A person who is known to live and breathe fitness, Kris Gethin is the CEO of Kaged Muscle Supplements, Author of six books on fitness and he runs the chain of gyms called Kris Gethin Gyms. He has recently come up with Physique Global in partnership with Jag Chima wherein they wish to increase the infrastructure & education of personal trainers and provide more opportunities to Indians in the Health & Fitness space. A hardcore trainer, Kris talks to Krunch Today about his fitness journey and his take on the industry.
- In Conversation with Gitanjali Mangal
How and when did you get introduced to fitness?
I got introduced to fitness about 20 years ago. After I retired from motocross, I had issues with my back, I got a lot of injuries and so I went to osteopaths, chiropractors, massage therapists, and it wasn’t until I actually went through rehab-resistance training that I was alleviated from the pain and that’s how I kind of got hooked on to it because I wanted to be hooked on not being in pain. I had been in pain for several years and bed bound for a little while, so that was my introduction to the health and fitness industry.
As an entrepreneur where do you see the industry going?
I feel that the health, fitness, and bodybuilding industry is going into being a little bit more health-based now. People are talking about bio hacking their health, how to improve their health while increasing their performance, which is absolutely great. People are not just looking at the macronutrients and micronutrients. They are looking at the sources of the supplements, the sources of the food, how they can increase their longevity along with their performance and there are some big shifts which I am excited to see.
How did Kris Gethin Gyms come into existence?
I was living in India for several years from 2010 to 2014, I traveled all around India a lot of times and I saw that the infrastructure here was just terrible. A lot of personal trainers didn’t seem motivated, the floor staff were not motivated, and the gyms had inadequate equipment. So there is a big void here and the education platform seems to be many years behind from places in the Western World. So along with Jag Chima, my co-founder and business partner, we decided that we would start a gym academy because we’re always striving to increase the education of the trainers, of the staff, of the marketing staff, etc. and provide the best gym equipment that India has. But, I think that we have set such a high standard that not only are we the best gym franchise in India, nothing comes even close either. We are definitely one of the best in the world and we just hold ourselves to a high standard, anything that I put my name against has to have a higher standard. And that is how we kind of started and are evolving at a very fast rate, but we manage it. We don’t want to have hundreds or thousands of gyms. We want to make sure that we have quality over quantity.
How are you associated with Physique Global?
I am the co-founder and director of trainers at Physique Global. What we hope to do is certify a lot of personal trainers specifically in India. We want to help athletes and trainers gain sponsorship, able to improve their social platforms and marketing, so they can make a career and be referred to as a professional.
What are your future prospects with Physique Global?
As I mentioned, we want to increase certifications, and we want to increase the infrastructure for personal trainers. A lot of personal trainers are seen as bag carriers and their clients very often tell the trainers what to do instead of the other way around, because a lot of them are not being regarded as being professionals and sometimes rightfully so. Because they don’t have the right education in place, so we really want to increase education and provide more job opportunities for India in the health and fitness space.
Being a transformation specialist, what do you think needs to be improved the most when it comes to fitness?
In India specifically, there are a lot of myths. I have been battling this since the very beginning. And not only myths, things like supplements are going to make your hair fall out and weight training at a young age is going to stunt your growth. We are always going to be battling them. But one of the main things is that people too quickly get onto the next trending thing you know. The Ketogenic diet is in at the moment, so everybody in India seems to be on a Ketogenic diet, thinking it’s the next best thing. But in fact, it’s not. It’s been around for years. There are a lot of people that I know who have been using Ketogenic diet for over 20 years. However, it’s more for health purposes, as opposed to performance. Yes, it’s great at its time, maybe between a phase of fat loss or muscle gain. But it is not something that I would suggest as a lifestyle choice. Particularly in the way that people of India are following. Again this is an example of the Ketogenic diet, people having ghee, fats, a lot of saturated fats, vegetable oils. It’s not healthy. They should be choosing nutrient-rich fats, not just plain inflammatory fats. So there are a lot of fads that I come across in India and people seem to attach themselves to it. So I just want to slow people down, and say: “Look it’s the tried and tested principles that we have put in place for years and they are the ones that you need as the foundation. And then once you have your pivotal foot in place, you can put your other foot/toes into those waters”, so to speak.
How has bodybuilding changed from the time you competed?
It is a completely different perspective now. It is very much different. If you go to a lot of the Expos, a lot of the bodybuilders that are highly regarded, that were placed top three on stage, don’t have the lines now as compared to a lot of people that have a great YouTube following. Social media has changed a lot of things. Some for good. It’s bringing more people into the health and fitness industry, but some bad too, because there is a lot of misconstrued information that is put out there. So there are some big changes there. Just some years ago, bodybuilders in the first year of their pro could get a $50,000 contract. That doesn’t happen anymore. You have to make a business out of this elsewhere. That’s where it has changed, where you have to put out a lot of information on social networks and various platforms, market yourself appropriately, and there is the change and we have to keep up with it in order to progress.
Tell us about your authored books; The Transformer, and Body by Design.
