Lights. Camera. Action.
Indian actor Taapsee Pannu’s life revolves around these three words. To keep abreast with her work routine and maintain the energy to sustain an 18-hour workday, an award-winning nutritionist and a celebrated lifestyle consultant, Munmun Ganeriwal, offers her expertise by curating a 10-week diet plan for her. ‘Yuktahaar’ is a holistic programme that encourages a gut-balancing lifestyle, mainly consisting of food, exercise, sleep hygiene, and neural retraining.
That’s intriguing, right?
Now let’s read this expert from Yuktahaar: The Belly and Brain Diet and delve deep into the diet plan suggested by the author, Munmun Ganeriwal, to Taapsee Pannu.
Before I start working with my clients, apart from a few other things, I also ask them to note down their food intake, exercise details (if they are working out) and activities of daily living (referred to as ADLs), and send these details to me. This simple tool provides a great starting point from where both my client and I can take off on the TBBD journey together. On the day before our conversation, Taapsee too had shared her details with me, and this is how a general day in her life looked like.
Exercise duration and frequency were reduced: This was new to me. I usually had to lecture people on why it is important that they move their butts. I was used to people asking me, ‘bees minute treadmill kiya toh weight loss toh hoga naa?’ or ‘sirf weekends par gym karu toh chalega naa?’. With Taapsee, it was the opposite. With around two hours of workout every single day, she was clearly over-exercising—a reflection of her go-getter attitude in life in general. But when it comes to exercise, more is not better. Exercising appropriately can lessen inflammation and damage done to your gut microbiome, but exercising too much can lead to inflammation and gut (hyper)permeability. The dose makes the poison! Taapsee often got heartburn in the middle of her workout sessions, and she was completely taken aback when I explained to her that the heartburn was exercise-induced.
Exercise structure was altered: There are three energy systems in our body—adenosine triphosphate–creatine phosphate or ATP–CP, anaerobic glycolysis and aerobic—that work simultaneously to fuel the body during exercise. However, depending on the exercise duration and intensity, one of the three systems predominates. Taapsee was working out pretty hard, but because her exercise sessions consisted of both squash or cardio (predominantly aerobic) and weight training (primarily anaerobic glycolysis) one after the other, she wasn’t reaping as much benefit as she should have been. An altered regime was planned for her, with aerobic and anaerobic activities alternating with each other. Doing so leads to better fuel utilization, enhanced muscle recovery and greater fat burn without spending hours and hours exercising. Additionally, a day of high intensity interval training or HIIT workout (10 seconds of maximum effort followed by a two-minute rest) that predominantly trains the ATP–CP system was introduced. Targeting each of our energy systems by different types of exercise is important, as it maximizes fitness benefits and results in a leaner, more toned body.
By the time the shoot of Rashmi Rocket commenced in November, Taapsee had gained 2.5 kilos of lean muscle mass, no easy feat by any means. Dressed like an athlete ready to face the camera, her pictures resembled those that had been shown to us as reference. The real test, though, came in December, when she had to shoot for the races in Ranchi. Then, apart from looking like an athlete, Taapsee also had to perform.
It was time to put the months of hard work to the test. The shoot finally began. Taapsee took to the starting block, the director called out ‘Action,’ and she exploded off the block. As she sprinted towards the finish line, I watched her, my heart filled with pride, and in my mind, I said, ‘Stop her if you can!’
Read Yuktahaar: The Belly and Brain Diet to understand the science of fitness and art of well-being.