian, but I have eggs. I eat a lots of greens, salads, broccoli and bean sprouts.

All in the mind
You are as old or young as you are in your head. It has nothing to do with your age. If there’s anything in life that I regret it is starting gymming so late.

Just push!
There are times when my energy is slightly low or I am feeling tired, so I want to skip but then you push yourself a bit and then you come out of it. Within 15 minutes that lethargy disappears. One thing amazing about Navendu is that he keeps creating variations, so I don’t feel bored. Also he talks to me on positive and interesting things.

“Mukeshji had never done workouts when he first joined the gym and had led a sedentary lifestyle. He had bad posture, his muscles were stiff and joint mobility poor. He started at 60 as his doctors had told him to gain weight. So we I started with some weight-training exercises which improve the immune system and strengthen muscles. He also had osteoarthritis and Vitamin D3 deficiency so he had to do weight-training TO increase bone density and become more flexible.

He does weight-training thrice a week every day and cardio the other three days. His workouts are for functional strength, legs extensions and leg curls which gives him stronger muscle and some TRX training also where his core muscles will be involved. We also do upper and lower body circuit training, step-ups, and the Kettlebell Thruster twice a week. For cardio, he uses the treadmill and walks every evening. Every four weeks, the intensity keeps changing. At his age, it is important to work out with a personal trainer or with proper guidance as the safety of person is of prime concern so he does not get injured. Joint mobility and muscular flexibility get degraded with age. Mukeshji is one of my best students ever in my career.”

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