SUHRID JYOTI: BALANCING LIFE AND FITNESS
Looking at the photo Suhrid showed us on his phone took us by surprise. When he had told us over the phone that he bruised his face at the gym, we imagined a weight plate glanced off his forehead and nicked a cut at the worst. To be completely honest, we might have thought he was over reacting when he asked us to postpone his photo shoot by a few weeks.
A black bruise spread smack dab across his forehead wasn’t what we expected.
“Yea, I landed on my forehead. It was pretty bad but I have healed. I’ve promised my family I won’t be doing anymore back flips” He mentioned with a casual smile.
Honestly, what sort of 35 year old does a back flip?
A beautiful wife, a 2 year old son and a fairly demanding job as director of Jyoti groups, Suhrid is strutting through his mid 30’s. If we are to go by our Nepali culture, that’s about the age and time in your life when you abandon the 6 pack abs you had during your 20s and graciously adopt the slowly developing 1 pack that life (and beer) hands you.
However, Suhrid doesn’t exactly fit the bill in this respect. Blessed with a tall slim frame, he does justice to his fortunate physique by keeping himself well groomed and dressed to the nines.
His obsession with fitness would have been understandable if he was still in the media business, but he can rarely be seen on television any more. Apart from being crowned Winner of Manhunt 2003 and a few years of media popularity after that, he has engaged himself into his business. But where most people would have let go of their physical fitness, Suhrid has worked hard to create and maintain a physique most 20 year olds wouldn’t mind having.
But aesthetic appeal isn’t what spurs Suhrid’s passion, although it wasn’t the same case back in his hay days. Today, physical functionality plays a pivotal role in his regimen.
What good is a body that can’t perform, right? Well, that’s what Suhrid believes. Here’s the nitty gritty of what broke down when we asked him about his life and the role of fitness in it.
A few years ago, you were a frequent face in the media. But you seem to have taken a sabbatical from it all. What has been happening in the time between?
On the contrary, I was on a sabbatical from my real life when I was involved in the media. I was fresh out of college and not yet ready to start working in the family business. So I tried my hand at working as an RJ in Hits Fm and then a VJ in Kantipur television; all the while bunking my office duties.
Eventually though, I had to get back to my real life. It was only after I met Arati (my wife) that I started to settle down and got into my family business. Since then I have been extremely busy learning the ropes of our various businesses, getting involved in some social and business associations (NYEF and NICCI) as well as learning many new things to develop my physical and mental self. And with everything going on, I have managed to get married to an amazing woman and have had the good fortune to raise my precious 2 year old son.So, all in all, my life has been extremely satisfying in all aspects.
I AM NOW MORE FOCUSED ON THE FUNCTIONAL ASPECTS OF FITNESS
Tell us about the professional side of your life.
On the professional side of my life I am still a “student”. Our Group is fortunate to have a large number of employees, some of whom have been with the company longer than I have been on this earth. I have been trying to learn as much as I can from them whilst at the same time trying to professionalize and modernize some aspects of our business.
Now, on to the good stuff. How often girls ever come on to you?
Sadly, never. Although I tell my wife otherwise.
Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with female attention?
Yes. Enjoy it!
Were you ever a fat kid or have the gods blessed you with a fit body?
I was never a fat kid neither was I very fit. Honestly, I know very few people who work as hard as I do to keep fit. I am not naturally athletic and very prone to injuries so I have to work twice as hard as others for half the results.
What exactly do you do to stay fit? Run? Lift? Sign a contract with the devil?
I am not a big fan of running. It seems pointless and I get bored very easily. I do lift weights occasionally but these days I use body weight exercises for most of my workouts as they are safer and more functional.
What are your targets regarding your personal fitness?
When I was in college all I wanted was a nice body so I could show it off. But now that I am older, having a six pack is meaningless (even my wife is not impressed any more). I am now more focused on the functional aspects of fitness; mainly being able to fulfill certain goals I have set for myself and most importantly keeping my physical body healthy.
