Few Indian film stars have carried off a red bikini with as much confidence as Bipasha Basu. Seeing her glide out of the sea in the forthcoming film Players, it’s hard to believe she was a target of tabloid digs at her weight a few years ago.

In Abbas-Mustan’s Players, based on The Italian Job, Basu plays Rhea, an automobile expert and a femme fatale. While her expertise on those two fronts will only be revealed on 6 January, when the film releases, her beach body is already under the spotlight.

Shock therapy: Basu says she devised a special exercise plan ahead of shooting Players.

Britto says: “With the combination, your body does not get used to the routine for a long time and burns calories faster. You have to shock the body. This is called muscle confusion and your body reacts to the surprise. But we were careful to give Bipasha a rest day." He says Basu’s hard work and careful diet finally made it possible. “She has a balanced, low-fat diet with moderate carb intake. She has been training for years and it has not been easy."

In an interview, Basu told us about eating good food and carrying her mobile gym wherever she goes. Edited excerpts:

Tell us how you got the look for ‘Players’.

I have been into fitness for seven years now, and I find making my own routine is exciting. My weight is always between 57kg and 60kg. My body type changes a bit, depending on what kind of training I am doing, like my body takes to muscle fast and responds to weight training fast. To look less toned and more curvy, like for Players, I have devised a six-week, beach body workout routine. In order to achieve a beach body, I had to intensify my cardio activities. I had to pull down the weight training a little from my upper body and gain weight on my lower body. I have small, narrow hips, but for a bikini I had to put on weight and so had to do intense training for my quads and glutes.

I lose weight quickly because over the years I have trained my body, and my metabolic rate is fast. I have figured out my body type. I eat well but I really like a fit stomach. A fit stomach is not just important for men, but also for women. I have a 1-hour abs routine for my stomach.

I hope to put the routine on a DVD soon. It’s a combination of Pilates moves, balance moves, resistance band and Swiss ball training.

What does eating right mean for you?

It means eating good food all the time. If you go on a crash diet, it will show on your face as dark circles. The most important thing is to eat. To be toned you need to eat every 2 hours. Eat small meals, eat fish, have proteins, chapattis and brown rice in moderation and avoid fried foods and sweets. Sugar does not do much for the body. I love mithai and was depressed for those six weeks of training when I could not eat any mithai. It was freezing cold in New Zealand and I was upset about not eating sweets so as soon as my shot finished, a plate full of cupcakes was waiting for me. Later my co-stars Omi Vaidya and Sikander Kher took me out for pizza and ice cream. For the next three days, I binged on bad food!

Do you have a special routine before shooting for a film begins?

No, I work out all the time. I only went on the intense diet and training programme before the New Zealand schedule. I work out no matter what, whether I am shooting or not. I work out on holidays because otherwise I will feel guilty that I am chomping on prawn curry, sannas, coconut, etc. Since I like to eat, I have to work out.

How do you manage to work out on holiday or on location?

Working out is all in the mind. I carry my gym with me. My trailer goes with my equipment, which includes my Swiss ball, trampoline, resistance bands, light weights and mat. I can train five people in a room with my equipment. In my first workout DVD Love Yourself: Fit & Fabulous You, I have only used light dumbbells and a mat, and I also say that you can substitute the dumbbells with 1-litre mineral water bottles.

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