Bollywood star Bipasha Basu is the latest poster girl for fitness and fashion. A scathing headline in 2004 about her weight motivated the actor to shed the excess baggage and silence her critics. She then took her personal experiences and created a workout DVD, Fit and Fabulous (launched earlier this year). Besides her movies (her latest film Lamhaa released on Friday), she is preparing for the launch of her fitness clothes label—BB Love Yourself. Edited excerpts from an interview:
You said the criticism about your weight years ago motivated you to focus on your health and fitness.
Yes, that is how I started off. At that time, I was working on 13 films a year—eating unit food, not sleeping enough. It was quite bad. If you lead an unhealthy life, the pounds will pile on.
What are the three things you need to do to have a fit body?
Be active—no matter how old you are. People of all ages should be encouraged to do some form of exercise. Young people should play a sport. I am soft on younger people who are overweight, but I encourage them to start their romance with health and fitness sooner, so their old age is easier.
• Sleep and rest are important for the recovery of muscles.
• Hydrate and eat right: to be fit and to keep you going.
What is your gymwear line for Reebok like and who have you designed it with?
I work with a group of Reebok designers on the patterns and they give me feedback on what will sell and what Indian women will find comfortable. I am not the prototype of the Indian woman and what I wear might not be suitable for all Indian women. Once I have their inputs, we work together to modify the designs. The winter collection will be out in August-September.
Tell us more about the collection.
In my fitness line, BB Love Yourself, fabrics are very important. We have used a lot of stretch cotton and Play Dry which does not show sweat patches. The fabrics are not clingy, but give a hold to the body while being comfortable.
The collection includes long tanks and Tees which cover problem areas and suit all body types, plus tights of all lengths and styles. The BB Love Yourself T-shirts can also be worn as lifestyle garments. We have used red tones, pinks and blacks in this women’s only collection which is about 15-18 styles starting from Rs495. There will be three collections annually which will follow the seasonal colour palette.
How did you think of designing a fitness fashion line?
I was a model before becoming an actress. I love fashion, fitness and clothes. So this association with Reebok allows me to marry all my passions and is a good first step before I move into other fashion lines.
How do you handle the strain of too much exercise?
A massage is the best stress-buster. And 6-8 hours of sleep. If you are doing weights then go for a deep-tissue massage. Otherwise, a Thai or relaxation massage works well.
Who is your fitness DVD targeted at?
It is aimed towards a wide range of people: people like me who are independent working women always on the move; extremely busy housewives who may be conscious of the way they look; students who cannot afford a personal trainer or gym membership. People have misconceptions about the time needed to exercise and get daunted by the idea of committing 2 hours a day to the process of working out. The idea behind the DVD is to pull people in slowly and encourage them to spend 25 minutes a day on themselves. The best investment you make is in your health.
Is weight loss guaranteed if someone follows the video diligently?
This is a workout video and for weight loss it must be accompanied by diet control. If you follow my programme carefully, you will see weight loss and toning. But how much weight loss depends on the BMI (body mass index), age and diet of the individual. You cannot just eat everything. Indian food is very heavy and what you eat is what you look like. Once your body and weight are in control, you can start making exceptions.
Does too much cardio and weights training tire the joints and knee?
I don’t recommend too much running on the treadmill. I don’t do it. Running on soft ground is much better. But impact on joints, knees, etc., depends on age and body structure, and whether you have weak joints to start with. The wrong shoes can also cause joint injuries. It is important to read and know about the right posture. And most importantly, remember to breathe right. Breathing right and doing something like yoga helps you feel and look younger and makes your skin glow.
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