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This man's body makes TRPs jump




One of TV's fittest heroes, Mrunal Jain on toiling for 10 years to earn a body that makes TRPs jump

Mrunal Jain's shirt, we hear, has frequently played a part in helping the TRPs of the daily soap he acts in (Uttaran) jump. The story behind his washboard abs and Olympian thighs is linked to discipline, he says, and it all kicked off not in a gym but his father's office.

Starting off as an apprentice in his dad's business didn't come with special privileges. "I had to make do with the salary I got, and was reprimanded for any error I made. The discipline came in handy when I was struggling to be an actor. I continued to be both, patient and strict with myself," says the Mumbai boy.

In 2007, Jain reached the finals of a male mega-model pageant, and gradually built himself a fan following of women when he bagged a couple of television assignments.

His physical transformation from a lanky lad weighing 47 kg to his current avatar was life-changing. "My friends used to call me a clothes hanger," he laughs. Now at 85 kg, the 29-year-old is understandably proud of his physique. But it took him 10 years to get here. "Being in shape makes you confident. It charges you up; people look at you differently," he says.

The rules 
Punctuality and discipline are central to his health mantra. While juggling a crazy shooting schedule, he makes the time to work out for 90 minutes a day, six days a week. His workout routine includes some cardio and stretching followed by an hour of weight training. The seventh day is set aside to give his body time to rest and repair.

The gym rat places an active lifestyle above working out. "I do most of chores myself and that keeps me active. It ranges from driving my car to cooking when my mother is not around," he says.

Muscles on a Jain diet 
As a practising Jain, most of Mrunal's protein requirement (essential to muscle building) comes from alternate vegetarian sources like soya and beans. Protein bars, he disses, since most of them contain eggs. "I eat a lot of soya paneer, and a good proportion of dairy whether it's milk, yogurt or paneer." That he is a strict vegetarian who stays away from underground vegetables, made shaping up a more intensive and challenging process. "Everyone said I wouldn't be able to do it, but each time I was close to giving up, faith cropped up, and here I am!"

He never cheats on his diet, and sticks to small portions. The occasional pizza is allowed, but then it means working out a bit harder the next day. "I love my body," he says in a moment of unabashed vanity.

Finding motivation 
Jain's obsession with being fit has earned him the nickname 'psycho' on set. "No matter how odd the hours, you'll always find me at the gym," he laughs. Recounting a time when he had burnt his palm during a shoot, Jain says his first reaction was not to the pain but the thought of having to miss his workout. "I dabbed on some antiseptic, and took off to gym anyway. My palm hurt, but it was sweet pain," he says.

But he is human, after all, and so, the thought of skipping gym isn't alien. "Whenever the thought comes to me, I motivate myself by imagining what it feels like to achieve a fitness goal," he says.

Au naturelle 
Jain is clear that he will keep things natural. He often has people question him about the use of steroids when they see his muscular build. "If they think I have steroids when in fact, I haven't, it's nothing else but a compliment," he smiles.
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