Mumbai Muscle: An Interview With Hemant Aangrish, Co-founder of the Sheru Classic

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If you haven’t heard already, the Sheru Classic 2012 is well on its way this October. Not to mention, it is going to be one of the biggest bodybuilding competitions on the globe. Developed by Sheru Classic Productions in 2006, Aangrish has worked towards gearing the company to provide India with an outlet for fitness and nutrition. The show has had high profile bodybuilders like Jay Cutler, Phil Heath and Kai Greene participate in the competition. This year’s event is only going to get bigger. With less than two months go, Hemant was able to still make time to do an interview with Shredded Knowledge.


 

What is the history of bodybuilding like in India?

Bodybuilding in India can be traced back to the 11th century when men used to lift stone weights to build health and increase stamina. The weights made of stones used to be called Nals and resembled some of the equipments that we have today for Bodybuilding. During this time, gyms were a common sight in our country and Bodybuilding came to become the favorite pastime of people around the 16th century. However, it is known that during the British rule, the sport came to an all time low because of the lack of emphasis on Health & Fitness. But with the visit of Eugen Sandow (known as the father of modern bodybuilding) to India, the interest in the sport was revived. Chit Tun, a Burmese bodybuilder, is credited with the introduction of Muscle Control in India and has been a source of inspiration for many bodybuilders of the present age. Prof. K.V. Iyer was an important instructor of Bodybuilding during the early 90’s and started India’s first postal course in Bodybuilding.

What is your background in Bodybuilding?

I first took up Professional Bodybuilding at the age of 15. I was inspired by my grandfather who trained me and my younger brother, Sheru ever since our childhood. He trained us in the old school style; a rigorous morning routine, followed by a bath in curd or yogurt, a massage and a full workout, including pushups and free squats. So in many ways, my training really started from my young days with my grandfather and Sheru. My childhood training helped me to win the title of Mr. Ludhiana in 1994. However, around that time our father joined Politics and, being the eldest, I was given the responsibility of the family business and had to let go off my dream of pursuing Bodybuilding as a career. However, Sheru, in a way, fulfilled my dream and went on to become the second Professional Bodybuilder from India and represented our country at prestigious international events and championships. During the course of his 14 year long career, he won several international awards and titles including Mr. India, Mr. Britain, Junior Mr. India and South-East British Championship. Unfortunately, an injury forced him to give up his career in Professional Bodybuilding in 2003.

What motivated you to start the Sheru Classic? How long did it take to develop?

Bodybuilding is something about which I and Sheru have always been passionate. We understand the importance of fitness and nutrition and know that it is an integral part of leading a healthy life. Although I could not be a part of this profession, I have always felt connected to it. Despite all my efforts in the family business, I realized that my life would be incomplete without my first love – Health & Fitness. Thus, after a two month break from the family business, Double H Nutrition was launched in 2006 and supplying international grade supplements to athletes in India became my first endeavor. Being a part of both ends of the Health & Fitness industry, as an athlete as well as an entrepreneur, I wanted to expand my realms into the industry and went on to establish Sheru Classic Production with my brother in 2006. Sheru Classic is still constantly developing – diversifying the brand into all avenues of bodybuilding – expanding into becoming Asia’s largest Multi Sport Festival.

 

For aspiring bodybuilders in India, what would you tell them your top 3 most important exercises are?

If you train the right way and stick to the basics you will always see results, however, my 3 favorite exercises that I feel respond to my body the best are:

1.) Bench Press – Make sure you take into consideration the correct weight as per your body and as per your current work out regime – increasing weights should be gradual – this works out the Upper Body.

2.) Squats – focusing on the Lower Body

3.) Bicep Curls – concentrating on the arms



What physical and mental struggles do you think bodybuilders will come across when trying to go pro in India, and how can they overcome these challenges?

The main reason Indian athletes and sportspersons have not been able to focus and explore their talents is mainly due to the financial restraints that these athletes face – this is not just for Bodybuilding, it is largely for any sport which is not Cricket. Along with the lack of funds, there is a lack of infrastructure and guidance available to these athletes. Sheru Classic Production is bringing the infrastructure to India. Our bigger picture is that any athlete taking up any sport should and can be fully focused on the game and should strive on his/her talent. Financial worries can be taken away–it’s a larger picture, a program to support the upcoming athletes. Once the infrastructure and funding comes into play, it will be overwhelming to see the talent that comes to light within India.

Stay updated for this year’s Sheru Classic!

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