We talked with Manu Arora in May, 2020.
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi, I am Manu Arora, love to be nicknamed HULK ARORA. Pedantic, over detailing Virgo by trait (that’s literally a quality I hate about me).
The short story is I am a media consultant by profession and a fitness writer, vlogger, speaker, motivator by passion.
I am no nerd or geek who spends fortunes on working out just to look fit . I love to share content, experiences, ideas about Health & Fitness, to help people professionals balance presentation and push-ups.
Your body is the only thing that lasts with you from the moment you enter the world to the moment you go down.
So if you think spending time in queues at Tacobell, or staying late at bars on Fridays holds more value then I am sorry you are a little off the track.
My idea of fitness roots from the ideology of helping time-strapped individuals balance work and life.
When I refer to time-strapped I talk about the working population like me who have a day job which demands undivided commitment for 8 hours, to go along with daily travel and family life.
Sorting out time to workout is like the most difficult part of Fitness regime when it comes to professionals.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
Demands of professional life often leave us strapped for time in later half of the day. Those hard stops at 6 often go up till eternity, late evening socialization to discuss how bad my job is or the heavy birthday lunch making you lazy; there are infinity plausible reasons your mind could feed you to skip an evening workout.
If you intend to be regular, get it done before your day kicks.
My typical training sessions stand around 1-1.5 hours depending on the day. Weekends are dedicated to high intensity sports.
For me fitness is like a daily chore, so there is literally no rest day. On days when I am tired, I will engage with Yoga, meditation, a long walk to the grocery store or if not much household chores.
Sundays is a rest and cheat day I will take a walk to the shopping centre or go out cycling to my favorite food joint.
Since the concept of fitness for me is not to train for a professional sport or league, the focus is entirely on creating a healthy lifestyle.
I make major changes in terms of routines every 4 months, with minor week-long tweaks at the end of 2nd month.
When summer sets in I engage in swimming for 4 days and just 2 days of weight training. Winters are largely dominated by weight lifting as its cold outside, along with 2 days of pure running, just long-distance running.
During the rainy season I engage with a different set of activity every year where I learn a new skill set like yoga, meditation, krav maga, dancing, the thought is to widen the horizon of learning.
The idea being rotation is to make me stick to the routine and enjoy it as a part of life.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
This question is the first thought which sets into a newbies mind, how do I stick to it. It might sound like a cliché, but an hour of workout is literally part of my life like any other hygiene chore.
Any hours of the day may it be dawn or late evenings, whenever I see a window I sneak in the best possible option.
As a kid I was like a little Hippo who would walk like he’s doing a favor to humanity. As I grew and realized I was literally the most pathetic looking guy in class I knew something I had to change.
The instant gratification McBurger and a bottle of coke gives fades away faster than flash.
Then things changed; from weight loss to professional field hockey, to this day where I love calisthenics more than burgers, swim like a mermaid, run faster than the old me, I am Happy.
The satisfaction to know that I am capable to do a large plethora of things, I can survive a little longer when things get strenuous.
I look decent when I stand in front of the mirror and the personal fulfillment is more than enough for me to carry this for lifetime.
I have trained my mind over the years to sleep early and wake up at dawn irrespective of the day.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
As we speak the entire world suffers from COVID-19. I wish speedy recovery to anyone and everyone across the globe affected in any form from Corona Virus Pandemic.
I am giving the workouts a little extra time these days and staying on the mat more. Extra time for meditation and yoga everyday has been a major blessing.
Since its largely a home workout I only have a sand bag, yoga mat and an open space to do whatever I want to. Cardio has become a daily activity as workout is the only time, I move a little else its just bedroom to drawing room.
Ample rest has surely helped muscles recover better and like every corner seems roaring to enter a battle room. I was planning to start training for UFC soon, hopefully the pandemic ends in coming month and we all hit the streets like never.
Corona virus pandemic will bring a substantial change to our work-life balance and economies across the globe. I am working on ideas to make this transition a better and healthy one.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
This was a pain point when I started. When I began my career journey, I ignored my foot supination. Ignoring shoe selection and not spending much time on warm-up and cool down, I was setting up a platter to fall.
