You may recognise him from the “Mutual funds sahi hai” ad or the recent Witty Games ad where he is seen playing dandiya. However, these are only a few of the many television and digital assignments actor Jigar Mehta has under his belt. The experienced theatre, television and film actor juggles rehearsals, performances and shoots on a daily basis.
“If I am doing theatre, then I have to manage rehearsals, learning lines and travel. When it comes to television, a lot of times, the shoot timings are very irregular,” says Jigar, “Sometimes we have to go for a shoot to some remote part of the city in the wee hours of the morning while other times, we go for evening shoots which run well into the night.”
With such an erratic schedule, one can easily be excused if they complain about not having time to work on fitness. But that isn’t enough to deter this seasoned actor who makes it a point to stay in shape using his favourite form of workout, Mixed Martial Arts (M.M.A.). While the sport is slowly gaining popularity in India because of televised events such as UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), Jigar has been practising it for more than three years and feels it has brought a number of positive changes to his life.
“Practising Mixed Martial Arts has helped me in a number of ways,” reveals the actor, “I have lost almost 14 kgs without resorting to any sort of diet. Earlier, I used to be overweight and was offered only certain kinds of roles because of my body type. Over time, because I lost a lot of weight, people started offering me many different kinds of roles which they would not have earlier.”
Even on a personal level, Jigar feels MMA has helped him a lot. “When you are fit, people start looking at you in a different light. I used to face a lot of negativity because of my weight. But now the same people have a very different attitude towards me. A number of people have also come forward and complimented me on how fit I look now, which makes me feel good,” says Jigar.
But how did Jigar’s tryst with MMA begin? “A few years ago, I put on a lot of weight and touched 92 kgs,” said Jigar, “One day I looked at a picture of myself and realised I had become really fat. I had to do something about it. A long time ago, I used to weight-train but I was bored of it, so I didn’t want to do it again. Martial arts always interested me and I wanted to learn it for a while, which is why I thought it will be good to learn a martial art and keep myself fit that way. That is when I came across Zen Fitness Studio, which is the gym I go to, and I joined them.”
Once Jigar got started, his perseverance and determination took him a long way and it was only a matter of time before others started noticing. “Earlier Jigar used to be a little bulky but now he is pretty lean,” observed Parul Chemburkar, who learns Mixed Martial Arts along with Jigar in the same studio, “He is very dedicated and works out every day, practising his kicks and punches even on days we don’t have our classes. MMA has boosted his confidence and core strength tremendously.”
Jigar’s trainer, senior martial artist Mayur Bansode, was all praise for the actor and his progress since he started. “Most people measure a person’s progress in fitness depending on how much weight they lose. However, that is not the most efficient way. In Jigar’s case, I could see his stamina and strength increase over time. Now he has little trouble working out for an entire session and can manage exercises which he earlier used to find difficult,” he said.
Extremely pleased with his own progress, Jigar now has a message for others as well, “I would request people to not give up on fitness. Get some exercise every day, even if it is for 15 minutes. It will help you in the long run and if you don’t, then you are the one who will end up paying.”
Learn more about Zen Fitness Studio and Mayur Bansode here.
For any Mixed Martial Arts related enquiries, call 9821803242