I love to challenge myself and learn new skills, so I am constantly doing things that interest me. For instance I had always wanted to be able to do back flips so I decided to teach myself how to do it. It took a month or two but at the age of 33, right on the first of Baisakh, I was able to do it. However it’s a fine line I have to tread between my passions and the risks it comes with. I have had to promise my wife to give up back flips as I had a small accident and scraped my face. Similarly, I have learned many small acrobatic skills as well as various martial arts like capoeira, taekwondo, karate, boxing etc.
I am especially in love with the practicality and directness of MMA. We in Nepal are very fortunate to have an MMA Studio at Rage and a qualified instructor. Besides that this summer I want to learn how to do an Arabian flip (a twisting front flip), and build up strength so I can do a muscle up and a human flag. Also it has been my lifelong dream to be able to dunk a basketball on a regulation (10 foot) rim. I did manage to dunk once in college but I was very drunk then and I am not sure how I managed it. (maybe he was in the kid’s court?) I think that later this year I will train to be able to do so. I will let you know how my projects go. As you can see I am now less interested in going to the gym to work out and more into learning various skills and building up strength to be able to perform physical feats. This keeps my life far more interesting and it is far more rewarding than simply pumping iron. Of course this is my personal opinion and I am not belittling the benefits of weight lifting.
Describe the role that fitness plays in your life.
Fitness helps relieve the stresses of life and that keeps my mind and body young. It helps balance the professional and family pressures that I face. It keeps me excited and at the same time at peace with all the aspects of my life.
When did you first start to consciously pay attention to fitness? Was there anything that spurred you dedication to fitness?
I was a very un-athletic child. I spent my entire school days with my head buried in books, which might have been a good thing if they were text books. When I was in the 8th grade, I tried out for the basketball team in my school and was rejected. That same winter I practiced hard and the next year I not only made it to the team but was voted MVP. This experience taught me that if you are prepared to do the hard work almost anything within reason is possible. Also, I think the Rambo, Terminator and Van Damme movies that were popular during my school days motivated me greatly. I can still do a split like VD (well almost
I DID MANAGE TO DUNK ONCE IN COLLEGE BUT I WAS VERY DRUNK THEN AND I AM NOT SURE HOW I MANAGED IT.
What would it take for you to trade blows with another bloke? Are you the fighting type?
I’m a lover, not a fighter. There are only a few rare situations where it is ok for a gentleman to resort to physical violence, the most important being a real and immediate threat to family and loved ones. Other than that I would think that it would be smarter and far safer to use other measured to get by.
Sometimes, the harsh reality of life looks you in the face and tells you: “You do not have the time to work out! You have your work to do.” Has that ever happened to you? How do you manage the time to balance your fitness regiment and professional work?
If you can find time to eat and watch TV and log on to Facebook, I am sure you can find time to sneak in a workout. This is not to say I exercise every day. I am often as lazy as the next person and miss many workouts. I blame my wife as she is blessed genetically with a fit body. So, we are often out at cafes and movies when we should be working out. She never seems to gain any weight.
Which is the most common mistake you see people making at the gym?
My gym is more like a social club and less like a place to exercise. I see a lot of socializing, making business deals, and spa activities and very few people actually working out. I don’t mind though, I am no expert and I would not presume to teach anyone how to use their bodies.
Supplements. Yes or no?
I am undecided on this matter, but I have not yet taken any besides some vitamin C when I have a cold. Research indicates that it could help athletes but I am not a professional and I do not see the point.
One thing you wish you could change about your body.
I wish my body was younger. I have noticed after turning 30 that my joints are weaker and I get injured far easier if I don’t warm up properly. I guess that is the price you pay for the wisdom that age brings.
Mass media has always publicized bulging muscles and washboar abs as synonym of fitness, and we are guilty as well. But when you look past the mirror muscles, fitness encompasses an entire array of health and functionality. And Suhrid is the perfect exemplification of this concept.
We sincerely do hope that he is able to perform the fancy Arabian twists, muscle ups and become the human flag without injuring himself anymore. And kids, don’t try this at home.
Words: Ankit Shakya
Photo: Bibhas Maharjan Suwal
Location: Hotel Shanker