I have like six authored books now. I have a new book coming out in April called "Man of Iron" and editor notes.
The transformer is basically a motivational autobiography on how I got into the fitness industry and how I progressed in the fitness industry as a natural pro bodybuilder, as an editor, as a writer, as a photographer, as a publisher of my own magazine, food company founder, supplement company founder, obviously Kris Gethin gyms, and how you can kind of apply the same principles to yourself. So that’s the back story there, but there is something that is applicable there that anybody in the fitness industry that wants to make a career out of it can utilize.
Body by Design and Bollywood Body by Design are specifically 12-week transformation books. The Bollywood Body By Design version, that’s specifically for people that have Indianized diets or are vegetarians, but still want to transform their physiques. And there is a 3-day split program in the Bollywood Body by Design Program, which is basically based of the programs that I put through a lot of celebrity actors that I have trained in India, namely people like Mahesh Babu, Hrithik Roshan, John Abraham, Ranveer Singh, and the list goes on.
Who inspires you most in the fitness industry?
It's mostly my clients or people that have followed my programs, be it my books, my seminars, my video series, those are the people that inspire me. I don’t really look up to people as much as I used to. I used to look up to various bodybuilders such as Tom Plats, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dorian Yates, Lee Priest. But I get motivated by the accountability that is shown by my clients. Hearing their backstories, where they have come from, how it has changed their lives, how it has changed their relationships with their family, friends and with themselves. A lot of people that come into my programs for some reason come from a dark place. They have either had insecurities, they have been bullied, they went through depression, anxiety, whatever. So they find fitness and it makes them feel better and they tell that to me and that kind of pushes me to keep going because we doubt ourselves. And when I doubt myself, I listen to some of the stories that I have been told within my head and it pushes me to keep progressing.
How important are nutrition and diet? Tell us about your own diet regime.
Nutrition and diet are very important. Some people say nutrition is 70% and training is 30%. Not so. It’s 100% training and 100% Nutrition, 100% recovery and obviously 100% quality supplementation, not just supplementation. So I’ve said this before, look at it as a stool, a three-legged stool. With one of the legs missing, or too short, the foundation is not going to be strong. So Nutrition 100%.
And my nutrition at the moment: this morning I woke up and I had some ground meat, it was bison with a lot of vegetables. So a lot of colored greens and spinach, vegetables like broccoli and then a second meal was a whey protein isolate, had that after my workout. And then after that, I had a chicken meal and that chicken was with rice and a lot of vegetables and sauerkraut and kimchi. My next meal will be another whey protein isolate. And I will have some rice. And then my last meal this evening will be salmon and I will have that again with some more greens, sauerkraut and kimchi. With a lot of my foods I try to go organic whenever possible. I prefer human-raised or locally grown foods. It is very important that not only am I optimizing my performance, but I am also optimizing my health. I want to build muscle, I want to improve my endurance, I want to be healthy, and I want to increase my health span.
Great. What are your future plans for India?
Future plans for India are to expand Kris Gethin gyms. So we have got a couple more gyms opening this year, or three more gyms opening in 2019 so far. And like I said, we are very detailed on the screening process on who we do business with. Because we want to ensure the franchisees that we work with are going to people that are as passionate as us to improve and evolve these training facilities and academies, year after year. And so we are going to continue to look into expansion and keep bringing in more Kris Gethin gyms. Keep training more people through Physique Global. We are not going to stop until we turn India into a nation of transformations and that’s always been the goal and we are not going to stop until we have reached it.
What are your future plans as a bodybuilder?
For the past couple of years, I have been participating in a lot of endurance events like Iron man, just did another iron man like two months ago, and an ultra-marathon did a Spartan race. But for this year, I am just going to focus on bodybuilding alone. I have kind of taken a step away from it for a couple of years, but now I feel it is time to come back into it, as I am getting a little bit older and see what I am made of because I like to challenge myself callas my mind, put a lot of stress upon myself. Because I always use this quote now “I want to be harder to kill”. I want to put myself in situations that are going to toughen me, that’s going to discipline me. Because as we get older, we can become a little bit softer and I don’t want to get softer at the edges. So the goal is to get back into shape and put on a lot more size and look my best in six months’ time.
What advice would you have for upcoming bodybuilders?
My advice for upcoming bodybuilders is to be patient. A lot of people especially on Instagram and Facebook today are after instant gratification. How they can get big really fast? Now I see all these young guys about the same age when I was getting into training, just training with ungodly amounts of weight. Because they have seen people online, such as one of our sponsored athletes by Kaged Muscle, Jesse Norris, who is an absolute beast. But, I just see all these people who are growing at a very fast rate, are going to have a very short life span in the fitness industry or in the gym because they are going to succumb to injuries. And with that instant gratification, a lot of youngsters turn to steroids. A lot of personal trainers in India suggest steroids, which is absolutely abysmal that people would do such a thing when they haven’t even created the foundation for nutrition and solid training for several years, before even thinking about standing on the professional stage. Along with the patience would be consistency. So persistence and patience, I would say are the two things that I suggest to a lot of my clients or younger trainers out there.