Most of us must have heard the age-old saying ‘a healthy body houses a healthy mind’. There are a few individuals who implement this saying and follow their passion. They strive for that perfect body and bring laurels to the country. Let us check out some of the top Indian bodybuilders who have proven their worth time and again:
Murali Kumar, a sailor in the Indian Navy, is our number 1 pick on the list.
Even though Murali started bodybuilding at the age of 25, with his gifted genetics, he raced into the bodybuilding scene and quickly established himself as one of the best Indian bodybuilders. He has been crowned Mr. India twice and one can take inspiration from the sheer amount of hard work that Murali puts in body building.
Murali is inspired by Dorian Yates, who had won the Mr. Olympia title six consecutive times from 1992 to 1997. He has been working immensely hard for over a decade and has sculpted his body into near perfection. He was also crowned Mr. Asia in 2013.
Yatinder Singh’s body building journey is an inspiration for millions of people. A simple lad from Saharanpur who dreamt of becoming an ace bodybuilder, only to have his dreams crushed one day by an unfortunate accident. This accident left him high and dry in a wheelchair.
Despite facing such tough situations, Yatinder did not give up on his dreams and stormed back into the world of bodybuilders of India by winning the Mr. India title, achieving the 2nd position in Mr. World and even winning the Mr. Talkwalkar Classic!
This is a very famous name in Indian bodybuilding. Sangram Chougule, also known as ‘Sangram Dada’ has won all the major titles – Mr.India, Mr.World and Mr. Universe. He is considered one of the best Indian bodybuilders because he has shown consistency throughout his career, winning multiple trophies and going up to attain the crown of Mr. Universe.
His diet constitutes of
- Chicken (1 pound)
- Fish (2 pounds)
- Boiled veggies and milk
He is not only into bodybuilding, but he acts in movies as well.
Varinder Singh Ghuman
What is common between cricket and body building? The answer is Varinder Singh Ghuman. He started his journey as a fast bowler in his college team and ended up as an Indian body builder with an international repute.
Varinder Singh Ghuman, a vegetarian body builder, is the first Asian who is given the title of Pro-Super in body-building shows worldwide. He was also crowned Mr. India in 2009.
This Jalandhar based “man-of-muscles” is also the first Indian to win the Australian Grand Prix in 2011. He has also been chosen by Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the brand ambassador for his signature gyms and food supplements in India.
Surprisingly, Varinder consumes a vegetarian diet and takes in his quota of proteins and calcium from milk and milk products.
Varinder is also trying his hand at acting. He has already appeared in some music videos and has played the role of a hero in two Punjabi movies – Kabaddi once Again and Fateh. He also played a small part in the Bollywood movie – “Roar – Tigers of the Sundarbans”.
Thakur Anoop Singh
Thakur Anoop Singh is a versatile person – he is a trained pilot, a TV actor and a fitness freak. Thakur Anoop Singh has struck gold at the World Bodybuilding and Physique Federation championships in Thailand.
His immaculate looks and muscular frame helped him gain fame in the entertainment industry and he bagged the role of Dhritarashtra in Mahabharata on Star Plus. Read here to know his diet and fitness mantras.
Mr. Mukesh Singh Gehlot
Mukesh is a well-known athlete who is a pro bodybuilder and a power lifter par excellence. Not just an athlete, but he is also a very capable coach who has carved the future of numerous bodybuilders in India.
Mukesh started working out in September 1997 and participated in his first event in 1998 in the Delhi University Championship. Fortunately, he bagged a Gold medal and since then he has never looked back. He entered the field of power lifting professionally in the year 2013 because with continuous diet and routine his muscles had become over worked.
He also wanted a break from bodybuilding and wanted to try something new. Plus, India did not have a strong stand point in professional power lifting and so he takes an active part in both the sports at present.
He is lovingly called “Guruji” after he started his own gym.
Premchand Degra is a well-known athlete who singlehandedly changed the face of Indian Bodybuilding by winning the title of Mr. Universe in 1989. His most memorable victories have been –
- 9 consecutive wins at Mr. India between 1981 and 1989
- 5 consecutive wins at Mr. Asia between 1983 and 1987
- Prestigious titles of Mr. Punjab and Mr. North India numerous times
Degra calls steroids and supplements ‘the prime evil’ of bodybuilding. In all the years that he has been in this field, he has never tried any supplement. “Any type of steroid is harmful for the body,” warns Degra.
Premchand himself took a balanced diet to fulfill his nutrition requirements:
- Morning breakfast – 6 eggs and half a liter of milk and fresh juices
- Lunch – half a kilo of mutton, chicken or fish and lots of green vegetables with one or two rotis.
Mr. Manohar Aich, popularly known as “Pocket Hercules”, was the first Indian to become Mr. Universe in 1952, five years after the country’s independence. When he competed in the Mr. Universe contest in London in 1952, his statistics were awe-inspiring:
- Bicep – 46 cm
- Chest – 1.2 m when swollen
- Forearm – 36 cm
- Wrist – 16.5 cm
Manohar’s stint in prison for protesting against British oppression of Indians helped him in weight training. There were no equipment in the jail but still he practiced free hand 12 hours a day.
Aich’s wholesome diet of milk, fruits and vegetables along with rice, lentils and fish kept him fighting fit and healthy. He never smoked, nor did he ever touch alcohol.
Dalip Singh Rana or the ‘The Great Khali’
Not many people know that Khali’s roots stem from the sport of bodybuilding. Khali’s potential was discovered by an Indian bodybuilding guru called Dr. Randir Hastir. He convinced him to start professional bodybuilding. The giant that Khali is, it is estimated that his bench went up to 600 pounds, during his bodybuilding days.
It is speculated that he was well into bodybuilding for over a decade before swapping it for wrestling. Nevertheless, his move to WWE has proved to be a massive success.
Mahadev Deka from Assam won the Mr. Universe Muscle Mania contest at Florida in the USA in 2009. He is a real life hero for those people who have seen him putting up a fight, against all odds, to win this title.
A passion that started more than two decades ago in arm wrestling contests eventually saw Deka turning into a professional body builder and winning more than 15 regional and national titles in various competitions. He is a man of honor, who loves his life and has become a role model for those who think that cancer is the end of life.
Make India Proud
One can take inspiration from these 10 Indian bodybuilders if one wants to pursue this sport and make India proud of their achievements.