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Kick it like Saif Ali Khan

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Joined: 11 March 2006

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Posted: 24 December 2010 at 7:46pm | IP Logged

Kick it like Saif

Strenuous kickboxing sessions helped Khan boost his fitness. We explain how it can work for you too


A decade ago, a 10 times less dapper Saif Ali Khan co-acted in Main Khiladi Tu Anari with Akshay Kumar. While Kumar beat up a dozen, Khan's character, a reel hero, watched meekly. Cut to today, Khan is readying to play the badass-who-beats-up-thugs again, in Agent Vinod.

Other than his yoga sessions with his lady love, kickboxing has helped beat his physique to shape. Ziauddin Khatib of the Indian Kick Boxing Association, Khan's trainer and a pioneer of the martial art in India, shares the actor's wham-bam regimen.

 Why the kicks 

Kickboxing is a high-intensity total body workout. The explosive, compound body kickboxing movements boost metabolism and turn your body into a fat-melting furnace. The techniques put your entire muscular structure under intense stress.

Khan's already fit status and  regular weight-training regimen helped. Kickboxing mainly improved his cardio and made his body more flexible. Flexibility improves circulation and ensures injury-free workout, game or routine.

Kickboxing pioneer Ziauddin Khatib (left) trained Saif Ali Khan in the martial art form which helped improve the latter's flexibility and concentration



 Sweating it out 

After stretching and a light warm up, Khan would do'

' Fifteen mins of advanced stretching, like the 180-degree split. It would ready the muscles for the rigour.

' Three rounds of skipping which is the best exercise for footwork.

' Three rounds on 'focus pads', which helps improve co-ordination of kicks and punches.

' Three rounds of low and high kicks and punches on the heavy punching bag. It adds intense muscle contraction to each movement because you're raising your leg and also trying to hit hard with proper technique.

' Shadow training, a routine for boxers, is then done, two-three 'bouts' of three minutes each.

' Intense kicking would then follow. It involves the basic high and low kicks done with speed in short intervals which builds core muscles. Regaining position and landing on both your feet is also practiced, as the kicks' power is useless if you don't retain your balance after that!

' Working out with a 'target' e.g. focus pads increases concentration.

' Khan also did 'conditioning drills' thrice a week. These included 'plyometric exercises' i.e. movements such as jumping higher, running faster, throw further and hit harder, to improve functions of nervous system. These would also bridge the gap between speed and strength.

 Downing the tempo  

Kickboxing is about packing a load of energy in a short time. Hence, the 'cool down' exercises are as important as warming up. They involve basic stretching of the hamstring and lower back, but you can always add yoga and meditation.

Though Khan would train four-five times a week (owing to a shooting schedule), beginners must practice kickboxing every alternate day with rest in-between.

Adequate rest is crucial for the intensity to bring any good. Altering your weight training too is essential.

 Eating right 

Kickboxing is an anaerobic activity that requires one to maintain high energy levels. A fighter's intention should be to eat foods which will provide the strength, best maintained by sources of high energy and low fat content.

' Hence, carbohydrates (all types of grains, potatoes, corn) are vital, for they slowly release energy for a sustained period of time, replacing lost glycogen stores and increasing stamina during fights and training.

' Protein helps repair muscles, aids muscle groW*H, prevents long-lasting damage and also acts as a further energy source, preventing the body from using its much-valued muscle for energy. Thus, it is crucial you have eggs, legumes and selected meats.

' While excessive fat can obviously cause unwanted weight gain, kickboxers need some fats to maintain important internal bodily functions. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats are both needed for production of prostaglandins, a type of hormone that keeps the body in working order. The foods fish liver oils, sunflower/olive/peanut oils, cheddar cheese, whole milk and egg yolk.

' Khan's diet design was thus: 45 per cent carbs, 30 per cent protein and almost 15 per cent fats. He was instructed to increase water intake to avoid dehydration, a crucial component for this strenuous sport.

Though Khan would train four-five times a week, beginners must practice kickboxing every alternate day


Edited by Salmanayesha - 24 December 2010 at 7:51pm

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