Pakistani-Canadian actor Ali Kazmi, son of industry veterans Rahat and Sahira Kazmi, has been working seamlessly in Pakistan and abroad for years. He has a number of TV plays and films to his credit, including Mehreen Jabbar’s Dobara Phir Se (released last year) for which the actor bagged Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 16th Geo-Lux Style Awards held recently. He also took on hosting duties at the LSA Red Carpet and we must say he did a great job.
One cannot deny that being a public figure especially an actor is no easy feat. Apart from focusing on one’s profession, one has to have a charming personality filled with positive energy. One such actor who never fails to impress us with his modest ways is Ali Kazmi. Here, he talks about what goes into achieving a healthy mind and body. Though he isn’t a “health freak”, he believes that healthy living is truly a lifestyle and a choice one has to make.
“You have to treat life as a full marathon; it’s not just a sprint!” the actor shared with Instep.
“Self motivation, consistency and smart choices will enable you to finish. Yo-yo and crash diets and inconsistency are like lactic acid that will slow you down. They are the enemy! I have made a conscious effort to make healthy choices since the last nine years (first one was to give up smoking) and once you start, you feel so good that you don’t want to stop. There’s no turning back! Moderation is the key to a balanced lifestyle – whether it’s about food, work, love or desires in life. You’ll not only enjoy it but be able to maintain it easily.”
“My goals are simple: to be strong, energetic and healthy inside and out! I never miss my workout, no matter what. The biggest part of your plan should be self motivation and what drives me is the love for life, my family and work. I want to be there for them as long as I can, be a role model for my son and not only look fit for my work, (I don’t like looking like a body builder) I like to be strong from my core, be quick on my toes and have lean muscle.”
“I love food. One major truth about me is that I workout so that I can eat. My nana and nani (big motivators for me while growing up) used to say you eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. I have always followed that and it really does work. I eat four meals daily. A big breakfast which I mix up but it’s mostly yogurt, cereal, nuts, berries, dates and a banana (my wife calls it my breakfast biryani) whereas lunch is usually whatever is cooked in the house or my favorite, an omelette with some green leafy veggies. At tea time, between lunch and dinner, I eat healthy snacks like fruits and nuts, sometimes a smoothie. I have dinner quite early for desi standards; one must eat at least 2.5-3 hours before sleeping and that’s the key actually. We must get the stomach trained at digesting at set times and that’s the most efficient way. I don’t take any protein supplements and try to stay away from processed and fake foods/drinks as much as I possibly can. However, my cheat is I’m a regular ice cream eater!”
“I work out every day and do big workouts three times a week. I’m not much into heavy weights; I believe the body should be lean and strong and ready for a variety of activities and in my profession if you want to bulk up for a role or lean further down, you can do it easily. I always start with a run outdoors even if it’s -20 degrees (hate running on the treadmill) then I do chest and back one day, shoulders and arms the next day followed by leg exercise. Some things I do regularly are push-ups and pull ups.
After having tried different kinds of workouts, I have constructed my own plan to stay fit and healthy. It’s a mix of P90X, Insanity by Shaun T, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Taekwondo and basic military and yoga exercises. I run races like marathons, triathlons, the Tough Mudder and the most recent, Concrete Rush. All of these keep me motivated and give variety to my muscles.”
“The mind and body work in unison like an orchestra and if one instrument is off key then the whole symphony is spoilt. Especially being a father and also being in the performing arts, it’s highly important for me to keep my brain and body quick and sharp to respond to all sorts of stimulus. Running and exercise keep the endorphins (happy hormones) in one’s body flowing and keep the dopamine levels in check.
I try to get sleep at proper times (which is tough with my job) but half the mental battle is won right there. I feel at least 5-7 hours of sleep works well. Everyone’s body has its own biorhythm and we must try and train to keep that rhythm in check by doing the sort of things I’ve mentioned earlier.”
“It can be tough at times, especially at the initial stages but once you’ve established a routine and a healthy lifestyle you don’t feel complete without it. Also, after you’re in your thirties and you let go it’s tough to get back in shape, so hold on tight! My motivation like I said earlier is to be around for my family in this life for as long as I can (even God helps those who help themselves), be fit and ready for what my crazy job as an actor will throw at me next and to eat good, yummy food around the world! That can only be achieved happily and positively by choosing a healthy lifestyle and following it to the max, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey along the way because it’s truly the journey that matters, the destination is secondary.”
Piece of Advice
“I would like to share a few good tips that I’ve learnt along the way. Try to keep your eating timings fixed (to avoid bloating). Have dinner at least 2.5 – 3 hours before sleeping. Don’t drink water right after you eat (wait at least 20-30mins). Don’t eat fruits right after dinner (major cause of indigestion and bloating) and exercise regularly no matter what, even if that day you feel low in energy. Set small attainable goals and fulfill them; it will keep the body in consistent form and motion and the mind in routine. If you aim for the stars, at least you’ll reach the moon if you try.
Also a little positivity goes a long way. Stay focused, stay positive and stay motivated; there’s no easy way out in life so stop finding one. You have to put in the work to see the results. Now stop reading this, go out there and just do it.
And don’t forget to smile. It’s the most muscles you flex in one go (true fact, look it up). Be the master of your own destiny! We only get one life, so rock it and keep on running!”