Shape Up Sardar!

Meet Gary Sethi he's on a mission to get you fit - especially if you're a man and wear a turban...

Posted: 18.06.12

No one breaks stereotypes like Gary Sethi. He's the UK's first bodybuilder to wear a turban and he's taking the fitness world by storm...

Do you see yourself as a role model or fitness guru?
Definitely not! I don’t like the words role model and fitness guru. My goal is simple: inspire every South Asian to be healthy and fit, while showcasing South Asian Sardars in a positive light and breaking some preconceived notions.

At one point, you were overweight;
what has it been like changing and maintaining your new physique? It’s been a challenge but a great experience. Being healthy and fit is a lifestyle that I will be practicing for the rest of my life, through thick or thin. Being fit and feeling alive is now engrained in me.

Discipline is essential to body building – how do you approach your training? 

My style of training addresses physical, mental, emotional and spiritual elements. I do very intense training. I prefer high repetition weight training over the traditional heavy weights and short reps. I constantly work on my resistance, endurance and strength. I believe in never compromising form and control. When I train, my mind is part of the process - I focus on my muscles and try to visualise the result I want during every exercise. My mantra is ‘To believe is to achieve.’

What role does diet play?
I’m not a vegetarian. However, I try to include legumes and grain proteins into my diet. A large component of my protein comes from egg whites or chicken. These are high quality, low in fat, and contain essential amino acids for the body to function properly. I offer full planning and dietary advice on my website if you want to know more about the foods you should eat to assist your fitness regime.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
My biggest accomplishment has been finding my passion and knowing I’m helping others. I tell people all the time that it is self–gratifying because you see results from your hard work. For example, I push myself to the limits during training and stick to my diet – then when I look back I can confidently say, ‘I did that. I also appreciate that wherever I go, people are intrigued that I am a Sardar – they ask questions and I believe it honestly helps to break down stereotypes.

How did you fall into modeling?
My motivation to achieve is driven by my curiosity to see how I can represent south Asian Sardars, especially in the fitness industry. Training and competing for fitness competitions helps me get an understanding in how the human body works and what my body can do when it is pushed. I utilise competitions as a catalyst to learn more about myself, how to sculpt my body, and to tap into my own potential. The modeling is a ‘side effect’ of competing in fitness contests.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself so far?
For me, I accept that I am new to it all - there is lots of work ahead of me but I am learning to enjoy the whole experience and live in the moment.

Can you imagine life without fitness?
Fitness gives me a sense of well-being. This is my passion and I go to bed each night knowing I'm giving it my 110%. Fitness makes me feel complete and my love for it exudes all the time, I smile just thinking and talking about it!

Can anyone do what you do?
I don’t’ really have advice other than don’t ever feel like you have to compromise your heritage. This is your life. If you are not who you want to be, change it. It won't be easy and it may take some time, but surround yourself with people who love and support you, and go for it! For more information on Gary Sethi visit his website

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