Jinder Mahal The WWE Maharaja
Having battled his way to the WWE Championship despite suffering trials and tribulations that would have sent a lesser person running for the hills, Jinder Mahal, the Indian Superstar is the very definition of a self-made man. Mahal made it his business to target the biggest dog in the yard from his first days in WWE, the towering Great Khali.
When Mahal found himself held back from his own ambitions, The Maharaja continued to press for the peak, forming unusual alliances and adopting new styles to improve his game and approach the mountaintop from fresh paths. Mahal took a sabbatical from WWE and returned in 2016 a new man. While his style evolved, he also underwent a remarkable physical transformation. He defeated Randy Orton, and is the current WWE champion.
What inspired you to get into WWE? Have you always been inclined towards fitness?
Iâ€™ve been a fan of WWE my whole life; as long as I can remember my heroes have always been WWE Superstars. From Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels to The Rock, and Steve Austin. As far back as I recall, I wanted to grow up and be just like them, be a WWE Superstar. Become a WWE Champion just like my heroes. I have always been inclined towards working out and fitness. Growing up I was also a huge fan of Bodybuilding. I would go to the library and read books and magazines about exercise, diet, and bodybuilding.
How did you achieve this phenomenal physical transformation?
My physical transformation all started when I regained my motivation. The first thing that I did was cut out on alcohol; right away. I completely changed my diet and also changed my workout. I also make sure now that I get enough rest every night so I can recover and hit the gym hard the next day. My diet was a huge part too. I hired a meal preparation company to make my meals with balanced macronutrients. I take these meals with me while I am on the road. I freeze them, and put them in a cooler bag with ice packs, and make sure my hotel room has a fridge. From a training standpoint I began to incorporate more performance type movements as opposed to just sticking to bodybuilding workouts. I added more conditioning aspects to my workouts.
Run us through your workout schedule.
At the moment I train 6 days a week. Every morning I do 25 minutes of empty stomach cardio (fasted cardio); this is low intensity on the elliptical trainer. Later in the day I go to the gym for weight training, and after my weight training I do half an hour of stretching/yoga. Day 1 I do shoulders, day 2 I train back, day 3 I train legs, day 4 I train chest, day 5 I train arms, and on the 6th day I focus on dead lifts and doing conditioning drills, for example pushing the sled or flipping tires.
Who, and what, motivates you?
My main competition is myself. I want to constantly be improving and getting better. That is what motivates me; I truly want to be the best. At first my motivation was to become WWE Champion. Now that I am Champion, my motivation is to stay Champion, and to be one of the greatest champions of all time. The WWE Universe: our fans, are also what motivate me. When people tell me that I inspired them, it actually inspires me. I am very fortunate to be able to be a role model to many, and I want to be the best role model possible to push the next generation to become the best versions of them.
Whatâ€™s your diet plan look like?
I actually eat 8 meals a day. I eat every 2 hours. I eat 6 solid food meals a day, and 2 whey protein shakes with oatmeal mixed into the shake for complex carbohydrates. Every meal has roughly 30-40 grams protein, and 30-40 grams of carbs. Earlier in the day, before my workout, and post workout I eat fast digesting carbs like white rice and then later in the day I switch to complex carbs like brown rice. I eat every 2 hours, so I never feel hungry, and with the portion size I am never really eating up full. Iâ€™m constantly eating small meals throughout the day, as opposed to 2-3 big ones.
How do you take care of your injuries and recovery?
Recovery is very important as a WWE Superstar because we have to perform on a nightly basis. The important thing is rest, getting enough sleep is crucial for recovery. As I mentioned earlier, I stretch daily and that has helped out big time because it has increased my range of motion and helps me prevent injuries. It is also important to take some time to cool down after my match; I do some more stretching after my match, and if I feel any injuries or anything sore I ice that body part. When I am home I get a weekly deep tissue massage, and also see a chiropractor once a week.
What are some of the challenges you face?
I would say the most challenging aspect of being a WWE performer would be dieting while on the road. Most of the time we have late night drives, so healthy options are very limited. But I have fixed this problem with planning my meals and bringing them from home with me. I also keep a container of protein powder and oatmeal packets with me at all time in my suitcase, so worst case scenario I can have a make shift meal.
When youâ€™re not wrestling, what do you like doing?
When I am home on my days off I enjoy going to the beach. I am lucky to live very close to one in Tampa, Florida. I enjoy going paddle boarding. I also have a small dog, so I enjoy taking her for walks and going to the dog park.
What are your views about the fitness industry in India? Any tips that you would like to share with our readers?
I see the fitness industry in India is heading in a good direction. More and more of the youth are getting into fitness and bodybuilding. We have one of the biggest Bodybuilding shows in the world in India, The Sheru Classic which takes place soon this year. People are becoming more and more knowledgeable about fitness and supplements and diet. I hope this continues and I would love to see more world class Bodybuilders from India. I would like to encourage everyone, regardless of fitness level to just make healthier choices in diet, and to live more active lifestyles.
What are your future plans?
My future plan is to be a great WWE Champion, to represent India, and make our nation and our people proud. I would like to encourage and motivate the youth of India to dream big, and work hard at achieving those goals, whatever they may be. My goal is to be one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time, and have many Championships in WWE and someday be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.