As time flew shin splints and ankle pain became a common sight not letting me play the full length of game on the field and affecting my body balance.
The biggest mistake we make to get injured is we ignoring the rule book and letting ego drive our mind. Make sure to never ignore the rule book. It’s there for a purpose.
I take time off whenever needed, indulge in a spa, take a foot massage just let the body unwind. I believe Rehabilitation along with rest sets the tone for ultimate recovery.
Rest is the key to recovery but also there are times it can be frustrating. In these instances, I research on how I can train around an injury if possible.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
This is the funny part, like many amateurs I in my early teens was fascinated by the concept of zero fat, fully organic, super foods, probably eating a western superfood in South Asian continent.
Overtime it’s a clear realization local food are super foods. If we talk about Avocado great fruit, but if you talk about where its grown nearest to south Asia, the answer would be 3000 miles.
Superfoods are whole foods that supply abundance of nourishing nutrients, minerals, vitamins, fats, omega and all that the body needs. Superfoods in reality are nothing but a locally grown seasonal vegetables or fruit.
It will be wrong to judge and generalize superfoods under a single umbrella. A particular food that does wonders in one climatic condition is surely not an equally worthy bet in other regions.
I try to stay as local and as seasonal as possible. Probably the cheapest vegetable in the market would be my first bet as I expect it to have travelled the least distance in FedEx.
Protein is a must and it is an absolute necessity whatever form of workout you engage. Being honest, your food just can’t fill in if you have a moderate workout. So scoop it in.
Vitamin D is another essential supplement I take. Since our skies are filled with pollution, popping pills is necessity in modern days.
For me alcohol is just like an add-on to the social gathering. I stay in my limits of 2 drinks and try to enjoy the party more a human way than an alcoholic.
I used to start my day with a shot of java but overtime I have realized apple is a better way to kick the day. The fuel draws in slowly, and stays for longer in the system avoiding a post workout crash. Chamomile Tea is a drink I love to the T.
Largely my diet revolves around home cook food. With a family responsibility we cannot have 2 different meals when everyone is a working professional.
Evening and morning snacks are high in protein and an egg delicacy. Eggs are a great diet food which count less calories and give a good fill.
Carbohydrates are an essential for me both post workout and at night. While contrary to the scientific saying I do indulge In carbs at night, else I feel drained in morning.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
My dad has been my inspiration. All my waking years I have seen him getting up before dawn getting ready and just rushing for his volleyball game.
His heart was a little upset and doctors said to keep it natural stay healthy. From that day hes gone ahead with a fix meal routine, daily sports literally no to alcohol and any bad habits and living life to the fullest.
And there was his son eating a burger on couch. It had to change, I didn’t feel like I am part of this family.
Now when I wake up and I see I don’t have time to work out I feel jittery. That restlessness creeps in through the blood. I don’t deny I eat out, I booze, I do enjoy the leisures. But yes I have limited them to an appropriate level.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
I will detail it for you a little:
- Are you on a diet?
Diet is the modern-day food jargon. Majority populous doesn’t feel being on a Fitness regime if they are not on a diet. While we speak of Diet, we are referring to people who follow a restrictive set of food choices.
This set of thought process has given the Fitness industry a magnanimous boom and now we have a diet for every set of weight loss goal. These diets are nothing more than a well packed bag of emotional marketing.
- Don’t be driven by scales:
You are always focused on your meal calories, rather than the nutritional quotient. “Man’s greatness lies in his power of thought” – Blaise Pascal, we have slightly tweaked it “Any greatness lies in the weight scale”.
In a nutshell, your food is always about drama and guilt, instead of lasting happiness and nutrition. While I don’t say you should go ahead and order Double Cheese Burst, but you can surely have that banana shake without worrying about calories.
- Make time for yourself:
As said in the airlines “Put your oxygen mask first, before you try to help others”. Practicing self-care during the day is essential to keep the headspace strong and bounce back resilient to challenges.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
No, not now. I am preparing for my Ted Talk on “Glorifying the hustle, ignoring the wellbeing” and am strapped for time in regard to training.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
My website is commoncelebrity.com.