Fitness

The man behind those famous packs

Fitness trainer Alkhas Joseph PHOTO: S.R. RAGHUNATHAN  

In 2007, Alkhas Joseph was sent to Chennai by his boss Satyajit Chaurasia, a celebrity fitness trainer in Mumbai to meet an actor called Suriya, who was looking for a new fitness trainer. Having lived in Delhi most of his life, Alkhas was unaware of the magnitude of the actor’s stardom in South India. All he knew was that this actor had starred in the Tamil version of Ghajini.

They clicked immediately, and Alkhas, who had come on a three-day trip in 2007, never returned. The trainer was instrumental in readying Suriya physically for various projects until 2012, such as Vaaranam Aayiram, Rakta Charitra, Ayan7aum Arivu and Singam. “I started working with him from Vaaranam Aayiram. He had just finished shooting for the role of a student, a part for which he had lost 10 kg. Now, he had to bulk up for the role of an Army officer and we had three-four months in which to achieve this,” he says.

Alkhas soon realised that to help Suriya’s physique look convincing on screen, he had to first understand the roles the actor was playing. “ 7aum Arivu was a challenging film for Suriya as he had to play both a monk and a trapeze artiste. I had to design the regimens to suit both characters,” says Alkhas, who travelled with the actor to help him look perfect.

After working with Suriya in many successful films, Alkhas met actor Vikram through a chance encounter at the Chennai gym he worked out at. “I had seen him work out and expressed my desire to work with him. He liked my ideas and I came on board. Thandavam was the first movie I trained him for.”

And then came the biggie, Shankar’s I, for which the trainer travelled to China and other locations with Vikram extensively and helped him with his rigorous regimen. “Audiences can see him in three different avatars in the film and he has worked extremely hard to achieve these three looks. He was already in good shape but for these characters he was required to work out at the gym for around two hours. He was even required to exercise during shoots. For a person of his age and given his injuries, his dedication towards his work is commendable.”

Alkhas believes in the do-unto-others philosophy, and first tries the diet and exercises himself before recommending them to his clients. “I’m self-taught and don’t have any certificates. I have been training for 15 years now and was addicted to dumbbells even when in school.” Academics held little interest for Alkhas, who became interested in physical education when in Class 8. “While the other kids were playing cricket, I was balancing on monkey-bars.” It wasn’t until he was in his 20s that he finally joined a gym and jumped on the steroid bandwagon. “I started taking a lot of them due to peer pressure, and found they made me worse.” Then arrived the decisive transformation when he went back to the basics, and started with running and other rudimentary exercises. “I started cooking my own food, and shed excess weight in months. I then worked in local gyms as a trainer and learnt the tricks of the trade. "

Alkhas, however, got his best opportunities only after his move to Mumbai. The lack of certification hampered him, but he managed to join the Barbarian Power Gym in Mumbai, where top Bollywood actors train.

“I met Satyajit (who has trained Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan) there.” Alkhas also takes personal training classes and the latest addition to his five-star client list is Dhanush, an actor he has started training a couple of weeks ago.

 

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 12:30:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fitness/alkhas-joseph-celebrity-fitness-trainer-interview/article6760394.ece

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