Stress Buster

Fitness Freak

Chander Agarwal of TCI on deriving confidence from early-morning jogs and gymming 

Vishal Koul

Peak summers can be really scorching in some parts of the country and Aurangabad is one of them. Chander Agarwal recollects one such instance when he had to drive down to the district in the interior of Maharashtra. ”It was nearly 45 degrees and at such temperatures one wouldn’t dare roll down the car panes even for a minute, but I went about my work in that searing heat,” says Agarwal, attributing the resilience to his daily disciplined gym session — the first activity in the morning that helps him beat stress.

As the joint managing director of Transport Corporation of India, a logistics company with a fleet of 9,000 trucks that claims to move 2.5% of India’s GDP by value, Agarwal knows his job will take him to some of the most remote and toughest locations in the country. But the ability to withstand the vagaries of the job begins from Agarwal’s Vasant Vihar residence, home to a stacked-up basement gym.

While we wonder what an old world machine at one corner was, Agarwal helps us, “This one is in-gym replica of cross country skiing gear. It was supposed to be a really good and coveted piece, when it was introduced (out of use today though).” But there are a plenty of other machines with which, Agarwal works out like a pro.

Among the usual equipment, there is bench press, leg press among others. But there is a new gym equipment that Agarwal is planning to bring in. “T Rex is what I want to get. It is the multi gym with ropes,” he says. 

Agarwal’s working day begins at 6.15 am. “I jog first, as it helps to clear my mind and weight train later, as it boosts my confidence,” he says. The morning session lasts for an hour and 15 minutes, six days a week. He does weight training in the first three days and yoga in the next three. 

Having learnt the techniques of gymming under a professional trainer back in 2001, Agarwal is an evolved fitness junkie now.  “Different body parts have different weight dynamics. I started biceps with 15 pounds, now I do 25 pounds, for the chest I started with 40 pounds and now I do about 120, legs began with 20 pounds and now I go up to 110,” he shares his progress on weight front, pointing out that arms, chest and legs have to be built in proportion. 

But any fitness regime works only in unison with what you eat. He is well aware. Eating is pretty much averaged out throughout the day. He explains, “I don’t believe in one light and one heavy meal. My eating is adequately proportioned. I try to have four meals a day with 50% proteins and 50% carbs.” He avoids sugar, salt and dairy products. Agarwal also doesn’t believe in taking supplements for bulking his physique. 

As a child, Agarwal was always addicted to sports and he went on to acquire a brown belt in taekwondo — an activity that he still likes to blend with gymming. “Since I used to do martial arts when I was young, I do like to mix martial arts with weight training. I incorporate martial art moves in my training for a leaner body.”

Besides going to the gym, a one-hour jog is a must-do activity for him. “All-body weight training, which I try to do twice a week, is pretty exhaustive,” reveals Agarwal, who ensures that he clocks 40 km a week.

When it comes to long business trips, Agarwal travels light. Also, he is able to get over jet lag with a routine that he has perfected. “I workout for two hours before boarding a long flight, and mostly sleep on the flight. This way I am fresh for the next day’s meeting,” he says.

Hardly the one to skip workouts, Agarwal makes the best use of gyms available to him wherever he goes. If he doesn’t have access to a gym, Agarwal manages with rudimentary exercises such as push-ups, crunches, and pull-ups.

The perfect balance of weight training, which began at the age of 20, and yoga, which he started practicing since 22, has seen him progress without any illness for the past 16 years. “With God’s grace and thanks to my daily regime, I haven’t had to deal with any health issues.”

Though work seems a lot more strenuous now as a challenging macro-economic environment has slowed down manufacturing and the resultant demand for heavy goods, Agarwal is not too worried. For a person used to lifting weights daily, it seems managing the burden of business comes rather easy.